Friday, April 29, 2011

Princess and the Pee Sticks

The home pregnancy tests say you can test 4-6 days (depending on the test) before your missed period. So if ER date is "Day 14" of your cycle, then one should be able to get a result around 10 days later, right? Even though the blood test isn't scheduled until 2 weeks after. I remember that I did a pee stick at the earliest possible moment last time too, and got a BFP! I Googled info on how long it takes for an egg to implant (9 days after fertilization, although my sister swears she "knew" when her first pregnancy implanted, and it was 3 days before her period was due.)

Around a week before the blood test, by nips started getting tingly. My boobies feel tighter and fuller. Ad at one point I absentmindedly glanced in the mirror while brushing my teeth and thought "Whoa! Those are big!" So I had high hopes. Same thing happened last time!
My plan had been to do a home test the Wednesday before my blood test (Saturday,) but I'd be at my sister's house, and she's been chomping at the bit. Screeching that she can't possibly wait that long to get results. Yeah. 'Cuz it's sooo easy for me. So I decided to go ahead and try Tuesday, so I might possibly have an answer for her before I got there.
Photo credit
4/26 - (Tuesday) - BFN. Well. Huh. The boobs were still sensitive, so maybe it's just too early. My sister began grilling me on my behavior. Had I been avoiding "offensive" foods like onions and garlic? Resting enough? Thinking positive? Excellent. So now if I'm not pregnant, it's all my fault, because I stayed up late one night playing Farmville. And offensive foods? Really? E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g gives me gas. In fact, when I was pregnant the first time, WATER gave me gas. What exactly am I supposed to avoid?

4/27 - (Wednesday) - I went and bought a pair of ultra-sensitive 6-days-early tests. BFN.

4/28 - (Thursday) - Tried peeing in a cup instead of directly onto the stick, in case I'd somehow messed that up. BFN. Said goodbye to my little Maybies and cried in the shower.
Called the fertility clinic and asked when I should schedule a follow-up, on the likely chance that my blood test in 2 days will be negative too. (7 weeks after the start of injectibles.) And left a message for the financial counselor to find out if my insurance will pay again, or if we'll need another prior auth, etc. (Apparently my insurance limits to $25k/year, and she estimates we'll have around $10k left. It's too soon to know for sure, since it often takes 3-4 weeks for the insurance to respond to a claim. She kind of suggested that maybe we could wait until the yearly max resets next year. Yeah. I want to waste another 7 months.)
The nurse of course got my hopes back up again. After I'd finally let them go. She told me that my blood test is scheduled for the earliest possible day they'd expect to get results with a blood test. Um. So why do home pregnancy tests work early then? But now I could still possibly maybe be pregnant. Torture. I don't think I'm pregnant, but I can't let go and move forward until I know for sure. I so want to move on.

Started spotting at bedtime. Like a big red punch in the gut. Could just be normal. Could mean nothing. Could mean everything.

4/29 - More spotting. Still tingly boobies though. Had only bought 2 more home tests, and didn't really want to throw away another $10 just to get my soul crushed again.

Scared Little Z when she found me crying in the morning. "Mommy. I don't want you to be sad. [*tears welling up*] I only want you to be happy!" [*crying*] And all day she's been asking me if I'm happy now. And telling me that she's sorry that I was so sad "yesterday." (She is still struggling with the concept of time. Anything before naptime was "yesterday." If the sun is even remotely out, it's "morning." And if it's bedtime, then it's apparently also "morning.")

So depressed it feels like someone's sitting on my chest. The thought of someone bringing up my IVF at the moms club event I had committed to running today (otherwise I would have just played hooky and sacked out at home all day) makes me cry. Thinking about virtually anything at all makes me cry. Seeing the sun shining makes me cry.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Maybies

I've always found it funny that you are already considered to be two weeks pregnant just after conception. Not that you know yet, in most cases. On my Egg Retrieval date, I conceived twins, and I wasn't even in the room! Heck. I wasn't even in the same city! And they were already 2 weeks along!

We gnawed our fingernails for 3 days, waiting for the Embryo Transfer date. Based on our Day 3 transfer last time, and the lack of embryos to try and choose from this time, they were pretty confident in scheduling us for a Day 3 ET. But based on my poor embryo quality last time, and my even poorer egg numbers this time, my hopes weren't very high. I tried calling on Day 2 to get an update on quality, but all they could tell me was that the cells were still dividing. Well. Not bad news, at least.

4/19/11 - So we go in for our ET. Since we were scheduled for the afternoon, we were able to get Nana to come down and babysit, so we wouldn't have to worry about Little Z. Ironically, this time she could have been in the room with us, since it was a different area than the ER and we got to stay in our room the whole time. Ah well.
The ultrasound tech came in and checked my bladder, then had me drink more water and wait 5 more minutes. When she came back, all was well. Then we got to talk to the embryologist.
One of our embryos was 7 cells and the other was either 8 or 6, I can't remember. I think 8 though. And when we asked about fragmentation, she looked a little sad and said that one of them had 30% fragmentation, which was not good, since they don't like to see more than 20-25%. I could have whooped for joy. 30% was our best one last time. The other? 15%. I was so happy I cried.
The top one is the 30% 6 -or-8-cell one, bottom is 15% 7-cells.
Since they aren't babies yet, I called them my Maybies. 
For some reason they recommended transferring both embryos, even though my doctor told us initially that they usually only recommend one, since in her experience multiple embryos doesn't increase the chances of pregnancy, just the chances of multiples! We had discussed leaving the number of embryos to transfer open, based on quality, but that if we had a good one, we might just try one. Otherwise probably 2. And if they were really poor quality, 3 or more, just so they wouldn't get thrown out.
So I was mildly concerned about transferring both, since I got pregnant off a 30-40% fragmented embryo last time. Chances are good that they'd both implant this time. Last time, I was willing to have multiples. It would be hard work, but anything's better than nothing. But multiples on the way with a pipsqueak at home already? Hard. Harder than hard.
But my husband was leaning towards their recommendation, even though they couldn't tell me why they recommended two. Eh. Go for it. I'll go in on the 30th for a blood pregnancy test. It'll be a looooong week-and-a-half!

Bust an Infertility Myth: "It Will Happen If It Was Meant To Be"

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week® (April 24-April 30, 2011,)  RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is hosting “Bust an Infertility Myth Blog Challenge.” RESOLVE is the largest nationwide non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people diagnosed with infertility.  
The goal of this challenge is to bring together bloggers from the infertility community as well as other bloggers interested in the topic to answer the question: 
What is the biggest infertility myth and how has it effected your life or the life of your friends and family members?

"...if it was meant to be..."
It's probably not really a "myth," per se, but it's something that just sticks in my craw whenever I hear somebody say something like it. Right on up there with "As soon as you give up, it'll just happen!" and "Well, you can always adopt!" [Not that I have a problem with adoption at all. But for someone who desperately wants a baby growing inside, it's just not the same. And not as easy as they'd make it out to be! I sure hope someone writes about that myth for this event!]

There are many variations. "God works in mysterious ways." "Don't worry! If it it was meant to be, it'll happen!" "If God wants you to be a mother, then He'll provide!" 
They probably don't mean to be insensitive jerks when they say these things. But what they're really saying is "God must not want you to have a baby right now, so suck it up." Oh, that's not what they think they're saying. But it's essentially what those types of comments mean. "You were clearly not meant to have a baby. Otherwise you'd be pregnant." 

Photo credit
With infertility treatments (and adoption,) you kind of need to be higher up in the financial food chain. So does that mean poorer people with infertility weren't meant to have kids? Because they can't afford the $10-$15k for IVF (or more, for adoption, surrogacy, etc,) if that's what they'd end up needing? People who would be wonderful, loving parents, but for some reason just can't conceive? I have to go deeply into dept and spend all our savings just to try and have the child those savings were supposed to be for?

Does that mean a woman who just doesn't ovulate wasn't meant to have kids? Or an infertile man? What if some accident caused the infertility? Or chemical exposure at work? I mean, it's not like we do something to cause our infertility. "Well, yeah. I know I did that so I wouldn't have kids, but now I changed my mind!" What did we do to deserve this? 

Does something completely beyond our control mean that someOne or something out there doesn't think we'd be good parents? Or is it more likely all the crud in our water and air and food that we've been exposed to in the womb, and by breathing, eating, touching our whole lives? Infertility rates are only increasing. Does that mean only the people who sleep with everyone in their trailer park are the only ones meant to have kids? The ones who don't take responsibility for their offspring? Drug users? Those on welfare who can't afford to care for the kids they have, but want more money, so keep popping them out? The ones who abuse their children? The ones who lock their kids in the car and back the car into a lake? These people are the chosen ones?

Many people have fertility issues simply because they waited a little too long. To meet the person they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with. Or to become financially stable. Or to be mature enough to be a better parent (than they would have been otherwise.) So Fate doesn't want people who can and will actually take care of their children to have them? This is all God's plan? 


The only "bright side" of having had such a hard struggle to have a baby is what kind of mother I am because of it. This isn't to say that I'm better than all other parents because of this. But I'm a better parent than I would have been otherwise. I read loads of parenting books to learn how to work with her, rather than against her.  Because I wanted it so much, I'm more patient with my daughter. She is truly a treasure to me. Again, not that other people don't love their kids. But at least compared to my sisters, I place a higher priority on my daughter's emotional and mental well-being than they do with their kids. They think I spoil her by holding her all the time. I think I'm accepting her more sensitive personality and working with her needs. I don't try and make her fit what I think my child should be, but work with who she is. Even if it's a little more tiresome than I would have liked. 

Another Myth:
"You'd be such a good parent! I'm sure it will happen!"
Sadly, the ability to be a good parent does not dictate one's ability to be a parent. 

Check out these links for a basic understanding about infertility and more about National Infertility Awareness Week®
And read about the other "myths" here!

Monday, April 18, 2011

ET for Two

4/16 - Egg Retrieval: So we get up at the asscrack of dawn in order to get up, get ready, get the kid up and ready, and get to the clinic by 7:45 AM. We opted to bring her with us and switch off watching her, since it was waaaay to early to drive to and from a family member's house to drop her off. My mom, who would be the only one close enough to drop her off with, was out of town this weekend. And my sister, who was willing to spend the night before to watch her at my mom's house, had a big test for school that morning that she couldn't reschedule.

It went okay. DH and Little Z had to stay out in the lobby the whole time, which was kind of a bummer. Last time, at the other clinic, my husband got to stay in my recovery cubby the whole time, so we had kind of planned on being able to do that with her this time. They would have let him in, but they didn't want her in there since there was another woman just coming out of her procedure as well. Ah well.

I'm not a fan of needles. They make me dizzy and nauseous and I get the cold sweats, especially whenever an IV is involved. So I'm even less of a fan of having to be poked more than once for a blood draw or IV, yet somehow over 75% of the time, end up getting multiple pokes! This time was no exception. She did something wrong with the elbow vein, and apparently my arm was swelling up with the liquid leaking out under the skin instead of in the vein. Yay. So I got a shot of Lidocaine in my hand and an IV there instead. Joy. Three shots.

I was actually surprised that they weren't all double checking my allergies and date of birth and whether I'd eaten yet that day. Every other procedure I've ever had, every single different person would double check the same information. Luckily, I'm me, have no allergies, and hadn't eaten. (I almost ate a tiny bit of peanut butter off my thumb when packing a brunch for Z, but realized my error before closing my mouth and was able to spit it out.)

They have me pee, walk me into the OR, lie down, put an oxygen mask on, give me a nice heated blanket and pillow (*sigh* My favorite part!) but no leg massager thingy, and then I don't remember much after that. I don't even remember counting backwards. As I start waking up, I hear someone say something about how "she should just be waking up now" and then people coming in to bother talk to me. I got juice and cookies at least. And the shivers. I think I often get the shivers after anesthesia. My memory is terrible about that kind of stuff though. It could just be chilly rooms and no heated blankies (which they only give before the procedures.)

And then the doctor comes in to tell me the results. Which was nice, sort of. Last time they didn't tell me any numbers until the following day. The "sort of" part was the numbers. 3. 3 eggs. Last time we did this, I had 13 eggs. When she did the follicle count before we started the BCP, she counted 11 follicles. Apparently, after starting the shots, I had only 5 follicles they'd been monitoring (plus the cyst.) And 2 of those also turned out to be cysts. I'd been wondering why she was only measuring a few black blobs each time, but I thought they were just watching the bigger ones. I'd had no idea that those were all we had!
Three. Eggs.
Out of the 13 our first IVF cycle (3.5 years ago,) 10 were mature enough to ICSI. So already 25% attrition rate. Then of those 10, 8 fertilized. Additional 20% failure. Then, of those 8, all had higher than normal fragmentation rates. (Normal is 20-25%, my best 4 were 30-45%. The others went up to 80%.) So 3 out of the original 13 were even worth bothering with transferring. Slightly less than 25%. And of those 3, only 1 implanted.
So with only 3 to start with, my hopes kind of plummeted. The doctor and later the nurse told me that we only needed one to be successful, but I can't imagine these ones being any better than the last ones. It's not like eggs get better with age.

So there were some tears, and a lot of numbness. And the depression I've been fighting ever since I started the BCP came and hit me. Hard. I almost don't even want to try again, if it doesn't work this time. If I didn't have my little girl to take care of, I don't even know if I'd be able to function.

4/17 - The day after the retrieval was my husband's *cough*ty-second birthday. We had a fun time. We all ate brunch at the mall, shopped a little. Played at the kiddie play area for a bit. Hit a Half-Price Books store on the way home. And we got the call with our results so far.
Of the 3 eggs retrieved, 2 were mature enough to ICSI, but both fertilized. So that's good news, I guess. I'm hoping my body put all its energy into making those some really quality eggs.

4/18 - After getting the info for my Day 3 egg transfer, I called back to ask about my little embryos. They couldn't tell me whether they were fragmenting or not, but could tell me that they're still dividing, so that's good. They're both still alive. So that's where I'm at today.

Are they twins if they haven't implanted yet?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Day Without Needles

4/14 - To celebrate getting to stop my meds, we went to Ikea to lie about Z's age so she could play in the play area. But we were thwarted by a new policy that no diapers or training pants were allowed. Nuts. So we went to the kids furniture area and played with the toys and jumped played on the beds. We had a great time, until I realized that I had totally forgotten my final antagonist shot (I had planned to do it after my appointment,) and I either hadn't listened or hadn't heard what dose of HCG I was supposed to be doing. And everyone at the office was in a company-wide meeting, and wouldn't be available until 3pm, several hours later. Ughhhhh.
When the nurse finally got back to me, she told me to go ahead and take my antagonist shot, even though it was very late, and to take the full dose of HCG. And they even let us reschedule DH's "appointment" time for the egg-retrieval on Saturday to a half-hour before mine, so that we could tag-team watching Z, since my mom was out of town, my sister who normally could have come out to watch her had a big test that morning, and my other sister and his mom were both over an hour away - not fantastic when you're supposed to be there at 8:15 AM.
That night my husband wanted to go to poker night, since there was a friend visiting from out of town. And I had a meeting with my MOMS Club. And was supposed to do the shot at 8:45pm. He's always done the IM shots, since they're a lot harder to do, both angle-wise and muscle-resistance-wise. But now I'd be on my own. I was going to have to leave my meeting early to meet a nurse in Seattle who would do the shot (for $50,) until I remembered one of the MOMS was an MA. So after checking to see if she'd be there, and be willing to do it for me (in a public restroom at Starbucks!) I cancelled the nurse.
There was a lot of giggling and clock-watching from about 8:30 on, since everyone knew what was going on. Then we trooped in, with my daughter, to the restroom. Luckily, it was a family-style restroom, with just one toilet and a sink and lots of space. She used the Koala diaper-changing station as her table, and had me lean over the sink. The nurse that morning had drawn on a "target" for me, so that part was pretty easy. And it was a lot quicker and less painful then I remember from years ago when my husband did them. But we were doing the progesterone shots back then, which got more and more painful as my muscles got stiffer and hurt more. The police who had arrived for coffee just before we went in gave us a funny look (I mean, really. Two ladies walking out of a single-person bathroom, with a very tiny minor?) but didn't hassle us. I made sure to thank her for being a pain in my heinie. :)

4/15 - Friday morning's pregnancy test was positive (and I fully enjoyed the irony of doing a pregnancy test when we all knew full well that I was not pregnant. They just had me do to to make sure that the HCG had been absorbed properly.) Ahhhh. A day without needles!

A Cyst Assist

It's been a while since my last IVF post, and a lot has happened... or not happened. I was a little over a week away from my suppression check, and the potential start of my meds. Well. Not so much, apparently.
I dutifully take my BCP, go in all excited for my suppression check (3/16)... and see a big black blot. I could tell immediately that something was not right. I've had cysts (from the Clo.mid) and seen follicles and all that jazz before, and this was the largest black blot I've ever seen. 28mmx28mm. A big whopper of a cyst. They tell me that it may be nothing, blah blah blah, but we'll do an estrogen check to see if it's active or whatever. So keep taking the BCP. Next day's lab results: high estrogen. Continue on the BCP and come back next week. Joy.
So I go back in for another U/S and bloodwork (3/23)... still there. Slightly larger (31mmx25mm.) And my estrogen is still high. Come back next week.
3/31 - still there. But slightly smaller this time. 25mmx25mm. I ask more questions this time, since I'm still not sure what this all means. The estrogen interferes with the stimulation meds, so there's no point in starting until the cyst stops interfering. And they aren't concerned about a cyst unless it's there "for too long." 12 weeks, apparently. *sigh*
But this time... the estrogen levels are down. We're a go! They were going to have me start stim meds on Sunday 4/3, but then one of my appointments would conflict when I'd committed to babysit my nieces. So we moved it to Tuesday 4/6. And I moronically remembered to stop taking my BCP Saturday night, as if we'd be starting Sunday, even though I knew we were moving it to Tuesday. Doh! Luckily I remembered for Sunday night.
 4/6 - Meds Day 1: I got to start my shots at my sister's house. Glee. I forgot how hard it was to remember all the little steps they don't tell you at the injection training class. I forgot to pull 1cc of air into the Meno.pur syringe before attaching it to the vial of saline. If you push the air in first, you don't get the suction trying to push the water back out of the syringe once you've drawn it (basically, you negate the pressure you've created by trading 1cc of air for 1cc of water.) If you just draw the water out of the vial, you create pressure where the syringe wants to push the water back out. All while you're trying to pop the lid off the powder vial (because you forgot to open all your stuff before starting.) Then you push the water into the powder vial, but you;re just moving the pressure from the syringe to the vial, and when you draw the medication back out, you have the same issue, with the syringe trying to push the liquid back out. And now you're trying to tear open the needle wrapper and put the tip on without letting the liquid push out.
4/7 - Meds Day 2: I got to do these ones at home. This time I remembered to open all the wrappers, but still hadn't thought to push the air in first.
4/8 - Meds Day 3: We were out to dinner with DH's family, so I got to do my shots in a restroom stall. And just as I unwrap everything, 5 ladies come in. Someone had just stared using the only other stall right before they arrived, and I knew I'd still be several minutes. So I opted to put everything away again and letting them all go first. Like there wasn't already enough pressure in handling needles and not messing up doses, I needed to feel rushed?
4/9 - Meds Day 4: Got to do shots at home. Invited Little Z to come and watch. She was to sit on her stepstool and not move. So naturally, just as I'm about to pull out the needle from my second shot, she stands up, trips and crashes into me. Joy.
4/10 - Meds Day 5: Had my Day 5 bloodwork and U/S. The technician couldn't tell which of two large black blots was the cyst, and which was a follicle. I forget the numbers, but I think they were both around 18mm across. She wasn't measuring too many follicles, but I assumed she was just going for the largest ones, or that they were blocked by the cyst. They also had my start the antagonist shot that morning, rather than the next day, which is what my calendar had said.
4/11 - Meds Day 6: Back at my sister's house, to babysit for the next morning. Only this time she was out of town, and after about 15 fruitless minutes of trying to kick various toddlers and preschoolers out of the bathroom (Really? You have to pee right now? You too? And you? You never use the potty when *I* ask you to! YARGH!) So I retreat to my sister's bedroom, and my poor BIL comes in just as I'm doing my first shot. I was cool, since I'd heard his footsteps and guessed that he was headed there. But he was mortified to be barging in. But I'd had a feeling he was going to come in, so I just folded down my waistband (I have plenty of fat to pooch out without having to take my pants off!) I even made sure my panties weren't peeking out the top.
4/12 - Meds Day 7: After a fun-filled day trying to find an urgent care out in an area where there's only one or two McDonalds per city, then waiting at the pharmacy for my daughter's ear infection meds to be filled, we got to the ferry in time to miss it and instead arrive to meet DH an hour later than planned. Then we all went out to dinner at The Melting Pot, where I got to do my shots in a restroom stall again, only without any pressure or interruptions this time!
4/13 - Meds Day 8: Time for Day 8 labs and U/S. I scheduled it in the Seattle office, so I could drop my husband off at work and leave Z with him for my appointment. But apparently he had an "all-hands"meeting at work for several hours, and it would have been difficult to leave to bring her out for me. So we gave her the choice, and she opted to come with me to my appointment. I felt bad about bringing her, for everyone else's sakes, but there were 3 or 4 other families with kids there too, so it wasn't so bad. And she did fantastic. Other than asking every 10 seconds whether they were going to put the wand in my "ba-dye-nah" yet. She stayed out of the nurse's way for the blood draw, and held my hand to "help me be brave."
She was fascinated by the U/S wand and was sad that she didn't get to see it "going in."
They decided to have me continue meds for another day, and come back the next morning for another U/S to see if the large follicle and cyst changed any.
4/14 - Meds Day 9: My husband had yet another crucial meeting, and had lunch plans with a friend, so drove himself to work, so I took Z with me again. This time we were in a different U/S room and she got to see the whole process from a better angle, in her point of view. But we were a go for the HCG shot that night!

So, some basic injection tips they generally don't tell you:
Open all the wrappers for each step before starting that shot. It's much harder when your hands are full of syringe.
If you'll be drawing water out of one vial to mix with the medication powder, pull that much air into the syringe first, then push the air into the water vial before drawing out the liquid. You don't need to do this when adding the liquid to the powder, since you aren't starting with a pressure imbalance. The unpressurized water going into the powder vial does what the air did for the water vial.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Letting Go of Guilt

The ladies at SITS are hosting a "Letting Go" Link-up, to inspire us to let go of our hang-ups and redefine "our best."
Now, this isn't my normal blog, which is far more fun. I come back and dust this one off once in a while, when something comes up, or when I need to vent. But I'm too chicken to strip my soul naked on the one that our friends read and families subscribe by email to.

This is hard for me. Not just the thought process, but the sharing process. I don't really advertise my infertility issues (except here, obviously,) but I don't keep it a secret either. And I never share the emotions: fear, guilt, shame. Not even with my husband, really. When I first read this challenge, I thought... "Huh. What can I let go?"  My first thought was maybe some vague parenting hang-up, but nothing came to mind. Then I thought, "My guilt?" and my gut reaction was "No! It's mine! 

Because I don't share it, because I don't let it go, it's almost like a friend. Not a good friend, mind you. But one that's all mine, and no one else's. Someone I can go and play with whenever I want, even if I don't have a good time. Someone who will come to all my birthday parties, even if a part of me wishes they wouldn't. But this isn't someone I met through work, or my husband. Not a friend of a friend. Mine, and mine alone.

I have no reason to feel guilt. I didn't do anything to cause my infertility. And no reason to feel shame. Lots of men and women experience this. More than anyone could imagine.
But it's hard to let go. Sometimes you just feel like sitting there poking at your emotional wounds. "Does it hurt now? How 'bout now? Oh, and remember this?" [poke, poke, poke] "Now how do you feel?"
I've let go of so many things. Issues from childhood. Issues from my parents. Issues from my siblings. Even issues from my husband. But I just can't seem to part with the issues I created for myself. A teacher in High School once said something about how we shouldn't regret anything we do. If you did something bad, learn from it so you never do it again. But don't spend your life regretting what could have been, or what you did wrong. I took that advice to heart. I've always been a firm believer that everything that has happened to you makes you who you are today. And you need to love who you are in order to be happy, and in order for others to love you as well. So everything that has happened, and everything that I have done made me the person I am today. Made me the person who met my husband. Made me the person that he loves. Made me the person who created our daughter with him. And made me the person that she loves. How could I possibly regret being that person?

And yet... we tried for years to get pregnant. I've heard stories more heartbreaking than mine. But they aren't my story. I know some of what they felt, and they know some of what I feel. But no one can know exactly how another person feels. Not exactly.
I've wanted kids, like, forever. At eighteen I was planning what I'd do to become a single mother. Yes. You read that right. There wasn't anyone I wanted to be tied to for the rest of my life, but I wanted a baby. I was willing to move back in with my parents, if that's what it took, to be able to take care of one. But I didn't want to trick anyone into it. No "Yeah, I'm taking the pill." kinds of deceit. Plus I wanted to find good breeding stock, if you get my drift. So I dated a few guys, got into a few emotionally unhealthy relationships. One of those was without protection, as I recall, but nothing happened. He later had several kids. Then I had a long-term relationship with someone, and my recollection is that we'd kind of been "trying," or at least not not trying (he doesn't recall this, and shudders and takes a deep sigh of relief any time he thinks about it,) for several years. Nothing. Then I met the perfect guy... only one hitch: He didn't know if he'd ever want kids, but if he did, he wanted to be married first. But he didn't know if he'd ever want to get married. I'm not one of those people who deludes themselves into thinking "Maybe he'll change." So sometime in the first year of our relationship, I sat down with myself and forced myself to make a choice: Him without kids, or someone else with kids. I chose him, and no regrets. And no blame or resentment for not having kids. Because he didn't lie to me about what he wanted, or give me false hope. I chose him, and all that that entailed.
But over the years, his friends all started getting married. And having kids. And on our 5th anniversary, he proposed, with the caveat that he wasn't actually ready for a wedding yet. Just ready to commit to me. Well, I hadn't ever expected him to marry me, so, bonus! Then four years after that, on our 9th anniversary, we got married. And he said he was ready to start having kids with me.
So 2 weeks before when my husband and I got married, we immediately started trying. I had had a feeling there might be issues, so had started seeing someone at my OB/Gyn's office for fertility issues before we got married. Nothing. Got bumped up to an actual doctor, who started prescribing stuff and ordering expensive tests and doing ultrasounds to check for things. Nothing. Then to an infertility clinic, who said they were sure I'd get pregnant without anything fancy. Nothing. Then fancy procedures. Nothing. Then my Grandma let me cash in on my inheritance early, so we were able to afford IVF without going deeply into debt. Noth... oh wait. What? Pregnant? Really? 

But that was still two years of feeling like a failure. Two years of having my soul crumpled into a ball and stomped on every 28 days (26 for me, actually, the first year. Until they found a problem unrelated to fertility, but fixing it regulated my cycle. Let me tell you what a treat it was to get that extra 14th period every year.) Two years of watching my sisters and everyone else I knew with a uterus popping out babies like Pez dispensers. Two years of hating my body for not being able to do the one thing I wanted most. Ten years of cramps, moodiness, long periods, periods even though the pill I was taking was supposed to prevent them. Yeah. Ten years since I first went crying to my mom as she welcomed me to womanhood. All that, for nothing.

Until the miracle of science (and a hefty dip into our savings account.) And still, then only one egg out of the three we transferred "took."
I decided that when she was 18 months old, I wanted to start working on the next one. Since then we'd have a little time for delays to space them at least two years apart. So my body failed me again. At around 16 months, my cycle started being 14-17 days, irregular, and mostly bleeding. One month I didn't bleed 3 whole days. Yay. After wasting a few months being jerked around by the first doctor I saw, who didn't want to try and discover the cause of the problem, I had to wait another month to get in to see someone else, then it took months to wait to get tests and procedures done, before we were back on track trying to make babies. Then our vacuum, steam cleaner, washer, dryer and water heater all broke within 3 months of each other, so we ran out of funding for infertility treatments. So now she's almost 3. And now we get to start paying to try trying again! 

I can't make any promises. But I will try to let go of my shame. And my guilt. But just in writing this today, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. The smattering of rain didn't keep us from playing outside. The sunshine was sunshine-ier. I wasn't as quick to race out the door the minute my sister got back from work to take over watching her kids. And I was a lot nicer to them today.
And as I gave myself the IVF shots today (Day 2 of probably 10,) that little part of me didn't hate myself for needing them.