Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Baseline check

We have to start somewhere so let's start at the base. My Estrodial is 24 and my FSH is 3.7 and I begin lupron tomorrow. Even though lately I've felt invaded by the body snatchers, I'm actually starting to feel a little excited. It started to bubble to the surface today after hearing confirmation that this long awaited surrogacy cycle is going to begin. I had thought all along that surely some snag or snafu would spoil things. I was convinced my endometrioma had grown to melon size or my FSH had skyrocketed proving definitively that I have no good eggs. But to my delight it was quite the opposite. The endometrioma is small at just 1.6mm and they don't seem too worried it will ruin the cycle. My FSH is usually 7 or 8 but the nice low number made me feel 20 years old, despite the fact that it really has no indication that my egg quality is any better. But hey, maybe all the gaging down wheatgrass did something? Anything to help the mind feel like something is different. 

One big difference is that transfer will be A.'s job, not mine. It's sort of a huge relief to know that she can take over that phase of the cycle and I can free my body of all the havoc it can do to a pregnancy. My blood won't clot up and kill the embryo. My endometriosis won't fuck up implantation. I won't get an embryo lodged in my fallopian tube. This all puts a big smile on my face. That worry is gone. 

But what remains the same for me at every IVF commencement is knowing that there is a tiny microscopic iota of a chance that we might make a baby soon. Prior to this I always feel sad and depressed because I am doing nothing to get pregnant and I just wallow in pitiful childlessness. Then the same sort of thrill starts to percolate with baseline because there is a flash in my heart that this might work. It's a nice place to be - the beginning. Everything is ahead of you. When you are waiting, all you can do is look backwards. 

So I seem to be getting some feeling back in my limbs. No doubt that will take full effect when the 4 shots per day begin this weekend. But at least for today, I can feel. It's been a while. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

A conversation with my 5 year old niece

Toddler: Do men or women have children?

Me: Women.

Toddler: Do you have to have children?

Me: No. You can choose not to.

Toddler: So if you choose to, you have to?

Me: No, if you choose to it still may not happen.

Toddler: [pause] Do you have children?

Me: No.

Toddler: So, you don’t want them?

Me: Yes, I want them. But sometimes even if you want them they don’t come at that time.

Toddler: But if you don’t want them, they don’t come.

Me: Yes.

Toddler: But sometimes when you want them, they come.

Me: [big sigh] Presumably.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Sometimes while walking through the city a certain song will play on my ipod that transports me to a different reality. My step, however slow or fast, starts to move to match the beat of the music. I start to look at the zillions of people around me as if we are all marching to the same sound track in the same movie scene. As I trudge up the subway staircase I watch my feet synchronize with others rushing up the steps and I've become part of one huge living and breathing organism.

The moment doesn't last forever. Inevitably I am shoved or a car horn goes off or I have to scramble for something in my purse and that thread is broken. I've woken up from the spell as if I was on pause and suddenly someone pushed the play button again. Those moments of connection have a strange dichotomy for me because I feel like I am in a fog and yet things seem clear. 

That's sort of where I am as I begin 2009. I am literally in the process of synchronizing my body with A. We are both on birth control pills and we will start lupron at the end of this month. I will stimulate in early February and then fly to Chicago for retrieval. Then whatever embryos I am blessed with will be transferred to A. It's all slowly coming together and I am still sort of perplexed as to how I am going to manage finding a common stride with another woman's uterus, another state, another clinic, another protocol, and my husband's frozen sperm. But I feel like I am entering that ipod moment when millions of pieces are potentially coming together to step to the same beat. It's put me in a foggy state of mind where I am not thinking, I am just marching to the beat, and getting lost in something greater than me. But on the other hand, there are certain things that are very clear to me - I am scared, I am anxious, I have to make enough eggs, I have to face failure. 

This is what I find to be one of the more unique things about infertility. I've lived in a state of limbo and uncertainty for 2 to 3 years at this point. You begin to get used to the idea that you can't plan, you can't get too excited and yet you can't get too negative, and you can't settle in on any one particular state of mind. I find that every kind of rational premise I set up in my brain I just as easily can argue my way out of it. I can keep flip flopping around because nothing really makes sense in this infertility world. Everything is "could be true" or "could be false." For instance, two friends I met both finished a cycle with a gestational carrier and both got chemical pregnancies. They thawed and transferred good 5 day blasts that I would dream of having, but neither of them had success. Devastating, to say the least. Another friend did a shared donor egg cycle this fall. She got a BFN, but the other woman who received the same donor egg got pregnant. It all seems so unfair but then there are just as many miracle stories, many of which our fellow bloggers are now telling, that defy the odds and give hope. 

All this is to say that maybe my body has put me in this particular zombie state of mind for a reason. Clinically, if I were a shrink, I would say I am dealing with low level depression and anxiety which is causing this hazy state of mind mixed with clear feelings of fear and dread. But the more poetic version would be that I am protecting myself. I am feeling part of something greater than me which is both very zen and very unsettling because I have no control. I need to remember that just like all the logistics of my surrogacy cycle will work themselves out as a whole, all these questions and non-sensical fertility stories are part of some greater whole too. I am not sure what the final lesson will be in all this, but whatever the universe has in store for me I still have to let go. Synchronizing is both coincidence and coexistence, meaning it has an intended hand, but it also relies on chance. So for now I have to just ride this out and pray all the planets will finally align for me. Though I am vulnerable to so many things that could break the spell or get me off sync, for now it seems safest to keep my internal ipod brain running and let all this non-sensical noise around me become music.