Friday, May 22, 2009

Tiger mom hear me roar "BFP!!!!!!!!!!"

This could be it. I mean, this could really finally be the end of this heinous ride. I am sure many of you have seen these photos floating around virally but I just had to post them. The story is that after losing her cubs, the tiger mom was quite depressed until the zoo keepers brought her these piglets. I could not have felt more akin to this tiger mom. Not only does it make everyone just simply feel warm and fuzzy inside, as we collectively say "awwwww," but it also couldn't better capture the phenomenal love of a donor egg  mom or adopted mom. 

So I've decided to coin the name "Tiger Mom" for all the moms out there who finally stop the heartache through the wonderful gifts of donor egg and adoption. I think it's aptly named for so many reasons - for the strength it conveys, and for the unexpected joy it symbolizes. Who would have thought the need to love a child could surpass what we perceive as "natural." Naturally you would think this tiger would not cuddle up with the little pigs, but rather devour them up for breakfast. Just like an angry pissed off infertile - can she really love a child that's not her own? Can we defy what everyone thinks is "natural?" You bet we can. 

But on to my BFP news. The plan was that A. was going to test at home this Monday, the day before our beta. This way I could enjoy my birthday and not have it ruined by bad news. Years of pain have made me a great strategist. We figured the HPT would most likely be accurate by then so there would be no stress about false negatives or positives. But the lovely sweet A. wanted to surprise me for my birthday and get an early beta. She called today with the news that Wed's beta was positive and today's beta more than doubled. I am still in shock. Can you even begin to fathom a better birthday present than this? It's still not really sinking in, but I think I might finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Stay tuned. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Four Frosties!

So I guess it's my moment to eat crow. I was wrong. Happily wrong! Out of the five embryos we had left, they were able to freeze four of them. The amazing thing is that they were even better quality than the ones we transferred. Am I in some altered universe? It is the first time ever in 3 years that we have extra embryos to work with. We are actually in excess and not shortage, for once, for once, for once. Needless to say we are thrilled and shocked. My eggs have been very lonely, losing this battle alone, but we are finally getting some reinforcements to help win the war. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Having a blast? Well, a couple...

Thank you all for cheering on my 7 embryos, we all appreciated it! Transfer was today! The first time we have ever been pushed to a 5 day transfer. So at least a new milestone was hit. Out of the 7, we only have two blasts, the rest are morulas and we'll know tomorrow if any of them make it to freeze. I am trying to resist the urge to complain, but I am feeling a bit cheated that my donor egg cycle produced so little. If these were my eggs I would be doing a jig right now, kicking up my legs in delight. But since these were suppose to be top notch young eggs, I really still can't believe our bad luck. Even when you cut me completely out of the picture we still are poor responders. Not to be a total downer but I'll put money down that we'll have none to freeze too. What the fuck is that about? I can't even begin to think that one out or else I'll once again have my fist raised toward heaven with bitterness. 

I decided that transfer day I would plant my seedlings that I have been growing all month. Maybe this is just overcompensation for the fact that I haven't played any role yet in this conception process. But I needed to get my hands dirty today. To dig into some moist earth and plant things. Even with plants you can see how some seeds are a bust and others thrive. All conception is like this. Some will keep blooming to maturity and others will die when the wind blows too hard or when there is heavy rain. So today I need to feel part of nature in the midst of this weird baby science experiment. While transplanting my seedlings into my terrace garden, I wondered if I will continue to overcompensate for my barren-hood throughout my life. Will this make me more daring, more adventurous, more of a risk taker so that I can always say to other women, "Well you might have conceived and given birth to babies, but I've climbed Mt. Everest, or I've bungee jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, or I've eaten raw snake, or I've traveled to every continent on this earth, or I've killed a wild bear with my bare hands." Just something to say back to a woman who might smugly say, "There's nothing like giving birth to a child." I know I don't have to feel insecure, but maybe this infertility, in addition to emotionally pushing me beyond myself, will also make me live life beyond myself. I am all for sucking the juices out of life and maybe this experience will really solidify that. That's my most positive side trying to really drown out my negative side who just keeps screaming, "This is all shit."

But at least mission is accomplished. The embryos are cooking up now. Since I wasn't able to go to transfer, wonderful A. texted me on my phone when it was done. It was like I ordered at a fast food restaurant, "Two blasts please, yes, and can you put that in my surrogate to-go."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

M for mature eggs - O for ovums - M for mixed feelings

It's that day again. The day that reminds me of what I have lost and what I have yet to receive. Happy Mother's Day. Once again I celebrate this day as a daughter, not a mother. I am realizing more and more that this donor egg cycle is going to hurt just as bad as the other cycles if it doesn't work. Somehow I thought it would be a little safer without the physical involvement, but I can tell already that this could really burn, just like the rest of them. 

For starters, we were hopeful of getting plenty of eggs with the 40 follicle report, but turns out we got 15 eggs, only 10 mature, and 7 fertilized. It really hit home that donor egg is no cure all. If this 26 year old makes just a little more than what I made at 37, that's just plain cruel. So will this be a continued joke or will all 7 make it to blast? I just can't help but think how much we have invested in this cycle and we could still have only a few to transfer and nothing to freeze. 

I am actually very glad that transfer did not fall on this Mother's Day. I am quite sick of the cliché days and holidays that keep giving me false reasons to believe luck is on my side. "Oh, this is a good sign," has become a laughable broken record. I transferred on Valentine's day, I've transferred on my birthday,  I've started meds on Christmas day, I've gotten betas right before anniversaries and massive family events. Just stop it -  I just want this to land on uneventful days so I stop thinking it means anything.

Tomorrow I will know the 3 day results and whether we have to transfer them to A. on Monday or Wed. Everything I thought would be easier is not. So please ladies, get the pom poms out and cheer for my 7. Peace to you all on this Mother's Day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The green-eyed monster

"O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on." 
- Iago, from Shakespeare's Othello
Othello is one of my favorite of Shakespeare's plays. It has all the juicy aspects of a good drama; love, jealousy, deceit, betrayal, manipulation, an interracial couple in the 1600s(!), and one of the greatest villains - Iago. For those who never read the play, in a nutshell, Othello the moor of Venice is married to Desdemona and has a trusted high ranking soldier named Iago. When Othello promotes a younger officer Cassio and not Iago, Iago is furious and sets a course of lies, back stabbing, and manipulation to convince Othello that Desdemona is betraying him with Cassio. Othello then kills Desdemona only to find out that he had fallen for Iago's lies. Othello doesn't kill Iago and instead leaves him to suffer the rest of his life in pain for what he has done. But as expected with Shakespearean tragedy, Othello kills himself before they can take him into custody. 

The reason I bring this all up is that I am jealous. I've been green jealous of so many things during this infertility journey. Not all the time, but it's reared it's ugly head. It's hit the range from reasonable to irrational. Here's my jealousy list:

1) I am jealous of every single woman who can get pregnant naturally.

2) I am jealous of women who got pregnant on their first IUI or  IVF.

3) I am jealous of women who didn't have an ectopic.

4) I am jealous of women who truly don't want kids. I wish I could take a pill and make this desire go away.

5) I am jealous of women who don't have to use a surrogate or donor egg.

6) I am jealous of women who got a diagnosis and were able to then fix something that was causing infertility.

7) I am jealous of women who join online buddy groups and graduate to the pregnancy boards.

8) I am jealous of my sister who had 3 kids without a blink of an eye.

9) I am jealous of my friends who can plan play dates and not blood draws and shots.

10) I am jealous of youth and fertility.

But who am I-  Othello or Iago? In many ways I see infertility as my Iago - manipulative, disloyal, and destructive. I am the proud Othello that is just a victim of this deceit. I've been part of a web of lies around me telling me IVF would work, that anything would work, and that has made me a jealous maniac. But on the other hand, part of me might be Iago. I was denied something I feel I deserve, something I expected. I am pissed that the Cassios of the world got what I wanted. I might have gotten so enraged to go on a rampage of destructive behavior to seek revenge. 

All this is to say that jealousy is pretty poisonous. The latest, but brief, bout with the green-eyed monster happened yesterday when I was told my egg donor has 40 follicles. Yes, you did not read that wrong - 40. Of course my first concern was that they are overstimulating her, but I was assured her estrogen levels are good and so they are happy with where she is. After that relief, for a very brief spell, I was jealous of my donor's youth. My 37 year old body can barely eek out 6 good eggs and this 26 year old can just pound the suckers out. If I didn't already know that my eggs were sub par, this certainly hit the nail on the head.

What can I say, I am human. I am going to have jealous thoughts. But, unlike Iago, they don't last long and I certainly don't act on them besides avoiding pregnant women. However, the tale of Othello is an eloquent reminder that the green-eyed monster will not only eat you, it will mock you. So unless I want to have a Shakespearean end, I have mastered the quick recovery from these jealous moments. Very soon after letting the 40 follicles sink in, I was quite elated. We might finally have enough eggs to make a baby.