Sunday, April 30, 2006

Up? Or Down?

I'm supposed to be working on my homework right now. I will do it. I will work on my homework, but I have to get used to sitting still and focusing. At least, that's how I'm justifying posting to myself.

I managed to be pretty distracted this weekend. The thing I'm noticing the most right now is that T and I are on opposite 'sad' schedules. I'm sad when he's not, and he's sad when I'm not. I wonder if this is just compensation. We are pretty opposite (in the way that we are good complements to each other), so maybe this is just a manifestation of that. But it's a total bummer.

I did lots of yard work and gardening this weekend. The weather was great. (Still is, actually.) I planted basil and cilantro in planters, I weeded our front garden and put down some seeds, which may or may not grow. I also planted some morning glory seeds in planters which I'm hoping will grow. I bought some clematis that I'm hoping will grow along our chain-link fence and pretty it up a little. Being outside and gardening is making me happy these days. It's somewhat ironic because I usually kill plants. But I've decided I love plants and taking care of the outside of the house, so it's a good distraction for me.

What's getting me down (and maybe T, but I can't tell for sure) is that it's getting to be my fertile time. Since we are planning to do IVF right now, getting pregnant and miscarrying would put it off for months. But there could also be a chance that I could stay pregnant and have a healthy baby by chance. I think right now it's too big of a risk for us, but it's totally in the back of my mind. But remembering how tough the last miscarriage was, I'm not sure I want to go through another one. Then again, going through all that IVF stuff and then miscarrying might be even worse. I guess I don't feel like I know what the best bet is.

Other BT couples are doing both things. But it is so hard. I've been feeling better these few days, but on some level I think I'm just fooling myself. Then again, I really don't want to be a sad person all the time. This may sound silly, but I enjoy enjoying working outside with the plants and in the garden. But I also feel like I might be fooling myself into being irrationally hopeful.

I just need to bide my time until that magic May 18 date. We'll get a whole bunch more information then. We just got our questionnaires for the first visit. Our personal lives are being recorded and placed in a file. It's really depressing to look at that form. But we're going to do what we can to get ourselves pregnant, and that's the way it is.

Hugs and luck to all those out there in their two week wait and in their first trimesters....

Friday, April 28, 2006

Hurray for Friday!

There are a couple of people out there in cyberland who just had/are having embryo transfers, and I first want to send positive vibes their way so that transfers end in pregnancies, and happiness and health to everyone.

I am very much looking forward to the weekend. I have been slacking off at home and there is laundry to do, leaves to rake, bathrooms to scrub, etc. I will be seeing my pregnant friend this evening, and I don't think I'm feeling much trepidation about it, but I think there is something in the back of my mind that feels uneasy. Because she and her husband had their own issues getting pregnant, she is very sensitive about not making me feel uncomfortable, which is good. But I also don't want to feel like she has to tiptoe around her belly, so to speak. I hope I don't act too distant or anything.

Sunday we are going to dim sum with other friends. We haven't had real Chinatown dim sum in ages and I'm very excited about it. The rest of the weekend will be devoted to cleaning, organizing and perhaps some of the dreaded biostatistics. I'm hopefull that I will feel motivated this weekend. Last weekend I could basically only sit around the house and mourn. I worry that the pattern will continue, but I really don't want it to. I want to be a happy person. I want to fix up our house nicely and not freak out about the mess if someone happens to drop by. I guess it's good to have small goals like that. We have to do something to bide our time until May 18.

Of couse, between now and then are mother's day and my birthday. I'm going to be 34. I'm trying not to think too much about that. I know 34 isn't the worse case scenario. I know there are people ttc into their 40s. I feel like if we are able to get a good quality embryo, our chances are good. But I still hate birthdays.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

6 things meme

I'm copying this idea from some of the IVF blogs I've looked at.

Six interesting (?) things about me:

1) I've never stayed at a job for more than 2 years. (Actually, I've been at my current job for 2 years and almost 3 months. A record!) I was an Office Manager (1 year), a Database Analyst (1 year), a middle school English Teacher (4 years, but at 3 different schools. 2 years at one school and 1 year at two schools), CSR (8 months while I was looking for a 'real' job), and here I am, a Clinical Research Coordinator (ongoing).

2) I think that if I had the choice to not work, I wouldn't. I never would have thought that I would say this. When I was in high school, I was sure I would be a "Working Woman." But I haven't found that job that makes me want to stay. The closest thing was when I was teaching, but that ended up being way, way too stressful for me. Maybe someday I can find a way to make that work. I still think of myself as a teacher, even though I'm not. But right now I take pleasure in cooking, cleaning, knitting, and all those other domestic activities that never interested me before (well, except for knitting. I've always liked that). But I'm concerned that if I stay home 'forever' then my brains will be 'wasted' somehow or something. I mean, if we get to the point where we have the babies, staying home with them is time well spent. But after they're big, I'll have to go do something, right?

3) I have a really good ear for music (mostly rock/pop, and a little jazz). I'm not a musician. I can't play. But I can identify most singers or musicians that I am familiar with in an instant. I just know who they are, even in contexts where they are unfamiliar. I was always really good at that thing where they play a montage of 1 second clips from different songs. I think it might be my Blink thing.

4) I never thought I would get married. I didn't really date, ever. I can count the number of boyfriends I've had in my whole life on one hand. I didn't kiss a boy until after I graduated high school. I have my list of guys I liked when I was young, but they almost never liked me back. And those that were interested in me, I was never interested in. I thank the stars and Craigslist for my one and only sweetie pie. (Yes, we really did meet through Craigslist.)

5) I miss exercising. I know I should go back to it, but I just haven't. When I was a teacher, I'd go straight from school to this cheap gym and run or go on a machine before I went home and made myself dinner and then worked until bedtime. But now we don't get home until like 6pm and with cooking and cleaning and my class and everything else, I don't know how to fit it into my schedule. But I felt better when I did it, so I have to find some way to figure it out. Maybe I can find a daytime place to work out. Sweat be damned!

6) My biggest pet peeve is when I'm eating something and someone looks at it and tells me how gross/unappealing/foul smelling it is (or says, "Eeeeewww!") I hate that.

And I'm so there with Infertile Myrtle's #6. I'm exactly the same way. And people do it in public! Like on the subway trains! Ew!!! I had a roommate once from France and he would leave his fingernail clippings on the coffee table in the living room. BARF OUT!

Thanks you all!

Thursdays are my favorite

Today is Thursday. Thursday has often been my favorite day of the week. It all started with Winnie-the-Pooh. One Thursday he wanted to go see all of his friends and say hello, but Piglet decided they needed a reason. So, being the Winnie-the-Pooh that he is, he thought they could go because it was Thursday. This makes me enjoy wishing people a Happy Thursday. I also enjoy the anticipation of the weekend. Plus, these days I get paid on Thursdays, and that is a good thing. So all in all, Thursdays are not a bad day of the week.

This Thursday started out with something that is sure to become a ritual. I went to the hospital and had some blood taken. Way back when, when I was supposed to be 8 weeks pregnant and we were supposed to have our first ultrasound, we scheduled an appointment. T wanted to be there, of course, so he took the time off from work. So, though I had miscarried, T decided to come along. And since he was there we decided to do all the miscarriage bloodwork. That was how we found out about his balanced translocation. Anyway, I gave my blood as well, but of course the lab lost it. So my chromosomes were never done. That meant that I had to go back and give more blood so they could actually look at my chromosomes this time.

I am trying very hard, and mostly succeeding, to not worry about my chromosomes. The chances of having a balanced translocation like T is somewhere between 1 in 500 and 1 in 1200. So the chance of me having something that rare also, seems pretty remote (though I think statistically it's the same. It's just much less likely that two people with some chromosomal abnormality would end up married to each other or something.) Probability is a weird thing. I should probably understand this better due to my class, but that is just taking comprehension to an entirely new level. Ok, back to the worrying that I'm not doing. I am not worried (much) about my chromosomes.

My mantra is, since I got pregnant easily, once we get viable embryos we will be able to get pregnant. I know that I am extremely lucky to have gotten pregnant so quickly and to have had this all diagnosed while we're young and there's time to go through all of this. And the fact that I got pregnant easily bodes well for this IVF implantation thing to work well for me and my uterus.

The thing to worry about is getting those embryos.

Now I'm starting to feel for what T's going to have to do in this process. That little cup. Ugh. I'd be mortified if I were him. Of course, I was in the emergency room, bleeding, with a young male med student, a nurse, a resident and an intern looking up my private parts (during the first miscarriage), so I guess that makes us somewhat even? But it just can't be easy to hand some doctor a cup of your own sperm. (Yes, yes, I'm sure he leaves it on some table in some room somewhere, but still. I mean, urine samples are icky enough.)

Crap, I was going to talk about something else. Well, back in the world of biostatistics, I got 100% on homework #4. That's a good thing. And I handed in homework #5 on time. And I went to my class this week so I don't have to watch it online this weekend.

The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend, so I will spend some time in the garden. Does anybody know anything about growing flowers from seeds? I am very new to gardening, but am loving it so far. I usually kill plants, but the ones we have in our new house are thriving, so far. And I even have a spider plant that I grew from the little babies that you can just pull off. I'm pretty proud of that. I'm trying to have a perennial garden, since low maintenance is better for me.

So things are going a bit better here at Henry Street. I didn't cry once yesterday, that hasn't happened in weeks. I have sort of teared up, but my goal is no crying all weekend.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Status Quo

While on the subway on my way home yesterday, a pregnant woman was standing in front of me, my eyes at the level of her belly (she had declined a seat), and I didn't feel like I was going to cry. Now that is progress.

Also, because I wasn't in burst-into-tears mode, I called my brothers to tell them. Of course, neither of them were home so I told my sisters-in-law. But that ordeal is over with. Everybody was being so positive, which is nice. We are very hopeful, at this point, and feeling a bit better, but it is still a loss to have to use fancy modern medicine to conceive. I am still grieving over losing the natural process of conception.

Conceiving a baby is a very intimate thing. It has now gone public. Not in the sense of this blog being posted here for everyone to see, but in that the process of creating this life now has to involve poking and prodding by professionals. I don't know much about the IVF process as of yet, but we have to go see doctors, I have to have ultrasounds to see when they're ready to extract the eggs, then there is the actual extraction procedure. Then comes the fertilization which is done in a test tube in a sterile environment. Then they have to grow in the lab. Then they take one cell and look a the chromosomes and find if any of the embryos have normal ones. Then there is a procedure to put 2 or 3 embryos into my uterus. Then there are more ultrasounds to see how implantation and growth are going. There will be several people in the room for most of these procedures.

Now, if I end up pregnant and we have a baby, this whole thing will be competely, utterly and totally worth it. We will be lucky. I am not denying that. I am happy that right now I feel like there is a chance that this can go just like I described above. However, having to do it this way is still a loss for us. This is a new idea. We just learned this about 2 weeks ago. It's an adjustment. And though it feels like we will have a baby at the end of all of this, I am still sad that the "normal" process of doing this is lost.

So I'm hoping to start thinking about other stuff sometime soon. Which, unfortunately, includes biostatistics. But I'm going to do it, damnit, and then it will be done. Then I can work in the garden, sew some curtains for the house, finish the shrug I am knitting and do more stuff I like to do.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Not so bad

With the help of my friend and an email to the TA of the class, I have officially completed my homework. I cannot tell you what a relief that is. I am completely indebted to my friend without whom this completion of homework would not be possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now all I have left is one more homework and the final. Oy.

So, I got a call from the genetic counselor. She sent T's genetic information to a doctor in New York who calculates reproductive risk for patients with balanced translocation. Dr. Trunca calculated that if we got pregnant the old-fashioned way, each time I got pregnant I would carry a 50% risk of having a miscarriage. If I didn't miscarry, the chances of us having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality would be 2-10% (Incidentally, these numbers are all completely related to all the crap I'm complaining about learning in class.)

All things considered, I'm not freaking out about this news. T and I were preparing for the worst, and we were expecting a number upwards of an 80% chance of miscarrying. So 50%, though not something to do a dance over, is a respectable number. It gives a chance for IVF with PGD to work. It makes it seem worth trying. But now we have to wait until May 18th for our appointment with the IVF clinic to get more answers.

Finishing my homework and getting these numbers have considerably reduced my stress for the time being. Thank god, because poor T had to deal with miserable me all the time.

I can actually cook dinner tonight! Yum! I think we're going to have Thai coconut chicken with string beans and bamboo shoots. And the Red Sox are playing the Cleveland Indians, so we can eat, watch the game, and mimic some sort of normalcy for the evening.

Biostats got my goat

This class is kicking my ass. I just don't understand how to do my current homework assignment. I went to a tutoring session which basically explained how to do the homework. I took notes. I went home and tried to do it on my own, and I only could finish one part. I really, really don't understand this class and I just don't have the where-with-all to sit down and take the time to try to figure it out. My ability to concentrate is completely compromised. I feel like a complete failure.

I have a friend who is helping me out to try and figure this stuff out. She is helping me a bit, but of course she is pregnant, and being around pregnant people is very difficult for me right now. That being said, I am very happy for her and her husband. They had their own set of problems with fertility and it is no small thing that they were successful and will have a baby soon. So it is a good thing, and I'm actually excited for them and for the arrival of their baby. It's still just hard. They had troubles, but ultimately didn't need any ART (assisted reproductive therapy). My point is, it is difficult for my help to help me.

My stats book becons. I'm hoping that a point to a specific subchapter plus the spreadsheet that my friend sent me will lead me in the right direction.

Work? What work?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Daily coping

So, today is Monday and I'm back at work. T is very busy at work with multiple meetings, a busy office and basically no free time. My job, however, is much more flexible. I basically work alone. I have few people around me and as long as I get my work done, nobody hassles me to do anything. This is usually a benefit. Sometimes I do get lonely, but that is pretty much the only downside to my working situation. But now it gives me time to obsess. I can read things on the web and search out statistics and see what other people have to say about being in a similar situation.

I would say that right now my stress level feels very high. I am very anxious. One thing that is exacerbating my stress level is the fact that I am taking a night class. I am in clinical research, and back in.... oh, let's say October... I thought it would be interesting if I took biostatistics to see the math behind the research studies I help coordinate. Though I was not a math major (or anything even close, really) I had always been good at math. A friend of my received her Master's in Public Health and seemed to get through the class without problems (though she was a bio major in college). It had been a little slow at work, and I thought it would be a nice challenge for me. Plus, work would pay for most of it if I got at least a B-. So in December I signed up for Intro to Biostatistics and off I went. I was excited.

Then I got pregnant. And I thought, okay, well I can go to class pregnant. Then I miscarried. Then I got pregnant again, and I thought, okay well I'll barely be out of my first trimester by the time I'm done. Then I miscarried again. Then I was too sad to go to class. Luckily, there is a distance option in this class and I could watch the lectures from the comfort of our own home. And I could email my homework to turn it in. Perfect. Then there was our diagnosis. Balanced Translocation. Infertile. I didn't want to go to class anymore.

In fact, I'm finding it difficult to focus on anything at all aside from getting through the day. I don't want to take a class anymore. I have more important things going on with my life. But there's nothing I can do about it. And there's no way to get my money back if I just stop doing the work. Plus, I have never failed a class in my life. I can remember getting to C's on my reportcards, ever. Once in high school (trig) and once in college (Anthropology. I never understood that one.) But I'm just not capable of 'letting it go' and 'forgetting about it.' I worry. I stress.

T and I decided that the class really isn't that important. My sanity is definitely more important. But how am I supposed to just let it go? I don't know.

I was thinking of joining some sort of infertility support group or something to get a little help. I heard Resolve was really good and I joined that. But I joined the national group and not my local one. The IVF clinic has a few groups, but they're a little 'touchy-feely' for my taste. So maybe I should persue a regular couples therapy counselor. I was just hoping to meet with someone who's had some experience dealing with infertility. It's kind of different, I think.

So that process is ongoing. I should start up with some yoga. Of couse, I only have the pregnancy yoga DVD that I bought while I was pregnant. Hurrah.

I almost feel like it's AA. One day at a time. Maybe we should go to an addiction counselor.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Why was I told to create a blog? There are several reasons. First is, I generally have a lot to say. I'm usually talking and spewing opinions, so I suppose folks thought that a good outlet was to write them down instead. Secondly, I sometimes have have a bit of free time during the day, and it was thought that writing in here would be a productive way to spend that time.

Those reasons, however, did not compel me to start this blog.

I was married a few months ago. I never thought I would get married because I never met a man that I liked much who liked me back. But then I met my husband, T, and we are very happy together.

We are ready to start a family and started trying right away. Happily, we got pregnant immediately. At about 5 weeks, the pregnancy ended. I had miscarried. I have friends who miscarried, and I knew it was common, so we weren't discouraged and knew we would try again soon. We were encouraged by the fact that we got pregnant so easily.

The next month, we were pregnant again. We didn't even intend to get pregnant that month. It just sort of happened. We were delighted. The 5 week mark passed and I was definitely feeling the effects of pregnancy. At about 7 weeks, the pregnancy ended. Again, we had friends who had several miscarriages, so we weren't completely hopeless, though it was much more difficult to deal with this time. I had felt good and we were excited, so it was disappointing to have lost that pregnancy. We felt ready for a baby and we thought we had got through the difficulties. With some tears and encouragement from our doctor, we were told there was no reason we couldn't get pregnant again soon. As a precaution, we had blood taken for tests that would rule us out for any serious complications that caused multiple miscarriages.

It turns out, that T had a chromosomal abnormality. It's called a balanced translocation. That means that one part of one chromosome switched places with one part of another chromosome. Because all of his chromosomal information is there, there was no way to know that anything was not right with his chromosomes. In his daily life, it has no consequence.

Unfortunately, what that does mean is that the odds of having a normal pregnancy is low.

So now we are battling infertility. We have the possibility of conceiving through IVF with PGD, which I may explain in more detail later. But we have an appointment with an IVF clinic in one month and are now grieving our ability to have a child without assistance, and perhaps have a child at all. It is unclear at this time what our chances are.

So I decided it might be cathartic to use this blog as a journal of sorts. I can talk about our journey, and perhaps learn how to deal with this emotional toll.

I know there are tons of people out there battling with infertility. There are also resources on the web. But I haven't found too many places where people just talk about all the complex feelings that go along with finding out you are infertile. It's a huge blow. Now, I know that we have a chance to have our own baby using our own genetic information, but I don't know what those chances are at this time. Some people will never be able to do that and have happy families via sperm or egg donation or adoption. I know that all of this is possible and can have a happy ending. It is just very difficult to not know exactly what is going on and to adjust to the reality of how our family will be created.

While the wonders of science make all of these things possible, and that is great, there is no denying the complexity of all of these choices and how much more difficult it is to organize and go through them than it is to do it the "old fashioned way."

It's a roller coaster ride. Sometimes we're okay and sometimes we're not.

So here we go....

Welcome to Henry Street

I was told I should create a blog, so I did. I had to create a first post, so this is it. I'm not going to type anything of consequence yet. The Red Sox just scored again. At least that's something. We needed to win this game today.