The Storm

I’m happy to say that my hysteroscopy is in the books. Done, done, and done. And lo! I’m still alive!

The night before, I received a call from my doctor’s office that there had been a cancellation. It is the hospital’s policy that all surgeries move up accordingly. So instead of a 9:00 hysteroscopy, I was moved up to 7:40. I successfully avoided panic.

I will admit there was a part of me that believed that this might be my last day on earth. So I tried to enjoy life a little on Thursday. I went to my favorite place for lunch, ordered cake and a latte. For dinner, I ate my favorite kale salad and watched “Scandal.” I sneaked a note into Mr. O’s sock drawer just telling him how much I love him. You know… just in case I DIED. (I’ve officially accepted that I am crazy. For now, anyway.)

The next morning went really well. Since it was so early, the traffic was non existent. We got the hospital in plenty of time. This place is like the freakin’ Taj Mahal of hospitals. When they took our name, we got a beeper (like what you get at Olive Garden.) It buzzed, we were escorted upstairs to the pre-op room. On the way, Mr. O was informed that there were many things to keep him entertained while he waited for me, including an onsite gym. (REALLY? Yes, really.)

Mr. O was stellar. He helped keep me calm and made me laugh. I had a momentary freak out when they put the hospital gown on the bed- it had the same pattern of the ones my mom has been wearing in the ICU for the last 10 months. I took a deep breath, and put it on.

All the nurses were wonderful. They introduced themselves to me and Mr. O and explained the role that they’d play during the procedure. My anesthesiologist was awesome- she explained everything that would happen during the procedure.

Finally, Dr. Petrel arrived. Have I mentioned that she reminds me of my mom, if my mom were a straight-talking RE? I just felt so much more relaxed once she was there. Petrel also explained the procedure, how I’d feel afterwards, and when our post op appointment would be.

The last thing I remembered was moving myself onto the operating table in the OR. And then I woke up. The rest of day was a bit of a blur. I don’t remember talking with Dr. Petrel, but she apparently called Mr. O and explained what happened. There were not one, not two, but THREE polyps up in there. She removed them all and thinks that my uterus looks beautiful. “We are setting the stage nicely,” she told Mr. O.

Once at home, I drifted in and out of sleep for most of the morning. I was still in some pain and experiencing some light bleeding. My appetite was low. Mr. O took excellent care of me, making lunch and dinner, and running to the store for Tylenol.

I committed myself to bed for the rest of the day. Since I knew I’d be immobile, I set myself up with The Roosevelts. What better way to recuperate than with the help of a Ken Burns documentary?! #nerdalert

This is honestly a terrific documentary. It’s a bit more “History Channel” than most of Burns’ documentaries, but the subjects are totally fascinating. Like normal human beings, they faced a shit ton of obstacles. How they survived and overcame them is also what made them.  As you probably know, FDR had polio which he struggled with for the remainder of his life. A nurse once told him Polio was the storm, and he was what remained.

Maybe it was all the drugs or my overall heighten emotional state, but that’s how I think IF is. I don’t believe in the adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Nope, sometimes what doesn’t kill you can gut you. IF is the storm. It sucks. It will leave a mark– has left its mark on me. But at the end of this something will remain. I have to work on what that something is.

Now, I don’t think that this will make me president. In fact, I would settle for a totally benign life at this point. Please, bless me with a sleepy life with my darling little family. Leave all that trial by fire shit for something else, will you?

But then I remember that I’m already here. In the middle of the storm. The only way out is through.

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Open Question about Acupuncture

(BTW, a huge thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. It was a gnarly one, and you all provided such incredible support. So incredible that I haven’t stopped thinking about some of your comments for days, and will be posting on some of that shortly. In the meantime, I have a question for the class.)

Acupuncture.

I’ve never done this before. Given my new found aversion to medical procedures, I’m interested in exploring complementary alternatives. Of course, I’m interested in specifics around infertility, but also just general experience with this form of treatment.

So any ladies (or gentlemen, though I recognize this is likely a lower percentage of my audience)… What’s the good, bad, or ugly on acupuncture?

The Perils of Letting Go

(Warning: This is kind of heavy. But then again, you’re reading an infertility blog. Were you expecting sunshine and rainbows?)

After a few month hiatus (brought to you by the letter “I” for Incompetence Insurance,) I’m back to seeing Dr. Macaw, my therapist. The timing could not be better, really. After my non-emotional tubing incident a few weeks back, I could tell that something wasn’t right. Luckily, Macaw has finally got Incompetence to accept her claims, though comically they keep sending her payments to a different address. Baby steps, my friends.

At last week’s session, I brought her up to speed on what has happened in the past few months. Mom is still in the hospital. I’m still infertile, though now at least I have some plan of attack. And yet I feel more detached from my life than before.

I started talking about my upcoming hysteroscopy. To be 100% open and honest, this scares the crap out of me. More than anything I’ve done in my entire life. This is not normal for me- I’m pretty fearless. If something scares me, that only gives me more reason to do it. Screw comfort zones!

I’ve been thinking about it since my appointment was scheduled last week. I didn’t used to be afraid of medical stuff. Why now?

“Because you think you’re going to die.”

The moment Dr. Macaw said it, I burst into tears because I knew it is true. I have never ever been afraid of dying– whenever that thought popped in my head, I would feel okay with it because I knew all the people I love know how much I love them. I could go out as long as I had that covered. I didn’t recognize this fear because frankly I’ve never felt it before.

I get that my fear is a smidge irrational. The risks from a hysteroscopy are so low. I’m having this done by a doctor I trust at a well-respected hospital in what is arguably the medical capital of the country.

But I cried anyway because it hit a nerve. As we talked more, it came up again and again. I can’t plan anything anymore. I don’t want to move on with my life. Get this, I’ve saved up more than enough for a down payment, but I have no desire to buy a house. I’ll drive by lovely homes that I could afford, and think “That’s nice… for other people.”

I know you all don’t know me that well, but trust me when I say that this is WEIRD. Not just the house thing, but all of it. I’m a planner! I make responsible life choices! Now I’m seriously entertaining getting a tattoo and picking up smoking again. Because who cares?

If I start working backwards, I can find the origins. I pull on the thread, following it back to November of last year. My mom went in for a routine test, woke up two months later. She has spent 10 months of her life in a hospital bed. My greatest hope for her is that she can get checked out by the end of the year, and into rehab. Not home, but into a rehab center. I dare not think much beyond that.

IF teaches us that nothing is certain. But right now LIFE seems to be telling me that all plans are for suckers.

So how do I let go without losing myself?

Back in the Saddle

First of all, thanks to all for understanding my hiatus. And for welcoming me back to the fold. It’s truly astounding how warm and loving a set of perfect strangers can be. Way to go, humanity!

And now that I’m back, I will regale you with tales of my RE appointment.

On Monday, I had my first visit with Dr. Petrel since our initial consultation. All of our tests are in, and the results are decidedly weird.

  1. My FSH levels are elevated, but my AMH levels are awesome.
  2. Mr. O’s genetic results are in the clear, but because the practice shifted to a different lab, not all requested tests were actually performed. Basically, they tested 94% of them.
  3. I may or may not have polyps. I had the sonohysterogram done at a different office, and they didn’t let me see the pictures they took of my uterus. Reviewing them with Dr. Petrel, she thinks it could be polyps– or mucus. Yummy.

Therefore, here is our plan of attack for this cycle.

  1. More tests. Dr. Petrel suggested that I get my FSH tested again, since my levels were more consistent with a Day 4 or 5 result. Maybe we got the timing off? She also suggested getting the genetic tests that were left out of Mr. O’s labs, and Fragile X. There may be a connection between my elevated FSH and Fragile X. So let’s just know for sure.
  2. Hysteroscopy. In the next two weeks, she wants to take a peek at my uterus with a telescope. After she gets in there and determines my polyp-y status, she’ll either give me the all clear or remove those suckers. It should take one day, and I should be back at work the next.

Through some miracle, I have not freaked out about any of this. Okay, not through some miracle… Through the calm, rational care provided by Dr. Petrel, I am not freaked out about any of this. The truth is that if this were going to be an easy process for me, I wouldn’t be going to an RE in the first place. Her office exists to help couples like me and Mr. O. If I do test positive for Fragile X, we would just have a different set of choices to make. She walked us through what some of those choices might be. By the time I left, I practically wanted to hug her. #bestdoctorever

And as I wait for those genetic tests to come back, a whole new two week wait begins…

IF Break

When Mr. O and I found out we’d be spending this cycle getting tests done, we decided to take a break from active baby-making. It seemed like a good idea to live like normal people for a few weeks before we jump into whatever medical circus awaits us.

Here’s why.

Back on Labor Day weekend, I was at a friend’s cabin on a lake. It was beautiful, warm, sunny. And I didn’t notice. I floated in and out of conversations, read magazines cover to cover but couldn’t tell you what they were about. On the last day, I was cajoled into going tubing– where one holds on for dear life while one is dragged behind a speed boat. I distinctly remember thinking “I should be having fun right now.” Not “Motherfucker! This is fun!” Not “Holy beejezus, I think I’m going to die!”

“I should be having fun right now.”

That’s how I knew something was off. I normally love that kind of stuff. But it felt more like a duty I had to perform in order to prevent everyone from asking what was wrong. In short, I was not myself and I was doing a marginal imitation.

As I’m sure you’ve all felt at one time or another, I’m tired of being infertile. Not just because I would like to have a baby, but I’d really like to stop googling, reading articles, charting every weird little secretion. After two years of this, I’m ready to think about other things.

So I decided to act like I’m not infertile for this cycle. I stopped obsessively charting my symptoms. I gave up on the trove of vitamins I normally take. I drank alcohol, once even to excess! I also took a break from blogging. (Sorry to anyone who missed me, but it was necessary.)

With my free time, I went out with friends. I watched TV without secretly thinking about fertility protocols the whole time. I read. I made massive batches of tomato soup. I doubled down on my half marathon training. Just in time, I started coaching again. Though I still feel a little bit like a zombie, but at least I recognize that I’m feeling like a zombie. That seems like progress some how.

CD1 has come. And with my RE appointment today, I’m about to dive back in. Ready or not, here I come.