Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where we are now

DH and I had been planning to ride the "not trying but not preventing" wave as far as our tolerance would let us, but the chemical pregnancy ground that to a screeching halt. For me it did, at least; DH is decidedly less concerned with TTC than I am this time around. I know my ovulation signs like the back of my hand (hey, where did that mole come from? hardy har har), and I have made myself much more aware of the timing.

I think I delayed emotionally processing the chemical pregnancy because I thought we could do it again the next cycle.

But we didn't.

And although it's only a few cycles into this journey, it feels like we are on month 25 of the pregnancy quest instead of month 3. It's like muscle memory for my mind... infertility was quietly biding its time, waiting for me to easily slip back into the old rollercoaster of hope and disappointment.

I know plenty of lucky couples who have not had any trouble conceiving subsequent babes after a tangle with the old IF the first time around. I have not read any formal studies, but in my experience in the community, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it happens that way more often than not. But I also know that there are scads and scads of women who have to jump through equal, if not greater, hoops to continue to grow their family. I don't know where we'll fall on that spectrum, obviously. I could certainly turn up pregnant in three weeks, and I'm not sure what would become of this blog. (What a great problem to have!)

The subtitle of this blog is "Achieving baby, the hard way. Again." That may be a bit premature, as we haven't seen an RE since our discharge to the OB with Bean. Because we have moved, we have to select a new clinic, meet with a new doc, review history, get an opinion, formulate a plan, etc. We also have new insurance to understand -- equivalent to our old one, we think, but unfamiliar in that specific coverage. On top of that, we live a good bit of distance from the clinic I intend to use (or any clinic, for that matter), we have a munchkin and no convenient babysitter for the frequent trips required, we are minus one salary for the costly treatments, and we have no local support system should the outcome result in a multiple pregnancy/birth. For now, vitamins and cheap wine will be our chosen protocol. But even so, I still think of this as trying "the hard way."

Because for some of us, doing it on our own is the hard way.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The chemical

It was Christmas Eve, and DH and I were out running errands with the Bean in tow.

"I'd like to stop by the dollar store and grab a home pregnancy test, just so I can be certain I'm not pregnant and stop thinking about it." I shifted in the passenger's seat.

DH whipped his head to face me. "Do you think you might be?" We hadn't been trying exactly, but we hadn't prevented since Bean was born.

"Well, no," I answered slowly. I didn't. Right? "Actually, let's not go. It will just be a waste of money."

"Oh, we're going!" he announced, leaving no room for argument.

And we went.

At home, there didn't seem to be a second line in the result window. Or was there? Upon close inspection, we could see a faint pink line. I rushed to the Internet to google "evap lines on HPTs." Evaporation lines, which are false positives of sort, are always gray.

Not pink.

We were pregnant.

Disbelief. Elation.

The next day, the line was still faint. I was nervous.

"I don't think it's going to stick," I told DH. "The line should be darker."

He was optimistic and thrilled. "Accept it, you're pregnant. Be happy!"

Meanwhile, I was feeling pregnancy symptoms. I had to pee constantly. My milk supply was definitely affected, Bean didn't want to nurse. DH was certain it was a girl, he nicknamed her Sugar Plum. Christmas Eve and all.

But the lines were still faint.

And then, a couple of days later, there were none.

Shock. Devastation.

AF came.

It was over as quickly as it had begun.

A chemical pregnancy is when the egg gets fertilized and the embryo implants, thus triggering the brief span of BFPs. But the baby doesn't grow, and AF comes a few days later, usually extra heavy.

I try to focus on the positives. I got pregnant -- sort of -- on my own. Hooray! We weren't able to do that in almost two years of trying last time. But my body couldn't carry the baby. Which then prompted a memory from summer 2007 when we had our first pregnancy ultrasound with the RE. He saw two embryos on the screen, but only one (Bean of course) was viable. The other had implanted but not grown. "It's very common," he remarked casually. I gulped and nodded, thinking about Bean's almost twin. It wasn't something I dwelled on, but of course I will never forget.

Now after having the chemical pregnancy, I think of it differently. That lost embryo also would have been a chemical, had Bean not gotten cozy in there. So that means my track record includes one live baby, and two early miscarriages.

One step forward, two steps back.

Ain't that infertility for you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Compartmentalizing, or Welcome to my Uterus

When we were TTC the first time, I had a couple of false starts in the blogosphere. I would post and delete... post and delete. I just couldn't find my voice, and in the end I walked through IF quietly with DH and a very small group friends, mostly online. And then, miraculously, we got pregnant. When we were (relatively) safe in the second trimester, I started my first blog to keep in touch with friends and family as we moved across the country with our baking Bean.

However, even as I enjoy every blessed day with my one-year-old son, infertility still colors who I am and casts doubt on the future size of my family. I struggled with whether or not to write about IF, and if so, where to do it. It doesn't seem to have a place on my other blog -- one where I focus on the joys and challenges of motherhood. My friends and family want to see pictures of my darling boy, not hear about how pissed I am that I haven't ovulated yet.

I finally decided to take the leap and start a new blog, the birth of Secrets of an Infertile Mom. This one will be an aside to Sunny in Seattle, a place where I can bitch about the IF curse and post updates on the status of Infertility, Part Deux. Unlike the first time, I now have the comfort and distraction of the sweetest little munchkin, who makes me grateful for each day we have together. It is important to me that my IF does not affect my ability to parent him... well, as much as possible.

So just as I endeavor to compartmentalize my IF fear and disappointment in my daily life, allowing myself to feel without losing myself completely, I plan to dump into this blog and leave it here. I hope it's cleansing for me. And for my IRL friends who didn't know about my struggle the first time, it's a window into that secret part of my life. Several of you expressed regret that I didn't open up so you could have the opportunity to support me, and that means more to me than I can say. I have no expectations, but if you want to join me, I'd love to have you.

Thanks for reading.