Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy belated 100th...

I can't believe it because I'm usually very nerdy about these things, but I somehow missed the fact that my last post "The Sidewalk Studio" was my 100th blog post!!! Go me.  (taking a bow)

When I started this blog, Piglet had already arrived, so our rollercoaster ride to becoming parents didn't get the recognition it actually deserved.  So in honor of my 100th post, I am taking a trip down memory lane and I'm dragging you all there with me.  After all, in about six weeks we'll be revisiting this lovely street again and you all need to get hip to the lingo so you can know what the heck I'm talking about when I say "my follies are growing" or "we transfer today." Ready?  Here goes.

Back in '98 after I graduated from college, I had surgery to remove two extremely large ovarian cysts.  The OBGYN said it "probably" wouldn't affect my ability to have kids.  I didn't believe her. I was right not to.  Fast forward to early 2003 when Dh and I just started trying to have a baby.  I knew it wasn't going to happen fast and I somehow knew it wasn't going to be easy either.  After six months, some preliminary tests and a trip to Italy involving many bottles of wine and "not thinking about it" and still no pregnancy (I was not surprised), I decided to break up with my doctor and be aggressive (say it with me and wave those pompons- BE AGGRESSIVE!  BE, BE AGGRESSIVE!)  

Enter Dr. B.  I called a well-known local fertility practice to set-up a consult and was told after she did what I assume was akin to spinning the wheel thing on The Price is Right "Okay!  You get...Dr. B!"  Total jackpot.  Dr. B is dreamy.  There is no other way of putting it.  He's kind and funny, has very blue eyes and is a sharp dresser. Clearly all important qualities. The man is also a genius with degrees from Johns Hopkins, Cornell and Georgetown.  After our initial consult, I knew immediately that he was the right RE (reproductive endocrinologist) for me.  Dr. B.'s general philosophy about treatment (get 'er dun) combined with his overall dreaminess made our process the best that it could be, given that IF (infertility) basically SUCKS.  Oh and did I mention the blue eyes?  Just gravy, I tell you.

We set on the classic IF initial course of Clomid + IUI (intrauterine insemination, but you can forget that term as soon as you read it because as you know it didn't work for us, we needed the big guns).  I braced myself for the crazy that Clomid can bring but the crazy never came.  Snort.  That's because I was saving all the crazy for LATER, silly!  (slap forehead)  After my first round of Clomid showed that only my cyst grew - oh yes, it was back, did I already mention that?  Pesky little bugger.  Anyway, Dr. B decided to aspirate the cyst.  I'll spare you the details but here are the key players in any aspiration - 17 gauge needle, internal u/s (ultrasound) and me gripping dh's hand until he squealed like a schoolgirl.  Two rounds of Clomid/IUI, one aspiration and still no pregnancy meant only one thing - more surgery.  Damn.  

After surgery and a grueling recovery, Dr. B came to visit me in the hospital (he was dreamy, I was not.  I still cannot believe he saw me like that).  I remember so clearly him saying
"You know, your odds of getting pregnant with IVF (in-vitro fertilization) are close to 70%.  I say we skip the injectibles (another term you can throw away) and go straight to IVF." 

Dh and I agreed and two months later I greeted the FedEx man with a signature and he handed me a huge box filled with vials, shot pens and syringes.  I remember being so excited, rifling through the box like it had come from Banana Republic and not the fertility pharmacy.  My sister was there too and she said "Wow.  Those are big mother needles."  "Yes, to make me a big mother!" I replied happily.  

Six weeks later we got our first BFN (big fat negative). We had no embryos left to freeze, so that was it.  I was devastated.  I somehow knew we weren't going to be one of the lucky ones who had it work for them the first time around, but it still stung.  I remember one of my friends saying "well you said it would probably take three tries, so you still have two more to go."  Ouch. We bided our time and prepared for our next cycle.  As with the first IVF, I pulled out all the stops - acupuncture, meditation, prayer, guided imagery and I added hypnotherapy just for good measure.  Two months passed and once again I greeted the FedEx man with my signature and took possession of my big box of drugs.  I prepared my injection area in the guest room - alcohol swabs, gauze, band-aids, all the medications placed in labeled jewel-tone boxes from The Container Store (OCD in full swing there) and my IVF calendar taped to the wall.  Annie, get your gun.  I was ready.

I've always been the type of person who's done better once I know what to expect.  I am a visionary, so I visualize everything before it happens then I try to make reality happen as close to my vision as possible. (Sidenote: Piglet's first birthday party is a good example of this.  I visualized that sweets table as I gathered all the components - the table runner and glass jars, the Happy Birthday sign, etc.  It's just the way I work.)  

This held true for my second IVF cycle.  I knew what to expect.  I knew how it was supposed to go and I visualized that every step of the way.  When things veered a little off course, I just held tight to my ultimate vision which was to see two lines on that damn HPT (home pregnancy test).  I was in a very good place my second cycle.  A friend said "so you feel confident it's going to work?"  And I kept saying not so much confident as just content.  Content with the process.  I felt fortunate to have the two months of limbo behind me and be working toward my goal again.  Happy to feel productive.  

(One of these embryos eventually came home to roost and became our Piglet!)

And we finally got our happy ending. Eighteen grueling, emotional, expensive months after our journey began, I was finally pregnant!!!   All the shots, tears, days and nights of wondering were over.  And we were so, so, so lucky.  I remind myself of this every day.  We are so lucky it worked and we now have our darling boy.  Our darling boy who challenges us, forced me to buy eye cream for "dark circles" for the first time ever, our boy who fills our hearts with unparalleled joy.  

Now as we prepare for our third IVF cycle, I can honestly say that I'm excited.  Excited to have another consult with dreamy Dr. B, to greet the FedEx man with my signature, to see my friend and acupuncturist weekly again.  I can't wait to get started and see where the road takes us this time.  

Hm.  I just realized that because I condensed my IVF journeys, I didn't give you all the terminology that I said I would.  You still might not know what I'm talking about when I say "my follies are growing."  Oh well, you can join me on the journey and I'll teach you along the way.  Come on, it'll be F U N.  


Megan said...

SO beautifully written! Thanks for sharing this incredible journey. As the mama of a clomid baby, I can imagine the stress and heartache that comes with further IF territory. Your in my prayers as you continue on your path to joy #2 (and maybe 3?!)

enail5 said...

Hoping for less of a roller coaster ride and more of a nice stroll for you guys this time.

Ang said...

Great post, Vu. Looking forward to reading about the journey this time around. :)

Caroline said...

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I'll be following your journey too! You have a beautiful family and Piglet is too cute!

Marketing Mama said...

Congrats on your 100th blog post and thanks for sharing your story. I wish you many blessings on this journey. :)

Cameron said...

Congrats on post #100! Thanks so much for writing this post, it's a really great story (since it has a happy ending!!). :)