The Eternal Guest Room

Infertility kinda sucks.

born

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My babies were born on August 1.

It feels so surreal to write that. None of it feels real.

But they are very real – my perfect, beautiful babies. Two of them! I still can’t believe it, and I don’t know if I ever will.

I worried the whole way through, but it turned out to be a waste of time. They were born at 37 weeks exactly – 6lb 10oz and 7lb 1 oz. They had no complications, no health problems, nothing – they were born, came to our room with us right away, went straight home with us as soon as I was ready to leave the hospital.

I’ve been meaning to post for the longest time. In short, I’ve been super busy. In reality, I wasn’t sure what to say. What do you say after five and a half years? What is there to say? There are times in life when you realize how inadequate words are. I know I’ll never have the perfect thing to say.

I know how lucky I am. How fortunate. How blessed. However you want to say it. I only had to do one round of IVF. I got 2 babies. Both babies made it – to 37 weeks, at normal baby size. What more could I ask for?

I still feel guilty. It came so easily, really. Despite the worries, my fears, and the possibilities. How did I get so lucky? I’ll never know.

But I know what I’ve been given. It isn’t easy, for sure – having twins is as hard as everyone said it would be, and even harder than I could have imagined – but they bring happy tears to my eyes all the time, and I know.

an overdue update

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It has been a long time since I’ve written here. My main excuses are being busy and tired, but those are both lame excuses and I shouldn’t really use them.

I have a lot of mixed emotions these days. It sort of makes it harder to write about; I can’t really put my finger on exactly what I want to say, and as as result, I just don’t write much. I’ve started to, but then I hit a wall and give up. It’s easier these days to stick with the surface stuff.

The most important things are: the babies are doing good. We’re at 29 weeks (and 2 days) and both babies are healthy, active, and growing at the right rate. We had a scare around 19 weeks when we discovered that the fluid levels were unbalanced, and the doctor freaked us out by mentioning the possibility of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). I was terrified. I just knew everything had to be too good to be true.

But now we’re “stable” and the threat has passed. The babies are the right size – and, maybe more importantly, the same size – and if things started to go bad, they could be taken out and taken care of and have an excellent chance of being a-okay. Obviously we want them to bake for a little longer, but the darkest outcomes have been taken off the table.

Not that something still can’t go wrong – and of course I think about that every day – but our chances of bringing home 2 healthy babies are pretty good, and we’ll take that hope and grab on to it.

transitioning

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I’m going to continue posting on this blog, but I don’t want to post straight-up pregnancy updates here. So we’re moving those to our other blog, which we created awhile ago in hopes that it would eventually lead to that. Be warned that it’s very picture-heavy.

If you want to follow us there, the address is “d and s dot com” – but with our names instead of initials (and no spaces, and no quotation marks of course). And remember that D’s name is spelled uniquely and my name with an IE at the end. If that doesn’t help, you can find our names in the comments pretty frequently, or you can email me at eternalguestroom@gmail.com and I’ll be glad to share. I don’t want to post it here outright because of the same reason we stopped using our full names – work/client reasons.

I’m definitely not leaving this blog; I still have more to say. But I want to post pregnancy news elsewhere, so that’s where it will be for anyone who wants to see it.

moving forward, starting to believe

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We didn’t quite hit five years, but we came close to it.

It wasn’t easy – in fact it felt like it was going to just about kill me at times – but we’re finally moving forward.

Our 12 week appointment this afternoon showed two healthy, active babies. They moved their limbs and flipped themselves around. One of the babies kicked the other one in the head (totally safe, the sonographer said). The sonogram lasted 45 minutes and I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time.

While the infertile feeling remains, I feel like I can start to move ahead. We passed the scary first trimester. Things are looking good.

We have a long way to go still, but I’m enjoying every moment.

Things are good.

in between

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I’ve had a few people ask me when I’m going to post again. My answer has been “I don’t know; I guess when I have something to say.”

The truth is, I’m not really sure what to say here. I feel like I’m in a weird sort of “in between” place at the moment. I’m where I want to be – pregnant – but I haven’t really left the other side yet. I’m afraid to post anything here that can be read as negative or complaining because I feel like people are likely to think that I should just shut up and be happy to be here. And I really, truly, incredibly am – but it’s not always easy all the time.

I’m really happy. Excited. Thrilled. But the fear hasn’t left and the infertile feeling lingers.

Several weeks ago I got to attend my first “pregnant after infertility” support group meeting. And after looking forward to it for such a long time, I hated it. I felt like everyone had already moved on; meanwhile, the reality of the struggle and the pain was still so fresh and raw for me. I actually thought I was going to cry. And I felt so guilty for feeling that way – I should be 100% happy.

But I’ve been infertile for a lot longer than I’ve been pregnant, and it’s not like a switch just flips and I can forget the last 5 years. They’re such a part of me and they always will be. I’ll never forget what it took me to get here.

So for now I’m kind of in between. I don’t feel confident enough to consider myself part of the pregnant group yet. I’ve left the infertile group physically, but not totally mentally, and definitely not emotionally all the way. I don’t know what I want to do with this blog yet. I don’t want it to become just a pregnancy blog (though I have no problem with others doing that; it’s just not for me) but I don’t want to abandon it, either.

Right now I guess it’s just kind of waiting, like I am.

My next appointment is Monday. We’re meeting with the perinatologist (high-risk doctor). The last 3+ weeks have been the longest of my life; I know I say that every time, but each wait feels longer. I’m so anxious to get there and make sure everything is ok. I think it’ll be easier to breathe after that.

And for those of you that want updates – I’m 12 weeks today. I still can’t believe it. Hopefully Monday will make it easier.

good news

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We got to see the babies today (babies!). Both are measuring right on track at 9 weeks and both have good heartbeats. We got to hear the heartbeats this time too – it was incredible. I had tears in my eyes.

After the sonogram, we went into an exam room to wait for the doctor. I couldn’t stop smiling, looking at those pictures. When she came in, she was all excited, and said “she saw the dividing membrane!”

Hooray!

I honestly wasn’t spending too much time worrying after asking around, but it’s such a huge relief to know it’s there!

I had to ask what our chances were at this point – the risk of miscarriage is less than 5% now, and the additional twin risks don’t kick in this early. So for now I can breathe and enjoy it and know that there’s a really good chance we’re going to have babies. Identical twins. Whoa.

My next appointment will be in 3 weeks with a high-risk OB. Tonight I have my first “pregnant after infertility” support group meeting.

It’s all so crazy.

more waiting

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I should have posted yesterday after my appointment but I was so tired I just sat on the couch all evening.

Walking into the waiting room was hard. I figured I’d be thrilled to be arriving in this condition instead of my usual one. With my husband instead of my own infertile self. I’ve only been there alone, facing couples and big bellies and usually at least one woman with at least one child already. And so often a teenage girl pushing a stroller as her mother takes care of the bill and a confused-looking kid that looks more like he should be on a playground than in an OB’s office.

When I looked around to see where to sit, a very pregnant lady caught my eye and smiled; I gave her a very wary smile back. As I sat in the waiting room, it all came rushing back. The isolation. The pain. The grief. That feeling of loss. Even though I’m technically “one of them” now, I still felt a million miles away. Alone. Defective. Broken. I had to fight back tears and tell myself to get a grip.

We didn’t get a sonogram. Which was a real bummer; I guess I just assumed we’d get one, but I’m learning that pregnancy for a normal person isn’t the same as one for an infertile. I’ve ventured from the ” TTC over 2 years” and “infertility and medical assistance” online forum boards over to the “other” side, and learning that people don’t get early sonograms and even necessarily blood tests. You just assume everything’s ok. We are scheduled for a sonogram on Tuesday, which she seemed to think was really soon, but feels like an eternity to me.

I had hoped that yesterday’s appointment would relieve some fears and make me feel better, but it really had the opposite effect for some reason. The doctor seemed really concerned about the lack of a dividing membrane and said you can usually see it by now if it’s going to be there. I didn’t want to argue with her, but the people I’ve been asking who have identical twins all said they didn’t see it this early. I’m still holding on to the hope that that’s the case, but really, the doctor made me worry more.

I should add that I really do love this doctor and have been seeing her for 8 or 9 years and absolutely know that she’s the doctor I want to continue to see. Everything else about the appointment went fine; she has a new nurse that I really liked (I hated the one she had last time I was there, so this is a great improvement), we went over history stuff, they took most of my blood, I got a flu shot (*$#%&* OW!), all my questions were answered, I got an exam, we talked about things. After an hour and a half she sent us on our way with a huge folder of information, a book, and an overwhelming amount of information.

People texted me all afternoon asking how it went and if everything’s ok. I hate that I don’t have an answer. Basically the worry continues. I have no idea what’s been going on in there for the past 9 days. So I guess now we just wait until Tuesday.

unnecessary drama

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We had a bit of a mini-crisis this morning. Right at shot time, D came into the room and asked if we had more needles because we already went through the ones in the 2-week kit.

When I first got all the meds, I threw everything in the fridge because of the notice on the box that they needed to stay cold. A day or two later, I realized some of them are supposed to stay warm, so I took those out, along with the needles. We have a million needles, but they all seem to be for progresterone. I assumed that we had extra ones in the box. D assumed that some of the needles on the counter could be used for this shot. Cue panic.

I couldn’t believe they hadn’t given us extras for this one when every other one came with a billion extras. How was I supposed to take 3 weeks of shots with a 2 week kit? What was wrong with all these people?

I waited 15 minutes until the clinic opened, but they don’t always turn the answering service off right away and I was getting panicky. So D went to the internets and read that you can buy syringes over the counter. Our clinic is at least 20 minutes away, more at traffic time, and CVS is 5, so we went off to CVS. The girl at the pharmacy did not want to be there and looked at us suspiciously, and said that she could only give us syringes if we’d gotten a prescription filled there. So we headed over to Walgreens, another 8 minutes down the road (all of this was happening at rush hour).

Lupron is supposed to be taken at the same time every day, and we were given a 30-minute window on both sides. Our 30-minute window was up at this time and I was getting worried. We got to Walgreens, explained the situation to the friendly pharmacist, and she got the syringes.

As soon as she held up the bag to show us, it hit me: “Oh my god, that’s what’s in the refrigerator” I said. For some reason, those needles didn’t come out with the rest. Whenever I saw them I wondered why there were baby carrots in our fridge (they have orange caps and at a glance, in the context of being in the fridge, my brain made them baby carrots). Then I would realize they were syringes and completely forget about them. I have no idea why I never took them out. Just wasn’t thinking.

I was so embarrassed. I felt like such an idiot. Luckily the pharmacist was nice about the whole thing and D wasn’t annoyed with me at all (or if he was, he didn’t show it). For some reason, the panic took over and I just didn’t think the whole thing through.

So after a stressful, panicky 45 minutes, we got home, took the syringes out of the fridge, and did the shot. I feel really dumb about the whole ordeal.

At least now I know we have 10 more needles and I’ll be really careful about running out in the future.

I start stims tomorrow, stim for 4 days, and then go in on Tuesday morning to see how my follicles are growing. I’m anxious to get to the monitoring part. This part is boring. Now that we’re here let’s get this show on the road.

scared

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The reality that I will be doing IVF hit me like a ton of bricks tonight.

It’s been so easy over the years to say “I’m going to do IVF” but to actually realize it’s about to happen is another thing entirely.

I feel pathetic, overwhelming self-pity. Why do I have to go through this? Why can’t I be like everyone else? They all have it so easy – why do I have to spend a fortune and take daily shots and get invasive doctor visits on a near-daily basis, when they get it all for free? All for nothing?

It’s easy to say “Yay I’m excited! IVF! We finally have a chance!”

But it’s another to face it.

I’m scared.

Lately everyone else’s IVF cycles seem to be failing.

Why would I be any different?

What if it’s all for nothing?

The future is so cloudy. I have no idea what it holds.

Right now, I’m just scared.

something crazy

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About 2 years ago, when I was seeing a therapist, she urged me to attend a support group. I was very hesitant and put it off for a few months. I’m not good with strangers. I don’t like meeting new people. I’m painfully shy. I don’t like groups. The idea of walking into a restaurant, meeting a bunch of new people, and having to talk to them was my idea of pure torture. But she kept urging me, and I finally decided I would go.

I remember the first meeting vividly. I was terrified of walking into that restaurant. And then when I met everyone and the meeting got started and I learned that we had to go around the table and tell our “stories,” I wanted to run out and never come back.

But getting up and leaving in front of everyone would have been even more terrifying. Plus, I had already ordered dinner.

So I stayed. And it was ok. I was extremely nervous talking in front of everyone, but I got through it. And I came back.

I’ve been going to the group for over a year and a half. After the first few months, the leader decided to step down. Another girl started to lead, and after a few months, she got pregnant and adopted a baby, and she left. Then someone else took over, and eventually got pregnant, and had to leave (the rule for the group is that you can stay through your first trimester because it’s such an uncertain time, and then you have to leave and graduate to the “success” group).

The group has grown from 5 active members to about 30. But this time, no one wanted to lead. Honestly, I thought about not going any more. It was so hard to continually watch people to come to the group, start to get to know them, and then have them get pregnant and move on without me. Especially when we weren’t pursuing any sort of treatment for such a long time. Toward the end, the only reason I went was to see the people who I had become friends with.

But I didn’t want the group to die. It’s been too much a part of my life and has made such a huge difference. And I’ve made friends, and I would miss them.

So I volunteered.

Anyone who knows me in “real life” knows that I am not a leader of any kind. Like I said above: I am painfully shy. Groups terrify me. Talking in front of a group is the thing in the world I hate and dread most.

Plus, I can barely get through a regular day as it is – my life is stressful and very, very busy. I can barely keep up with myself, and so I struggle – how can I keep up with 30 people?

So I was hesitant to lead the group, to say the least.

But here I am. I’ve been the official leader since the beginning of the month, and I’m starting to get the hang of keeping up with everyone and commenting on our group’s secret Facebook page on a regular basis. But tonight is the first time I host the actual support group – you know, get up in front of a bunch of people (some, strangers) and talk. Loudly enough for everyone to hear and long enough to say what needs to be said.

I figure this will either be a disaster, or maybe I’ll gain some sort of confidence in the end.

Either way, this is what I signed up for. Me – leading a group. Can you imagine? I still can’t.

Life is so unpredicatble.