Documenting the Pregnancy Experience

Last month, I started writing in a pregnancy journal that my mom got me for Christmas, in order to document more of the details of this pregnancy. At first, the idea of a pregnancy journal terrified me. As I have written elsewhere on this blog, my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 11 weeks. As expected, this experience (in addition to 3+ years of infertility) changed my expectations for and experience of pregnancy forever.

In dealing with the aftermath of the miscarriage, I spent a lot of time with a friend who’d lost a pregnancy at 20 weeks about a month before I got pregnant, sharing our grief and trying to heal. I remember very clearly being with her about a week before her expected due date, and talking about whether she was going to do anything special that day. It turns out she had a small ritual planned, where she would open her box of mementoes of the pregnancy/baby and spend some time with these objects. The box included ultrasound photos, plaster impressions of her tiny baby’s feet, and a belly book.

I hadn’t heard of a belly book before, so she explained that it was similar to a pregnancy journal, and that it was where she had documented her pregnancy through weekly pictures of her belly. Upon hearing this, I still remember the two very strong emotions I felt. First off, I felt incredibly sad for her that she had this tangible reminder of the joy and expectations that she and her husband had for the lost pregnancy, and how difficult it would be to look through the book and contrast her grief against the memory of how she had felt while the pictures were being taken.

The second strong emotion I felt was relief for myself that I did not have a belly book, pregnancy journal, or any similar chronicle of my ill-fated pregnancy. The only remotely comparable thing we’d had was pictures of the pregnancy pee stick showing those two magical lines, which I deleted from my computer several weeks after the miscarriage because I couldn’t face accidentally flipping to them. The lack of a belly book or pregnancy journal was purely a fluke – it is totally the sort of thing I would have gotten if I’d been in the baby and pregnancy section of the bookstore at the right time.

When I got pregnant this time around, even though I was comfortable buying small baby things fairly early in the pregnancy (as I was able to tell myself they were for my eventual baby, whether it be this one or another one), I couldn’t bring myself to get a pregnancy journal or belly book, which would be so intimately tied to this pregnancy and baby.

However, when we told my mom about the pregnancy, one of the first questions she asked was whether I was keeping a pregnancy journal, and after I said no, she highly recommended I do. So, it was no surprise when I got one under the Christmas tree from her, but it still took me a few weeks before I was able to get over my fear and actually write in it.

Since then, I have written 3 posts with details of how our appointments went, or what new milestones we’re experiencing. I write when I’m in bed, just before going to sleep, while feeling the baby moving around inside.

In one sense, the journal is more about facts than this blog – a detailed explanation of how the anatomy scan went, a documentation of my weight and baby’s heartbeat, and other such factual details which I want to remember, but don’t feel quite comfortable boring my blog readers with.

However, one of the surprising things I’ve really enjoyed about the journal is that it is also much more personal than this blog. While the blog is primarily about my feelings and experiences, my journal entries are written to my baby, and focus on him. I honestly don’t know if he’ll ever read them (I think the fact that he’s a boy and not a girl makes it less likely that he’d ever be interested), but as I write”you” instead of “the baby”, and “daddy” instead of “my husband”, without fail tears of joy come to my eyes and I feel an uncontrollable outpouring of love and an intense connection to the miracle growing inside me.

11 Weeks 3 Days

I am back and hope to be posting more regularly. I have not given up on blogging now that I am pregnant. Everything continues to go well, but I still have a lot of posts to write. However, I have been ridiculously busy at work, and today was my first day off so far this month. Things will continue to be fairly busy over the next few weeks, but hopefully I’m past the worst of it.

Since it’s been so long since I’ve posted, and I have a lot to write, I’m going to try my hardest to stay focused and write about the most important thing that’s happened since I last blogged. I had actually planned on writing this post a few days ago, but due to the work insanity I had to postpone that plan.

So here it is – I am now officially 100% more pregnant than I have ever been. This is a huge milestone. My first pregnancy ended at 11 weeks – a day and a half of spotting, turned to bleeding (heavier than anything I have ever experienced), which turned into a d&c that evening. The Dr. told me afterwards that based on the size of my uterus at the time, the baby stopped developing somewhere around 8 or 9 weeks.

This time around, by the time I got to 11 weeks, I’d had three ultrasounds. The first one was at 6 weeks 2 days, where we saw a strong heartbeat. The second one was at 8 weeks 5 days, where we saw a head and body and little limb buds developing. After that second ultrasound, I knews that this baby had most likely made it further than the first one. But I didn’t know for sure. Our third ultrasound was mind blowing. Just a week later, at 9 weeks 6 days, there was a tiny little baby waving its arms and legs around, which we even go to see in 3D. This time I knew for sure that this baby had made it further than the first one.

But while that gave me a lot of comfort, I still hadn’t made it further than before. And then finally, two days ago, I was 11 weeks and 1 day pregnant. This was important to me for two reasons. There is the obvious one that it is one more milestone to celebrate, and one more reason to exhale. And while that is important, I’ve already had a lot of great milestones and reasons to celebrate this pregnancy.

The other, more important reason is that the experience of once again being 11 weeks pregnant validates for me that my first pregnancy was real; that it was more than just a forgettable blip. Unlike this pregnancy, I never got to see my baby on ultrasound the first time around –  my first ultrasound was before the d&c. I couldn’t face myself to look at the screen when the Dr. put the wand in, but after I already knew what the outcome was I willed myself to sneak a peek. And what I saw didn’t resemble a baby at all – my uterus was just one big mess.

We had told very few people that we were pregnant, and while we ended up telling some close friends who’d recently lost a pregnancy in the 2nd trimester, I still mourned the fact that there was no tangible proof that our baby had ever existed. I had no ultrasounds, and hardly anyone that had shared the joy of pregnancy with me.

Over the course of the last year, as I watched countless other women on my infertility forums get pregnant, I was surprised at how quickly their pregnancies flew by. I would blink and they would be 8, 12, 16 weeks pregnant. I couldn’t believe how quickly they became more pregnant than I’d been. As time went on, and my experience of pregnancy faded further and further into the past, I started to worry that what I had experienced wasn’t real; that it was so fleeting that somehow in the grand scheme of things it didn’t really matter, even though it mattered to me.

This was further brought into relief for me on the one year anniversary of when I first found out I was pregnant. It coincided with when I finally got the go ahead for IVF, and the timing was such that from that day to my egg retrieval was almost exactly the same amount of time as from the time I found out I was pregnant to the d&c (my egg retrieval was the day before the one year anniversary of the d&c). This strange alignment further saddened me, as I was anxious to get the IVF going and have things fly by as much as possible, while I was also conscious of the fact that if the time flew by it also meant that my pregnancy one year before had also flown by.

This past week as I once again experienced being 11 weeks pregnant, I realized that it feels like I’ve been pregnant forever (in a good way of course!). The last 7 weeks since I found out I was pregnant have been rich with experience; much more so than most other 7 week periods. This pregnancy is real, and it matters.

And the first 11 weeks of this pregnancy finally validate my feelings about my first pregnancy – it may have ended too soon, but that doesn’t take away the experience that it was real, and that it will always be a part of me.

Letting Go…In a Good Way

The phrase “letting go” is often used to describe the process of accepting the bad things that happen to us. The infertility journey is no different – from the time we first start trying to conceive, to accepting that timed intercourse is just not going to cut it for us, and eventually enduring the rollercoaster of infertility treatments, infertility provides successive opportunities for us to let go of our many hopes and dreams for starting a family – each one harder to accept than the last.

But letting go can also be a relief when it means letting go of anger or grief or other difficult emotions that we have been carrying with us for too long, and I was lucky to be reminded of  this last week.

As many infertiles can attest to, it can be difficult to see our friends, family members and coworkers achieve successful pregnancies while we are still stuck with the uncertainty of not knowing when or even if we will ever be so fortunate. I think that for the most part I’ve done pretty well with this, but at the same time I have not been immune to the feelings of jealousy and resentment that can come when others close to you get what you so desperately want.

For me, there is one friend in particular who I just couldn’t face while she was pregnant. I’ve written a bit about her here and here. To briefly summarize, I found out last year that she had a miscarriage a few months before we did and upon this realization we had a few moments of comparing notes and sharing the frustrations that come with trying to conceive. When she got pregnant shortly afterwards I felt betrayed. She had been trying for several months and was already feeling worn down by the process while I’d been trying for years with no luck.

It probably helps to clarify that while she is a good friend, it hasn’t always been an “easy” relationship due to a competitive undercurrent. She is incredibly competitive about everything, and I think the fact that we have a lot in common (we share the same profession, were running buddies due to our very similar pace, share a love of shoes, and were born a month apart) makes me a natural foil for her competitive nature.

When I first found out she was pregnant again, it stung but I assumed I would be okay with it. I was wrong. I saw her a few times during her pregnancy, and while all of our encounters were very positive (and I believe she was trying hard to be respectful of my feelings), in between seeing her, I stewed. I stewed when I saw her announce the pregnancy on facebook (I’d already known about it for some time); I stewed when she posted her nursery pictures; and I stewed when she gave birth to a healthy boy on my 35th birthday.

And then I felt bad because I hadn’t seen her since December and the ball was in my court to initiate something.

So when she sent out an invite to a drop-in barbecue/meet the baby event at her house this past week, I accepted right away. Five months had gone by since I’d last seen her, and it was time. As the barbecue approached, I had mixed feelings – on the one hand I was looking forward to seeing her and catching up, but on the other hand I wasn’t sure if I could handle seeing her with her baby while I was still not pregnant.

But by the time the day arrived, I’d gotten over my fears and was genuinely looking forward to the event. We showed up around dinner (strategic timing on my part to try to avoid as many people with kids as possible), and as soon as I walked into the living room and saw her holding her baby, I felt none of the resentment or bitterness that had been stewing over the previous months. All I felt was happiness – happiness for her and her son, and happiness to be seeing her again.

We spent quite a lot of time catching up, and made a lunch date for next week to catch up further. And when I saw her baby related post on facebook a few days later, it didn’t bother me at all. I had let go of the negative emotions that I’d been harbouring.

Feeling Stalled, Hopeless and Frustrated

As I mentioned the other day, my IVF cycle start has been delayed yet again. I got the updated protocol from my clinic yesterday, and it looks like my retrieval/transfer will be sometime the week of June 13th, or a full 7 weeks later than what we’d originally planned. This timing wonderfully coincides with the 3 year anniversary of when we first start trying to conceive, and the d&c date last year for our first pregnancy. Oh, and not to mention due date for my chemical pregnancy. As if the middle of June is not already infused with enough meaning and tough emotions, now I get to throw IVF#1 in there too.

Even though it really should be just a minor nuisance, this latest delay feels like the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m just feeling so hopeless right now. Forget having a baby, forget getting pregnant, I can’t even get to having the chance to try to get pregnant!  And since I’ve been on birth control, it just feels like completely wasted time (compared to earlier this year when I was “on hold” for three months so that DHEA could kick in, but I theoretically could have had that miracle natural pregnancy).

Part of the frustration is that I’ve been trying to plan other aspects of my life (going away/other appointments/physical activity/work stuff etc etc) around this cycle, and with all the updates and changes I’ve been constantly having to juggle things around and reschedule. Even my husband has been like “Why worry about a conflict that day, the schedule’s going to change anyways”.

I am feeling so stalled and frustrated, and I feel like I have nobody I can talk to about this. I tried talking to my husband about it the other day, and even though he is normally very supportive and on the same page about this stuff, I feel like he totally brushed me off. His take was that he’s not concerned about another two week delay, he’s concerned about the almost three years we’ve already been waiting. Instead of comforting me, he pretty much got angry with me for being upset about this latest delay. So that was not cool.

And we re-hashed an argument that we’d had a few months ago about how involved he is in this process. Since we’ve started going down this IVF road, I feel like it’s somehow become “my project” in his eyes. At one point he had said that since I’m the one that has to go to appointments and have the majority of the procedures done, he could help out by making any required calls to the fertility clinic, and also pick up any medications from the pharmacy for me. He’s been great with the running around, but has washed his hands of having any direct contact with the clinic, because “if he calls, I’ll just have a list of questions afterwards that he should have asked but didn’t”.  This really pisses me off, because as I see it, this is our journey and our IVF, it’s not my IVF. There is no reason why I should know more about how our babies are going to be made than he does.

To top it all off, it was one year ago today that we found out I was pregnant with our first pregnancy. I really thought that was it.   Even though we were very cautious and didn’t tell anyone our news, and always tried to say “if” not “when” when talking about the baby, I felt that if my body finally accepted a pregnancy after 2 years of trying it had to be a good one. Anyone else I knew who had miscarried had no problems getting pregnant, so my baby would make it.

Thinking about all that is hitting me harder than I thought. And it ties back into this cycle, because pretty much from the time I got the protocol to when my ER is scheduled is the exact same time that I spent knowing I was pregnant last year.  On the one hand it’s just dates, there’s no magic behind it, but June’s really my most loaded month infertility wise already that I really don’t want another “milestone” date in there.

I’m Back (Again)

April has been a real dud of a month for me as far as blogging goes. I thought it had been about a week since I last wrote, but I am shocked to see that it has actually been 12 days – wow! The last few weeks have been crazy (is it just me, or have I been saying that exact same thing every day for the last few months?), but I should be settling back into my “normal” routine now. I should really qualify that “normal” these days means preparing for IVF, trying to sell our house, and planning a cross country move. Still with me?

A few things of note happened last week. I snuck away to my new city for a super fast two day trip to start house hunting, and interview in person for the job I’d had two phone interviews for back in March. I am happy to report that I came back with job offer in hand!

I had hoped for a starting date of August 15th to give me some more wiggle room in trying to squeeze a second IVF in before I move in case I have to, but since they really needed someone to start yesterday in this position, I agreed to a date of August 2nd. I did tell them that depending on how things go with the sale of our current house, and purchase of our new house I may be able to start earlier, but I won’t know until June. This is code for “If I’m pregnant I’ll start a month early”.

The other thing that happened last week is I had my follow up endometrial biopsy on Monday to see if the antibiotics have worked their magic to clear up the endometritis that was diagnosed during my first biopsy at the end of March. The results take about a week, so I was really hoping to get a call this afternoon, but nothing. Until I get the results and the all clear, this IVF cycle will remain stalled.

In related news, I am now on week five of birth control pills, which is just adding to my antsiness. I am so ready to kick things off (again), especially as I am feeling some time pressure with our pending move, and the possibility of it stalling our plans to conceive further as I switch clinics, or try to juggle my schedule to come back for treatments at my current clinic. I did come up with a new plan A, B, and C over the weekend, but I’ll save all the gory details for another post.

One more thing that has been on my mind lately is my first pregnancy, as a year ago, I was just a few days from finding out that I had a new life growing inside me. I thought once the due date passed this January, the next tough anniversary would be my June miscarriage date, but I am finding it hard not to think about where I was at a year ago.

I will write more in the coming days I’m sure, but for now, it feels good to be back.

Dear Blog..

I have been neglectful again! It has been over a week since I last wrote, which I think is my longest stretch so far. I have several reasons for the delay:

1. Everything continues to be crazy, but at the same time not much new is happening, so I feel like I’ll just be repeating myself with anything I write.  To briefly summarize:

a). Our house goes on the market this week (!), so we’ve been busy doing the final few things to get it spruced up. My husband bought some adorable flowers which he’s put in flowerpots placed strategically on our porch and back deck, and also took all of the old junk our neighbours had piled around their houses to the dump for them so that our block would not look too trashy.

b). We’re getting house listings from our real estate agent in our new city to sift through, which is super exciting because I’m going there next week to finally check some out in person.

c). Related to a) and b), we’re starting to firm up what we can afford and how much financing we’ll need, so some calls and appointments there.

d). I have my interview next week (follow up to two phone interviews a few weeks ago).

2. Not much time to sit down and write:

a). Work was busy end of last week and I worked most of the weekend.

b) Now I’m away for work for one week, so my schedule is all messed up.

3. Nothing new to write about re: babymaking status:

a) Still waiting for my follow up endometrial biopsy early next week before I can get confirmation on when we’re proceeding with the IVF. Thankfully with all of the other distractions going on, this two week wait has flown by!

b) I’ve been on birth control pills for almost three weeks now, and my uterus is currently inhospitable due to the endometritis, which means I am less fertile right now than I have ever been. Therefore, no chance of a last minute miracle pregnancy (not to mention that we’ve barely had sex the last few weeks).

I have had a few moments recently though, that if onlyI  had more time I would have expanded on in a blog post. I may still do so later this week, but in case I don’t, here they are:

1. It has been almost a year since my first pregnancy. I thought once I passed the due date in January, the next big date would be the anniversary of the miscarriage in June, however I find that it keeps popping into my head now that it’s April, as it was last April that I had the IUI that was successful, and also when I found out I was pregnant. So I think there will be some emotional moments coming up.

2. I started fertility yoga again last week! I’m so excited that the class is being offered again and I feel like it’s a good omen for me as it will get me through most of the IVF process. At the first class, we had to go around the room and introduce ourselves and share anything we wanted about our fertility journey. Since I was the first one, I felt like I would be setting the tone for how the rest of the introductions would go, so I wanted to make sure I shared enough that people would feel comfortable opening up, without having to launch into detailed history.

So, I shared that I was starting my first IVF. I figured this neatly summarized that either: a) We’ve been trying way too long (true!), or b) We had some serious fertility roadblocks, or c) Both, and there would be no need to go into all the gory details.

I also shared that I had taken the class before, but didn’t want to share that I’d taken it twice already, and the first time was almost 2 years ago, as I didn’t want to freak the other girls out and dash their hopes that this was not going to be the ticket to getting pregnant. Who knows, maybe it would be for them? And then a lightbulb went on in my head – I realized that the  last time I did this class, I GOT PREGNANT. My last class in the September session was just before finding out I was pregnant with my chemical pregnancy. And this realization made me feel so incredibly happy and hopeful that my next pregnancy is right around the corner.

Flashback

As promised, I did pee on a stick yesterday morning, and as expected it was negative. And that was totally fine. There was that tiny little bit of me that thought “maybe, just maybe”, but it really was such a small, small part that when the familiar image of one (and only one) line came up, I glanced at it and threw it away, and carried on with my morning routine.

But as the day went on, and there was no sign of spotting any time I went to the bathroom, my mind couldn’t help but wander a bit.  And, I started to analyze every sensation and whether it was consistent with my period coming on. My breasts felt a little full, but not as sore as they often are right before my period. And I didn’t feel any of the other subtle symptoms that often signal that my period is about to arrive. So, try as I might, I couldn’t push the thought of pregnancy completely out of my mind.

In the evening, I went out to dinner with my colleagues, and we ordered a bottle of wine. As I drank my glass of wine, for a brief moment I wondered “What if I’m pregnant? Could this wine affect the helpless little thing growing inside me?” And suddenly, in that instant, it all came flooding back. I remembered those magical weeks after I first found out I was pregnant almost a year ago,  the wonder I felt at this life developing inside me, and the outpouring of love that flowed from every cell each time I thought of the microscopic being that was working hard to grow into our child.

It had been so long since I last felt that way, or even really thought of how wonderful that short time in my life was  (usually if I think about that pregnancy, it’s more about how it ended – the horror slowly sinking in as I watched the blood came pouring out of me at an increasingly faster rate, the helplessness I felt once I realized that I was losing the pregnancy and there was nothing I could do about it, the frustration of facing a d&c in a foreign country without my husband by my side, and finally the overwhelming sadness at how close we’d come, only to be back at square one again).

But tonight was different. For the first time in a really long time, I remembered the excitement, the love, the hope. It felt like a distant memory, but at the same time so familiar, and so right. And more than anything, it made me yearn for another chance to experience the magic and joy of pregnancy – the whole process this time, and not just a tantalizing taste.

Three Times Lucky – the Luck of the Fertile

Despite the timeliness of this post, it is not about the Luck of the Irish, but rather the Luck of the Fertile. For the most part, this past week was consumed with work, combined with resting up to (unsuccessfully) fight off a cold, and my 35th birthday. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how little infertility was on my mind.

Yes, I still thought about it every day, yes my mind still did mental gymnastics trying to figure out how I will juggle everything once we move this summer, but it was not the constant, energy sucking cloud that envelops me some days. I was thinking I was in a pretty good place due to all the other distractions in my life right now, and I was feeling excited about (finally!) starting IVF shortly.

However, even with all of this, the infertility cloud threatened to invade my sunny outlook several times, and finally succeeded today, when the third birth announcement in a week appeared in my inbox.  As I wrote in an earlier post, I was fully expecting the pending baby boom in March (3 down, 1 to go), but even with the advance warning, the announcements still brought on that unique mix of jealousy, anger, and bitterness that only comes with infertility.  

The first baby was born to a girl I worked with earlier this year, but perhaps because I am not very close with her (and we have never discussed trying to conceive with each other), I was able to be happy for her, and not take it personally. She was also a super cool pregnant woman (yes, evidence that not all pregnant women are evil), which also lessened the blow. 

Last fall, I had been  dreading a 3-week business trip with her when she was in her second trimester, but despite the fact that I had my chemical pregnancy on that trip, being around her didn’t bother me too much. She was having an easy pregnancy, so I never had to hear her complain about pregnancy symptoms, and she rarely discussed her plans for her pending baby. She only started to noticeably show at the end of the trip, so I also didn’t have to endure hearing other people continually congratulate her and ask her about the pregnancy and baby to be.

However, the next two announcements hit harder, as they were both friends who had experienced losses before successfully getting pregnant again, and to varying degrees had comforted me after my miscarriage. While this by itself should make it easier to put aside my feelings, and feel genuinely happy for them and their good fortune, knowing that they have experienced some of what I’ve been through (pregnancy loss, but without the  infertility) actually makes me resent them more.

I feel left behind, and angry that they have their babies now, yet I am still not pregnant, and will have to pay thousands of dollars for a shot at pregnancy. I feel betrayed that I had to be the one to comfort them when they came to me stressed about not getting pregnant after their losses (even though one of them was already pregnant in her first month trying, she just didn’t realize it at the time, and the other one had either just found out, or was about to find out that she was pregnant after tearing her hair out due to 4 months of trying).  I even resent my strength in dealing with almost three years of infertility, while staying (mostly) sane.

About a month after our miscarriage, my husband compared me to one of these two friends and told me that I was much stronger than her based on how I was dealing with everything. It wasn’t a totally fair comparison, as there were many aspects of her loss that were much more difficult (it was a second trimester loss after they had already announced the pregnancy to everyone).

However, since then I’ve come to believe that he’s right. I know that I am stronger than both of these friends. I know that I have held up better than they ever would have facing even one year of infertility, let alone three. And yet, none of that matters. After all –  who needs strength when you have the luck of the fertile?

Two Years and Ten Months??

My mind is still occupied mostly with work stuff. I have a call with a recruiter on Monday, so have been madly perusing “how to market yourself” and “how to ace the interview” type books as well as reflecting on what exactly I have done with my career so far and why anyone should care. When I’m ready for a break, I’ve enjoyed drooling over house listings online, and debating with my husband about the merits of the various neighbourhoods we are considering, while trying to figure out what we can afford (which ends up tying back to my future job prospects). I even have a draft blog post started explaining in more detail the various job opportunities I am considering in the hopes that it will help clarify some of my thinking about what I should do once we move.

However, despite the many distractions, I still managed to get blindsided by something I read today on the infertility forum I belong to. I was lurking on a thread for people who have gone through multiple IVF failures when I saw it. I should explain that in addition to the countless threads that I’ve joined on the forum which deal specifically with whatever I happen to be currently experiencing (e.g. pregnancy loss when I first joined the forum after my miscarriage, the many IUI buddy threads I joined in the fall, and now the upcoming IVF threads that I’m primarily posting on), I do find it helpful sometimes to read threads that represent uncharted territory for me.

As I mentioned above, I first joined the forum in order to have a safe outlet for my feelings after my miscarriage and to read about other people going through the same, painful feelings that I was experiencing. Rooting around the pregnancy loss section of the forum, I discovered some threads discussing recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). I found myself drawn to those threads, as knowing how hard it was going through one miscarriage, I couldn’t imagine how people dealt with having such a horrible thing happen to them again and again, so I had to read their stories in the hope that they would provide me with the strength I needed to get through that difficult period.

Similarly, as I prepare to embark on my first IVF, I have recently started reading a thread about women who have had multiple IVF failures. It was while I was on this thread this morning that a woman joked that since she didn’t have a “pregnancy ticker” (to count down the days and weeks of a pregnancy), she may as well get a “ttc ticker” (showing how long she’s been trying to conceive). Her sample ttc ticker showed that she had been trying to conceive for two years and ten months. “Wow, that’s a long time”, I automatically thought as I read it, and then my eyes moved to her signature where it said that she had been trying for a baby since June 2008. Yes, the exact same month that I first started.  

It really shouldn’t have come as such a shock, after all it had been quite a few months since I entered the “two and half years” stage of ttc, so with no change in status it made sense that I was now at two years and ten months, or about to round the corner on three whole years. Hell, even on the  “ttc journey” page of this blog, it indicates that I am in my 34th month of trying. The thing is, that despite checking my calculations several times, I was sure that I had accidentally skipped a month or two when I had tallied things up, and was waiting for the right moment to pull out my data again, and once and for all get to the bottom of where the mistake happened so I could correct my error. But there was no error, as proven by the ttc ticker.

Rather, I had just experienced another one of those jolt moments that happens periodically when I try to make sense of how exactly I got to where I am today; one of those moments where I feel like I am watching someone else’s life and this can’t really be happening to me, can it?

A Thirst for Blood

This morning I went to get blood drawn. Again. I have lost count how many times I have had blood drawn as part of this process, but between the pregnancy beta tests following my IUIs, the recurrent pregnancy loss testing following two losses, the blood taken for karyotyping to ensure my chromosomes are normal, not to mention blood drawn when I actually was pregnant, it’s been a bloody long haul.

The reason for today’s blood-letting was two-fold: to check my hormone levels and ensure I have no STD’s so I can get started on IVF once my next period comes; and to repeat the initial fertility diagnostic tests I first had done two whole years ago (most of these overlap with the IVF testing, but there are a few extra ones to do).

I am (thankfully!) not at all worried about the STD testing, in fact I’ve been tested for HIV at least twice in the past year, first as part of my pregnancy bloodwork during my only Dr.’s appointment as a pregnant woman, then a month later at the hospital where I had the D&C done for my miscarriage.

I have to admit though that I am a little nervous about the other testing, and hoping that everything looks good and we can proceed as planned with the IVF.  I feel like I have so much invested at this stage that I can’t imagine not being able to go through with it, or being told that my chances of success were slim. While I promised myself that I would only do IVF once I was emotionally ready to accept that it may not work (and in fact likely won’t work the first time around), I can’t imagine the chance to even try IVF being taken away from me, or having the cycle cancelled part way through for whatever reason.