First Comes Love

Our IVF journey

The Pursuit for Acceptance

We got the official news last Friday with a negative beta. We knew it was coming but it was still devastating nonetheless. This journey over the past four years has brought so many emotions and it has finally gotten to the point where we couldn’t go down this path anymore. We have faced uncertainty, hope, excitement, disappointment and absolute devastation, over and over. We have gone down paths we never thought we would have to go down and we have done unimaginable things. We have poured our entire hearts and souls into this goal of expanding our family and we are left exhausted and broken. We feel like we’ve been kicked down and left to rot in a ditch alone. This has been the toughest thing we have faced in our life. There is no way to explain the pain that accompanies infertility. It is the loss of a dream, of hope and of the image you’ve had in your head of your future. One of the cruelest things life can do is steal hope. We have had it stolen so many times, there’s nothing left to take. The path we are on now is uncertain. We have always had a semi-clear idea of what route we might take next but at this point, we feel out of options. We have made the heart wrenching decision to walk away from treatment for the near future, possibly for good. We don’t know what the future holds but we feel so weak from the battle that we can’t muster up strength to continue. It will be a tough road to acceptance. We have put everything into this fight and I don’t naturally quit a battle so easily. We don’t want to stop trying to add to our family but we cannot continue down this road. We are still young-ish and have even younger embryos if we ever decide to return. It will be a long road ahead of us to take our life back and accept that we may have to find another future for ourselves. It may include trying again, looking into a gestational surrogate, adoption, or no children. For now, I will go back to eating the things I love, although not going crazy because I love that I’ve lost almost 25lbs since my heaviest during IVF stims last year. We will go back to planning vacations, not worrying about future appointments or treatments and enjoying life to the fullest in each moment. Our lives are ours again. This is a very small consolation prize for the years of heartbreak and leaves a void we do not know how to fill but we are trying to be positive because this is the only life we get. It’s still so fresh so we are very numb. We have no extreme emotions. We feel despair and defeat but happy isn’t truly happy and mad doesn’t feel as bad. Numb is the best way to say it. The best part is that we have each other. Our relationship is in tact and thriving. We are so lucky to have each other. He is the most amazing husband and I am so proud to say I get to walk beside him through this life, come what may. 
As we go down this new path in life, while grieving the losses and failures of the last 4 years, I will be walking away from the blog. I’m sad to leave because this community of women has been so amazingly supportive during the toughest times as well as the most exciting. You’ve all been there through my triumphs, worries, times of joy and times I was stretched further than I thought I could go. I’ve watched you all go through many of the same things and felt your ups and downs along with you. I am saddened to leave but need space from this journey. I will leave the blog up so that I will never forget the journey we went through and maybe I will write again about future endeavors but for now, I need space. I need time to figure out what our life will hold ahead. I wish you all nothing but happiness and success in your futures. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of your support and making me feel like I had a community of cheerleaders. In a world where this is a difficult process with most people not understanding an iota of what we go through, the best thing we can do is rally together and cheer each other on. Thank you. I will say a prayer for all of you and hope for nothing but amazing success for everyone. My heart is with you all. 

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I’m Done

So likely that’s it. It’s 6dp5dt and I got a negative with FMU. I’ve always had my positives by now so I feel like any miracle has basically slipped through my fingers. I know you’ll probably say it’s too early but I know this is it. I know in my heart. I am absolutely distraught. I feel numb. How cruel can the world be? My heart has been ripped open and stomped on so many times. I’ve tried to pick it up and put it back together the best I can and move on but I can see now that it’s beyond repair. It definitely doesn’t resemble the one from before infertility.  We have lost so many babies and have had so many failed cycles. So many thousands of dollars out of pocket, gone, for a dream that will not be coming true for us. We have had amazing cycle luck but that’s where it ended. We could never hold on to a precious baby if it managed to implant. This cycle is so much more heart breaking than the first few. We put absolutely everything we had into it. I’m still in denial. There’s no way that stark white test with one cruel line just happened. I’m shaking and don’t know where to go from here. A very long break likely to re-evaluate our lives and figure out what to do next, if we ever come back to treatment. It’s been so long since I’ve felt so low. We really hoped that we would be able to be parents but I think that dream isn’t going to come true for us. I’ve dreamed since I was very young about being pregnant. It probably won’t happen for us. It feels like the last two months of preparation, sacrifice, frustration, tears, anxiety, countless needles, thousands of dollars, and positive thinking have all been a big waste. That’s life- completely unfair. I’ve never felt that more than now. 

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Sanity Slipping

I am usually the first person to tell people that the TWW can mess with your sanity worse than you ever thought it could. This wait has been nothing short of that. The spotting has almost stopped, and I haven’t seen red since the short Saturday night incident, which I am taking as a win. One minute I am crying because I’m convinced the cycle is over and the next, I feel like there’s still a shred of hope and it’s not over yet. This could be horribly exaggerated because of the extra hormones being taken. It certainly doesn’t make the wait easier. I have been feeling a lot of cramping, some like PMS cramps, some little twinges and tingles. This is the only thing that has me keeping hope alive. I felt these little things on my last cycle too, and it had me convinced that it had worked. This time I am more cautious, for obvious reasons. I forget (likely on purpose) how crazy the TWW makes me feel. Distraction has worked well but the clinic also said to take it easy so that means a lot of idle time at home trying not to worry. I called them yesterday, fully expecting to leave a message but one of the nurses answered. I wasn’t quite prepared as I was crying my eyes out 2 minutes before. She wasn’t too worried about the spotting because it was so early. She said it was likely a combination of the blood thinners, the long walk we took that night (to help with the PIO lumps) and the fact that the Dr did 2 catheter placements through my cervix. She also said it could be implantation, but far too soon to tell. She said I should take it super easy for a few days. No arguments there but worry still ensued, and continues to ensue. I feel crazy for going to the bathroom 200+ times a day to make sure there’s no more spotting. I want to pee on sticks left and right but know that’s not going to help because it’s so early. We would make millions if we could develop an app or piece of technology that could tell people if they are pregnant or not within hours of procedures. I know that isn’t possible but imagine the sanity that would be preserved. I would rather take 10 PIO shots a day for the rest of my life than to have to endure a TWW. That’s saying something. I will try to have patience but even if this does miraculously end up with a positive result, it’s only the beginning of the worry. 

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Absolutely Crushed 

I feel so discouraged. So done. Since Friday night, I’ve had a bit of spotting on and off, and hardly there. Last night, we went for a walk after PIO to help the medicine disperse in the muscle and to clear our heads and when we got back, there was a small amount of red blood. That sent me over the edge. For me, blood has never meant a good thing. I’m traumatized by how many hopeful cycles ended with the start of spotting. Even worse, 3 pregnancies and a chemical ended with the start of spotting. I barely had the energy to cry last night. I feel so utterly defeated by this journey. I don’t think we can keep going down this road after just over 4 years of living this hell. I woke up crying in my sleep. There is still spotting today, although not fresh blood so far. My last hope is telling me it could be implantation bleeding or bleeding from the actual transfer since the Dr did a mock catheter placement before the real one came out. I’m on blood thinner and baby aspirin so I could be bleeding easier but the rational side of me is saying that’s it. I’ve never had spotting this early before and I wonder how I’m bleeding through the PIO. Shouldn’t it ward off a period until I stop the meds? Maybe some people bleed through. The one thing it has me wondering is that maybe my progesterone levels aren’t high enough. I’ll call the clinic later this morning to find out their opinion but for now, I already feel like that’s it. I feel so numb and crushed at the same time. This world just isn’t fair. We worked our asses off for this cycle. Everything that went into it, which was more than I ever thought I could do, and it could be the beginning of the end. We’re both so defeated. It really feels like the end of the road if this ends up being a failure. After everything we did for this cycle, what more is there to do? Maybe my body will never be able to carry our babies. Maybe we won’t ever have children. Those are ugly possibilities I’ve never wanted to consider but reality is getting closer to it. This journey has done a number on my heart and soul. I’m so crushed. 

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2 days down…

The last two days since transfer have been great. I’m definitely starting to feel some nerves sneaking up as it gets closer to when testing might reveal an answer. The day of and day after, I felt little sparks and twinges. Today so far, nothing. I love feeling small things to let me know that something might be happening in there. It helps calm the nerves, whatever the result at the end of the wait. The last couple of days I had no negative feelings, it was all excitement and hope. Today is a little more down to earth of what could happen if this doesn’t work. It’s a very scary thought. I’m trying to remain positive and have patience for next week. I’m also doing my best to rest and take it easy. I was at work for a couple of hours yesterday (I work in an office alone) and my boss showed up. He knew about the transfer and has been so amazing with time off and understanding the need for appointments, etc. He offered tickets to a concert but we declined, saying I’m supposed to be resting, not out in the 40 degree (100F) heat. He then banned me from coming to work today! I said I’m ok to work, my husband is driving me around (love him to bits!) and it’s not like work is physically demanding. He said he didn’t care and that I wasn’t allowed coming in, that I should stay at home on the couch instead. I can do a lot from home anyway which is such a great perk of the job but what an amazing boss I have. It’s a small, family run company and they are so flexible. I snuck in this morning quickly because a few people were waiting for answers on a couple of things and of course, he showed up again. I was busted. He told me to go home, that I wasn’t allowed there today. We all laughed because apparently I don’t listen very well to my husband either (he jokes) and thankfully had done what I needed to do. The rest of the day will be a lazy day working from my phone if needed. I am so thankful for my amazing job and people I work with. Two days down, a lot to go. I hope I can keep patient. 

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5th Time’s a Charm?

Today officially begins the longest wait. We had the transfer this morning and everything went great! This doctor we hadn’t met before and he was careful, patient and very calculated. The last Dr did a couple of our transfers and he was very easy going, joked a lot and had fun with it. This was helpful in the past to ease tensions and calm our nerves but it was also great today that this new Dr really took the time and seemed precise. Overall, it was a great experience and we are now making the trip back home. 

One awesome part of this short trip to the big city was that we found a vegan place that makes comfort pub food. We had the most incredible mac ‘n cheese, spinach dip and chili cheese fries, all vegan and gluten free! It was so awesome to have anything that resembled cheese, that we loaded up, as you can tell. I guess that’s the benefit of a large city. 

The injections are going ok-ish so far. The blood thinner injections are leaving little purple marks the size of a pinhead all over my stomach. The Dr today said that’s totally normal but I look like I have spots now. I hate these syringes because they’re pre filled and they have a safety mechanism that pulls the needle up when the medicine is all dispensed.  The problem is it’s a pretty powerful little spring and it has pulled back when it’s still inserted a couple of times. It’s like a jack in the box near the end of the injection. Will it retract and scare me or will I be able to hold it tight enough to pull it out of my skin before it retracts? Probably not the best design with a sharp object. I get the point of it but yikes. The PIO isn’t awful anymore. Well the actual injection isn’t bad, it’s the day after that hurts. I went over our technique and placement with the nurse today and she said we had it perfect. I feel a knot on both sides already and it’s sore. I’m hoping I have a lot longer to go on them but I hope they get easier. 

I’m getting nervous already for the wait and the awful anxiety once it gets closer to test day. I feel like we have SO MUCH riding on this cycle. I have put my heart and soul into this cycle and literal blood sweat and many tears have gone into it. It’s surreal that it felt like transfer day would never come, especially when I was upset and hungry but didn’t know what I could eat. The diet is still tough but got easier once we got closer to the big day. I’m not even bothered by the injections really anymore. The first night of PIO I was a sobbing mess on the floor, crying because it wasn’t fair that they were so big and would be so painful. Now, I’m more afraid of the unthinkable- what happens if it fails? I’ll try to be positive and keep myself distracted but this is one of the tougher parts for me. I don’t want to wish away days so I’ll wish for patience and low anxiety about testing. I’m sure I’ll be updating as the days go on!

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Transfer is a Go!

It really has been such a great day. I spent the last couple of days freaking out over a number of things regarding this cycle. Today, everything came together and we’re good to go for next week. First, everything depended on whether my lining was ready, which I was fully expecting it to be too thin. It was too thin the last couple of times so I wasn’t hopeful. I was totally prepared for another few days on the Estrace. Turns out, my body knew better and I had a lining of 8.8! That’s the thickest it’s been in a while. I used to get to double digits with IUIs but FETs, I was rarely ever much over 7. Next problem that had me panicking over the last couple of days was the fact that I was afraid to ovulate. Usually I would take the BCP, start Synarel nose spray, have a period and then continue Synarel while I took Estrace and so on. This cycle- no BCP, no Synarel. For some odd reason, I didn’t realize this until two days ago. Cue panic attack. I thought my cycle was over and the diet/intralipids/endo scratch was all for nothing. I had no idea why they didn’t have me on either of these but apparently my body is happier, resulting in a thicker lining. Could have been the diet, could have been the acupuncture, could have been a fluke. We’ll never know. The other problem that worked itself out was our progesterone drama. We were told when we dropped off the prescription back in June to order the progesterone a month before we needed it because it had to be specially compounded out of the city and would take a while to get. Ok no problem. Early July, we ordered it. I came two days later. Hmm, sure not a month like we were told. Problem was, expiry dates landed when I would still need to take it. The owner of the pharmacy told me to order it the same week we needed it since it would only take 2 days. I ordered it this past Tuesday (Monday was a holiday here), knowing we would need it by Friday. By last night, I was freaking out because it was not in yet and the girl said it may not be here before the weekend. I said that my cycle depended on it! After more calls and trying to work out an alternate plan with my clinic, the progesterone came in today, 15 mins before I was instructed to call them to cancel it and go to another pharmacy. Wow did we luck out. I also had intralipids today and I kept my consciousness the whole time!! They got the IV in first try and I was good the whole time. I was so proud of myself. All in all, it’s been an amazing day. Everything has worked out exactly how it was meant to. I start my blood thinner injections tomorrow morning, steroid pills tonight, progesterone injections tonight (ugh) and continue the Estrace twice a day. The finish line is almost in sight and for once, my confidence is up. I feel a lot of hope for this cycle. I have one more acupuncture session Monday before we head out to the big city for the transfer. 

In other news, my friend had her baby this week. I gave her a few days after she was born to let them all settle in at home. I went over yesterday with a gift and I was actually excited to meet the baby. I got lots of snuggles in and we talked about her (extremely fast) birth story. Nothing insensitive was said and it was a pretty great visit. The baby is so tiny. I was so afraid to hold her because she is so precious and looks so fragile. It’s hard, but exciting, to imagine we will (hopefully) have one of those one day. She’s dealing with some family issues right now which is tough on them but they’re all doing well. 

I will have to update on how the progesterone injections go tonight. Please please give me advice or tips/tricks for them if you have any! It’s all brand new to us and I’m scared sh*tless. 

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Catch-Up

It’s been a while since I’ve posted so there are a few updates to catch up on. The most exciting is that I will be having a transfer next week, as long as my lining is thick enough. I’m fully prepared to be on the Estrace another few days because I’ve been there before where my lining wasn’t quite there yet. It’s looking like either the 10th or a week or so later for transfer. It’s definitely coming quickly and we are nervous as hell for this one. It’s been so much in the making, I’m more afraid for the TWW than ever. It will be so much more pressure with everything leading up to it. The major work in the last 2 months has been the diet. It’s still so tough and requires a lot of work to meal plan. Going out for dinner is a nightmare. A lot of restaurants have an allergy menu online which is really enlightening to see what’s actually in the food that you wouldn’t expect. Diary and eggs are almost impossible to get away from. We’ve tried to avoid going out because it’s such a headache but last week we found a gluten free vegan cafe in town that although grossly overpriced, was seriously delicious! We had an accidental slip up last week that was pretty upsetting. We went to the movie and I’ve researched the popcorn and artificial butter flavored ‘topping’ before to make sure it was safe and much to my excitement, it was! Popcorn could be my kryptonite I love it so much. There was a mix up with DH and which topping was put on the popcorn and it turns out, I munched down half a large bag of popcorn that ended up having real butter on it. It was a miscommunication between DH and the young kid at the counter but we didn’t realize what had happened until after it was all eaten. It was definitely upsetting since I have worked so hard with this diet, not cheating once to have it come down to an accidental miscommunication. Poor DH took all the blame and didn’t sleep that night because he felt so bad. I did my best to let him know he didn’t do it on purpose and I’m sure it wouldn’t doom the cycle to failure. We both took it hard because it’s one of the small things we can control in a process that takes most of the control away, leaving us often feeling so helpless.  It puts it in perspective that such a small thing, a tiny bit of butter, can do to an infertile couple. 

This week seems to be the week from needle hell leading up to the excitement of the transfer. I have acupuncture today, which I still dislike but do it for the benefits for the cycle. DH is leaving tonight just for a night, back tomorrow evening but I just so love having him home so much. He’s still not back to work full time, which puts a strain on finances with the most expensive cycle coming up. He’s doing work here and there, but it’s neither predictable nor reliable. Friday is my lining check ultrasound and if by a miracle my lining is actually ready, I go for another intralipid infusion and start the dreaded PIO. I also start the (pill) steroids and (injectable) blood thinners if the transfer is a go. It’s a week of needles. I just so hope I don’t almost pass out again with the IV. It’s so embarrassing and I can’t control it. 

In other news, my friend had her baby today. She said to me last week “I’m sure you don’t want to hear this but I’m just not excited for this baby. I can’t get into being excited for a second one”. Can I assume that you’re making the same awful face I tried so hard not to make when those terrible words came out of her mouth? If you don’t think I want to hear it, then don’t say it! I felt my spine arch and my claws come out when she said that. Though I couldn’t be happier for her that she never has to feel the pain of infertility, I know it’ll be a tough few days of watching her with the baby, wishing it could be our turn too. 

I will focus on happy thoughts, that this is our cycle and know that I have fought so hard for this transfer. That’s an understatement. With the amazing help of my DH, I’ve battled for the best chance for this cycle to work. The never ending diet (that includes giving up dairy, wheat, eggs and now red meat, alcohol, caffeine & processed food), the endo scratch, the intralipids, the steroids, the blood thinners, acupuncture, including more light exercise, the massive PIO daggers, and all of the emotions that go along with this all rolled into one bundle that culmaintes with a panic laden TWW. Can you feel my anxiety? I think I know what I’ll be focusing on at acupuncture today…

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Child-Filled Weekend

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Our friends/DH’s cousin came over for a night with their two munchkins. We love them fiercely so we had a great time! They left the kids with us for a few hours while they took some much needed alone time to shop. We played in the garden looking for bugs, ate plums and apricots off our trees, made forts and ran circles in the yard. After they left, we had another set of friends over for dinner. A few weeks ago, I told a story of a couple that we lost touch with and that was causing a lot of anxiety because they lived really close to us and I was afraid of a run-in after so long. They came over and we had a great time. I’m so happy we reconnected to remove the awful anxiety I was feeling. They brought their two kids, one who is 7 months old. I had lots of baby snuggles, which was actually a lot of fun. I don’t always flock to babies anymore since all of our infertility struggles. The pain is awful knowing we may never have one. We had a really nice time. They are very relaxed parents even though their 2 year old is a little Tasmanian devil! He gets into everything so quickly and it’s hard to keep up with him. We realized how non baby proof our house really is. The weekend really got me thinking about the different parenting styles those around us have. Last year around our Oct/Nov transfer, I had a hard time fighting with emotions about letting our childless lifestyle go. Mainly this was because I had visited with two different friends with kids who are the embodiment of a ‘mommy martyr’. I really don’t want to judge a particular parenting style or offend anyone with this post. Obviously this is coming from someone who doesn’t have kids or understand what it’s like to parent. One of my friends, the one who is about to pop with her second ‘oops’ baby, has completely lost her identity to her child. She is a complete mommy martyr. I’m trying not to judge but I’m afraid to become her. I understood the extent of this when I tried to buy her a birthday present. She doesn’t have hobbies, doesn’t do anything for herself, doesn’t want anything unless it’s for her daughter. She won’t let her husband parent at all because she doesn’t trust him. Obviously other issues there. I’m afraid of becoming the person that gets lost in their kids, completely losing their identity. I want to be a mom more than anything and will do everything to make sure my child is happy, healthy and thriving but I am also afraid that infertility will create guilt that I should always be doing more because we struggled to get there. There was a blog post that I read somewhere recently that discussed this. I think it was titled “Was it worth it” or something close. It struck me and has been resonating ever since. If anyone knows this post, please please forward it to me because I have been looking for it. Without having kids, the post still really spoke to me. I know we get to parent how we choose, if we are lucky enough to be parents. My thoughts are really scattered with the upcoming transfer, knowing it will be a struggle since that friend will be having the baby soon and suspecting that a couple other sets of friends will be announcing a pregnancy soon. This is a tough journey. 

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Back to Reality

I had such an awesome weekend with my sister! I made the long trip on Thursday around noon and wasn’t there until 9ish. Traffic, a ferry and delays made the 6 hour trip much longer. We spent time on the beach, checking out local stuff and making dinners. One beach we went to, we had a blast! We threw a football, a frisbee, layed around in the sunshine and cautiously went in the ocean. There were jellyfish around, which was enough to freak me out. It was a perfect weekend. I also took her to an aerial adventure course that navigates through the trees on tight ropes, bridges, zip lines and obstacles. She is a complete monkey and although she’s 28, she still loves climbing stuff. I was concerned it might be too childish and juvenile as a birthday gift. Turns out, it was over 60ft in the air at times and once or twice, I wondered if I would even make it across. I consider myself in not bad shape, we do a lot that’s active and outdoors but this was actually difficult! We both had a blast doing it, laughing so hard there were tears. They might have turned into real tears at one point! In conclusion, it was the perfect weekend. Other than the diet of course, which is another story. My patience has worn thin with food but that can be another post. 

It took so long to write this post that I’m sitting getting my intralipid treatment at the moment.


It’s been a tough morning. I almost passed out while they were digging around trying to get a vein. It always proves to be a challenge with starting an IV with me, plus I pass out so easily. It embarrasses me so bad. I hate being that person. So far so good with the actual infusion now. Before all of the IV drama, I had an endometrial biopsy/scratch. Starting the day off with a good uterus raking is not my favorite activity. It was crazy painful for 30 seconds and then just crampy after that. After the intralipids that look like mayo go through me, I have to go back to the clinic for PIO teaching. More poking. Then off to get blood taken to check thyroid levels, then the worst of all: picking up (paying for) all of the medications. Steroids, blood thinner injections and PIO. It’s a rough day but at least it’s all over at once. I’m surprised at my attitude towards all of this. There could be a pity party today but I’m keeping strong. 

In a week or two, day 1 will start of the actual transfer cycle. I never thought that day would come. It’s been a long cycle, especially with the diet. Now the big question that I’ve really never had to consider because we were always encouraged one way, do we transfer one embryo or two? They have only ever let me transfer one because the embryos are tested normal and I’ve had pregnancies through IUI. Last transfer we asked about transferring 2 but we were encouraged to do 1 because of the risks twins bring. Our clinic is much more conservative and doesn’t like taking risks. I’ve had a feeling I can’t ignore that we should consider two. If there was any cycle to do two, it would be this one because of everything I am doing to prepare. The scratch, the intralipids, the medications, acupuncture, diet and so on. There’s so much to consider. The risks of a potential twin pregnancy, the logistics and future of raising twins, the costs, etc. DH and I have begun to try to understand the fact that we might not ever be able to have another child because of all we’ve done so far unsuccessfully. That is if we even get one at the end of all of this. Have you ever had to consider this? What was your thought process as you decided? I know it has to feel right for each couple but I value the opinions of people who have been through this. Let me know your opinions and experiences! 

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