Monday, March 28, 2005

Baby makin' Wednesday

My RE's office called Saturday morning. Our donor was in on Friday and Saturday to have her follicles checked, and she now has 14 nice-sized follicles, which is lovely. Retrieval is scheduled for Wednesday, March 30th and transfer will be Saturday, April 2. We have to use ICSI because of my husband's poor sperm morphology, and I've written before about my epic bad luck...but I think with that many follicles, it is not unreasonable to expect we'll get to transfer with at least two embryos.

My husband takes it as fact that I'll turn up pregnant in a couple of weeks. Naive lamb that he is, he doesn't realize what a tragic miracle we are: Pregnant twice out of two IUIs and one IVF with my eggs, never more than 2 good follicles each time -- yet we lost both babies to miscarriage. He actually said to me, "Every other time you've tried, you've gotten pregnant." I boggled at him. "What?" he said, honestly puzzled.

Deft questioning revealed that he had, in fact, forgotten entirely about one of my IUIs -- the unsuccessful one. Previously, I've tried to be politically correct in my use of pronouns, but apparently, "our" isn't the right term to use since he can't even remember how many cycles we've done. Apparently this is my cycle and my DE baby.

This man-like lacuna in my husband's memory -- trivial in his eyes -- made me feel very alone in this process. And that is distinctly odd, considering that I'll have no part in the baby makin' this Wednesday. To be honest, I am more sad than I thought I would be as the time draws near. It is as if, in saying, "Hello, baby!" to this new life I'll perhaps be carrying Saturday, I am saying goodbye all over again to the children I lost to miscarriage, and to the ones I will never conceive on my own.

Perhaps this feeling has something to do with visiting the family. My brother and his wife, after their own struggle with infertility following the effortless conception of my nephew a month after their wedding, are pregnant with their second baby, a girl, from an IVF cycle. My sister-in-law is 39, the same age I was when I conceived and lost my babies. Shrink as I must to admit it, the truth is that although I am happy for them, and grateful they do not have to face the choices I've had to face, their success has ripped the wounds from my own failure.

I was doing pretty well at their house on Easter, where the family gathered for brunch after church. I chatted, helped make a fruit salad, tried not to notice how much fatter I am than my 15-weeks-pregnant sister-in-law. Yes, I was doing very well...until I saw, posted on a bulletin board in the corner of their kitchen, a collection of ultrasound photos of their healthy baby. You could see the little face, an arm raised as if to wave, that sweet round belly babies have.

My heart wailed in my breast. Last week, looking for a receipt so my husband could return something, I found in the side pocket of my purse my own ultrasound pictures from my last dead baby. My little Sam -- we learned he was a boy from a chromosome test after we lost him. So the images were fresh in my mind of my own little bean, my sweet boy who couldn't live because the egg I gave him wasn't strong enough to divide correctly. He had a uniformly lethal Trisomy 14. To add insult to injury, my sister-in-law's own sister was there too, prattling on and on about the pregnancy, and she happened to reveal some things I hadn't known: That the baby is a girl, and they're thinking of naming her Madeline.

That was to be my name for a girl baby. I hadn't quite talked my husband into it, but I'm sure I'd have gotten there in the end.

So, instead of being filled with a quiet, secret excitement at our own upcoming event, I found myself doing what I always seem to do at family parties...sneaking off to an upstairs bathroom to cry. It does no good to pretend that seeing those ultrasound photos, in such stark contrast to my own poor little one who was dead long before I could make out his face or his limbs, did not hurt me deeply.

I feel like scum today. Am I so selfish, that I can't allow joy to have the upper hand? Either for my brother and sister-in-law, who've had their own nightmarish struggle with infertility...or for myself, because I will soon have at least a chance to be pregnant again. I feel I should not begin my DE children's lives in grief for their dead siblings, and yet I can't seem to help it.

I wish I had never seen those ultrasound photos.

Oh well. I took my last Lupron shot this morning, and I will start progesterone-in-oil shots Wednesday night, leaving me exactly one puncture-free day. I wish I could push life's fast forward button to Saturday afternoon, when experience tells me I will be lying flat on my back, trying not to jostle my uterus no matter what the professionals say. From time to time I will pat my too-ample tummy and whisper, "How you doing in there, baby? Is it time to cue up the Mozart CD so you'll be a mathematical genius?"

It seems like I've waited forever for this, and yet it's all happening so fast.


chris said...

Wow, I'm really glad you posted because if I had to wait another day to hear how things are going, my head would probably explode.

Good luck. I wish we could fast forward to Sunday too. By the way, we're practically cycle buddies.

Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Bee, here's hoping this week is reproductively productive for you in every way!

Anonymous said...

I’m so sorry you cried on Easter, Bee. And I’m so sorry you’re sad all over again.

I think one of the most uplifting thoughts about DE that might be useful during your emotional transition… is to put it out to your honest soul that through DE, this child who ONLY you could and will create, reaches you. The conception of this child would NEVER, and I mean NEVER occur if it wasn’t for you. This child will be unique, like no other child, and it will be entirely because of you. I know you’ve heard all about how this child will be yours because YOU will carry, provide nourishment for, etc. but think about the other part of it... this child is being created because you and DH made this choice – no one else can or could make this choice. That, with your own eggs, you will never meet this child, nor know the joys of your life together. That too, could be the biggest loss of your life. Genes are not the only things we lose with infertility.

Remember, we love because we feel, not because of genetics.

Your blog is just great, rooting for you!

Anonymous said...


I think if this works (and you have a better chance than you had with your own eggs) you'll be surprised at how the things that are bothering you now will not bother you one wit.

I spent 5 cycles and $10,000 on my last chance to have my "own" child. When in reality, even if I would have gotten pregnant, I would more than likely have miscarried again.

If I had it to do over again, I would have done donor egg IVF sooner. 1) it worked; 2) it substantially decreased my risk of miscarriage; and 3) it sustantially decreased my risk of having a baby affected by downs syndrome.

My donor's eggs really performed a hell of alot better than mine ever did and for that I'm thankful.

You'll see. You will be too. Try not to let the stress and uncertainty of the numbers game you are playing now steal your joy.

If it works, it will all be worth in the end.

Anonymous said...

Oh Bee, what a weekend. I'm so sorry.

Here's a quote I think is apt.
"Your pain is the breaking of the shell
that encloses your understanding. 
Even as the stone of the fruit must break,
that it's heart may stand in the sun,
so must you know pain." - Kahlil Gibran

I think you would be doing your future kids a disservice if you didn't allow yourself all of difficult feelings--the pain, the anger, the uncertainty, the grief-- that come along with this journey. You are not not not scum! You are honest, you are real, you are in this as only a mama can be--with eyes and heart wide open!

I don't agree that you will "have no part" in the baby making that's coming up. I do understand the feeling though and I have felt that way myself at times. But the donor's eggs and DH's sperm can make the most beautiful embies ever (and I know they will!) but with out a home to implant into, to nourish them and allow them to grow, they would not survive. There would be no baby.

If someone donated a kidney to you, and you went on to run a marathon, would the kidney donor get the gold medal? No. The donor's contribution would have been essential. You, as the recipient, would be forever grateful for (and changed by) their gift. But you would be the athelete. Your body and mind would have undergone the hours of training and conditioning that made competing possible. Your face would be the one on the Wheaties box!

In the donor's body the kidney may have been healthy, but it was redundant. Without a body the kidney would not have a function. (Outside the body it could be an object of study and conjecture, I suppose. The kidney could be used as an illustration of how organs function in theory.)

But inside your body,this organ is not redundant or theoretical--it is critical, it is meaningful, it is pure potential--and that's because of you.

I too feel quite alone in this process a lot of the time. That's why your blog and the few others I've found that address DE have become so important to me. Thank you so much.

Oh boy, will I be thinking of you this week, my cycle twin. Good luck, Bee! -Pam

Anonymous said...


It is so hard when we see so many others have babies that we so long for every second of the day it seems. Anyhow I am getting really excited for you! It is Wednesday and retrieval day. I am sending you tons of beatiful egg wishes your way. I can't wait to hear all about it! Good luck today! Go eggies Go!!!

Anonymous said...

Finally, I can post a comment! Grr, Blogger.

Bee, wishing you tons of luck and like Wessel said, I hope all the past struggles fall to the wayside after you see your baby for the first time.


K said...

Hi...I am a new reader of your blog. I haven't followed that long, but was wondering if you considered embryo donation/adoption as a family building option and what your thoughts were on this...

paperhelp said...

Having a baby is always a miracle. No matter how viable your uterus is or your husband's sperm morphology. Hope you're pregnant now!