Enter 2017

As this is being posted we are (hopefully) on our plane to Honolulu.

I am looking forward to this next two weeks of me time (with DH of course). It will be nice to forget about work and life back home and just be a tourist for a while. And while I love my family, I am also happy that this new years it will be just AG and I. No drama, no stress. Just us. Perhaps we can make this a tradition for us. Celebrate new years in a different city every year?

By the time the clock turns midnight for us in Honolulu, most of you will already be in the ‘future’. I think it is kind of ironic we chose a city  that is one of the last to celebrate new years. Almost like I am subconsciously trying to avoid this upcoming year.

It is going to be a challenging year for us. So I will enjoy these few weeks of calm before the storm. Hope everyone else has a wonderful New Years and hoping for the best for 2017.




#MicroblogMonday: Telling the parents

Last week I told my parents we are about to enter the IVF world. At the time I had not had the conversation with my sister so it was still up in the air whether she would donate her eggs or not.

First I should set things up.

My mother is your standard overbearing protective mom that basically wanted nothing more in life than to have a house full of children. She herself suffered from a few miscarriages through her life, and ended up with three children, which deep down I feel she still wishes she had more. Now of course she wants a house full of grand kids to make up for it. It doesn’t help that all her friends have several grand kids and many of them are school age now, so it probably makes her feel like she is left behind the pack.

So to my mom, the minute any of her children got married, it was a constant nagging about kids. Even with me. She knows my situation. Medically I cannot have children without some serious intervention. But she is constantly asking, what about adoption, so and so had a kid with IVF, so and so is adopting from X etc. I have told her that we are happy as we are and just not having kids and leave it at that. In her mind, being childless is not a choice that a person can be happy with. It is something to be sad about. So she is sad about it for me. I feel pity in her eyes every time she sees me interact with anyone’s baby. It is infuriating.

My dad is not a very empathetic person. He is all practical and logical all of the time. A bit of an extreme example: When one family came to him to ask for advise about their 2 year old son who had the same blood disorder that I was born with. My father told them that they needed to go forward with the bone marrow transplant treatment. When they expressed concerns about the risks and the chance that their son could die. He said ‘you are a young couple, you can always have more’.  Of course he did acknowledge that in this case the procedure provided them a chance of drastically improving their son’s life, so it was worth the risk. But still. It was pretty insensitive thing to say to an already emotional couple. That’s my father. Abrupt and to the point, almost to the point of being insensitive. This has lead to many an argument between him and myself. And I tend to be hurt very easily by his words.

I know my parents well and it all went down as expected:

I start by telling them that the government is now providing funding for one IVF cycle and DH and I will be going forward with that in 2017. We will be using a donor egg for our cycle. I tell them I have asked my sister to donate her eggs, but if not then we would use an egg donor from an agency.

My dad’s response: “Why don’t you just use your mother’s eggs?”  Ummmm… because she’s post menopausal and probably is all dried up?!

My actual response: “It is recommended to use a donor who is under 30″

My mom’s response: ” Oh great! you know so and so had a baby with IVF this year. What about starting the process for adoption too?” Thanks but so and so’s problems were probably different from mine, and just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for us. Also I have told you a million times before I am not going down the adoption road. I am not ready for that.

My actual response: “Oh that’s nice. No we will not be adopting. I don’t want to do that.”

And we left it at that.

I am sure I have not heard the end of it though. My dad will likely start reading up on IVF and tell me how medically unsafe it is, and all the possible complications that could result. My mom will continue to hound me about adoption and relay anecdotal stories about how it has worked for someone or other, likely gleaned from her various friends that she most likely is telling about my IVF experiences as well. She has no filter and keeps a secret like a colander holds water.

Next up. Telling the in-laws. 😦

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Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone a joyful holiday season. Although I may not be feeling 100% in the holiday spirit right now. I do generally really love the holiday season and the tremendous sense of family and togetherness. I will relish these next few days with my family. Hope everyone else has a wonderful holiday season too.

Plan B

She said no.

Met with my sister and her husband last night to discuss the reality of egg donation. Both are not 100% ready to commit to this (as I suspected) and can’t agree to go through with this right now.

My sisters reasons are that she cannot get over the hurdle of her egg and AG’s sperm coming together. She says things changed after she had her son and now when she sees herself or her husband reflected in their child it means something to her. To be able to see herself in another person’s child would be too difficult for her. From her husband’s perspective their imam advised against it as well. They both support our decision to proceed with DE IVF and will support us along the way, but she does not feel comfortable being our egg donor. So that is that.

I’m not surprised by their response. And I am a little relieved that my sister will not have to go through all the drugs and doctor appointments just for me. It feels like the right decision for all of us. I know AG has expressed some of the same concerns as my sister about a baby coming from her egg and his sperm. I guess it feels weird to them. And that makes sense. It is not how I see it. But I have had to live with being egg-less for 20 years now so I guess I think differently than they do. Still, I respect their feelings about it.

For some reason though last night was a trigger for me. The flood gates opened up as I talked with them. I didn’t plan on crying. But I couldn’t stop it. I haven’t really cried about this in a long time. I think the last time I had a good cry was when I was 16 and mourning the loss of my genetic eggs. Then again I felt a little something when my nephew was born. But I thought I was over it. I had accepted and moved on.

But it all came back last night. I guess it is never really something you get over completely. I am lucky enough not to have experienced any major loss in my life. My family are all still alive and close. But I imagine what I feel now is something like what it must feel like to loose a loved one. Only this is a completely hypothetical person that never came to be. So why does it still feel like a big gaping hole in my heart twenty years later? Her saying no made it final. I will not have a genetically related child. All last hope of that is done. Now I feel like this loss is not something I will get over ever. It is just something I will learn to live with and will continue to live with for the rest of my life, and every once in a while it will surface again to haunt me.

It’s that little twinge of something I feel in my heart when I see my sister interacting with her son knowing I will never do that. When all my cousins and friends are planning and organizing activities for their children most of which I am not invited to because I don’t have a child to bring to the festivities. When I watch these children growing all around me, and when they will start to marry and have families of their own. When DH and I grow old and have no one to look after us or ask about how we are doing. That feeling of happysadafraid. I take those feelings and box them up and lock them away somewhere inside my mind. I tell myself it is fine and I am making the best of what I have. I am not ungrateful for what I have. I have a great husband. I love my work. I have the funds to be able to travel, shop for ridiculously overpriced purses, and generally enjoy my life. But I guess every once in a while that little box in my head opens up and I have to deal with this dark cloud hanging over my head once again.

I barely slept last night. The dark cloud hanging over me. I couldn’t shut my brain off. I will need to find a way to box it up again. But for now I am on the verge of tears every five minutes. No idea why. Maybe it is just that everything is just happening so fast now. Making a final decision the DE route we are taking. Starting IVF for real this time. I am afraid of what 2017 is going to bring for us. And I am afraid of the potential losses that I am going to have to suffer. I know I shouldn’t dwell on things that haven’t happened yet. But I cant help it. It is my way of protecting myself from being hurt later. Just feel hurt now and maybe it wont hurt so bad later, and best case scenario I will be pleasantly surprised.

So we move to plan B which is finding an unrelated egg donor. I have already started looking up various agencies and starting to plan for that. Hopefully it will not be too difficult to make the switch from a related ED to an unrelated one. I am hoping to have a known donor, so that we can at least be sure of the genetic background and any other potential siblings that might be out there.

One thing my sister said last night that keeps echoing in my mind: “don’t feel like you are alone in all this”. The more I think about it though, the reality is that I am alone. I understand her sentiment. She wishes to support me as much as she can and wants me to be able to talk to her about it. And I will. I don’t plan on keeping what I am going though a secret. But what I feel, how I react. That really is all me, alone in my head. I can talk about it, but it is not something that can be shared. Because the reality is that whatever I am experiencing she cannot even begin to understand how it feels. I will continue to be happysadafraid for the rest of my life and I don’t think that will every change. I will just get better at living with it.


Starting over (yet again)

I finally heard back from the clinic. I basically had my pick of start dates through to April. I requested a start date in April 2017 to give both myself and my sister enough time to prepare.

I have a follow up, and my guess is planning, appointment scheduled for Jan 31. Just to get going on any prep or tests etc., that we might need to get started. 

In the meantime I told my sister I would need a definitive answers from her on the egg donation aspect soon so I can let the Dr know if we will be using an egg bank or not.

So far sister has been on board. But her husband wanted to check with their imam (priest) to see if there is anything, religiously, that would be a cause for concern. 

I totally get it. Obviously I would never impose on them if they were not feeling 100% ready to commit. It’s a pretty invasive thing to ask for and even I don’t feel great about making my sister go through this just so I can have a very limited shot of success. 

Apparently they have spoken to the imam and we are meeting on thu for dinner (sister, BIL, DH and myself) to discuss. My guess is they are going to say no. Which is ok by me. I am not as religious as they are so my conscience is clear either way. DH and I will be going forward regardless of their answer in thu. So I’m feeling ok about that too. 

In fact, the more I think about it, I almost want them to say no so I have no choice but to go with a donor agency. Mostly because then the risk for the donor gets transferred to someone I don’t know. It’s selfish but true. I would never forgive myself if something went wrong and my sister could no longer have kids because she agreed to go through with being an egg donor. I’m ready to pay extra and forego any possible genetic links to myself in order to minimize the risk to my sister. I think it is a reasonable trade off. 

So Thursday I will discuss with DH, Sis and BIL and then decide if we need to plan to contact an egg donation agency. 

Jan 31 I will set the wheels in motion with the Dr. And hopefully by April 2017 we’ll be in the thick of things. Although I want to be careful not to get my hopes up. It really does feel good to finally have a direction we are moving in, rather than a stagnant waiting game. 

Here we go again. 

#MicroblogMonday: Future TBD

I don’t like uncertainty. And I don’t like waiting.

But as is the ironic truth with all things infertility, that is exactly what you are signed up for. A whole lot of uncertainty, with a good amount of ‘hurry up and wait’ thrown in for good measure. This is not new news. But it still sucks. Every. Single. Time.

I received the email that our funding date could come earlier than expected last Wednesday (Dec 14). I responded within the hour of receiving the email. (Of course, by now I am kicking myself for not responding within 5 minutes. Why wasn’t I checking my personal email account all day long on a weekday while at work?! Like maybe there is some time sensitive, first come first served, wait list for this new expedited wait list process that I have now missed the boat on because I waited a whole hour to respond… Maybe I should have called before emailing? Would that have got me to the front of this imaginary line that I am totally making up? I will never know because I decided to send an email and wait patiently for a response. Ugh. Silly me.)

And wait patiently I did. Until the next day. By the afternoon I had not heard back (phone call, email, homing pigeon or otherwise) and decided to elevate matters to a phone call. Ofcourse. Voicemail. I left a voicemail explaining I was following up on an email. And left my number for a call back. And waited patiently again.

Weekend comes along. Who decided that people should get weekend’s off from working. That is a silly rule when you are waiting on news that could affect you medically. I feel like there needs to be rule against having to wait till the next business day for this type of thing. Anyways. Celebrated 36th birthday with no great fanfare. Just quality time with the family and some shopping. It was perfect.

Now we are at Monday (Dec 19). Still nothing. Called again. Voicemail again. Sent a follow up email. Paused for a second before hitting send to consider copying the department director. Decided against it. But I will copy the director if I don’t hear back by Wednesday (Dec 21). I did inform them that I am going away on holiday soon and would appreciate a timeline for expecting a response. (Not entirely untrue. We are scheduled to leave on Dec 30).

This time I did get a response. Only to apologize for the delay and that she would be calling me today. It is now 3:30pm as I write this, and I am still waiting for the call…

Did I mention I hate uncertainty and waiting?

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Got a pretty interesting email this evening:

“Our records indicate that you were scheduled to start your funded IVF cycle on or after December 4, 2017. We have a unique opportunity to expedite your cycle, subject to approval of your physician and completion of all outstanding tests and appointments, if any. We have a limited number of openings in December, January and February – the next three months.”

Apparently things are not going to be as expected for 2017. It looks like my fertility clinic is working to shorten the wait list for a government funded cycleI don’t know why but along with being excited, I am feeling really anxious, scared and kind of sad. I cant explain but I feel both happy and sad at the same time.

There is still a lot to work out. What is my new cycle date? Will that work for my sister (she wasn’t planning on weaning her son till March/April 2017? What if she changes her mind? Will I have time to find an egg donor from an egg donor bank?

A short message that said a whole lot.