Friday, June 15, 2012

Of impatience and A year ago tomorrow

No major updates today.  I just wish I could learn patience.  It is wrong to wish I could skip five months ahead until we get to cycle again.  I know that.  Life is too precious a gift.  Moreover, I know that once November hits I will be amazed at how quickly time passed.  But from the vantage point of mid-June, it seems an eternity!

How can I learn patience?  If I were a patient person this would be easier to bear.  But I am not patient. I have no clue how to become patient.  I can delay gratification, yes, but that's much easier to do when you know that after four years of medical school you will be a doctor, and after three years of residency you will be a chief resident or an attending.  Not that life is guaranteed, but assuming nothing goes drastically wrong, there is a set endpoint, and you work toward it, and then you get there.  With this baby-making there is no set endpoint and no guarantee of success.  In fact, if I calculated properly each cycle has a higher rate of failure than of a live baby/babies.  And you go on until you can't anymore.  And you have no control over the results.  The only thing you can do is stop trying.

I'm not stopping yet.  It's not that I believe I will ever be a mother -- I have no hope anymore -- but I don't think I can be more upset than I already am, so I might as well keep trying because it seems pathetic to give up after only three years.

Why am I here, anyway, when from an evolutionary standpoint I have no reason to exist?  I suppose I have a a purpose but I just don't know it.

 A year ago tomorrow I was in Chicago looking at an ultrasound of two tiny embryos and listening to their synchronized heartbeats.  It was the last time they were both alive.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The latest roadblock...but I'm sure not the last

Our donor's brother was found to be anemic and as part of the workup, a colonoscopy was done (yes, I know this is passive voice -- science mode) revealing numerous benign polyps.  I presume they are working him up for Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome.  He is having genetic testing done, and she herself is scheduled for a colonoscopy in August.  Meaning, even if the results are normal, we wouldn't likely transfer until late October or early November.  I no longer expect things to work out anyway.  We will see if we can get another ovum donor, just in case.

Either way, it now seems I am almost guaranteed not to have a baby in my twenties.  That would require a successful transfer by February, and I just don't believe anymore.

I'm thinking about adopting either a Tamagotchi or a pet rock.

And by the way -- Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome is NOT a premalignant condition, so why does it even matter?  Would someone tell my donor that she can't have children if she had the syndrome?  And it's autosomal dominant and her parents don't seem to have the phenotype, so isn't this more likely a spontaneous mutation?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

More gallows humor: Anti-maternity photos

Jealous of your friends' maternity photos?  Sick of ogling their adorable baby bumps?  Why not take photographs of your own?  Here are some ideas for anti-maternity photos:

1. Arms out from your belly as if encircling a baby bump.  But you haven't got one, so frown.

2. Sit in a rocking chair, cradling the printout from the last ultrasound taken before you miscarried.  This one's a frown as well, and tears if you can manage.

3. If you sport a flat stomach, do a close-up flaunting your perfect body.  Grin and toss your hair for the camera.  Stick your tongue out at those pregnant women if you want.  No stretch marks for you!

4. A black-and-white or sepia shot of the empty room waiting for Baby Godot.  Sunlight focused on the cradle provides extra effect.

5. Multiple miscarriages?  Commemorate them artfully by laying the ultrasound printouts artfully in a bassinet.   Making "no" signs on each ultrasound in red permanent marker drives the message home even more.

6. Stand at the entrance to a maternity clothing store, wistfully looking in.

7. Sit on a park bench watching a new mother (ideally also younger than you) playing with her baby.  You are in soft focus, she is in sharp.

8. Close-up of your BFN.  Enough said.

And here are some other crafty ideas:

1. Glue a mirror into your empty OCP disks and voila -- you just made a compact!  Decorate with glitter and you've got a great party favor.  Especially fitting for handing out at baby showers.

2. Can't use prenatal vitamins yourself since your aorta is apparently porcelain-fragile?   Just don't need them because of your BFN?  Neither reason is an excuse not to by them.  Instead, use them to spell out "congratulations" on your friends' new baby cards!

3. Wondering how you will possibly afford your next IVF cycle, especially if you are using a surrogate?  Hold a raffle, with the prize being all the baby items you collected back when you naively thought you would quickly become a parent.

4.You can also raise money for your next treatment by holding a guessing game with a small buy-in, where friends and family guess when you will end up with a baby.  If you don't need the assistance funding the next cycle, or are taking a break, use the money to treat yourself at the bookstore/mall/ice cream store depending on your personality.  Or be nice, and use it to buy a gift for the person/people supporting you during this process.

5. Why are birth announcements the only announcements going around?  Must we discriminate against the other possible endings to embryo transfer?  Make BFN announcements (see photograph idea number 8) or miscarriage announcements.  You deserve to share your news, too!  Suggest that in lieu of baby gifts, coupons to the nearest soft-serve station are appreciated.

Why is it that as I approach our next round, I am increasingly bitterly sarcastic?

Friday, June 8, 2012

A little bit of gallows-humor...or perhaps I should consider this approach after all?

CITY, STATE – _______ University Internal Medicine resident M. and her husband I. were apprehended earlier today while attempting to kidnap two newborn girls from the _____ Women’s Health Hospital.
The couple, who are unable to conceive due to a chromosomal abnormality, have been exploring various options for family-building since December 2009.  While originally intending to pursue in-vitro fertilization using a donated ovum, the couple learned in June 2010 that health risks made carrying a pregnancy too dangerous for M.  “It wasn’t easy to accept that I’d never have the adorable baby belly and that our private issue would become public knowledge, but eventually I accepted what I could not change,” states the first-year resident planning to pursue a career in academic internal medicine.  She and her husband I. (a Master’s candidate also at _______ University) started the process to find a surrogate mother to carry the child.  
I. states, “It was just taking so long, and it isn’t even legal in our state so we would have to go to Chicago, and I just hate driving long distances.  So we came up with an alternative plan.”
"We also felt this would be more cost-effective," adds M.  "Surrogacy can total over one-hundred thousand dollars.  Our ski masks cost fifty dollars for the two of us, and we used a scissors from home to cut the Hugs tags."
Indeed, the couple went to their local Bavarian Village store and purchased two black ski masks.  Faces covered, they went to the hospital, which is part of the ________ Medical Center.   A security guard tried to bar the entrance but backed down when threatened with a stethoscope and a Queen Square reflex hammer.  M. then used her student identification card to gain access to the nursery.  Inside, she and I. blinded the on-duty nurses with specially-augmented Panoptic ophthalmoscope.  They then chose two newborn girls, cut off the infants’ Hugs tags, and exited the secure area.  They were apprehended when M. realized she had failed to perform the medicine reconciliation and stopped to fill out a form at the  closest nursing station.
The newborn infants were safely returned to their respective mothers, seventeen-year-old A and sixteen-year-old B.  Neither mothers nor babies were available for comment. 

Sometimes, I really do wonder if that might be the easiest way to get a baby.  It's just that I have a feeling they don't let you continue your residency if you go to jail.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In Which our heroine seeks advice

I am sad, bitter, and envious.  I admit this freely.  And now some friends are baking Baby #2, which doesn't make things any easier.

But why should I feel this way?  I have such goodness in my life and yet I can't appreciate it.  I have tried chasing away the negative emotions by listing the reasons I should be grateful.  I have forced myself to dance to peppy music.  I have banged out Beethoven on my piano in ways that would make him spin in his grave.

Nothing helps.  Does anyone have advice?  I wish I could move on to acceptance already.  I know I am missing out on life by feeling down and upset.  And I know that my attitude is the only part of this process under my control.  So why can't I learn to bear this with grace?