Go Away Big Green Monster

Monster

I have managed to be okay over the last two months. Today was one of the few days when feelings of sadness and envy brewed into threatening tears. Amidst all the glowing faces and growing bellies (and not the binge-y kind like the one I have now shamefully developed) in my workplace, I overheard one of my coworker’s happy pregnancy announcement, which was promptly met with cheers and celebration. Tiny little needles pierced each cell in my heart. As I stood up and felt the oh-so-familiar trickling sensation of the beginning of yet another period, I could not wait to get the hell outta that room. Thankfully I was almost off.

I refused to give in to tears. I breathed…in…..and…..out…..in…..and…..out…Just like what my therapist taught me. Yes, I am sad. Yes, I am jealous. I am feeling those feelings. In…..and….out….And I let it go. Go away big green monster.

A month ago, I had my third surgical hysteroscopy. This time, surprisingly, I didn’t experience the crippling anxiety and fear beforehand. I guess I was now in a position of being able to accept the fact that I may not be able to bear a baby within my own womb.

Well, the surgery went well as far as I know. My hemoglobin level managed to hold so I did not need a blood transfusion and did not need to stay in the hospital longer than one night. And as far as me and my family doctor could tell from the operative report, my OB-GYN had removed as much as he could of the fibroids within my uterus. I will not be able to see him for another 3 weeks so I don’t quite know his thoughts on my fertility yet.

I had been putting off contacting the fertility clinic. The doctor there had asked me to call her once there was a surgery date. I had figured, what’s the point? I probably won’t be getting pregnant anyway. And S and I had casually been talking about the possibility of maybe doing IVF in the Czech Republic since it was significantly cheaper than in Canada.

Anyway, I did end up calling her post-surgery. I told her it had gone smoothly and she asked me if I was ready to go ahead. I told her that I would prefer to start with IUI if possible. Oh and by the way, my boyfriend has now decided to become involved…I give her credit for barely flinching at this sudden change of plans.

So now I am supposed to get a SHG next month and then go meet with them at the clinic at the end of September. In the meantime, S will need to get all the appropriate tests done.

Since the surgery, I have been feeling great physically, which likely has helped me feel pretty good emotionally as well. So far my hemoglobin levels seem to be stable and at the highest that I am able to maintain with my thalassemia. I have been able to get 7 or 8, instead of 11, hours of sleep at night and feel alert in the morning. I have color in my face and my lips are a nice red color. I was impressed with how thick and dark my blood in the tubes were when I had my blood drawn yesterday.

S and I went on a romantic weekend get-away to the mountains earlier in the week and I even managed a 3 hour hike and a morning trail ride on horseback. Even had a steamy quickie on the moss and pine needles of the forest floor ūüėÄ

Things with S have been pretty amazing over the past while. He hasn’t had too many depressive episodes lately. And neither have I. As we had been brilliantly advised, we are both trying not to go into the past or into the future and to just enjoy each moment and each day as it comes. This has really helped me curb my anxiety about the future.

Trying my best not to think about babies, pregnancy, fibroids, infertility (which is I suppose why I have distanced myself from this blog and other related blogs as of late) has given me the space to get out there and mindfully embrace the moments of each day. And with all this in the background for the first time in the longest time, I am reveling in simply being in love.

Until next time,

M

Impermanence

How things have changed over the past couple of months after I found out that I was unable to conceive…I have transformed into this recluse, only coming out to see the light when I have to go to work, a medical appointment or the obligatory family get-together (thankfully not that many lately). I still cannot manage to see any of my friends for fear of having to talk about my fertility issues.

My only true confidante has been S. He has been so kind and understanding. One weekend morning, I could not manage to get out of bed and tried to stifle my crying so he couldn’t hear while he prepared our breakfast. When I finally could pull myself together, he didn’t try to comfort me with false hopes or try to talk about the reason behind those tears. He simply asked me if I was feeling a little better, to which I nodded. I just needed to get that sudden intense pain out of my system when it hits.

I have been nudging my heart in the way of preparing myself for the very real possibility of finally losing my uterus and the notion of bearing a child in my own body. I guess it is like a relationship that just has not been working. I am slowly distancing myself, becoming less attached so that when the time comes, it won’t hurt as much. My therapist asked me how I managed to get to this point. I told her I don’t know. Maybe it’s that I have removed those blinders she pointed out that I was wearing for the first part of this year and that I am now opening up to other ways of having a child. I have mainly been toying around with the idea of surrogacy.

The next thing I am now waiting for is another hysteroscopy next month when my doctor will attempt to tackle the fibroids once again. A second one would be needed in the fall and he would like me to try IVF right after that if they are indeed successful.

I have mixed feelings about IVF. I had not planned to go that route initially. I really do not know if I want to go on that rollercoaster. First of all, I am constrained by finances so I could maybe only be able to afford one or two attempts. Secondly, I don’t know if I want to open my life to additional emotional and physical stress and for it to carry through the entire pregnancy.

Oh yeah, and to throw yet another twist into the mix, S has now decided to become a part of this journey towards parenthood…

M

 

“I have never seen a HSG like this before”

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I have not been doing well, which is why I have not been writing lately. I just could not stand to be around anything pregnancy/baby related and I now regret having the word “mom” in the name of my website. I saw my doctor last week and he confirmed my fears. With the current condition of my uterus, I have very low fertility and will not be able to get pregnant. He told me that he has never seen results of an HSG test like mine. And this is coming from a very experienced, older doctor. Once again, I prove to be an exception and continue to keep my special patient status aka “pain in his ass” (verbatim from him). Gotta love¬†his blunt sense of humor.

This fucking Judas uterus.

My right fallopian tube is distorted and blocked, possibly by a fibroid. So he wanted me to see what the fertility clinic he referred me to would say. I just had my consultation. $200 for a 15 min. telephone consultation. The doctor pretty much verified some information on the patient history form I had filled out online. She told me that my doctor will have to do surgery to remove the fibroids as a last ditch effort. That he will need to be aggressive and optimize my uterus for pregnancy as much as he can. If this is possible, I am supposed to contact them again to proceed with IVF. I inquired about the pricing and as I had suspected, the price is astronomical once you add everything up.

I promptly booked an appointment with my doctor to discuss surgery once again. We were originally holding off to help preserve my fertility but guess at this point I don’t have it anyway. Maybe my uterus is too ravaged with fibroids to save anyway. I know I need to start refocusing from hoping to become a mom to getting used to the very real possibility that I can avoid a hysterectomy no longer.

A couple of weeks ago, my brother, who’s a doctor, voiced his concerns about my medical situation to me. He believes that both my OB-GYN and family doctor are irresponsible and wrong in supporting my decision to try for pregnancy. He warned me of how anemia gets worse with pregnancy and also the possibility of post-delivery hemorraghing (as a single mother, who would take care of my baby if I’m gone?). He is adamant that with my consistently low hemoglobin levels, I am risking my life by continuing trying to become¬†pregnant.

Initially I was very upset and defensive when he brought all this up. He made me cry. But after a while of carefully considering the points he brought up, passing on his concerns to my OB-GYN as he requested, and looking things up online, I realized that what he was saying was valid. He has a right to be concerned and I know he was only telling me these things because he cares. He doesn’t want me to sacrifice my life in order to bring a baby into this world. He is a good, thoughtful and intelligent brother so there is certainly weight to his words.

I have not told him yet that I have thought over what he said. I had simply thanked him for his concern at the end of our conversation. On some level, though it pains me to admit it, I know what he is saying is true. I ended up having to go to the ER again this past weekend for another blood transfusion since my hemoglobin level dropped again. Though I am a bit ashamed to admit it, I was not even planning to let my family know this since it only justifies that I am barely hanging in there. But by chance, my mom called me while I was in the waiting room and I was never one to lie.

Right now, I continue to stay suspended in this fog of sadness, wrapped up in avoidance by eating my sorrows away and playing this mind-numbing zombie game on my phone. At least when I am working, I am busy enough to forget my troubles for those few hours. But even in my dreams, the feeling of my baby hopes slipping away continues to haunt me. I woke up in the wee hours of this morning, hyperventilating in a panic from a dream of my best friend (who is due next week) having a daughter and was asking me about my pregnancy situation. That is how badly I am dread talking about my infertility to the people in my life.

I feel myself drifting away into depression once again. Good thing I have an appointment with my therapist this Friday.

I really wish I had named my blog differently. At this moment in time, I am most definitely not hopeful, nor is there a good chance that I will be becoming a mom anytime soon.

M

Dear Kindred Spirits

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To my sisters in the online infertility community…

I read about your struggles, your joys, each step along the way in trying to bring forth a life you already deeply love even before it materializes into flesh and blood. We are bonded by this indescribable desire for a baby and we somehow manage to face these incredible challenges with the insurmountable strength, will and courage of a superhero(ine).

I admire each and every one of you, and I feel so grateful that there is such a supportive online community of ladies who have the dream of motherhood ever-present in their hearts.

Since my HSG test a couple of days ago when I found out that there is a problem with one of my fallopian tubes (hopefully just one…) and that this is yet another hurdle I will have to face, along with the¬†innumerable amount of fibroids and polyps I have; my spirits have been shot. I feel numb; like a zombie going through the motions of everyday life. It’s been a beautiful start to Spring here and I feel like I should be reveling in the sunshine, breathing in the much warmer air, and looking forward to finally packing away my boots and winter gear and doing all of the wonderful outdoor activities we only have 6 months of the year (sometimes less!) to enjoy.

I did go online and found some success stories of women who have been able to deliver healthy babies even though they only had one working tube and fibroids/polyps. This definitely did make me feel a little better and I no longer felt like the world was crashing down on me like I did on Tuesday.

But the anxiety of seeing my doctor next Tuesday to find out the final results of the HSG test and whether or not IUI is off the table now with IVF being the only option left, has me on edge. If this is the case, my brief journey may then be over. I looked up the costs (our provincial healthcare as well as my work insurance does not cover anything fertility related) and for one cycle of IVF, it will be at least triple the amount I had planned for a couple cycles of IUI. I am limited in finances as a preschool teacher since my fibroids condition and thalassemia prevents me from being able to work full-time. I had tried to apply for a loan last year for some major emergency dental work (damn rollerblading accident years ago!) and they rejected me since I wasn’t making enough income. So I know that won’t be an option unless I maybe try another bank…The only other possibility that has entered my mind is maybe selling my beloved little loft and moving in with my mom…She is great but of course this is not ideal after being accustomed¬†to living on my own for what feels like eternity.

Facing this possible fork in the road, I am struggling these days.

I am surrounded by pregnant teachers all around me at work and my best friend is due with her first in the next little while. I have been avoiding contacting another friend who gave birth recently. Yes, I do feel guilty about that. My baby niece and her parents will be in town this weekend and I will be babysitting her for the very first time. Originally, I was over the moon excited about it but now I admit that I am dreading it. I know, it’s selfish. Must stifle this green-eyed monster. Unfortunately, (or rather, fortunately I suppose) I do not have any family or friends (that I know of anyway) who have or had any fertility issues so I feel really alone in that regard. I know that if I really wanted to talk to some of them, I could; but how can someone understand when they don’t face infertility themselves? I tried to look up to see if there are any local infertility meet-ups but so far, I have been unsuccessful. There must be though and I will continue looking. Although these last couple of days, with the exception of¬†S, I have isolated myself from everyone and have absolutely no desire to converse with anyone.

I know that I am a bit more short at work with people, shameful to say, that this includes the little ones. Good thing the weekend is coming up. I will also admit (so much easier to type it rather than to say it out loud to someone) that my relatively clean and healthy diet has been straight out the window and has been replaced with ranch chips, pizza, cookies and cream chocolate and vanilla wafers. I know I will need to stop this self-pity and emerge from this saturated fat, black hole at some point soon. I know that doing some meditation, yoga or Buddhist reading would probably help my emotions but it is just one of those times that I just cannot muster the strength or motivation to do it. I am glad that the antidepressants are preventing me from falling down too far and I have been trying to book an appointment with my therapist for next week. I am aware of all the resources and ways to help raise my spirits again. I just wish I could somehow reach deep inside my soul and find that yearning again soon to give me enough strength and guidance to keep me standing in this battle.

After tirelessly crusading against the inevitable treatment of these inoperable fibroids being a hysterectomy, and suffering from the constant bloodshed and literally having my life drain away for the last 9 years or so, I don’t know how much longer I can stick it out for.

Maybe fate is telling me I can put off the hysterectomy no longer.

If I am somehow miraculously able to conceive, it will be another battle in itself to keep that pregnancy. I see how many of you out there face pregnancy loss after pregnancy loss, over and over again and I don’t know if I am strong enough to be like you.

I have lived through an abusive childhood, depression and being suicidal, losing all my hair to Alopecia, a couple of cancer scares, going about each day with a hemoglobin level averaging around 80, major financial debt, heartbreaks from men all along the way, and the presence of a real-life Mommie Dearest in my relationship with S.

And yet I feel like this is what is finally going to break me.

To my fellow sisters alongside me on this long-winding road – How do you do it? How do you manage to always pick yourself up after each and every setback and keep staying hopeful??

M

 

This is How Much I Want You

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One more thing accomplished…day 3 FSH level blood test – check! Now hopefully the results will be okay…

Prior to this, it was quite the day…

I have been off of birth control since the beginning of the year when S and I were supposed to start trying for a baby. I was happy to be off the hormones as I figured my body needed a break from them after over 15 years of it. After finding out that I would now be doing this on my own without S, I continued staying off the bc so that my body would be¬†baby-ready even though IUI wouldn’t likely happen for another 4 months or so. I held out (barely) for the day 3 blood test but now it looks like I will need to go back on the hormones because of the cursed countless number of fibroids and thalassemia (which in case you don’t know, ¬†is not as pretty as the name may sound. It is a genetic blood disorder that causes chronic anemia. And of course, I ended up having one of the more severe types).

Being off the bc, my periods have been more regular but have been more of a bloodbath than usual. Well it started a couple of days ago and I ended up hemorrhaging while I was at work. They ended up calling an ambulance and the school I was in was put on alert while all of this was happening (poor kids!). It was absolutely mortifying. The bathroom, my black pants (staple of my everyday wardrobe), shirt and even boots looked like props in a horror movie. At least the majority of my coworkers are women, which helps. They hooked me up to the IV and eventually after finding a match, I received a blood transfusion of a couple of units.

Unfortunately, this blood came in one way and promptly out another but I am still standing. Pale and frail as a ghost, shaky and out of breath with the slightest of movements, but I am here.

I am hoping that going back on the bc and continuing with the max doses of tranexamic acid and Advil will prevent this from happening again. But I know that with the combination of these two serious conditions, it will be a fine balance between trying to create life while trying to keep mine going at a safe level. My doctor has warned me that if I do get conceive, it will be a high-risk pregnancy and that he will have to “monitor me like a hawk.”

My mom had a hysterectomy at my age but this was after bearing three children. My doctor and I have tried everything under the sun over the last decade, including every kind of bc, Lupron, Fibristal and two hysteroscopies. He is adamant that the only treatment left for the fibroids is to have the same fate as my mom.

But I refuse to give up. I will continue pushing on in my lightheaded, lethargic haze with the hope that one day you will be here and know that this is how much I wanted you.

M

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