It’s my birthday.
32 feels a lot like 31 so far.
It’s my birthday.
32 feels a lot like 31 so far.
Since I came home from the hospital I have left my house exactly four times.
Each one of those outings has left me absolutely exhausted, aching, and nauseous. I keep thinking I’m doing better, but then I have to spend a whole day in bed. Again.
I think my husband is starting to get impatient for me to get out and around. He keeps wanting to go to the movies or out to a show (Fringe Festival is this week). I just don’t want to move an inch if I don’t have to!
It’s been 16 days since the surgery and my pain level is definitely OK (manageable with ibuprofen); it’s the fatigue and the nausea I’m having trouble with now. I haven’t eaten much all week.
I am getting worried about going back to work on the 9th: if I can’t even cope with sitting in a coffee shop for 2 hours (yesterday’s meeting), how am I going to get through a full work week including the insane backlog I’m sure has accumulated while I’ve been away?
So apparently I’m cured. Not of the infertility,* mind you, but of the crazy.** This afternoon I had my last therapy session over the phone. My therapist, as I’ve mentioned, is a Ph.D. student and after this month he will be moving on to another center for another part of his training. I was given the choice of stopping entirely or transferring to a new therapist.
Now, despite all the moaning I’ve done about my therapist in this space, I really quite like him and have gotten a lot out of our sessions. He doesn’t know anything about infertility, but he has consistently helped me to see things in different ways. And even the exercises I thought were totally pointless at the time I did them (remember me complaining about having to prioritize various aspects of my life?) have turned out to be really meaningful and illuminating. He has helped me to climb out of my depression and to take action towards making my life better. Things I might not have done if it wasn’t for his encouragement:
I said things to him that I have never said to another living being (and that I haven’t shared here either). Looking back over the last few months I think that a lot of the frustration I felt in therapy, and the frustration I felt coming from him, was me pushing back against things I had said or didn’t want to realize.
Given the choice of starting over with a new therapist or just stopping completely, I decided to stop. I really feel like I get a new start right now in a lot of ways. The surgery means we will get to start TTC with a clean slate (those 21 failed cycles have been dealt with pretty definitively, I think). I have this FMLA time from work, which feels kind of liminal, and I am looking for a new job (update on the interview coming soon). I am not acutely depressed anymore (though the anxiety is lingering).
So this felt like a good, natural stopping point. I’m going to take the tools I have learned and try to deal with things on my own.
*That remains to be seen.
**A sincere apology if this is ableist; I will be happy to reword if necessary.
I had a follow-up with my RE today. He poked at my incision (owie!) and showed it to yet another medical student (seriously, how many of them are there? and why don’t any of them ever come back? they’re different every time!). He looked at my chart and we made a plan.
Apparently the SA my husband had done by Chucklehead RE last year was (surprise, surprise) not sufficient. They didn’t test for morphology at all, and his motility was low. I reported this to my husband this afternoon and he said, “Yeah, don’t you remember? They told me the motility was low but we shouldn’t worry about it because it was cold outside that day.” Anybody know anything about this? Is this low-motility-in-the-winter thing for real? At this point I just don’t believe anything that came from Chucklehead RE. Well, anyway, our current RE wants to get a look at the morphology, so the husband will be providing another sample. He is not looking forward to this, but considering what I’ve done recently I don’t have a lot of sympathy. Whip it out, I say!
Provided his morphology looks OK, we’re going to try naturally for 6 months starting in September. If we’re not pregnant by March, RE thinks it probably won’t happen at all and wants us to “move on” to IUI and/or IVF.
He was less optimistic than I’d hoped. I don’t really know what I thought he was going to say. Maybe something like “Congratulations! You’re cured!” But I am still hopeful, and it will be good to have the SA done right.
(kind of TMI)
My period started right on schedule Friday afternoon. I was very nervous about this because I didn’t know how it would be to have a period so soon after the surgery, not that there was really anything I could do about it. When I asked him about it before the surgery, my doctor assured me that physically there was no risk (i.e. it wouldn’t slow down my healing), but what I was worried about was pain.
Friday afternoon/evening and yesterday were god-awful.
I am eternally grateful for narcotics because I don’t know what I would have done without the miracle of oxycodone.
My swelling had started to go down earlier in the week, but I bloated right back up. I felt grinding, searing cramps that radiated through my lower back and down my legs. I couldn’t stop sweating. Walking hurt. Sitting hurt. Lying down hurt. I was nauseated. It was, in other words, exactly like every other month, except with the post-surgical pain on top of it. Not an experience I care ever to repeat if I can help it.
The good news is that today I feel much, much better. I am not even really bleeding anymore, which is astonishing, and the cramps seem to be finished. That’s a day and a half of cramps instead of the usual 4-5 days. Hallelujah! This I can handle, and hopefully next month when I am more healed it will be even easier. (I am figuring that this cycle was already hormonally underway when I had the surgery, so next month will be my first real fibroid-free period.)
I started this blog in March and since then I have collected an amazing group of bloggers whose stories I have been following. There are 24 of you there on my blogroll, and you represent so many different aspects of the ALI community.
As I’ve said before, I love the ALI label because it is so inclusive. There are so many ways to get here and so many different experiences we all have. One way to think about that is to start parsing: infertility, subfertility, childfree, secondary infertility, partner’s infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, pregnancy after infertility, and even further, into specific diagnoses. The Stirrup Queen’s blogroll does that, and it’s a great resource for finding others who took the same road to get here.
Regardless of how we got here, how long we’ve been here, and how long we’ll stay, here we all are. And the only way to acknowledge that is to be as INCLUSIVE as possible.
I’m switching the label on my blogroll to say ALI instead of IF for that reason, and while that is certainly breaking news (*eyeroll*), it isn’t really the reason for this post.
Right now, at this moment, of the 24 of you who are listed to the right, SEVEN OF YOU ARE PREGNANT. SEVEN. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 29%. In 5 months. Not a bad success rate, eh? 🙂
I was thinking about that, and thinking about how when I first started reading ALI blogs, how it would make my heart sink to click on a blog to find ultrasound photos and morning sickness updates. I really appreciated finding neatly sorted blogrolls that indicated “IF” and “pregnant” and “parenting.” I avoided “pregnant” and “parenting” like the plague. I used to think, “Well, it worked for them. They couldn’t understand.”
But now I’ve been here a while, and I’ve gotten to know you, and you DO understand. Because you’re here too. We’re all here, wherever “here” is and however we got here. *waves hello* And my heart has expanded and I am so genuinely happy for ALL SEVEN OF YOU and I am ashamed to have had such a divisive and selfish reaction in the past.
Maybe I will be fertile once I have recovered from this surgery. Maybe the fibroids were just masking another issue and I will never, ever get pregnant. I just don’t know. But I am hopeful, and I am grateful for all of you, and I am here. Regardless of what happens, even if I get knocked up on our very first try (ha!), I will always have been here. I will always understand.