Monday, December 31, 2007

Farewell, 2007

I'm feeling introspective today which I suppose is to be expected since it's the last day of the year. First of all, I am THRILLED that Christmas is over. Our family obligations finally ended last Friday, and we were ready not to see any more family. Husband and I have agreed that next year we will do things very differently.

On paper, 2007 doesn't look like a very good year. Two failed IVFs; confirmed diagnosis of stage 4 endo and a unicornuate uterus as well as my right tube being cauterized due to being hopelessly messed up by endo; the return of my endometrioma and the pain and spotting it brings with it thanks to the stimulation drugs for IVF. Work stress and anxiety. Family stress and anxiety. Friend stress and anxiety including a paused friendship and watching friends effortlessly achieve what we want so badly. Coming to terms with the fact that I will likely never carry a baby.

However, 2007 feels much different than 2006 which was a truly horrible, horrible year. We finally knew what was wrong with me. We tried IVF and even though it failed, we've tried it. We have decided on a direction (surrogacy) and even though sometimes I'm frustrated with how long it will take us to proceed, we have a direction. And Husband and I are closer than ever. So, I feel like we are ending 2007 on a slightly more upbeat note than we did 2006.

As for 2008, I hope to god it's a better year. I somehow have to make myself be patient and get through the likely 6 months or more it will be before we can cycle with our surrogate. I'm returning to work on Wednesday feeling stressed and anxious still. January is often not a great month for me. The year feels too new...the holidays are too recently past, and after MLK Day, I don't have another day off for a holiday until May. I hope and pray January passes quickly. I'm taking two classes in grad school, so hopefully it will. I'd like to find some peace in 2008. I'd like to find the strength and fortitude to mend some friendships.

Most of all, I hope that 2008 brings some positive forward progress. This time next year I hope to be ending 2008 on an anticipatory note: we will either be preparing for the birth of our baby via surrogacy or moving on to adoption.

So, farewell, 2007.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

I can't believe it's Christmas Eve. I feel like it should be only September. I know adults always said that time sped up as you grew older, but really, this is ridiculous!

We've completed one Christmas...only three more to go. Christmas for us will end on Dec. 28 after we meet my father and stepmother. The joys of having 4 sets of parents!

I feel a little down today, but I'm trying to get over it. I haven't been able to relax as much as I would like, and I think that has contributed to my mood. Plus, my lower back pain is still present--though not as bad--and it's a constant reminder of our situation. I want to rip out my right ovary and tube and hopefully bring an end to the physical pain I feel, but I doubt that can happen until after our surrogacy journey ends one way or the other. And since we aren't exactly sure when we'll be able to start cycling, it means I'll be dealing with the pain for a while. I never understood how people dealing with chronic pain could be sometimes depressed, but I do now. It's awful. And it definitely affects my mood. It IS getting better, though, so I'm hoping it fades completely in the next few days. At least it's now manageable with a couple of Advil. Thanks, endo!

Husband and I get to spend Christmas Eve together in our house, and that is so great. I'm roasting a turkey, and we'll have various sides. And later we'll go to midnight mass. I think it will be a special night.

Off to bake and cook. I hope you all have a very good Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Almost Done!

Today and tomorrow are my final days of work, but in usual fashion, my to-do list seems to grow longer every hour.

I haven't been sleeping well lately. I let AF come after two straight cycles on BCPs, and even though it was a very light one, I had a lot of side and back pain that kept me up for a few nights. Thank you, endo! I thought it was over and then this morning I woke up at 3:30 am with horrible back pain. Two advil did nothing for it. A Tylenol 3 helped a tiny bit but not much. I'm no stranger to pain because of endo, but this back pain seemed seemed a little higher than my normal back pain. I was beginning to worry about kidney stones and other fun things like that, and I got up at 4:30 b/c why not? I can't sleep; I might as well get up. So here I am at work a little after 7. And I'm SO tired. Thankfully the pain seems to have lessened quite a bit. I am beginning to wonder if it has anything to do with my endometrioma. Did it rupture? I swear, it's always something with my body lately. If the pain returns, I plan on going to the doctor and begging to see someone. I don't know if there is anything they can do, but I want to rule out non-kidney issues. Of course this has to happen just before I go on vacation. Isn't that always how it works?

Christmas cards are done and mailed. We need to wrap gifts and finish decorating. We have been such decorating slackers this month. I'm baking goodies for my coworkers and need to figure out something chocolate to add to their bags. Maybe fudge? That's quick and easy.

We received a Christmas card from J and J, our friends with a 10-month-old. I was wondering if we would receive any acknowledgement from them since they didn't acknowledge our birthdays or initiate contact. It, of course, was a picture of their baby. Husband was a bit hurt b/c it wasn't personalized at all. I tried to explain that I doubted they were trying to make a point and that that's how those kid cards usually are. Because I tend to dwell and overthink things, I do wonder what their card means. Are they thawing towards us? Were we just on their list and the card doesn't mean anything? Are they being slightly passive aggressive by sending us a picture of their baby? I'd like to think that the card means they are thinking about us and not that we were just names on a list, but who knows with them.

And speaking of the kid cards...I am really growing to hate them. One reason is obvious, but I have another: I think I object to how unoriginal they are. They all look the same and are so impersonal. I like to think that one day when we have kids, we will make interesting cards with our family on them. I want our cards to be special. I could help but think about the kid cards we have received while I was doing our cards. I wrote messages in 26 cards...gee, after all, I don't have a cute baby to use, so I guess I have the time to go to the effort of actually writing a message and signing the cards. Not looking for a medal just a tad bit bitter :-)

Oh, I received an H for the semester in my grad school class. It's the equivalent of A. Yay! The professor wasn't the greatest teacher, but she is very smart and knows her subject, and she gave me some really good feedback on my papers.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Counting Down

Not counting today, I have 4 more working days for 2007. I cannot wait until Wednesday at 5pm when I stroll out the door and not come back until 2008. One of the perks of working at a university is that they give lots of time off during the holidays. My university has started closing to save energy, so we are pretty much forced to be off. Darn. What a sacrifice. I'm taking an extra two days in order to relax and do nothing before the holiday rush begins. Husband and I have 4 sets of parents between us, so the holidays can become very hectic as we try to schedule everyone.

In decorating news, the tree is up. My cats are so fascinated with it. It's adorable. They even sleep under it, and I'm hoping to stage a cute picture that can become our Christmas card next year. I still have a few more decorating odds and ends to do as well as Christmas cards, but after that is done, I'm finished.

I'm in an odd mood. Sometimes I feel really excited about the holidays and other times I wonder what I have to look forward to and feel like I'm going through the motions. Sometimes I feel like I'm forcing myself to do all that I am doing. I think that's ok. This time of year can be a rollercoaster emotionally for everyone, so I suppose it's normal to feel this way. Normal. Ha ha. That's something I haven't felt in a while. I think I'll be able to fully embrace the holiday spirit once I'm on vacation. Work has been a bit stressful lately, and I think that's contributing.

I'm going to a work baby shower today. It's the first baby shower I've attended in 2 years. I stared long and hard at the invitation when it arrived, but the mother-to-be is a good work friend, and I guess attending doesn't bother me as much as it would if it were outside of work.

I heard from our potential surrogate today. She is recovering well from the birth and reassured me that she cannot wait to do it again. That was just the email I needed!

Monday, December 10, 2007


I knew that when I posted last week about my new and improved attitude and general somewhat positive feelings that I was tempting fate and probably should have kept my mouth shut for fear of jinxing it. Sure enough, all last week I suffered from quite a bit of anxiety and what DH refers to as "torquedness." I think a lot of it was caused by the stress of getting everything finished for school.

However the real mood killer came later in the week when I received an email from my pg best friend telling me jubilantly that they were having a girl. I was first shocked because it was so unexpected. Last time I had talked to her about it, they were going to wait until January for the 4D ultrasound, so I was not at all expecting that announcement. After the initial shock passed, I was left with sadness. Husband and I always wanted a girl. Don't get me this point if someone gave me a baby with three heads, 12 arms and no discernible gender, I would happily take it, love it and proudly raise it. But...we've always wanted a girl. And now both of our sets of friends who have conceived easily had or are having girls. It just makes it harder to take somehow. It's like...they get THAT too? Argh.

We had a good weekend though. We went to Biltmore House in Asheville for their Candlelight Christmas. We try to go every year or every other year. In recent years, we've gone with friends, but this year, we decided to go alone, and it was great. Good food, good wine, beautiful weather, great house. We got to do what we wanted to do according to our schedule. It was fun. I'm feeling a little guilty though because we didn't invite the pg friends along like we normally do. Husband and I talked about it, but we decided that we wanted a baby-free zone, and given the news we received from our friend the day before we left, I think we made the right decision. However, now I'm worried that our friends may be hurt by our action. We didn't tell them until Friday that we were going, so it seems a little surreptitious. But then the petty, mean part of me comes out, and I think, "Good. Be a little hurt. You get an easily-conceived baby girl in a few months. Surely Husband and I can have a trip to Biltmore alone." Hey, might as well enjoy our DINK status a little bit. Of course, I'm often guilty of over-thinking and worrying, so I bet my friend isn't thinking about our trip at all.

Tonight we put up the Christmas tree. After today, I have 7 more days of work in 2007. I am almost ready to start counting down the hours.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Forward Motion

I received an email from our potential surrogate this morning, and she had the surro baby on Saturday. Everything seems to have gone well. Wow. Now we can start talking seriously with her about matching. Obviously not right away, but a major hurdle has been jumped: she's had the baby! And I know it's silly, but I can't help but hope that her having the surro baby on our anniversary is a good sign.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Exterior Lumination

This year I have finally achieved outdoor Christmas lights. We bought two deer from Lowe's, a set of lighted presents from Michael's, and I put colored lights on several bushes in front of our house. Husband got everything hooked up yesterday, and it looks great! We wanted to put up icicle lights on our roof, but I don't know if we're going to get to that. And I have yet to drag the Christmas tree downstairs, so all of our decorating has focused on the outside. That's ok. I felt like if we didn't get the outside stuff up over the weekend, we never would. And I finally started listening to my Christmas playlist on my iPod.

I think I've posted before about how this Christmas feels different from last Christmas. Last Christmas was miserable. I broke down in the mall parking lot while we were shopping because everyone around me was so happy (or seemed that way anyway), and they had families and we didn't and what was the point and when would the nightmare end. I'm sure all of us going through IF have had those moments. All I wanted was for the holiday to be over.

This year, I'm ok. I'm decorating the house. I'm thinking about Christmas cards. I'm listening to Christmas music. I'm allowing myself to feel excited. Around Halloween I posted about how I felt like such a fraud or as if I weren't allowed to enjoy the holiday because it was for children, and I don't have any. Last year I felt the same way about Christmas. This year, however, I want to take Christmas back. I have as much right as anyone else to enjoy this holiday. I'm enjoying making fun plans with Husband so that we enjoy the holiday. We're going to Biltmore next weekend. I'm enjoying my damn lighted deer in my front yard. And that's ok. That's allowed. I'm not quite 100% though. I love to entertain, but I'm not quite ready to throw a party where all my friends who are pg or have children attend, but that's ok too. Husband and I are doing the best we can. I've started telling myself that one day, it will be different. There will be children around. Some way, some how. Maybe surrogacy will work. Or we'll move on to adoption. So for now, I'm going to enjoy Christmas with my husband.

I told my father last night that we had decided to pursue surrogacy. He quickly replied that it was ok with him. People's reactions can be funny. When we've told family, they always quickly reply that it doesn't matter to them if someone else carries our baby or they don't find it weird or that it's ok with them. Their reactions lead me to believe that they do in fact think it's a little weird. That's ok. I think it's a little weird too, but we're going to do it. Surrogacy feels right to us, and we've never let our families' opinions influence us much (to their irritation). So thank you, family, for at least attempting to respond positively no matter how you might feel privately.

School is Out and Anniversary Musings

As of 12:15 today, my semester officially ended. Yay! Unfortunately, I'm not quite finished with my final project yet, so I can't celebrate by wallowing in the 61 books I bought at the book sale. I'm close, though, so hopefully I can upload the project tomorrow and be completely done.

On Saturday Husband and I celebrated our 6th anniversary. We went out to eat at a really nice restaurant and gorged ourselves with great food and wine. Oh and dessert. Lots and lots of dessert. 6 years isn't one of those milestone years like 5, 10 or 20, but in some ways I considered it a do-over of last year's anniversary. Last year we had our first appointment with a new clinic on our anniversary. I was excited because I had heard good things about this clinic and at that point had been bleeding off and on for several weeks after my one failed IUI/injectable cycle and welcomed the fresh eyes on my case since my old RE didn't seem overly concerned about the bleeding. Our appointment was good, but it was at that appointment that I learned that I probably had a unicornuate uterus, my right tube didn't look good and was probably damanged by endo, and I had a huge cyst that was likely an endometrioma instead of the hemorrhagic cyst the previous RE diagnosed it as. Oh, and Husband's motility was low. Verdict: straight to IVF with ICSI.

In my heart, I suspected that I had a lot wrong reproductively and while it was nice to have my suspicions confirmed, it was a lot to take in all at once. And in IF, no one wants to have their worst fears confirmed no matter how vindicated they feel. Husband and I went home after the appointment and got ready for dinner. I can't believe I didn't cry, but I didn't. I think I was in shock and still trying to process everything. We had a good time, but needless to say, the probable diagnosis and need to move straight to IVF and its accompanying financial implications were on our minds.

So I feel like we were both in a different place this year on our anniversary and that we could enjoy it wholeheartedly. I love DH so much. We've had our ups and downs this year, but we have come through everything stronger. I know he loves me and is there for me. He has been my rock, and for that I thank him.