Sunday, December 28, 2014

I think It's Time For A Break

Mark and I have been talking about where we are at and what our next steps should be.

Unfortunately right now I don't know that we are on the same page.

Mark is already talking about our next IVF.  What?  Last summer when we started down this path we were talking about one IVF and we have now done three.  And, after the second I said "never again".  The only reason I agreed to the third was due to India and the fact that it cost the same price to do an IVF there as it would have cost to ship our embryos over.

We've already done a bonus round.

Also, if none of our 10 embryos work who's to say the 11th would?  Unfortunately I think that I may just be suffering the same fate as many 39 year olds - my egg quality has fallen off due to age.  Unfortunately no amount of DHEA, supplements, diet, acupuncture or fertility yoga can actually change that.  We all like to think that these things work, but statistically they don't.

There may actually be hope through some experimental procedures out through through a company called Ovascience.  Unfortunately these treatments are expensive, only increase IVF success by 10% and are not available in the US (not FDA approved).  Their long term effects are also not yet known.

There is also the offer from Mark's sister that I just haven't processed yet.

Because we are not on the same page, because since we started on this journey a year and a half ago we have had a lot of heartache, because even as much as we love each other infertility has been hard on our marriage - and hard on both of us in general, we have decided that we are going to take a little time off.

We are going to take a little while to not worry about beta tests, shipping eggs, IVF, etc. etc.

We are going to take a little time for us.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.......

I am not going to sugar-coat things, the holidays are hard when you are struggling with infertility. 

Our families are aware of our struggles, so I feel like we probably have it better than a lot of people.  At least we don't have to dodge questions from relatives that we rarely see like others do.  I have actually told everyone that I don't want to talk about India, babies, infertility, etc. at all this Christmas.  I would like to get away from all of that for a couple of days and focus on spending time with family.

It is hard though.  At times I feel thoughts creeping in about how I thought that we were going to be pregnant this Christmas.  And it hurts.

Santa did not bring me a positive beta test this Christmas, I guess that I need to be happy with my new slippers.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I'm Gonna Make Him An Offer He Can't Refuse....

Mark received a text from a family member that she wanted to talk to him.  He thought that it had to do with the holidays when he called back, absolutely not expecting the real topic of conversation.

I was not involved in the conversation, but this is how I imagine that it went....

The family member - I have been thinking about this for a while, and see how hard it has been for you two trying to have a child of your own, and I would like to help you with that.....I would like to be your surrogate.

Mark - What? Oh, Um, OK.  Bye.

I am sure that there was more conversation than that, but Mark does tend to be a man of few words at times....especially when it comes to tough conversations and feelings.

Mark tells me that he has some news.

He sits down with me on the couch and tells me that his family member has offered to be our surrogate.  I am speechless.....and I am rarely speechless.

When I regain the power of speech I find that there are so many things running through my mind and I can't seem to talk fast enough to keep up with them.  Why?  Why now?  Is this real?  Is she REALLY offering?  (you have to know that when people hear my story a LOT of them have "offered" to be my surrogate - it is not a real offer, it is because that it is a nice thing to say, a way of being sympathetic to my situation - you can bet your bottom dollar that if I followed up with a gestational surrogacy contract it would NOT get signed).  Is the real? (you have to also know that we have had two people offer in earnest to be our surrogate and neither have ended up being our surrogate)

I say "OK" and "That's Great", but in my heart I just can't believe that it is real...not yet.

I just can't really process.  Three days ago we found out that our last two embryos didn't take and I am mourning that loss.  I also just can't believe that this is real, somehow it's not going to work out - she's going to rescind her offer, or she won't get cleared medically, or somehow we aren't going to come to terms on the contract.  She's just offering because she feels bad for us, or in the Christmas spirit or something like that.  If she was serious, we would have talked about this before, before India.

It can't be real is all that is going through my head.

My Heart is Heavy

Today I am sad.  Although I wasn't expecting the last transfer to take, it is still hard news to hear.  Even though you try not to get your hopes up, you do, even just a little bit.  You hope that this time it is going to work, but then it doesn't, and then you are sad.

I keep trying to be hopeful in that we have 4 embryos left....but it is hard.

The RE wasn't exactly overjoyed at their quality - 3 grade 3 and 1 grade 4.  And I don't take his suggestion that we "try again" to try and boost the egg quality as a positive sign.  (We did, and it didn't work).

I have been suggesting to Mark that we have the embryos PGS tested.  That way we KNOW whether or not there are any abnormalities and theoretically whether or not they would "work".  PGS testing has been a topic of discussion at group.  The thought is why keep going through failed transfers and miscarriages?  Why not test the embryos to see if they are good and only transfer the good ones that have better chances?

The problem is that as we get older, less and less are "good".  It is possible that out of our 10 embryos none may be good.

I am trying to put my sadness on hold for a little while and try to get through the holidays.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Strike Two

We received an email from India this morning.

The Beta test was negative - the second transfer failed.

We are looking into shipping the remaining embryos over for another try.

I can't really say more at the moment - still processing and need to get my shit together so that I can go to work and pretend that everything is OK.

Infertility sucks.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas is Coming!

Today is the day that I realized that Christmas will be here in less than two weeks and I AM NOT READY!

My excuse is that we just got back from vacation last week, but technically I could have been planning before vacation instead of planning my vacation wardrobe.  A girl's got to have her priorities though.....

Today I decided to tackle Mark's present.  He asked for some new aftershave.  Unfortunately this is something that I cannot just order online like I do pretty much everything else.  Nope.  I have to go to a store and smell different men's colognes and pick out one that I think I can live with.

What a zoo! I was nearly hit a couple of times in the parking lot alone.

People were EVERYWHERE in the store.  An associate came over and asked me if I needed help.  I said no.  Really I just needed to pick a cologne that didn't smell like ass. 

When did so many men's colognes come out?  This definitely was not like the good old days when designer cologne meant either Polo or Drakkar Noir (remember those days?)

Now there are like 6 different kinds of Polo alone.

Of course there almost no test strips around so I am trying to sniff the bottles or spray some cologne in the air without getting any on me.  FAIL.

I then proceed to accidentally get a full spray on my hand.  Of course it is a scent that I HATE.  And, I get to smell like it for the next 1/2 hour while I wait in line to check out (I wish that I was embellishing right now) and the 1/2 hour ride home until I can wash my hands.

I hope Mark likes his stupid aftershave.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Need Another Vacation

Why do you always need a vacation after your vacation?

I have been digging out under piles of emails, files, and laundry the past few days.

I really miss the stress-free bliss of vacation :(

Monday, December 8, 2014

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Today we hopped in our cab at 7 am and headed to the airport.  Goodbye Rome :(

After 12 hours of flying with a layover in Amsterdam (someday we actually need to see Amsterdam and not just the airport) we arrived home....exhausted.

We decided to ride it out and not try to sleep on the plane in order to get back on our home time zone.

We also decided that since we were technically still on vacation that we were taking advantage of free wine on the plane :)

After being awake for about 19 hours we finally went to bed at 9 pm.  It was really hard to stay up until 9.

Back to work tomorrow....

Sunday, December 7, 2014

When in Rome....

Today was a bonus day.  Today we were not with the tour.  We could go wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted.  We slept in.

We finally got moving around noon, mainly because we had to check out of the hotel.  The hotel that we were in the last couple of nights was very nice, but waaaay on the outskirts of the city and not remotely close to anything.  Tonight we are staying at hotel right in the center of the city.  Thank you for the great rate.

We got settled into the hotel and headed out on the town around 2:30.  We decided to spend our afternoon at the Forum.

It was really amazing to be able to walk around history.  We also finally had nice weather, and the views from the hilltop were breathtaking.

We then strolled around some gorgeous gardens

More sightseeing and enjoying the streets of Rome....

We then headed to the Pantheon and had dinner on the square - so romantic!

On our leisurely stroll back to our hotel we stopped once for wine and ended the evening with some prosecco.

Today was my second favorite day.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

“Are you not entertained?" - Maximus

This morning we needed to be on the bus by 7:30, or else, or Jelle was leaving your ass at the hotel.  We left at 7:30 and we did leave one unfortunate soul behind.  So strange, he was one of the always on time people.  At 7:30 sharp we headed to the Vatican Museum where we got in BEFORE everyone else.  We had the Sistene Chapel pretty much to ourselves (no pictures allowed unfortunately).

The amount of artifacts and wealth accumulated within these buildings almost takes your breath away.

We then headed into St. Peter's Basilica.  It was almost overwhelming.  Amazing. My Catholic guilt started to well up big time.  I felt like I should start going to church again....maybe.

We followed up Vatican City with a visit to the Colosseum.  Our tour got to skip the line - awesome!

After the Colloseum we did a walking tour around the streets of Rome.  We saw the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain (although under restoration and turned off so not really that exciting at this time), the Pantheon and so much more.  What a beautiful city.

The day concluded with our farewell dinner with our tour group.  We had drinks at the hotel with the friends that we made on the trip.

Until we meet again.....

Friday, December 5, 2014

Under The Tuscan Sun

This morning we rose early yet again so that we would be first in line at the Galleria D'Accademia to see David.  It was amazing.  David is just one of those things that you need to experience in person.  The details, the workmanship, the story behind the sculpture - just amazing.

We then headed downtown Florence to see the Cathedral of Florence.  Beautiful.

We enjoyed a tour around Florence that concluded at a leather shop where Mark and I each got ourselves a little something.

Such a pretty area.  I have decided that I would like to go back for a week and just stroll around Florence and tour winery after winery and ristorante after ristorante in the rolling Tuscan hills.

A few more hours on the bus and then ROME!

Our evening included dinner with the BEST entertainment we've seen for a long time and an evening driving tour with a stop by the Vatican for pics.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gondola! Venice! Need I Say More?

Today was my favorite day.

We got into Venice right on time to experience Acqua Alta or "High Water", the flooding that occurs in the winter months in Venice due to high tides.

I was prepared and had brought along galoshes, unfortunately they are kid's galoshes (I have small feet and children's shoes are cheaper which I sometimes take advantage of).  So, they were too short for the peak of Acqua Alta and I very nearly got wet feet on the side streets.

It was an experience.  And one that if you have never experienced yet, you never will.  Venice is building flood gates to prevent feature flooding that will be in place by the end of 2015.  In the meantime the Venetians cope by walking around on risers wearing gumboots or full waders.

After a little tromping around in the water we headed to a Murano glass factory to watch a glass blowing demonstration.  It was pretty amazing watching this guy whip out a vase and a horse in under 10 minutes like it was a piece of cake.  I imagine glass blowing is a lot like the pottery wheel - it looks easy but is a complete disaster for the rest of us (most of us).

We then saw the Basilica of St. Mark - flooded and under restoration but still beautiful

We did a little touring around St. Mark's square and near vicinity

And then went for a ride in a gondola

It was amazing.  I had that big dopey smile on my face the whole ride.  Riding in a gondola in Venice was pretty much the whole point of the trip for me.  One item on my bucket list checked off.

As if that was not enough experience for one day.  After our gondola ride it was back on the bus to head to Florence.  As we made our way we stared into the rolling hills of Tuscany.  It was so beautiful I am very sad that I wasn't able to get any good pictures from the bus. 

We wrapped up the day with a tour of Machiavelli's house and winery followed by a fantastic dinner.

I don't think this day will be beat for a long, long time.