Monday, April 27, 2015

A New Beginning

I think that this quote is true.  The first step to success is getting started....and getting started can often be the most difficult step.

Today I started my new job.  It was A LOT of new.

I am now back in downtown Minneapolis which means a longer commute, ramp parking, and a long walk from the ramp to my building.  My new company is also a BIG company and in a new and different industry than any other company that I have worked for.

It is difficult starting a new job.  You go from a place where you knew everything and everybody to a place where you know nothing (John Snow).  It is unsettling and almost overwhelming.

But....I knew this, I have done this before, and I have been successful.

I just need to push through the uncomfortableness of new and soon things will start to fall into place.

Now I just need to figure out where the bathrooms are....

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Which Do You Want First - The Good News or The Bad News?

Today was our visit visit/appointment with the new clinic.  Granted we have been communicating like crazy over the past month via phone and email (sending medical records, contact information, tentatively setting procedure dates, etc.) but it isn't "real" until you see things for yourself in person.

As I have mentioned before, there are only a handful of infertility clinics in the Twin Cities (soon to be one less).  Of that handful, there are two standouts - our old clinic and our new clinic.  Both clinics are consistently mentioned as the top clinics year after year.  Both clinics have good stats, and top doctors, etc. etc.  Our reason for choosing our old clinic was really luck of the draw.  The names of the two clinics are very similar.  While looking for clinics we happened across our clinic's monthly information night.  We went to the information night and just went from there.  So, if we would have happened on the new clinic's information night we probably would have ended up there.

It's all water under the bridge at this point.

We thought that the two clinics were probably pretty much the same, so we were pretty shocked when we walked into the new clinic.  The old clinic was, for lack of a better word, very clinical.  The waiting room looked like every other depressing clinic waiting room - neutral colored barely comfortable chairs arranged in boring rows - one right on top of the other.  Everything seemed efficient.  Not warm.  Not welcoming.  Efficient.  Doctor consultations were held in similarly depressing, efficient conference rooms.  If the doctors had offices they were tucked somewhere in the back of the clinic.  I bet that they were similarly depressing and efficient.

When you get off the elevators at the new clinic you see paneled wood walls - not icky old paneling, some beautiful dark wood that was stained within the last few years.  The reception desk is similarly paneled and hosts several receptionists so that no one has to wait very long to check in.  The waiting area is very large and hosts large comfortable chairs and couches arranged in small groupings with tables and beautiful flower arrangements sprinkled throughout.  It felt more like the lobby of an elegant hotel than the waiting room of a clinic.  Spending tens of thousands of dollars was somewhat softened by this waiting room.

Our appointment was primarily a consultation.  Instead of being whisked away to a terrible conference room we were guided to our doctor's office.  His office featured a giant desk of the same dark wood featured throughout the clinic with bookshelves full of awards, books and other impressive items behind the desk on the back wall.  It felt more like the office of a top executive than a doctor's office.  Well played new clinic.

We started by expressing gratitude that we were able to get in with the clinic and especially that they were able to tentatively hold procedure dates for us.  When we received the news that our old clinic was closing we were panicked that this would move our plans back by several months.

Then they did the craziest thing ever....they thanked us for coming to them.

What?  A clinic thanking us.  That's crazy talk.

The clinic is supposed to make us feel lucky like they are even considering us a patients - not thank us.

The new clinic is definitely A LOT different than the old clinic.

We talked through the steps of the process and timing.  All things that we expected.

Then the doctor threw a curve ball at us.

The old clinic was going to thaw the day 3 embryos and transfer as soon as possible after thawing - similar to what the India clinic did.  The new clinic wants to thaw our day 3 embryos and attempt to grow them into day 5 blastocysts.

Both our old clinic and the India clinic froze embryos on day 3 for a reason.....they did not expect them to make it to day 5.  On day 3 we actually had 6 embryos on day 3, 4 were frozen and two were left to try to grow.  Those two made it to day 4 and then expired.

We understand the reasoning behind growing the embryos into blastocysts.  If a fertilized egg can make it into a blastocyst (day 5 or 6) it's chances of actually turning into a viable pregnancy are significantly better than that of an embryo (day 3).  The doctor would rather transfer 1-2 blastocysts than 4 embryos.  Why make our GC go through multiple transfers when we could only do one good one.

That is if we actually have a transfer.  If none of the embryos can make it to day 5, then we will have no embryos to transfer.

And these are our last 4 embryos.

Then came another curve ball.....have I thought about attempting to carry a pregnancy myself?

While the day 5 surprise was unsettling, it was nothing compared to the pregnancy surprise.

The doctor only asked this question because we were talking about next steps if the transfer did not take.  We know that we may not be able to use my eggs at this point, which means that we would need to look into donor eggs or donor embryos, which means that I would become completely separated from the biological process of creating our child.  This is a very difficult situation to be in.

Carrying the pregnancy would put me back into the process.

I understand that my carrying ability is technically untested.  My losses were very early.  My symptoms with the second pregnancy suggested a second trimester loss.  My uterus size suggests a second trimester loss.  There are many documented cases of second trimester losses with unicornuate uteri.  However, there are also those who are able to make it into the third trimester and deliver near term babies.  These wins often come after several losses, and these wins are the exception and not the rule.

Through tears I explained that I don't think that I would be able to recover from another loss of my own, especially a later loss, and that I was not willing to put my own life at risk.  My husband vehemently seconded that opinion.

Our doctor explained that he was simply making sure that we were exploring all of our options and quickly dropped that subject.  We tried to wrap up on a high note, but left the office feeling sad and much less hopeful than when we walked in.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

We've Got Friends In Low Places

Last night we had dinner with an old coworker (OC) of mine and his wife.  I had recently reconnected with OC a little over a month ago at a happy hour.  We have been saying for years that we should get the spouses together and we decided to finally make it happen.

I wish we would have done this a long time ago.....

Sometimes when you get couples together for the first (or even 10th time) there can be awkwardness for the spouses that didn't already know each other.  Not all all the case for us - we all hit it off from the get go.  OC and his wife are around our age, also have a couple of dogs, watch a ton of TV, and don't have any children.  Similar to us, the reason that they don't have any children (yet) has not entirely been in their control.

We enjoyed mojitos and chatted about our love of binge watching TV shows via DVR, Netflix or Apple TV, our love/hate relationship with yardwork and disposal of last year's yard waste (joke to you OC if you are reading).  All and all it was a great time.

After a few cocktails the mood got more serious and we started sharing our infertility journeys.  While it is a difficult thing to share, it also feels so good to be able to have meaningful conversations with someone else who has been there.  We are all lucky to have friends and family who are empathetic people and who have been a much needed ear or shoulder to cry on at times.  This is nice, and we are thankful to have these people in our lives.  As helpful as it has been to talk to these people, it is just not the same as talking to someone else who has also been on the journey.

While we have all suffered disappointments in our lives and we have all lost things, pets or people that are near and dear to us, unless you have gone through infertility you cannot know the pain that it often brings.  You cannot know how it feels to see pregnant woman after pregnant woman and for whatever reason, you just cannot get pregnant......or stay pregnant.  You cannot know the heartbreak of going through adoption in the hopes of having a child to call your own, and get denied for whatever arbitrary reason the agency chooses.  You cannot know how much of a failure you feel like when you cannot even complete the basic biological function of reproduction.

It sucks.  This is completely and understatement....but for lack of better sucks.

It is so healing to have a fellow infertility warrior to talk to, to ask questions of, to just know what you are going to.  

OC and wife - we love you guys, we feel for you guys, and our hearts go out to you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

The time has come, the Walrus said, To talk of many things....

For those of you who aren't familiar with this reference, it is from "The Walrus And The Carpenter" by Lewis Carrol.

In this case I am the Walrus and my boss is the Carpenter....or vice versa....or it doesn't really matter.

Today, after thinking long and hard about my work situation, I gave notice at work.  I haven't been happy at work for a while - we went through an acquisition and my situation (as well as many others) changed rather significantly.

Granted it has actually been a while since the acquisition and I am just leaving now.....there are a few reasons for that.  At first, the job market had not been especially strong at first and there just weren't any good jobs out there.  Then, the second half of 2013 I was attempting IVFs so it didn't seem like the best time to try to make a move.  Once the market started to open up (spring of last year), I actually had an offer that I did not take - not quite the right opportunity.  Then, the second half of 2014 we were prepping for India, and then going to India and then dealing with two failed transfers - again not a good time to make a move.  This spring I decided to stop putting my life on hold and start looking again.  Thankfully, a great opportunity presented itself.

The most difficult decision for me was not that to leave my current employer, it was actually choosing which employer that I would move to.  You see, I did not just have one job offer, I actually had two.  Two very good job offers.  Two very good offers with good companies.  It was a good problem to have, but also a very difficult problem to have.  I have been listing pros and cons for weeks and think that I have finally made my decision.

In the end it wasn't that difficult giving my notice.  They knew that I hadn't been happy for a while and that I was also "a big fish in a small pond".  I give them credit for asking if there was anything that they could do or change, but they knew that there wasn't.

Although I am excited about my new opportunity, I am also sad to be leaving my current company.  They treated my very well.  I am well respected and am very connected.  I have made a lot of friends here over the past few years and although I know that I can still see them, we all know that it is difficult to stay in touch.

The next few weeks will be difficult.  I have a lot of projects to try to finish up, and will also have to say a lot of good byes.

I hate good byes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools!

According to Wikipedia, which as we all know is the ultimate authoritative source, the earliest reference to April 1 and tomfoolery was Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" in 1392.  (And yes for anyone who also had Brit Lit with Mr. Maddox at DSHS I can still ramble off a decent portion of the prologue to "The Canterbury Tales" in middle english).

So, people have been being dicks to each other on April 1 for over 600 years.  Good to know.

I have always that that April Fools was stupid and annoying as I generally try NOT to be a dick to people if I can at all help it, and think that April Fools is generally just an excuse that dicks use to be even more of a dick for an entire day.....but some people also really like it.

My ask of you today is that if you must go and have a good laugh at someone else's expense that you do so carefully.  In particular, be mindful of those of us in the infertility community and our feelings surrounding what many think to be an innocent prank - the fake pregnancy announcement.

Sure it's funny to you.  You didn't pee on the upteenth EPT this morning only to have yet another negative.  Or maybe suffered a recent miscarriage, or failed IUI/IVF/AI/FET etc. etc.  You get the picture.

While you are laughing at everyone's reactions to your fake announcement, there is probably at least one person who read your announcement, and burst into tears. 

Not so funny now is it?

Just Don't Do It.  Don't be a dick.