Tag Archives: tttc

Today I made the mistake of looking up what an 11 week fetus looks like and now I can’t get it out of my head.  A super tiny, yet fully formed baby with fingers and tooth buds, itty bitty ears and tiny nose.  It’s too much for me right now.  

Here’s where some of the confusion came from about how far along I was.  First off, I had been having my period for the last several months, which I guess can happen with an ectopic.  When I went in Wednesday for the ultrasound the tech measured  a 4 week 4 day yolk sack in my endometrium.  This obviously made sense to me.  But the baby they pulled out of my Fallopian tube was much further along, the doctor said “at least 10 weeks.”  Because I chart my periods, ovulation and intercourse we now know for certain the baby was 11 weeks exactly. 

Now because of this mystery sack in my uterus I have to go in next week for a blood test to make sure it was not a double pregnancy, to know for certain I am no longer pregnant.  If that were the case I would need a D&C.  But the doctor said it may be what is called a pseudo sack, my body knew it was pregnant so it was trying to do the right thing and the sack would be empty.  I’m hoping that’s the case, I can’t handle another procedure and the loss of another baby at this moment. 

I’m kicking myself for not testing sooner, I knew there was something wrong.  I know it wouldn’t have been possible to save the baby, but I wouldn’t have let it get so far.  I feel really guilty about that.  And at the very least I may still have my tube. 

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National Infertility Awareness Week

It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and I’ve decided it’s time to make my blog public, whether I feel it’s ready or not.  Being on the other side of a 4 year struggle with infertility I still have a hard time finding words that may be helpful to those still in the thick of it.  But I desperately want to help. 

I’m a Buddhist and I have this app on my phone called Chant Buddy that’s really used to log minutes of chanting, but it also has a daily encouragement section that has a different quote every day from Daisaku Ikeda. Somehow, every time I open the app and see the quote of the day, it happens to go along perfectly with whatever I’m going through.  Every. Time.  I laugh with my mom because she had a book of guidance from Daisaku Ikeda that she used to open up to a random page every time she needed help and it was always perfectly suited as well.  Aaaaaanyway, I opened it up today looking for something helpful to guide this post and this is what it said. 

I mean, come ON.  Yes, precisely, Mr. Ikeda.  EXACTLY ūüĎŹūüŹľ this ūüĎŹūüŹľ right ūüĎŹūüŹľ here

I remember part of the pain I felt when having a baby was nowhere in sight for us was that desperate feeling of all this time being wasted.  Years were passing, and even if I could convince myself that it would happen for us one day, I felt bitter that these were years we were missing out on with our child. 

What was really hard to see then that is so obvious to me now it that those years added SO MUCH to who I am as a mother.  They strengthened the bond with my husband and put things into perspective in a way that makes me enjoy being a mom more than I would have without them.  

I’m not saying that people who go through fertility issues first love their children more.  I’m not saaaaying that. (this is me winking and nudging you under the table)  But there’s definitely  a heightened state of something.  It’s magic when you look at your baby after knowing you never would.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself, well I did, now my sadistic baby does the pinching.  But even when he’s simultaneously biting my face, screaming, and pulling out wads of my hair, deep down I’m like, “if this isn’t heaven, I don’t know what is.”

I’m not going to say never lose hope.  I lost hope about 50 times actually.  But the important thing is that I got it back and I didn’t give up.  I didn’t know if I would ever have a baby for sure, but I didn’t give up on being happy one day.  After all, rising above our challenges is where true, unshakable happiness comes from.  We need our obstacles, they make us strong.  And no matter your outcome, that strength will be your asset.

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Is IVF more boy-friendly?

We did genetic testing along with our IVF treatment, so we were able to see the sex of all of our embryos. ¬†We didn’t WANT to know before transferring because we wanted it to be a surprise and we made that clear to our doctor. ¬†He forgot.

We had 11 eggs that fertilized, but only 5 made it the 5 days after insemination to the testing day. ¬†We found this out the morning of our embryo transfer, 6 days¬†after egg retrieval/insemination, but it came with some bittersweet news. ¬†First of all, our dumb dumb Dodo doctor came in that morning and exclaimed that he had some “great news.” ¬†Out of 11 eggs, we were left with 2 healthy embryos. ¬†Both male. ¬†2. ¬†We were super excited because we both wanted a boy, but there was also that twinge of sadness from finding out much earlier than (and not how) we wanted what the sex of our baby would be, and also knowing that we didn’t even have the option of having a girl from this round of IVF.

Even more concerning was that 3 of the 5 embryos were abnormal, and ALL FIVE were male.  We had no female embryos that made it to testing.  Which of course raises the complex question; What the fuck?

I actually don’t think we got much information at all about the genetic testing. ¬†I’m not even sure if we got a physical report about their findings, we were just told that day that 3 of the 5 were “abnormal.” ¬†I don’t know if they even know more than that or not. ¬†I’d be interested in hearing from any of you fellow IVFers who also did testing if you ever got any more information than just normal/abnormal. ¬†It seems sort of vague to me. ¬†Could “abnormal” be anything¬†ranging from minor to severe? ¬†Who knows? ¬†But it does make the prospect of trying on our own that much more daunting.

It would seem something is going on with our female embryos.  So while I was thrilled with the outcome of the IVF and ACTUALLY BEING PREGNANT!!  I was also quietly mourning the possibility that we had just been handed yet another obstacle and told yet another thing my body cannot do; make a female baby.

I’ve since read that IVF can be tough on female embryos, which are more fragile. ¬†Especially with genetic testing, having to last outside the womb for 5 days is not an easy task (I can relate). ¬†But this seems to only account for a very small margin, about 1-2% in favor of male embryos.

BUT, there’s another factor that I think is terribly overlooked when it comes to male favorability in IVF. ¬†There are are many different protocols and techniques to¬†IVF. ¬†Over the several years of researching it and actually going through it myself I’ve spoken with¬†many¬†other women who have also gone through it. ¬†None of us had the same exact experience. ¬†One technique which can differ is the use of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) vs the dish method.

In the dish method an egg is introduced to a petri dish of sperm, the same way it would be inside the womb, so nature can take it’s course. ¬†In ICSI, under direct microscopic vision, an¬†embryologist chooses a single sperm and injects it into the egg. ¬†ICSI is typically used for male infertility, when there are few sperm or the quality of them is low. ¬†Our IVF clinic uses ICSI across the board, we did not get a choice in whether or not to use it. ¬†I believe this is because of the genetic testing.

Fertilization in a petri dish, just like in natural insemination, requires interaction between the sperm and cumulus cells that surround the egg.  There is a need to remove these cumulus cells in order to perform preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), and therefor it is left far less capable of being fertilized spontaneously.  Hence the need for further intervention (ICSI).

ICSI does have a higher pregnancy success rate, but you are also eliminating natural selection to some degree.  Eggs have ways of determining the best sperm and keeping those that have defects from passing through.  In ICSI, you have an embryologist basically eyeballing sperm and hand selecting one, and forcing it into the egg.  I believe they look for things like size and swimming strength, which could be why there is a higher occurrence of males?  Just a thought.

I’m totally fascinated by the science that brought us our baby, and I’m so grateful for it’s existence! ¬†I could happily read about IVF all day, if I wasn’t busy chasing around the product of it in the form of my 10 month old who is faster on all 4s than I am on my 2s. ¬†I would like to know the reason we had all male embryos, but it’s more due to my curiosity and thirst for knowledge when it comes to this stuff than anything else. ¬†It would also be nice to know that the cause is not an indication of something unhealthy that I may be passing down to my son. ¬†I would LOVE to have a daughter some day, but am perfectly happy being a #boymom forever.



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The “Me Too”-ers


Comparison is the thief of joy. ¬†That’s why I do very little comparing myself to others. ¬†As far as my issues with infertility, it’s really no different. ¬†When I hear that someone I know is having a baby, I’m genuinely happy for them. ¬†I’m aware that there’s no fixed amount of babies allotted for the planet and they didn’t get the last one. ¬†Sometimes there are little pangs of sadness, but those come just from being reminded of what I’m going through when I’m trying not to think about it. ¬†I tend to keep it all under wraps until I’m in front of my computer blogging about it these days (ignore my meltdown 2 nights ago). ¬†So I keep it together, but there are reminders everywhere. ¬†And I’ll feel those sad pangs of “oh yeah” and let myself feel it for a second, and then wrangle it back down again.

I¬†feel the exact same¬†when I hear about other women getting pregnant or see pictures of their babies as I¬†do¬†when I’m shopping and walk by the diaper isle or a life-sized cardboard cutout of the Vlasic Pickle stork. ¬†It’s just a reminder of what I’m going through. ¬†Nothing more.

But I guess in life you can’t help who is out there comparing themselves to YOU. ¬†And I am very used to this concept. ¬†Insecure people tend to see the world as eat or be eaten and feel the need to constantly compete. ¬†Unlike most of you probably sane ladies, I’m pretty sick, so I get a kick out of it. ¬†It tickles me in a very naughty way. ¬†Not the really good kind of naughty tickle, but still.

Now I’m starting to realize there’s apparently another event in the Tournament of Lives and it’s even more obnoxious. ¬†It’s the emulation of struggle. ¬†I’m really beginning to understand the old saying about someone that needs to be “the bride at the wedding and the corpse at the funeral.”

A person close to me recently started telling people that she’s having “infertility problems” just a few weeks after hearing what we were going through. ¬†She has only been trying the last couple months and hasn’t even been to the doctor about it. ¬†Now, that’s none of my business (insert Kermit drinking tea meme) but I can’t help that the lesser evolved portion of my brain feels a little bit highjacked. ¬†Especially since she knows every detail of what we’ve been going through and how painful it’s been. ¬†Apparently she’s pretty vocal about her pretend prognosis and I feel like it trivializes the real thing. ¬†This is why is the infertility and tttc forums (that I have become very involved in through this) when someone who has been trying for less than a year posts or chimes in they a-l-w-a-y-s get dragged. ¬†Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Another good friend of mine was dealing with infertility a lot longer than I was, and way more of it. ¬†Many failed IUIs, full rounds of IVF, too many years and a sickening amount of money. ¬†She had just about the same thing happen to her. ¬†After letting people in on what they were going through, a good friend of hers started posting on FB about “not being able to have a baby” after trying for maybe 2 months. ¬†Also, nothing medically wrong with her. ¬†Thank God my friend and I weren’t crumbling like that after 2 months, we never would have made it this far. ¬†Maybe they don’t mean any harm by it, but it just shows their inability to see past the nose on their own face.

After talking to more women and reading more blogs, I’m finding out that quite a few of us have similar stories. ¬†That’s weird right? ¬†I feel like it needs some kind of special term, since it’s seemingly so common. ¬†Just like “Catfishing” has now become a term for something that seems like it should be obscure. ¬†But it’s now SO common I guess they need a word for it.

I’m only human, and obviously not completely immune to being hit by the shrapnel of pettiness, but I found a way to have peace with it. ¬†I remember why it is that my husband and I are putting ourselves through all of this. ¬†And it has so much meaning that the petty stuff simply can’t touch it. ¬†People tagging themselves onto what we’re going through without actually having a clue about it just aren’t even in my peripheral. ¬†I think about how much we are going to love our future baby and how every person’s struggle is different. ¬†People with problems that may seem small to you, don’t see their own problems as small and I’m learning to find compassion for that (while simultaneously giving some serious side-eye).

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