Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Not Black...But Still Blue

Thank you everyone for all of your love and support.  One of the hardest things yesterday was not being able to turn to the people closest to us for comfort.  All of your messages of support mean a lot to us.  After a day of mourning our BFN and a good night's sleep (and maybe a glass...or two...of wine) we are not feeling so black, but we're still feeling pretty blue.  Life goes on and we will try again.  We're considering our options.

The negative result was just the icing on the cake of a lousy holiday weekend.  On Sunday morning Mike hit a deer with his truck.  He's OK, but may have totaled the truck.  Then later that day, he broke his toe getting into the shower.  On top of all that, two of our parents are having some pretty serious medical issues.  Then we got the news of our pregnancy test.  All in all, a very crappy Memorial Day weekend for us. 

I'm having a really hard time staying positive.  This was supposed to be the thing that goes our way, the thing that doesn't end up being a struggle for us.  We are so overdue for a good thing in our lives, I was certain that this would be it.  So I guess we take it one step, and one day at a time...hope the truck is not totaled, hope the parents get and stay healthy, and try again to make a baby...or two.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The dreaded 2WW

I have no news to report.  We're just in the middle of the 2WW and it feels like time is standing still.  I'm going stir crazy and driving Mike up the wall with my obsessing.  Here's hoping the waiting gets more bearable as things move forward.  We find out next Monday if any of the pops stuck.  Just 6 more "sleeps" till then.  Maybe I'll start practicing for retirement and go to bed at 5:00.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Buns in the Oven

The "pops" have been transferred!!!  Dr. S thawed 4 "pops" and one didn't make it.  But 3 "pops" were successfully transferred, so we have 3 buns in the oven.  We'll know the results on May 28th.
Holy Cow!!! This is really happening!!!  Grow little "pops" grow!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

To Tell or Not to Tell...

I know that many IP's struggle with this question.  Should we tell anyone?  Who should we tell?  How will they react?  Mike is much more reserved than me, but I am so excited by the prospect of finally becoming a mother that I want to tell everyone.  I want to scream it from the rooftops or tattoo it on my forehead.  It is so hard for me to keep this quiet.  Mike and I agreed that we wouldn't tell people until after the first trimester.  There is this HUGE thing going on in our lives and we aren't telling anyone for months.  I'm worried that some members of our family will be hurt that we did not share this with them from the beginning.  For our own sanity in these early stages, we need to keep as many people out of the loop as we can.

There are some people who won't understand why we would go to such great lengths to have a baby.  We have heard comments over the years about not taking extraordinary measures to have a baby.  Some people say that if they are not able to get pregnant on their own, they would not pursue alternative ways of having a child.  I think they feel we are foolish to spend so much time and money on becoming a family.  I understand that many people do not have the same desire for children as I have.  But those comments, spoken so flippantly by people who have not really tried to conceive and probably could without a problem, hurt.  Why is it so hard for people to see things from the other side? 

It feels like many people, whether parents or not, find it very easy to dismiss an infertile couple's desire for parenthood and the heartbreak that goes along with infertility.  But I wonder if they ever take the time to think about how they would feel if they tried for years and never had a child, or if their children never existed because of a quirk of biology.  Infertility is not at all like choosing to live life without children.  Infertility is a deep sadness that no one ever seems to discuss.  It's so deep, it's often not even an elephant in the room.  It makes people uncomfortable and the cliches people say, things like "think of what you can do with all the money you'll save" or "it just wasn't meant to be," they invalidate and belittle the the enormous empty sadness.  An infertile couple grieves.  They grieve not only the loss of children not born, but the loss of themselves as they had hoped to be, and the loss of the life they had hoped to lead.

So telling people means opening ourselves up to questions and judgements and unwanted advice.  Why do people feel like they have a right to tell us how to build our family?  Why do people ask if we have thought about some other alternative?  Why do people feel the need to tell us all about the horrible thing they heard somewhere about someone else in our situation?  Why do people seem to think we walked into this decision with no knowledge of the process and having done no research?  We fully understand all of the risks involved in what we are doing...but we are doing it anyway.  Because there is hope that at the end of this road, we'll be a family.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Things Not to Say to a Cancer Patient or an Infertile

Ok, I've seen other lists out there.  This is my list with a twist.

  • (While looking pointedly at my head scarf) "Are you sick?" - Did you really just ask me that in the most insensitive way possible?  And for the record, no, I'm not sick.  I have poison dripped in the veins once a week, but other than that, I feel fine.
  • "My friend/coworker/sister had a baby, and she wasn't ready and she just wants to send him back.  Having a baby is really hard work" - Are you kidding?  A woman on the other side of the world is having my baby, I think I'm ready.  And if your friend/coworker/sister wants to send her baby back, I'll take him, no questions asked.
  • "Oh, you have cancer?  My sister/mother/friend/cousin died of that." - How exactly am I supposed to respond to that one..."Ummm sorry to hear that but I don't plan on taking that route."
  • "Maybe you should go to Dr. X or hospital Y" - Seriously!? Who I choose as my medical professional, is MY choice.  Obviously I have faith in them, why try to make me second guess myself?  How is that helpful?
  • "Eating/drinking/breathing X causes cancer/infertility." - Yeah, until next week when eating/drinking/breathing X prevents cancer/infertility.  And by the way, did you just say that cancer/infertility was MY fault?
  • "Why do you have to do that now?  Can't you wait to have a baby/climb Mt. Everest/travel the world?" - Why should I wait?  Life is too short.
  • "Everything happens for a reason./He always has a plan." - What possible reason could there be for my cancer and my childlessness.  His plan sucks.
  • "Life isn't fair." - You're preachin' to the choir.
  • "Think positive thoughts." - As if it's soooo easy to be a Pollyanna all the time.  Did cancer/infertility take away my right to be sad and/or pissed off?
  • "Christina Applegate had breast cancer and then she got pregnant and had a beautiful baby...so you can too." - Did you get your medical degree from Dr. Oz?  Just because we had cancer in the same body part, does not mean they were the same cancer.  Her cancer was found on a routine mammogram that I was too young to have and it was discovered at a MUCH EARLIER STAGE!!!  Another woman's fertility post-cancer has NOTHING TO DO WITH MINE!!!
  • "Have you thought about adoption?" - Adoption? What's that?  Come on, do you really think that if we thought adoption was a viable option for us, that we would be having a woman on the other side of the world, that we have never met, or seen, or spoken to carry our baby for us...in a country ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Things are Moving Along

Well, our "pops" (aka the kid-cicles) arrived in Delhi on Friday, more than a day sooner than expected.  We were shocked they made it though customs as quickly as they did.  Surrogate profiles were in my email when I woke up Saturday morning and after much discussion we emailed Dr. S with our choice on Saturday evening.  Dr. S responded back that she would get the paperwork organized and that should be on it's way to us in the next day or so.

I was shocked at how strongly and quickly I became attached to the lovely Mrs. T.  Mike and I independently chose her as our first choice, but I was ready to fight for her before I knew who he had chosen.  Having our surrogate booked makes this seem so much more real.  And I can't stop looking at her picture.  I pull it up on my computer a dozen times a day to see her beautiful smile and it makes me happy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Big Things

Having a baby is one of the biggest moments (maybe THE biggest) in my life, and Mike's too.  Starting a family the way we are, by having a stranger carry and give birth to our baby on the other side of the world, makes it that much bigger and more special.  But I can't write about this without also writing about the cancer because cancer is just as big and it's the reason we are where we are today.

It has been nearly 2 years since my diagnosis and I have just recently begun to accept my new normal.  I call it the "new" normal because what was normal for me 2 years ago is not the normal of today.  Cancer changes and affects everything...much like a baby.  There have been times when I have wondered if I should give myself more time to adjust to my new normal before we bring a baby into our lives.  But we were ready for a baby before cancer and cancer has taught us to live life today because tomorrow is not a guarantee.

The first 10 months after my diagnosis were spent getting through treatment.  The object of every day was simply to get through the day.  My job was to show up to appointments, take the drugs that they gave me, and basically do everything in my power to keep myself as healthy as possible..while feeling like death warmed over.  That meant resting, and eating (healthy foods) and drinking LOTS of water (chemo dehydrates).  Mike's job was to handle everything else.  He managed the house and the cooking.  He managed our fledgling business on his own.  He managed the logistics of getting me to and from my various appointments and treatments.  He even managed the communication with family members about how I was doing so that I didn't have to deal with phone call after phone call when I wasn't up for it.  He took care of me. My job through treatment was easy.  Mike's job was the hard job. 

The year after my treatment ended was arguably the hardest year of my life.  While I was going through treatment, I was focusing on getting through each day and I wasn't able to grasp the enormity of what was happening.  Looking back, that's a good thing because if I could have seen how big and far reaching cancer would be, I wouldn't have been able to get through the day.  I couldn't deal with the emotional part of cancer while I was trying to get through the physical part of cancer.  Treatment ended, the physical part was over, and the emotional part came crashing down on me.

I was warned that after treatment would be a difficult time, but like everyone else, I thought chemo would be the hard part.  After months of doctors, and drugs, and nurses, and CBCs (complete blood counts) suddenly I was cut loose.  Suddenly my cancer freeness was only being monitored every six months and I was not actively doing anything to keep the cancer from coming back.  The possibility of a recurrence seemed huge and terrifying.  In addition, I found myself consumed with an irrational anger toward everything and nothing.  I was constantly on the brink of tears.  Life seemed so hard for me and so easy for everyone else.  I had no hope that things would get better and that my life would move forward.  Mike was worried about me.  I was worried about me.

The thing that made those months the hardest was, to everyone else (except Mike), cancer was over.  I was "cured."  I'd had a rough year, but it was behind me and I didn't have to think about it any more.  But that is not how cancer works.  Until the day I die, I will be SURVIVING cancer.  To me, the word survivor indicates that something was beaten.  Given the insidious nature of cancer, I will never be under the false impression that I have "beaten" cancer.  This is why I cannot stand to hear that I have been "cured."  My cancer could recur today, or next week, or twenty years from now.  For the rest of my life, it will be something hanging over me.

I have worked very hard for the last 6 months to get my head in a better place and to get my life moving in a direction again.  It was maybe the hardest thing I have ever done, to fight the fear and anger and hopelessness.  I took control of my life again.  It feels good.  I know that many IPs have written about the lack of control they feel with this process.  I get it.  Feeling a loss of control over your life is a horrible place to be.  True I have almost no control over anything that happens from here on, but I CHOSE to do this.  I made a decision to be out of control.  After two years of having no control and no choice, this feels amazing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

On Their Way!!!

Our "pops" (frozen embies) are on their way!!!  Our clinic here in the US packed our "pops" up and shipped them to India today.  All with the help of a cryoshipping company in Canada.  This is truly a global project.  Our kids are taking their first airplane trip!!!

All of this is very exciting for me but my inner crazy is definitely coming out.  And since we aren't telling anyone yet what we are doing, poor Mike is the only one with whom I can let the crazy out.  I'm hoping once the "pops" have landed, I'll be able to relax...yeah...right.