Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where I get a little technical (and depressing)

I've been quiet, so, so quiet here, for months and months because I needed every ounce of "me" to denote to what we'd undertaken at life. And now? Well, now I'm just a bit lost as we've discovered that much of this all-encompassing focus was for nothing.

The Banker and I traveled to a world-renowned fertility clinic, where we were told we were ideal candidates for IVF. The expense would be massive, but if I returned to the Really Big Company during Becca's preschool hours and continued to aggressively freelance, it would make the smallest of dents in the massive investment. So I went back to work on a special project, threw myself at every freelance opportunity, and started the slew of medicine concoctions, injections, and invasive sonograms to monitor my process. When it came time to harvest the small army of eggs, The Banker and I hesitantly, sadly, left Becca behind with family and moved into a hotel room for the remaining duration of the process.

Then things went wrong: I hyper-stimulated, producing too many eggs, and my body started retaining water in my body cavity. (Should the fluid have migrated to my lungs, hospitalization would have been required.) The doctors harvested the eggs but refused to transfer the embryos until my body had time to recoup. The postponement was crushing, as we returned home early, empty-wombed.

Then things went wrong again: For some unknown reason, and to the shock of the doctors and nurses, our embryos reacted poorly to the lab setting. What had begun as a large supply of eggs, turned into an assortment of embryos that were under-grown and fragmented. Our odds of eventual success dropped considerably.

But there's always hope, right? So we took two months off. Took Becca to the beach with my family, tried to focus on our family, our marriage, and all that we did have. And then we returned to a hotel room in another state for the transfer of the few embryos deemed the healthiest.

Then the waiting began. The excruciating waiting accompanied by a bevy of medicines, injections with 1.5-inch needles, a carefully monitored diet, and an almost total lack of physical exertion on my half. I tried not to be too hopeful, though the doctor thought our odds were roughly 50 percent. I tried not to be stressed out by my sister-in-law's upcoming baby showers and how difficult my attendance would be should we fail. I tried not to see everything and anything as a sign. Of success. Of failure. Yesterday, I was practically vibrating with anxiety as I had my blood drawn at 6:30 a.m. to determine if the pregnancy hormone HCG was present.

And as I discovered minutes before having to pick up Becca from preschool, the blood test was negative for the pregnancy hormone. Two years, an immense financial burden, untold damage to my body from incredible dosages of hormones...all for nothing.

In the time it's taken us to desperately try and fail for one child, friends have had two. I am surrounded by pregnant family members and friends. And every day I wait to see if my body will crack and fall apart, my outside finally mirroring how broken I feel inside. I wonder how long it will take for me to lose my sanity. After all, during this process I've lost my faith. (It's hard to go to church and praise God for the hellish existence we've endured these past 2 years while we're surrounded by others blessed repeatedly with what we can't have. I feel like a dog that continues to be kicked.) I've lost untold sums of money. I've lost time. And Becca has lost out on what she continually asks for (and all her little friends have)--a sibling.

Becca will be 4 in March. We're fast approaching a potential age gap between siblings where she'll not have a built-in friend but someone she has to "babysit" or care for (I know, as I've lived it). I feel like a complete failure for not being to able to give her the larger family she (and we) so desperately, heart-achingly want.

So what now? There's truly no revisiting the option of IVF. Cost aside, there's no guarantee our embryos will react any differently to a lab setting, essentially falling apart. (And we've tried everything leading up to IVF, including a painful D&C to prep my body, countless meds, meds and IUIs, and more.) Likely as not, we're going to take some time to mourn the loss of this dream. And I can't adequately express how crushing this is. And then, once we've had a chance to internalize this hell, we'll look to the long, emotionally exhausting, and expensive option of adoption.

Because despite how difficult this has been--and hands down it's been the hardest, most miserable experience of my life--I won't give up. Becca deserves to be a big sister. And The Banker and I really would like for someone else to call us Mom and Dad.


Shane.Simmers said...

This both broke my heart and gave me hope. I know we don't know each other but when I started my blog, yours interested me and to be honest I don't think I've read it since. But something pulled me to this post and once I started reading, I couldn't stop. My heart goes out to you. But then I might want it back to be half as tough as you and your family are. That's what true family is about. When nothing seems to be working and you feel like you're on the verge of breaking down, you remember why you're fighting so hard. You remember who you're fighting for.

Desert Son said...

I never knew anyone called you "Kat." Did we ever call you Kat at the office?

Hi, it's Robert, someone you once knew as a coworker at a certain catalog company formerly based in the River North area of Chicago and to whom you once recommended a good dentist.

Commiserations on your present struggles, with best wishes for relief.

Not knowing all the particulars-- and abruptly appearing out of the internet ether--have you considered adoption?

It's a beautiful thing, giving a loving, caring home to someone that might not otherwise receive such.

It's a thought, a small one I had amidst the demands and chaos of my own life hurtling hurricane about me at present.

I'm not often vocal in these formats, but I'm still out there, somewhere, and with good wishes for you and yours.


Kat said...

So good to hear from you, Robert! I've often wondered what you've been up to based on your occasional comments on Drew's blog. I hope life is treating you kindly!

As to your first question, it was a later workplace that resurrected the old nickname. And we're in the midst of setting up an appointment with a social worker to begin the adoption process. So we'll have to see how all this shakes out... Thank you for your kind wishes!

Anonymous said...

So many people are praying for you, the Banker & your little one. Know that. It will happen whether it is adoption or another "miracle" like Becca is. Every day is a struggle and you are handling it beautifully - hang in there.

Allison said...

My daughter will be over 4 too if we were to get pregnant right away. We've been struggling as well and I hate that they won't be closer in age too, but I'm now trying to focus on the positives of it - like she is a lot more independent now. Good luck!

Allison said...

P.S. Sorry, I just realized who you are! I'm embarrased!

Kat said...

Haha! Allison, don't be embarrassed! It's been ages since we've run into one another. Hope all is well on your home front. Wishing you LOTS of luck on your move (and we've been sending lots of good thoughts and extras Joplin's way...).