Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: the year I'd like to forget

2012 was a craptastic year...a real life country song:

We find out our first open adoption placement is not going to happen. We cry. Looking back, it wasn't the best situation for any of us. I can't believe that little boy is going to be 1 in a few days. I think about him and his mama every once in awhile. I hope they are all well and happy.

I get really sad about our roller coaster with baking and buying kids. We even take our adoption profile down because we need some time to regroup. It's funny to look back on that post. I hoped for another match (which happened, but came with it's own set of twists and turns - see May) and maybe another chance at IVF (which also happened, with it's own set of surprise circumstances - see July and December). Expect the unexpected. Lesson learned.

S turns 38 and my grandpa turns 93. I love them both. One of my clients offers me a full time job with benefits and IVF coverage. I might have been conflicted about taking the job, but what a miracle to have that door opened for us again. We were/are so thankful. My grandpa is admitted to the hospital, then hospice, and then he passes away. It still doesn't feel real. I love him and miss him. Every day.

A quiet month. My new job is still up in the air and S and I are still a little numb from everything that has happened. We put our adoption profile back up.

We get the call about our second open adoption match. A woman, who is our age, is looking to place her 2.5 year old son. I secretly judge her for this choice.

We learn more about the placement situation. I talk to the birth mother on the phone (and learn that my snap judgements about her were wrong, wrong, wrong) and I talk to her son on the phone (at her request). We start to think this will work out and everyone might benefit. Then the agency tells the birth mother they won't work with her and sends us an email wishing us luck on our continued adoption journey. I lose my shit over that. S applies for an amazing job and gets an interview (spoiler alert: she didn't get the job, but that turned out to be for the best - see October). We go on a much needed vacation that involves sitting on the beach and eating. It's perfect.

Four months after being offered the IVF-included-job, they are ready for me to start. I accept, sign the paperwork, and find out I have to wait 3 months for my benefits to kick in. Hope starts to creep in. We are so very very thankful for this opportunity. I turn 38.

We renew our adoption home study with our social worker, ditzypants. I get giddy over the count down to health insurance and worry over the surgery and everything that will need to be done to get to IVF.

My lovely grandma is placed in hospice. My cousin and I are there to celebrate her 95th birthday with her. She saved my childhood and I can't believe I have to say goodbye. It breaks my heart that she won't know my kids. I know she is ready to go and that she misses my grandpa. I wish that she feels nothing but peace and love. I fret about choosing an RE and make an appointment for the day after my insurance kicks in. S gets an interview and then is hired for a rock star new job.

S starts her new job. I meet with my new RE and a plan is put in action. We are filled with hope. My grandma dies, just 6 months after my grandpa left us. It still doesn't feel real and I still can't talk about it. She was an amazing woman. I miss her and love her. Every day.

Robotic myomectomy for me. We've been talking about this surgery since 2010. Everything goes amazingly well and we're so relieved.

I finally write down my surgery details. We move to a great little house in a great little neighborhood. I toss out the (induced lactation) milk I've been storing for a year. My insurance company approves my first round of IVF. Things are looking up, until I end up in the hospital with too many blood clots.

All I have to say is, fuck you 2012 and someone, please, let 2013 be better.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thanks. And an Update.

Thanks for all the sweet comments. They've really helped to keep my spirits up. I have my low moments over here and it feels good to be reminded that other are rooting for me.

I'm still in the hospital. Probably be here until Friday or the weekend. My biggest issues are bilateral pulmonary embolism and right-side pleural effusion. Not comfortable. They continue to mess with my blood thinners in the hopes of getting my INR somewhere between 2.0 and 3.0. Today I'm at 1.6. Still no word from my RE, but that's to be expected considering that it's Christmas and all. One of the nurses here gave me a "bible-themed word search" as a Christmas present. Along with some temporary tattoos and candy canes. She must think I'm one of those Jewish Christians ;)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hospitalized...and need your help

2012 sucks.
I'm in the hospital and will likely be here several more days.
What I thought was a pulled muscle, maybe some anemia, or just general exhaustion due to stress turned out to be blood clots. A lot of them. I have them in both legs (DVT) and both lungs (PE). They think it's due to a mix of my surgery 3 weeks ago and being on birth control. It is physically painful (I'm on several pain meds right now so this post may turn out a little loopy) and I am sad because in about 4 hours S and I will miss our flight back to my home state for the holidays. However, the most crushing of all of this is:
1. I can never take birth control again (ha! just like a lesbian to find that crushing. But really, it was part of my IVF plan and more than just no bcp, I can never have estrogen again).
2. I will need to be on blood thinners until my clots clear. They estimate 3 to 6 months, but sometimes clots take 1-2 years to resolve. I have been waiting so long for this IVF. Waiting and waiting and waiting. It's so hard to be told it has to be put off again.

I am so sad. I was stupid and let hope back in. I was excited about a late Feb/early March IVF. I daydreamed about what it would be like to be pregnant next year. And now I'm crushed. So, I'm wondering from you, does anyone have experience with IVF post-blood clots. How does no estrogen change IVF? How does needing blood thinners change IVF? I know some women take lovenox throughout their pregnancy. But what about needing it before.

I want to stomp my foot and cry that it's not fair. This roller coaster is so hard sometimes. Just when things are looking up, they come crashing down. And time just keeps slipping through my fingers.

My RE is on vacation, but of course I'm going to talk to her about this as soon as I can. Just wondering what your experience has been....Thanks.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mission IVF: What The Insurance Company Said

Yes! They said yes! I'm approved for 1 round of IVF during March-May 2013. Despite fighting very hard for this insurance (including giving up my own company to take a job with someone else...less freedom, more bosses, etc) I know how very lucky we are to have this opportunity. And I am so thankful for this little piece of good news in our life.

I have an appointment on January 8th for "IVF counseling" with my RE. I cannot wait. We've already established that I'm likely to need significant meds to get my old wrinkly ovaries up to speed. Other topics on the table are PGD (RE recommends it, I'm not 100% sold) and when to start. The tentative calendar looks like this:

Surgery - done!
Start bcp - done!

Apply for insurance pre approval - approved!
Post-surgery period #1 - done! (sorry for the TMI)

Post surgery period #2 (this will likely span late dec/early jan)
Meet with RE for pre-IVF appointment
Post surgery period #3 (late jan)
Day-3 blood draws

Post surgery period #4 (late feb)
Start stimming!!! (I know my approval is for March-May, so I'm hoping since my period is expected late Feb that they don't make me wait another month)

Monday, December 17, 2012

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for...COUPONS

Proctor & Gamble and luxury hair care brand Fekkai are teaming up to offer stocking stuffers, product collections, and COUPONS just in time for Christmas (or just a little late for Hanukkah, whichever you prefer).

Here’s the deal: Use my link and promo code HEADBAND to receive 10% off your total order and a complimentary exclusive holiday (sparkly!) headband with any $50 purchase (while supplies last).

The Frederic Fekkai hair care collection was introduced in 1995, with products available for everything from Color Care to Curl Care Glossing.

Neat. Right? You can also just visit the website to take the hair quiz or get professional hair care tips.

As someone who keeps an entire stack of coupons on her kitchen counter, I hope you enjoy this savings intermission. Next up...Mission IVF: What The Insurance Company Said.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Induced Lactation: Revisited

In October of 2011, we were contacted by a birth mother about a potential placement. I started an accelerated protocol for induced lactation in the hopes of breastfeeding our new baby. I followed the pill regimen for about 3 months and started pumping in late December. Our match fell through in early January when the birth mother changed her mind about placement and I stopped the protocol completely.

So, for an entire year, I've kept that little stash of breast milk in the freezer.

We are moving on Saturday, and as I packed up the kitchen this morning I thew away those little bags I worked so hard to create. I'm a little sad. But with adoption and IVF planning in full force, I also feel hopeful about the future. I am proud of the dedication I put into induced lactation...pumping every 3 hours, pills 4 times a day, washing all those damn little pump parts. It is weird to look back. The first day I started bagging/saving milk was December 29, 2011 (less than 1 oz - I pumped for several days before I actually started saving). The last day I pumped and bagged was January 6, 2012 (almost 4 oz - I think, measuring on those bags never seemed to add up for me). In my mind, the protocol and the pumping went on foreverrrrr. But I guess it was only 9 days. At the time, I felt so could I feed a baby on less than 4 oz a day? But today, I can't even believe that my body quadrupled production in 9 days.

Sometimes I feel weird or ashamed about induced lactation. I haven't told many people IRL (and I certainly won't tell any of them I posted a picture of my milk on the internet!). I think those feelings are loosely related to feeling like an impostor mom as an adoptive mom (but that's another post for another day). But even with those feelings, I don't regret it one bit. Right now, one of my biggest hopes is that adoption and IVF work this year and I can bring all my babies home and breastfeed them together. I know that's a big wish, but I have my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Robotic Myomectomy: 3 fibroids, 2 (level) endometriosis, 1 polyp

Let me start with the ending, I'm fine. Everything was snipped, clipped, prodded, and scraped and a week later I'm wearing pants (with a real button!) and eating like a champ.

Here's the long version....

Monday was prep day, which included 2 bottles of magnesium citrate. This evacuated my bowels with a constant and disgusting urgency. I made S watch TV real loud in the other room. I'm guessing by the end it was just stomach acid, because...ouch!

We woke at the crack of dawn on Tuesday and headed to the hospital. We were both nervous. While we were waiting to get called back an older lady prayed over me, the jewish lesbian. I guess that's what you get when your hospital starts with the word Saint. Actually, she was really nice and really sweet and who knows, maybe she had something to do with the good outcome. They finally called us back and I changed into my hospital issue attire...gown, hair net, compression socks, and these cute purple warm and fuzzy socks that I didn't take off for 3 days. Really.

They wheeled me over to pre-op and S and I said good by. My anesthesiology nurse looked to be about 12 years old and I completely judged her the instant I saw her and (secretly) rolled my eyes, thinking that she was going to butcher my hand trying to get the IV in. 5 minutes later I reprimanded myself (and my very comfortable IV) as I watched the more experienced anesthesiology nurse call for help after several unsuccessful (and bloody) IV attempts on the patient in the bed next to me (he was in for a hip replacement - apparently pre-op is very communal and by the end of my visit I knew everyone's business).

Anyway, just as I was thinking, don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover, my anesthesiologist introduced himself. His hands were dirty. Disgustingly, disturbingly dirty. Weird smudgy black stuff was caked under his fingernails, in his knuckles, everywhere. (maybe he's a weekend mechanic) I prayed they would start the antibiotics soon.

And then I woke up.

Seriously, anesthesia is a miracle. Up and chatty one minute, sliced, diced, and don't remember a thing the next. The surgery took about 4 hours. The recovery room and transfer to my hospital room remains pretty fuzzy. Once I saw S (oh how happy I was to see S!) and was settled in my room I started to wake up. I was in quite a bit of pain, but within 30 minutes they added morphine to my IV. No pain after that! But VERY sleepy. I slept and slept and slept, the rest of the day and through that night. I just couldn't keep my eyes open.

Although the pain was minimal, going to the bathroom was a nightmare. I could get up and walk over on my own, which was good. But actually getting my body to let go and pee was an act of god. I had to go so bad, but I couldn't. It took crazy amounts of concentration. I even had to ask S to stop making so much noise so I could concentrate on my piss (I am so lucky she puts up with me!). So the night consisted of feeling like I had to be RIGHT THAT SECOND, disconnecting my leg compression wraps, hobbling to the bathroom, concentrating on the toilet, hobbling back, and waiting for it all to happen again 30 minutes later, all mixed in with vital signs checks (ever 4 hours), blood draws, a visit from respiratory therapy, and the wonder and amazement from the nurse tech who was convinced I must already be dead since my blood pressure would not move from 85/55.

I was released after breakfast the next morning (which was nasty, btw). My stomach was hugely swollen for a few days - still is slightly at 7 days out. I have 4 small incisions - 1 in my belly button, 1 on the left of my abdomen, and 2 on the right of my abdomen. I took percocets for the first few days, mostly to help me sleep because I was so uncomfortable. It was definitely hard to walk and move around. But nothing super painful, just hunched over, sore, swollen, and uncomfortable.

My surgeon took out 3 fibroids (1 monster fibroid that took up the entire left side of my uterus. She did not have to cut all the way through to my cavity [YAY] to remove it, which was one of the scenarios I was worried about. There was also 1 small fibroid and 1 pedunculated fibroid. All removed with no problem), 1 polyp (the same same polyp that was removed 2 years ago, hopefully it stays gone for awhile), and many spots of endometriosis (on my bladder, on my ovaries, on both my uterosacral ligaments, in my cul de sac). My pelvis is always such a surprise!

The good news is (and really, I think this surgery came with all good news), I am feeling much better a week later. There were no issues during surgery, everything was removed successfully with the robot (no c-section cut required), and all my path reports came back negative. I've already had my first post-op period (just want you want post-op, right?) and it was virtually pain-free (that might have just been the percocet, but I'm going to attribute it to the new and improved lady bits). Now, I'm benched for 3 months and then...IVF*!

*Pending insurance approval. Bah.