Feeling ovulatory: two visions of the future, one dark, one light

Okay. Here come the ovulation tingles. I’ve had them for a couple of days now. Not much pain yet, just a very distant ache. It makes me nervous, because this is my last ovulation before my period, before going to Denver.

It’s going to happen so soon. 

I’m using an ovulation predictor kit with the hopes that I can confirm exactly when I ovulate. In recent months, for reasons I’m just not sure of, I have not been having the strong ovulatory pain that I used to. I tell myself that it is because I am taking better care of myself and my body doesn’t have to struggle to produce eggs. My blood is brighter and flow-ier than it has been in a long time.

If the dates shake out the way I’m thinking they will, I will be in Denver around the 8th to the 19th.

DH and I are going to sit down and write out a chronological list of everything I need to do, and when, so that I don’t have to think, when the time comes.

In the meantime, I’ve been collecting music to take with me. At this point, there’s not much more I can do, I’m realizing, other than keep myself in a calm and steady emotional state. And continue to do massage, yoga, and reiki. (Must write about reiki: astonishing!)

And continue to connect with DH. We had such a loving night last night. We call ourselves “champion snugglers,” and make jokes about our stellar positionings during what we call our “sessions in Snuggletopia.” I’ve never known a man who loves to be held, and to hold, as much as DH. There is so much love and appreciation and connection in this relationship. I’m overwhelmingly grateful for that. We’ll be able to make it through this, no matter what the outcome. We are strong together, stronger than anything I’ve been part of in my life.

For the longest time, I’ve had two visions:

One dark.

One light.

In the dark vision, I get the call that there are no normal embryos. I scream and cry. I begin to throw things around. (That’s Goddess Kali, I’m learning from Sky, in circle.) I yell horrible things at DH. I tell him it is his fault for asking me to wait to try to get pregnant. I harbor resentment and feel destroyed by regret. I have to quit my job because I’m such an emotional mess. I moan in my bed. I do not want to get up. I do not want to live. Sometimes in this vision, I escape without a trace and go live under a pseudonym on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, where I drink daily and make my living taking people snorkeling—I find peace only when cut off from the world, underwater, snorkeling alongside silent turtles, pointing out the stingrays and sharks. I live alone and I die alone. (Okay, even this is an amelioration of the darkest of the dark visions.)

In the light vision, I get the call and there are three normal embryos. (If there are more than that, then it may indicate that chromosomal abnormalities were not the cause of my losses after all, and that I might have a problem that is mysterious and untreatable—or treatable only by using a gestational carrier.) I go to transfer, we transfer the two best, and two weeks later, I get that bright pink second line, brighter than I’ve had the past five pregnancies. At ultrasound, I discover that both have latched onto their mama, and both are growing. We do the amnio, and everything is fine. I grow big-breasted and pot-bellied. I have to run to the bathroom at work with morning sickness. DH and I work on turning the office into a nursery, because soon we are going to have a family of four, Mom, Dad, son, and daughter…

In psychology there is a term, splitting, used to describe what people sometimes do when they can’t combine the dark and the light in their lives. A person will split the “good mom” and the “bad mom” in his mind because he can’t make sense of the two meshed together in one person—particularly since he needs that good mom for survival; he keeps that bad mom, the one who yells at him, separate from the good mom who feeds him. It’s an adaptive mental behavior that can go awry in later life. In my early thirties, a therapist once told me that I seemed to have a “good girl/ bad girl split”—my good girl ate salads and went running and was generous with others; my bad girl drank and smoked and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning writing darkish short stories (things I don’t do any more and haven’t for quite some time). I wasn’t splitting another person; I was splitting myself. “You might want to consider combining those two sides of yourself,” my therapist said. “Or you might not. Maybe you’re content this way.”

But I wasn’t content. I’ve worked hard, since then, to try to combine those two sides of myself. I am much more balanced and whole now.

I am now making the same effort to combine my dark and light visions of the future. No matter the outcome of IVF, there will be difficulties and triumphs, sadness and joy. I will not end up living out my days under an assumed name on the island of Culebra, childless and drunk and alone, nor will I necessarily have a smooth pregnancy of twins, one boy, one girl, and a picture-perfect family life.

Come 2013, when I get the bits of news all along the way—the results of comprehensive chromosomal screening, the results of transfer, the results of amniocentesis—I can choose how I react to each bit of news. I can stay together or I can fall apart—or I can do something in between. I can allow room for a complex emotional reaction that includes dark, light, and all the shades of color along the dark-to-light spectrum.

I know that one of my mental weaknesses is all-or-none thinking—a way of thinking that is targeted by Cognitive Behavior Therapy—and that I must practice countering the all-or-none in me with diligence.

I also must breathe into the thoughts and feelings. Sit with the thoughts and feelings. Go on that ride. Then let them go. That’s the pattern I must practice over and over. Not clutch the thoughts and feelings with my breath held, letting them torture me for days. Sit with them, breathe with them, and let them go.

I’ve written this post over the course of two days and want to end by saying that I caught my LH surge at noon yesterday, so I know now approximately when I will start my period…

Approximate:

Jan 4: Period

Jan 8: Could travel to Denver on this date

Jan 10: 1st ultrasound + labs—either here in LI or in Denver

Jan 11: Could travel to Denver on this date

Jan 12: 2nd ultrasound + labs—in Denver

I am thinking of going on the 8th because a) that will give me some wiggle room in terms of traveling if there are any issues with flight delays, inclement weather, and so on. If I travel on the 8th, I don’t have my ultrasound until the 10th. Also, I would prefer to just be there for my second ultrasound, rather than relying on smooth communications between Long Island IVF and CCRM.

If I travel to Denver on Jan 11th, I must have a smooth flight that gets me there that day, as I’m due for ultrasound and labs the very next day. It just seems so risky to me, particularly the way the weather has been lately.

So that means I will most likely go to Denver on January 8th, and I will be away from work for a full two weeks. I need to take a deep breath and tell myself: It is okay to take the full two weeks; it is what you need; do it–for yourself and your future family.

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3 Comments

  1. ADM

     /  December 24, 2012

    I just wanted to express my condolences for your losses and wish you luck with your IVF next month. I am now waiting to miscarry, my fourth in 16 months, so I can certainly relate to much of what you’ve written here. I also live in Colorado and have been debating about going to see Schoolcraft to determine if he and his colleagues think there’s any hope of me carrying a pregnancy to term. Anyway, I’m curious to know if he’s recommending pre-genetic testing for you? I’m assuming that’s what they would suggest for me after four consecutive losses, though my current R.E. doesn’t think that IVF with PGD will increase my odds and isn’t advising IVF at all. I’ve not consulted with him after my most recent loss as it’s still in progress, but I suspect he’s going to say it’s time to throw in the towel or consider donor eggs. Perhaps Schoolcraft would come to the same conclusion. I now regret not going there first given that they are so highly regarded. Anyway, good luck to you and safe travels to Denver.

    Reply
    • I’m deeply sorry you are having your fourth loss, and thank you for your condolences. I would not give up hope at all—you are not at the end of the line. CCS (comprehensive chromosomal screening) at Day 5 is much more accurate from the usual PGD. Yes, that’s what I’m doing with Schoolcraft—CCS. CCS is also quite different from morphological assessment (see Morphological v Chromosomal Assessment: https://theunexpectedtrip.wordpress.com/morphological-v-chromosomal-assessment/). It’s entirely possible—in fact likely—that you have chromosomally normal eggs left. It’s just a matter of stimulating you to produce a lot at once, and then growing them to day 5 and testing them at the 60-cell blastocyst stage for normality before transfer. The phone consult with Schoolcraft is free and I’d highly recommend it. Most importantly, just know someone is out here thinking of you and what you are going through and wishing the very best for you! Would love to keep in touch.

      Reply
  2. ADM

     /  December 27, 2012

    Thanks for your condolences. And thank you for being so open about your experience on the blog. As you know, this whole experience battling infertility and/or repeated pregnancy loss can be very lonely indeed and finding others with whom one can share the experience can be so helpful. I turned to an R.E. almost right away as I’m a lesbian and the only way I could even try to get pregnant was to use donor sperm and because of the expense I figured it made sense to be monitored and stimulated with Clomid and/or Femera. Never did I think we’d still be at this more than 2 years later. I’ve had an easy time getting pregnant (4/8 IUIs resulted in pregnancies with 2 resulting in miscarriages in the first few weeks and the last two resulting in no heartbeat at the second or third ultrasound after seeing heartbeats earlier. Now I”m waiting for the D&C on Monday and my partner and I are seriously considering the need to walk away from me carrying with my own eggs. We simply cannot afford IVF with CCS (which is the protocol I was thinking of, though I confused it with PGP in my previous message). But the prospect of walking away from being pregnant, carrying with my own eggs, etc is making this miscarriage all that much more emotionally difficult. Anyway, I would love to hear how things go with your IVF in Denver, so will continue to check back. And if you’d like to reach out via email, you can reach me at hdbryher@hotmail.com. I have another preferred email address but it contains my full name and I’d rather not put that on the web. So if you do feel like corresponding outside of the blog comments I’ll probably pass along another address if I hear from you.

    Reply

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