Quiet friend who has come so far

Here I am, cycle day 8, day 6 of stimulation. So far, 11 follicles have appeared, 7 of which are over 5 mm. Here is the breakdown as of yesterday morning:

Left ovary:





(and two under 5)

Right ovary: 




(and two under 5)

That means that there are realistically about 7 in the running. I’d had my mind set on the magical number of 11, as that was the number Dr. S gave me during our regroup, so it was difficult for me to adjust to the decrease in my odds.

I had a shaky and tearful day yesterday, even though the nurse reassured me by saying:”This is not bad—this is good, this is a good cycle!” And she said it was possible for the smaller ones to catch up to the bigger ones, as they will all grow at different rates. I was put on Ganirelix last night to keep me from ovulating the bigger ones while continuing with follicle stimulation to keep them all growing. As I type, I’ve got some swelling and tenderness down there that comes and goes—an indication to me that activity is happening!

I swirled down into negativity yesterday and burst into tears quite a few times in the morning. Of course, I was exhausted, too, and that didn’t help. Also I was worried about Winter Storm Gandalf delaying DH’s flight. And various other logistical things.

I found myself stumbling through the streets of steely-gray Denver at lunchtime, feeling triggered, backsliding into a familiar prison of negative thinking. Preparing for the worst, for the pain of disappointment, childlessness, and loneliness. For that feeling I get that I am working just to pay bills, with no family, no larger meaning. It’s a script I know very well.

I even found myself avoiding baby strollers and pregnant women and rosy-cheeked children on the sidewalks. That painful duck of the head, wide swerve around, no eye contact, keep it together, get past them, even if you have to walk in the street. Wow. I hadn’t done that in such a long time! But the unhealthy behaviors came back to me instantly.

So I wrote to Sky and asked for her help. What she wrote in return knocked me down.

She reminded me that my prison of negative thinking is very comfortable for me. She said that I tip-toe into that dark territory because I know how I am going to react to the dark. But if I choose to go in another direction, I will be forced into unknown territory where I will be completely vulnerable. Where I don’t know what to expect. Where I can’t rely on past reactions as a guide. It is very uncomfortable choosing a new path into the unknown and—and this is important!—the fear I am experiencing is actually fear of discomfort!  My creature self would rather do what it knows than venture into new territory because in that new territory I could get hurt and disappointed in new ways. If I stay in the familiar prison I will get hurt, but I know that hurt like the back of my hand and I know how I can and will react to it.

The new path leads to a place where I do not spiral and swirl with anxiety, fear, sadness, where I do not play out my worst case scenario again and again. Such self-torture does not serve me. The new path leads to a place where I accept what is no matter what. 

When I do that, I know, I know in the center of me, that good things will come.

For example, today. Something interesting happened. When I left Staybridge to drive to a coffee shop, the world was a blizzard of snow. It was crazy. The sky was an impenetrable stormy white-gray, the streets were coated with snow and ice, and cars were swerving out of their lanes. I had a moment of panic: DH’s flight will be delayed tonight. But then I very mindfully let go of the thought. It came back to me a couple of times, but I would acknowledge it and release it again. I got free of it and went about my business. I said to myself, He will get here, it will happen, everything is going to be okay. 

Then a strange thing happened about twenty minutes later. The sky completely cleared. The sun came out. It stopped snowing. The snow melted on the roads. How gorgeous it was, the bright sun against the white snow!

As Sky put it in her email to me: “You never know what tomorrow will bring.”

You never know what is going to happen next.

She advised me to visualize the window to my soul receiving and releasing. She said that if my fear is overwhelming, to ask my fear to speak more softly to me.

Which makes me think of Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice: Say to your fear, “My fear, dear one, I am here for you.” And cradle it in your arms as you would a baby.

I’m not feeling fearful today. I feel strong.

Sky signed off with the Rilke poem below. Yesterday, before receiving her email, I was in a bookstore and the only book I was drawn to was a volume of poems by Rilke entitled Love Poems to God. 

Of course.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower and you the bell.
And as you ring, what batters you becomes your strength.

Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, this intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world shall cease to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
And to the rushing water speak: I am.

~ Rilke

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  1. A miller

     /  January 13, 2013

    I can’t even explain how closely this hits home. The avoiding pregnant women and children is particularly resonant for me. I was doing quite a bit of traveling both during the earliest stages of my last pregnancy and after the miscarriage and being in airports over the holidays just about undid me. All the families, all the babies, and finding myself seated next to an infant on her father’s lap. An infant that kept cooing and tossing her toy onto my lap. I cried during the entire flight. I’m also finding it very difficult to maintain contact with even my closest friends who are pregnant or have babies. So I’m very envious of your coping strategies, precarious though they may be. Im trying to be inspired by them, but seem to be trailing very far behind in coming to terms with my own RPL and very recent miscarriage. I hope you continue to find strength in Sky’s wise words and that your follow-up ultrasound went well.

    • Your vivid description brings back countless moments over the past couple of years that have cut me to the quick, moments that seem too cruel—like having that toy tossed into your lap. My coping skills come and go. Sometimes they work, sometimes I cannot find them at all. I think one thing that has helped a little is accepting that the skills come and go, come and go. The sensitivity to pregnant women, children, babies, happy families—that comes and goes. (Right now it is particularly strong.) I have lost touch altogether with one of the best friends I’ve ever had because I simply am not ready to ask her about her new baby girl—because she and I were trying to get pregnant at the same time, and we’d looked forward to being pregnant and new moms together. I literally haven’t spoken to her in more than a year. I saw another best friend yesterday, one who has eight-year-old twin daughters, and I cried in the car, so envious of what she has—full family, a home, and instead of writing about RPL and ART, as I am, she has just written a children’s book. So my progress in this area is of the one step forward two steps back variety. Try not to be too hard on yourself—because I think it is nearly impossible to achieve steady coping after a recent miscarriage. Your body alone has just been through so much—a tsunami of physical and hormonal stuff. Let alone what’s happened with your good heart. I’m thinking of you and empathizing hugely. Thanks for wishing me strength!

  2. LH

     /  January 14, 2013

    Rilke?? This is getting strange (not sure if you got my card or if it came while you were away). I hope you are staying strong. Thinking of you and crossing my fingers for you. xo

    • No I didn’t get your card–did it have Rilke in it? xoxo

      • LH

         /  January 15, 2013

        I wrote a quote on the back. . . well, you will see it later. Take care out there – I am with you! I am glad your DH is physically with you too. Love all that movie-watching!


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  • About Me

    Me: 41
    DH: 38

    Fertility issue:
    Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
    6 pregnancy losses
    All early
    5 with my own eggs
    1 with donor egg

    Abnormal embryos

    Factor V Leiden heterozygous
    MTHFR heterozygous

    AFC: 2 - 12
    AMH: 0.2
    FSH: 6.8
    E2: 40
    LH: 2.8


    April 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac only). D&C to remove products of conception at 9 weeks.

    Oct 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac & yolk sac). Took Cytotec to induce miscarriage at 9 weeks. PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, night terrors followed.

    Winter 2012 -
    Two rounds of Femara/Clomid + IUIs at Columbia and RS of NY. The idea: to produce more eggs and increase chances of catching a good one. BFNs.

    April 2012 -
    Natural conception, first try. Ultrasound showed activity in the uterus, but no complete sac. Diagnosed with "missed abortion." Natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    June 2012 -
    Conception after 7 mg Femara for 5 days + IUI. Diagnosed with chemical pregnancy. Natural miscarriage at 4.5 weeks.

    August 2012 -
    Natural conception, without trying. Chemical pregnancy and natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    October 2012 -
    ODWU at Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM).

    January 2013 -
    IVF with Dr. Schoolcraft.
    Straight Antagonist protocol

    What he predicted:
    I will produce 11 eggs
    Good chance 1 will be normal
    30% chance 2 will be normal
    Transfer 1, then a 45% chance of success
    Transfer 2, then a 65% chance of success

    What happened:
    7 follicles stimulated
    6 mature eggs retrieved
    2 died during ICSI
    4 fertilized
    3 out of 4 embryos CCS-tested
    All abnormal

    Aug/Sept 2013-
    Frozen Donor Egg IVF at Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA)
    What Dr. Shapiro predicted:
    6 or 7 will fertilize
    1 we will transfer
    1 - 3 we will freeze

    Protocol: Lupron, Vivelle patches, Crinone

    8 frozen eggs from donor thawed
    6 fertilized
    1 Day-5 Grade A XBbb blastocyst transferred
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst frozen
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst frozen

    September 13, 2013: Pregnant

    Prenatal vitamins & baby aspirin,
    Vivelle patches & Crinone

    Beta #1: 171
    Beta #2: 706
    Beta #3: 7,437

    6 w 3 d: measured 6 w 1 d
    FHR: 80 bpm
    Fetus did not grow
    7 w: FHR 121 bpm
    8 w: heart stopped
    9 w: D and C

    Test results: We lost a normal karyotype male for unexplained reasons

    Quit stressful job
    Anti-inflammation diet
    Gluten-free diet
    Vit D, DHA/EPA
    Therapy/energy work
    Creative Visualization
    Art Therapy

    March 14, 2014:
    Double FET at RBA
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst

    March 24, 2014:

    Prenatals, baby aspirin, Folgard, Vivelle, Crinone, Lovenox

    Beta #1: 295
    Beta #2: 942
    Beta #3: 12,153

    1 fetus implanted

    Measured on track

    Fetal heart rate:
    7 wk: 127 bpm, 8wk:159 bpm, 9wk: 172 bpm

    Due date: Dec, 4 2014!

    NatureMade (USP Seal) Prenatals and 4000 Vit D3
    Baby aspirin
    40 mg Lovenox
    DHA and EPA
    Folgard 2.2

    Born: One perfect baby boy 12.4.14

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