Leaving Georgia

I’m sitting by the pool at Staybridge, finally ready to go home. I got the call this morning with more news (god I was nervous, waiting for it), and they were able to freeze one more that made it to blastocyst on Day 6. I’m not sure of its grade (will know in a week) but they say Day 6 embryos are often indistinguishable from Day 5; they just take a little longer to get to blast stage. I feel a little more secure. I have to keep reminding myself that we had an average outcome for the Egg Bank, that Dr. Shapiro predicted we would have 6 or 7 fertilize, that we would transfer 1 embryo, and have 1 – 3 to freeze. We had 6 fertilize, transferred 1, and froze 2. We are most likely in safe territory, particularly since the embryo they transferred could not have been more perfect, according to Dr. S and the embryologist.

Still, I can’t shake this feeling that the outcome could have been better, that we’re not in safe territory—my god, what is wrong with me?? Psychological conditioning. I know. Sigh. But for the most part, I am feeling more confident, more optimistic, than I was feeling yesterday and the day before. I have to keep reminding myself that it would have been totally within the realm of possibilities for the numbers to be lower, the grades to be lower. I am feeling hugely and awe-struck-ly grateful! But I’ve been through too much to let go of uncertainty and trepidation overnight. And I feel super-guilty for not being able to let go of fears (double whammy—precisely the feedback loop CBT attempts to break). I know it will just take time for me to adjust. I’ve been through a crazy experience, here, and it will take me a long time to synthesize it in my brain. Plus, I’ve placed unrealistic expectations on myself—that I would feel enormously different, well on my way toward healed, as soon as I experienced transfer. It’s hard to realize that it might take me a lot longer than I imagined to let go of the feeling that I am always going to end up losing what I most want.

But it’s not all like that. I am already talking to the little star in there. “Hey, little star, sorry for all the salt,” or “Let’s go little star, time to pack up and get home to papa.” Or “Welcome to your new home, I hope it’s snug and delicious in there. I promise to take the best care of you while you’re inside, and laugh with you a lot once you are born.” There aren’t really any weird feelings of distance because of DE—the donor-ness of the situation is certainly present, but it’s not troubling. On the day of transfer, the donor was more present, and kind of present in my womb (hard to describe), which was a bit wacky.  But man, this is only 2 days, I don’t even know if I’m pregnant, and I already feel the connection to that developing life. I already feel the delight. 

Of course, my favorite psycho voice likes to chime in, during these happy moments, and say: “You have no idea if it’s even still alive. You might not get pregnant. It might not implant.” Thanks, creepy voice! You’re a gem.

I know that what is driving a lot of my trepidation is my desire to have two children. Feel free to judge me for even thinking about this right now—I do!  I’d rather be honest and admit it than pretend I’m not having these complicated feelings. The truth is, I was hoping that with this program, we would be in safe territory for two. With the outcome we had, it’s certainly possible—but the numbers spell out a situation a little bit too tightrope-ish for this weary girl.  But when I spoke with DH about this, he assured me that no matter what, we can have two kids. If we have one through this program, we can figure out a way to have a second child. Maybe we’d do another DE cycle, if we had to. Maybe we’d foster-to-adopt. Maybe we’d adopt an embryo. There are options.

And so I vow to focus on the present, and on the little star, who, let’s face it, I already adore. I’m starting to lighten up a little, in my heart, now that I know I will no longer be receiving any more scary phone calls with embryology reports (the waiting for those phone calls KILLS me!).  Alllll the news is in (until the pregnancy test, that is), and it’s time to move forward with an attitude of everything is as it should be,  words which have become some of my very favorite on earth (rock on, Buddhism).

What to do with myself now? Go back to work on Monday? Wha?? Part of me doesn’t want to—I run around that facility like a waitress, and I worry about the physical and emotional stress. I told DH that I often feel like pinball in a pinball machine, at work, but instead of bouncing against metal walls, I boing between people who are crying, screaming, demanding, collapsing…but sometimes they are smiling. A week away, and I find myself missing two of my favorite residents, both of whom are experiencing early stages of dementia and are a serious handful, but who have taken up residence in my heart, never to be evicted. 

One of them—I’ll call him Tom—has a bit of a crush on me, and will not give up on his dream of traveling somewhere far away with me.  He hadn’t understood why I didn’t invite him to come on my honeymoon with me and DH. I’d thought he’d be upset when I told him I was going to be out of town for a week, but he surprised me by beaming and grinning. “Good!” he exclaimed, in a rare moment of uncomplicated lucidity. “Good for you, buddy. I hope you have a wonderful time.” I caught a glimpse, maybe, of who he used to be before the dementia took over.

He once gave me a paperback book—a romance novel: he believes the male and female characters are him and me—and on a blank page at the beginning of the book were some nonsensical notes he’d written about the state of the world, many of which were pretty funny.  I was chuckling until I turned to the title page. Underneath the title, in Tom’s shaky penciled handwriting, were the words: Dementia release me. 

I’ll be so happy to see him again.

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12 Comments

  1. My fingers are crossed for you and your little star!

    Reply
  2. My friend, a fellow teacher and also a mom, says that when she was pregnant, despite the demands of a super stressful work environment, long commutes in Long Island’s miserable rush hour, etc. that she just went into Buddha mode where nothing could fluster her–as if something instinctual came over her to throw up the walls to anything that might disrupt and tax the growing baby. You’re a yoga girl already: you’ll do your oms and protect that little star. Have some faith; you have every reason to at this point.

    Reply
    • I’ve been pretty calm so far, except for a couple of flare-ups (reaction to downstairs neighbor’s cigarette smoke coming in my window) and yeah, I shut it down pretty quickly, knowing it wasn’t good for baby. Not drinking coffee is also helpful. I’ll just walk slowly and do things at my own pace, as opposed to my boss’s (who has a tendency to behave as though she just stuck her finger in an electrical outlet, and would like the rest of the world to do the same).

      Reply
  3. I lost my beloved grandmother to dementia years before we lost her physically. Your last line made my heart ache. Tom is lucky to have you. And so is your little star! The waiting game is the worst so I’m hoping it goes by quickly for you. I get caught up in the “but I want TWO” thoughts all the time. It’s normal, and not at all selfish. Good luck!

    Reply
    • Thank you warmly for normalizing and validating my I-want-two thoughts! I SO needed that. I was feeling like an a-hole. And thanks too for your words about dear old Tom. He’s so special to me. My own grandmother is suffering through Alzheimer’s so I empathize completely with what you say about losing the person before you lose her physically. I feel so lucky to have had her in my life for as many years as I did but it’s hard not to want her—the Ma-Maw I used to know—back 100%. I didn’t know Tom before, but I bet he was hilarious and charming (as he is now). I feel so lucky that I get to see him every day—he really helps me enjoy my work, he’s what I look forward to the most, and I tell him so.

      Reply
  4. I am delighted to hear that you have two frozens in the bank. I know it’s our nature to worry, after having so many disappointing outcomes, but I choose to think you are in safe territory.

    I still struggle with my guilt over my constant fears and worry. I just told another person at work, very cautiously, that I am pregnant, and then I rambled on and on about how hard it was to get this way and how many IVFs it took, and how I still have anxiety even in the 2nd trimester… and then I realized they were looking at me in this WAY. You know, you are NUTS, lady. So I need to temper my fear and realize that good things can happen to us too. And having a perfect, grade AA embryo is the start of your good things that I hope will keep coming. I really have felt that I was there with you, since I so recently was.

    Did Dr. S give you the line he gave me about how as far as he cares, you could hop home on a pogo stick? He believes it’s gonna stick or not, and no amount of jostling or running around or standing on your feet will make a difference. I did try to get my 8 hours of sleep during the 2WW, but I did not change anything else in my life (I even had sex once, before the test day). And remember, Crinone can cause cervical irritation. If you start to spot, don’t panic like I did.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much. Yeah, the Crinone is a little weird, isn’t it—it gets so hard and clotted up there, no wonder it irritates the cervix! I’m feeling much looser with my activity level, and am of course wanting to feel symptoms already, which is way too early. Trying to concentrate on the fact that it is a gorgeous day and I am not at work and there are better things I can do with my mind than obsess. I’m sure it’s hard not to qualify ever pregnancy announcement with a list of buts—I’m sure I’ll do the same if I am lucky enough to get to that point.

      Reply
  5. Everything crossed for you xx

    Reply
  6. Congrats on your two frozens! I can totally relate to feeling a smidge disappointed and feeling like the outcome could have been better. But, as long as the doctors think it’s a good outcome, I think despite that little creepy voice the best choice is train yourself to think it’s a good outcome. :) You have Little Star inside you and two more little stars in the wings for the future, hopefully as potential siblings because Little Star is so fabulous. I love that pogo stick thing–I am always so nervous after transfer about being too active, but I have heard it really doesn’t matter so much if you’re running around, especially after two days. No marathons or anything, but I think speedwalking around your residents should be fine. I loved the story about “Tom” — I get why you’d be happy to come back to work with him. I think the busy will help in the wait, too–the busier you are the less bandwidth you have to perseverate on what’s going on inside. Not that it’s possible not to, but at least it makes it less frequent! Good luck, friend! Hoping for the best possible outcome!

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