Monday, August 24, 2020

Microblog Monday: Disappointments

 Alas, IVF attempt #2 is turning into a real dud. Despite an AFC of 5-8, it looks as if I'll only have one, maybe two mature follicles. This is after 3.5 weeks of testosterone priming overlapping with 4 weeks of estrogen priming. I'm now on stim day 11 and expect I'll need day 12, too. I know the estrogen priming is important to bring down my FSH, but man, I do not respond as well after estrogen priming. 

I'm sad. I'll go through the motions of this retrieval and the next two, but given how poor this response has been, I no longer feel any sense of hope that we'll get embryos. Last cycle looked so great, right up until retrieval. If this one already looks poor before retrieval, I have no hope for what's next.

The one positive in this messy cycle was the call I got from the on-call nurse on Sunday. She called after monitoring to give me my next steps. When she introduced herself, she told me that I probably wouldn't remember her, but she was my c-section nurse with the twins! I had not recalled her name, and never would have assumed it was the same person at my RE's office as at the hospital, but I definitely remember her and her kindness. I also remember how happy everyone was, because they'd also seen me during my 27 week hospitalization and they were so glad we'd made it to 31. Getting to say 'hello',  to thank her for her kindness back then, and tell her how the twins are doing was a bright spot in an otherwise dark week. 

In other dark news, I applied for a position I'd really like at my current company. I interviewed last week, but am fully expecting a decline later this week or early next week. The hiring manager had initially encouraged me to apply, but hiring practices have changed in a way that I'll be a lower priority candidate. I also didn't have a stellar interview. It wasn't bad at all (I think), but I didn't knock it out of the park, and I would have needed to in order to be selected. I know there are a ton of other well qualified applicants, so it doesn't hurt, but I'm still sad. I'm anticipating getting both the 'nothing was mature/fertilized' call and the 'sorry, you weren't selected' call on Friday. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

White COVID Guilt

I've heard from several sources, off the record, that my workgroup is unlikely to return to in-person work this year. Given Minnesota winters and cold/flu season, I suspect that means we won't return until next spring.

I am feeling a great deal of cognitive dissonance over this, and over COVID in general. At this moment, my life is much better because of COVID. I get to be home to wake my kids up, and snuggle with them while they have their morning cup of milk. If I'm not in meetings, I get to say 'hi' to them at meals and snacks, when they come upstairs to eat. I get to go on walks with them daily. These are all things that I wouldn't be able to do if I was commuting, trying to batch cook meals, and lay out work clothing each day. I haven't had to set an alarm since mid-March - although that's because I always wake up by 4:30 am. I'm not stressed or rushing to get to work, and then to get home from work before our nanny leaves. Fertility treatments are so much easier when I'm home for all shots and no one sees me leave the office for appointments. On a pure quality-of-life basis, my quality of life has gone up drastically.

And yet people are dying of this disease. Many, many people. Kind, good people who would have so much more to contribute and who can't because of COVID. It's terrible and I can't begin to say that I want it to be here. On a personal note, I'm worried about my job. Our income will be down at least 25% this year. So I struggle. I struggle to reconcile gratitude for all the benefits with the horror of the cost. How can you appreciate something that's killing people? How utterly selfish is that? But I sat this morning, Aaron cuddling into my lap and hugging me tight while he had his milk, in a way that never would have been possible if not for COVID. And how can I not feel at least a bit of gratitude for that opportunity?

Somehow this entire cognitive experience mirrors some of my feelings about the ongoing dialogues on race. I know how lucky I am to have grown up a white woman in a well educated, upper-middle class family. I know that there are systemic factors that made my life easier, that have led me to this point of happiness. While I'm certainly not grateful for those systemic factors, I'm cognizant of the fact that they exist and assisted me. I am grateful for the outcomes in my life, but I feel ashamed at the knowledge that those same systems that supported my outcomes facilitate entirely different outcomes for BIPOC. I question myself, as to what practical steps I can take to dismantle those systems. None of the answers that come to mind feel like enough. 

I'll keep searching. Keep looking for ways to leverage my experience to improve the lives of others. I'll probably keep being crap at it, but I'll also commit to ongoing learning, so hopefully I'll get to be less crap! 

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Streak Ends

You prepare yourself. You think through the different possible scenarios. The version where the call says both embryos are healthy. The version where only one embryo is healthy. The version where the call says neither are healthy.

You remind yourself that your life is awesome and no matter what the call says, it will stay awesome.

You prepare yourself, and you guard your heart against the future.

And your heart still breaks when the call comes in that neither are good.

48 XX, +3, +4. 45 XY, -19, +21, -22.

This means an end to our streak of healthy twins from July cycles. I don't take for granted how lucky we were to have that streak. I do grieve that it hasn't continued. On to the next cycle.

Microblog Mondays: Along Came a Spider

For the past few weeks, there's been a daddy long legs spider in our shower. Now, I'm no fan of spiders, but I try very hard to appreciate their benefits, and leave them alone as long as they leave me alone. This spider had been content to hang out (literally) in the far corner, so I left her alone.

Today she must have been feeling inquisitive, because she decided to come over for a visit while I was showering. It was at that point that I realized she was carrying a clutch of eggs. My first thought was: "I bet SHE doesn't have to use Gonal to hyper-ovulate." Followed by: "How small of a needle would be required for a spider on the injection pen?" Followed by: "Wow, it's a good thing I don't have to talk to anyone this early in the morning!"

While I'm ok with one spider in my shower, the thought of many, many baby spiders was a bit much for me. Let's just say that there is no longer a daddy long legs spider in our shower. Here's hoping I can get a fraction of as many eggs as she had!