Wisehubby and I had been TTC for a while and, on a hunch, discovered his severe male factor infertility--basically, he has an army of mutant sperm. I'm also mutant; I have a clotting disorder: Factor V. We were on the IVF with ICSI track, and I gave birth to a beautiful boy after IVF #2. We've tried varicocele repair, too--ugh. Our frozen embyro transfer ended in miscarriage at 9 weeks 1 day. We don't know where the quest will take us from here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

On miscarriage

Miscarriage is a terrible thing. It doesn't respect your hopes and dreams. It doesn't respect your right to grieve.

Even if you're very open about your miscarriage, which I have been, there is no space for your grief in our society. My friends and family have been enormously supportive, and they have and will continue to hold me up, but it's still never going to be enough.

You see, our fetus, who never stood a chance at becoming a baby scientifically speaking, had two possible names. A due date. A nursery theme. A mother and a father and a big brother. A whole life to live.

Just because I know intellectually that with no heartbeat, this fetus would never amount to more than a tiny cluster of tissue and a few weeks of mild morning sickness and food cravings, that doesn't change the fact that, for one month, I was pregnant. I dreamed about my baby, made plans for him or her. Prayed for him or her to grow big and strong and become a beloved child of God. I bought maternity clothes and fantasized about getting round. I thought about purchasing a new breast pump through insurance, and whether or not we should spend money doing at 12 week NT scan, since it wasn't covered on our insurance. I started to plan my maternity leave and who would be my long-term substitute.

Now, I'm bleeding. I know it's the end. There is no more hope for those dreams.

What do I have to show for it? 10 pounds and a heart full of grief.

How do I get to say goodbye? By disposing of my dreams, one way or another. Take your pick: The baby and all of that hope will likely either be flushed down a toilet or thrown in the trash, waded up in a sanitary napkin. I likely won't even know when to say goodbye.

That is miscarriage.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

No heartbeat

We found out today that the fetus has no heart beat and is several weeks behind developmentally, so we're praying for a quick, safe, and natural miscarriage.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our Little Engine that Could

Praise and thanksgiving! Our Little Engine that Could is making slow progress safe and sound in my uterus. I have an at risk pregnancy, but a pregnancy, nonetheless. I'm 6w3d pregnant from my FET, but the gestational sack and yolk sack measured proportionally at 5w2d. The amazing ultrasound technician said that there is a margin of error of about a week, and that she has seen slow developers go on to be healthy pregnancies before. She didn't make promises, but she said to be hopeful for two weeks until we return.

Dr. B basically said everything that the sonographer said, but with less tact. He was fairly polite for himself, but he just drops bombs in a way that Wisesister thinks is unnecessary, and I am inclined to agree with her. For example, he could have avoided scaring me half to death that I was having an ectopic pregnancy and was facing internal bleeding and certain loss. All he had to do was say, "Your blood work is irregular. Let's bring you in for a sono to learn more!" He did suggest that in his experience about 50% of cases like mine result in healthy pregnancies, which is a big improvement over the 15% we had been hearing for the last week.

We're proceeding as if we have a healthy baby. In two weeks, we'll have a make or break sono where we will learn if there is a fetus developing slowly in the the yolk sack. If there is a fetus and a heart beat, we won't necessarily be out of the woods, but it will be 8w3d, and that's a pretty great place to be. If not, then we'll know that we've lost the pregnancy and we'll be able to grieve and start to decide where to go from there.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Vermillion, Part 2

I was listening to my FET soundtrack that I never got around to posting on my way home from my very long day at work (Meet the Teacher Night), and one song stuck out to me. I know that it wasn't necessarily written about infertility, but the message felt very on point.

Ok, I'm not really a Slipknot girl, but they sing every once in a while instead of scream, and "Vermillion, Part 2" is particularly beautiful. I think the music video is pretty grim, but the lyrics really speak to me by themselves. I'll bold the lyrics that mean the most to me.

She seemed dressed in all of me, stretched across my shame.
All the torment and the pain
Leaked through and covered me
I'd do anything to have her to myself

Just to have her for myself
Now I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do when she makes me sad.

She is everything to me
The unrequited dream
A song that no one sings
The unattainable, she's a myth that I have to believe in
All I need to make it real is one more reason
I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do when she makes me sad.

But I won't let this build up inside of me
I won't let this build up inside of me
I won't let this build up inside of me
I won't let this build up inside of me

A catch in my throat choke
Torn into pieces
I won't, no!
I don't wanna be this...

But I won't let this build up inside of me
I won't let this build up inside of me
I won't let this build up inside of me
I won't let this build up inside of me

She isn't real
I can't make her real

She isn't real
I can't make her real

Monday, September 8, 2014


I've been half-grieving since Thursday, when I got the worst kind of news when trying to referee what could only be described as an epic Greek and Latin Stem Word Pictionary Battle. I was so caught off guard and in the middle of everything that I had to call back later when my students were working individually to process the information. Unfortunately, the second time around, the nurse's news did not improve.

My HSG, the pregnancy hormone, levels did not rise at the rate that they want. They look for at least 66% rise in two days, and mine had gone up just about 33%. What could it be? Well, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, a healthy pregnancy that defies the trend (15% chance), or even more unlikely, our single embryo split into twins, one of whom was surviving and the other wasn't. What to do? Wait and repeat on Monday.

Today, I took the initiative and called when it was convenient, and on my school land line since the cell service in my classroom is terrible. I knew it wasn't good when the nurse hesitated to tell me anything at all since Dr. B hadn't reviewed my charts yet. Oh, shit, not the miracle I'd been praying for.

My hormones went up about 30% again, and they're at a good level for someone who is 6 weeks pregnant, but the slow rise makes Dr. B think it's an ectopic pregnancy. Yeah, that's when your baby is growing OUTSIDE of your womb.

Bad stuff. Risk your life to internal bleeding and destroy your lady parts if you don't end it bad stuff. Chose between poisoning your doomed baby with chemotherapy drugs or surgically removing your doomed baby bad stuff.

I go in for a sono to see if it's actually bad stuff, or just an oddity of modern medicine. Maybe we have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and weird hormones. Supposedly it happens (15% is the number that you see), even if it appears to be documented NO WHERE on the internet. NO WHERE.

So, I am trying to be hopeful, to not return my stack of new maternity clothes, to believe in this miracle, in this pregnancy, in the beautiful hatching embryo in the picture. It's hard though, since I am half-grieving. I can't be truly hopeful, but I can't give into the all encompassing grief. I am stuck in between, where no one has anything to say other than they'll be praying for me.

That's where I am. I suppose you can pray for me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Feeling pretty hopeful

Y'all, I'm 10 days post transfer of a day 6 blast, and I'm feeling pretty confident that I'll have a baby in my arms come May 3! I've got a drawer full of positive pregnancy tests starting back at 5 days post transfer. I go in for my beta next week, which is exciting beyond belief.

I know that I'm feeling pretty hopeful because I just spent $212 buying eight beautiful pieces of maternity wear from Old Navy online. I know that seems excessive for someone who has been pregnant before, but much of my wardrobe was either a hand-me-down from my much smaller sister or a loaner from a friend, who I wouldn't dare impose upon a second time. I need some skinny jeans for work and play, a black skirt, two work dresses, and three tops that are so me!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Good signs

Well, that beauty is now hopefully on its way to being our Wisebaby. Here are some signs from our FET that are good:
-Our nurse was my labor and delivery nurse! She remembered me and asked after our son by name. 
-Dr. B said that if he didn't know our embryo had been frozen, he would have thought it was fresh because it was so pretty.
-The embryo started hatching. One potential barrier to implantation is if the embryo doesn't hatch. They're is even a service offered for assisted hatching.
-My bed rest times perfectly before returning to work. Taking time off during professional development is a big no-no.
-Adjusting for a scheduled induction based on my first pregnancy, I should be due for my 30th birthday! A baby would be the perfect present.
-One of my college roommates is going through IVF this week! Eep! God has put is into each other's lives to help each other through this adventure.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A prayer for peace of heart

Dear Lord,

Please be with us tomorrow as we try to become parents to another child. Make my womb a healthy place, and steady the hands of our health care professionals. Please be with us if we do conceive, so that we can learn to dedicate ourselves to another child, while raising our son in your image. Please be with us if we do not conceive, so that we can grieve the loss of our hopes and continue the business of being your servants in ways that are within our grasp. Most of all, bring peace to our hearts, no matter the outcome.

In Jesus's name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Weeks 1-2

Most people don't know that they're pregnant until they've hit week 5 or 6 or sometimes even much later. Really, only couples undergoing fertility treatments get to know and live weeks 1-2, since week one technically starts with the first day of your menses. Even crazier, IVFers can start the process at -2 (yes, NEGATIVE two) weeks or earlier depending on their protocols.

For me, this time, I started on day 2, week 1 with estradiol pills (estrogen to make a happy home) and lovenox (blood thinner to make sure the estrogen doesn't kill me or the embryo). Medically speaking, t's a lot less intense than rounds 1 and 2 of IVF that we've been through. Now that we've got a toddler? It's a whole different ball game.

Today was good, but yesterday? Oh goodness. There are no words for yesterday. Ok, there are some words for yesterday, but they're not really for polite company.

Hopped up on estrogen, I've been moody, confrontational, petulant, and extremely tired, which doesn't help with the first three. Two nights ago, Wisehubby and I had a wicked fight, but I realized that I was being pretty irrational, so I reined it in, called Wisesister, wrote down my promises for what I could do to improve the situation, and spoke calmly with him, eventually resolving the fight. Needless to say, I didn't get to bed exactly on time, and I had a hard time sleeping.

The next morning, instead of sleeping until about 7, which is typically for our son, the little guy (1 yo, mind you) woke up at 5. AM. Holy. Hell. You expect it when they're newborn, but mommies always say, "Don't worry! This won't last forever." Yes, 1 year of sleep depravation isn't literally forever, but it feels like it, for sure. On top of that, he's recently decided that being a toddler means that he is going to cry because things aren't going his way. A lot. That website, Reasons My Son is Crying, suddenly seems relatable instead of funny or cruel.

So, I had a meltdown--a throw the kid in the car and drive to the nearest mall to power walk your feelings into submission meltdown. I called Wisehubby at work to let him know I was spiraling out of control because I was tired and I was hormonal and I had forgotten to take my lovenox injection and I couldn't find the garage door opener and... and... and... Geez, there was a laundry list of other problems that I can't even remember now. 

It was bad enough that he suggested I drop the kid off to be watched by my dad, who is currently being a bachelor for the first time while my mom is out of town. That wasn't a bad idea, but my crazy hormonal brain wouldn't give in. I knew I could conquer this by myself, well, and with the help of a little bit of fear of public shaming. "Get it together!" I thought, "There's no crying in mall walking!"

After a 3 mile walk through the mall and a stop at Chick Fil A for some comfort food for me and the babe, I managed to get him home for what was surely the world's shortest afternoon nap for two such exhausted souls. The nap and the walk were enough though, and we took the rest of the afternoon to play just the two of us. He pulled all of his books off of his book shelf, we watched Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, we filled the water table and kiddie pool, we took the dog on a walk, and we even went swimming with the dog our pool. Daddy brought home some take out, and I'd officially survived the worst day of all of my infertility treatments.

What's the moral to this tale? Even if the FET is supposed to be easier, being infertile and being a parent is something completely crazy. You're so grateful for what you have, yet that gratitude can make you less willing to admit when you are having a hard time. Once you do have a baby, the appointments and procedures and hormones are met with less ceremony and less support than the last time. I've done most of the procedures by myself, and Wisehubby hasn't helped me through a single injection. It's not that he doesn't care, because he does, but that he has someone else that he has to care for more--our son. Instead of taking in all of the crazy hormones and thinking promisingly about how they were going to change my life, I'm just so freaking tired. So tired. Please, please, baby sleep tired.

Would I change a thing? No. Stick me, prick me, hop me up on hormones. Give me a shot at a second baby and another year of my life lost to the beautiful delirium of sleepless nights and parenthood.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Today I did a mock transfer so that Dr. B can be sure he knows the geography of my womb and get the catheter with the embryo in the right spot. It's a very quick, fairly painless procedure, but it requires a full bladder. Even though I cut back from 32 to 24 ounces of water based on my previous experiences, I still was scolded by the sonographer that I was too compliant and should have "let off a little pressure" in the restroom before the mock transfer. I wish I had known while I was sitting there with my full bladder, waiting for my appointment that was 30 minutes late! Eep! I can't believe I didn't wet myself, to be honest.

Anyway, all was good and should be smooth next month. Now, I'm just waiting for my period, excited for it for one of the few times in my life.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Other Shoe

When you're battling infertility and walking the path towards conception, you are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. We must have an amazing shoe wardrobe because it seemed to be years of escalating bad news, plenty of dropping shoes:

zero normal morphology
low testosterone (pills)
low count
failed IVF
no embryos for freezing
Leiden Factor V blood clotting disorder
bizarre physical effect of varicocele surgery
no improvement in sperm morphology or count after varicocele surgery
lower testosterone (more pills)
lower testosterone (shots)
induction instead of normal delivery
lots and lots of blood thinner delivered through lots and lots of shots

Finally it seemed that we'd go barefoot for a while. We had Wisebaby. He came via the natural start of labor that I had given up on. He weighed the right amount, and he was a nice height. Perfectly average. We could breath easy and wander around, letting the grass and sand and and carpet and water tickle between our toes. 

I've realized though, that I never gave up holding my breath for some sort of set-back. We've taken them all in, seething, grieving, adjusting, surviving, thriving. I keep waiting for some major set-back to happen with Wisebaby, and it has and it hasn't. Yeah, he's stubbornly refusing to walk even after his first birthday. Yeah, he wouldn't eat solid food for a while, four months if you must know. Yeah, he's been doing crazy things with his nap schedule since day one. Yeah, he's been to the doctor a lot--slow gainer after birth, tongue tie, nursing difficulties, five ear infections, RSV, strep throat, hand foot and mouth, rashes, colds, and ear tubes. Through it all, I've said to Wisehubby a million times, "I know he's been sick a lot, but don't we have just the best kid?"

Maybe a lot of other mommas would freak out as the shoes all start dropping, but I've just sort of been rolling with the parenting punches the way I learned to roll with them when we were just TRYING to become parents. Maybe we had a bit more practice at dashed hopes and altered expectations than the average fertile couple? As it is, I'm holding my breath and waiting to see if a shoe will drop on us during this frozen embryo transfer cycle. If it does, we'll just dodge it and keep on trucking.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:

We're rolling on down to our FET. Just one more procedure stands in our way, a mock transfer. Other than having to fill and hold your bladder, that's an easy and comfortable procedure, relative to everything else. We're on track for a FET during the week of August 11-14, which would put us on track for an early May baby! The best part of the timing is that both Wisehubby and myself are off work for the last time before school starts up that week. Couldn't be better!

The Bad:

Dr. B's bedside manner, or lack thereof, just continues to astound me. If he wasn't "holding our embryo hostage" as Wisehubby puts it, we'd be working with another doctor. I was there for a hysteroscopy exactly a week ago, and he didn't remember. It's fine if you don't remember, but at least look at my chart in advance of the appointment, dumb ass. He also asked about 10 questions that we paid $50 copay to answer about one month ago, and he also didn't read his notes from that appointment. Ugh.

The Ugly:

I had to get a script for Lovenox today. Joy. As much as I look forward for the possibility of another pregnancy and Wisebaby, I do not look forward to a daily injection of blood thinner. It's the ugliest aspect of this whole thing.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Clear for take off

In the last week I've had an FSH blood test and a hysteroscopy to make sure that I'm not suffering from any new complications since it has been a long time since I've done a work-up. I got the call last week that my hormones are A-OK, and today I got to see for myself that that my uterus is looking pretty during the hysteroscopy. What's next? Just a follow-up/planning session, a med order, and a period. Then, frozen embryo transfer, here we come!

The hysteroscopy is something that a lot of people dislike. I would put it on par with having a pap smear. The speculum is very uncomfortable, but it was removed as soon as the scope was in place. After that, you can just watch the monitor in amazement as your doctor points out the pin point holes that are your tubes. It's pretty cool. A little leakage and very mild cramping are the only side effects.

I'm feeling pretty stressed out right now, which I think is a combination of a lot of factors. A good friend of mine is going through a divorce, Wisebaby is turning one and getting ear tubes, we are getting our windows replaced and they keep pushing back the date, and then there is the make or break feeling of unfreezing our one and only embryo for the transfer. I had a pretty big melt down yesterday when I dropped Wisebaby's smash cake and destroyed the icing job before his birthday party. My husband saved the day, again, some more, but I think it was a good indicator that I'm more stressed than I would like and that I was letting myself think. I'm going to keep doing my yoga and trying to relax because I want to be a happy, healthy body for our frozen Wisebaby.

Anyway, that isn't my most well-conceived blog post--fertility pun intended--but, then again, we all just conceive however we can!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Preparing mind and body

The summer before our successful IVF, I took Zumba and Power Barre and got fit--not thin--fit. I didn't lose weight or change sizes, but I worked on making my body whole. I also transferred schools from a stressful work environment to a much more relaxed school. Finally, I graduated from with my master's degree, so I took graduate school off of my plate. In addition to the introduction of a blood thinner to our regime, I think those changes had a big impact on my mind-body connection going into IVF. I felt good about my body, and my body, in turn, worked for me.

This summer, I've been working hard to get into that good mind-body connection zone. I'm doing some extra work writing curriculum and teaching PD to earn money for the FET, but I'm staying mindful to focus on being the best me that I can be, and to let go of the things that are not in my control, namely, work politics and other people generally. I'm taking Zumba again, this time with my amazing 57 year old mom. I'm taking yoga for fitness with two girlfriends of mine as well. I'm doing everything I can to get in that happy zone for my baby maker.

Tonight, at yoga, I started to think back to some of the practices of prenatal yoga, which I did and loved. It was one of the best experiences of my life to become that aware and connected to my body and to my baby. I honestly miss Wisebaby when I do yoga now. I feel a little hole where he used to ride. So, during the shavasana pose, where I normally struggle and let my mind wander to earthly problems, I decided to think deeply about my uterus, to send my breaths to my baby, even though he or she is still just chilling out--literally, chilling out in a freezer! I did it, and it felt good. I didn't think about the drama in my life, work, or the chores that awaited me. I just sent breaths deep down to where I will hopefully grow our second Wisebaby. Namaste.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We figured we had one on ice.

"Hey, y'all! Good to see you! Doesn't it seem like you were just here?" asks the male Dr. B.

"It's crazy, but we're back," I reply. "We figured we had one on ice."


That was the start of our next leg of the Quest for Wisebaby journey. It was maybe a little more lighthearted than our last IVF cycle, and definitely more light-hearted than the earth shattering news that got the whole ball rolling that culminated with our first IVF cycle.

We went in yesterday to talk about doing a frozen embryo transfer, FET, with Frostie, Wisebaby's lone surviving embryo sibling. Frostie was recently dubbed "Austin Powers" by a colleague who finds the idea of an bundle of human cells lying in a freezer, cryopreserved, a little funny. It's been helping me keep things light.

Anyway, the fruits of the appointment are this:
(1) Screening tests in July
(2) Drugs and FET in August
(3) Possibly a May 2015 baby
(4) FET is indeed a fraction of the cost of IVF with ICSI ($300 for meds instead of $3000, $3000 in medical and laboratory fees instead of $12000)
(5) The male Dr. B's bedside manner is still shitty, but he still respects my OB, Dr. B, and has a great track record.
(6) They're using electronic medical records now. Cool?
(7) I'm still on the hook for Lovenox shots for blood clotting. That sucks, but what can you do?

After the appointment, Wisehubby and I went to dinner to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary and discuss the road forward. We both feel at peace going into this FET in a way that we didn't--or maybe couldn't?--feel during our last two trips towards an embryo transfer. We know that we have just one embryo to transfer, and that our track record gives that embryo just 2 in 5 odds of turning into a pregnancy and 1 in 5 odds of turning into a live birth. Those are shitty odds, and so we must face the possibility that we're about to spend $3300 to be disappointed again.

Why are we at peace then? Well, with an amazing Wisebaby in our lives, eleven months old and charming the pants off of us each day, we can lay this one more confidently in God's hands. We can pray for the expansion of our family or for peace if it is not meant to be. We can be happy being the three Wiseman, even if we'd be so full of joy to be the four Wiseman. It would mess up our Christmas cards, but it's a small price to pay. I promise we wouldn't sign it from Austin Powers.

Monday, February 3, 2014

We had a baby 30 weeks ago.

Thirty weeks ago, I gave birth to my son, baby W. For a pregnancy that was planned every step of the way, he was a bit of a surprise at thirty-seven weeks and five days; he came a week before my scheduled induction! My water broke all at once--a gross rupture, as the nurse put it--at about 4:00 PM, and we welcomed Wisebaby to the world at 10:15 PM. Despite the blood thinner, I was clotting enough to have an epidural, which was awesome. No other interventions were needed, which was pretty great considering it took 368 needle sticks to get the little guy gestated safely.

My college roommate recently shared her fertility struggles with me, and she's even started her own blog. She credited my blog as part of her inspiration to open up about her trials, and it inspired me to come back and give the site a little look. Of course, I realized that I hadn't shared anything since I was nineteen weeks pregnant, other than timeline updates, and that made me a little sad.

Of course, the last thirty weeks have not give me a lot of time to blog. Wisebaby is a ball of energy, a terrible napper, and a people person. That means we spend a lot of time playing, cuddling, and talking to him. When he finally does go to bed, it's pretty much bottles and laundry until we drop. Parenthood is fantastic. It is everything we had hoped for and more. It is our dream come true, even though he's been sick with RSV, developed an ear infection, and cut two teeth in the last week.