Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Limbo Lower...

Back into limbo go our little frosties, as life throws us a doozie of a curve ball and we try to figure out what we should do with the pitch.

Our sweet dog, Coda (the Wonder Mutt) was badly injured more than a month ago while boarded when we were on vacation. He had been making painfully slow progress the past few weeks. Our vet encouraged us to be patient, but we didn't feel good about how he was healing, and we sought a second opinion from the University of Florida Veterinary Hospital. They are the "big dogs" around here (so to speak) and have a whole soft tissue department that specializes in the kind of injuries that Coda sustained. He had an appointment there today, and the news was not entirely good. Because of the nature and location of his wounds, there are no guarantees that he is treatable. They are going to attempt a skin graft on his left elbow, probably Friday, and then keep him another week to do follow up. (For us to run him back and forth is two hours each way, and the logistics of twice-a-day bandage changes are literally impossible.) So he has been admitted and will be there for about 2 weeks. We are all really concerned about Coda, and I am tortured by just knowing that despite being in pain he was so HAPPY to just be at home cozied up with his family, and I know he is terrified and lonely in a cage in an unfamiliar place where he is going to be put through multiple procedures. Most of all I am worried that things are not going to go well and that we will never see him again.

Which leads me to our pickle.

Spending all this time in a veterinary hospital and having at least one major surgery is not free. Not even close.

And neither is completing this FET.

What has been paid for are all the tests, consultations, and hysteroscopy.

What remains is the meds and the actual transfer.

And at some point we will need to eat. And pay our mortgage. And our car payments. And the kids tuition, and the utilities, and gas, and the kids prepaid college, and and and.

And Dearest has an awesome job and has done very well providing for our family. But the line has to be drawn somewhere, no?

So we are taking a moment. And reassessing adding to our family. Coda was here first, and he is where our obligation lies. Maybe in a week we will know more and be better able to make a final decision, but at the moment the FET is on hold, and its hard for me to know where my heartbreak over the dog ends and my disappointment over not giving those little snowbabies a chance begins.

A little flicker of sweetness to end with, though. I was a little choked up thinking about Coda when Soph came cavorting into the room tonight, and she froze in her tracks and looked at me, wide-eyed, for a long moment. "Mama, what happened? What happened to you? Why are you crying?" she asked me. I told her I was just worried about Coda and sad that he was not home with us. She threw her little arms around my neck and told me,  "It will be better, Mama. I know that you are sad but things will be better, ok? Don't worry." It wasn't long before Liv walked in and Sophie was quick to tell her, "Mama's sad, because she is worried about Coda. She was crying, Liv." Olivia patted my head and told me "I love you Mom. Don't cry."

It was the first time my children have ever comforted ME. (In truth, it was only the second time they have ever seen me cry. I'm not much of a crier.) And it was incredibly wonderful, seeing my kids display this empathy.

And I know that no matter what happens, I am lucky. And it is going to be ok.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

FET #1, or Clearly We Have Lost Our Minds

I have gone back and forth a hundred times about whether to blog about round two of our baby-making efforts. On one hand this whole experience has a much more laid-back feeling that the events surrounding the girls' conception, and a part of me likes it being a private, nonchalant experience. But at the same time I do from time to time look back on our experience with IVF, from the technical (what dose of Lupron was I on again?) to the emotional (four years ago is such a foggy memory) and I like the idea of being able to look back on potential-baby-number-three's beginnings as well. I would make a comment about how I hope others reading this benefit and it's all for the greater good or something, but that's not really my motivation. I know I'm not reaching a huge audience here, and I'm totally ok with that.

We did not take the decision to attempt to have a third child lightly. We agonized over it for literally years. Is this the best thing for us? And most importantly, for our girls? Things now are so easy (for lack of a better word) with the girls. They sleep all night. They are potty trained. They go to school. They feed themselves, entertain themselves, and are able to explain what they are thinking and feeling. So the temptation to maintain the status quo is there for sure. But... there's always been a but. Obviously, we have paid to keep these other two embryos frozen for a reason. I have always liked the idea of a big family. Of the thought of a household filled with lots of little voices singing "happy birthday to you" and lots of stockings lined up in a row on Christmas eve. And the thought of the girls leaving the nest at the same time, the thought of dropping them off at college and coming home... yes, I know it's 14 years in the future, but I also know how fast these first four years have gone... that thought KILLS me. I think about it way more than I should. Plus I think the girls would make amazing big sisters, and that any little soul who stumbled into our midst would be super lucky. Not that we are perfect, just that we have lots of love to spare. Would I be ok with life as a family of 4? Yeah, I'd be ok. But I would always spend the rest of my life with that little "what if" buzzing around in my head. I'm ready to try. 

So off we go. If you will remember, when we left off we had two children and two cryopreserved embryos. About 2 months ago I went for an appointment at CRM to talk to our doctor about the FET (frozen embryo transfer, for those playing along at home) and get an idea of what to expect. Of course the protocol is much less demanding than it was for a fresh cycle of IVF. Yesterday was my hysteroscopy- done under general anesthesia- and my uterus got an "all clear" from Dr. Loy and company. As soon as the biopsies that they took come back (next week) I will get my final consult and start the drugs! Probably about a month of shots. I don't mind the subcutaneous ones at all, but the PIO (progesterone in oil) are an intramuscular and I am not sure how I'm going to manage that this time. When I was doing my fresh cycle, the school nurse where I was teaching was AMAZINGLY generous and did my PIO shots for me. Hoping I can either figure out how to do them myself or luck into someone equally as awesome to poke me in the butt with a giant needle for a couple of weeks. Then the transfer, probably in October, and voila! Either pregnant or not.

I do want to say that in the interim here, we have NOT made any attempt to get pregnant spontaneously. I have to admit, I feel a little obligation to those wee totsicles. Not to mention that those are perky 31 year old eggs, as opposed to my crusty decrepit 36 year old eggs. So if we get no results from the FETs, that will be the end of our baby making. Which leads me to another question that everyone, including the lady working at the post office today, asks me. "So when are you popping out another set?" Ahem. This will be a SINGLE embryo transfer. Not that we don't adore our twins. We totally do. But I would be lying if I told you that the first year was all sunshine and roses. Combine that with the higher risk of complications from a multiple pregnancy, and we will be doing one at a time. The only snag is this: when they froze our embryos, they froze them TOGETHER, in a single straw. So they will have to be defrosted together. If only one survives the defrost, then it's a no brainer. If they both survive, however, we will transfer one and re freeze the other. Yes, unlike chicken, you can defrost and refreeze a blastocyst, however it can cause fragmentation and there is no guarantee that it will survive a second thawing. 

So there it is in a nutshell. For now life is about enjoying my girls, enjoying having a little time to pay attention to my house when the girls are at school, and trying to keep my dog from chewing his own legs off. Which is a story for another day. 

Thanks for reading. :)