Pleasant Surprises

The dogs and I went for our regular daily hike through the conservation lands today.

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The day started out rainy, but then the clouds cleared and the sun came shining through. We tried a different path today, which is usually very wet and full of puddles, which Juno loves to lay in. Today, the path wasn’t very muddy, and she chose not to get dirty by splashing in the puddles.

I rewarded her by heading to a little creek that collects in a small pond. We call this spot “Memorial Creek” because of the plaque nailed into a tree that memorializes a loved family dog. The plaque is older than our dogs, and makes this place seem so sacred to me.

On our trek there, something red caught my eye… raspberry canes! My TCM doctor says that I should eat some raspberries daily, to help tonify my kidney and liver, which are deficient. How serendipitous! So I picked a handful of the ripest raspberries, cradled them in my hand, and walked down the hill to Memorial Creek.

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There I sat at a rickety picnic table and watched as the dogs played in the water and chased squirrels.

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All of a sudden, Juno emerged from the bush, something squeaking in her mouth! I was worried that she had caught a small animal, and was relieved when I saw that it was just a pink squeaky toy she must have found in the woods nearby.

She squeaked it several times before asking politely if I’d play fetch with her.

She asked once,

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and again. She asked several times, really. That is, until the squeaky toy lost its squeaker!

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Then we headed back on the trail.

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A day of beautiful surprises!

Futile?

4 IUI’s —> BFN
IVF —> 1st FET (surrogate DW, 2 excellent quality blastocysts) —> BFP but HCG fails to double
—> 2nd FET (surrogate DW, 2 excellent quality blastocysts) —> BFP but HCG fails to double
—> 3rd FET (my uterus, 1 excellent quality and 1 good quality blastocyst) —> BFP but no heartbeat seen

Is it my eggs? Is it the sperm? Is it the clinic? Is it DW’s uterus/immune system + bad luck during my transfer?

Having invested so much time and enough money to buy a nice car already, are we foolish to keep trying?

Do we bother with the last excellent quality blastocyst? Or do we start fresh and do a whole new round of IVF?

We are running out of time and hope.

Do we just come to terms with being childless, and hope that over time we approach it with less bitterness and more appreciation of freedom?

I am just having a really hard time understanding how we could possibly have a good outcome with stats like this.

Sorry for the negativity. I’m just trying to process it all, and I’m struggling to find hope among all of the shitty hands that we have been dealt.

Limbo

Wow, I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been cooking up a storm, adapting new recipes, and washing lots of dishes. Yesterday I made my first gluten-free (GF) turkey meatloaf, and today I made GF turkey meatballs, and tomato sauce with produce from our garden. I plan to serve it for dinner on shredded spaghetti squash (also from our garden). Props go to DW for growing me all of these amazingly gorgeous organic vegetables and herbs!

Time seems to be moving at a very strange pace for me. Being home every day means that my sense of time is dictated by my daily chores, appointments, and the return of DW from work. I have been running errands, hiking on the conservation lands with the dogs, preparing elaborate dinners, and probably not cleaning as much as I should be. We have been relaxing at the cottage on weekends, so my routine is kind of messed up in this way too.

Obviously, in many ways I’m glad that I’m not at work. I suffered from an alarming level of anxiety from being dealt a ridiculously unfair schedule, a lack of support from the people that are supposed to be supporting me, as well as doing my best (and failing) at trying to provide meaningful learning moments for kids that are the most challenging in the district. I was not eating. I was not sleeping. I had fleeting thoughts of self-harm. My family doctor insisted that I take a break from all of it to regroup and grieve our loss. I am currently about one third through my leave of absence, and I am terrified of going back.

I feel like I’m just beginning to heal physically. I’m still spotting daily, and I definitely notice my athletic limitations compared to pre-pregnancy: lower cardiovascular endurance, core strength is gone, and my strength has severely decreased. I have been lifting weights again every other day for the past week and a half, and my energy and motivation has been lacking. Pre-pregnancy, working out has always been a treat and a stress-reliever, but now I feel like I’m dragging my heels and my body just won’t do what I want it to do.

Interestingly, my eyesight has significantly changed as well. I had an eye exam two days ago, and my vision, which has been stable since 2007, has gotten worse by almost 2 diopters in both eyes! I suspect that all of the pregnancy hormones have messed up my body in many ways that I am unaware of.

Emotionally, I am really struggling. Part of me wishes that I was back at work (I really enjoy my career- just not at this particular school and schedule), as I miss the kids, routine, and socializing with my colleagues. In particular, I miss the first two schools that I was at. The kids were amazing, and the staff made me feel like family. Even the administration were very personable and supportive. However, my past two schools have been really difficult- due to the administration (lack of support and disciplining of students), and the particular classes that I have been assigned (the classes that nobody wants because it involves teaching the most difficult content to the most poorly behaved students). Unfortunately, being in a union (don’t get me wrong, I am so appreciative of unions) so much of where you teach and what you teach is dependent on seniority, and being a relatively new teacher in a school board that is shrinking, I am at the bottom of the food chain. So the most experienced teachers can choose to teach the easiest students and their first choice of subject, and the new teachers with the least experience get what nobody else wants. Not to mention that I get paid half what they get paid, and end up working extra hours at home prepping every night.Makes sense right? Ugh.

Look at me. Three weeks off from work and I’m still bitching about it. Now and again I have to remind myself that I am so lucky to have job security and benefits, and an (unpaid) summer off.

In happier news, I came home to a gift today:

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A friend of mine sent it with their condolences on our loss, and for a moment I was so touched but also so frustrated that miscarriages are often such a hush-hush secret. I know they are common, but given the lengths that we have gone to make a baby, our repeated losses seem even more tragic. For example, we can’t just have sex a ton more times and get pregnant (though- this should not dissuade anyone from trying this strategy ;)). We apparently can’t even get an IUI to work. Very frustrating.

In the meantime, I will wait for DW to get home before diving into these:

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I saw a new Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine this week. He lectures annually for the acupuncture program that I used to teach for. He is a fertility specialist, and until now, I haven’t been able to see him because he only treats on weekdays (teacher schedule). The appointment went well. He is very thorough and has a three-phase plan for me. The first phase is getting my natural period to come and flush out all of the stagnation in my uterus (and what energetically remains of the pregnancy). Then, we work on building my yin, which is quite depleted in me, and what likely causes my long follicular phases (eggs need more time to mature because my yin is too weak). Lastly, we will work on lengthening my luteal phase, which is super short. He says that even if I were getting pregnant naturally, my luteal phase is so short that proper implantation can’t even occur. Sometimes, regulating the follicular phase also fixes the luteal phase as well. He’s got me on some herbs right now, which are in the form of high potency granules. While I’m very proficient at acupuncture and general TCM principles, I was not trained in the healing properties of herbs, which can have incredible synergy with the acupuncture treatments. I am glad he is healing me through the use of both. He suggests that I sit this next cycle out, and try again the following cycle. So essentially, I’m in limbo for another 9 or so weeks.