The Countdown

Just checking in to say I’m still around.  Things have been quiet as I’m mostly concerned with (1) hating my job…see previous post, (2) counting the days until we head to the beach (3 more including today), and (3) taking a hiatus from cycling.  I’ve found that taking the break has slowed my posting pace but I’m still following the blogs of my fellow travelers – just commenting a little less than usual.  I deliberately skipped ICLW this month (my first time doing so since I started the blog) because I figured I’d be laying low.

I promise I’m going to get off this job thing post-haste, because I do realize that I’m lucky to have a job…and it’s boring to anyone who’s not me, but may I please offer the:

Top Three Reasons I Need a New Job (and Career Path)

1.  Over the past 2 months, I have been directly involved in or have overseen the firing or layoffs of nearly 180 people.  The ones related to business restructuring are heart-breaking and soul-draining, and even those that are performance related are terribly difficult as well.  I know far too well the economic climate people are facing and the impact this has on people’s lives.  I never ever take that lightly, and I lose a great deal of sleep over these notifications.

2. Because of said economic climate (see point 1), I have been informed that I can no longer replace the open position I have on my team.  Why is that position open, you ask?  Because the person in it opted not to come back from maternity leave.  Ah, sweet irony – what a wicked sense of humor you have.

3.  This past week I had to meet with a bunch of woman in the office who are acting like pre-teen girls to tell them to knock off the bullying  that’s been going on of late.  (In the HR parlance, facilitate a team-building session.  Give me a break.)  Seriously, if I have to scold people for child-like behavior, couldn’t it at least be my own children?

Is it wrong that I am looking forward to my next cycle as an excuse to take a leave and get a break from this for a little while?  Small detail – I still haven’t shared my little LOA plan with my boss, but since I’m pretty sure Dr. Yacht will certify the leave, I’m not worried as it should qualify under both FMLA and the expanded Americans with Disabilities Act.  (BTW: If anyone in the US ever wants more information about how these federal laws apply to infertility – especially the ADA, please e-mail me, and I’ll be happy to offer some advice.  I’m not an attorney and all cases are different (disclaimer – check), but I can listen to your situation and try to point you in the right direction.

4 Days to white sandy beaches and a drink containing some ratio of banana to rum!

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Why Don’t You Just…

Quit.  No…not TTC’ing.  Rather, my job.  I know this is a bit off topic and somewhat self indulgent, but it’s been on my mind A LOT, so I thought I’d turn to the blog to work some of these thoughts and feelings out.  Please bear with me!

From time to time I think I’ve made mention of the fact that I really really dislike my particular job and actually even the field of HR.  I won’t bore people with the details of why I dislike my job.  Even my husband (who much to his chagrin cannot avoid being bored by the details) doesn’t fully understand why.  He gets that the politics and cultural dynamics in play at my particular organization are daunting, and that some of the issues I deal with are equal parts petty and soul-draining (he refers to it as the Land of Whiners and Cowards), but as he says – “You usually get to leave around 5:00, you don’t take work home, you make a great salary…what’s your problem.”   All that being said, he’s tired of hearing me complain and he feels that the stress I’m carrying around as a result is affecting our ability to conceive, so he often urges me to quit.  He’s even resorted to bribery by saying we could buy my beloved but up until now unpurchased Mac if I would just do it already.

It’s surprising to me how many internal struggles this decision is sparking.  Everything from financial security to my independence to trust levels between LG and me …not to mention how this fits into our long-term family planning.

Given everything going on in the economy, LG and I are comparatively blessed.  We’re by no means well off, but we are able to meet our relatively simple needs without concern.  LG comes into the relationship with investments (which of course have taken a big hit) including college funds that he started for his future children in his 20’s (that’s how much and for how long he has wanted to be a father).  I have far fewer investments (read: none), but earn a comfortable salary.  A salary that happens to be 3 times LG’s.

LG insists that we can make it on his salary and still be fine.  I don’t think so.   When I try to express my concerns about this, it leads to an argument because he thinks I’m basically saying that I have to keep working, because he doesn’t earn enough.  I hate myself for it, but that is kind of what I’m saying.

I’m also afraid that if I leave the workforce, I won’t be able to get back in.  Certainly not now and definitely not at the salary I’m making.  The 2nd part is OK – that I could live with.  It’s the first part that’s scary.  I know first hand from the other side how tough job hunting is right now.  I recently posted a job for my own team and had 150 applicants within the first 24 hours.  I don’t have time to go through all of those, so the first few that looked good, I brought them in for an interview and hired one of them.  I would guess that I didn’t even look at 100 of the resumes or more.  There could have been incredibly qualified candidates there and because of how many resumes flood my inbox every day (not to mention recruiters phoning me with their candidates), they never even got a look.  I’m terrified that I’ll make the decision to quit, discover I’ve made a terrible mistake, and have no recourse.  There’s also a part of me that feels incredibly selfish – here I have a job in these times and I’m flitting around being all cavalier (not really) about whether or not to keep it while others are struggling so much.  Who do I think I am…some kind of dilettante?  I have considered staying in the field (ugh) but looking for another job, but see above: tough times.  Also, the one thing this place has going for it, is that my boss is aware of and understanding of our efforts to have a child and what that entails for us in terms of time away for work for doctor appointments, retrievals, transfers et al.  What if my next employer and/or manager is not as flexible?

This next one’s a hard one, because it goes a little deeper and makes me question a number of things I hadn’t considered before.  Namely, I’m scared to death to be financially dependent on LG – regardless of his salary.  I’m scared that something will happen to him, or worse, he’ll leave me, and I’ll have nothing.  We’re not having relationship issues, so that shouldn’t be a concern, but I’ve seen it happen far too many times, when you think everything’s fine and the next thing you know someone’s walking away.  (In the spirit of full disclosure, this fear is not a new one – it’s a large part of what kept me single so long.)  This makes me feel like I don’t fully trust him (or us) and that’s confusing to me and sad.

So with all of that, it’s probably hard to tell where the decision comes in….  All compelling points, so why would I even consider leaving without another job in hand?  The flip side is that I’m absolutely miserable in this job and it’s starting to take a toll on my physical and emotional wellbeing as well as LG’s and my relationship.  While we all know IF is infinitely more complex than just relaxing, I do believe that stress plays a role, and how I feel right now most days can’t be helping things.  At the very least, LG and I have decided that I will take a leave of absence around my next IVF cycle in June.

I guess there is another option…bulk lottery tickets.

Umbrella Drinks

It’s been quiet around Chez Road Rise the past week or so, because I’ve been absolutely slammed at work.  Between traveling, trying to churn out 900 million individual bonus letters (OK, only 400, but still….), and really strange employee relations issues, I’ve been quite the lunatic.  (I’m sure all around me are silently giving thanks that I’m not doing this hopped up on Lupron, because holy cow – people would get hurt.)

Right now, I’m just enjoying the interlude between IVF’s.  We’re still giving the old fashioned way a whirl over the next few months (because, why not?), but it’s a nice change of pace not to be so immersed in the whole thing.  Things will start up again soon enough as IVF #3 is planned for June, but in the meantime, we’re just enjoying our time together free of shots, hormonally induced mood swings, and the constant ups and downs that go with the whole high-tech baby making routine.

Speaking of enjoying ourselves, the trip is officially on!  Not Italy as we had originally planned, however.  That got really complicated as it turns out the only week we can go due to work conflicts (LG) and jury duty (me) is the week after this upcoming one.  Trying to pull off a trip like that with so little time to plan and get organized was becoming stressful…entirely the opposite of its intended purpose.  So….

We’re headed to a really nice all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  The hotel is part of a family of resorts.  We’ve stayed at another property of theirs in Riviera Maya and really enjoyed it, so we’re hoping this experience is just as fun.

Technically, while we’re there I’m in a natural 2WW, so no drinking, etc.  Screw that!  If it’s meant to happen naturally after months and months of trying on our own followed by two disappointing IVF’s, then an umbrella drink (or ten) shouldn’t really be a problem.  Who knows – it might even be therapeutic!

I’d Like to Thank the Academy…

  • honestscrap1My first blog award courtesy of In Vitro Veritas and All Grown Up.    Huge thanks to onepinkline and Nicole for this award as it came at a time when I was really feeling down – both from the recent IVF failure as well as work struggles.  Receiving this award from you guys really helped pick up my spirits!

This award has been making its way around blogville, so the rules are probably pretty familiar, but just to recap:

The rules:
1) Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.

2) Show the 7 winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Scrap.” Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

3) List at least 10 honest things about yourself.

So, at the risk of revealing my true ordinariness, here goes:

1 – Although I have never lived in Canada (closest I’ve gotten is Minneapolis), I often lapse into a Canadian accent – especially when tired or nervous.  I did date a Canadian for quite some time in college so I always attribute it to him…but that was (ahem) quite a number of years ago.  Lately, it’s gotten stronger as my job takes me to Winnipeg quite frequently.  People who just meet me often assume I am Canadian and are later surprised to learn that I’m actually from the Midwest.

2 – I BADLY want a dog (as does LG) or even a cat, however due to allergies and asthma that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.  We did have a beautiful Standard Poodle for 3 weeks as we had heard that people with allergies often do well this breed.  Not so much.  Unfortunately, after 3 weeks, we had to return him to the breeder (we were very up-front with her in terms of the situation and she was amazing).  It was one of the saddest days I can remember.  I couldn’t believe how quickly I fell for him.   

3 – I could eat Chipotle everyday.  Chipotle and Twizzlers.  When we finally have children and I have to model good nutrition, it’s going to be a rude awakening for me.

4 – As a true testament to my dorkdom, I am obsessed with fonts.  Specifically, I have a true aversion to serif fonts.  If someone at work sends me a file in Times New Roman or other serif fonts, I have to change it to Arial before I can read it.

5 – I used to be an active participant in community theater.  I have played the character of a nun in 4 different productions.  I also once did a cabaret-type show at a local night club in my City.  Just me, a piano, 1 guy (it was a duet show), 16 songs, and the audience.  It was one of the scariest things I’ve done and one of the things I’m most proud of doing.

6 – When I’m really relaxed, I have this very weird habit of drawing up my shirt (or blanket) up over my mouth right under my nose and just kind of holding it there.  It’s this strange little comforting ritual I have.  When I’m doing it, I’m usually not aware of it until someone points it out.  LG delights – delights I tell you – in mocking me for this mercilessly.

7 – I work in HR, and while I’m happy to have a job, I hate it.  You would not believe the things people come into my office to whine about.    I was pre-med for my first quarter in college, and I dropped out because I had a bad run-in with Calculus.  I have forever regretted that I didn’t see that through.  Sometimes, I think about going back to medical school, but the fact that we’re just now trying (unsuccessfully thus far) to start our family and the fact that I feel like I’m too old holds me back.  Nursing is another option I’m considering.

8 –   I wish I lived in Colorado.  I went to college in the Denver/Boulder area (keeping it anonymous, LG) and lived out there for nearly 15 years before moving to my current city.  I really really miss the mountains and the whole vibe out there.

9 – I wish I had more friends IRL.  I’ve never been one of those girls who is part of a huge group of girls, but I’ve always had at least one or two close girl friends.  While they were really strong friendships at the time, they tend to be situational versus the kind Mel of Stirrup-Queens so elegantly calls “transcendent“.  I do still have a couple of friends from college, but they both live in different states and have 2 children each, so we’re in very different places – literally and figuratively.  Work used to be my go-to place for friendships; however, I changed jobs about two years ago, and I’ve never connected with anyone at the new job.  Of the 3 girls I was closest to at my old job, 2 moved out of state and the third passed away from Stage IV breast cancer 6 months after her 40th birthday.  I still miss her every single day.  I do have my sister, and even if I had a gaggle of girlfriends, she would still be my best friend, so I’m grateful for that…but she, too, lives in another state.  I really miss the laughter, support, and comfort that comes from having friends in the same city that you can go to chick flicks with and deconstruct each other’s lives over guacamole and margaritas.  I adore LG and the time we spend together, but sometimes I am very lonely.

10 – I hate to wear bras…although I definitely need to wear a bra. 

And now on to the worthy recipients:

Taking a Deep Breath

First, my deepest thanks to all of you who have stopped by and offered words of comfort and your voices of experience.  All of your comments have provided incredible comfort to me and to LG.  As I’ve written about in the past, this blog has been a source of contention between LG and me.  Over the past couple of days, I’ve read him several of the comments I’ve received, and I think he’s finally starting to understand why having this blog and your support means so much to me.

Even just a few days have made a difference, and I’m starting to feel better.  Hope has crept back in…she’s a tough gal to keep down!

We were very fortunate to be able to get in with Dr. Yacht today for our WTF meeting – especially since I’m traveling for work the next two weeks solid starting Monday, and I didn’t want to have to wait until I got back in town.  The meeting went really well.  I do love Dr. Yacht.  We had a good discussion and here’s what we’ve learned and/or plan to do differently next time.

(1) The fact that I stimulated so well using two completely different protocols yet had pretty significant attrition at each phase suggest to him that it is a quality issue – egg or sperm or both.  He believes this is the cause moreso than an implantation issue as my lining has been ideal both times.

(2) Because the lining looks great but now a total of six nearly perfect Day 3 embryos have failed to yield a pregnancy, he is considering some sort of genetic issue with the embryos.  To that end, if we have happen to have a better yield next time and there are enough embryos for it to make sense, he will perform PGD.

(3) I asked him about immunology issues.  As I suspected based on what other Dr. Yacht patients have said, he doesn’t really buy into the theory, but he did run a panel of bloodwork today to look at immunological levels as well as to perform karyotype testing to look for chromosomal abnormalities.  He did say that he will add Lovenox to my post-transfer protocol next time just to cover our bases.  He does not believe in IVIG treatment, but did give us the name of a local doctor if we wanted to pursue.  He said if we decided to go that route, he would still do our treatment, but the other doctor would manage that portion of my treatment plan.  Based on his explanation, that’s not something LG and I are going to pursue at this time.

(4) Because our first IVF demonstrated that at least one of our embryos has made it to blast, we are going to push this time to Day 5 no matter what.  Worse comes to worse, we’ll thaw our frozen guy that morning as a backup plan.

(5) NO LUPRON!!!  Since I stimmed fine on the pill, we’re going to go back to that.  LG is very happy about that as he feared for life and limb last time around.  My tear ducts are also grateful.  The makers of Jelly Bellies and Twizzlers (my go-to comfort foods) – less so.

(6) I plan to add acupuncture next time around.  Maybe not on the days of ER and ET as that’s logistically difficult, but at least during the stimulation phase.

These last 2 aren’t protocol related but feel equally important:

(7) We are taking a break until the June cycle.  In the meantime, Italy has been chosen as the location for the consolation prize.  We’re hoping to plan a trip for early April, so I need to get crackin’ on that.

(8) I also plan to try to add a few things back into my life that seem to have been sacrificed on the altar of all-things-babymaking.  We’re still not making huge moves like changing jobs or moving – both of which are oft-discussed topics of ours, but at least I can get back to some of the activities like singing lessons and cooking classes that gave me a little dimension.   I really need that.

So, thanks in large part to you guys and Dr. Yacht, we’re picking ourselves up, taking a deep breath, and going forward.

Heartbroken

Apologies in advance for the rambling/ranting nature of this post. 

We are heartbroken.  From start to finish, this time was so much harder than the first.  When our first IVF/ICSI didn’t work, we consoled ourselves with the thought that we would have been lucky to have it work on the first time, so while the failure was hard, we put it into perspective fairly quickly.  This time, I am reeling.  The entire cycle starting with the Lupron fueled fights through our poor fertilization results and then the phone call that always seems to start with “Unfortunately…” has taken its toll.

Now that we have 2 failed attempts under our belt, my mind can’t help but wander into that territory of what if this doesn’t happen for us.  I know it’s still relatively early in the journey and that there are so many stories of people having success on try #3 or #4 or even beyond, but, honestly, I’m fighting to retain any hope. 

Part of what is so frustrating to me is that our diagnosis remains “unexplained.”  In every test they do with the exception of LG’s morphology, our results are textbook.  Even that, the number is normal – just on the lower end, and we’re using ICSI, so it shouldn’t be a factor.  All of that makes it hard to know what to do next.  Is there more testing that can and should be done?  I know some people go the immunology testing route (which my clinic doesn’t seem to really believe in), but I thought that came into play when the issue was not necessarily getting pregnant but rather carrying to term.  (I could be very very wrong on that as it’s not something I’ve researched yet, so if anyone has insight, I would love to hear it.)  I know there are emerging advancements around testing of the embryos (CGH), but my understanding on that is that you have to have a certain number of viable embryos make it to Day 5, which we’ve never come close to.  

 That all leaves us….where?  What can we possibly do differently on Cycle #3 to have a different outcome?  LG thinks that we should force it to Day 5.  Even if we have fewer quality embryos than our clinic recommends (they want at least 5 high quality embryos at Day 3), he wants to push through and see what we get and he’s willing to take the chance that that there could be nothing to transfer.  I just don’t know.  The thought of having three at Day 3 that might be viable like we did this time and then waiting and possibly ending up with nothing seems like such a waste, but then again, this outcome can certainly be categorized as a waste as well.

I’m angry, I’m confused, I’m sad, and I’m losing hope.

Beta: Negative

LG & I: crushed