Category Archives: Barcelona

easter eggs

i apologize for taking so long to post again.  several of you have written asking how it went and how we are, and you have no idea how much it means to me to know that you care and are following along on our journey and cheering for us.  (and sorry to keep you waiting!)  there’s so much to write about our trip to Barcelona, and i promise that i will do that (hopefully tomorrow), but for the time being, a quick update will have to do.

basically, it’s nothing but good news:  we transfered two gorgeous embryos on Monday.

one was considered perfect a 10 out of 10 on the clinic’s embryo rating scale, and the other was a very respectable 8.  both were 8 cells and embryo number two had less than 10% fragmentation.

here’s a picture of one of our (very) little ones:

already adorable

already adorable

my official test date is not for another eight days.  there are also 30+ hpts (aka Sirens of pee) sitting in a drawer in our bathroom.  we’ll see how long i can withstand their golden song.

hola barcelona

so all that extra estrogen has apparently been doing it’s job.  my lining was about 7.7mm today and sporting the distinct beginnings of a triple stripe.  my gynecologist looked nearly as pleased as i felt when she shook my hand and wished me luck in Barcelona.

i left her office feeling light and happy and completely distracted.  i barely noticed the 45 minutes that passed as i walked towards home.  despite the sunshine and the throngs of Parisians out enjoying the weather, only the lushly leafy trees and an urban garden full of forget-me-nots got more than a passing glance.  when i got home and shared my news, Froggy’s eyes filled with tears and she held onto me for a long time.

the clinic in Barcelona quickly responded to the email that contained today’s results.  the medical assistant who responded is really sweet, and her response included smileys, the word “amazing” and the phrase “tons of hugs” in her closing….all that in addition to the news that my transfer will take place on Monday afternoon.  that’s right…in four short days.  i wish i had some appropriate emojis to insert here.  alas, the “holy fucking shit” smileys don’t seem to exist on wordpress.

tomorrow is the donor’s egg retrieval.  i hope it goes well and that her eggs and the sperm from little sun’s donor are happily doing their dna dance in less than 24 hours.  Froggy and i are flying out Saturday night, and we’ll have a nice relaxing Sunday to spend in our favorite city in the world.

when i was walking home today, something else besides the trees and flowers caught my eye.  all along the sidewalk someone had spray painted these stencils:

bye bye!

and that’s exactly what we’ll be saying in less than 48 hours.

more waiting

the spotting stopped a day after i started the extra estrogen, and the u/s today showed my lining hovering around 5mm with no fluid to be seen and no ovarian activity.  my doctor in BCN wants me to continue the estradiol pills and have yet another u/s on Thursday.  *if* it’s got a triple stripe and has thickened even a bit, i think they’ll want to go forward with the transfer.

as usual, i’m doing my own version of things instead of listening to the doctor.  they want me to take the pills orally, but i’m doing them vaginally instead, because i know that works better for me.  i’m just going to assume this cycle will be cancelled, because i can’t imagine that i’ll get that elusive triple stripe before my next encounter with the dildo cam.  at least we know now that patches aren’t the way to go…..

today we saw a rainbow from our balcony.

and speaking of rainbows, my dear friend Burning Eye finally has hers.  congratulations to both mamas and welcome to the world, little sister of Joseph <3

waiting for a silver lining

today was my first lining scan.  i’ve been on estrogen patches for a week now, and i was hoping to see a nice cushy nest on the screen in my gynecologist’s office.  instead, the reading showed a meager 4mm.  for those of you unfamiliar with the finer details of assisted reproduction, my lining sucks.  the clinic in Barcelona wants at least 6mm, but most places look for 8mm and above.  when i got pregnant with little sun and his vanishing twin, my lining was hovering between 7.5 and 8.  with my last pregnancy, i had a whopping 10mm.  i haven’t had such a thin lining since my last gynecologist (the evil one) had me taking endometrium (and mood)-destroying clomid for months on end.

the gyn must have seen the look of shock and disappointment on my face, and she told me that i shouldn’t be discouraged…that the birth control pills i’d been on for six weeks had most certainly left me with almost nothing lining-wise and that it would just take a bit longer to build it up to a good thickness.  we’re on our egg donor’s schedule, though, so i don’t have the luxury of a lot of time.

i was able to contain my tears on the tram ride home, and i kept my face turned to the accordion folds in the wall so that i didn’t have to look at the laughing children and baby-filled strollers that were all around me.  the minute i walked through the door and Froggy said, “alors??”, though, i lost it and began sobbing.  i’ve been doing everything right….eating well, getting in at least 30 minutes of brisk walking a day, doing yoga every night and avoiding all the head-calming medications that have helped me survive since little sun died.  4 fucking millimeters….  Froggy put her arms around me and reassured me, and once i was able to stem the tide of tears, i sent my ultrasound results off to our clinic.  i expected them to write back and tell me to add more estrogen…another patch, pills taken orally or inserted vaginally.  they responded in typical laid-back Spanish fashion, and i could almost hear them saying, “tranquila!”:

“Dr. X  send to you regards and he is not concerned about the lining, he don´t want to add estradiol pills. You will see your endometrium need just a few more days.”

a second email told me to book another ultrasound “with calm”.  and strangely enough, calm is exactly how i felt after reading both of them.  for now i’m just going to trust that my doctor knows what he’s doing.  it’s not the easiest thing for me to have faith in medical providers, especially after what happened to our little boy, but these Barcelonians do a great job of inspiring confidence.

now we wait until Monday to see if they’re right.

waiting for good flow

the last birth control pill (ah, the irony) has been taken, and now we’re just waiting… waiting for me to bleed so that i can begin slapping on the estrogen patches.  waiting to hear about our donor’s response to the meds.  waiting to see if all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

it turns out that the international fertility clusterfuck has been resolved by the two clinics, and now we’re just waiting to see how much it will cost for us to have sperm from little sun’s donor shipped to Spain.  even though i’ve said that i’ll be okay if we can’t use the same donor again, i find myself really hoping that we can.

i’ve been missing little sun even more than usual lately…if that’s even possible.  sometimes Froggy and i talk about him and smile or laugh.  other times i find myself sobbing, overwhelmed by flashbacks from the hospital, from his birth and from his death and from nearly every second of every minute of the 36 hours that lay between them.  my arms and my hours are too empty.  all i can do is keep waking and keep walking.

things are beginning to bloom here.  the dried brown witch-fingers of the winter trees are almost gone now, suddenly replaced by soft greens and pinks and yellows.  it’s hard not to hope with all these signs of life surrounding me.  i just have to remember to keep eyes open and my head tilted up.

rainbow

uns ous de bona

just nine days after our trip to Barcelona, an email came:

“we have good news! we have found a good donor for you…”

despite their laid-back appearance, our friends in the Catalan clinic work fast. the email also contained instructions on when to stop taking the birth control pills i’ve been on for nearly a month and when to begin putting on the estradiol patches that should make my endometrium into a nice fluffy nest.

since then i’ve exchanged several more emails with them in an effort to work out whether or not we can use little sun’s donor instead of a new one from a sperm bank in Barcelona.  it’s not the most straightforward process, as little sun’s donor is from Denmark, and we know nothing at all about him….not even the name of the sperm bank or his donor number.  our doctors in Belgium are the only ones who have that information, and because of the very strict anonymity laws of that country, they can’t pass it on to us.  so this American in France wrote to Belgium to ask if they could check Denmark for the donor’s availability.  the Belgians wrote back and said that, yes, he’s still available, but that they needed Spain to contact them. it’s a bit of an international fertility clusterfuck (maybe that should be the title of this blog), but it looks like our new clinic is going out of their way to try to make it happen.  now we just have to see if we can afford the extra costs of shipping the sperm from Denmark to the clinic in Catalunya.

when i told my mother that we were trying to use the same donor, her response was, “but what if he was the reason that little sun got sick?” and of course that reawakened the little nagging doubt that’s been in the back of my brain since he died.  what if he got sick because his genetic make up made him vulnerable?  there are so many questions surrounding why he got sick and how he got sick, and i don’t think we’ll ever have any real answers.  what i know now is that nothing in this life is guaranteed…nothing except death.  even with perfect genes, even with all the pretty ducks in a perfect pretty row, it can all fall apart in an instant.  so instead of worrying and stressing about the donor, i’ve decided to see what works out.  if we can afford to use little sun’s donor and our clinic can arrange the shipment, we’ll do it that way. if not then maybe we’ll have a pure Barcelona baby.  as much as i’d love for our future children to have that connection to our first born, our sweet, dearly missed little sun, DNA is not what matters most.

although, we won’t know for sure until we get a bit further into the process….until our donor’s ovaries are plumped up with lots of fat follicles and my lining is looking welcoming, it appears that we’ll be going back to Barcelona in less than a month for our fresh embryo transfer.

somewhere in Catalunya right now there is a young woman preparing to put herself through hormonal hell so that Froggy and i have another chance at having our family.  i find myself thinking about this anonymous woman whose ovaries might hold our future in them, and my thoughts about her glow golden and warm. i send her love and sunshine, and i whisper over and over again, “thank you. merci. gracias. gràcies,” hoping that whatever her language, she’ll somehow feel the gratitude of an anonymous woman a country away.

…a country away and hoping for a lot of luck and a few good eggs.

Visca Barcelona!

we left in the dark, our plane ascending until the city became nothing more than a collection of tiny amber lights.  everyone around me, including Froggy, dozed as we slid across the sky, but even though i’d slept fewer than four hours the night before, i was too excited to close my eyes. Continue reading