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

april fool

what was it i said before about a little hope being a dangerous thing?

today i began spotting.  if i were nearing the end of a two-week wait, it might be a promising sign; however, i haven’t even gotten to the embryo transfer yet, so it’s anything but promising.  i called the clinic and actually got my doctor on the line.  he said to add extra estrogen orally and wait to see what the ultrasound on monday shows.  he didn’t sound very hopeful, though.  no more signs of “just be calm”.  i wish i’d listened to my instincts and added some extra estrogen myself when i saw the abysmal 4mms.  now i think it’s too late, and i’m fairly certain this cycle will be cancelled.  i feel so stupid for thinking that this could work…

Friday i went to work feeling incredibly sad and discouraged and was greeted by my one friend there, M. the admin assistant.  she excitedly told me that she’s pregnant again and shared her excellent beta numbers. it felt like a punch in the stomach.  don’t get me wrong, i’m really happy for her…she’s one of the only people i’ve been able to talk to about about ttc (even before little sun existed), and she’s been very understanding and kind to me since little sun died.  she’s got PCOS and has struggled with infertility both before and since having her first child, so i know this is a big deal for her.  it’s especially hard, though, because this was the first month she took my advice on what to do and what to ask her RE for.  in the past she just did whatever her doctor told her to without asking questions or doing her own research.  and of course all of her RE visits and reproductive care are done locally and covered by the French social security system (and paid for by our taxes).  i smiled and my congratulations were sincere, but after i left her office i had to force myself not to cry….i had students to teach, after all. during my short breaks between classes and during lunch, i hid in my classroom and wept pitifully instead of going to talk to her as i normally would have.  when i ran into her in the kitchen at the end of my lunch break, she seemed disappointed that i had to go off and teach again right away, and she wanted to know when i’d be back at school.  i’m sure she wants to tell me all about the ultrasound she was scheduled to have Friday afternoon.  i don’t want to make her feel bad or take away from the joy i know she’s feeling, but i have no idea how to handle being around her now.  she was the only person besides Froggy that i had to talk to.

i’m so fucking tired of losing and so tired of feeling all alone…..  can’t we catch a break, too?

and little sun would have been 16 months old now.  (i still miss you every single day, baby boy.)


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.

a wing, a torch, a promise

today i got a letter from my 23-year-old self.  it was in the form of a card that i sent to my mother as i was getting ready to return to a far away Asian country.  i had no idea of where i was going to live when i got there and no idea of how i would make a living, and my mother had apparently expressed some kind of concern to me.  this has happened so many times now (the foreign country, the lack of concrete plans, the parents who think i’m crazy) that i no longer remember the exact conversation we had. in any case, i knew i had to go back (there was, after all, a girl to be wooed), and although i couldn’t explain to my mom why i had to go, i wanted her to understand that i would be okay.

i don’t remember writing the card, nor do i know how it became scarred with coffee-colored splashes, but i do recognize the handwriting and the sentiment behind the quotes as my own.  i’m not sure why she chose today to scan the card and send it to me, but i’m glad she did, because i need to be reminded of what i wrote then….i need to try to remember who i was when i wrote it, and i need to figure out if under all of this grief and disappointment and anger there is still a little bit of that same girl who said, “fuck fear,” and flew across continents and oceans to follow her heart:

dawna markova quote


that 23-year-old girl seems a lot wiser than her 40-something-year-old incarnation.  i do so hope she and Hazrat Inayat Khan are 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.