Monday, January 23, 2017

standing still.



i started drafting this post soon after the new year, and i just never got around to finishing it. oddly... it all makes a lot of sense to me now. i'll cut right to it. 

after giving myself the space to process and be with the emotions related to and triggered by the results of our chromosome testing, i was 99% sure that transferring our mosaic embryo was not an option. our phone consult with dr. zouves happened one week later and i remember going into it with an open mind. well... let's just say that dr. zouves, who tells it pretty straight, was singing a different tune. not only did he encourage us to transfer, but he feels really good about our chances of a normal pregnancy and baby- we were shocked! i'll tell you right now, had you approached me a few weeks ago, i would have told you that we decided to take a major leap of faith and transfer.

soon after, we consulted with our genetic counselor and she essentially shared that this specific abnormality can play out in the form of "mental retardation and birth defect type of syndrome". (deep breath)

pause.

soon after getting that information, M, A (6-years-old), A (4-years-old) and i jetted off to san diego to spend a weekend with M's college friends and their families. we stayed in a beautiful 8-bedroom villa, the views were incredible, the adults had a wonderful time and all of the children got along really, really well. beyond all of that, i was gifted with the sensation of having a greater purpose in life. i felt like a mama. and that's when it hit me... perhaps it makes more sense to slow things down, live together in a home of our own and see how i/we feel.

so, for once in my life... i am standing still

i am standing still because i don't want to make the same mistakes. i am standing still because the thought of another damn loss brings me back to the darkest of places. i am standing still because it is entirely possible that all i have been longing and searching for is already right in front of me. i am standing still because i am starting to believe that M, A and A were incorporated into my life to patch me up and to gift me with greater, deeper purpose.  

as of today, my heart and soul say no to transferring. it is too great of a gamble.

as of today, the suffering has ended. the grieving and healing can continue. 

enough is enough. and only i could make the call.

love,
D


Friday, December 9, 2016

blindsided.

last tuesday, 3 of our embryos were biopsied and vitrified. the results of our comprehensive chromosomal screening  confirms that 1 of our embryos is mosaic while the other 2 embryos are abnormal. mosaic embryos make healthy babies but compared to embryos where all cells test normal, the birth rate is 35 to 40% versus 70%.

we have 1 embryo available for transfer. our 1 embryo is female. 

i have been here before. my heart is broken... shattered. i am devastated and confused, and unsure. how much more suffering is necessary? i just don't know how much more i can endure. 

according to The New York Times:

The test used on their embryo is called preimplantation genetic screening, or P.G.S., a biopsy performed by plucking a few cells from the developing embryo. Just a few years ago, P.G.S. was precise enough only to ascertain whether an embryo was normal or abnormal.


Now high-resolution, next-generation sequencing has sharpened the view, and researchers are finding something surprising: About 20 percent of embryos have both normal and abnormal cells, and the percentage increases with maternal age. These so-called mosaic embryos have long been known, but they have been detectable during an active IVF cycle only in the last year.


At least some of these embryos seem to mature into healthy children. The women’s son is one of 10 healthy infants recently born from mosaic embryos, as reported by separate research groups in New York and Italy, representing a success rate of roughly 40 percent.


as i understand it now, i have a bit of a moral dilemma before me. am i willing to gamble based on the hope that our embryo leads us to a successful and normal pregnancy? can i endure and cope with another miscarriage? what will i/we do if/when we find out that our unborn child has a genetic disorder? how do i feel about the possibility of terminating a non-viable pregnancy later down the line? am i pushing too far, too hard? am i doing this for me? am i being selfish? what makes this any different from a couple that goes through conventional methods of achieving pregnancy? are the fear, worry and anxiety enough to discourage me from taking a leap of faith? can i grow to be okay with not having a biological child of my own? 

i  was totally blindsided by this one.

if you will, please send love and comforting energy into the Universe for us as we continue to process. if you will, please ask the Universe to provide us with clarity, continued courage and partnership.

with love,
D

ps. thank you dear friends and family (near and far) for reminding us that we are not alone. you, your love, compassion and empathy are our anchor. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

how do you like your eggs? umm... fertilized!

our report shows that 4 of our 6 embryos fertilized successfully- we'll get an update on them next wednesday and thursday.

what's next? the embryos that continue to develop normally and make it to next wednesday will be biopsied for comprehensive chromosomal screening to help us identify our viable embryos for future transfer/implantation. 




this phase of the process, i think, is the most crucial because most, if not all, of our miracle embryos can stop developing anytime between now and wednesday. i am fixated on the fact that 15 eggs resulted in 1 normal embryo for transfer back in 2014- i'm really scared. 

but instead of living in that dark and scary place, i am going to try and keep my mind and feet firmly planted and grounded in hope and faith. what's done is done, and it is truly out of my hands. 

i am two days post retrieval and feeling surprisingly good! looking back, my body tolerated the hormones well with the exception of headaches, random short-lived bouts of nausea, and the good ole IVF bloat- it could have been worse. seeing my acupuncturist and chiropractor throughout the stimulation process was key as my well-being was/is a high priority. 



another game-changer? the lidocaine cream that i used to ease the discomfort of my daily injections (5-6 pokes a day). current or soon-to-be IVFers: ask your nurse or doctor for a prescription. i smeared the cream on a small area of my abdomen at least one hour before my injections, and secured a small piece of plastic wrap over the area (prevents transferring to your clothes and ensures absorption) with medical tape. it takes some planning but it is SO worth it (i promise) because your abdomen, after a some time, gets angry with you when the bruises start to add up. 


the first try at inserting my IV wasn't successful and goodness gracious
was it painful! this process leaves you with battle wound both visible
and invisible to the naked eye. 
i love the beauty of having retrieved my eggs just before thanksgiving because i am filled with a whole lot of gratitude. i am so thankful for having made it this far, for the reproductive technology and medical care that is available to me, and for the job that has afforded me the opportunity to try one more time. i am  thankful for my brave and resilient spirit, body and ovaries, and for the sisterhood that came from having this heart-wrenching process in common. i am thankful for the support, love, prayers, energy and encouragement of so many, and for having the platform to process and heal by sharing my story with others. i am thankful for being surrounded by having crossed paths with those that fill me up, lift me up and help me remember that i am not alone- none of us are. i am thankful for being able to to support others that have, are and will walk the same path- this, i am confident, is His work at play.

with much love and appreciation,
D

ps. i had every intention of publishing this post just before heading to the SF car show, but it seems that life had its own plan. i bumped into someone very special at the car show. i had an inkling that i would, and it sounds like he wondered the same. interestingly, my family and i meant to leave for the city at 4PM but decided upon 5PM. i revisit this minute detail but it could've very well meant that we would not have crossed paths at that very moment. today... we were gifted with a sense of closure, with the opportunity to see, with our own eyes, that we are okay. 

this, i am confident, is His work at play.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

i've got this... because giving up is not an option.

i am on day three of injections, and it has been surprisingly tolerable so far. even though i have to do injections twice a day (morning and night, 4-5 pokes total), i've been able to keep the bruising and discomfort to a minimum thanks to a few tips and tricks that i've picked up along the way, and the only side effects that i have experienced are headaches and random bouts of nausea and lightheadedness. sometimes i feel twinges in my ovaries, and there are moments in which they seem to feel fuller and fuller everyday. i'll know more on sunday after we look at how my body and ovaries are responding to the injectible medications. 

not only does it feel like i'm running the most important marathon of my life, but it also feels like i'm gambling. i am quite literally and figuratively going all-in (poker is my jam), and it is entirely possible that i could end up with no eggs, no embryos, no baby. a narrative i know all too well. 


(deep breath)

but i can't and won't allow myself to focus too much on what may not come. i am making a very conscious decision to focus on what may come. with the gift of time, my heart, soul and body have mostly healed from the devastating heartbreak that happened year after year, month after month during the last few years. i am very much fascinated by the depth of my resilience... my ability to put myself out there again knowing that i could end up with nothing.  


i am choosing to focus more on hoping, dreaming, and envisioning a life with a babe of my own. miraculously, my heart and soul want to think of and recite potential names out loud. i am ready to do those types of dreamy things again, and i am no longer stopping myself from doing so because i realize that what will be, will be. 

dreaming and hoping and envisioning will have no bearing on the outcome of my effort. 

dreaming and hoping and envisioning motivate me to keep going... otherwise, there is no way that i would be able to do any of this again.  

it all starts with a dream, right?

with a courageous heart & spirit,
D

ps. thank you dear friends and family (near and far) for reminding me daily that i am not alone. you, your love, your companionship, your encouragement are just as motivating. ❤

Sunday, November 13, 2016

my spirit is renewed.


it is hard to believe that i am less than 48 hours away from embarking on my third (potentially final) round of infertility treatments. preparing for this endeavor, i imagine, is similar to preparing for the greatest marathon of your life. it is not for the faint of heart. it requires you dig deep and to tap into your courage, resiliency, stamina and... hope.

i am here again. it's a familiar place. a place i never would have thunk that i'd be revisiting again- no way. not after our loss in 2014. 

my spirit is renewed and i stand before you with so much hope... with visions of the future.

my spirit is renewed because i spent the last 2.5 years grieving, crying, being angry, and healing. because my previous partner and i made some really hard adult choices. because we chose happiness for each other, went our separate ways, and discovered happiness again in the most unassuming places. 

my spirit is renewed because i am surrounded by family and friends that love and care so deeply- they never let me forget it. because i want to know and say, in the end, that i gave it one more really good try. because i haven't been this hopeful in a really, really long time, and though it takes me by surprise, it is such a good place to be in. 

my spirit is renewed because my doctor believes that my body can do this. because i believe that my body, heart and soul can do this again. because i am not afraid of taking risks, and webecause i hold on tightly to the possibility of meeting the babe i have been dreaming of for as long as i can remember. 

because... because.

updates soon.

with a peaceful and courageous heart & spirit,
D

Friday, June 17, 2016

something has shifted.

maui... my happy place

over the last few weeks, the universe has revealed that some of my dearest friends and sisters are walking similar paths regarding their fertility.  i am so thankful for the opportunity to support and walk alongside them, and even more appreciative for the realization that something has shifted within me.

don't get me wrong... i will always wonder what it would be like to stare into the eyes of my first and only born.  what it would be like to cradle, nourish, bathe and read to the babe that i dreamt of.  what it would be like to raise a babe in a village filled with family and friends that love him or her just as much as i do.  

the pieces are coming together.  more of "the plan" and my purpose, i think, are revealing themselves.  my heart aches knowing that those around me are experiencing similar levels of pain, devastation, disappointment and sadness.  having been through it and surviving (i celebrate this more than people know), i would easily go through it all over again if it meant that it would spare others from going into one of the greatest battles of their lives

the best that i can do, my dear friends and sisters, is to continue to bear witness to your journey and story, to remind you that you are not alone, to validate each and every emotion that you are experiencing, to offer narratives of my own experience, and to walk alongside you for as long as you need me to.    

i wondered when this day would come.  wondered if/when i would feel a greater sense of peace, and i felt it for the first time last week.  if i hit reverse to that devastating day two years ago, it essentially means that it has taken that long for me to process and accept that this is my fate.  perhaps the purpose of it all, my purpose, lies within sharing my story so that others don't have to go into battle alone.  

with a peaceful heart,
D

  

   


Monday, May 9, 2016

choosing happiness.



this time last year marks a pivotal moment during our time together. we made probably one of the hardest and bravest choices we will ever have to make during this life- we chose happiness for each other. mother's day weekend always reminds me that we were so damn close, and for whatever reason, it just wasn't our time to become parents yet. i trust that our separate paths will continue to lead us to the happiness, joy and peace that we both deserve, and i am so grateful to have spent so many loving years with you. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

lifeboat and gratitude.

inserting the final needle, my acupuncturist shared how excited she was about my soft pulses and balanced energy. feeling as if i was floating on a cloud, i had a moment of gratitude that caused me to tear up. i have family, friends and close colleagues to thank for being part of the crew on, what i like to call, my lifeboat- my acupuncturist included. i had visions of the people that listened, offered their support, shared their love and compassion- people who essentially helped me transition into the next chapter of my story. i love and am so humbled by you all, and i look forward to the moment in which i am able to return the favor, love, grace and compassion. wishing us all a phenomenal and memorable 2016.  


here is to choosing happiness for yourself and on behalf of others,
D

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

update part 1.

well so much for updating the blog.  life threw an interesting curveball my way (seriously?!), and i needed time to be with it and process.  OK (deep breath)... let's do this.  



I (first initial for privacy purposes) and i have decreased the pressure on ourselves, and are shifting the focus away from our journey to parenthood.  we have other things to figure out and process.  traumatic and challenging experiences such as infertility often wear you thin, and test your relationship in ways you can't imagine.  and though it brings you together, it is entirely possible for it to divide you.  so I and i are learning new things about each other, learning how to communicate more effectively, and learning, actually, how to fight/disagree/bicker more often.  i have faith that parenthood will follow if/when it is meant to happen.  

dr. melissa ponce esguerra + lori shen, CCHt., HCHI are the newest members of my peace squad.  dr. melissa and i have been working closely with each other since october of last year.  she helped me address my hashimoto's diease, and she helped me discover my hormone imbalance and adrenal fatigue through an extended female hormone panel (umm, why didn't we start there in the first place?!).  sometimes i wonder how our journey would have changed had we thought of taking this step but what's done is done, right?  

i am in the best health of my life.  my TSH levels are in normal range again, my thyroid-antibodies have decreased dramatically, i'm sleeping better, my energy levels sustain me throughout my day, and my cycles are 28 days on. the. dot.  my cycles were very unpredictable and ranged from 30-37 days, and i owe it all to dr. melissa.  she was/is my guide, and i am forever indebted to her for proving to me that i was capable of self-healing.  i am a testament to the power of taking your health into your own hands, and seeking the support and guidance of those that share similar values and philosophies.  even better, all of this was done by means of major lifestyle changes, natural supplements, herbs, and essential oils.

in november of last year, i had an enlightening, grounding and humbling intuitive energy healing session with lori, and it allowed me to shed, what felt like, 20 lbs. of sadness and grief- it was time.  my maternal grandmother came through to connect with me, and being able to feel her presence and hear her messages through lori is a moment i will never forget.  i left lori's office with peace in my heart, and some level of understanding and faith around why things played out in the way that they have- faith, as you know, was something that i really struggled with.  in turn, i am forever indebted to her for bringing an awareness to my roadblocks.  a lot has shifted, and looking at my life from a place of sadness, grief and resentment are no longer a reflex.  my work with her has been so impactful that i saw her again just before my transition into my new role (more on that later), and have committed myself to seeing her once a quarter.  our souls and energy need and require adjustment every so often because let's face it, life is f*cking hard sometimes.  

stay tuned for update part 2.  

with much love,
D




Wednesday, January 28, 2015

update coming soon... stay tuned.




belated happy new year, everyone!  

i'm sorry that it's been so quiet on the blog, but don't fret!  i'm working on an update, and you can look forward to hearing/reading about the following:

  • where we are in our journey to parenthood
  • adding two new members to my peace squad; dr. melissa ponce esguerra + lori shen, CCHt., HCHI
  • my transformative work with dr. melissa around addressing my hashimoto's disease, and how that led to discovering and addressing my hormone imbalance and adrenal fatigue
  • my enlightening, grounding and humbling intuitive energy healing session with lori, and how that allowed me to shed, what felt like, 20 lbs. of sadness and grief
  • recent reflections + how more of the "silver lining" has been revealed
looking forward to reconnecting with you!  

love,
D

ps. i just want to take a moment to acknowledge the fellow infertility warriors that reached out to me in the last 12 months by means of my blog and my yelp reviews for PFC and ZFC.  i have crossed paths with exactly 12 women who are/were walking the very same path to parenthood, and it really speaks to how prevalent this particular struggle is and to the power of speaking your truth- it has a way of connecting you with those who are in need of support and validation from those who understand it most.  please know that i am right here with you, no matter where you are in your journey, and i am so thankful that you found the courage to reach out to me when you did.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

the significance of 11.25.14.

being sick, catching a badass cold that has knocked me off my feet, has a way of opening you up.  almost as if your body and soul are telling you that they are just too tired to continue functioning in the way that they have been.  in my case, i sense that my body and soul are tired and weary from having gone through so much in the past 6 months.  my goodness, has it only been that long?  

some big realizations happened today in session- a lot of heavy pieces were dislodged and taken apart.  my previous due date of 11.25.14 is around the corner.  in march, when we initially shared the exciting news with our close friends and family, we joked that we would be spending thanksgiving at the hospital.  blissful visions of our families coming together to welcome this beautiful life into the world overwhelm my mind.  it was important for me to make this connection.  i'm also throwing around the idea of going out of town for thanksgiving.  the holidays are emotionally-charged as it is, and i want to honor where I (first initial for privacy purposes) and i are and where we've been.  

i've been revisiting the day of our ultrasound and the day of my D&C a lot lately.  today, in particular, many tears were cried.  it requires an exceptional effort for me to achieve pregnancy so... i have a very different view and belief of when life begins.  for me, life begins at conception, and my heart aches when i think about having to make the decision to end our pregnancy.  regardless of the circumstances, it was such an unfair position to be placed in most especially since growing our family was all that I and i ever wanted since the day we embarked on this crazy, f*cked up, journey.

the healing process, you see, is ongoing and it is exactly that... a process.  healing from traumatic events doesn't really have a clear beginning nor an end.  someone very important to me once said: it's twisted but it's beautiful.  i couldn't have said it any better myself.  

to everyone that opened their hearts and souls to share their stories with me; to those who are still on their journey; to those who have embarked on a different leg of their journey, whatever that may be: please know it is okay to feel the way you are feeling (e.g., angry, sad, overwhelmed, disappointed, fearful).  that i know your pain and because of that, i am right here with you.  there is no better time to be with the feelings and, in turn, give to yourself more fiercely than ever.  

one final thought: lori shen, an energy healer and and intuitive psychic medium, is hosting a small and intimate event to "share amazing and heartwarming stories, messages and lessons from those she has connected with on the other side".  i'm intrigued.  intrigued because i have consulted with an intuitive counselor in the past, and because...

i want to know that my babes are OK, wherever they are... that they know that i wanted them, to meet and hold them, so very badly.
with fierce love,
D


        

Saturday, August 2, 2014

wherever the light is.

making the decision to cease all efforts to pursue a child is a lot like making the challenging and guilt-ridden decision to end all life supporting efforts for a gravely-ill loved one.  it's not an easy decision to make, it is often done when all plausible avenues have been exhausted, and those who made the decision might continue to live and cope with the immeasurable guilt, sadness and the unanswered questions that come with it.  

we are a little over 3 months since our loss, and it is enlightening and interesting to see how we have fared.  I (first initial for privacy purposes) and i have july birthdays, and we did everything possible to honor and celebrate each other all. month. long.  dinner celebrations, wine, and weekend travel, galore!

i celebrate that i have since transitioned to seeing my life-saving therapist every other week with the goal of ending our time together because, yes.  i am in a really good place.  why and how are a bit of a beautiful mystery but i will say that my therapist and i have been together for almost two years, and i challenged myself to do "the work" every time we were in session.  i have every reason to believe that i am where i am because... i was willing to take the tough emotions head on and because i was willing to incorporate I into my work.  I and i are a more resilient and better version of us because of it.  

i have moments of envy.  i have moments of sadness.  i have moments of regret and curiosity about what it would be like to still be walking on our previous path. i have moments of guilt.   i often have visions of my previously swollen, life-giving belly, and i just can't get myself to let go of our infant carseat and stroller purchased months before we started treatment in 2011-we just knew we would have a child.

peace and compassion, however, return when i remind myself that i am grounded in humility, gratitude and love, and oddly, i am grounded in no longer having hope.  let me elaborate.  

a small handful of people were immediately validating (thank you!) when i shared that we stopped all efforts, and others shared their thoughts around adoption and continuing to remain hopeful- often saying: you never know.  well here's the thing.  i decided that 'you never know' is way too dangerous of a thought for me to have.  holding on to the smallest sliver of hope might be detrimental to my on-going process and survival.  i need a clean break from 'you never know' and hope.  it's dangerous for me to waver between feeling confident about our decision and hope.  'you never know', in my eyes, is an empty promise.

and then there are people in my life that are just plain clueless, and come off as being inconsiderate.  i give those people, probably all too often, the benefit of the doubt but... i have built a thick and strong barrier to to protect myself from such people.  all i/we ever need is for our friends and family to tell us that they love us, and that we are going to be okay.  validate our experience and remind us of the joy and love that still exists because... it does- more fiercely than ever.  

madonna badger survived a tragic fire that took the lives of her children and parents, and wrote a poignant piece for vogue magazine... the long road back: how to keep going after the unimaginable happens.  having survived numerous traumas myself, something she said really resonated me:

It’s never going to be easy. The pain is just so huge that sometimes it feels like a prison cell. But trying really hard to not feel sorry for myself makes me feel good. Being of service helps the pain to go away, if only for a little while, and giving and receiving love makes me feel good. Basically, I go to wherever the light is, because anything else is darkness, and it can be a deeply black darkness.

in turn, i, too, will continue to go wherever the light is.  

with much love,
D

Thursday, June 26, 2014

where we left off.

i'm sorry that it's been so quiet on the blog... i think i can hear crickets.  i, we, have been processing a lot.  

father's day was especially hard for us.  we were both brimming and boiling over with emotion... i could feel it the moment that we woke up.  another mother's day has passed, another father's day has passed in which we were supposed to have celebrated making it to motherhood and fatherhood- we should have been celebrating each other this year.  my goodness we were so close.  

in reply to an email from a fellow infertility warrior across the globe:

"so... things have changed dramatically for I (first initial for privacy purposes) and i.  i haven't mustered up the energy to blog about it yet but... after much thought and debate, we decided to stop all fertility treatments.  we have also decided not to pursue adoption, and are trying to get used to the idea of being a family of 2.  

it was sparked by a small conflict between I and i just before we jetted off to portland, and when we dug deeper, it turns out that both of us are feeling really scared of trying again- even with donor eggs.  we are afraid, mostly, of the potential for disappointment and heartbreak- this last time was just too much.  and on the flip side, trying again means spending more money so, this is also our attempt at preserving our quality of life.  in essence, we're trying to celebrate what we have in front of us in the present moment."

it was time to end the suffering, and it is time to pick up where we left off three years ago.  some days are easier than others.  there are days when i feel really good about finally making a decision and then there are days when it just feels f*cked up and absolutely unfair. there are days when i just cannot imagine this life without having created a beautiful child with I. some days, i don't have a care in the world and other days, i am tearful and angry as hell at the way this turned out.  
   
...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"live the questions now..."

shared by a friend of mine.  it is so timely...

I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke