Coping Mechanisms

I tested negative at 12dpo on a FRER.

I called Dr. Angel’s office and he returned my call and sounded truly disappointed and surprised that the IUI didn’t work this time, he just kept saying “everything looked really good”. I tried not to unleash my full crazy on him, but did throw out several conspiracy theories, “maybe my testosterone is high and I need metformin”, “maybe I need to ovulate sooner, since I didn’t ovulate until CD17, perhaps I need to ovulate closer to CD14”, “maybe my eggs are all bad”, “maybe there is something genetically flawed about my eggs or Mr. MLACS’s sperm”, “maybe it’s the Remicade, since it mediates NK cells and implantation requires NK cell activity, maybe my NK cells are overly suppressed and I need to get off the Remicade”, or conversely, “maybe my immune system is still too active and preventing pregnancy”. I told him “I just wish I knew why”, and “maybe I’m one of those people who won’t get pregnant and it’ll take years to figure out what is wrong”. I know my voice didn’t sound panicked but ordinary people who are not losing their minds do not have these sorts of schizo conversations with their OBGYN after one failed IUI. I am truly special. Dr. Angel ordered a blood draw to check testosterone, progesterone, and quantitative HCG–yes, he went ahead and ordered the beta today at 12dpo because he, like me, feels that the FRER’s are pretty damn accurate.

I cried on and off all day. I felt alone (and I was). And I felt broken (I am). I just couldn’t find comfort in anything or anyone. I had an opportunity to go decorate a Christmas tree with my sister and her daycare kids, but I had to say no. Instead I went to Quest to have my blood drawn and argued with the phlebotomist because she said “now this doesn’t say STAT, so it’s not STAT” (very redundantly) to which I replied “well it oughtta say STAT because it’s a beta and I’ve never heard of a beta not being STAT” (sounding indignant) and then I proceeded to call Dr. Angel’s office to push my agenda, but it was a futile attempt because they were out to lunch. The phlebotomist got a little snippy and said “I used to do a lot of these and they were never STAT” to which I replied “well I’m used to working with RE’s, and they want things STAT” (like, lady, there’s one fledgling RE’s office in this damn town so I wouldn’t expect you to know) and she STFU. I looked and noticed that she had 2 viles for the blood and upon confirming that she only needed two I gave her my left arm because it’s slower–I’ve had so much mf*ing blood drawn that I have a system–2 viles or less you get the left arm, 3 or more the right arm, and I prefer IV’s in my hand. I had one of those “is this really my f*ing life? when did this become ‘normal’?” moments as I sat there watching my blood trickle into the viles, completely oblivious of the phlebotomist.

There was a lady who came in to the Quest office after me, a very frail lady with a hunchback and a walker–I opened the door for her and sat back down. She said out loud, “oh I can’t see this sheet to sign it (referring to the sign-in sheet)” so I jumped back up and grabbed a pen, and before I could ask she said her name was Bernadine. I thought, what a pretty antique name…and I loved her accent–she had a southern drawl–and she said “thank you honey”, and my heart felt a little warmer. I just adore sweet little old ladies. As I was leaving the Quest office I noticed a man on a cell phone standing over Ms. Bernadine, and as I’ve worked in several Dr.’s offices I assumed he must be her transportation. I walked outside and saw a van with the name of a retirement home on it, and my heart sank…does this sweet old woman have no one to care for her? Is she all alone in the world? I wanted to run back in the Quest office and scoop her up and take her with me. I was saddened. The point of this story about my brief encounter with Ms. Bernadine is to give you an idea as to my frame of mind…I looked around at gray skies and snow covered straw-like grass…and I got in my car with nowhere to go and no one to see…and the world seemed like a very cold place. I unceremoniously removed the gauze from my arm and stuck it in my console on top of the gauze from last time.

“What am I going to do with myself now?” I thought. First things first, there was a Starbucks right next to the lab and I always reward and self-soothe with Starbucks, so that was a no-brainer. There was a serious line at the drive-through because it was lunch time so I had a few minutes to ponder my next move. I have a list of things to do around our house but maybe I should try to cheer myself up. I find meandering around Barnes and Nobles to be my most favorite form of therapy, and I thought “maybe a book will distract me from obsessively trolling IF/RPL blogs and lamenting my failed IUI”. Mr. MLACS called while I was in line and he encouraged me to go, so I robotically drove myself to the mall.

Of course I cried on the way to the mall.

I walked in to Barnes and Nobles hoping that I didn’t look like I’d been crying, and could hardly manage a whisper to thank the person who opened the door for me. I wanted to be invisible. I took inventory of the place as I walked in, but my coffee was “kicking in” (and my enema and my milk-o-magnesia…constipated much?) and I had to run to the bathroom. It figures that I would be having a bad day and then be forced to take an epic dump in a public restroom. I cried silently on the toilet, but emerged from the stall feeling like a burden had been lifted (literally). The first book I noticed as I walked by the “New Age” section was by the Long Island Medium lady, Theresa Caputo…not sure that was a coincidence because I’m dying to meet her and get a message from my dear departed mother, but I kept walking.

And now it’s time for a confession: I like to read cheesy Christmas paperback books. You know the ones. They have titles like “A Christmas Miracle” or “The Gift of Hope”. My eye was caught by a Debbie Macomber book (that I hadn’t read) called “Angels at the Table”. Will Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild reunite after their chance meeting in Times Square last year on New Year’s Eve??? My educated guess is: Yes. But I’m going to read it anyways.

Then I began circling the “Books Worth Reading” display. And they were all worthy books–Pulitzer prize winners and such. But most of them were too ‘heavy’ for me or I just didn’t like the author’s picture on the back of their book…I discriminate based on this, because if the story is about a little girl’s family torn apart during the Holocaust, then I don’t want to see a picture of some yuppy-looking beatnik dude smirking at me on the back cover. It just ruins the credibility of the story for me, and it seems fame-whorish for authors to put their damn pictures on their books. Unless it’s a biography. Nonetheless, I spent at least an hour reading excerpts from books on this display. I finally settled on one called “Gifted Hands”, about a Neurosurgeon named Ben Carson who spent his childhood as a black youth in inner-city Detroit but ascended to become the director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Now this, I give a sh*t about.

I went to the ‘Clearance’ section and kept picking up books with storylines that the mother is dying of cancer. WTF. I just can’t…I can hardly read books about mothers let alone mothers dying of cancer (as my Mom did) and I’m thinking “I probably need therapy”. And then I thought…”I’ll have to tell my infertile friends that (according to these books) being a mother is now synonymous with dying of cancer so maybe if we remain childless we’ll spare ourselves death by cancer, ha ha ha”. It sounded much funnier at the time. Obviously it’s not funny in print. Sorry.

I gave up and got in line. While in line I had the presence of mind to pick up a gift card for my MIL. I would say that Barnes and Nobles did not disappoint me today–I left feeling atoned.

I cried as I left the mall parking lot.

My brain felt fuzzy as I tried to figure out the next best use of my time…I just kept driving toward my house…and all of a sudden when I was one street away from my house I decided that I MUST go to Walmart to get the sh*t to make all the Christmas goodies that I’ve promised Mr. MLACS and to complete my vision of handing them out in cute little containers to Dr. Angel and other vital people in my life. I made a U turn. I know it’s ‘cheating’ but I parked by the Walmart garden center because it’s SO much easier to check out there as opposed to the regular lines and you don’t have to feel guilty about not donating to the Salvation Army bell ringer (there are none stationed at the garden center doors)–I should not be sharing this information with you because not many people know about this trick, but you’re welcome.

I proceeded to buy $120 worth of various forms of sugar and Christmas wrappings. Very therapeutic. For Christmas this year, e’rybody gets diabetes.

I cried on the way home from Walmart…FML






37 thoughts on “Coping Mechanisms

  1. 😦 So sorry you had a tough day. I was really rooting for you and I’m sad too. A book is a good idea, we have so much in common- I’d read all of those books you talked about and I park in the garden section too! I hate how there’s never a line open that’s less than 40 people. Your diabetes comment made me laugh, but I’m so sorry you cried so much today… This damn battle is just so emotionally draining.

    • Thanks hun, you know some days are better (or worse) than others–I may have lost this battle (IUI #1) but I am an eternal optimist even on my worst day, and I envision myself winning the war. But *$#@% can it hurry the $%#&* up cuz I’m sick of this #$%*! already.
      I will add, that every time I find a good spot near the garden section and wait quietly in a short line, I feel like I’ve “won” at the game of Walmart. XO

  2. I have several “comments” on this sad (but funny) post: 1. The same thought crossed my mind about the Remicade. You got pregnant twice when you weren’t on it and since starting it haven’t had the same results. AND I’m not sure it is helping your colon as much as it should be, but what do I know, I’m not a colon doctor. 2. We’re very similar in our quest for answers and I truly believe that my persistence and personal research (demanding a lap and an iui with injectables, despite urgings by my RE to skip ahead to Lupron and IVF) are what paid off in my infertility merry go-round. With that said, I’m happy to see you continuing to ask questions, pose theories, and look for answers. As we both know, good doctors are more like “partners” in our health, rather than all knowing seers. In fact, sometimes I think we’re smarter because we are “in” our bodies and they aren’t! So, keep the questions coming my dear. I have 100% faith that your natural mind for medicine, your desire to have a child, and your willingness to be assertive will pay off and bring you the answers, AND the baby, you seek. IT WILL HAPPEN, and 3. I love you and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you have to grapple with the disappoint and heartache and frustration that is another bfp. It just simply sucks a fat one. A fat hairy one.

  3. “I unceremoniously removed the gauze from my arm and stuck it in my console on top of the gauze from last time”….oh MAN I have done exactly that. Exactly. When did this become normal? That really is the question. Oy, oy…

    All the crying. All the pain. I’m so sorry, sweet person!

    I hate to think of you crying on your drives, hoping you don’t look like you’ve been crying. Have been there many times. Crying is the worst because I feel so much better afterward but look so much worse. And I have to decide: Do I want to feel a little better and look like crap? Or do I want to feel awful and look normal?

    Would have loved to browse through B & N with you today. (It was rough one for me—found out Dr. S gives me only a 50% chance of success with a DET FET. I tried to hide the tears from DH but wound up in the dark bathroom on the floor, and he came in to hug me, which made the crying even more epic.)

    You made me snort out loud with the Gifted Hands bit. And the Salvation Army tip. Because obviously when you’re shelling out thousands for infertility treatments and are unemployed that kind of guilt can really mess with yer mind. Avoidance rules.

    Everything Steph said above—ditto and more ditto. You have a really obvious strength—in your sense of humor, your energy, your way with words. It just leaps right off the screen, you know? You are not just a survivor, you’re a thriver—even this b.s. can’t take away the true nature of your bright spirit and you’re ability to *figure shit out.*

    Am (wearily) by your side, sniffling, and admiring.

    • Oh I’m sorry about the news from Dr. S 😦 But girlfriend, nobody can give you 100%, so I’d take that 50% and run with it. But I bet Dr. S wasn’t very encouraging, and that made you feel awful. You gotta accept and even SEEK the support that you need! No more curling up in dark bathrooms–why, when there’s so many well-lit public places (like Barnes & Nobles)?! Hate that you’ve been through so much gauze (gross right?) but glad we can connect through the ordeal. And thank you for your kind words and support. XO

  4. Wow…you should write a book to make it worthwhile! Well written! Just trying to find the positive in this situation 😉 I do the Walmart garden center thingy, too…lol. I think a lot of people have caught up to that idea though as there seem to be lines now as well. I’m sorry you had a rough day and know just all too well that “don’t know what to do with myself” feeling. A glass of wine sometimes calms me down which I only do from the time I get AF ’til the next supposed fertile time whatever that means by now. Tomorrow will be a better day 🙂

  5. Oh hon, I’m so so very sorry. There are no words, just know we’re all here for you. I hope your blood work gives some answers. Big hug.

  6. Sorry you’ve had such a rubbish day. I hope that making you cry (and poo) in public when you least want to is your body’s way of purging the negative feelings (and other things) and that not too far down the road you will find the benefit of getting the emotions out when some hope (and non constipated stool) fills the space left behind x

  7. Oh hun I am deeply sorry for this news. It’s just not fair. But I think you are right to go hard at your doc, you’re asking very valid questions and know your stuff. Remember, this is your bod, you run this show. Don’t stop chasing the answers.
    I do love your way with words. You have managed to take a sad day and see the bright side and humour in it. That’s an incredible gift. You certainly brighten my day. You’ve got amazing strength and resolve and I truly believe you will be rewarded one day very soon. Lot of love xx

  8. No good very bad day indeed. My heart is breaking for you to be feeling this way. I wish the answers were more clear as well as the right path to take. I hope the sadness continues to dissipate with each sweet treat you make and deliver. I say eat as many as you want along the way too! You totally deserve it after all you’ve been through.

    • Thanks Em, I have indulged slightly but luckily I’m not overly fond of fudge and most of the other stuff I’m making is not gluten free so it’s off-limits. We have a gym at our clubhouse but I think I want a gym membership so I can take classes cuz I’m sooooo unmotivated right now, I need a kick in the pants. XO

  9. What a day, I’m so sorry :(. It’s so unfair that we have these routines for things like drawing blood. I think the same thing every time I have another surgery and start my ‘surgery’ routine. this isn’t how people our age should have to live.

  10. First and foremost I want to send you a great big hug and a bunch of love. I hate that you’re alone at a time like this. I wish I could drive over with Starbucks and a bad Christmas movie to make fun of. I also have a reading suggestion. If you like the sappy Christmas books, try “The Christmas Box”. It’s really short but it always makes me sob. I sincerely hope you find your answers soon as to why this didn’t work. Thinking of you and sending extra prayers.

    • Thank you Jess! You are so on-point with S’bucks & Christmas movies…confession: I watch all of the made-for-tv Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel this time of year. There, it feels good to be out of the closet. XO

  11. You did have a rough day, didn’t you? Bless your heart – it just makes me sad to think of you crying all day. Life is so unfair sometimes, I know. I have watched the movie on Lifetime about that doctor who grew up to help kids. It was very touching and I think you will get a blessing from reading the book. It is pretty sad, though, too. I cried during one part of the movie. Have fun making the Christmas goodies – I agree with the above poster – it is very therapeutic! And you made me laugh when you said everybody gets diabetes for Christmas. You are so funny!

  12. Oh I’m so sorry. End of an unsuccessful cycle is so damn disappointing. Glad you’ve got projects to work on and books to read – I think those are the best therapy. Hugs.

  13. I’m so sorry today has been so crappy, I hope letting the tears fall helps you move on from the bfn. I too spent a ridiculous amount of Christmas related “tat” as a way of retail therapy this week. I think it helps. Hoping tomorrow is better for you xx

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