Monthly Archives: September 2018

Post Retrieval Depression

My Mom keeps telling me my hormones are still all crazy from the IVF/egg retrieval cycle I did, and it’s so goddamn true. That doesn’t help much though when I’m making grocery lists in my head of all the things wrong in my life and how I’m a disappointment to everyone. Like I just keep crying in the evenings, and in the days too when I’m not busy with things, and getting fixated on really small things and feeling enormously overwhelmed by big things. I’ve had some interpersonal catastrophes in the last few weeks and I don’t know how to fix any of those, maybe I shouldn’t, I don’t know. I know realistically my life is going well and there are more good things that outweigh the bad. But the bad seems so huge. And sometimes glimmers of light sort of burst through the clouds and I can laugh about some stupid thing. But it’s these hormones oh my god. I know my levels will get back to normal, this stuff is gonna go out of my body and I’ll be back to regular hormonal cycles that I can deal with. BUT FUCK it’s hard right now.

And my process is pretty much wrapped up now in a medical sense, like I could go for one more retrieval if I am lucky enough to scrape up the cash, and really I should do that in the next few months if I can before I get even older. BUT like the visits to the fertility clinic are finished for now. I’m not really getting more medical supervision at the moment. I’ve paid my thousands of dollars and my genetic reproductive materials are sitting in a storage lab somewhere. BUT I’m still stuck with this horrible come down off some heavy duty hormones.

I remember when I used to do ecstasy, REAL ecstasy not that fake speedy shit they sold in Saskatoon, there was always that day after when the inverse feeling of being on E happened. Like all your happiness had been sucked into the void and you were just listless and depressed. This doesn’t have that listless feeling, but the crash is similar. And sometimes I’m not thinking about it, sometimes things are okay and I’m just going through life. AND THEN OMG I just start thinking about things and they snowball into everything being horrible and tragic and omg my dog’s gonna die and I’ll probably have to quit that thing I love and omg. And that’s not even me thinking about the statistics being against my eggs becoming a human. Like it’s intense.

I will be fine, I think. I hope. I think too there are like, people not really checking in with me that I wish were, and like just feeling out of sorts and like I want someone to hug me and I don’t know who. And I can’t really handle this the way I thought I would. I guess I didn’t expect the depression to be this intense.

And it’s funny too cause it’s like what? I am on a journey to make a new life that I can love and nurture and help become the person it wants to be, I should be happy right? Like the hard part is over for me, right now I’m not getting shots in the ass, I’m not having to go every other morning for invasive transvaginal ultrasounds. BUT STILL oh fuck.

The trigger shot gives false pregnancy results for the two weeks after you get it. Which means I have until Thursday for these hormones to be mostly out of my system. And I’ve never been pregnant. But if this is my early pregnancy mood then FUCKING HELL I AM SO GLAD I’M NOT GONNA BE PREGNANT!

While I was going through old diaries I found the origin of me not wanting to be pregnant. I mean it always scared me when I was younger, the amount of pain involved, and what it would do to my body, and all that stuff. BUT I noticed in my early diaries that back then I always did talk about kids. Like I would be talking about wanting to have kids with my girlfriends or when I have a kid or having dreams about my kid. And then sometime after my second hospitalization reality set in and I knew I wouldn’t be able to be pregnant because of my bipolar. I’m on medications you can’t take if you are pregnant, and my version of bipolar is too intense to be without those medications. If I had been pregnant and gone off my meds I likely would have ended up in the psych ward for a few months. And by the time I had my baby I would probably be on the radar of child and family services as someone who was an unfit mother. I’d seen pregnant women in the psych ward before and I thought that would be the absolute pits. To have this baby come into your life when you are trying to recover from some kind of episode. Oh my god. And then also knowing I would be a super good candidate for post partum depression or worse, post partum psychosis. The idea of being able to be pregnant just kind of disappeared from my life.

But it wasn’t like I was fine just being like “oh shit guess I can’t be pregnant” but I think I kind of tried to nurture that “I don’t want kids blah who would want kids what a pain!” when really it was like “I know intellectually I can’t have children because of the above reasons.” People seem to be more comfortable with people who don’t want children than people who can’t have children. ANYWAY UGH. And then I like gave away any chances of being pregnant by getting my ablation. And I don’t really regret my ablation. I am super happy to not get periods anymore. But it definitely ended that option.

So this is honestly a good thing. Freezing eggs to hopefully soon fertilize and implant into a very generous person with a uterus who likes being pregnant anyway and has had good experiences with that. It’s the best way for me to have a baby that is genetically related to me. And I have a lot of specific reasons for wanting to carry on my family line, like we are a powerful Indigenous family with a history of medicine people and some really good talents and there are qualities in my family that I really love (even when they drive me crazy) and I would love to see someone looking at me who looks like us and is telling me some joke that is the same kind of weird sense of humour our family has. I don’t know it’s complicated. Anyway, like it is a good thing. And I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to do this and that this technology exists.

It’s still really hard to have these hormones coursing through my body and know I have a few more days to go. It’s a week exactly since my retrieval and life has gone on and I’m so busy I almost forgot about it but also omg I went through something major there. My ovaries felt like entirely new organs in my body for a while because they were so swollen. I’m getting back to normal. But also work demands go on and social demands and I’m really overwhelmed sometimes and I wish I was the kind of person who could take time off work but I’m an artist and I can’t. And I already deliberately slotted this cycle between two work trips and I made it and I’m okay, but I feel like I wish I had given myself more downtime after. Next time I’m gonna try making sure I have at least six weeks to find myself in the right part of my cycle and start IVF. Or just accept that these ten eggs are my only ten chances.

Ten Little NDN Eggs and THOUGHTS on Love

So I got a call when I woke up this morning that 10 eggs ended up being mature and frozen, which was the number I had been hoping for. It’s still really unknown how many of those will make it through all the development phases to become a viable embryo. And I’m likely not going to be fertilizing them for another year, so I’m not gonna know for a while. After this I need my sperm donor to go bank some sperm and get it checked over and quarantined for a few months (those damn semen regulations!) and then thaw eggs, see how many can be fertilized, watch them go through their development process, see how many make it to blastocysts, do genetic testing on them to get rid of the ones that would just likely miscarry because they are abnormal, THEN finally transfer to my surrogate, whoever that ends up being. Parts of this can be funded by the government, I’m not sure which parts and I should investigate that further. Really I need to make another appointment with my doctor in the next couple of months and talk about next steps. I’d like to do another IVF/Egg retrieval cycle if I can to increase my odds. If I could get 10 more mature eggs I’d feel a lot better.

It’s been a quiet day otherwise. My ovaries still hurt, they really hurt this morning and I took a leftover T3 from when I broke my foot. It helped. Did laundry, took out trash, puttered around and ate leftover sushi. I’ve lost my metropass which SUCKS and I have no idea where it could have gone. I hope I find it tonight, I’m not going anywhere but it’s a kind of freedom I enjoy having.

I couldn’t get one of my piercings back in that the piercer said would be fine. So that sucks. BUT my most painful piercing that I didn’t want to go through again still has the retainer in it, so this week I’m going to go to a shop and get them to replace the jewelry in it. I’m tired of my earlobe piercings so I’m just leaving them out for a while. They’ve been pierced for years and years and will be fine without anything in them. My earrings in them were too 90’s for me anyway, they were kind of boring me.

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So I just kind of left this and didn’t come back for a few days. It’s Tuesday now, I wrote the beginning of this on Sunday. I seem to have made some kind of emotional breakthrough I wasn’t expecting. I’ve been going through old diaries finding stuff I wrote about love and crushes and things for my performance I am doing next week. I’m gonna make a monologue out of it that I’ll record and play over the performance. Pretty interesting patterns….

I’ve realized that there were ways I behaved with exes that I’m ashamed of now. I specialized in rejecting the rejectors. Women would try to get close to me again after our breakups and I would just be SO DAMNED COLD! And at least one of those exes, like yeah she was awful no lie I’m glad that ended. But another of them I feel super bad about because what we did have WAS meaningful, and still is, and I’m still really fond of her. But fuck was I ever mean when she dumped me. She hurt me so I wanted to hurt her back and act like I didn’t have any feelings for her any more. And she called me on it because I had been talking about a long term future with her and suddenly I was like too cool to ever love her again. And I think it was some kind of self protective reflex, like I didn’t want to get hurt again, for one thing. But also I didn’t think they could ever respect me if they treated me like that and I let them get close again. Like I didn’t think they could honour my heart again after they broke it. And I sort of understand that mindset, like in theory it looks good, if someone hurts you you don’t let them in again. On the other hand we were really young and scared and I wish I had honoured my original feelings myself which was that I really loved her.

And she and I have gotten close again as friends, she is married and lives on the coast still and we won’t be girlfriends again. But sometimes I can tell there’s still echos of those intense feelings and I wonder if things could have been any different if I hadn’t let my pride get in the way.

I think also I’m just disappointed in seeing how this pattern would play out in my youth (cause almost all my relationships happened in my youth) where I would be SO IN LOVE and then just seethe with hate cause someone broke my heart again. And I think resenting someone as a way to get over them did not do good things for my soul. I was just miserable and bitter and hateful and it was not good. I wish I had been more willing to examine my own sadness and vulnerability in those moments instead of getting so resentful. I guess I felt like the alternative to hating someone was to admit I still loved them and that seemed really pitiful.

But sometimes women tried to get close to me again and now that I think on it I wish I had let them, instead of being a resentful miserable bitch about the whole thing. I think I understand more now about what fear of intimacy does to people, and how most of the time when I was getting dumped it was because I wanted something serious and was talking about love and they were fucking terrified. And I mean yeah, I guess that can be scary for people. But it kind of makes me ashamed to think that I was lashing out at people who were scared of being loved, and that they were coming back because they were rethinking it. I guess none of us were ready to be loved at those times in our lives. I thought I was ready to love someone, but I kept choosing people who couldn’t handle it.

Anyway, I’m trying to think about how to deal with those situations in a better way today. Like I don’t want to lash out in retaliation for having a broken heart again. It’s not great, it doesn’t feel good, and it doesn’t help my healing no matter how many angry revenge songs I listen to. I don’t even really think that’s me. I don’t want to stay stuck in love with people who don’t want it either though. There must be some kind of honourable middle ground though, some kind of ability to let go and not be a massive cow about it. Like why hate people I once loved? That feels really shitty. And I know people sort of think you’re setting yourself up to be walked on if you don’t get mean and cruel and push back. But I just don’t have it in me anymore.

It’s a lot to think about. But I think it might finally help me break some toxic relationship patterns I’ve been in for decades. I’m mostly friends with my exes. Some people don’t talk to me anymore though, and I am sad about that. I know people don’t have to stay in my life if they don’t want to though. And maybe it’s good they are out. I feel like this is finally the loose string that’s going to unravel the whole thing that is keeping me back from forming a serious romantic bond with someone again.

Egg Retrieval Day!

I’ve been resting all day, taking it easy. I had a couple of naps and ordered some sushi and yakitori. I had oatmeal for lunch but I was super nauseous still so I didn’t feel well.

Anyway, this morning my procedure was going to be at 7:30. I got there about 6:50, they said to come at 7 but I was super anxious and wanted lots of time. Then my doctor was late. I had the IV in already and was getting nervous like “OMG what if my eggs start ovulating before he gets here!” Anyway, they took me into the OR. It smelled like a sandwich in there, like the bun part of a sandwich. I don’t know what that was about. You actually can’t have any scented products on during egg retrieval because eggs and embryos don’t do well with fragrances. So anyway I get onto the table, and there are these like, modified stirrups that sort of hold the entire calf instead of just the foot. They show me an image of the dish my eggs are going in with my name on it and made sure that was me. And it was. And I am laying on this table worrying the doctor is never gonna come. Then they said he was changing and they injected the sedative, and then put the oxygen mask over my face. And then I was basically out and came to back in the armchair I had started in.

I was pretty out of it still, I woke up long enough to send an incomprehensible message to my friend Terri who was coming to bring me home. And then I passed out again. And then I woke up and someone came to check on me and said they were sending my friend in. I felt pretty dopey but also I was coming out of it pretty fast. I remember telling Terri “If it’s a boy he’s gonna eat so much when he is a teenager.” And then she told me about when she had two teenage boys living with her and how much she was spending on groceries every month and I was like oh god!

The nurse came by and told me they retrieved 13 eggs. Tomorrow they are gonna let me know how many were mature, which is the real number we are looking for. I hope most of them are. 13 is supposed to be a good number, because it’s high enough that it has better odds of a live birth, but low enough that there is still good egg quality, which apparently goes down when you get into the higher numbers. So I’m pleased with that. Also it’s interesting that my antral follicle count was 10 and we still got 13 eggs.

I’ve been googling and lurking on all kinds of IVF message boards trying to figure out what is normal. From what I can gather there are a lot of variances and no one is the same, which I mean of course. But like things can be wildly different even among other 40 year old women. So I really don’t know. I have my fingers crossed for the mature egg count tomorrow. I really want a good number.

If things work out I would do a second cycle to have more chances, but that’s really unknown right now. It definitely wouldn’t happen until early 2019. My hormones need to calm down. My ovary needs to get back to normal. It’s pretty crampy today but the tylenol helps. I’m on similar hormones right now to early pregnancy hormones because of the trigger shots. It will take a couple weeks to clear my system. So I’m needing some time, and to be easy on myself in case I get all moody and sad again. AGAIN! I don’t have to do any more shots though, which makes me relieved. Unless I go for another cycle. But for now, nothing! YAY! Just back to regular life.

I’ve been filming video off and on to try and make something arty out of all of this stuff. I dunno how it will go, I was going to talk last night on camera about my feelings about egg retrieval day. But I went out for a bit and when I came home I was so tired I just went to bed. I do have some footage of shots, and a couple earlier videos of me talking about my feelings. But nothing really recent, I don’t even know if I have anything about being all hormonal and hopped up on FSH and LH shots. It’s been a journey that’s for sure. And it’s nowhere near being over, especially since the real conception and attempts at making a baby won’t happen for at least another year. So for now there’s some eggs on ice somewhere, and me recovering from this incredibly strange thing.

I have a good feeling though. And I’m a little scared to have a good feeling. I know all kinds of shit could happen, I know there are a million variables and all sorts of things that could happen between now and baby time. It’s hard because I want to be hopeful but not delusional. I know 40 year olds don’t have the greatest egg quality. But you never know. And even tho this is such a long shot, it’s at least brought my chances of having a baby I am related to up from 0% to 35%. Which is an improvement. Maybe even a little higher than that. I don’t know what is gonna happen, it’s exciting and scary and weird and strange. And I’m still totally single and doing this myself. That could always change though, someone could always show themselves to be a good potential partner and co-parent. I notice the things I am looking for in a date have changed, they’ve gotten more serious. Someone sent me a message on OKC and I was gonna respond but then I read her answers and one of them was that she wasn’t looking for a partner to have kids with. And that was really all I needed to know to not message her back. It’s time to find someone to settle down with. I feel really anxious about it sometimes like that’s just not gonna happen. But at the same time there are lots of single moms I know. I dunno life is weird and I’m sure there are some curveballs coming my way. I just hope they are good ones.

Nonunion Sadness and Egg Happiness

The doctor says my fracture isn’t healing. In fact, it looks almost exactly the same as when I broke it originally. I’m super bummed about it, I have to keep wearing this boot for now. I’ve got a referral to the fracture clinic now. Hoping they can give me some better advice than I have gotten so far. Apparently this is a common fracture to have trouble knitting back together. I might have to have a pin in there. What a drag. I hope whatever happens we can resolve this by the time I go to Australia, because I’m not into going on a long overseas flight with a boot.

I kind of felt it wasn’t there though, sometimes I can feel it move around in a way it shouldn’t. I dunno.

I’m making tacos right now. I’m trying to console myself.

LATER (ha ha ok the next day actually. I forgot I was writing this)

I had my fertility appointment this morning where the doctor did the ultrasound this time. For the first time I could actually see what was going on with my right ovary and it has A LOT of follicles. Like, I kind of lost count, it was moving around anyway so I don’t think I could have counted accurately. But the doctor was pretty pleased and said we had a lot of eggs. The left ovary is sad tho and only has one follicle. ONE! But the right one has so many, the doctor said it was compensating. I don’t know how many eggs we are gonna get but I have a good feeling again.

Last night I got all depressed and weepy and wrote a bunch of sad things in my diary. It’s been 11 days of shots now, the mood swings are intense. I don’t like them. I’m looking forward to being off these drugs. And I have weird feelings in my ovaries, more pain in my left one than anything, not all the time just on occasion. The right one just did that interesting thing a few days ago where it felt like a fairy wand touched it or something. It was interesting. I read a paper that right ovary ovulations have a higher chance of resulting in pregnancy. It’s not like a HUGE difference, but they do notice a higher number. So that’s promising.

My situation is so complicated though because I can’t carry a pregnancy myself. For multiple reasons even if I could have, it wouldn’t have been a great idea anyway. So I still have to figure out the surrogate thing. But at least I have bought myself some time by freezing some eggs.

Stats for IVF are really like, contradictory. Some people only get four eggs and still end up with a baby, while others can get 20+ and still have trouble. I really wish I could do one more cycle just to improve my odds. On the other hand, I also went into this thinking I would only get a couple of eggs and still wanting to try just the one cycle to have SOME chance.

The other thing is under “normal” circumstances, I really don’t know about my fertility. I never had any semen in my vagina to even accidentally make a baby, and for sure never really TRIED on my own at any point to have a baby that way before getting my endometrial ablation. So I might have been perfectly fertile in normal circumstances anyway and I wouldn’t have known. Although I did have a higher level of prolactin, which probably affected my fertility. So who knows! My point is, maybe I am going to respond favourably, I seem to be anyway on the right ovary. And I won’t know about my egg quality until it’s time to fertilize them and try to get them to become healthy embryos.

My butt hurts. I’ve been getting intramuscular shots in it every day for eleven days. It’s sore. I hate laying on my sides where it is. When the dogs wiggle around by an injection site it really hurts. I’m so used to doing the injections and it looks like I just get to do my trigger shot in the middle of the night tomorrow and that will be my last injection. I’m almost disappointed ha ha. Like it was kind of a nice routine, mixing my shots every other morning when the nurse couldn’t do it. I feel way more confident when I do them now. When I first gave myself a shot my hand was so shaky and I was so nervous. Now it’s not bad at all.

I dunno, life is going, it’s going! That weird line between being hopeful and being realistic is still there and I’m still on it. I know I’m 40 and the fertility timeline gets pretty bad around now. But also seeing how many eggs I seem to have today has made me more hopeful again. I’m looking forward to hearing how many eggs we manage to get.

And I’m still talking about this fertility thing using the word “We” instead of “me” or “I” which is funny. I don’t know if that is because I am already thinking about a future with an unknown partner, or what. Maybe I just like feeling not so alone.

Harry Potter Squabbling

Today I was trying to talk to Mom about boring stuff I did today but she was watching a Harry Potter marathon and kept telling me plot details I already knew. I was like “I’ve seen it like 20 times and read the books 4 times!” and then she was like “Well it’s more interesting than the minutia of your life!” OMG! And yeah I had a boring day, I woke up and did injections, ordered groceries, did some laundry. Like that was basically it. Cuddled the dogs a lot. BUT STILL I don’t want to hear the same old Harry Potter plot points. Ha ha ha!

It’s six weeks tonight since I broke my 5th metatarsal. I’m getting an Xray on Tuesday and I’ll get to find out if I can take the boot off. I’m nervous because it still sometimes hurts when I walk on it, even in the boot. I walked without the boot to the bathroom the other day and it hurt when I got there and I was worried I would be trapped and hurt without my boot. But I got it. I’m worried I’ll have to wear it two more weeks, god I hope not. I’m really wanting to just wear stiff shoes or something.

This week things are very much up in the air and I can’t make advance plans about anything really. My ovaries are getting huge and I’m going to get my eggs retrieved sometime this week, between Tuesday and Thursday. I can’t imagine it going on to Friday, the timeline for this cycle stops on the 6th. I’m nervous as hell about it but like, so far things have been fine. I’m gonna be consciously sedated and that phrase kind of scares me because I don’t really know what it means and I was sedated for my ablation and it still hurt like hell. But that was in Saskatoon, and the Saskatoon Health Region doesn’t do good pain management for Indigenous people. I’m nervous! I hate being in pain, yeah I know blah blah insert joke about masochists. BUT NO I don’t really find medical things sexy and having a needle go through my vagina to aspirate follicles isn’t really my kink. Like fuck that would be a weirdly specific kink anyway.

Some trans friends last night asked how I felt about being on the hormones. It’s funny because I assumed I would be like, SUPER emotional, or moody, or dramatic and crying everywhere or something. But actually I feel pretty good. Like I feel very clear, and peaceful, and happy most of the time. Like sure I still get irked by things and have some shitty feelings from time to time. But overall I have a sense of wellbeing. My sex drive has improved a bit, I think that’s because of those cabergoline side effects. I feel a bit more mature or something too which is interesting. Maybe mature is the wrong word. I just have less time for bullshit and I feel my ability to let go of negative experiences and relationships is getting better. Like maybe stuff still bothers me, but I don’t have time for it anymore.

I’m kind of letting go of a couple of friendships right now. They were never in person friendships really anyway. One of them hasn’t been initiating messaging me lately and I think it’s a sign that I just need to give it up, I think it kind of got fucked up a long time ago and I didn’t really address it, and maybe I didn’t need to. Maybe we just should have stopped pretending to be friends at that point and just been colleagues or whatever. Another friendship is like, more on hold than over. I just really am in this space in my life where I need to have some support and be listened to and for whatever reason I’m not feeling like I am getting that from this person.

I think maybe also all of this stems from just wanting to get to the next chapter of my life with like, a real partner and a kid or two and a more professional career. Like yeah people get upset about experimental filmmakers wanting to work in The Industry, but also there’s more money there than in experimental film. And I think I can do both. I dunno, it seems like I don’t want to dick around so much anymore with friends who aren’t there for me. Maybe I’ll be able to have more shallow conversations about nothing with people again after these eggs are retrieved and I can take a break from thinking about this for a moment.

But at the same time it’s going to be ongoing, trying to figure out how to have babies. And then raising those babies to be kind people. Maybe it will just make me be one of those shitty moms who suddenly only hangs out with other moms. That sounds kind of boring and shitty tho, and a lot of my friends aren’t gonna have babies. I think I understand why parents do that though, it’s like you’re going through the same thing and can relate to each other. I sort of felt that way when I first got diagnosed with bipolar disorder in my mid twenties. I started hanging out mostly with other people who had mental health issues. Especially other people who had been in psych wards. Cause they GOT IT.

There’s supposedly people going through the same thing as me at the fertility clinic, but I haven’t made any fertility friends. Ha ha that sounds like a club. There is a support group for single people having babies though, I might check it out. I like support groups generally. I’ve been to queer youth ones, trans ones, concurrent disorders ones. OH but there’s always that one person who shows up and takes up all the time. Ugh I hate that person.