Friday, June 26, 2015

How do you like your eggs?


I know it took me a while to get this next post up. Life got busy. June was nuts.
That and I wasn't totally sure how I wanted to craft this particular post. There is a lot to it.
Since this is also a place for us to reflect and process all the stuff, I figure I'll try to include as many details as possible, so I don't forget what a ride it was.

Let the baby-making begin!

It was a Friday morning...
We'd both taken the day off for this, since Luis had a particularly important role to play during this visit. *Cue the fireworks blasting and rocket lift offs!!!

We had to be at the office at 6:45 so we would have time for lots of paperwork. (In the past few months I cannot begin to count how many documents have gotten our autographs and initials.) Most of the papers for retrieval were already looked over by Luis and I throughout the weeks leading up to this day. That morning, there were a few new ones that asked the "what if's"... like, What if I die?.... Great way to start my morning and really calm my nerves.
The questions mostly had to do with the anesthesia and who would make decisions on my behalf... etc.

(Side note: when talking about anesthesia, most medical practitioners will instantly crack references about MJ... which again... does not help with the nerves.)

Within minutes of beginning to "sign here" and "initial there" I was called out of the office, and a nurse (who I'd never met before) took me down the hall (we may have taken an elevator) to a whole other office. Luis had to stay behind. We walked into a fancy waiting room and I sat there and finished my paperwork. I am a really slow reader and so it was taking me quite a while to get through everything... I could tell the nurse was waiting for me, even though she said "no rush." I knew that this procedure was pretty time sensitive and I had to start getting all prepped. But I wanted to make sure I wasn't accidentally initialing my life away.

They took me back and I changed into the gown and struggled with putting the hairnet on. They took me to a room... the size of a walk-in closet, with a window. There was a bed, some monitors, a couple of gas tanks (not sure what kinda gas... maybe oxygen? I don't know) and a laboratory embryo maker machine (I don't know the proper term for it and am too lazy to google). With all the equipment in here, there was barely enough room for me and the doctor. Initially, I actually thought it was just the anesthesia room. Later found out, "nope, this is the room. ...We get that question a lot, actually." No wonder Luis wasn't allowed to come with me.

They explained the IV process and actually fumbled a little when trying to find the vein. Though it was gross, it didn't freak me out at all. I think all the poking and prodding I'd gone through over the last couple of weeks cured me of my fear of needles and blood.

Finally, my Dr. walked into the room, whistling as he usually does, and wished me a successful retrieval. I looked down one last time at my Winnie the Pooh socks, closed my eyes, and prayed.
I don't know exactly what I prayed for in that moment. But I know that I focused on the potential of this procedure. I did my part and now I just have to see how it all plays out. It's all in God's hands.

I wore socks Luis had given me a billion years ago... I believe they were for my 17th birthday.
I think the toughest thing about this process... shoot, life in general... is that there are no guarantees. Leading up to the retrieval... I had changed my diet, worked out regularly, avoided alcohol, gone through acupuncture, and did what i could to prepare for this. But ultimately, it might not work out this way. We were walking through another open door with no clue what we would find on the other side.

As I was coming out of the anesthesia.
Not the best time for a selfie. 
The next thing I remember was hearing Luis' voice. I half opened my eyes, saw his blurry face as he walked over and put his hand on my arm. Then, I cried. I don't really know why I cried. I think it was out of relief. An overwhelming sense of relief. I was grateful to have gotten through it and even more grateful to have Luis there by my side.


My part in this step was not glamours or painful. Upon arriving like Erika mentioned we filled out paperwork. She was quickly taken by a nurse. I though I would see her before the procedure, but I did not. I was taken in to get about 6 vials of blood. Soon after, I was sent into the "Keep Calm and Carry On" room. It's were the males put their little ones in a cup. I had been here before a few weeks back so it was not as awkward as before. I stayed with the same game plan of not touching or sitting anywhere in there.
If walls could talk....

After that I was sent to another part of the office that I had never been to. This was the longest part of the morning. No one explained to me what was happening to Erika or what I was supposed to do. So I sat, listening to meditation music on a loop for what ended up being 40 minutes. I fought the urge to go on my phone and loose my self in the internet. Instead I sat and prayed, dreamed, imagined for all the possible things that would come from this. I actually read a Conde Nast Traveler magazine cover to cover. (I will definitely stick to looking at the pictures in the future.)

Eventually I was sent in to see Erika. It was weird because I did not know if she was actually in any pain since she was highly drugged and looked completely out of it. The nurse explained to me the special diet that she would have to follow and I carefully repeated it in my head even though the diet was written out over several papers handed to me. I felt hopeless because I really could not DO anything to get Erika to feel better. So I did all of the other things that would make her the most comfortable as possible. As with the shots, I was amazed at her strength and the focus of her love to our child as a way to deal with the pain.


The nurse asked if I needed anything, but I felt fine. I mean, I felt tired, groggy, and emotional, but I wasn't in any physical pain. She asked me about 3 times in a matter of 15 minutes, each time I said no. Then little by little... the cramping started. And for the next several hours, it only got worse. She gave me some extra strength tylenol, which didn't help at all, and giggled because she knew I was going to need it.
 A while later, my Dr. walked in and said, "Good job! It was very successful. You did great." I said, "No, YOU did great." Then he told us our numbers and what the next steps would be. I then got wheeled out and we drove home.

Regardless of the results of this whole thing... it is MIND BLOWING that in the world right now... there is life that has been created because Luis and I met 19 years ago. In existence, for the first time ever, there is something greater than just the two of us. Something our love has made. It's made life. And that is AMAZING.

For 24 hours I only got up from bed 3 times. I walked around like a 90 year old lady who was carrying around a pile of rocks on her back. Luis went to the store to buy me coconut water and a heating pad that saved my life. He made food that I didn't eat and brewed downstairs while I slept.

He did a lot for me that weekend. This was later in the day. I woke up to him right by my side.
About 10 hours later, I got up from bed and walked downstairs. I wanted to watch something funny on TV. Huge mistake. Remember that episode of New Girl I told you about? The one called "Eggs"? Well, like 5 minutes into the episode, they start talking about all of the eggs that Jess still has stored in her ovaries... and for whatever reason... I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. I think because it was so appropriate to what I had just been through and I started laughing so hard that I cried. Not because it was funny, but because I was in so much physical pain from laughing that tears were shooting out of my face. I continued to laugh and cry simultaneously and begged Luis to change it, "TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OF, PLEEEASE!"

So, New Girl episodes were off the table. I told him to put it on ESPN or something. So he looks up the following two clips... THIS MADE EVERYTHING WORSE.

First clip was of Shaq describing a butterfly... *died
Then we watched a clip of Stephen Curry's daughter during a post-game interview. *died again

We eventually decided to watch a really sad 30 for 30.
Sadness did not hurt my insides.

Spending time with family that weekend was a challenge. There were parades, birthdays, and lots of food I couldn't eat. I showed up and although almost everyone knew why I was in the state I was in, some family didn't know the situation yet and I wanted to wait a little longer to tell them. I wanted to tell everyone separately. I told a few people that I was just sick and on some medication and a really strict diet.... Of course this odd behavior had the prego rumors circulating.  It was cute to see how excited they were at the idea, so their constant questions didn't really bother me. I just stayed on the couch all weekend and tried not to watch anything funny.

By Monday I was feeling a little better. I could walk like I wasn't dying and tried to eat stuff besides soup and eggs. (Strangely enough, eggs were really important for me to be eating.)

Now, exactly 5 weeks after the retrieval the bruise from the injections is gone, I'm feeling more and more like myself again, and we are breathing a bit more freely.

Now we wait.

But not too much longer. In 4 weeks from today (if everything continues to go smoothly) we will have our transfer day. Our lil baby blast (aka Blastocyst) will hopefully get nice and comfy in their new home. And hopefully 9 months after that... our hearts will explode.

"Our love for you has preceded your existence and the strength of our love is what will bring you to us. It is so very true... 'Where there is Love, there is Life.' And our love is focused on getting you here with us." 
---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Simple Note


A senior I had in class during her freshman and sophomore years stopped by to bring me flowers the day before graduation.

Attached was a little card.

I waited until she left to read it. This is what it said,

"Mrs. Perales,

Thank you for giving me countless opportunities to get out of my comfort zone. You are just an amazing and caring soul. I don't know if it's my place, but you are going to be a wonderful mother. I feel very fortunate to have met you. Thank you for everything."

And just like that, I was in tears.