Saturday, January 29, 2011

crisis averted...

At least for now, everything looks great.  My hcg went from 534 on Thursday to 1526 this morning!  Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments yesterday...I read them all several times last night, then re-read them all while sitting in the waiting room this morning.  Since my main doctor's office is about 90 miles away and the nurse for the satellite office is out of town today, the doctor ordered the lab work at a local hospital for us.  He told us that we could go anytime between 6:00 a.m. and noon, so of course we arived around 6:30.  We are so grateful for this news and excited that the "tell the parents" plan is back on.

Friday, January 28, 2011


All day I have felt like something wasn't right.  I started bleeding about an hour ago...bright red.  I am absolutely terrified.  The doctor says my progesterone suppository likely irritated my cervix and that based on yesterday's beta it shouldn't be a miscarriage, but I have a terrible feeling.  A is calling in a bit to demand a blood test tomorrow.  If you pray, please remember us right now.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

a little revealing....

Several blog awards have been going around, and I want to send a special thank you to Teresa, Bridget, Christa, and kkasun for sending a style award my way.  I read each of these blogs religiously and so appreciate the encouragement I receive from these ladies.  Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that all the blogs I follow have received this award by now, so I'm not officially passing it on to anyone, but know that I think each of your blogs are wonderful!

The "rules" of the award say to list seven things about yourself, but instead of seven I'm revealing one big thing.  For the first time, I am posting a picture of myself and A, along with our two fur babies.  I have avoided doing this because I didn't want someone from my real life to stumble upon this blog, but surely a simple photo won't blow my cover.  Plus, I can't resist sharing this precious tidbit with you all.  So here goes nothing:

 A sweet friend came over and took this jewel today, and it's how we are telling my parents we are pregnant.  Definitely a moment to remember!


Today's beta came in at 534...which means a 1.7 day doubling time!  I cannot even begin to describe how excited and thankful I am.  I feel blessed beyond measure.  This is a completely different start than any of our other short-lived pregnancies, and it's the highest beta I've ever had.

As so many of you know, it's pretty impossible to keep an IVF pregnancy a secret from people who know you did IVF for very long.  I don't think we can keep the charade up with our parents much longer, so we have figured out a way to tell them both in person this weekend.  I am so excited to share good news....we have never actually made a pregnancy announcement, just "we lost a pregnancy" announcements.  If all goes well, this will be the first grandchild on A's side, and I know that both sets of parents are going to be beyond thrilled.

My goal over the next few days is to learn to let go and enjoy.  I don't know how this pregnancy will end (hopefully with labor and a beautiful little one in my arms), but for now I want to cherish each day I get to be a mommy.  This isn't easy for me, but I truly want to enjoy this pregnancy.  My sweet RE's office has agreed to do a quick ultrasound on Monday to see if we can see the gestational sac, which we should by then if things keep progressing on this track.  I think that seeing a little dark spot on the screen will be the final push I need to realize that this is really happening.   

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

best phone call ever

I just got the call, and my beta hCG is at 238!!!!!  My highest first hCG ever was only 40, so this is pretty much incredible.  I can't stop crying (which is a little weird since I'm at work).  When I called A to tell him through my tears, I said I felt the same euphoria as when we got engaged.  Precious A said, "I think I'm even that bad?"  We decided it's not bad at all, espcially since we never failed at getting engaged.

I go back on Thursday to see if things are doubling.  I am so in love with this precious all I can do is give him the things he needs to keep growing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

tomorrow is the big day....

Beta day!  I am excited, but definitely anxious.  The highest initial beta we have ever gotten is 40, and as you all know none of those pregnancies have worked out.  I have continued testing twice a day: once with FMU and once in the afternoon/evening.  My tests have continued to get slightly darker.  They still aren't completely dark, but definitely look better than they did when I got my first positive.  Interestingly, my FMU test is always the same color or slightly lighter than the one from the previous afternoon, and the afternoon tests are coming up darker.  Maybe my body processes hCG in urine differently?  Anyone else have this experience?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

a great example of why my husband is fantastic

Yesterday I pulled out my copy of "What to Expect," the one we purchased at the beginning of one of our three pregnancies.  I was hoping that reading it would give me some good pregnancy vibes.  As I scanned through the first few chapters, I got to a question and answer part, and on page 39 of the fourth edition I saw this:

"I conceived my baby through in vitro fertilization.  How different will my pregnancy be?"

I immediately began reading the answer, and then flipped out when I got to this sentence: "Because a positivie test doesn't necessarily mean that a pregnancy will be sustained, because trying again can be so emotionally and financially draining, and because it's not known right off how many of the test-tube embryos are going to develop into fetuses, the first six weeks of an IVF pregnancy are usually more nerve-wracking than most."  I agree with the sentiment of this is more stressful, scarier, and there seems to be more at stake.  But how can such a well-known, well-respected book perpetuate the idea of "test-tube embryos?"  Moreover, that portion of the sentence makes it sound like the little guys develop all the way to fetuses outside the body.  What the heck?  After all the revisions and research, how can this be in the book?  I am sure the authors meant no harm by this statement, but really?!?!?  Seriously?!?!?

So what did A do?  He immediately got on the publisher's website and found a few email addresses, drafted a respectful but stern email about how offensive we found this as potential IVF parents and how inaccurate the statement actually was, and he had this email sent within an hour of my flip out.  But that wasn't enough.  He went on Twitter to look for the author directly, but realized he couldn't directly tweet her because she didn't follow him.  Then it was on to Facebook, where he located her and copied the same email as a Facebook message directly to her.

The craziest part of this whole story is that six hours later he got a response.  We will never know if she wrote it herself, but in the email the author apologized, thanked him for pointing out the issue, and said that she had made a note to change the language in the next reprint.  I'll be very interested to read the 5th edition when it comes out to see if any changes have been made.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

forgetting the fear

I've heard many times that women forget the pain of childbirth; otherwise, they wouldn't have second children.  This morning as my heart ached in anticipation of getting up to test again, I realized that I have, in some ways, forgotten the pain of the beta game so that I can allow myself to try again.  As I lay in bed, I just knew that the line was going to be light, maybe even lighter.  And when I peed on my stick, my fears were confirmed.  The line was slightly lighter than the one I had gotten last night, still a very faint positive.  I immediately began to cry.  I know that such a small variation shouldn't be so concerning, but with every pregnancy so far I have watched as faint positives remained faint positives, and then slowly went away altogether.  I know it's still early, and I still have immense hope*, but I have watched this story play out too many times to erase it from my mind. 

I'm sure a rational person who has never been through this would just tell me to stop testing.  For me, though, knowing is better.  With our ectopic, my HCG got high enough that I couldn't monitor it through pee sticks, but with the other two, I knew the results before getting the dreaded phone call confirming that my beta was dropping.  By self-monitoring, I am able to control my expectations and ease myself into the idea of losing another pregnancy.

One of my biggest fears is that this one won't even make it to beta day, and that the doctor's office will never even have proof that this pregnancy happened.  I am not sure why, but I need that validation.

*This hope comes largely from the fact that after sleeping for two more hours, I did get a "Pregnant" on the one digital test I found in my baby making drawer.  Seeing that word brought some comfort and restored a little hope.

Friday, January 21, 2011

seeing lines

I am neurotic.  Due to my complete inability to control anything in this process, I find it impossible not to pee on sticks.  I know I shouldn't, but I truly can't help myself.

I had one test in my drawer, so yesterday morning I checked to make sure the trigger shot was gone.  One line, with the remainder of the window a stark white.  Last night, A and I went to Wal-Mart to stock up on First Response tests (I have found that Wal-Mart is significantly cheaper for these).  I had been having a down day, feeling a little hopeless, and was really having the urge to test.  So before bed, against A's advice, I went for it.  I was sure I was just wasting $4, but at this point money is somewhat irrelevant.  I have taken lots of First Resopnse tests over the last 9 months, and I know when I see something.  And last night I saw something...something very faint, more of "where the line should be" than a line, but something nonetheless.  It was that little bit of hope that I so desparately needed.

I woke up at 3:00 in the morning with a full bladder, but I wanted to wait as long as possible to test again.  I made it to 5:00 a.m., then quietly got up and went for test #2.  And there was a faint line.  You didn't even have to squint or hold the stick at a certain angle to see it.  5 days post 5 day transfer, and hope was staring at me from my bathroom counter.

I know as well as anyone that a positive test doesn't always mean a baby.  I know that it could be a false positive, another chemical pregnancy, or that something could go wrong down the road.  But for today I am pregnant, and I am overjoyed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

preparing to return to normal

Tomorrow I am heading back to work.  I realize that I wasn't required to rest this final day, and I'm not just lying around today, but one more day snuggling with my dogs and encouraging Bit and Bitty was just too good to pass up.  I'm sad to be ending my relaxing time at home. 

It's so difficult to contemplate returning to "normal."  Yes, I will go back to work, but nothing really feels normal.  I wish I were one of those people who could get lost in work, who felt that being busy made the time go more quickly.  Instead, each hour drags by and I struggle to concentrate on and care about things like responses to unemployment filings or random legal questions.  I really hope that the next several days fly by and we make it to beta day soon! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the beauty of ART

When we learn that our babies will be conceived in the doctor's office rather than the bedroom, we are disappointed.  Our disappointment stems not only from the fact that we know we need medical intervention to conceive, but also from the loss of intimacy in the baby making process.  Making a baby is supposed to happen in a moment of fun, passion, and love.  Conception normally results from the most intimate act between a man and woman.  Instead, we conceive with stirrups, catheters, and ultrasound machines.  To the outside world, this method of conception appears cold, sterile, and definitely second-rate.

I had my first embryo transfer this past Sunday, and it was truly a moment of beauty.  Before going into the procedure room, I was given pictures of my two embryos.  I gazed at them and dreamed of the children they might become.  Once I was situated on the table, my husband held my hand, and together we watched the screen as the liquid containing our two little embryos floated into my uterus.  I cried, of course, and A teared up but managed to keep his composure.  Then we received photos of our little ones' first few moments in their mommy.  Whether we get pregnant or not, it was a moment I will always treasure.  It was intimate, sweet, and potentially life-changing...everything making a baby should be.

I think that in comparing ART with "natural" conception, people often romanticize sex.  But let's be honest, sex, especially sex when you're trying to conceive, is not necessarily pretty.  It often includes ovulation predictor kits, making sure you use the right sexual positions, propping yourself on a pillow to avoid losing any little swimmers, or even injecting "sperm friendly" lubricant into yourself.  None of these things should really be categorized as romantic.  So for now, I am letting go of the sadness of having to conceive with assistance, and instead relishing in the extra moments I got with Bit and Bitty.  I feel privileged to have been so intimately involved in the beginning of their precious lives.

Monday, January 17, 2011

our final fertilization report

We just received our final fertilization report.  Two of the three remaining embryos arrested.  The other one grew to an expanded blast, grade AA, and supposedly looks "beautiful."  I hate that he will be frozen all alone and hope he makes some other little frosty friends, but I am so thankful that he made it so far and will be waiting to hopefully become our next pregnancy.  I also know it's important for me right now to not focus on the five that didn't make it, but instead put all my energy into being positive for my precious two currently making their home inside me.

Yesterday we decided that our two little guys needed a nickname for when we talked to and/or about them.  We had previously been using letters--for a plethora of reasons we named our first pregnancy B, then the subsequent ones ended up being C & D.  We decided that continuing to go through the alphabet was a bit depressing and hadn't brought us much luck yet, so we have named these precious ones Bit and Bitty.  I am keeping my pictures of Bit and Bitty on the coffee table in front of me, though I hope they look much different by now.  I cannot wait to get their picture taken again soon!   

Sunday, January 16, 2011

transfer complete

I'm officially on the couch for the next few days with two little embryos hopefully making themselves at home.  This morning we transferred two was an early blast, can't remember the number but the letters were BB, and the other was a very early blastocyst.  It was really kind of peaceful--it was just me, A, the embryologist and the doctor in the clinic.  The doctor was very positive about how the embryos and my lining looked.  Now we just wait and hope.

Of the other six, three had arrested and three were not quite as progressed as the two we transferred.  The three that are still growing will be analyzed tomorrow, and hopefully some or all of them will have progressed far enough to freeze.  Fingers crossed that they make it to freeze, but that we don't need them for a little while at least!

Thanks for all of your support!

Friday, January 14, 2011

report #2

I can finally breathe...we got our report from the embryologist!  Of the 8 that fertilized, all are still growing.  Current standing:

2 at four cells--these are a little slow, but she said they will continue to be cultured and have a good chance of catching up to the others.

1 at five cells--the embryologist felt like this one would almost definitely catch up.

3 at six cells

1 at seven cells

1 at 8 cells

Now they just rest until transfer day on Sunday...well, not really rest.  They have lots of dividing to do!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the snow story

I never really finished my "egg retrieval in the snow" story, and since I'm currently lying on the couch with a sore belly I thought I would let you all know how it went down.  Retrieval was scheduled for 7:45 Tuesday morning, so we decided to drive down Monday afternoon.  Our house is in the middle of a rather steep hill, so getting out of the driveway and up the hill can be quite a challenge.  We only live about 1/3 of a mile from a main road and shopping center, though, so once you get that far you are good to go.

While I was getting ready, A went to fill the car with gas and replace a headlight.  Apparently he barely made it up the hill, because instead of coming back down to get me he parked at the shopping center and caught a ride back...which meant that half an hour later, we trudged up the hill with our bags in tow.  I am sure our neighbors thought we were nuts!  It took us two and a half hours to go 90 miles, and we saw six accidents on our way down. 

We finally made it to the Residence Inn (thank you Marriott Points) and settled in for the long haul.  I never realized how long an afternoon/evening could be until I was literally stuck in a hotel room.  We tried to entertain ourselves...we even went outside and tried to make a snowman, but the snow wouldn't pack and all we ended up with was a tiny snowbaby, which seemed more appropriate anyway given the occasion.  All the restaurants nearby were closed, so precious A walked to the grocery store, which had to be at least a mile roundtrip, and cooked me ravioli in our hotel room. 

The next morning we slowly made our way to the clinic, and were happy to see that everyone had made it in.  A couple of hours later we were on our way home and had survived snow retrieval 2011.

Our little snowbaby!

sucking it in

I am back at work this morning and feeling like a giant cow.  The first pair of slacks I put on buttoned and zipped, but upon mirror inspection they definitely didn't "fit."  I changed into a pair that usually fits big, and even they are a little snug.  Not the biggest self-confidence booster.  Is this still just bloating from the meds?  Will it go away?  If I don't get pregnant, I will start running again and hopefully be able to shape things up a bit.  If I do get pregnant, though, I will be in maternity pants at five weeks at this rate.

I am feeling more sore today, but I imagine that's normal.  I am sure I look a little crazy walking around the office so stiffly today, so my goal is to stay in my chair as much as possible.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

fertilization report

The embryologist called this morning, and I got really nervous because she didn't immediately tell me how many fertilized.  She started by saying that upon further analysis, only 8 of my eggs were mature, and that she had looked back at my chart and that number seemed to correspond with my follicle measurements.  She said that one more was on the verge of being mature, so she went ahead and did ICSI on those 9 (ICSI was included in the package we purchased and we wanted to use it since there are slightly higher fertilization rates with ICSI).  The one that was not quite mature didn't fertilize, but all 8 mature eggs did!  8 little embryos continuing to grow!  We will get our next report on Friday.

Interestingly, when A and I first started seriously discussing IVF we were thinking of only fertilizing 8 eggs to avoid having lots of leftover embryos.  As we learned more, though, we realized that we wanted as many embryos as possible to heighten our chances of getting healthy embryos to work with.  In all honesty, I feel a little disappointed with this number...I am so nervous that we will not end up with quality embryos for transfer.  I keep trying to remind myself that quality is the most important thing, though, and I at least have age on my side for that.  For now I am picturing my little embryos and sending them all my love.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

new lucky number...

And the winner is 14!  14 eggs retrieved this morning.  The embryologist said based on her initial analysis, two looked immature, but that they might continue to mature for a few hours.  We find out how many fertilized exciting!  Interestingly, my right ovary continued to be a little stinker.  Only 2 eggs came from the right, with 12 coming from the left.

Hoping for a great fertilization report tomorrow!

Monday, January 10, 2011

never easy

Sometimes I am convinced that God just doesn't want me to be pregnant.  My lovely southern city is blanketed in around 3 inches of snow, which is a big deal for us.  Even worse, the neighboring city where my retrieval will be has around 6 inches.  The clinic called this morning to make sure that we were coming down today rather than trying to make it tomorrow.  For the first time since the IVF coordinator can remember, they have cancelled all procedures/appointments for today and tomorrow other than my egg retrieval and one other retrieval tomorrow (apparently we were the only time sensitive procedures planned for these two days).  There are so many people that need to be there at the right time to make this happen...I am so nervous that it's not going to work. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

trigger time

It's officially trigger time!  Retrieval is at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday.  Now the only thing between me and retrieval is a predicted snowstorm.  I go to a satellite office, but my RE's official office is about 90 miles away and that is where the retrieval will take place.  I live in the South, and snow pretty much halts life here.  We are expecting a good bit of snow over the next two days, so A and I are traveling down tomorrow night to be closer to the office just in case.  Our hotel is only 2.4 miles from the office, and I will walk there Tuesday morning if I have to.  Guess I should pack my boots!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

almost there!

Day 9 of stims, and things looked much better at my monitoring appointment this morning.  My favorite nurse was doing the ultrasound, which I was initially a little worried about since my RE has done all the other ones.  But she went really slowly and showed us everything, which was really nice.

Left ovary is doing great: One at 21.9, one at 18.8, two in the sixteens, and four in the thirteens.  There are a few under ten, so there's still a chance that one of them will suddenly catch up.

Right ovary still has the three strong contenders: One at 23.6 andwo in the sixteens.  Interestingly, though, today we were able to see about 5 under ten.  I am really hoping one or two of those grow and give us an egg, but either way, we are in a much better position than we were earlier this week.

Endometrium is at 8.8, and E2 is 1422.

I go back for another ultrasound tomorrow and think they will have me trigger tomorrow night, which would put retrieval on Tuesday.

My hope for this cycle has returned.  A and I even bought a "Cookies for Santa" plate that we found on sale today...maybe the purchase had more to do with it being 75% off, but it's nice to be back in the mindframe of being able to buy things to use when we have kids.  Really hoping that "when" is soon!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Here's where we stand:

Right ovary still not cooperating.  One 17, one 12.7, and one 11...hoping there are one or two little ones hiding in there somewhere.

Left ovary is doing better.  Two 15s, a 14, a 12, and 3-4 at less than 10.

Estradiol is at 932. 

I know this is by far not the worst cycle possible, but it's not the best either.  My doctor expected a stronger response from me, but keeps encouraging me that it's going to be fine and we are doing everything we can.  Next ultrasound is Saturday morning.  Fingers still crossed!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

changing definitions

While reading last night, I came across this little jewel: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed." Psalm 34: 19 (I promise this is not a religious post).  A little blast from the past--I cannot tell you how many times I heard this in high school.  With every break-up and betrayal, this verse would inevitably be quoted.

As I lay in bed not sleeping, a common theme these days, I thought about the concept of heartbreak.  My first memory of a broken heart is from fourth grade.  My friends had started a club--they even had matching wallets--and for some reason they wouldn't let me join.  In high school and college, heartbreak inevitably came in the form of boys.  Recently, of course, heartbreak has come from seeing two lines that shortly go back to being just one.

As I have grown older, heartbreak has become more complex.  I have learned what it means to be heartbroken for others.  I have also learned that there is a difference in heartbreak and heart ache, and fortunately discovered that truly broken hearts are much less common than I once thought. 

Lying there, I began to wonder what my next phase of heartbreak would be.  Sure, there are the pains we cannot plan for, like diagnoses and deaths, but many stages of life come with built in aches.  I know that I will be a mother one day, but I also know that being a mom will not mean an end to heartbreak.  How will it feel to hear my child cry and know I can't take the pain away?  To not have the right words when a friend has been unkind?  To watch my little teenager go through his or her first crushing break-up?  I know there will be moments of heartbreak as I watch my little ones grow, and I so long for the chance to experience every last one of them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Thanks for all of your kind words yesterday!  It means so much to know there are women out there pulling for my little ovaries.  I am feeling much better about everything today...I know that if we get to 10, that will be great, so I'm just hoping my RE's prediction is correct.  I am anxious for Thursday to get here, but am trying to remember that all I can do is continue my meds and hope for the best.

We've been on several roller coasters this past year, but this one is different.  So much has been invested in this cycle that it's difficult not to overanalyze.  I feel like all chances of success are riding on each blood draw and each scan.  Trying to take it one day at a time, but as we all know that is more difficult than it sounds.

Monday, January 3, 2011

not going so great

We are on stim day 4 and just had our first ultrasound to see how the follicles are doing...needless to say, it didn't go as we had hoped.  My right ovary looked pretty useless.  There was one big follicle (16 x 12 mm), and then 2-3 little ones (less than 10 mm).  My left ovary looked a little better.  There was one around 11 mm, then maybe five more that were under 10 mm.  Right now, the doctor thinks we might have around 10 eggs at retrieval...but that seemed like a hopeful estimate, and he could definitely tell I was disappointed and didn't want to upset me further. 

The current plan is to start on Ganirelix on Wednesday to keep the big guys from getting too big.  We have another ultrasound on Thursday to see if things are progressing.

I feel so defeated.  I can't even stim correctly.  I am so worried that we will not have enough to make it to retrieval, and that even if we do, no embryos will make it to transfer.  I feel so stupid...a few weeks ago I was worried about what we would do with the "extra," and now I may not even make it to retrieval.  The plan we paid for includes a fresh and frozen cycle so you have some peace of mind knowing that if the fresh doesn't work you have already paid for the frozen, but at this rate it's unlikely we would have any frozen embryos.

Hoping for much better results on Thursday.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

is this normal?

I am utterly exhausted.  I am now on day 3 of stims, and I cannot remember the last time I felt this tired.  Friday night I slept nine hours, then took a two hour nap Saturday afternoon, followed by ten hours of sleep last night.  I am fighting a cold as well, so I'm not sure if the exhaustion is from the stims, the cold, or a mixture of both.  Is this normal?  Did anyone else seem to sleep through their entire stim cycle (I know at least one blogger forewarned of exhaustion)?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a resolution

Lately I've been thinking a lot about past conversations and declarations.  For as long as I can remember, I have told everyone I can remember that I wanted to adopt children.  Even as a small child, I would proudly proclaim that I just knew that adoption was part of my life plan.  As a teenager and college student, I maintained my passion for adoption.  I remember saying on multiple occasions that I wasn't sure if I would be able to have children, and that maybe that was why God has placed adoption so strongly on my heart.  I even said that if I couldn't have children I didn't think it would be as hard for me as it might be for other women.  

When I began dating A, we talked of our desire for a family and both said we wanted at least three kids.  About a year after our marriage, though, I remember telling him one day that I was no longer sure I wanted children.  I had met several female attorneys who chose to live childlessly, and I was mesmerized by the apparent glamour of their lives. 

A year later I was diagnosed with endometriosis and learned for the first time that I might, in reality, have trouble conceiving.  My heart was crushed.  Even though I knew we weren't yet ready to parent, I felt broken.  Through that diagnosis, I realized how deeply I desired not just to have a family, but to actually conceive and bear a little piece of myself and A.  I realized that being a mother was the greatest success I could ever achieve.  Facing the potential that conceiving would be difficult for us, I hated that I had so flippantly declared that I might not want children and that if I couldn't have them I would be able to cope with it well.  Maybe I had somehow talked God into giving me fertility problems....maybe I had brought this on myself with my words and thoughts.

Since our first loss, and continuing through the next two, I haven't let myself dwell on this regret.  If I'm honest, however, I know that it's been lurking under the surface the last year, festering and feeding into my self blame.  I often wonder if there was anything I could have done to save the three little lives we lost this year.  I wonder if I'm doing something wrong...eating the wrong things, drinking the wrong things, exercising too much or too little.  Even with this IVF cycle, I worry that I will somehow "mess up" and cause the whole thing to fail. 

So my resolution for this year is to let go.  I am not good at letting go...I have always achieved everything I have tried, so releasing control is not an area in which I'm comfortable.  But I have to stop blaming myself.  It's hard to even admit that I blame myself...if I don't admit it, I don't have to try to stop doing it.  But if I ever carry a baby to term, it will not be because of something I did.  If I continue to be unable to have a baby, it will not be because of something I did.  Letting go will be a process for me, and I'm sure there will be relapses.  It is a process I know I must begin, though, and a new year seems like a good time to start.