Archive | April, 2012

This strong

30 Apr

Before embarking on the TTC roller coaster there should be a sign that reads: You must be this strong to ride this ride.

Strong enough to handle the myriad of highs and lows (mainly lows), dashed hopes, dropped dreams, wins and losses (mainly losses), seemingly endless heartache, virtually daily pain. If you can handle all that then maybe, just maybe, you’ll make it to the end of the ride. No promises though.

Here’s where I’m at, cycle wise. Maybe all you lovely ladies can help shed some light.

I’ve been watching my temps since our IUI was cancelled with five follicles over 15mm, waiting for them to rise. My bloodwork nine days ago supposedly showed my LH starting to rise. I really thought it would be any day and was definitely feeling my hormones surging and tweaks and twinges from my ovaries. In fact, every day last week, I thought, “THIS is the day.” No wait, “THIS is the day.” Still, no rise.

I still didn’t have a rise going into the weekend when I knew I wasn’t going to be able to temp. We went to New Orleans for wedding and had a lot of late nights and early mornings. On Friday night (actually it was early Saturday morning), I was standing in a bar in the Warehouse District feeling both ovaries in action. I thought, “THIS is definitely it.” But then Saturday night, at the wedding itself, my right ovary kicked into overdrive to the point it was actually painful. I was clutching at my hip and it was enough to have to say, “Ow” outloud. I’ve never had painful ovulations at all, in fact I’ve rarely ever felt them. But I figure it was a BIG one so that was why. I thought Saturday night was definitely the night.

Then yesterday evening (Sunday), after we got home, I noticed some spotting when I wiped. Ovulation spotting? Never had it before but figured again, big O. So hubby and I DTD, just in case. But after that, the spotting turned into actual bleeding and has continued into today. I left a message for my RE’s office last night but I haven’t heard back yet. I thought for SURE I’d see a temp rise this morning but AGAIN, NOTHING. 97.0. What the hell gives, man!?

So now I’m thinking. A) This cycled is totally f-ed. Whatever. It probably always was. But more concerning is, B) What the hell is going on. Why haven’t I ovulated, and more importantly, why am I BLEEDING?! Something is definitely not right and I’m terrified.

Down.

25 Apr

There wasn’t enough time this morning. My feet got me out of bed 15 minutes too late, nothing in my closet appealed to me, the dog didn’t want to take her pill, I had to eat breakfast in the car (a banana and a blueberry muffin Lara bar, both of which tasted strange to me), traffic was the usual nightmare, etc. etc. etc. Everything feels heavy. I hate the music that’s playing in our office today.

I’m getting my tattoo touched up tonight. And by touched up, I mean please god change it completely or magically remove it because how did it end up looking so jacked up. Oh I know, the “artist” was a dick nozzle who was too lazy or proud to re-place the stencil properly so it ended up looking like a muddied mess from which he was magically supposed to divine these two birds. These two little flying bird silhouettes behind my ear that were supposed to represent our two losses. And ironically, just like them, they’ve become this bitter pill to swallow. Something I have to accept even though it’s ugly.

Except I wanted them to be pretty and light, like they could never be in this life.

So there’s that. I’m nervous and anxious about going under the needle again. Terrified this new artist will somehow make them look worse. Though how they can possible look worse, I don’t know. And I hope to never find out.

My temp was still down this morning. Who knows what’s going on with all those pretty little eggs we had over the weekend. Maybe they’re rotten now. Maybe that’s what’s really got me down.

I hate charting, I hate temping, I hate how it dictates my mood for the rest of the day. And this is probably never going to happen for us. And if that’s true, I honestly don’t know what the purpose of me is.

How will you mark National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)?

23 Apr

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably well aware that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). While this isn’t my first NIAW as an infertile (it is in fact my third), it is my first one as an infertility blogger, and therefore feels like my first one ever since I wasn’t very aware of them in the past.

The theme for NIAW this year is “Don’t Ignore” and I can’t think of a more powerful message to connect with infertility awareness. Some of my favorite IF bloggers have already begun writing about what they wish people wouldn’t ignore about infertility.

I absolutely love what Her Royal Fabulousness at Waiting for Little Feet wrote about not ignoring the woman beneath the label. I’m so guilty of this. I’ve let infertility change me in a lot of bad ways. I’ve gotten away from my true self, the one who loves to work out, and read, and cook, and do so many other things. HRF really grabbed me when she asked, If you don’t care for the woman peeking out from under the label, what will be left when your TTC journey is over?

My friend Cristy at Searching for Our Silver Lining encourages us to not ignore our accomplishments, which I think is such an important point. Any woman who is facing infertility and still finds the strength to go about her daily life is a warrior in my mind. Because this disease is debilitating. Let’s not forget how far we’ve come and how strong we are. We rule! RAWR!

Then there’s Jay at The 2 Week Wait who writes about not ignoring the power of humor. Sometimes I find I have to give myself permission to laugh, especially when it comes to the oddities of infertility, the extreme lengths we go to. To me, finding the humor in infertility is finding perspective. The perspective to step back and realize that you’re bigger than this. This is part of you but it doesn’t define you.

There are so many other great “Don’t Ignore…”s out there. It’s amazing to me how many of these are not designed for the world outside of IF, these are lessons to our fellow travelers along this rocky road. I’m not sure how many other meaningful Don’t Ignores I could offer to the already stellar set that my fellow bloggers have set forth.

Instead, I started thinking about how I could mark (dare I say, celebrate?) NIAW and what I’ve come to is the realization that I need to come out. I need to emerge from the shadow this has cast over my life and own it. As I’ve mentioned, I have a blog post written on my personal blog about the lessons I’ve learned from IF that I have been stalling on. Sometime over the course of this week, I’m going to publish it. I just want to run the entire thing by DH first to make sure he’s comfortable with it.  I’ll be sure to post it here as well.

I won’t link my public persona to this blog. I still don’t want to do that because I still want to share all the down n’ dirty details with you all that I’m not willing to share with the whole world. But I owe it to myself and to the infertility community to make my struggle known. Because I know now that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that people always appreciate when someone shows their true colors, especially when it’s hard.

What about you… How will you mark National Infertility Awareness Week? Do tell.

Rogue

23 Apr

So. Yesterday we received the news that our second IUI cycle would have to be cancelled, due to excellent ovarian response. Yep. You read that right. Mama made one too many eggs. Thanks to everyone who stopped by from ICLW to commiserate. It’s been, well, a disappointing weekend to say the least.

Here’s the struggle: I’m not sure I agree with my doctor’s decision. Now. Did I go to medical school? No. Have I been practicing reproductive endocrinology for decades? Negative. But, I can have my feelings on the matter, and my feelings are based on the following:

1. After our first IUI (we went straight to injectable IUI with our RE), when we had a chemical pregnancy, we sat down with Dr. B for our WTF appointment afterwards, where he sat with my full records and charts and information in front of us and literally told me he was going to stimulate me harder to get more eggs because he believes there may be something genetically wrong with my eggs. He distinctly said, next time I’ll let you go longer and won’t be as afraid of the risk of multiples… because of the aforementioned suspected egg issue.

2. I can totally see how there could be an egg issue. With all our basic tests coming back normal, plus the two miscarriages, plus the 2+ years of rampant unprotected sex with no luck, well. It’s not illogical. And if there is an egg issue, I can also totally see his original reasoning why we’d want to try more eggs to get a better chance of finding a diamond in the rough. After all these years of trying unsuccessfully, what are the chances? I mean really, what are the chances of multiple multiples? It seems very, very low to me.

3. When he made the call, he was on a break from a conference in Arizona. I know this because at one point he mentioned my age, then he asked me if that was in fact my age. When I confirmed it was, he said, wow, that’s amazing, I’m at a conference in Arizona and I don’t have any of your charts in front of me and I remembered that. Okay so, he made this call without any of my charts in front of him. Granted, the nurse could have told him the basics when she called. Or she could have said we have a 20-something year old female with five mature eggs. What do you want to do?

4. Doctors always want to cover their asses. Amiright? Maybe, at least in part, this is something they have to say.

Okay, so all of this is to say… we’re going rogue. Don’t judge us but we’re continuing to try. DH changed his mind. I didn’t trigger or anything (that really felt like playing with fire), but we’re giving those pretty round follicles, however many of them do release on their own (I doubt it will be all of them, maybe only one or two), a fighting chance. I couldn’t not. How could you take an IF-er, dangle everything she’s been dying for right in front of her and ask her to resist it? It’s truly cruel to even ask.

So, that’s happening. I feel so bad saying it “out loud.” I’m not the type to go against authority figures. But like all of you, I really, really want to be a mother.

Cycle update: CD10, cancelled

21 Apr

I was an overachiever in school. Some combination of competitiveness and a desire to please drove me to achieve a more than perfect grade point average throughout my school years. I don’t mind being challenged and I’ll always work my hardest to not only meet the requirements set but exceed them.

So you can imagine how someone like me takes the news that they’ve worked too hard. That they were TOO GOOD. That they should have dialed it back a little bit because THAT would have been the best. That would have been perfect. Less than perfect would have been perfect. It doesn’t compute for me.

We had another round of b/w and another u/s this morning. They saw six mature follicles, two on my left at 17mm, and four on my right at 16mm, two at 17mm, and one at 18mm. I was so happy! It seemed like good news and the nurse even said, I think we’ll have you trigger tonight and do your IUI on Monday.

After that we went out to breakfast and I called it a celebration. I thought the only thing that could have rained on my parade was if I had ovulated already (my temp was a bit up this morning). But the nurse just called and dropped a different bomb on us: they’re canceling our cycle. We have too many follicles. (My E2 was up around 1,700 and my LH is starting to surge but has not peaked yet.)

I tried to argue with her but she said I’d have to speak to my RE directly and that he would be calling me. In the five minutes we had, DH and I discussed selective reduction. How we’d be okay with that, we’d manage. Then Dr. B called me and said nuh uh, no way. He said this was an open and shut case of needing to cancel a cycle (he knows the rules because he helped make them).

He said this is not the best option for us, that we’ll need to do IVF. I respond too well to the meds. That I could potentially get pregnant with quints. That reducing down from four or five was too risky. He told me a story of a woman who got pregnant with six and ended up losing them all. I asked about my egg quality, the fact that he said there was a problem and that we’d need more eggs to help get around it. But he was adamant that this is too risky. We’re only losing a month and we’re battling our own impatience, he said.

He told us not to have sex for at least a week. This I struggle with. I know that triggering will mean releasing five+ eggs and that’s bad (supposedly. I still struggle with this, given our history, it seems impossible that I could release, fertilize and implant five at once). But I’m not sure I would release them all on my own. It kills me to think of losing out on those beautiful eggs I’ve worked so hard to make these past two weeks. One of those could be my child! I saw them on the monitor! How can I wash them away? But DH wants to follow doctors orders.

I’ve spent the last half hour bawling. I feel very low and raw. It’s just one set back after another for us, it seems. Feels like this is never going to happen. Even adoption, which I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, seems like an impossible hurdle. I can see now why people get forced to live child free, when everything else is so expensive and so hard.

I wish I had that in me but I’m compelled by this aching desire to be a mom.

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To those of you here from ICLW, welcome. I’m sorry I couldn’t be greeting you with better news. I was so looking forward to kicking off my first ICLW and was planning to write a very different post today until this hit. More about me can be found in my timeline and on my about page. Thank you for stopping by.

Bring home baby Elvie

20 Apr

One of my favorite blogs, Girls Gone Child (yes, she’s an uber-fertile but I love her, have for years. I want to rub uteruses with her in the hopes of tapping some of her fertility), just put up this post about the McBride family. They have one beautiful daughter that they adopted from Ethiopia (Zinashi) and are trying to bring home their second (Elvie)… however precious 8-week old Elvie has a major birth defect so they’re speeding up the process to bring her home to the U.S. and get her treatment as soon as possible.

I couldn’t help but tear up when I watched this short video from Mary’s first moments with Zinashi. DH and I have a close and personal connection with Ethiopia (I won’t say just what to protect anonymity) and I feel it would be such an honor and a blessing to adopt a baby from there. How special is this moment?!

Yes, this is a post asking for money. But it’s really more of a loan, and it will help more than just little Elvie. Here’s what Mary says (via GGC):

Our baby, who we will call Elvie, is 8 weeks old and is waiting for us in Ethiopia. She has a major birth defect that affects the lower half of her body and so we’re fast tracking all her paperwork and working together with the Ethiopian authorities and US Embassy to get her home as soon as possible, hopefully in June or early July. The medical evaluations that were done in Ethiopia were inconclusive, so we need to get her into the US as soon as we can have the magnitude of her need assessed. We do know that she will need at least one major surgery. I am trying not to dwell on that too much, as it scares me to bits to think of my tiny baby in surgery.

This happened way faster than we thought it would, so we’re scrambling to raise funds to get her adoption fees paid so we can get her home for medical evaluations and to get a surgery plan in place. All the money we raise to get her adoption completed and get her home will be paid back to charity with an additional 10% from us as interest and an additional 10% from a donor who is matching that portion–so every donation grows by 20%, helping bring Elvie home and then helping others.

Here’s how you can help. Go to Mary’s blog, Finding Magnolia. Click on the DONATE button on the upper left hand side. Help this baby, this family, and many other babies and families.

It’s pretty simple. And wholly wonderful. I’m donating now. To read more about Elvie, click here.

Cycle update: CD9, happy day

19 Apr

Of course the moment I post impatiently about waiting by the phone, they call. Oh well.

So, went in for my second check up this morning as planned. First of all, it was a really great ultrasound appointment. I really like the ultrasound tech at my clinic and this week she’s had a resident shadowing her so there’ve been two people in the room which I don’t mind at all.

The moment the dildocam went in, they instantly both exclaimed “gorgeous! Look at that cervix.” I was like, “wow, really?” “Yeah, it looks great,” they said. “Are you having some clear discharge?” “Yup.” “That’s good, that means you’re responding well to the meds.”

“And ooh, look at that lining, looks great.” “Really? How thick is it?” They measured 7 mm which I know isn’t amazing but I think it’s on its way. It did look nice and even and pretty on the screen. Is it weird that I’m starting to understand and see what they see on the monitor? Like that mess of gray and black is actually starting to make sense in my brain?

Then they panned over to my right ovary and both gasped. “Beautiful!” they said. This was seriously the most positive ultrasound I’ve ever had. The ultrasound tech went on to talk about how nice and big and round my follicles were, how they were like juicy ripe grapes to her, and how she loves the round ones so much more than the squished ones. Hahaha.  It looked like there were a ton on my right ovary, they measured four I think. They both seemed really impressed with my follies. They even said they love appointments like mine and always ask the scheduler to give them some like this toward the end of the day so they can end on a high note (too bad I only was the second appointment of the day). At the end of the appointment they were like, “This is so exciting!!” That left me feeling all happy and excited, which I don’t get to feel too often on this process, so I went with it!

My left ovary was the underachiever again but it too had two measurable follies on it. All in all, in my progress report call, the nurse reporter four total eggs. Two at 14 mm, 1 at 12.5 and 1 at 12. They want me to keep on the same dose of Gonal-f (112.5 iu) tonight and tomorrow and have me go back on Saturday morning for more testing. Four eggs is fine she said. I was worried that maybe they were canceling the cycle because that they took so long to call but thankfully that’s not the case.

As for estrogen, I’m up to 558! I’m super pleased with that number. To me it means things are growing and progressing but not too fast. The nurse said that meant things were progressing nicely and she estimates that they’ll “set me off” on Saturday for a Monday procedure. I asked about Ganirelix because I do of course worry about O’ing too early on my own. They said at this point they wouldn’t do it but that they can test my LH and progesterone on Saturday.

I also asked about doing a different progesterone supplement this time since the Crinone is so freaking awfully uncomfortable for me. She recommended IM progesterone, the intermuscular shots. I’m actually totally game for this, though I know it’s a different kind of shot, bigger needle that goes deeper and lots of people have discomfort at the entry point. But I was so miserable on the Crinone, I’m willing to give them a try.

So things are looking good! Can’t wait to do Saturday’s ultrasound since DH will be able to come with me and we should have a very good sense of how many eggs we’ll be triggering with. Fingers crossed that things keep going the way they are!!