You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2008.

Have you ever been in a difficult situation and expected a friend to be there for you? And how disappointing is it when that friend not only doesn’t step up to support you, but completely ignores you? It’s hard to deal with when you’ve been supportive to that friend through her tough times, but when the shoe is on the other foot, communication practically ceases. It’s an added stress that is definitely not appreciated when already dealing with the stress and emotions of infertility. How disappointing.

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I decided to test today so that if the test was negative, I could try to get a head start on plans for next cycle before my cycle actually began. If I’m not pregnant this cycle, then I want to call both my acupuncturist and my RE and discuss what they think I should do next.

I wanted to ask the acupuncturist if she thinks that my body CAN get pregnant right now, or if we have so much work to do that I should stop the IUI’s for now until my body is ready to accept a pregnancy.

I wanted to ask my RE if it makes sense to keep doing IUI’s with Femara, or if we should move to injectibles, or if we need to consider donor egg, donor embryo or adoption.

It looks like I’ll be making those calls today. Not only was the test negative, but it appears that I’ve started to bleed a full two days early on top of it. I’m completely numb.

No, not really. Here I sit at 12DPO and I have managed to not test at all yet, not even an OPK to see what the trigger was doing…nothing. I’m pretty darn proud of myself, but honestly, I haven’t had the urge to test like I have in the past. Of course my lack of symptoms is probably a good reason for my lack of desire to pee on something. So far the only things I can report as symptoms are somewhat sore boobs (but only to the touch) and being tired lately. Of course I can chalk up the sore boobs to the progesterone suppositories and I can explain away the tiredness with an active weekend, so really I have nothing.

I think that my entire mindset regarding TTC and HPT’s is changing too though. I used to test like a mad woman, usually once a day starting at 10DPO, sometimes twice a day even. I was OK with seeing the negatives because I would tell myself that it was just too early to get a positive, so the negatives were never very difficult to take. Now I’m actually kind of scared to test. A negative at this stage in the game is so much more difficult to handle. The amount of time, energy, money and mental involvement that we devote to each cycle coupled with the sheer length of time that we’ve been trying brings such a huge sense of defeat when that second line doesn’t appear.

I can’t bear the thought of seeing only one line on another test, especially when everything went so well this cycle. Mark provided such an awesome sample, I should have had at least three follicles (maybe four), my HSG should have cleared out any debris that might have been clogging up my tubes, and the IUI was timed perfectly. If this month is a bust, it will be difficult to continue on knowing that even in the most perfect circumstances, we were unable to make a baby.

Anyway, all this is to say that I don’t know when, or if I will test.

This weekend we went up north to spend time with Mark’s family. His mom is retiring from teaching 5th grade this year, and the school district threw a party to honor all of the retirees. The drive to his parents’ house is approximately four hours long, so we had plenty of time to talk and what did we talk about? Baby names, of course.

We’ve had baby name discussions before. In fact, before we were even married, we’d already picked out our future daughter’s name, Atlanta Terra. Mark thought it would be super cool to have a daughter named Atlanta AND have her initials be ATL. Then he read Freakonomics, which said something about how people with “non-conventional” names face uphill battles in regards to getting accepted to college and in the job market (or something to that extent). I think that soured his feelings about the name, and over time, my fondness for it has diminished as well.

So we’ve brought up names randomly in the past when we heard one that sounded good, but we haven’t really had any formal discussion as of late. I think that is mostly because we are both tired of dealing with infertility and just don’t want to let ourselves get too wrapped up in the fantasy of actually getting to name a child.

Anyway, I’m not sure how the whole discussion started, but before I knew it, we were in the midst of a two hour round of the name game, suggesting names to each other back and forth. It was fun and funny and it was nice to be able to allow ourselves to think about actually having a baby again. It’s been so long since we’ve even acknowledged that we could get pregnant someday that it was kind of a relief of sorts.

And here are Mark’s definite choices if we were to end up with boy/girl twins: Emmy and Oscar, like the awards, with middle names of Pebbles and Bam Bam respectively. As you can tell, the conversation was less than serious at times. It was a nice break from the seriousness and stress and pressure of trying to conceive.

On a completely unrelated note, I caved when I was at the store the other day and bought a three pack of pregnancy tests. I was getting some contact lens solution one aisle over, and when I walked by the HPT’s, I just quickly grabbed a pack and kept on walking. I know I shouldn’t have done it…if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that if there are HPT’s in the house, I WILL pee on them. It doesn’t matter if it’s too early or if I still have the Ovidrel trigger in my system, I’ll still pee on them.

But I don’t have a plan in mind as to when I will start peeing on them this time around. Ideally it would be best to wait until the 29th which would be two weeks after ovulation, but I’m fairly certain that I won’t be able to hold out that long. Right now I’m shooting for the 27th, and it shouldn’t be too difficult since this weekend is Memorial Day weekend and we will be pretty busy and distracted most of the time. Of course a little part of me wishes that I would have peed on one a few days ago so that I could have finally seen a test with two lines, even if the two lines were due to the trigger lingering in my system still. Today is ten days past trigger, so it has probably already passed through my system and wouldn’t show up on a test.

Anyway, I’m still living life day by day. The meditation CD is working wonders for me in regards to getting a good night’s sleep, so I will definitely continue using that. I’m still trying to find a good time to try out my yoga DVD…I’m hoping I can find a block of time this weekend while Mark’s at the park with the dogs to try it out without distraction. Oh, and I’ve scheduled another Reiki appointment for June 5th, so if this cycle is a bust, at least I have that already scheduled as an additional comfort and stress reliever. So all in all, things are good right now. Let’s hope this trend continues!

My temp spike this morning indicates that I did indeed ovulate yesterday. Lesson learned…I need to trust my body and the meds a little bit more. So now comes the fun part, two weeks of waiting to see if it worked. I’m hoping that the wonderful spring weather combined with lots of activities will make it fly by!

Not much to report, other than the sample that Mark provided today was PHENOMENAL! 132 million swimmers with a progression of 4! Wow! I’m hoping that this is the last IUI report that I have to do.

Wish me luck!

So I have immensely enjoyed riding my bike to work the past few days (it’s National Bike to Work Week, for those who are unaware). All of the trees are spouting leaves and the crabapples and magnolias are in bloom. It’s gorgeous.

But even more wonderful than the physical beauty, is the smell. The smell of lilac and magnolias is just intoxicating. The smell of a freshly cut lawn… These are the smells that take me back to my childhood, a time when things were simpler and I had no cares in the world. All of the neighborhood kids would stay outside playing games until the sun went down and our parents called us in to get ready for bed. It’s a nice reprieve from the reality of being an adult and all of the responsibilities that come along with it.

As for the source of my confusion, I’m fairly certain that I’ve already ovulated. This doesn’t make any sense at all though, since I’ve been testing twice a day since Saturday and never got a surge. I took my Ovidrel trigger shot last night at 8pm, and according to Dr. O, most women ovulate right around 38 hours after taking the trigger. If that’s true, then I shouldn’t ovulate until 10 am tomorrow.

So what gives? Are my surges just so short that testing twice a day isn’t catching it? Or does my body react weirdly to the HCG shot and ovulate early? I don’t know. I will definitely be asking Dr. O tomorrow.

Other than this morning, I haven’t been temping at all this cycle so I have no idea where my coverline should be, but tomorrow’s temp should tell the tale. If it’s high, as I expect that it will be, we’re skipping the IUI. I’m definitely bummed about this, especially since we didn’t get any old fashioned baby making in lately because we were abstaining for the IUI. It basically translates into a wasted cycle, which makes me sad. I was having a really good feeling about this cycle and to have it end as a bust is disappointing.

I see that my blog has been hit a few times by women doing a search with the terms “fertility” and “Femara.” I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about Femara from my previous post Fertility Hogs and Why Femara Sucks, because as a whole it has been GREAT for me. Since I started seeing my new RE and we bumped the dose up to 12.5mg, I’ve had 3-4 follicles and my lining was great. I also have great cervical fluid and nearly no side effects to speak of, other than the one day of intense headache and a few days of sore shoulders.

I’ve never been on Clomid so I can’t provide an objective comparison, but Femara is rumored to have fewer side effects, and I’ll definitely take that. Many women seem to have issues with Clomid thinning their lining and drying up their cervical fluid, neither of which I’ve encountered on Femara.

And as for the study that seems to suggest that Femara is linked to higher rates of birth defects, I think that a number of the methods used for that study were flawed and therefore the study holds no weight for me. If you’re concerned about the reports of higher birth defect rates when using Femara (Letrozole) then I would encourage you to read this article. It certainly helped to calm my fears.

I will continue to use Femara until it is determined that Femara and IUI will not work for us at which point we will move on to injectibles or IVF. I’m willing to assume the risk (however large or small it may be) in order to gain the benefits (shorter half life, doesn’t thin the lining, doesn’t dry up CF) that Letrozole has over Clomid.

Go to almost any infertility blog today and you will see a post that is somehow related to Mother’s Day. This isn’t one of those posts. Well, I guess technically it is since I just mentioned it, but it isn’t me lamenting about how difficult Mother’s Day is for me.

To me Mother’s Day is just another day. I’m no more upset or sad today than I am any other day of the year. Today I went out to breakfast with my husband and my parents, and spent the afternoon with my cousins celebrating a birthday. All in all, it was a great day. And other than the following exchange, I didn’t even think about the fact that we’re childless.

Cousin H: How are the boys (referring to our two dogs)?
Me: They’re doing well. Chili has actually decided to not be a pain in the butt all the time anymore.
Cousin H: I guess it’s time for kids then!!

Other than that, I hardly thought about kids, babies, or TTC at all today.

Of course that does concern me a bit, I guess. Sometimes I wonder if that means that I don’t want children badly enough. If this day doesn’t upset me more than any other, does that mean that I shouldn’t be a mom? I don’t honestly think so…ever since I was a kid, all I wanted to do was be a mom. Although I want to be a mom more than anything, I CAN imagine my life without children. It’s not what I want, but I can imagine it and I think that I could be happy without children.

But I’m not ready to give up on my dreams of being a mom; compared to many, we’ve only just begun this journey. There may be many more childless Mother’s Days in the future for us and I can’t speculate how I’ll feel for those days, but for now, today it just another day.

U/S today showed three nice sized follicles, two on my right (17.2 and 16.9) and one on my left (19.7) and a couple of smaller ones on the right also (14 and 12.5). Dr. P wants to wait to do the trigger for a bit longer than normal to try to get the 14mm one to catch up enough to be ovulated. So I’m to continue to test for my surges and if there’s no surge by Tuesday, then I will trigger, and the IUI will be on Thursday. I really, really, really hope that this round works.

Well, after months and months of putting it off as an unnecessary and very expensive test, I finally had my HSG done today.  It went fine and both tubes are open.  The right was slow to flow, but did eventually go, so perhaps there was a small clog of some sort?  I don’t know.  Additional good news is that there is no septum, nor is my uterus bicornuate, so yippee for that!  The bonus was that the entire procedure was nearly painless.  The worst parts were how she had me hold my legs to insert the catheter which gave me leg cramps, and two seconds (literally) of intense cramping.  Other than that it was a piece of cake.

 

I guess in the end it was an unnecessary test because everything was normal, but at least now I have that peace of mind and don’t have to worry about having blocked tubes or a wonky uterus. 

 

Up next:  ultrasound on Saturday to see how things are progressing in those ovaries of mine.  I’ve got my fingers crossed for good results.

So here’s today’s gripe. A couple of years ago when Chili was just a puppy, I was walking him and Popeye around the block. A few houses down from ours, a little boy came running up to us and just LOVED Chili (who wouldn’t though, right? That dog is freaking adorable!). So I asked him if he had a dog of his own. He said no and his mom came up behind me and said “He doesn’t need a dog, he’s got 5 brothers and sisters to keep him occupied!” Yikes. That’s a lot of children. So a couple of weeks ago, I was driving down the street and I see the same mom crossing the street to pick up a ball one of her kids kicked across the street. She was as big as a house, clearly ready to be popping out another child soon. Yesterday as I was riding home from work, I notice that there are pink balloons all over their yard and a “It’s a girl sign in the front yard. Good lord, the next child has arrived.

I immediately think that this is clearly a very selfish woman. She is hogging all of the fertility on the block, and very obnoxiously so. She’s already got SIX children! What in the world does she need with another one? Share the love woman! Then I thought about the formers owners of our house who told us that the block is known for twins. They had a set, the next-door neighbors have a set, and two houses down there was a set. So what the heck is up with all of the fertility hogs that live on my block?

End of rant.

And because I know that you are super curious as to why Femara sucks, here’s my explanation. Yesterday I had really, really, REALLY bad tension in my shoulders and I had a terrible headache yesterday too. My shoulders were super tight last month around this same time frame, and I also suffered from a really bad headache then too. Of course I should give Femara the benefit of the doubt and say that my sore shoulders could have been from sleeping funny the night before, and that my headache was probably due to the fact that I am really bad at drinking water during the weekend, so I was probably just massively dehydrated, but the coincidence seems too obvious to ignore. Either way, I’m feeling much better today and I’m hoping that this month works for us so that I don’t have to go through this again next month!

 

This weekend the inevitable happened…one of our friends asked me if I was pregnant. I knew that people were probably suspicious since I haven’t had a drink in over two months and I usually have a drink or two when we get together socially. Well, this weekend we went to a local brewery and then to a vineyard with another couple. I don’t drink beer because I can’t stand the taste of it, so I don’t think that they were too suspicious that I wasn’t beer tasting with them at the brewery tour, but then we went to lunch and everyone else got a beer for lunch and the bartender asked me if I wanted anything and I told her no.So then my friend Tracy turns to me and says “Jess, are you pregnant?” I quickly replied “no” since I’m not, and she said “I just had to ask since you haven’t been drinking lately.” I told her that I’ve been feeling like I’m losing my mind lately, that I can’t remember anything anymore and I used to have a great memory so it’s kind of freaking me out (which is all true, by the way). I need to keep all of the brain cells that I do have. I’m sure she probably thought that was a pretty lame excuse, but she just shocked me the way she asked it just flat out like that. But that was pretty much it, and I was relieved that we didn’t have to get into a more in depth conversation about it right then.

So after lunch, we drove out to the winery. The guy serving up the wine asked how many would be tasting and I said “three” right away and explained that I would sample from Mark’s glass. After sampling a couple of wines, Kyle turns to me and said something to the effect of “So Tracy was wondering if there was a reason why you weren’t drinking.” Obviously he had not heard our conversation earlier at lunch. I told him that she had already asked me and no I’m not pregnant. Of course he couldn’t leave well enough alone and asked if we were trying. I kind of avoided the direct answer and just explained the same thing to him that I did to Tracy, that I feel like I’ve been losing a lot of my mental acuity lately and it’s bothering me, especially since my grandfather died from Alzheimer’s. They responded to that since a couple people in Tracy’s family have the disease, and mentioned that they both kind of felt the same thing when they hit 30. So that effectively killed of any further pregnancy or trying to get pregnant conversation, which was fine by me.

In hindsight, I kind of wished that I would have just told them. It would have put all speculation to rest, and I know that we could trust them with our secret. I think that I might have told them if the question had come up a little more gradually, instead of out of thin air like it did. We have had conversations with this couple in the past regarding kids, and we’ve just kind of lied and said that we’re just enjoying being married right now and avoided committing to any particular time frames. I think part of their curiosity is maybe driven by the fact that they’re trying to decide if they want to have kids. I get the feeling that they may be more inclined to decide one way or another if they knew that any of their friends were either definitely going to have kids, or definitely not going to have kids.

There are times when I wish that we would have told a various people, but then when I think about actually telling people, I am immediately uncomfortable. I still have not come to terms with the fact that us not being pregnant is my fault. And I know that whose is “at fault” for us not being pregnant is completely irrelevant, but it still bothers me. I can imagine how ashamed I would feel telling people that we’re having difficulties and then of course they would assume that it was a problem on Mark’s side. I would have to jump in and defend him and say that things are great in those regards, the problem is that I’m running short of eggs and I may have a wonky uterus that is preventing implantation. It really is like a dirty little secret to me and my face gets hot and flushed just thinking about telling anyone about it.

There have been times that I’ve thought of telling my parents, because I’m sure that they would be willing to help us out financially if we ever needed it, not to mention the fact that my mom would probably love to do Reiki on me. The thing that keeps me from telling them is the pity that they would feel for us. I can just imagine my mom’s face and knowing how painful it would be for her to know that her daughter is struggling to get the one thing that she wants to the most. My mom has this amazingly pitiful face she gets when she knows that you’re hurting, and it just makes me feel even more miserable than I already do. I know that my news would solicit that face, and thinking about that just makes me not want to tell her. I don’t want to be pitied and I know that she can’t help it; it’s just her natural reaction, but it’s still not what I want.

So for this moment, we will go on as is…not telling anyone who doesn’t already know about our situation. I am sure that things will change for one reason or another eventually, but for now, this will remain our little secret.

 

I’m still riding the wave of goodness that was my first Reiki session. I am blown away by the fact that I can go for hours without even thinking a single thought about TTC. I realized that when I do think about it, I’m thinking more about the women in my support groups, both online and in real life, than I am about myself. I find myself wondering how they are doing and what is new for them, both in regards to TTC and just life in general. It’s amazing how attached you can grow to people that you endure a stressful situation with and I want nothing but the best for all of them.

A week or so ago I asked my acupuncturist if she thought that my body was ready to be pregnant. A couple of the women in my support group have been told that it will take them 3-6 months or 6-12 months before their bodies are ready to carry a baby, so I wanted to know what she thought of my situation. She was quick to remind me that those are just impressions, and that any woman could become pregnant at anytime. Yes, yes, I understand all of that, what I want to know is whether my body is ready or not. She mentioned that my strong stomach pulse could be problematic for me, I believe was an indication that my adrenals were overworked, or something to that effect. She said it was a sign that I was “burning the candle at both ends.”This struck me as odd, and I was surprised by it. I’ve been trying really hard to keep myself stress free lately, hoping that it will have a positive effect on my body. As such, I’ve only been doing what I want to do and in fact, feel like I’ve gotten quite lazy because of it, so the fact that she got the impression that I’m overextending myself really shocked me. She suggested that I see another practitioner there named Lisa who does Reiki. She said that Reiki can really help you to let go of things that are bringing you down and help you to re-center yourself to focus on the important things.

My mom was really into Reiki a few years ago and so I let her do a few sessions on me. Though I felt pretty open minded about it, I felt as though I never really got much out of it. I could feel heat where she had her hands, but other than that, I usually just fell asleep. Because of this, I was a little hesitant to sign up to give away $60 just for a nap. As the days went by, and I felt more and more stressed over where my cycle was going (or not going, as it were), I realized that money was just money and that I owed it to myself to give this a shot. I’m already spending nearly $1,000 each cycle, so another $60 certainly wouldn’t hurt, and if it might help, then it was worth it to try it.

I arrived at the appointment and she explained that she uses not only Reiki, but also something called Devine Coding. My acu had mentioned this to me before, so I had a chance to research it a little bit before I went in. Reiki is basically about using universal energy to re-tune the body, and Devine Coding uses angelic power and energy as well. Yes, it’s all a little hokey, but I’m desperate and willing to try anything. She went over my brief intake questionnaire and noted that I’ve been having a lot of left shoulder pain lately.

We began the session with some music and diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing). Then she began doing the Reiki on me. After about five minutes, she says to me “You’re all in your head, aren’t you?” Wow. Yes, I really am. I was amazed that she was able to deduce that just from feeling my energy.

She asked if I had any “creative” outlets; anything that I can “lose” myself in and lose complete track of time. The sad truth is that other than infertility research on the internet, no, I really don’t. I could sit on the computer reading about various infertility subjects from the second I get home from work up until the minute I went to bed and be completely engrossed in it. But that’s not relaxing. That’s not an outlet. And it’s certainly not healthy.

So she suggested that I find something that I can use as an outlet. It could be yoga, running, painting, reading, swimming; anything that I can do that will get me “out of my own head.” This makes sense. And it’s something that I’ve TRIED to do, but I think I just wasn’t ready to commit to it, and that’s why it didn’t work for me.

After she discussed finding an outlet, she continued on with the Reiki. She had me think of a relaxing color (I chose green) and had me envision green energy flowing from her hands into my head. With every breath in and every breath out, the green energy was filling in the cells of my body and the spaces around the cells, resulting in complete relaxation.

That was pretty much the extent of the session. She would move from my head to my shoulders and all the way down to my feel all the while telling me to relax and envision the green energy flowing into me. Then she worked back up and spent what seemed like a lot of time on my stomach area.

The next thing I knew, she was telling me that we were done. She said that she could feel that I let go of a lot of things and she thought that it was a very productive session. She said she could tell that I was very, very relaxed and had let my mind go. I thought that I might have fallen asleep, but she was pretty insistent that she thought that I was just in a highly meditative state. In either case, it was definitely an interesting experience. I left assigned with the homework of finding myself an “creative” outlet or two, and trying to let go of things that are holding me back.

While I was walking up to the desk to pay for my session, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I felt a little bit better mentally, but I still wasn’t convinced that it was all that I thought it would be. My shoulder still hurt even though I knew that the Reiki was supposed to help with that. On my drive home though, things started to click into place.

I realized that I felt lighter, like a giant weight had been lifted off of me. I realized that instead of thinking about how this session will hopefully lead to a BFP in the end, like I do after all of my acu sessions, I was only thinking about how great I felt. It sounds so clichéd and I feel ridiculous even saying it, but it was like I was a whole new me. A new, refreshed, ready to meet the world me. And it feels great! There were absolutely no tears on cycle day one, and more importantly, no sadness about it either. As crazy as it sounds, I’m actually looking forward to this next cycle, instead of dreading it.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve realized that TTC is no longer at the forefront of my mind every second of the day. I don’t know how it works, but I do know that Reiki worked for me. Whatever it is that I was able to let go of, has made such a drastic change in me. Instead of fear, sadness, anxiety and depression, I just feel relaxed and at peace with where we are and what we’re going through. The change is just phenomenal.

Additionally, I realized the morning after my session, that my shoulder wasn’t bothering me at all anymore. All this time I’ve attributed my shoulder pain to a bike that doesn’t fit me well. Now I wonder if it wasn’t just a bunch of built up stress all along.

And there’s one more major physical change that just blows my mind. That really strong stomach pulse? It is nearly non-existent now.

I ordered a yoga DVD and a meditation CD to help me to relax and I’m signing up to use a pottery studio over the summer. I will also be going in for Reiki once a month during my “off” week from acupuncture. My focus will be on trying to keep my mind relaxed, enjoy my life and focus on all of the good things that I already have instead of dwelling on the things that I don’t have. I am looking forward to each and every new day now instead of dreading them.

I am now a firm believer in the powers of Reiki.

 

Our History

Dec 2006 - Started trying to conceive
Summer 2007 - Semen analysis (great), progesterone test (normal)
Dec 2007 - SHG normal
Jan 2008 - 1st RE appointment
Feb - Mar 2008 - Diagnosed with elevated FSH levels, 2 rounds of IUI with 5mg of Femara
Apr - Jun 2008 - Seeing a new RE. 3 rounds of IUI with 12.5mg of Femara, all busts. HSG normal
July 2008 - Moving on to IVF at a new clinic
Aug/Sep 2008 - 1st IVF cycle - cancelled due to poor response
Nov/Dec 2008 - Retry IVF, transferred one blast and one morula, negative beta
Feb/Mar 2009 - 2nd IVF cycle - Antagonist protocol
May 2009 - 3rd and final attempt at IVF - Antagonist protocol
Feb 18th, 2010 - our One Small Wish comes true: Nina Adele is born.

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