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It seems that at some point nearly every infertility-turned-pregnancy blog that I’ve ever read has a reflective post about how different things are this year versus last year at the same time. Generally speaking, I try to avoid blogging about subjects that have been written about by the vast majority of the infertility blogosphere because most bloggers are simply better writers than I am and can more eloquently put into words the emotions that are so common in this community. Having said that, this is one subject that I simply cannot pass up; not because I think I can write about it better than or even as well anyone else, but because I feel the need to put it all down for myself.

Two and a half weeks ago, our company had our annual holiday party and as much as I tried to, there was no avoiding the comparisons between this year and last. Last year I had just had my first retrieval for IVF the day before the party, and the day of the party I learned that we only had 3 embryos from the 19 eggs they had retrieved. I was still shocked and grieving from the terrible results of the fertilization report and was not really in any mood to party. On top of it all, I had to figure out how to do my very first intramuscular shot just prior to the party. I distinctly remember my husband anxiously pacing, not because of the looming progesterone shot, but because he was ready to go to the party and didn’t want to be late. Meanwhile I stood in the bathroom sweaty, nervous and absolutely terrified of shoving that huge needle into my backside. The resulting gushing blood, fantastic bruise and crazy sore leg muscle that got only worse as the night went on and had me hobbling around like a gimp at the end of the night let me know that I most definitely did not execute the injection properly. It would have been the perfect time to throw back a few drinks and really enjoy myself, but instead I was one of a select few sober people, hoping and wishing that in two short weeks it would all be worth it.

As the days passed I paid close attention to my body, desperately wishing that it would send some sign that one of our two little embryos was making itself comfortable inside of me. The sign never came and I knew in my heart that it didn’t work and the negative pregnancy test on Christmas Eve confirmed it. Despite the disappointment of not being pregnant, I was able to enjoy my holiday and was actually quite thankful for the distraction that all of the family gatherings provided. It wasn’t until all of the holiday festivities were over that I told my husband the bad news, and that’s when the gravity of the situation finally hit me. Seeing him so disappointed was much harder than seeing that negative test, more difficult than I could have imagined. Knowing I was not pregnant meant I could eat of all of the goodies that I had been avoiding and drink alcohol again, which I took full advantage of on New Year’s Eve. My husband and I drowned our sorrows in naughty food and lots of alcohol and had a fantastically fabulous party with all of our friends. The new year was certain to bring more happiness than 2008.

And I ended up being right; this year did bring more happiness to us than last year did. I took us half of the year to get what we wanted, and that first half of the year was extremely difficult on many levels, but we are finally right where we wanted to be.

This year, as I was preparing for our company’s holiday party, the part that nearly made us late was not determining where to thrust an enormous needle, it was trying to find a dress that sufficiently covered my rapidly expanding baby belly. This year I didn’t have wine, not because it could interfere with implantation, but because I’m actually pregnant and there is a little person growing inside of me. This year I danced because I wasn’t in pain from having a needle poked through my vaginal walls and into my ovaries and no sore leg from a botched attempt at an injection. This year I fielded a seemingly endless line of questions about how I was feeling and if I was excited and when I was due. This year my big belly and I were complemented more than once as being “too cute.” This year I marveled at the little girl squirming around inside of me as I watched my husband and friends enjoying themselves on the dance floor.

This year at Christmas there was no need to try to smile through the disappointment of a failed IVF cycle. This year I was able to give my husband a present from our daughter he was able to give me a gift for her. This year we received presents for our daughter at both Christmas and at a surprise baby shower at one of the family Christmas celebrations. This year various family members sat with me with their hands on my belly and felt our baby kicking, punching and wriggling about inside of me. This year nearly all of our farewells ended with “good luck with the baby and we can’t wait to meet her!” This year we daydreamed of next year, when we will celebrate our first Christmas with our little girl.

What a difference a year makes. I truly hope that the same holds true for the upcoming year, for all of us.


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I’m sitting on the balcony of our condo in a beautiful destination in Colorado trying to even begin to comprehend the past few months and everything that has happened. It all feels like a dream to me. Not real. Something that could never happen. I shouldn’t be here.

I am ten weeks pregnant today.

The fact that we have made it this far is absolutely incomprehensible to me. After all of the failures, after all of the disappointment, after all of the heartache, it seemed that nothing good would ever come to us, yet here we find ourselves. In one of our favorite vacation destinations and I’m carrying a baby that has been growing inside of me for nearly eight weeks.

I know of many, many women who say that even though they are pregnant, they can never forget their struggle with infertility and how painful and draining it was. I always thought that I would be one of those women. It seemed impossible to let go of those feelings, no matter how sweet the feeling of eventually becoming pregnant could be. I couldn’t fathom it. But as each day passes, I feel that pain, hopelessness, frustration, and despair slowly fade away into a distant memory. That realization absolutely terrifies me. I’ve known that I’ve been pregnant for just a little over six weeks, and knowing how greatly the pain of infertility has diminished already scares me.

I don’t ever want to forget what a gift this pregnancy is to us. How much we wanted it and how much we were willing to give up in order to achieve it. How much we unintentionally gave up along the way, not knowing if the ultimate outcome would bring us what we wanted. I don’t want to take for granted all that we’ve been through.

But at the same time, I don’t want to be mired in the terrible, terrible place that I was in just a few short months ago. That is a place that I don’t ever want to go to again, and it hurts me so much to see those who are still struggling in the place, trying to get to the other side.

The quickly fading memories of the past two and half years were completely unexpected and are leaving me feeling unbalanced and unsure. I know that I need to find a balance between appreciating where I’m at, while at the same time appreciating where I’ve come from, but I’m really struggling to do that.

I suppose that in the end, it’s more important to live in the moment and enjoy every moment of this pregnancy. I know that I won’t ever completely forget our long journey to get to where we are now, it will always be a part of me and for now I will just have to take solace in knowing that.

At the dog park just about a year ago, an acquaintance told me that she just found out that she was pregnant.  She went on to say that they had been trying for 11 months before they finally got pregnant.  Without thinking about what I was doing, I blabbed that we had been trying for a while too, I guess mostly because I felt like she could relate to the difficulties we were having.  I was shocked that I just opened my mouth and told her this, especially when I hadn’t even really told any of my close friends about what was going on.  But it was too late and I couldn’t take it back, so I just kept questioning what they had been through and how they got it figured out.

 

When I finally got all of the details, it turned out that they were just mistiming things each month.  Her cycles were very irregular coming off of birth control and so it was hard for them to cover their bases every month.  She went to her OB/GYN and asked for help and was told to just keep trying.  A few more months went by and she went back to the OB/GYN, but happened to see a different doctor on that day.  The OB/GYN suggested that they try using OPK’s to help maximize their chances.  They did, and what do you know?  She was pregnant the next month.  No blood work was ever run, no clomid was ingested, no artificial inseminations took place, all it took was good old fashioned well timed sex.

 

Now I felt like even more of an idiot for opening my mouth about our difficulties.  I didn’t have any of the same issues that she did.  I had great fertility signals and knew when my most fertile time was each month which was corroborated by the charts that I kept.  Timing was certainly not an issue for us.  As far as I knew at the time, my biggest problem was chronic spotting and had actually just had my blood drawn that day for a 7DPO progesterone level.  She hadn’t even heard of having your progesterone checked and so was no help with that issue.  In fact, she seemed to know virtually nothing about infertility at all.  Up until the month prior, she didn’t even know about OPK’s.  I just couldn’t believe that in 11 months, she had never typed the words “infertility” or even just “how to increase chances of getting pregnant” into Google. 

 

When she had initially told me that they had been trying for a while, I felt hope because if it could work for them after so long, then there was a good chance that it would work for us as well.  My hope faded a bit when she said that their problem was just a matter of timing because we had already gone though six very well timed cycles. 

 

Of course I didn’t let it get me too down.  In fact, I fantasized about getting pregnant soon and being able to go through pregnancy together with her, albeit a few months behind her.  How great it would be to have someone in real life to discuss all of the weird changes that pregnancy brings?  And how wonderful for us to have kids approximately the same age? 

 

But as we all know now, the months slipped by as I continued to remain not pregnant and her little boy is four months old now.  So at the dog park last week, I asked her what she and her son did that day.  She told me how they went to Target to try out convertible car seats since he’s almost outgrown his infant carrying seat.  She was explaining how she was doing research and looked up reviews on different seats, but still wasn’t sure what to get.  I felt somewhat helpless to provide any advice since I know absolutely nothing about buying anything baby related, but then it crossed my mind that many, many months ago (when I naively believed I would get pregnant within a matter of months), I purchased a book called Baby Bargains.  While the title implies that the book is about thrifty tips for buying baby gear, but it’s actually more like a consumer’s guide to all things baby related.  They review nearly every model of every baby related item that you could think of and provide info on costs and manufacturer reputation.  So it’s rumored to be a fantastic resource for anyone who needs to buy baby stuff. 

 

I never envisioned that this book would sit, alongside of 5 or 6 other pregnancy/birthing books, on my bookshelf for over a year.  So I offered it to her.    Much better for her to get some use out of it than for it to sit on my bookshelf unopened and unused.  While I was glad to have someone get some use out of it, it was just another reminder of what I don’t have.  At this moment, we’re not pregnant, and to admit that it may not happen for us any time soon was somewhat of a relief.  I do think that in some ways I’ve put way too much pressure on myself in regards to getting pregnant.  I always feel like “What if it doesn’t happen this month?  What will we ever do with ourselves?”  I’ve made getting pregnant into the only thing that I really strive for anymore and that’s not fair to me.  In some ways, passing that one book on has helped me to realize that I’ve been unfair to myself in creating possibly unrealistic expectations for us.  It helped me to release some of that pressure that I’ve built up for myself and allowed me to let things go just a little bit.  It was like coming to terms with where we are now and letting go of that constant fear of what might happen if it doesn’t happen.  It was an unexpected, yet very much appreciated side effect of doing nice for someone else.

The spotting started at two days past ovulation this time around and has not let up at all. I’m puzzled as to why I’m spotting because I took the HCG trigger, which in the past has kept the spotting away until much later in my cycle, and also because I’m taking progesterone. Those two things in combination have kept the spotting away for the last two cycles, so this cycle is a mystery to me. Part of me wonders if it could be due to a ruptured cyst? Either way, I’m frustrated and losing hope again.


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.

Originally posted Feburary 28th

I know. It’s totally clichéd. Infertility is often referred to as a rollercoaster of emotions. Disappointment, sadness and anger at the beginning of the cycle, followed by resignation that you do, in fact, have to continue on with this insanity for another month. After that comes the pressure of trying to make sure that you’ve got your timing right and have all of your bases covered. Then for about a week, there’s nothing. You’ve done everything that you can, and all you can do at this point is wait and hope for time to pass by quickly. As time goes on and the “symptoms” crop up, there’s excitement and hope that maybe, just maybe, this time it worked. Of course all of that excitement and hope is dashed by something that tells you that this time it DIDN’T work, and you spirits come crashing down and you’re right back at the start of the rollercoaster again.

I know that I’ve been on this rollercoaster for a while now, and while you’d think that I would get used to it and know what’s coming up and how to deal with it, I’m not, and I don’t.

This cycle has been decidedly different than other cycles, and I thought that maybe I would be less susceptible to the rollercoaster of emotions because of it. Since this was an IUI cycle, there wasn’t really a whole lot that was up to me to control. I was told what dates to come in for blood work and ultrasounds. I was told what day to start doing ovulation predictor tests and specifically what times to take them. I even told my body when to ovulate by giving myself the trigger shot. Not a lot was left up to me to control, which was nice. It was like someone else was taking the reigns as all I had to do was enjoy the ride.

And that all worked out fine until Monday. I met with my acupuncturist on Monday and when she felt my pulses, she said that they were “REALLY good actually. Slippery and balanced.” Having read The Infertility Cure, I knew immediately that a slippery pulse is a sign of pregnancy. Of course I’m sure that pregnancy is not the only thing that generates a slippery pulse, but mine have been wiry and unbalanced the previous two times I had been in, so it certainly wasn’t normal for me. Of course the first thing that runs through my head is that I’m actually, finally pregnant. I tried to tell my mind to be quiet. I tried to not let it get the best of me. I tried.

But it didn’t work. After my acu was over, the first thing I did was to go to the Dollar Tree and get some cheapo tests. I was thinking that the trigger could still be in my system and I wanted to finally be able to see those two lines on the test, even though they wouldn’t be real. So I did the test, and there was a faint “something” there. I wasn’t sure what it was. That in and of itself got me excited, even though it still could have been just the trigger.

To add to my growing excitement, I realized that I hadn’t been spotting at all this month after ovulation. This was H-U-G-E for me as I’ve been known to spot as early as 10 days before my period before. I asked my acu if this could be from the acu treatment already, or maybe it was from the Femara which just gave me a stronger ovulation which in turn prevented the spotting? She said that it could be from either really. Or, she said, it could be because I’m pregnant.

Roll up the slippery pulse, the “something” pregnancy test, the lack of spotting, along with some sore boobs, and of course I’m convinced that I’m pregnant. It’s so easy to get caught up in it.

Of course today it all comes crashing down on me. Today there was bright red blood when I went to the bathroom, which is a sure sign to me that I’m out this month. I made a mistake in letting everything control how I felt, and now I have to pay the price for it.

I wish I could figure out a way to better control my emotions. How do I prevent myself from feeling hopeful and excited every month? If I can contain those emotions, then maybe the disappointment and sadness would be proportionately smaller and therefore easier to deal with.

Originally posted January 23, 2008

Have you ever been so caught up in something that it’s all you can think about? You literally cannot stop yourself from thinking about it? Sometimes it’s in excitement or anticipation, sometimes it’s in fear and sometimes it’s in anguish. It’s something that you can’t let go of, no matter how hard you try…you just can’t turn your brain off and stop thinking about it. It creeps into every minute of every hour of every day. Innocent conversations about something completely unrelated somehow remind you of it. Images of people everywhere remind you of it. Possessions and habits serve as a constant reminder. There is not a moment that goes by that it doesn’t cross your mind. You can’t stop turning it over and over and over again in your mind, wondering about this, and hoping about that. You try to shove it aside, to ignore it, to not let it get the best of you. But it’s bigger than you and you’re no match for it.

This is how I feel about my infertility. It has consumed me. It has consumed my every thought and my every emotion. And I want my life, and myself, back.

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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