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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.

So as I’ve previously documented, my acupuncturist wants me on a very strict diet. If she had her way, I’d eat nothing more than organic fruits, veggies and meats, but I’m a cheese eating carboholic sugar freak, so that just ain’t happening. But I decided to compromise with her and give up certain things, namely dairy and sugar, which she thought were the two most important things to eliminate. Sugar because the body spends so much time and energy to process it (plus some other stuff that didn’t really make sense to me, so I don’t remember it). Dairy because it can create a mucous lining on your endometrium that makes implantation difficult (and she believes that dairy is harmful in general).

As I mentioned before, giving up dairy was not something that I thought I could do and remain a vegetarian, so I threw 16 years of vegetarianism out the window and became a full fledged carnivore. Strangely enough, I believe that it’s a lot easier to be a vegetarian than a non-dairy consumer. There is cheese in EVERYTHING it seems, and while it’s usually pretty easy to have cheese removed from food, it takes away a lot of the enjoyment of certain dishes. Burgers, for example, are nothing without a slice of pepper jack or cheddar laid nicely on top. I’m trying to make it work by adding things like bacon or onions, but it’s still not the same. I crave nachos (and had to watch my husband devour two orders of them at the Brewers/Cardinals games this weekend), pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches. I just want to eat cheese in general. Cut me off a nice big hunk of Colby and I’ll be a happy camper. I’m making do with rice milk, so I can still have things like cereal or recipes with milk in them, but I really do miss my cheese. Sigh.

Then there’s the sugar. I have a sweet tooth. A big one. I REALLY like sugar. Like a lot. They say that the first week without sugar is the worst and once you get past that week, it’s not so bad. And I can agree with that statement, it’s really not that bad. But I still do miss sugar. Cupcakes, brownies, cookies, candy…it all makes my mouth water. And for all the shit that I’m going through and putting my body through, it’d really be nice to have some dessert as a small pick me up. I’ve managed to find a sugar free honey sweetened pumpkin muffin recipe that I find to be quite good. They taste like pumpkin bars without the cream cheese frosting (which I never liked anyway), so those are a nice way to add a little “sugar” to my day. I also found a lemon cake recipe that is passable as dessert. But I miss my chocolate. A lot.

I’d heard that they make grain sweetened chocolate chips, so the other day I went on a mission to find them. I found myself at Whole Foods, hoping that I could find some there, and they had them! I opened up the bag when I got home and they taste almost exactly like the real thing! YAY! I also bought some cocoa powder which I can use to make chocolate cakes or cookies and I also found some already ready dessert…ICE CREAM! OK, so it’s not really cream, but it’s delicious! It’s called Coconut Bliss and as you could probably guess from the name, it’s made from coconut milk. There’s no sugar in the flavor I picked (chocolate hazelnut fudge), but you would never know if from eating it. Yum, yum, yum. This stuff ain’t cheap…$5.99 for a pint, but it is well worth it for some chocolate ice cream.

So although it stinks to have to give up a lot of my favorite foods during a time when I want them most, I’m slowly finding ways to get by with substitutions. When I asked my acupuncturist how long she wanted me to follow the no dairy, no sugar diet, she said “through the first trimester at least,” so here’s hoping I get to suffer through another 11 weeks of this!

This is post 100.

100 posts ago I started this blog filled with optimism that we would soon become parents. 100 posts ago I was sure we were just one diagnostic test away from figuring out what was preventing us from getting pregnant. 100 posts ago I was sure that the next cycle would most definitely be our last cycle.

100 posts later and I feel absolutely no closer to having my one small wish granted. As expected, today’s test was negative.

Things aren’t too exciting here. Just busy taking my birth control pills and baby aspirins every night. I hate this part of the cycle because it’s so incredibly boring. You wait so long to actually START the IVF cycle, and then you have to endure three weeks of BCP’s. This cycle is even worse than last cycle since the lupron and BCP don’t overlap this time, so I won’t even start injections until the 29th.

Call me crazy, but it doesn’t seem like I’m getting any closer to having a baby unless I’m actually injecting drugs into my body. Sad, isn’t it? It’s probably even more pathetic because I actually really enjoy doing the injections now. It’s like I’m a part of some warped “cool kid club” that gets to shoot up every night.

I guess I’m not alone in this mentality though. Last week at my support group meeting, I found out that two of my buddies were going to be on the exact same schedule for IVF and I was going to be a week behind the two of them. While the three of us were discussing our upcoming cycles, our friend who is about 26 weeks pregnant with an IVF baby stated that she was so jealous that we were all cycling together and she wanted to cycle with us. It struck me as a crazy, odd comment, but now I’m beginning to understand it. If you’re not injecting, you’re obviously not having fun, right? I’m turning into some sort of sick needle sticking addict, I fear. But I digress.

Obviously the 29th cannot get here soon enough, though I do think that the time will fly by quickly. My job will be changing a bit in the coming weeks due to someone quitting, and I’m sure that will keep me busy. Also, my husband may be getting a new job/promotion as a result of this same person quitting, so that’s a thrilling prospect as well.

All in all, things are going well. We’re just doing what we seem to be doing a lot of lately…waiting.

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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July 2020