Friday, October 30, 2009

IUI #2.1*

*I refer to it as "2.1" because we should have really had IUI #2 in June.

Today MM's appointment was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and mine was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. I triggered late Wednesday night, and everything looked good to go. Even before the trigger, I could tell ovulation was close by my CM, and it became even more abundant after the hCG injection.

MM left for the clinic with time to spare. There was no road construction to hold him up. All was on track.

At 8:40 a.m., I got a call from MM telling me that he couldn't "do it." He had been in the masturbatorium (my word for it, not the clinic's) for a while and just didn't think he'd be able to, er, perform.

At first, I thought he might be finished and joking with me. . . but as I listened, I realized that this is not something that he would ever joke about. So I remained calm and matter-of-fact-ly told him that if he couldn't do it, he couldn't do it. He should just tell the staff so that they could cancel my IUI appointment and refund the co-pay for processing his sample. He expressed concern about all the injections I'd taken and the money we've spent, and I pointed out to him that *some* sperm would get to those eggs through intercourse. Our odds of success would be slightly lowered by going that route only, but not to zero.

After we talked a few minutes, he said he would go back in and try "one more time." He called me back about 15 minutes later to say that he'd been successful, though he'd had to "resort to" watching porn. (Hey, I'm pretty sure that's what it's there for. . . ) He also told me later that he thought calling me helped: part of the pressure he'd been feeling had apparently been a result of his thinking that I would "freak out" if he couldn't "get the job done."

I'd place bets that had MM walked out to the front and told the staff he couldn't do it, he would not have been the first-ever man to find himself in that predicament. Yes, our part is much worse. . . even MM acknowledges that. . . but it's still hard for most men to perform under pressure, I'm sure.

I was surprised that I was able to remain so zen about the whole thing. When we did our first IUI in April, I would've definitely freaked out if MM had called me with the same situation. Now? It is what it is. He could either do it, or he couldn't, and no amount of upset on my part was going to change that. Slightly out of character for me. Hmm.

The IUI itself was uneventful. I was brought in shortly after my appointment time and had the NP whom I like/know for the appointment (and who also did my first IUI). Physically, I felt pretty much the same as I did with my first IUI in April: some cramping and pressure, but nothing unbearable. I continue to be bloated and feel pressure--and occasional twinges of mild pain--in my lower abdomen, but the scale was down 2 lbs this morning, so maybe my water retention is beginning to subside.

So now the wait begins. I am supposed to POAS two weeks from today, but I will actually wait two weeks and a day so that I can POAS on a Saturday morning rather than a Friday morning. (I've learned through painful experience that I don't generally have a productive work day after waking up to a BFN. And I can only imagine how distracted I will be if a get a BFP!)

I've never been one to POAS early, and with the hCG trigger shot, I am even less likely to do so. (The only way that would work in my mind would be to "test out" my trigger and start POAS-ing tomorrow or the next day. I believe that this only fuels unhealthy obsessing, and so I don't/won't do it.)

I hope that the next two weeks are as busy as the past two. If they are, I won't have much time to obsess.

Any prayers, positive vibes, good thoughts, white light, energy or the like that anyone cares to send my way will be greatly appreciated.

P.S. Did anyone else find that the Clomid/Follistim combination made you really tired? I was EXHAUSTED all day yesterday: went home a little over 4:00 and napped for over an hour, and then went to bed at 8:30 p.m. and slept straight through--except for one bathroom trip--until nearly 7:00 a.m. VERY unusual for me, as nearly always sleep soundly for 7-8 hours a night and thus am hardly ever tired unless I'm ill.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Random stuff

  • I am majorly bloated. The scale is up 3 lbs from two days ago. I am hoping that once I ovulate tomorrow sometime that this will resolve. Ugh.
  • Found out last night that another acquaintance of mine is expecting. The best part? She is a struggling single mother who has a 10-year-old and a 7-month-old already. This pregnancy is her second unplanned pregnancy in a little over a year. She is not excited about her pregnancy, for obvious reasons. Awesome. (And as a side note, her lesbian sister and her partner have been doing donor IUIs for months without success. I'm sure THAT will make for fun holidays in her family. . . . )
  • Life has been extremely busy. I have had something going on every evening this week, and that will continue through the weekend. I'm exhausted!
  • Glad it's Thursday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

IUI #2.1, CD 13

Today is CD 13 for me, and so far, still no + OPKs. (I have been checking twice a day--once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon--since Monday morning's u/s.) That's a good thing. The NP told me at my u/s on Monday that my best chance of all my four potential follicles developing and releasing mature eggs would be if my body does not start its own LH surge prior to my trigger shot (scheduled for tonight at midnight). If I'd surged on my own and had to trigger earlier, odds are good that I'd only have had 1-2 follicles large enough to contain mature eggs.

Ovulation must be getting close for me, though--notwithstanding the fact that I will be trigger tonight--because my cervix is very high and soft, and I have a lot egg-white cervical mucus. . . so much that I noticed it without doing an internal check. I hope that's good.

So I have my fingers crossed that all four of the follicles we saw on Monday's u/s will have developed enough prior to the trigger to produce mature eggs. The more eggs I have, the more "targets" there will be for the sperm, and thus more chances of pregnancy. (Right? It seems logical.) At my age, and with our history, I feel that there is a much greater chance of yet another BFN than my conceiving high-order multiples. I know it's a possibility, but it seems to me to be a slim one.

I am feeling slightly bloated, and the scale went up a pound and a half overnight, despite my eating healthfully all day yesterday and drinking about 3 liters of water. I'm thinking that the bloat and water retention is due to all that (excellent) activity going on in my ovaries and expect both to subside once I take the trigger shot tonight and ovulate.

I'm oddly optimistic about this cycle. I've obsessed the least that I've done during any cycle in quite some time, and I am perversely encouraged by the fact that my body has not yet produced its own LH surge. In both prior cycles when I've used meds and planned to do IUI (one that I did, one which had to be converted to timed intercourse), I got a + OPK prior to the day when I was scheduled to take my trigger shot. There is probably no significance at all to this last fact, but it gives me hope simply because it is one way in which this cycle is not like the previous (failed) medicated cycles I've had.

We shall see what happens. I shall report on Friday how the IUI went.

Does it never end?

The above arrived in my email inbox yesterday as part of an online invitation. The sender was someone whose name I had never heard, but the guest of honor is a friend of mine who I'll call "A". A and I first met when we worked together as prosecutors and continued our friendship after she left the office. We shared many of the same interests in movies and books, and she was going through a divorce when I broke up with my ex-fiance in March 2007, so we spent a lot of time together during the last several months I lived in Tucson before moving back to Phoenix in July 2007.

Needless to say, given the fact that I had no idea she was pregnant, since I moved to Phoenix, we haven't kept in close touch. To be fair, I think A would acknowledge that our lack of contact is more her fault than mine: there have been many occasions over the past 18 months or so that my emails or phone calls to her have gone unanswered. I'm not bitter about the fact that we haven't had regular contact; these things happen. People get busy with their own lives.

A met her current (second) husband around the same time I met MM. The last time I saw her in person, they had reached the point in their relationship where they were talking about The Future, but things were complicated by the fact that they lived in different cities. I knew from phone calls and emails that they married (also a "planned elopement") about two months after we did, but I haven't really talked to her since then.

So A is 30 weeks pregnant with a boy, due January 4. I am happy for her, but I have to admit, seeing this in my inbox stung.

(To be fair to A, she knows nothing of our struggles with TTC. She doesn't even know we are TTC, let alone with medical intervention.)

Oh well. Finding out that A is pregnant didn't bother me as much as finding out that two more of my law school classmates are also expecting

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Though we have only been TTC for 18 months or so, it sometimes seems that I have been waiting an interminable amount of time to be a mother. Isn't that the theme of TTC, especially for those of us with infertility? "Hurry up and wait"?

Unlike some women who wait to TTC until their late 30s to TTC because they came late to the idea of wanting to have a child, I've wanted to be a mom for years. Even as a young teenager babysitting, I used to think about having my own child someday. I've often joked with friends and family that, had I lived in Victorian times, when higher education and employment would have been pretty much unavailable to me as a woman, I would probably have at least 10 children by now. But for the fact that I've spent most of my adulthood pursuing higher education and two professional careers (and married for the first time at age 37), I have no doubt I would have started TTC long ago.

Starting in my late 20s, I'd even talked to my mom about moving near me to help me with my child if I was unmarried by age 35 and chose to be a single mom. But I didn't truly want to take that path, so I kept waiting for the "right" time and the "right" situation. Once I met MM, I finally felt that the time for TTC was right. Not only had I had found a man who could be a partner in every sense of the word and who I thought (think) would make a wonderful father, I had had years of freedom to pursue my own self-centered interests and goals. I was finally relatively established in a career I enjoy, with no imminent plans for any significant changes on that front.

It has seemed to me a great irony that now that the time is finally right for me to TTC, I have been unsuccessful. The fact that we don't know exactly why--except that I am "old"--makes it all the more frustrating.

I've written here before about the disproportionate number of people of my acquaintance who are currently pregnant or have become first-time parents in the past three years or so. I learned in the past week about two more law school classmates of mine who are pregnant with their first children. My 5-year law school class reunion is coming up on November 6, and I feel confident that I will be confronted with news of at least 1 or 2 more pregnancies while I'm there, in addition to possibly seeing pregnant women face-to-face. I know that several of my classmates will be bringing their small children to the reunion as well.

To me, one of the worst things about infertility is the uncertainty. Not knowing if we will ever be able to conceive and deliver our own child. Not knowing whether the treatments we are pursuing will work (or really, given our "unexplained" diagnosis, whether they are even indicated for us). Not being able to plan very far into the future because we don't know if we will be pregnant or parenting then. (Right now, I can't even plan a trip for my 40th birthday or think about the next car I'd like to buy without the concern that it plans will have to be changed.)

If I knew FOR SURE that we would eventually have a child of our own, I think I could bear the seemingly interminable waiting. I would gladly pay the price of treatment and endure the injections and all the rest if only I knew that our time would come. Despite both our reservations about it, I think we would even go as far as IVF if we knew that it would work.

But I don't know that. I can't know that.

Even though we have only been TTC 19 cycles, I feel that I have been waiting for YEARS to welcome my child into the world. And I'm still waiting. . . . for something that may never come.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mid-cycle follical check u/s for IUI #2

I had my u/s this morning, and it was uneventful. I had the NP I know and trust, and I was in and out in less than 30 minutes.

I have four follicles that are big enough that they might release mature eggs this cycle, two on the left and two on the right. The two on the left are smaller--about 13 mm each--and the two on the right were 18.5 mm and 16 mm. The NP said that this was a good response to the drugs I have taken.

Based on this morning's u/s, I am scheduled to trigger late Wednesday night and have my IUI on Friday morning. BUT I have to keep checking my OPKs daily because there is a chance my body will produce its own LH surge due to the one 18.5-mm follicle I have. If that happens, I will likely have fewer eggs and will have to move up my IUI.

Depending upon how things shake out, I should have two to four eggs to work with this cycle. I know that this means that twins (or more) are not entirely out of the question. . . . but honestly, after 18 months of TTC with perfect timing every cycle, normal testing for both of us, with one other failed IUI and only one BFP ever (resulting in a very early miscarriage), I am inclined to think that the odds are greater that I won't get pregnant at all than that I will end up pregnant with multiples.

I have been very fortunate. My drug side effects have been minimal: some moodiness, occasional hot flashes, and some lower abdominal bloating as ovulation gets closer. And I keep reading on others' blogs how the writers gained weight from fertility drugs. I started "eating clean" about two weeks ago and have actually lost about 5 lbs this cycle. Aside from the symptoms I mentioned above and being a little more tired than normal, I've felt pretty much normal.

Still, my abdomen is bruised from the five Fol.lis.tim injections I've taken this cycle, and I still have my hCG trigger shot to go. I hope this cycle is "it" and will produce that elusive sticky BFP we have been waiting for.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Is everyone a parent or pregnant?

This post got me thinking about my own Fac.ebo.ok friends. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, it seems like an awful lot of them are pregnant or have young children.

I counted today, and of my 322 friends, approximately 25 of them are past child-bearing age (I used age 42 for women and no cut-off for men), and I didn't count them. Also, there are about 25 of the remaining almost-300 who I don't know well enough--or don't talk to often enough--to know whether or not they have children and what their ages may be.

Of those friends remaining, about 270-some, the breakdown is as follows:
  • 145 have children age 18 or under
  • 48 of those have at least one child under age 2 (and in some cases, more than one)
  • 11 are pregnant or have pregnant wives
In fairness, I will also disclose that 5 of the women with children under 2 and two of the pregnant women are women I met through my fertility charting website. (That may slightly skew the results.) Even taking that into account, that leaves 43 people with kids under 2 and 9 pregnant people.

I guess this shows that not EVERYONE I know is pregnant or parenting. It only seems that way. ;-)

Still, over half of my friends on FB who are of child-bearing age are currently parenting, and that's a lot.

Happy birthday, Sebastian

Today is my dog's 8th birthday! Though I've noticed him slowly becoming less active over the past couple of years (which we now know is due to mitral valve insufficiency), it's hard to believe he is 8.

Since I adopted him when I was 31, still single and childless, Sebastian has been the recipient of all my maternal love and affection. Like many women, I wanted to be a mom before I was in a position to even TTC. Some people may consider it strange or sad, but in some ways, Sebastian has helped to fill the void in my life caused by not having a child of my own to love. I don't know what I'd do without him; he has brought me happiness every single day that he's been in my home.

Here are a few of my favorite shots of "my boy" from over the 7+ years I have had him:

The day I brought him home from his rescue foster home, August 25, 2002

Taken during a professional shoot we did in December 2003

Another shot from the December 2003 shoot

On the beach in Rocky Point, July 2008

A random day with a stuffed toy, fall 2007 (pre-Hunter: they don't get stuffed toys now to avoid fights)

Welcoming Hunter and sharing his "comfort couch," May 2009 (Sebastian is the one in the back)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thank you

I so appreciate all your comments and input! (Though no one in my area has emailed me; maybe no one in the Phoenix metro area reads this blog?)

While talking with MM about this last night, I thought of something that I hadn't really considered in regard to changing practices. Doing so will likely mean at least a 1-2 cycle delay for us, just in order to get an appointment with someone else. A nurse friend of mine pointed out today that a new doctor might also make me/us repeat some of the testing that has already been done (bloodwork, HSG, semen analysis). We have already had too many delays already--this cycle's will only be my second IUI since we decided to start intervention in APRIL--so that is another consideration. I am 38 and will be 39 in March, so I don't have a lot of time to waste.

My other concern in changing practices is that it will be more of the same elsewhere. None of what I have experienced at my current clinic could have been anticipated or learned prior to becoming a patient there. I was assured at our initial consultation and later sit-down appointments with the doctor that they get you quickly in and out for monitoring appointments, something I later learned through (painful and expensive) experience is not the case. The only person I know who had been a patient there had nothing but good things to say. . . . but then again, she did IVF there, so perhaps her experiences were different.

In reality, most clinics are more focused on IVF because that is how they make the most money. We are paying about 1/10 of the cost of an IVF cycle for each IUI cycle we do.

At this point, I think I am going to discuss the situation and my concerns with the one NP in the office with whom I have had regular contact and established some rapport. Perhaps she can guide me and help alleviate some of my concerns.

In any event, I cannot do anything until this cycle is complete. Perhaps I will get pregnant this cycle, the pregnancy will stick, and I will be referred back to my OB/GYN and won't have to worry any more about this. A girl can hope. . . .

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

When to change REs?

I have blogged here before about various frustrations with our RE's clinic. Our physician himself is wonderful--he helped T's daughter conceive each of her two children through IVF and has consistently been voted one of the top physicians in our city--and he is the only RE I know who has actually treated someone I know. BUT we have only seen *him* a sum total of three times . . . all for sit-down consultations. At our current clinic, both the ultrasounds and the IUIs are done by the nurse practitioners. From what I have been told by the office staff, the doctors are busy in the mornings--when these things occur--with IVF retrievals and transfers and other procedures. The doctors do perform the HSGs, but as it happened, I had my HSG on a day when my doctor was out of the office, so one of his partners performed my HSG (way back in mid-January 2009).

Our clinic seems to be quite busy; there are always a lot of people in the waiting area every time I'm there. We have had long waits in the waiting room(s) at all three of our appointments with our actual doctor--including having to reschedule entirely one day when an emergency arose during a procedure--and I have had long waits for many routine monitoring appointments as well.

Long waits alone were not enough to make me change clinics, but after my latest interaction with one of the NPs there, I am giving it some serious consideration. Allow me to explain.

I had to have blood drawn for a beta hCG last Friday afternoon before I could start the current treatment cycle. Nevertheless, the NP who saw me that day (and actually drew my blood) provided my prescriptions for Clo.mid and and gave me the go-ahead to start this treatment cycle. Her reasoning was that because I have now had two periods since my (very early) miscarriage, the odds of the blood test showing I'm pregnant were practically zero. I agreed with her logic and started my meds accordingly on CD 3, this past Sunday.

Monday I received a voicemail message from a different NP simply saying that she had the results of my labs from Friday. After two failed attempts to reach her when I called back, I left her a voicemail asking that she call me again and just leave the test results on my voicemail. (My message identifies me by my full name, so she'd have no doubt that she'd reached the right person.)

She didn't call me back until early this afternoon, at which time she left me a message that my beta hCG was "less than 1"--good, and what was expected--and that this was "good news" because it meant we could "start another treatment cycle." OK up to this point. She then instructed me to call on CD 1 to start the next cycle.

Umm. . . I guess she didn't read my chart. I've already started the next cycle. I've taken three days of medications and am scheduled for my monitoring u/s on Monday.

I found this troubling. Because the NPs are the ones directly managing the care I receive at our clinic, their failure to be informed and up-to-date on what is going with me is concerning. This message is kind-of a little thing, but my concern is that it is an indication of poor communication and a lack of continuity of care.

And in the interest of full disclosure, let me share that I worked as a RN from 1994 to 2001, prior to going to law school. I never worked in a fertility clinic, but I think the concepts of communication and continuity of care are pretty universal in any area of health care.

So what say you, fellow patients? Would this concern you? And if so, would your concern be great enough to change clinics?

And on that note, could anyone in the Phoenix area who is reading this and is currently seeing a RE shoot me an email at sangela71 at yahoo dot com? If we do decide to change clinics, I'd like to get your take on wait times, continuity of care and physicians where you go. (For obvious reasons, I'd prefer not to disclose the name of my RE or clinic on this blog.)

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.


If you have found your way here via ICLW, welcome!

I am S. My husband ("MM") and I have been married for almost a year! Because of my "advanced" age (I'd just turned 37 at the time), we actually started TTC in April 2008, several months before our November 28 wedding in Maui. We both knew we wanted to be parents, and we had heard that this process can take some time when you're older. Little did we know how long. . . . We live in our suburban home with our two golden retrievers, surrounded by families with toddlers, new babies and pregnant moms, and wait for it to be "our turn."

We are "unexplained." All our testing has been normal. Our RE has told us that the most likely explanation for our failure to conceive is poor egg quality related to my age. (I am now 38 and will be 39 in March.)

We have just started our 19th cycle TTC. I had a very early miscarriage in August, the result of a break cycle. That was my one and only BFP, and I have never been more than about 5 weeks pregnant. (Our complete TTC history is in the left sidebar, if you're interested.)

If all goes as planned this cycle, I will be doing my second IUI in a little over a week. I am currently on CD 6 of my first cycle adding Foll.sti.m to Cl.omid. I hope this works! Even though I would hate to be due in late July--I live in Phoenix, where it gets to 110+ daily that time of year--I will take a healthy pregnancy any time I can get it by this point!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pregnant people

None of the partners in my firm know about our TTC efforts or our infertility--though there have been a few veiled comments since our wedding about whether I am pregnant or plan to have children--and I intend to keep it that way, for a variety of reasons. I am not a particularly private person in general, but I don't like to be an object of pity, for one thing.

If I were going to tell any of the other lawyers here about our efforts and lack of success, it would be "T," one of the partners for whom I work about half the time. T is a deeply religious man in his 60s who has been married to his wife--a 3rd grade teacher--for 40 years and has a grown daughter and a grown son, both of whom are married themselves. T is a very nice person. He is almost never in a bad mood--very unlawyerly in many ways--and is the type of person who makes a point of asking after his employees' health and families.

T has two grandchildren, aged 6 and 3: his daughter's two children who were both conceived through IVF. T's son and daughter-in-law have been struggling with infertility as long as I've known him (just over two years). They are the couple I was talking about here when I wrote about a failed adoption just before Christmas last year.

Today at lunch, T told me that his daughter-in-law is "finally" pregnant and due in June. He told me that "the prayers of many people have been answered" by this event.

You might think that this news would upset me, but actually this pregnancy announcement is the first I've heard in a while that made me feel nothing but happiness. Though we haven't been TTC as long as T's son and daughter-in-law and have endured nothing like what they did related to their failed adoption, I can well understand how they might have been feeling these past 2+ years and how ecstatic they must be to finally be expecting.

Funny how I've reached a point where only the pregnancies of the infertile (excepting close friends/family members) seem to make me whole-heartedly happy.

P.S. On a related note, I have seen three pregnant women at various stages in the past 24 hours, and the woman who did my pedicure yesterday shared that her daughter is pregnant with #2. When I asked the pedicurist how far along her daughter is, she said "about 5 minutes." She is due in late June and already telling people. She has an 18-month-old already and had no problems conceiving or during pregnancy, so I guess she figures a + HPT = healthy baby in 9 months. Ah, ignorance is bliss.

Meme about Us

What are your middle names? Mine is Angela; his is John (my dad's name)

How long have you been together? Together 2 years, 1 month; married almost 11 months

How long did you know each other before you started dating? We met online, so our first meeting was our first date

Who asked who out? He asked me

Who made the first move? He did (though he says I did, lol)

How old are each of you today? I'm 38; he's 36

Did you go to the same school? No.

Are you from the same home town? No.

Who is the smarter? He says I am. He is by no means dumb, though.

Who majored in what? I majored in a few things in college but have my BA in psychology, an AD in nursing, and a JD. MM has a bachelors in criminal justice and a masters in educational leadership.

Who is the most sensitive? MM is FAR more sensitive than I

Where do you eat out most as a couple? Red Lobster (his favorite), BJ's Brewhouse, and a couple of Italian places

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? To Maui, Hawaii for our wedding/honeymoon

Who has the worst temper? I do

How many children do you want? I would've liked two; he wants one. At this point, we will be lucky if we have one.

Who does the cooking? Usually we each do our own meal preparation. I've cooked for him about five times ever (he is a VERY picky eater).

Who is more social? I am. If it were up to him, we would never get together with anyone else

Who is the neat-freak? He is. He ABHORS clutter and picks up after me. Sounds good, but it's actually created some problems when he has thrown my stuff away or put it where we couldn't find it.

Who is the most stubborn? We are both pretty stubborn. ;-)

Who wakes up earlier? Me

Where was your first date? We met for drinks at a Mexican restaurant near my office. Drinks turned into dinner, and later we went dancing at a local jazz club.

Who has the bigger family? Me, by far. MM is an only child whose parents are both only children also.

Do you get flowers often? No. MM only buys me flowers on Valentine's Day

How do you spend the holidays? We have agreed to alternate his family and my family.

Who is more jealous? He is

How long did it take you to get serious? A few months

Who eats more? I eat more food, but he eats more crap

What do you do for a living? I am an attorney; he is a probation officer

Who does the laundry? We each do our own laundry

Who is better with the computer? I am

Who drives when you're together? We take turns

What's your song? We don't have one

Monday, October 19, 2009

Protocol for IUI cycle #2.1

We are following the same protocol as we did for the August cycle which was aborted when we learned I was pregnant but having an early miscarriage.

Clomid 50 mg CD 3 through CD 7 (10/18 - 10/22)
Follistim 125 mg on CD 3, 75 mg on CDs 4, 6, 8 and 10
OPKs before 11:00 each morning starting CD 8 (10/23)
Follicle check u/s on the morning of CD 11 (10/26)
Trigger with Ovidrel when instructed to do so prior to IUI

Though we agreed to start treatment six months ago and did our first IUI cycle in April, this will only be our second IUI. Besides my chemical pregnancy in August and the delay that resulted from that, I've had to take breaks for a few cycles for reasons ranging from my recent vacation to conflicts with my work schedule to MM forgetting to pick up my medication. (And ironically, the one-and-only BFP I've ever seen was a result of our break cycle in July.)

In the six months since we committed to treatment, we have had fewer cycles without medical intervention than with. Weird.

I had really hoped to be pregnant by now. Ah well. Onward and upward.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Here we go

For the past couple of hours, I have been having some mild cramps of the sort that I get just before my period. When I visited the ladies' room just now, I had the little bit of rust-colored spotting which is also typical for me pre-AF. Looks like AF is on her way.

I then started thinking about the fact that today is Friday. The pharmacy through which I get my fertility drugs is closed on weekends, so if today ends up being CD 1 for me and we are going to do treatment with Cl.omid and injectables this cycle, as planned, I need to get the medications today in order to start them on CD 3 (Sunday). (I don't know if Walgreens et al. even carry the Fol.lis.tim I need.) If AF doesn't fully arrive until tomorrow, I could wait and get the meds on Monday. . . but I'd rather not take a chance. I also was told after my chemical pregnancy in August that I would have to have blood drawn for a beta hCG before I could proceed with the next treatment cycle, and I'm not sure if that will still apply, given that this is now my second period since the early miscarriage. (The RE doesn't routinely check a beta each cycle.)

I called and left a message on the "nurse line" at my RE's office. I hope someone calls me back before the end of the day!

Just thinking about coordinating everything that goes into another treatment cycle has my chest feeling tight and my heart racing. And this is just for IUI + injectables! I can't imagine how women do it for IVF. I really don't think I could handle it.

EDITED TO ADD: It kinda goes without saying, but I'm bummed that, once again, I am not pregnant this cycle. Keep hoping I'm going to be that "urban legend woman" who conceives on a break. Alas.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Show & Tell


(Originally this post had photos. In the interest of not having photos of my family, including my nephew, on display indefinitely, I have removed them as of 5/29/2012.)

Nearly three years ago--it will be three years exactly on November 8th--my sister did something for my parents that I will never get to do: she made them grandparents for the first time by giving birth to my nephew Rowan. (Even if we are eventually successful with TTC, my mom and dad are now already grandparents.)

I got to spend lots of time with Rowan during our recent vacation. We spent half of the eight days of our trip with him and my sister and brother-in-law. We even took the little guy to the National Zoo on our own one day while Mama and Daddy were at work. (That was an adventure I'm sure my husband will never forget!)

Here are a few of my favorite photos of Rowan from our recent visit.

Playing in the wood chips at the playground

Flexing for Uncle M

At the zoo play area (which he preferred to the animal exhibits)

Finished an ice cream cone with only a little help from Auntie S

Effects of weight loss on fertility?

Before infertility, my one constant struggle in life has been with my weight. I have been overweight to some degree or another since I was a teenager. (Heck, maybe even before that: I weighed 8 lbs, 8 oz. at birth!) Currently my BMI is around 36. Bad, I know.

I've read a lot about how obesity can adversely affect fertility, but everything I read seems to be in the context of women who have PCOS and/or anovulatory cycles. Although I have only conceived once in 18 months (and then had a VERY early miscarriage), I have regular cycles, and my RE believes, based on cycle length and testing, that I do ovulate every cycle. Because of this, I've been thinking that my fertility is not affected by my weight.

I know that I should lose weight for my own health and for the sake of having a healthier pregnancy (should I ever be lucky enough to get/stay pregnant). But I've been wondering lately whether losing weight might make me more likely to conceive? (Side note: I accidentally typed "lucky" for "likely" the first time. Freudian slip?)

(One of the pitfalls of being "unexplained" is that you spend your time thinking about everything and anything that might possibly affect your fertility for good or ill. Not that it's worse than having a specific, diagnosed problem; it's just different. It's the reason I've tried acupuncture, meditation, cutting out simple carbs, and a variety of herbal supplements, too.)

If anyone has any thoughts on this issue, I'd love to hear them! Email me or leave a comment on this post. Thanks.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Random anger

I don't know if I am unique in this, but I tend to think much less about my inability to have a baby when I'm not actively trying to get pregnant. In the early days of TTC, when I was checking my temperature and cervical mucus/position daily, or later on when going through a cycle taking fertility medications, thoughts of our infertility have at times been darn-near all-consuming. Now that I no longer bother with daily temperature-taking, in a cycle like this one, when I've taken no medications designed to "help" us conceive, I can mostly put our TTC struggles out of my mind. I think that is quite an accomplishment after 18 months of TTC without success.

And yet. I notice that random things which would have occurred without my notice two years ago can now make me almost irrationally angry. Sometimes when I start thinking about things that MM and I would like to do in the near future. . . . say, a trip we'd like to take in spring 2010. . . . I think about the fact that we really don't know if any plans we make that far in advance can come to fruition. If I'm not pregnant by then, we will likely be doing some type of treatment that would preclude going out of town. If (hallelujah!) I was pregnant then, it might be a safe time for me to travel. I will admit: this makes me mad. I feel in some ways that I have lost control over my life.

(When we were on our recent vacation to DC and northern Virginia, I thought fleetingly about the fact that when we scheduled that trip in early April, I had high hopes that I would be pregnant by the time we went. Clearly that didn't happen.)

I can hardly stand to hear about child abuse anymore, even on the news. Sure, this is a topic that no one really ENJOYS hearing about, but I've been working with abused and neglected kids in foster care as a volunteer for over seven years. Before I was TTC myself, sadly, I had grown somewhat accustomed to hearing about all but the worst cases. Now? I get really, really upset.

One of the hardest situations, simply because it is so frequently occurring: now, even when a friend or acquaintance who I know will be a good and loving parent announces her (or his wife's) pregnancy, my initial reaction is seldom happiness: it's anger. Double that anger if it's not their first child. For friends and acquaintances' pregnancy announcements, the anger is usually quickly overshadowed by my happiness for the couple--how quickly being somewhat related to how close I am to the parents-to-be and whether the child is their first--but the anger is never NOT there, even if it's only for a split-second. "Why her and not me?" now pops into my head EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

And don't even get me started on how I feel when I hear of people's "accidental" or unwanted pregnancies. Thankfully, being in my late 30s and working in a law firm, I don't hear about these as much as the average person, I'd suspect. (Although my husband, as a probation officer, hears about them quite a bit.) Talk about "Why her and not me?"

In our extended family, my unemployed, uneducated, poor, country relatives reproduce with ease while I continue to wait, month after month, for it to be "my turn." Just in the past month, my mom has informed me of one (unplanned, out-of-wedlock) birth to a second cousin. A great situation, as the "baby-daddy" apparently skedaddled long before the blessed event. She also told me that my 23-year-old second cousin who has a toddler is due again in December. Oddly, my mom also decided to wait to tell me about cousin #2's pregnancy. (I don't see this cousin often, so I likely wouldn't know unless Mom told me.) I don't know how she thought THAT would spare my feelings; maybe she misguidedly thought I'd be pregnant myself before I found out about her second baby.

Even well-meaning advice from people can really chap my hide. My father shared with me last week that he knows a woman in his church who is having her first baby at age 42, saying "so there's still hope for you." Ugh. I love my parents, but they are both absolutely clueless when it comes to talking to them about infertility (and Dad is on limited information status anyway).

I've long struggled with my temper, and I am by no means a patient, calm person. With time and effort, I have learned to control my anger in most situations and circumstances. But I have never before experienced these random flashes of anger. . . . anger that flares suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere. Anger that I must swallow and control.

Yet another awful thing about infertility.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Odds & ends

I've been MIA from my blog for a while. Since last Wednesday, I've had a cold which got progressively worse over the weekend, causing me to spend all of Sunday in bed or on the couch and to miss work yesterday. I figure I probably picked up a virus on the plane; I find that I get sick with something about half the time when I fly.

I am back at work today and feeling mostly back to normal. I still have some lingering congestion and a little cough, but I am much improved. I'm glad I didn't get the H1N1 flu: I checked my temperature regularly the last two days and never had a fever.

It's funny how when you aren't feeling well, everything else in life seems to take a backseat. In addition to not posting on my blog, I didn't read many blogs, didn't talk to friends, and didn't do much of anything these past two days except lie on the couch and read and watch TV (when I wasn't sleeping). I also didn't think much about our infertility.

Despite my cold, MM and I managed to "do the deed" during my fertile window. I am basing my prediction of my "fertile window" for this cycle on my usual cycle length more than anything else; I noticed some EWCM one day but didn't check my temperature daily and gave up on the OPKs when I got sick--around CD 12--and never saw a + one. (We only did it every other day, vs. the every day we usually get in, but our RE recommends every other day to his patients anyway.)

I'm currently on CD 19, so we will see in 10 days or so whether I am pregnant from this cycle. I don't expect to be, but you never know. I know we all secretly hope that we will be the "urban legend" woman who gets pregnant on a break cycle. ;-)

Assuming that I'm not pregnant currently, we will do another IUI + injectables cycle in October. The October cycle will really be our first using IUI and injectables because I was already pregnant in August when we started the last one.

Hope October is off to a good start for my readers!