Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quick update

Still haven't tested: determined to follow doctor's instructions and wait until tomorrow morning.

Still having some vague "symptoms" that could be either progesterone side effects or early pregnancy signs.

Still anxious, but at least today I have a reason: I am defending my first-ever expert deposition. Oh, and our expert? He's never given a deposition before. So a little bit of the "blind leading the blind" here, and I am understandably nervous about how it will go.

Nothing else to share. I'm off to take my expert to lunch before the deposition.

I will definitely post tomorrow, whether I get a BFN or BFP.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sense of impending doom

I continue to have the same free-floating anxiety, actually a little worse today. It's a very unpleasant feeling; today's subject line sums up what I'm feeling. I haven't experienced this feeling for an extended period of days since I used to work in a hospital that was chronically understaffed (with lots of a$$hole private physicians on staff) and was in constant fear of losing a patient and/or getting fired. When I worked there, I'd have near panic attacks on my days off, just thinking about going back to work. It's not fun at all.

My husband is a terrific guy, but one of my few small criticisms of him is that he is not very sympathetic. When I've mentioned my anxiety to him, he just tries to come up with various reasons for it. What he doesn't understand is that it's just a FEELING without a REASON. If I were anxious about something in particular, I would've figured that out by now, and I'd know that it would eventually pass. This feeling isn't like that.

Anyway. . . . the past few days have actually been a good example for me of one of several reasons why I don't think we will ever go past IUI in our efforts to conceive a child of our own. For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, I just can't mentally handle all the things that most other functional people seem to be able to.

I really have no reason to be anxious. Work is fine: busy, but not crazy. I have nothing going on with my family or friends to invoke anxiety. I genuinely don't think I'm anxious about the outcome of this cycle either; I've already resigned myself to the idea that it's more likely than not that it didn't work.

I don't think my anxiety is stress-related because I do a lot to decrease my stress: exercise, get plenty of sleep, get a massage every 2-3 weeks, talk to friends about my feelings (and write in this blog). I've been reading and taking it easy most evenings for the past week. I think my stress levels are probably much lower than those of most women my age, truth be told.

Still counting the days until Friday when I POAS. I will say that May 1st seemed very far off when I had my IUI, and I thought that the 2WW would be awful, but it actually hasn't turned out to be that bad. I've been tempted to test the past two days, but waking before the alarm to pee has prevented me from doing so. (I will only test with first morning urine, so once that opportunity has passed, I'm fine for the rest of the day.) Not so sure that a positive test at this point might not still be my hCG trigger anyway; having never "tested out" a trigger, I wouldn't know how long that would take.

I continue to have some mild "symptoms" which are just as likely progesterone side effects: some breast soreness, mild cramps, nausea (especially in the morning), and feeling more tired than is warranted. It's so annoying how there is nothing that can definitively tell us whether we're pregnant or not almost right away!

According to my average length of luteal phase, I would be expecting to start my period any time between tomorrow and Saturday. So Friday is probably a fair test date for me, even if it weren't the one chosen by my RE's office.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This and that

I feel a little bad for my last post. Well, not for the post itself, so much as I feel bad that I was so irritable with MM, who really didn't do much to deserve it. Oh well. In reading the comments, I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who has been annoyed by her husband at times. . . . I guess we all have days when we are grouchy, and our spouses sometimes bear the brunt of that.

The waiting game continues. I have had some vague symptoms, but nothing that I wouldn't attribute to side effects of the progesterone gel. My feelings about this cycle see-saw between hope that it worked and resignation that it didn't. Honestly, I am past the point where the thought of failure even makes me sad anymore.

In addition to the irritability I had on Sunday, I have had some free-floating anxiety the past two days--can't tie it to anything specific going on with me--and just some generalized feelings of ickiness. I've also been really tired, in spite of getting plenty of good sleep. To the extent that I think about it at all, I think that the way I'm feeling emotionally at the moment is much more consistent with PMS than with being pregnant. Of course, having never been pregnant, I can't say for sure. But I've always assumed that a pregnant woman has a special feeling of blessedness and grace. (Yeah, dorky, I know.) Anxiety, grumpiness, and general malaise aren't really consist with that.

Work has been moderately busy, which is good for keeping the mind off TTC. MM and I, along with our dog Sebastian, are meeting another golden retriever this evening. If all goes well with the meeting, the other golden ("Hunter") will be coming to live with us and be our second dog! So that's exciting.

Can't believe Friday is already May. Wow.

P.S. Thanks to all the folks who visited my blog for the first time as part of ICLW. I enjoyed reading your comments, and it's nice to know that someone is reading this besides me!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Do you think. . . .

that there is any possibility that being annoyed by nearly everything your husband does and says is a very early pregnancy sign?

Yeah, probably not.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Of all times for a "baby boom"

I think I have mentioned before that I seem to know an exceptionally high number of people who are expectant or recent parents. Speaking only of people I know personally--people who are either friends, family members, or acquaintances close enough that they would know me by name--I'd estimate that at least 40 people I know have had a child in the past three years. No joke! No exaggeration! (I may, in fact, by underestimating; there might be more than 40 if I actually sat down and made a list.) And a few of these 40 people have had two children in that time frame: either twins or two children in less than three years. (Though to the best of my knowledge, no one in that group has had three children in the past three years.)

Just to give a sample, since the spring of 2006, the following people I know have had babies: my sister; a cousin-by-marriage; my college roommate; my three closest female friends from law school and at least 13 other people (at last count) from my law school class (class of '04); and a girl I used to babysit who is the half-sister of a high school friend (yeah, small town, you know).

With a couple of exceptions, the majority of the people I know who've had kids in the past three years were having their first (and/or second) child. And of course, I have plenty of other friends who have children who didn't have them in the past three years. Some of those children are grown. I *am* 38 years old, after all. (Heck, I even have at least one friend who will be a grandma before the year is out.)

I've never written much on this blog about my pre-MM history; it didn't seem relevant when I started the blog because I never tried to conceive until MM. But for purposes of this entry, I will share that I was previously engaged to someone else until March 2007, and we ended our two-year relationship 13 days before our planned wedding. (I briefly made reference to the break-up in this post.)

In the spring of 2006, I was in a relationship but not even engaged. (Though we did end up getting engaged in July of that year.) At that point, I didn't know when or if my boyfriend and I would ever have a child.

In the spring of 2007, I had just turned 36, just broken up with my fiance, and assumed that any chance I would have had to conceive a child of my own was likely lost. I truly believed that I would likely not fall in love again and marry until I was in my 40s. I happened to meet MM six months later.

It's been something of a cruel irony for me that so many people I know have been becoming parents during this period when I have been struggling the hardest with this particular area of my life. Aside from the early months when MM and I were TTC, when I was still optimistic and sure that I would be pregnant in short order, and part of the time when I was engaged to my ex-fiance, I have spent most of the last three years in one of two mindsets: accepting the idea that I probably wasn't going to have a child of my own because I wasn't in a relationship that would include that (and didn't want to go the single parent route); or learning that, even having found a wonderful man with whom to share my life, for reasons unknown to anyone, I would have difficulty getting pregnant and might never be able to, even with medical intervention.

I cannot recall another time in my life when so many people I know have been pregnant and/or new parents. I realize that my own struggles have likely heightened my awareness of such things, but it doesn't change the fact that many, many people I know have become parents recently.

A friend of mine who is not TTC (she has a 3-year-old and doesn't want more children) mentioned yesterday that she has read that there is currently a "baby boom" in progress. So perhaps that explains it.

One of my activities this weekend was to attend a baby shower. I know that many women struggling with infertility avoid these occasions out of self-preservation, and I can certainly understand why.

The guest of honor was a friend (and former co-worker) of mine. We are not close but have a lot of mutual admiration for one another. We both left our old job around the same time--she to move to another state with her Air Force pilot husband who was reassigned, and I to move to a nearby larger city for a good job opportunity--nearly 21 months ago, so it had been nearly two years since we had seen one another. (Given the poor job I've done of keeping in touch with distant friends since my marriage, I didn't even know she was pregnant until I received her shower invitation.)

Because it had been nearly two years since I'd seen my friend and because I knew that I'd likely not see her again in the near future, given that she now lives five states away and will be having a baby in August, I definitely wanted to attend the shower, even if I thought it would be hard.

I actually figured that I'd handle the shower fine. It would be only the second one I'd attended since first visiting the RE and realizing that there might be a problem. At that time, we hadn't even completed our testing, and the mother-to-be was a close friend whose shower I really wouldn't have skipped regardless. I had no problem then.

The shower actually wasn't that all that hard, but I definitely felt different than I have felt attending showers in the past. On the plus side, I got to see a few other friends who I don't see often, as well as several former co-workers who are not quite friends, but congenial acquaintances who it was nice to see again. Luckily, the guest of honor had asked that the shower not be overly cheesy, so we only had to play two games. The majority of the time was spent eating and chatting.

On the down side, I felt a pang or two when I heard my friend reading the advice and good wishes from friends and when I saw the cute little baby clothes. Another hard thing was when a friend attending the shower shared that she is now pregnant with #2 (she has a 16-month-old son). I was genuinely happy for her--she is a terrific mom and person--but hearing about her current pregnancy (and delivery of her first, since we hadn't seen each other since before his birth) just highlighted for me what I haven't experienced and may never experience.

There was definitely more good than bad, and I'm glad that I went. . . . but I'm not sure that it's an experience I'll be looking to repeat any time in the near future.

Oh, and did I mention that my other social event of the weekend was dinner at the home of a close friend? The friend is the one I mentioned above whose shower I attended last November. I am godmother to her (adorable) 3-month-old son. The other guests besides MM and I were a close mutual friend of ours and her husband with their 21-month-old son and 8-month-old daughter and another couple with whom we are all friendly, along with their 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. Again, far more good than bad here; it was great to see my friends, especially the ones with the little kids because they were just in town for the weekend, having moved to the DC area about six months ago. It was even nice to see the kids. I love children, and there is something special about seeing how they grow and change while they're little. I've known every one of those kids since birth.

We enjoyed ourselves, but yep. . . . we are definitely the "odd man out." Five children at the dinner party, and not one of them ours.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why I've abandoned my charting website

As I mention in my sidebar, I gave up BBT charting after 10 cycles because (1) it wasn't helping me get pregnant, (2) my RE (& I) didn't feel it was necessary, given the regularity of my cycles, and (3) it was making me crazy. I really hated trying to wake up at the same time every day to take my temperature before doing anything else; usually when I wake up, I have to pee really badly. It was a pain to have to hold it for a minute or two while the thermometer got its reading. Not to mention all the obsessing over my chart during every 2WW and the over-intrepretation of every little rise or fall in temperature.

I used to chart my cycles on a popular website designed for that purpose. I don't want to name the site, but I will say that its initials are "FF." This website also has message boards for various topics related to TTC.

In addition to time spent obsessing over my chart, I used spend a lot of time reading and posting on the message boards. I had a buddy group in which I posted daily. Not surprisingly, I am one of only two original members of the buddy group who has not yet conceived. The other woman who is still TTC after a year has had complications with timing due to both her and her husband's work-related travel. Several women have already had their babies, as a matter of fact.

In addition to my buddy group, I "got to know" some other very cool women through the website. I've kept up with a few of them through Facebook and through our blogs. I'm very glad that I had the opportunity to become acquainted with these ladies via the internet.

After I stopped charting, I stopped visiting the website altogether for a few months. In the last few weeks, I went back to the website because (1) I thought it would be a convenient place to chart the daily OPKs I had to use and (2) a couple of buddies' babies were due and I wanted to see their babies' photos. (These were buddies with whom FF was my only link.)

I've posted before about some of the things that annoyed me on the message boards. And of course, in the couple of weeks that I have been back participating, once again something similar to what annoyed me before happened .

In my initial excitement (short-lived though it was) on the morning of my IUI, I began participating in a thread of women who are waiting to test on the same day that I will be, 5/1. Supposedly the goal of all the women on the thread was to support each other to avoid testing early.

I've been checking the thread once a day. Not a big deal. (For some reason, the message boards just don't have the same appeal for me that they once had.)

Today when I checked the thread, one of the women posted that she had "caved" and tested (over a week) early. Her test was positive. All the other women posted congratulations. I did not post anything. I got angry. I will admit it: I was not happy for her at all.

Lest you think that I have now reached the bitter point where I cannot even be happy about someone else's pregnancy, allow me to provide more information. This woman, who is younger than I am, was TTC her 5th child, and this cycle was the 2nd one she had tried. Wow, what a struggle with infertility she has had!

Understand my bitterness a little better now? ;-)

So yeah, I think I'm pretty much done with that site and its message boards. I am grateful that I am not yet at a point where I can't be happy for friends and family members who announce their pregnancies. . . . but clearly I've been at a point for a while where I can't be happy for anyone who gets pregnant after less than 6 months of TTC and already has at least 4 children.

Knowing this about myself, it's best that I just avoid putting myself in situations where I have to hear about this.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Darn you, progesterone gel

Goodness knows that, as drugs go, far more noxious drugs than progesterone are used to treat infertility. (Just from my own limited experience, witness the reddened area I *still* have on my abdomen following my hCG trigger shot last Thursday.) So I almost feel like I'm a bit of whiner for writing about this, but I hope that someone reading can relate.

I have mentioned on here before the first thing I disliked about the progesterone gel: the mere fact that it is icky. Like medications I've used for yeast infections in the past, the gel (which is really misnamed because it is more like a thick cream) doesn't all absorb or melt away. As a consequence, nearly every trip to the bathroom occasions the sight of lovely clumps of the stuff. Disgusting!!

Today I have yet another reason to dislike the progesterone gel: the side effects. If you follow the link, you'll see that basically all of this medication's side effects are the same symptoms that one might expect in early pregnancy. My nipples have been exceptionally sore for the past three days. . . . yep, breast pain is on the list. I've been having cramps intermittently. Check. This morning I woke up with a headache and have been dizzy all morning. Double check. I have also been more tired than usual, and drowsiness is another listed side effect.

So far, the only mild side effects I seem to have missed are the bloating, constipation, and diarrhea and pain during intercourse. (While I can't say that intercourse is now painful, I have found that it is less enjoyable while using the progesterone gel, even though I don't actually insert the gel until after. And MM mentioned that it "felt different in there." Lovely.) Although perhaps I should just be grateful that I haven't had any serious side effects such as "pain/swelling/redness of an arm or leg, one-sided muscle weakness, vision problems, unusual vaginal discharge, stomach pain, or trouble breathing." Or "fainting, itching, skin rash, or mood changes."

Honestly, because I am using this medication, I wouldn't attribute any "symptom" I might have to actually being pregnant. Hey, maybe that's a good thing: I won't go getting my hopes up only to have them dashed when AF arrives!

Oh, and also: these mild side effects are probably just a tiny preview of what's in store for me if we do successfully conceive. Yet somehow I believe that I will find feeling sub-par more tolerable if it's because I'm pregnant. At least, I hope I will.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some random thoughts

I'm not sure exactly when this mental shift occurred, whether it happens for everyone, or what caused it. . . . but my attitude toward TTC is much different now than it was a year ago. As I wrote in my introduction post, a year ago I naively thought that I would throw away my birth control pills and achieve a pregnancy in about 3-4 months, perhaps 6 months at most. It never occurred to me that I would be anything less than fertile.

When I first started out TTC--and even before that, when I was contemplating taking that step--I spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to have a baby of my own; what it would be like to be a mother; and how I would feel when I saw that + HPT. I thought about what kind of pregnant woman I would be, what labor might be like, and whether I'd be able to breastfeed successfully.

Now I find that I spend very little time thinking of these things and far more time thinking about how I will cope and adjust if it turns out that we never have a child of our own. I spend more time trying to picture my life as a childless person than I do planning for a future that includes a child. I don't think about nursery decor; I don't mull over baby names and how they sound with MM's surname; I don't think about the pros and cons of having a girl versus having a boy.

I have arrived at a point where the possibility that we will not be successful in our TTC efforts seems more realistic to me than the possibility that we will be successful.

I can't help but think that the difference in my perspective is not unique to me. I have told some people who I know online and in real life that we are TTC (though it's hardly common knowledge), and now that we are doing intervention, it's interesting to compare the comments and viewpoints of women who conceived easily with those who have struggled with infertility themselves.

Almost all of my "fertile" friends are extremely optimistic for the success of this cycle. (Of course, they were optimistic for the success of most--if not all--of my previous, natural cycles, too.) The one exception is a friend whose sister-in-law used IVF for her children; maybe that's because she is slightly more realistic about the odds of success with ART.

In contrast, friends who have themselves struggled with infertility are supportive and understanding, but do not give an impression of being "sure" that the IUI will work. Any optimism that they convey is tempered with the thought that this might not work.

As I explained to the nurse at the RE's office following my IUI last Friday, to me it would seem illogical to believe that something that has an expected success rate of, at most, 20% will work. To me, that means that there is an 80% chance that it will NOT work.

Thinking this way is one of the drawbacks of being an analytical person. I don't consider this pessimism; I consider this a realistic evaluation of the data and information that I have. So while I am hopeful that the Clomid + IUI that we used for the first time this cycle will do the trick, I by no means believe that it will.

When there is no explanation for why you can't conceive, it's hard to know what to "fix." How can I know that Clomid + IUI will help us when I don't even know why I can't get pregnant?

At this point, I will be more surprised to learn that I'm pregnant than I will be to learn that this cycle, like the 13 before it, was a bust.

Does anyone else feel the same?

P.S. If you are here for ICLW, welcome!

Monday, April 20, 2009

(cue Jeopardy! theme song)

Nothing to report. Just waiting. I am taking progesterone gel vaginally at bedtime each night (starting last night), so even if I *do* develop "symptoms," I will be sensibly attributing them to medication side effects.

Oh, and on a side note, may I say that the progestrone gel is icky! Going in it is fine, but hours later--yuck!

MM and I are in the process of getting approved to adopt a second Golden Retriever from the same rescue group who gave me my current dog, Sebastian. So that is VERY exciting!

Just keeping busy with work, dog adopting, piano, and trying not to obsess. . . . .

Friday, April 17, 2009

IUI #1

I am currently lying on the exam table at my RE's office, having completed our first IUI. The nurse has instructed me to lie here for 20 minutes before getting up. I'm typing this entry on my BlackBerry.

Overall, the experience was not too bad. MM produced a sample with a post-wash motile count of 40 million, despite his reporting to me before I left home that he thought he "didn't give 'em much." Considering that the minimum recommended count is 5 million, 40 million is great!

Insertion of the speculum was uncomfortable. (I think a larger-than-usual size was used.) Insertion of the catheter into my cervix caused me only mild discomfort, much like a Pap.

Once the sperm in their media started being instilled, I had quite a bit of uterine cramping (and am still having some). The cramping was less intense than with my HSG, but it also lasted longer. The HSG took about a minute, while this took 3-4 minutes.

I'd rate the experience as unpleasant but tolerable. Oh, and I also had a nasty local reaction to my hCG shot. I have an area roughly the size of a half dollar that is slightly raised, red, hot to the touch, and painful.

So now I wait. I will be using vaginal progesterone gel twice a day starting tomorrow night and am supposed to POAS two weeks from today.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Change of plans

Remember when I started this cycle and I was concerned about my IUI falling on the morning of Friday 4/17? Because I had a deposition I was supposed to take that morning?


This morning at 10:55, I dutifully requested a bathroom break during the deposition I was attending to go and POAS. I was not all that surprised to see that this morning's OPK was a positive. (And, true to my usual pattern, the test line started darkening even before the urine hit the control line, so a very obvious positive.)

Per my instructions, I called our clinic's nurse line and left a message about my + OPK. I then returned to my deposition, knowing that I wouldn't receive a call back until after lunch.

Back in my office after the deposition and lunch, at 1:40, I got the call back. And was informed that because my body has now started to surge on its own, I needed to take my trigger shot ASAP and reschedule my IUI to tomorrow morning at 9:30.

[sigh] I knew this was going to happen. Knew it since CD 2.

To make a long story short, I cancelled the deposition with minimal difficulty (to be rescheduled within the next 2-3 weeks) and rushed home to take my trigger shot. I did the shot at 2:15, which is not bad considering I live 20 minutes from my office.

Although I have given many, many shots in my life--having been a hospital nurse for seven years before going to law school in 2001--I had never given myself one until today. Mixing the hCG powder with the sterile water and drawing the medication into the syringe was a snap. Hell, nothing I haven't done hundreds of times before, though it's been a while.

Poking myself wasn't as hard as I thought it might be either. I just darted the needle into my abdomen.

But injecting the medication was another story. After pushing the plunger down just a tiny little bit, the injection site started burning. I finished as quickly as is safe to get it over with, and the spot burned some more. It continued to burn, getting increasingly less, for at least 5-7 minutes. Yikes!

Anyhow. It's done, and I'll post an update on how the IUI goes tomorrow after I have it. I hope this works and that I don't have to give myself too many more shots!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just because I am an obsessive freak. . .

The more I've thought about it, the more I've become worried about the possibility of releasing five eggs on Saturday. More targets provide more opportunities. . . but I also don't want to get pregnant with quintuplets! MM's sperm count is higher-than-average, so who knows? Maybe all of the eggs would fertilize and implant!

So I called my RE's office for some information and reassurance. My RE’s nurse called me back and told me that my three smaller follicles (all on the right ovary) measured 10 mm, 10 mm, and 11 mm yesterday. These follicles would not be expected to be mature and release an egg after I trigger tomorrow night. My other two follicles (on the left) were 20 mm and 16 mm. The 20 mm follicle will almost certainly produce an egg and, using an average 2 mm/day growth rate, there is a chance that the 16 mm follicle will mature to that point by Saturday morning also. She said that with Clomid, they expect the follicle to be at least 21 mm in order to release a mature egg.

So it sounds like they are predicting one to two eggs being released, which sounds perfect. The nurse said that this isn’t definite--she actually said "I don't have a crystal ball"--but that it would be unusual for the three smaller follicles to “catch up” enough to actually release mature eggs by Saturday morning.

I was reassured by this. It seems that the odds of my even having more than two eggs at the time of the IUI are quite slim. When I couple that with the odds of any of them actually resulting in a pregnancy, I feel pretty safe that I won't be seeing five heartbeats on a future u/s.


I may have mentioned here before that I normally don't feel my ovulation at all. I know that many women say they have pains either leading up to or at the time of ovulation, but I have never been one of those women. I've never had any type of cramping, pressure, pain, aching or anything else that I could directly attribute to ovulation.

But. . . . as I mentioned in yesterday's post, ever since yesterday morning, I have had a lot of pressure and aching in my lower abdomen, especially on the right side. This is in a similar location to where I first felt a twinge or two shortly after finishing my Clomid. The pressure/ache is definitely more today than yesterday. My whole lower abdomen--below the belly button--is tender when palpated. I've also been very bloated, and it's not related at all to anything I've been eating. (I've been extra careful the past few days to avoid foods that would cause me to be bloated.)

I can't help but think that these symptoms must be related to my ovaries. They are mild but definitely something different from my usual cycles.

I just hope that these symptoms indicate that my ovaries are working hard and will produce some quality eggs this cycle!

Also, my OPK this morning was negative, so we are still a "go" for triggering Thursday night and IUI on Saturday morning. And coincidentally, I noticed some fertile CM this morning for the first time this cycle.

On a non-TTC-related note, I also have been unable to shake the head cold that my DH shared with me over the weekend. While my coughing has improved, I am still congested and very tired. Not sure if I'm tired because my congestion interfered with my sleep or because of the cold itself. Either way, it stinks!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Follicle check

I had my vaginal u/s this morning to check my follicles. I have three "good" follicles on the right ovary and two "good" ones on the left. (I didn't get specifics about the precise sizes. None were ready to go yet, though.)

As of right now, based on the nurse's projections of the follicles' growth, my IUI is set for Saturday morning. I will have to do my trigger shot at midnight on Thursday night.

The one small potential issue is that one of the follicles on the left (the "lead" follicle) is a few mm ahead of the others. . . . which the nurse said may mean that I will ovulate on my own prior to the trigger shot. That wouldn't be good because then we would only get one egg for this cycle. I am supposed to keep checking OPKs every morning between 10:30 and 11:00 and call the clinic before 11:00 if I get a positive one. If they end up having to trigger me early, they will but would prefer not to.

I hope things go according to the nurse's projection. I'd love to have five eggs rather than just one because I believe that it will increase our chances of success with this cycle. (In addition to the potential issue I have with a Friday IUI that I've already discussed on here.)

I would have expected to be ovulating today or tomorrow, based on my usual ovulation day, but the nurse said that it is not uncommon for Clomid to make your cycle a little longer than usual. So I guess it's nothing to be concerned about.

On a symptoms note, I will mention that I am bloated today and that my lower abdomen is a little tender, especially on the right side. I noticed it first during the u/s and have continued to notice it since then.

We shall see what happens. . . .

Monday, April 13, 2009

CD 12

Nothing new to report on the TTC front. My OPKs over the weekend and this morning were negative; they actually looked much the same as Friday's, so no real change there. I'm actually beginning to wonder a little whether I will even have any follicles. (Actually, looking back at the cycles I charted where I used OPKs, I've never had a + one before CD 13 even without meds. So I guess the absence of + OPKs at this point is nothing to be concerned about.)

I have zero symptoms. I have been extremely tired the past few days, but it's more likely due to the cold & cough that my husband gave me than due to anything having to do with my cycle or the Clomid I took.

I had an acupuncture session on Saturday, as usual. I found out that I won't be able to go again the next three weeks due to conflicts between the clinic's schedule and mine. I really like the place I go, and they specialize in fertility acupuncture, but they are so busy that getting an appointment is hard. And they are located too far from my office for me to go in on weekdays, so I generally try to make a Saturday appointment. This coming Saturday was unavailable, and I will be out of town the two Saturdays after that.

Honestly, I'm not sure how much the acupuncture is helping anyway. I started going at the end of January and have gone every week but one since then. I've also been taking herbs prescribed to me in conjunction with the acupuncture. I am obviously not pregnant yet, so to the extent that the "success" of these treatments would be measured by results, they haven't been effective. (As a side note, I should add that MM thinks the acu & herbs are a waste of time and money, and my RE supports their use, as he has seen them be of help to other patients.)

I can't say that I really notice any differences in my body that I can relate directly to the acupuncture except for one: the color of my menstrual flow has been a much brighter red since I've been doing the acu & herbs. And for two of the three periods I've had since I started, I had no spotting prior to starting full flow. (I did have the same old rust-colored spotting 12 hours before starting this cycle, though.) Not sure what effect, if any, that would have on my fertility, though.

Tomorrow morning is my u/s to check my follicles. I hope I have at least one good one! I'll post again tomorrow with an update.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Status quo

I really have not much new to report. I have been extremely busy at work the past two days. Thus thoughts of TTC have not been as much on my mind as usual.

I took my last dose of Clomid on Wednesday night and am now just waiting to see how things develop. I have still had no side effects. And the ache/pressure in my right lower abdomen has pretty much gone away at this point.

I started peeing on OPKs on Thursday morning. I have been instructed to use an OPK each morning between 10:30 and 11:00 and to call the clinic's "nurse line" by 11:00 if I get a + prior to my mid-cycle u/s (now set for Tuesday, 4/14). The reason is because a + OPK would mean that my body is getting ready to ovulate on its own and I would need to come in THAT DAY for a follicle check u/s.

Today I didn't pee on my OPK until 11:30 because I was caught up taking a deposition. . . . but it was a non-issue because it wasn't + anyway. Yesterday's OPK had no second line at all; today's had a faint second line but nowhere near what I see for a positive. (When I have a + OPK, usually I can see the test line developing before the control line.)

When I had expressed concern previously about important cycle events occurring on a weekend, the nurse reassured me that the clinic is open every day of the year "except Christmas." So if I get a + OPK tomorrow or Sunday, I will call and could be having my IUI on Monday or Tuesday.

I have one day next week when it will be next-to-impossible for me to have my IUI; that's Friday. I have a deposition set on that morning that will be difficult to reschedule and cannot be covered by the other attorney on the case (or by any other lawyer in the office because everyone is busy on other matters), and the nurse has advised me that the IUI can only be done at 9:30 a.m. due to staffing and the need to wash the sperm, etc., first and time the trigger shot appropriately.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that things will not work out so that I have to have my IUI on Friday morning. Worst case scenario, if I find out on Tuesday that I will be triggering on Wednesday night (and thus having my IUI on Friday morning), I am giving serious consideration to telling the witness and the attorney for the other party that I have had a medical emergency that requires me to undergo a medical procedure which my doctor can only perform on Friday morning or not again for several weeks due to scheduling. Although this doesn't tell the WHOLE story, it is true: I wouldn't be able to have another IUI for at least four weeks if I don't have one this cycle because it will take that long for me to reach the right point in my cycle again.

As important as this deposition is, I've arrived at the conclusion that our attempts to have a child are more important. (The partners in my firm would be appalled! Just kidding; they all have children of their own, so I assume they would be understanding.)

Just continuing with my Chinese herbs, OPKs, acupuncture (tomorrow morning), and waiting. . . .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Real or imagined?

Tonight will be my last dose of Clomid for this cycle. I still have not had any of the side effects I feared: no mood swings, no headaches, no hot flashes, no visual disturbances.

Anyone who has been TTC for a while (or who is not TTC now but took a while to get pregnant) will appreciate the fact that symptoms in one's lower abdomen can be somewhat vague. I know a few women who say that they can feel their ovulation--something I have never experienced--and more who have menstrual cramps. But safe to say that, aside from these pains, it can be difficult to identify the source of any aching or pressure or other twinges in the lower abdomen. There's a lot of stuff down there: in addition to our "female parts," the bladder and the intestines.

Keeping that in mind. . . . beginning yesterday afternoon, I started having a mild ache/pressure in my right lower abdomen. Very low lower abdomen: think almost to my groin. Yesterday I thought that this might be gas pain or constipation (I know, TMI) because I'd eaten like crap. However, the dull ache/pressure feeling has persisted in that same spot despite better eating last night and today and (TMI) no constipation. And it hasn't moved around at all like I'd think intestinal cramps/gas would do. So I'm beginning to think that this might be some type of ovarian action going on. It seems like the best explanation.

On the other hand, I'll be the first to admit that I've "felt" pregnant three or four cycles when I clearly was not pregnant. Take this for what it's worth; it could be all in my head. Hmmmm. . . . .

Tomorrow is CD 8 for me, and I'm going to start using my OPKs. (The nurse told me to use them starting on CD 9, but I thought I'd start a day earlier for good measure.) If I get a +OPK, I need to call the RE's office before 11:00 a.m. to schedule an u/s for that day, and then I will likely be triggering that day and having my IUI thereafter.

God, I hope this works.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Heightened awareness

It's a funny thing, the way our minds work. Every time I've had a boyfriend who drove a certain make and model of car, suddenly I'd seem to notice many more of those cars than before I met him. When I was going through a break-up, it seemed that every romantic song on the radio was singing about my life. I know I'm not the only person who has experienced this phenomenon.

It seems to be occurring again in my life in relation to ART. When we first started TTC, I would have said that I really didn't know that many people who had had difficulties TTC. Yes, my sister has PCOS and took over two years to conceive her son, and a couple of other friends seemed to be trying longer than usual, but eventually fell pregnant. And I knew that the daughter of one of my firm's partners had IVF for her two children and that a paralegal's niece did IVF with donor eggs.

Now that we have started intervention, though--albeit just Clomid + IUI at this point--people with friends and family members who have used ART seem to be coming out of the woodwork! This even from people who have no idea that we are using ART ourselves. I guess they just figure that I'm over 35 and newly married and have need of this information. . . .

Just in the past couple of months, I have learned that two friends' sisters conceived their children through the use of IVF. Everyone seems to know someone who has had trouble TTC and/or used ART. It's just odd.

Although I guess it is preferable to the other trend I've noticed, which is that there hasn't been a single month in the past three years when I didn't know someone who is pregnant. And the fact that all my friends but two who want kids already have them. Anyhoo. . . .

I took my third dose of Clomid last night and no side effects thus far. I have had a few funny feelings in my lower abdomen today, but I've also eaten like crap so I'm not sure that it would be fair to attribute those feelings to my ovaries. LOL

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This and that

Back in early February, when I finally began to become truly convinced that we would, in fact, have to use ART in order to achieve pregnancy (and even then, might not be able to do so), I had a mini-meltdown. When I stopped to contemplate "what if" I never had a child of my own, I realized that I wasn't entirely happy with my life as is. I decided that I was in a rut and needed to branch out and do some different things.

In response to my mini-meltdown, I started taking piano lessons and also decided that at least twice a month, I needed to do something out-of-the-ordinary for me. Usually MM and I spend our weekends mostly relaxing at home or going out to dinner and/or a movie. We also see his parents and go to a fair number of hockey and baseball games. I also hike and see my friends for lunch and/or shopping.

Yesterday was one of several activities I'd planned as something slightly out-of-the-norm. We went to the Tempe Music Festival. Though we didn't stay nearly as long as I thought we would and didn't necessarily like all the musical groups that performed, it was fun and an interesting thing to try once. Well over half the people attending were college-aged: 18 to 22.

So I guess it shouldn't have come as a big surprise to me when I found an advertisement for egg donors from our RE clinic among the ads in the schedule of events. It was still a bit jarring to see a photo of a baby and the name and logo of our clinic somewhere I certainly hadn't expected to see them. And I will admit that it cast a brief pall on my mood because when I ran across the ad, I actually hadn't been thinking about our infertility at all, for once.

Anyway. . . . that's life. If it weren't the clinic's ad for egg donors, it'd be something else. One of the many things about IF that sucks; reminders of our failures are everywhere.

I took my first dose of Clomid last night. (I actually almost forgot, as I was up a bit later than usual watching a movie.) I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of side effects, but so far, I feel absolutely the same as I would if I hadn't take it. I've read that some women experience no side effects at all, and I hope to be one of them. I've also read that some women who do experience side effects find that they start once they complete the five doses of Clomid. So we shall see. . . .

Friday, April 3, 2009

2 hours + $173

After spending 2 hours of my time and $173 that I will never get back, I am ready to go for this cycle. I have my Clomid (I'll be taking 100 mg for 5 nights starting tomorrow), my HCG to trigger, and progesterone gel for after the IUI.

I was prepared to spend the money, but not the time. . . . at least not as much as I spent. I arrived determined to exercise some patience and brought along documents to review for my deposition this afternoon. By one hour past my appointment time, I had reviewed all my documents and was growing increasingly frustrated. I waited yet another 10 minutes after (politely) asking the receptionist how much longer my wait would be, and then waited 15 minutes with no pants (and no BlackBerry!) in the exam room once I was called back. All this for a 5-minute u/s with a nurse practitioner.

I am really at a loss about what to do to minimize my waits. I've asked to be booked for the first appointment of the day, asked what the busier days are, and have even considered changing clinics. It is absolutely ridiculous for me to spend two hours at the doctor's office to accomplish 10 minutes' worth of appointment! (The other five minutes was my teaching appointment with the nurse.) I can't help but think that something must be wrong with the system which this clinic has in place.

I am the first to admit that I'm not a patient person by nature, but this is about more than my inconvenience. Even if it doesn't interfere with the amount of work I get done (and the associated number of hours I bill)--because, in theory, I could work late or on weekends to make up the time--people are going to start speculating if I keep having long appointments during the work day.

I work in a small office: six full-time lawyers and about twice as many support staff. It's bad enough I'm having to go through this. Having everyone in the office talking about it would just add insult to injury. (I've already had people asking whether MM and I want children and speculating about our plans in that regard since before we got married!)

I can't imagine I am the only one of this clinic's patients who thinks that over an hour of waiting for an u/s is excessive. Surely other patients have full-time jobs? Else how do they pay for treatments?

Anyone have any suggestions? Is it this bad everywhere?

Anyway. . . . I have mixed feelings about starting the Clomid tomorrow. Nervous about possible side effects; resentful at having to take it at all; but also hopeful that it will help me get pregnant.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And so it begins

I just talked to the nurse in my RE's office about getting started for this cycle. I have to go in tomorrow morning at 9:30 for a (lovely) ultrasound to check my ovaries for cysts. Assuming that the u/s is normal, I will then get a prescription for Clomid and start taking it beginning on Saturday for five days. We also scheduled a "mid-cycle" ultrasound for CD 14 to check on my follicles and see whether I am ready to trigger.

I have a couple of concerns that the nurse couldn't completely resolve for me. First, I think there is a strong possibility that I will ovulate prior to the ultrasound scheduled for CD 14. In all the cycles I charted, there were only three or four times that I ovulated later than CD 13, and I once ovulated on CD 11. She told me that I can call the office and come in for an earlier ultrasound if I see a + OPK earlier than CD 14. Thankfully, my calendar is not very full early that week, so I probably could reschedule if necessary, assuming the RE's office could get me in.

Second, if my cycle proceeds according to their predicted timetable, my IUI would (theoretically) be scheduled for a morning when I have a deposition scheduled. It's a deposition where I am the lawyer asking the questions, so there's no way that I can get someone else to take it for me. And there's really no way for me to reschedule it unless I want to tell the partner why I need to reschedule. . . . something I am not in favor of doing.

When I asked her whether the IUI could be done in the afternoon, the nurse informed me that they don't generally do them after 9:30 a.m. and that it was unlikely. She suggested that we could still do "timed intercourse" instead if that happens. . . . a suggestion that made me want to bitch-slap her, because why the hell would we even be at the RE's office if timed intercourse would get the job done for us? We've had 14 cycles of appropriately-timed intercourse with nothing to show for it!

I am not feeling at all optimistic about our odds of success with this cycle, and I am already feeling resentful about the time away from work and everything else. I've been crying ever since I called MM to tell him about the scheduling, and I can't seem to stop.

I feel like I am already not handling this process very well, and I have yet to take a single pill or shot. Hell, at this rate, I won't know if Clomid gives me mood swings or not!

I'm just not sure I can do this. I know that millions of women do this--and much, much more--for years. But millions of women run marathons or climb mountains or do any number of things that I cannot. Just because some people can handle this does not at all reassure me that I can.

So tomorrow morning I will take my first step down a path I've long said I would never walk. . . .

CD 1

Since I went off the pill nearly a year ago, MM has been the optimistic one. Even though on some level I thought I'd get pregnant right away, a small part of me (pessimistically, as I thought at the time) feared that we'd have problems.

Even in light of the fact that we have been trying for many cycles, MM remained optimistic.

Until last night. . . .

When I mentioned to him that I'd had some spotting and expected AF to arrive within the next 12 hours or so, suddenly he was angry and frustrated. He ranted for a while about how unfair this is, how the felons he supervises can get women pregnant at the drop of a hat, how he didn't want to have to use medical intervention to achieve a pregnancy.

Really, he was just expressing many of the same feelings I've had over the past several months. While I am still sometimes angry and frustrated when I think about our failure to conceive thus far, I have somehow reached a point of semi-acceptance. . . . where I still think the whole situation is unfair and hard to grasp but realize that without some affirmative action on our parts, we will likely be childless. (And may be childless even WITH intervention.)

You might think that I would feel good about the fact that MM has finally "arrived" emotionally at this place, but I really didn't/don't. Because there is no explanation for our inability to get pregnant and our RE has told us that the most likely reason is my age, I feel bad and guilty. I've known since very early in our relationship how important having a child of his own is to MM, and it's very difficult for me to realize that this seemingly simple thing. . . . this thing that most couples achieve without much effort. . . . may be something I cannot give him.

Because of his unique circumstances, I actually think my husband has a more compelling reason than most men to want to be a dad. In addition to all the usual reasons people wish to become parents, he wants a family (or at least one child) of his own because without it, he will be basically alone in the world when his parents pass on someday. Sure, he'll have me, but there is obviously no blood relationship between us. He is an only child, and both his parents are also only children. His grandparents are all dead. So once his parents are gone, without a child of his own, he will be alone in the world except for some distant cousins he doesn't know well and rarely sees. (And he'd likely lose touch with them if his mom were gone.) For him, if we don't have a child, losing his parents will mean losing his whole family, everyone in the world with whom he has a genetic link.

Meanwhile, the life of the fertile continues. Two friends had baby girls this week. One is a former coworker of mine who is better friends (and still works) with my best friend KC; the other is the girl I used to babysit (yeah, she's nearly 26 now) whose mother has known me since childhood and whose half-sister is a friend of mine since high school. So not close friends, but women whose pregnancies I have followed and whose babies' photos have been prominently displayed where I can see them.

When the second friend gave birth on Tuesday, I actually made a mental note of the fact that she was the last pregnant woman I know personally. No more hearing about pregnancy for a while.

When I came home from dinner with a friend after work yesterday, I had personal correspondence from an unfamiliar name/address. Turned out to be a baby shower invitation for a former coworker who I didn't even know was pregnant. I am happy for her--she is 35, has been married for nearly 5 years, and I didn't know if they'd have children--but unhappy, once again, for me.

And oh yeah: I finally started my period early this morning. I'm crampy and feel blah. But at least we can finally get on with stuff.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dear AF

We both know that you are on your way. Would you please arrive already so that I can get on with things?