Friday, May 28, 2010


While doing a go.ogle search for something else, I ran across an interesting website:  It seems that its message is that having children is an irresponsible choice which is unfair to the planet and to the children themselves.  If you scroll about halfway down the page, the site also includes an interesting table citing the most commonly named reasons people provide for why they intend to have a child (or another child) and suggesting alternatives.

Clearly MM and I want to have a child of our own.  Given that the majority of people who read this blog are others who also are going through (or have gone through) their own struggles with TTC and IF, I am sure that just about everyone reading this feels the same.  Why else would we spend all this money and put ourselves through all this physical, mental and emotional stress?

I did find it interesting to read another perspective, one that I almost never consider.  It also made me wonder if there are any logical reasons to have a child.  I know there are loads of emotional ones, and I would freely admit that most of my reasons (and MM's reasons) are more emotion-based than logic-based.

Of course, not everything about life has to be logical.  Falling in love isn't usually logical.  Sometimes the other choices we make, like where we live, what we do to earn a living, and who our friends are, aren't logical either.

If you feel comfortable, share your thoughts.  Why do you want to have a child?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just for Fun

I have seen this meme on several other blogs and decided I would post my own answers.  Back to medical talk and deep thoughts soon. . . . .  ;-)

Apple juice or orange juice?  I actually don't like either. . . apple is too sweet, and orange gives me heartburn.  If forced to choose, I'd drink orange and take some antacids.
Are you a morning or night person?  Definitely not a morning person.  I've gotten to a point where I have a hard time staying up late, too, though.
Which do you prefer, sweet or salty foods?  Sweet
What was your favorite childhood television program?  The Muppet Show
Are you a collector of anything?  No
If you could be any animal, what would you be?  A well-loved golden retriever
What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?  Depends on the night.  It usually doesn't take me long to fall asleep, though, so whatever I am thinking of, it's not for long.
What’s your favorite color?  Blue, preferably a deep blue, like royal or peacock
Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?  Sure, why not? 
Do you believe in ghosts?  Not sure.  I have never seen one, but know several sane, rational people who say they have.
Ever been addicted to a video/computer game?  Yes, several.  The first was Frogger back in the day; my sister and I had it on our Atari.  Also Tetris, Bookworm, TextTwist, and Bejeweled Blitz.
You’re given 1 million dollars, what do you spend it on?  Invest it all and use the interest as a back-up for our income and to pay for debt reduction, travel and fertility treatments.
Have any bad habits?  I leave dishes in the sink (which my husband considers HORRIBLE)
List 3 of your worst personality traits:  Laziness, disorganization, occasionally more judgmental than I would like to be
Have any celebrity crushes?  I have a crush on one of the Arizona Diamondbacks players, Conor Jackson.  Not sure if anyone outside Arizona would consider him a "celebrity," though.
List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself:  My weight.
Any tattoos or piercings?  Pierced ears.  I would never get a tattoo; I've seen the way they look when you're old too many times as a nurse.  ;-)
What’s the first thing you notice in the opposite sex?  Smile
Are you mostly a clean or messy person?  Somewhere in the middle
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?  Somewhere on the ocean where the weather is nice year-round, probably southern California or Hawaii
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?  For a long time, Ireland topped my list because my father is from Cork, but I've now been there a few times.  I would still love to see Italy.
List 5 goals on your life’s to-do list: (1) have a child, (2) get my weight under control, (3) stay married to MM until one of us dies, (4) help others through my work and volunteer activities, (5) see as much of the world as feasible
Name 1 regret you have:  I sometimes regret not TTC when I was younger.  I've written about this at length on this blog.  Other than that, I really don't have regrets.
Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid:  Having my paternal grandmother around (she lived with us when I was a child and died when I was 17).
Name 1 thing you love about being an adult:  Getting to make my own decisions
What’s your favorite song of the moment?  Bad Romance by Lady Gaga
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?  Dinner with friends
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?  Read and nap

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

IUI #4 cycle protocol

I noticed a little bit of spotting yesterday morning, and by mid-afternoon, AF had arrived (conveniently, right in the middle of a deposition, lovely).  I have not been feeling great today or yesterday, between a milder-than-usual-but-still-unpleasant migraine yesterday, plus heavier-than-usual flow and cramps--I swear, it's like AF is angry at me for delaying her arrival with medications--but I am relieved that AF has arrived and was not further delayed.

Nurse Favorite called this afternoon with the plan for this cycle (BTW, she is still pregnant, 37+ weeks now, and plans to work until she goes into labor, she says).  Here it is:

**Clomid 50 mg each evening CD 3 through CD 7
**Gonal-F injections in the following doses:
--150 units on CD 3
--112 units on CD 4
--112 units on CD 6
-- 75 units on CD 8
-- 75 units on CD 10
(Gonal-F is basically the same medication as Follistim, but I am using Gonal-F instead because of the increase in doses)
**hCG trigger when instructed (I use Ovidrel, as I had a nasty local reaction to Pregnyl the one time I used it)
**Progesterone gel vaginally each evening for two weeks following IUI or timed intercourse
**Checking OPKs daily before 11:00 a.m. each day beginning on CD 8
**Mid-cycle u/s to check follicles on CD 11

So I start my medications tomorrow night!  This is only the second time I have successfully gotten it together to do two treatment cycles in a row, and it seems really quick. . . . .here we go.

The Secret

I have been planning to write a post about the book The Secret which I fairly recently started reading.  Normally I would steer clear of anything so new age-y, but what can I say?  The desperation that has come with infertility has led me to explore and do things I normally wouldn't do.

I'm not sure if anyone else has read the book orheard about it.  (I'd be mildly surprised if you haven't, since the author was on the Oprah show and everything, but I know this is not everyone's cup of tea.)  To briefly summarize, it is about the law of attraction.  The basic premise is that negative thinking brings negative things, and that the power of positive thinking can bring good things into your life.    

One suggested exercise in the book was to come up with a focused sentence about what you want in the following format: "I am so happy and grateful now that _______________."  You would fill in the blank with whatever it was you are hoping to bring into your life.

I tried this a few times.  The first fill-in-the-blank I used was ". . . I am a mother."  I quickly realized, though, that this thought standing alone was incomplete in that motherhood can be achieved through different means. and that the word "mother" is actually a little vague.  We are not looking to build our family through adoption, but rather to have our own child by birth.  I do "mother" (verb) in various ways in my life already, but do not mother my own child.

So I revised my sentence so that my fill-in-the-blank was ". . . I am a mother raising the healthy child MM and I conceived together and brought into the world."  But that sentence seemed awfully cumbersome and complicated.  I get that The Universe needs some instruction, but isn't that going a little overboard?

I had planned to read more of the book. . . . but our dog Hunter ate it yesterday while I was at work.  Literally.  MM came home to find the book ripped to shreds with one of the covers missing.  Hunter doesn't often destroy things but has been known to do so when he is scared.  (If you are interested in seeing the aftermath of another episode of destruction resulting from Hunter's fear, there are photos here.)  The pest control guy visited yesterday mid-day and was spraying in our backyard, so we figure that Hunter probably was anxious with a stranger in his yard and took his anxiety out on The Secret.

Or maybe Hunter just doesn't believe in the law of attraction and the power of positive thinking.  One or the other.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Post-BFN follow-up

Thank you all for your comments on my latest BFN on Saturday.  I actually wrote the posts for Sunday and Monday ahead of time with the thought that I wanted to take a break from blogging over the weekend.  (I still wanted to post about those things--both of which have been in my mind--particularly since it's May ICLW.  It was just as simple to write the posts ahead of time.)  So that's the reason I haven't thanked you previously, even though new posts have gone up.

To be honest, I really wasn't that sad after Saturday's BFN.  Probably because I was pretty much expecting it.  I am ruled far more by logic than by emotion most of the time.  Our RE, who is an experienced and respected physician, one of the top in his field in the city where we live, told us that we would have a 10-15% chance of success each cycle, depending upon the number of follicles I produced.  Knowing this, and knowing that I only had two mature follicles at ovulation, I figured there was a 90% chance that the cycle wouldn't work.

I had also worked a lot on letting go of my attachment to the outcome of the cycle.  Not sure if that contributed to handling it better, or if I have simply been worn down by many, many months of failed cycles.

Despite thinking positive and having some hope (10% isn't zero, and it's twice the usual 5% success rate per cycle we'd have TTC on our own), I expected a BFN.  So I had planned my weekend accordingly: no social activities whatsoever on Saturday, and no work, since I didn't know if I'd be able to concentrate after testing, whether it was a positive or a negative.  I promised myself an easy day when I could just veg, if that ended up being what I wanted.
Because I ended up handling the BFN better than expected, I visited the farmers' market on Saturday morning and had dinner with my BFF that evening while MM was working.  I still did a lot of relaxing, too, but I also did some chores around the house.

Unlike me, MM is more emotional than logical (though he denies this).  He was asleep when I tested, and we have previously agreed that I would only wake him for a positive test.  I went back to bed after testing, but I left the HPT on the bathroom counter so he could see it for himself (as he usually wants to do--he's been known to fish them out of the trash if necessary).  He snuck out of bed hours after I'd gone back to sleep and saw the test.  He came back to bed very sad and continued to feel low throughout the rest of the day.

For the most part, I just gave him his space and let him mourn in his own way.  There really wasn't much that needed to be said, and he prefers solitude when he's not in a good mood.

I feel horrible about the fact that I am not able to provide my husband with someone that should be so simple, and something that he wants desperately.  At the moment, his sadness and disappointment about our inability to have a child of our own seem much more acute than my own.  I know I shouldn't place blame, and that we are "unexplained," so I cannot know this for sure. . . . but I do feel that our childlessness is my fault.  (Me and my "old eggs")  I can't help but wonder if he sometimes wishes he had married someone else, someone with whom he could have had a child by now. . . . even though he always assures me that he loves me, loves being married to me, and will be happy spending the rest of his life with me even if it means he will be childless.  I know how badly he wants to be a father.

Anyway. . . . . . that is a subject for another post.

We had previously agreed to continue with injectables and IUIs up to the maximum six lifetime IUIs for which our insurance will pay, and that is still our plan.  I am just waiting for AF to arrive.  In prior cycles when I've used the prog.este.rone gel, it has taken 4-5 days after my BFN for her to make her appearance, so I am anticipating starting on Wednesday or Thursday.

I have two weekend, out-of-state trips scheduled in June, but so long as AF shows up by Thursday or Friday of this week, neither trip should interfere with our doing treatment this upcoming cycle.  So I hope AF doesn't decide to delay her appearance even longer than usual this go-around.

I have already called our RE to let him know that I want him to be more aggressive with the medications this cycle.  When we had our sit-down appointment with him in March, he had agreed to do this, and yet last cycle's protocol only produced two mature follicles at ovulation.  Our goal is more like three or four mature follicles, because even with that number, he believes that there is less than a 1% chance of our conceiving triplets or more, given our history and my age.  It just seems obvious to me that if two follicles doubles our odds of success, three should triple them, and four should quadruple them.  I am willing to take the (very small) risk of triplets or more because I think it is much more likely that I won't get pregnant at all than that all three or four follicles will produce an egg of good quality.

In a sense, the approach we're taking is a numbers game.  There is nothing the RE can do about the age or quality of my eggs, but hopefully the more eggs I produce, the higher probability that at least one is a healthy one.

I've also been reading up on ways to improve egg quality.  There aren't many.  One I am considered trying is DHEA.  (You can read a little about it here.)  I figure it can't hurt, and it might help.

I did a pretty good job of not obsessing during the last cycle, and I intend to work on that again this cycle.  In addition to letting go of attachment to the cycle outcome, I am also going to focus on getting back in a regular exercise routine and healthier eating during this cycle.  When I am making healthier choices, they tend to take up a lot of my mental energy, so it should help. . . . in addition to the obvious fact that I should be focusing more attention on that area anyway.

Let's see how this goes. . . . .

Monday, May 24, 2010

Isn't it ironic?

I'm an attorney, which you probably know from reading my profile. What you may not know is that my current position is at a malpr*ctice defense firm. Our firm represents doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers in malpr*ctice lawsuits.

I have been recently assigned to a new file in which a man underwent a which he claims failed. Three years after his vas.ect.omy, his wife became pregnant. The couple claim that they have had DNA testing done and know that he is the father of the child. His last semen analysis showed only "a few non-motile sperm."

They now want the doctor who performed the vas.ect.omy to pay them various damages, including (claimed) lost earnings from their small business due to the wife's unplanned pregnancy and birth. (Mom and baby are both fine and healthy; it appears their only claim relates to the fact that they neither planned nor wanted the child and have been inconvenienced/burdened by his unplanned arrival.)

My husband has produced literally tens of MILLIONS of motile sperm every cycle we have been TTC (and in every semen analysis he's ever had), and yet I have been unable to have the baby which we both very much want. If this patient's claim is to be believed, he managed to knock up his wife more than three years after a vas.ect.omy with, at most, "a few" non-motile sperm.

Am I the only one who sees the irony in my being assigned to this file?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Marketing & TTC

Several months ago, in a moment of frustration, I posted the following on my other, non-IF blog:

Dear Fac.ebo.ok, I am not a mom. I don't know why you think I am a mom, when my profile lists no children, and I have never mentioned children to anyone, in any fashion, on your site. Given that I'm not a mom, I am not interested in meeting other moms, winning free diapers, learning about local Montessori schools, or hearing about the government paying moms to go back to school. Figure out a better way to market to your target audience. Maybe you should start with women who actually have children. . . just a thought.

Following this post, an online friend of mine with marketing experience who read the post explained that the ads we see on websites such as Fac.ebo.ok or Go.og.le are targeted based on keywords. So while it is clear on my Fac.ebo.ok profile that I do not have children and should be even more obvious to Go.og.le that I am childless (since my reader is full of infertility blogs and I write about my own infertility here), the fact of the matter is, the words "baby," "mother," "child," "pregnancy," etc., show up a lot in my searches and in my writings.

OK, I get it. These are computers determining who gets which ads. Not a lot of actual "decision-making" is involved.

This latest direct marketing takes the cake, though. Yesterday this flyer arrived in my mailbox:

(The first part of the flat mailer, which I cut off in the photo in order to focus on the language regarding the product being promoted, details the history of different types of birth control, including the pill and the rubber condom.)

In my opinion, this marketing approach is a risky one. On what basis did someone conclude that "[our] family is complete"? We don't even have ONE child, let alone so many children, or children of such an age, that our "choice is clear." And anyway, who decides how many children is "enough"?

I haven't even used birth control in over two years! That alone might tip someone off that (A) I am still trying to build my family, (B) I am infertile, and/or (C) I am definitely not preventing pregnancy. I have also ordered a number of products to "increase fertility" over the past two years, and you might think that this shopping behavior would also tip off a savvy marketer.

Did I receive this because of my age? Did some great marketing mind somewhere determine that a 39-year-old woman like me is more likely than not done with child bearing and ready for permanent sterilization? If so, I'd like to refer that person to some of the blogs I read. . . . I know many women (online) even over 40 who are still TTC, sometimes TTC their first child.

I suppose sending these to all women "of a certain age" is a fairly low-risk proposition for the company promoting Women like me who don't have any desire or need for their product will just toss it in the trash. Women who would be interested might learn about something they didn't know about before receiving it.

What a slap in the face! I know I shouldn't take this personally, but it's hard not to when it came addressed to me, by name, not to "Resident" or "Occupant".

Another reason to hate corporate America. . . . .

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This morning's test

One stark, lonely line, another BFN.

Friday, May 21, 2010

ICLW May 2010

Welcome to my blog, whether you are here for the first time for ICLW or have visited before.

I am S, married to MM. We have been TTC our first child since April 2008 and have been married since November 2008. It is the first marriage for both of us. We started TTC before we were married because we knew TTC could take a little longer when you're over 35. Little did we know HOW much longer.

We have two golden retrievers we love, Sebastian and Hunter, both adopted from a local golden retriever rescue organization. (I wrote a lengthy post about them here, including photos, last summer, in case any fellow dog-loving readers are interested.) When we aren't busy with work or fertility treatments, we love going to movies and travel. I love to read, and MM loves college basketball and football and major league baseball.

All of our testing has been normal, so we are "unexplained." Our RE has opined that we are "subfertile" rather than "infertile" and that the cause of our inability to conceive is likely poor egg quality related to my age (39). (MM would want me to tell you that his sperm are awesome, numerous and can get the job done. ;-) )

In 25 months of TTC, we have only seen one BFP last August, which turned out to be a chemical pregnancy. Ironically, our only-ever BFP was the result of a break cycle during which my stress levels were sky-high.

Like many women, I started out small with charting and OPKs, moving on to acupuncture and herbs when I hadn't conceived after 8-9 months. I naively thought I would have no difficulty conceiving naturally. HAHAHA

We started using medical intervention to try to get pregnant in April 2009 and have taken several breaks, long and short, along the way. (Our complete TTC history is in the sidebar if you're interested.) We just completed our third IUI (second one with injectables) on 5/8, and I will be testing tomorrow morning.

In terms of future plans, MM and I have agreed to use injectable gonadotropins, either with IUIs or timed intercourse, until I turn 40 next March. If I am not pregnant by then, we may consider doing donor egg IVF. We do not intend to pursue IVF with my eggs, for the reasons I wrote about here, and have also agreed that adoption is not for us. . . . so we may also end up living childless.

I have found this blog to be a wonderful place to write about my feelings related to the unwelcome and difficult experience of infertility.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Angel & Devil

This morning while I was lying in bed before getting up for today, hours before my alarm was set to go off, I played out my own twisted version of one of those cartoons where the character has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.

Devil: Hey, you should get up and take a pregnancy test.
Angel: You know it's only been 11 days since your IUI. Even if you are pregnant, you would probably get a false negative.
Devil: Yeah, but you could just use one of those cheap Dol.lar Tree tests! They only cost a dollar!
Angel: Those tests are probably even less sensitive than the First Response Early Result test you are saving for your test day. . . . which means you are even more likely to get a false negative.
Devil: Maybe, but c'mon. . . it's only a dollar. What can it hurt?
Angel: You will be bummed out if you see a BFN. And it won't even be a reliable result. Just wait until your test date.

Luckily, I managed to ignore the devil and go back to sleep for a while. And when I woke up for the day, I was in such a hurry to pee that I didn't even think of testing.

Throughout our 2+ years TTC, I have never been much of a one for testing early. Even in my early optimistic days, I would generally wait until at least 14 days after ovulation, and by that time, my period had usually arrived or was on its way. Because of this, I actually rarely saw BFNs prior to starting treatments in April 2009. (Our RE requires me to take a HPT at the end of every treatment cycle and only schedules a blood test if it is positive. . . . which hasn't happened to me so far after a treatment cycle.)

Back when I used to frequent the message boards of a popular charting website, I regularly saw women testing as early as 7 days after ovulation. A woman in my buddy group tested at 10 DPO and got a positive. (She turned out to be pregnant with twins.) I will admit, I kind-of prided myself on my ability to resist that temptation.

Not sure why all of a sudden this cycle I had this urge to test early. Hmm.

MM has asked me a few times over the past few days if I'm having any "pregnancy symptoms." I have explained to him that (1) I wouldn't expect to have symptoms this early, even if I am pregnant, and (2) the side effects of the prog.esterone gel are very similar to early pregnancy symptoms, i.e., feeling tired, queasy, headache, cramps.

That said, I have been inexplicably tired today. And vaguely headache-y.

Three more sleeps until I test.

Monday, May 17, 2010

2WW & Stuff People Say

Gah, is there anything worse than the 2ww?! Even when I can hold back from over-analyzing for every imaginable potential early pregnancy symptom by reminding myself that anything I'm experiencing could just as easily be a side effect of gel, I hate having to "act as if" I'm pregnant two weeks out of every month. . . . even though I know there's an 85-90% chance I'm not.

A few examples: I can't take the daily herbal supplement I usually take to reduce the frequency and severity of my migraines. If (or should I say "when") I do get a migraine, I can't take my prescription migraine medication or even take Ad.vil to treat it. Just in the past four days alone, I have had two migraines and inwardly cursed the fact that I cannot rely on my usual remedies during this time of my cycle and instead had to suffer (even missing a day of work).

I can't get in the hot tub. Or do anything that might get me overheated. (I live in Phoenix, people. That includes just about any outdoor activity here for at least half the year.)

I can't drink alcohol (not that I do anyway, because of my migraines, but I could, if I weren't being extra-careful). Or eat sushi. Or deli meat. Or lox on my bagel. Or soft cheeses.

And all of this deprivation for what? Oh yes, for the 10-15% chance that I might actually be pregnant. Ppppfffffttt.

I would gladly give up all these things for nine months were I *actually* pregnant. It would be worth a migraine every day (almost) to finally have a child of our own. But it's tough giving them up "just in case," especially after TTC for over two years.

I really am trying to be Zen. I have worked hard on letting go of my attachment to the outcome of my cycle. Truth be told, though there is always a little glimmer of hope, I am more likely to conclude (logically) that I am NOT pregnant as I write this.

I'm finding that logic only makes these required sacrifices less tolerable.

While I wait and "act as if" I'm pregnant, the pregnancy and birth announcements keep coming. I found out over the weekend that another law school classmate of mine had a baby in the past couple of weeks, her second, a boy this time. She already has a 17-month-old daughter. I didn't even know she was pregnant. Another friend from my hometown,
several years my junior (my sister babysat her) is apparently pregnant with her second, based on her cute-sy Fac.ebo.ok status update a few minutes ago ("Our little girl is just a-kickin for all she's worth!").

Wonder if they had to go through this? Given that each of these women already has a child under age 2 and now a newborn/new pregnancy, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that conception came relatively easy for each of them.

OK, just to end this post on a less complaining note, I want to share a funny statement from a friend's husband yesterday.

Yesterday I visited a friend in Tucson who used to be my neighbor and then roommate during law school and a little beyond. (We lived next door to one another for a year-and-a-half and lived together for two years.) I last visited this friend back in February, coincidentally, just hours before she delivered her infant son 4 weeks early. The baby boy was born doing just fine, though a little small, and his only "issue" has been colic (which happens with lots of full-term babies, too).

As my friend and her husband discussed the adjustment of becoming new parents, I asked her husband if parenthood is "everything [he] dreamed it would be." His response? (Which was delivered with a smile.)

"Well, if some of the dreams you're talking about were nightmares where someone deprived me of sleep and tortured me. . . . then yes."

OK, even if you don't find his statement funny, you've got to love his honesty. I know they are thrilled with their son, but sleep deprivation and colic are hard and probably not what anyone dreams of when they dream of parenthood.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

If you don't have anything nice to say. . . .

I have a question of blog-related etiquette for my readers.

When it comes to commenting on posts, do you think it is acceptable to leave a comment that is something less than 100% positive and supportive? I have had a few of those comments on occasion on this blog and have seen many more on others' blogs. (For some reason, the things I write don't seem to stir up as much controversy as others. . . . though I did have one comment a few months ago telling me that perhaps my purpose in life was to serve as a warning to others.)

On the one hand, it could be argued that by putting your stuff out there on a public, blog you are inviting comments and assvice from anyone who may stumble across your blog. This view of the situation would be particularly true in situations where the blogger actually solicited opinions from the readers.

On the other hand, most people who write blogs on the topic of infertility in particular are probably not writing the blog to spur public debate of their choices. I know that I started this blog primarily as a place to vent my feelings, chronicle my journey, and connect with others going through similar experiences.

Is it a case of, what most of our mothers taught us, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything"?

I know there have been times when I have read blog posts by others and simply not commented because I did not feel I had anything helpful to add. This feeling on my part could have been due to either a lack of knowledge (i.e., the blogger was asking about IVF or pregnancy symptoms or parenting, with which I have no firsthand experience) or due to my being in an emotional place at that time which made it difficult/impossible for me to offer support (i.e., blogger venting about pregnancy symptoms, or announcing a BFP when I've just seen my own BFN).

Thoughts? I'm interested to hear what you think. (So this is one of those times when all comments are invited.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great minds think alike?

Or has someone been reading my blog and borrowing my ideas?

Check out these two articles and you decide:

My sister found the article in the first link, which was posted on the website a mere 13 days after I wrote this entry. I think anyone who reads my blog post and this article will see the similarity in the discussions, though I admit that I didn't include the whole "Jillian Michaels says having a baby will ruin your hard body" line of thinking.

The article in the second link is from a blog I read regularly. I actually am much more inclined to think that the posting of this article, which discusses the same theme I discussed in this entry, is merely a coincidence. I also know that letting go of attachments is a basic part of Zen Buddhist practice, so it makes sense to me that a blog called "Zen Habits" would feature an entry on letting go of attachment.

It is an interesting coincidence to run across recent writings by others about topics on which I myself have been writing and ruminating of late. I guess there really are no new ideas.

Monday, May 10, 2010

When will I learn?

When will I learn that no good can come of reading updates on Fac.ebo.ok?

Last week I learned that a friend--several years older than I, with four children between ages 18 and 24--is going to be a grandmother again this fall. I was mildly annoyed to see that my friend's daughter, who is not yet 25 and who got married two months before MM and me, is clearly as fertile as my friend her mother, for whom having four children in six years was no problem. She will have two children before her second wedding anniversary.

Tonight I checked status updates and learned that a former coworker of mine is pregnant with her second and due in September. And this one's a girl! At least she spared us the ultrasound photo (though it may still be coming).

I was just starting to feel good about the fact that nearly everyone I knew who was pregnant has given birth in the past few months. I only had one pregnant friend/acquaintance left! Now I am back up to three!

This is why no good can come of checking Fac.eb.ook.

Testing out trigger

I had planned to do a cute post with serial photos of the cheapy Dollar Tree HPTs I've used since taking my hCG trigger, but I can't seem to get decent enough photos of them to make them worth posting.

As I mentioned here, I am testing out my trigger this cycle, just for kicks. Not being one of the many people who enjoys peeing on sticks--no judgment, just not an early tester--I had never done this before, and I thought it might be fun to conduct my own little science experiment.

So as I posted before, my first HPT, taken about 7 hours after my hCG trigger, was negative. . . . which freaked me out a little. I decided to test again that evening, and I got a faint positive. I still interpreted this as a good sign, because I know from my days on fertility message boards that "any positive is a positive."

I tested again on Saturday morning prior to my IUI, and the test was again faintly positive.

(I asked the nurse about the Friday tests and Saturday morning's positive test when I went in for my IUI. First, it was obvious that she thought it was very odd that I should be using HPTs to test whether my trigger had worked. Second, she said that my theory that testing 7 hours after the shot was likely too early to detect the hCG in my urine made sense to her. Third, she thought that perhaps the test I was using might not have been sensitive enough to detect the hCG in my urine on Friday morning.)

When I tested yesterday morning and this morning, both tests were clearly negatives.

So apparently I have now "tested out" my trigger, and any + HPT I see from this point forward should be a true BFP. It's odd, though, because I've read it takes 5-6 days for the hCG trigger to leave the system and have seen for myself women still getting + HPTs that many days post-trigger. Hmm.

Of course, as is my usual practice, now I won't test again until my doctor-ordered test date of 5/22.

I am feeling physically much better today than yesterday. I am still a little bloated and retaining some fluid (as evidenced by the scale still being up and my rings fitting tight) but feel it is resolving.

Tonight I have to start the dreaded prog.este.rone gel. Ick.

Hope everyone had a good Mother's Day. Not a favorite "holiday" of mine, even pre-TTC. My day was lousy but for reasons completely unrelated to its being Mother's Day (which are now resolved).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

IUI #3.1 recap

I had IUI #3.1 on Saturday morning. The IUI was fairly uneventful. MM had a post-wash motile count of 64 million, which is great! "Optimal" would be around 20 million, based on what I've read, so he produced more than 3 times as many swimmers as we need. (I think the extra day of abstinence we did this cycle--3 days instead of 2--made the difference.)

The insertion of the catheter was more painful than during my previous two IUIs. I had a different nurse than the last two times, and I'm not sure if it was due to her technique, but I have a suspicion it might be. I also had spotting later in the day, which I have not had before post-IUI, which in my mind further confirms my suspicion that the pain was technique-related.

I also had VERY intense uterine cramping when she inflated the catheter's balloon which I did experience during the other two IUIs. Painful! I had some cramping while the sperm specimen was instilled this time, the same as the prior two IUIs, but the bad cramping at the beginning was new.

All in all, the discomfort during the procedure left me wishing we had opted for timed intercourse instead. (I know MM would prefer that method, since it would eliminate his going to the clinic to produce a specimen.) Not sure how many more times I'm willing to go through that! My test date is 5/22. Starting tomorrow night, I will be using the (disgusting) progesterone gel nightly.

In addition to the temporary pain/discomfort of the IUI procedure itself, I was painfully bloated all afternoon/evening. Actually, from the time I woke up Saturday morning, before the IUI, I had a lot of pressure/discomfort in my lower abdomen. . . . and it only got worse as the day progressed. (The closest comparison I could come up with for MM--who obviously has no uterus or ovaries--is that I felt the way you might after a much-too-heavy meal when you really need to pass a lot of gas. Sorry, TMI, I know.)

I am still bloated today, though it seems to be getting a little better. My stomach is significantly larger than usual, but smaller than last night--it's not small to begin with--and I'm not having as much discomfort. The bathroom scale was up almost 3 lbs from where it usually is this morning, too, even though I actually ate less than usual, due to my bloating and discomfort, which just confirms my thought that things in my body aren't quite normal.

I fell asleep on the couch yesterday afternoon for an hour and a half and still went to bed at my usual time last night. I also slept in today, so I've had about 11.5 hours of sleep as opposed to my usual 8. So I guess I've been pretty tired, too.

In addition to feeling decidedly sub-par, I am now at my office because I have an assignment which must be finished early Monday. Because I am going to be out at depositions tomorrow, this weekend is my last opportunity to work on it. Bleh! I want nothing more than to be curled up on the couch or in bed with an engaging book, but alas! I am here at my office responding to a motion instead.

Oh, and on the way to my office this morning, I had a flat tire. MM refused to let me change it myself, for fear I would elevate my body temperature and potentially jeopardize the embryonic development of Future Baby M, so he came and changed it for me.

So today is not really the best day. And I still need to tidy up at home before my in-laws come over at 4:30 to go out for a Mother's Day dinner.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading. Enough whining from me when I should be working! Gotta get back to it.

A status update I wish I could post

I know quite a few of my fellow IF bloggers are on Facebook, so perhaps some of you will be able to relate to this post.*

I'm sure we have all seen the status updates that read something like this:

  • "If you have a best friend who is always there for you. . . . post this as your status."
  • "If you have a husband who makes you laugh, who you can say is your best friend, who you want to grow old with and who you know will always be there to pick you up when you are feeling down, copy and paste this to your profile with your anniversary date."
  • "If you have a father who you love and admire, post his name as your status."
There are several others I've seen for fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, or children generally. All are variations on the same theme.

I really hate these status updates for a few reasons. First of all, my best friend, father, and mother are not even on Facebook, and my sister belongs but rarely checks the site. So if I posted something like this in my status update, the only one who might possibly see it is my sister. . . . and even then, it's a long shot. What is the point of publicly declaring my love and appreciation in such a way that the objection of my affection doesn't even know about it?

Second, why do other people on my friends list need to know that I love my BFF, sister, mother, father or husband? I would assume that if you have someone in your life who fills one of these (very important) roles, you probably love him or her. I'd say it's pretty much a given.

I think the ones about spouses are particularly silly, and my husband agrees. Let me get this straight: you live in the same house and see each other daily (presumably) . . . . or even if you are apart at the moment, I would assume you communicate regularly, either via telephone or email. . . . and yet you choose to communicate your love for one another via a social networking site? OK. . . . . MM told me that he would think it very odd were I ever to post anything like this as my status update. (Or indeed, if I posted anything for his benefit on Facebook. "Just talk to me!" he would say.)

The only logical thing I can conclude is that these status updates aren't really directed at that person, with whom I assume you would be in close and regular contact if you value him or her that highly. Therefore these must be directed, really, to the rest of the people on your friends' list.

And here's where I have a problem. Because why would I want to brag to the other people on my friends list about my loved ones? Does it make my friend who is going through an ugly divorce, or my friend whose fiance just broke their engagement, or my friend who still isn't over her last relationship (all real friends, not hypothetical) feel good to read about how great my husband is? Does it make my friends who have lost parents feel good to read about how much I love my mom or dad (again, all real friends in this situation)? To take it a step further, what about the friends on my list who've lost siblings? Or the friends who, for whatever reason, are feeling forlorn and friendless at the moment they read my status update?

For obvious reasons, I particularly hate the ones about children. Yes, I am involuntarily childless, and that makes them hard for me to read. But not only that. . . . I just think they, like the spouse-related ones, are silly. News flash: loving your children isn't all that unusual or special. It is the NORM. I'd venture to say that the majority of parents love their children "more than life itself." At least the decent parents do.

And I would venture to say that most folks are in as close contact with their children as they are with their spouses. . . . some perhaps closer contact. If you love and value them as you say, they probably already know it. Let's hope so.

I do get that my friends with children are not trying to lord it over those of us who are childless by posting these status updates. I just find it unnecessary.

So here is the status update I wish I could post:

"If you have a spouse, parent, child, friend or sibling who you love and value in your life. . . . tell that person you love him/her face to face and don't tell the rest of us on Facebook!"

Yeah, I'm not really going to post that as my status. But I sure wish I could.

*For those of you who don't do Facebook. . . . a "status update" in something that appears next to your name and avatar photo on all your Facebook friends' home pages and will be read by everyone on your friends list, unless you affirmatively edit your privacy settings to make it visible only to select people. In my mind, it's the online equivalent of posting a sign outside your house or announcing something with a bullhorn.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Anxiety/irritability and hCG trigger

Ever since yesterday evening, I have had a feeling of generalized anxiety and irritability. I do not think it is related to my hCG trigger injection because it started a few hours before I took it. I found myself having no patience with my older dog who kept scavenging for trash and food (and poo) at the park and just feeling generally edgy. Things MM did which would normally not bother me at all were annoying. The feeling of edginess has persisted into this morning.

It's not clear to me whether this (unpleasant) mood I am in is related in any way to the fertility drugs I've used for this cycle. If you had asked me 24 hours ago if I was experiencing any medication side effects, my answer would have been no.

To be fair, I have been dealing with some work-related concerns for a few weeks, so it is entirely possible that these feelings are related to that situation and have nothing to do with our treatment cycle. But it is a little odd that they just cropped up yesterday when this situation at work has been going on for weeks. And usually a good night's sleep--which I had last night and have most nights--changes my mood for the better.

I mean, it's Friday, the start of the weekend. . . . and a weekend when I'll have plenty of down time and have only fun, low-stress things planned (except for my IUI, of course; that's not fun). It's payday. I am seeing my sister and nephew in a little over a month. I have two follicles. What do I have to be anxious about?

BTW, I have a question for anyone who has "tested out" the hCG trigger. I made a little trip to the Dollar Tree store yesterday to pick up some $1 pregnancy tests so that I could conduct my own little science experiment this cycle and test out my trigger. I used the first test this morning. . . . and it was negative. Even though I took my hCG injection at 11:30 last night.

My one thought is that I tested too soon to detect the hCG in my urine. My injection was at 11:30 p.m., and the urine I used was "FMU" (first morning urine) at around 6:45 a.m. It was 250 mcg of hCG, Ovidrel brand. Maybe 7 hours or so isn't enough time?

So what say you? Too soon to detect it? In my current mood, I am now worried that my hCG shot was somehow defective and that my ovulation time will be screwed up because of it and thus my IUI tomorrow morning will be poorly timed. Just what I needed: something else to make me anxious. I should have known better than to do my own little experiment.

I am going to test again tomorrow morning anyway and see what happens.

Oh, one last little thing I wanted to share. I do not usually shop at Dollar Tree stores, not because there is anything wrong with discount shopping but primarily because there is not a location very close to my home or work. (And most of the locations that are even nearby are in areas of the city which are pretty ghetto.) Knowing that I could get cheap, reasonably accurate HPTs there made it worth a slight detour last night after work.

Because I don't usually go there, I had a hard time finding the HPTs. I checked the "Health & Beauty" aisle and was surprised they were not there. I found maxi pads, tampons, and even douches, but no HPTs. Moving on to the "Baby" aisle, they were not there either. I roamed the other aisles for a while and finally had to break down and ask an employee, explaining that I had already checked what I considered the two most obvious locations.

The employee's response: "Oh, yes, we have pregnancy tests. They are by the registers up front, with the impulse items."

Which made me think "What kind of life are you living if your purchase of a pregnancy test is an impulse buy during your trip to the Dollar Tree store?" Clearly that would be outside my experience. ;-)

My BFF told me that she thinks they keep the HPTs there because they are a frequently shoplifted item. I hope she's right and that there aren't just a bunch of women impulsively buying HPTs along with their discounted groceries and household supplies. That image is not one that makes me happy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Look

By the way, those of you have been visiting have likely noticed that I changed the look of the blog. I had had the previous background template ever since starting the blog in March 2009, and I really liked it. I thought that this theme was pretty, too. To my eye, it is more spring-like and and thus more hopeful. And it allows me an extra column for my blog lists.

Hope you like it!

Cycle 26 follicle check

(I'm not actually sure that this is cycle 26--it could be 25 or 27, I've kinda lost track--but I'm going to say it is #26 for simplicity's sake.)

I had my mid-cycle u/s this morning. It showed two follicles on the right, one 20-mm and one 13-mm, and one 20-mm follicle on the left. So it looks like we will have two potential eggs for fertilizing from the two 20-mm follicles. Not the 4-5 follicles I had been hoping for, but respectable.

My lining was good: 9 mm. I was relieved to see that because this is my fifth cycle using Clomid, and I have read that it can cause problems with lining.

Because it's unlikely that the 13-mm follicle would grow enough in one more day to produce a mature egg, and because there is a chance my body may start to ovulate on its own with two 20-mm follicles already, I am going to trigger tonight and do IUI on Saturday morning. (MM is thrilled that he will have to be at the RE's office at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday to take care of his portion.)

So we shall see what the outcome will be. If I am not pregnant after this cycle, I am going to talk with the RE about increasing my Follistim dose. Two mature follicles does not really increase our chances enough to satisfy me when I am producing one egg on my own every month. Given that the RE told us that the odds of high order multiples (i.e., triplets or more) for us, even with 4-5 mature follicles, would be less than 1% based on my aged eggs, I think 3-4 follicles would be more in order with our goals and increase our chances that little bit more. Thoughts?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pregnant Women are Smug by Garfunkel and Oates

I ran across this here and just had to share it. I warn you, it's catchy. . . . it's been stuck in my head since I watched it the first time.


I am one of those people who concentrates better if my hands are somehow occupied while I'm listening. So during meetings (or lectures, when I was a student) when my mind starts to wander, I usually make lists. (I can't draw, or that would be a preferable way to engage my "right brain.") The lists I make could be anything from what I need to get done that weekend, to the names of every current U.S. Supreme Court Justice, to my Christmas list.

Recently during one of these meetings, I decided to make a list of the names of all the babies who have been born to my friends, close and not-so-close, in the past 12 months. I keep hearing on the news about how the birth rate has declined nationally and in my state during the recession, and I keep thinking that I am seeing absolutely no signs of this trend among the people I know personally.

In making my list, I came up with 24. (And as an interesting aside. . . no duplicate names at all. Odd.) 16 girls, 8 boys.

And when I reviewed the list later, I realized I'd missed a few more people.

Clearly my perception that a lot of people I know are having babies is not just my own skewed view brought on by my infertility. That's a lot of babies!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

99 Things About Me

I saw this done at other blogs and wanted to join in. If you’d like to participate, copy and paste the list and bold all the things you’ve done!

99 Things About Me

1. Started your own blog – Yes, two of them
2. Slept under the stars -- I've slept in tents, but not under the open sky
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to DisneyWorld -- Disneyland several times, DisneyWorld never
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis -- ick! I hate bugs
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris -- want to, will someday
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (This one made me laugh. I am not remotely artsy.)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (I have visited Lady Liberty, but we were not permitted to go to the top)
18. Grown your own vegetables (I have had a houseplant for nearly 3 years that I have managed not to kill. That's about the extent of my "green thumb.")
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (Um, wouldn't you have to visit Paris to do this? See #12)
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice -- Does The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas count?
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (Both, though sunsets much more often)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise -- want to, will someday
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (I learned about 10 words of Navajo when I was working at my first hospital but am far from fluent)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person -- want to, will someday
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David -- want to, will someday
41. Sung karaoke (often!)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance -- I have as a nurse, never as a patient
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Again, see #12)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching -- want to, will someday
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving -- want to, will someday
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book -- want to, will someday, I hope
81. Visited the Vatican -- want to, will someday
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating -- ick! I'd be a vegetarian if I had to do this to eat meat.
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury -- almost, but got struck.
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo (Never have and never would)
94. Had a baby -- I hope to say "yes" to this someday!
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit -- I'm involved in law suits constantly for my job (lawyer), but I have also been involved in one as a nurse.
98. Owned a cell phone -- Nonstop since spring 2001, and now I don't know how I ever lived without one! LOL
99. Been stung by a bee -- No, and yet I am irrationally afraid of them