Sunday, July 26, 2009

My new cycle resolutions

in no particular order...

- I will exercise every day, even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood after I put the kiddo down for bed. I will bring my gym clothes to work every day, in hopes of fitting in a real workout most days of the week.

- I will eat *fairly* well. By well, I mean I'll add more fruits & veggies as snacks, as well as yogurt and nuts. By fairly, I mean that I'll allow myself the occasional hershey's kiss.

- I will allow myself to stay home from work the day after the IUI, if I'm feeling as crappy as I did last cycle.

- I won't overly analyze everything that happens, and Dr. Google will not be consulted. All that jackass does is get me riled up unnecessarily.

- I am going to use up the two spa gift certificates I have. The first - a full body massage - I'll schedule for sometime towards the beginning of the cycle, before my ovaries get too sore to lay down on my belly. The second is for a facial, so maybe that will be during the 2ww. I've been dying to use these, and my husband doesn't know why I'm saving them.

- Yoga. I freaking love yoga. I don't do it nearly enough - probably because I only get the full effects by going to a class taught by a professional. The DVDs at home aren't usually as wonderful, but it's better than nothing. So to that end, I'm going to start looking for classes locally, and if I can't find them I will settle for doing it on my own.

The food and exercise related resolutions have already been put into action. I just need to be vigilant about keeping it up all next month, to minimize the discomfort and weight gain from bloating. I'll start this week on the yoga project.

How does that sound? Too strict? Anything else I can add? I haven't been charting, but my period should come in about a week or so. I'm sad to say that I've lost a grand total of two pounds on my month of healthy eating and exercising. Ugh. So I just need to do what I can for the next couple weeks before I start stimming again, because I really don't want to take another month off.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I got licked at daycare dropoff this morning

Not figuratively.


It was another kid in my son's class. He grabbed my arm, and I thought he was going to kiss me, but he licked. My son's face: horrified. (giggle) If there were a thought bubble over his head, it would have said, "that's MY mom you cheating sonofabitch!"

Did I mention, gross?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How do other people see me?

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm not sure how people view me, with regards to being infertile. I am very open about what we're going through (sometimes to a fault, I suppose), but I try to match the level of detail I share to the kind of relationship I have with a person. I have one friend who has been avoiding me - or at least I feel that she has - for over a month. Last time we got together, I was leading up to the most recent IUI, and she told me that she and her husband had started trying for their second child. I shared with her all about my injections, my follie count, my great lining, and my hope that I wouldn't get pregnant with quints. Now I've emailed her and called her a few times, and haven't heard back (though she's on facebook daily, so I know she's around and doing fine). My paranoia says that she got pregnant and now is afraid to face me.

About two weeks ago, just after I got my period, I had lunch with a different friend who I had been trying to connect with for some time. Our schedules just kept differing, and we each had to cancel a couple of times. Finally we got together, and one of the first things she shared with me was that she was really hoping that by the time we finally got together I would be pregnant .... "too." She was - what? - fearful? of telling me that she got knocked up, if I were still struggling.

I hate being seen as this fragile thing that can't take a friend's good news. Yes, yes, yes, of course I give the stink eye to pregnant women that I see when I'm out and about. (Especially if they have more than one kid already.) Strangers though. And yes I roll my eyes at all the "you never know!" stories that people tell me about their friends. Clearly I share Mel's sliding scale of happiness. But really, that's for strangers and celebrities. (At least, mostly.) I would never begrudge a friend her happiness, and if I did, I certainly wouldn't be bitter to her face. For the most part, my happiness level only goes up for fellow infertiles, rather than sinking down into jealousy, anger, or bitterness for my fertile friends.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My favorite one, so far

The newest Harry Potter movie, that is. Oh my goodness.

Ok, yes there were some things that bugged me. One or two things even that really bugged me. Let's start there, with the bad stuff. First of all, what the EFF is up with Dumbledore asking Harry if he & Hermoine were dating?! The Dumbledore I know would never ask that - it just rang silly. I liked the added Burrow attack scene, but why in the hell did they leave out the intense fight between Dumbledore's Army and the Death Eaters at the end? That is probably my biggest complaint about the movie. I loved that scene in the book, and they watered it down until it was barely recognizable. And the worst, the very worst thing about the whole fricken movie: Harry standing by idly while Snape murdered Dumbledore. Why? The book-Harry would never have stood there quietly; he would have fought. Hence JKR writing him under the Invisibility Cloak and petrified by Dumbledore: he didn't have a choice but to stand and watch. If he had a choice, he would have acted. I can't figure out why they made that change, what purpose it might have served. Then there was the Slughorn memory - the fake one, that is - it was not at all how I pictured it from the book. In the book she did such a great job of describing what a tampered-with memory would look like, and this didn't have that feel at all. They could have done more with that, in my opinion.

I also am confused by a few things. I'm not sure how they're going to hunt for Horcruxes in the final movies, when Dumbledore never explained to Harry what he thought the Horcruxes might be. Harry will be searching blindly. Unless Dumbledore leaves him a note, or maybe Hermione does her typical research and leads them in the right direction.

Ok, now for the good. This movie cracked me up. A lot. The Aragog scene: awesome. Lavender: brilliant. Hermione subtly teasing Harry about Ginny ("Harry really enjoyed dessert, didn't you Harry?"): perfect. It had so much more humor in it than the other movies, and it really added to its likeability. Another thing more heavily focused on that I enjoyed was all the relationship stuff. I loved how they portrayed the kids as ... well, as hormone-riddled teenagers. I also really, really liked Draco. That actor did a fantastic job with playing the role of being torn. I remember thinking he was a cute kid with a great sneer, but he really has grown as an actor. I loved the Hermione/Harry dynamic, and how much their relationship grew in this movie. Slughorn was great, and of course Snape was awesome as well ... I just wonder if maybe he didn't seem quite as evil and hate-worthy as he should at this point in the series. And then there was Bellatrix. Bellatrix, Bellatrix, Bellatrix. She is pure evil, crazy, taunting meanness. "I killed Sirius Black..." Fanfuckingtastic.

I can't wait for the last two movies. I wonder how many times I'll see this one in the theater?

And now I will leave you with one of the best lines from the movie:

Oh to be young and feel love's keen sting. ~Dumbledore

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I guess I'm just a dog person

I've always been a fan of vampire stuff: movies, TV shows, books. Of couse I probably liked The Count when I watched Sesame Street, and The Lost Boys was great (mmm, Keifer Sutherland, yummy), but my obsession started with the Anne Rice books. Then Buffy, and - embarrassingly - Twilight, and now the Sookie Stackhouse books and True Blood.

I had a weird love/hate relationship with the Twilight books. Edward just seemed too fatherly for me, and while I was hooked on the books, they really irritated me at the same time. Ever since the second book, New Moon, I rooted for Jacob. His character was so much more developed than Edward, his relationship with Bella was way more compelling, and she seemed to blossom with him in a way that she did not with Edward. They really had fun together, and didn't spend whole pages staring into each others eyes or glaring one another down. I knew how the book would end, I knew she'd never go with Jacob and that Edward would win out, and yet I really wanted Bella to come to her senses and choose Jacob.

Now my newest obsession in the vampire world is the Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris, and the related HBO series, True Blood. I can't decide which I like better - the books or the TV show. I mean, on one hand, in the TV show, I don't have to trudge through Harris' choppy writing style, but when I'm reading the books, at least I don't have to hear Bill say "Suckah." (What's up with that anyway? Is that how they would have said Sookie in Louisiana in the 1800's?) Sam, I am happy to say, is as compelling on screen as he is in the books. I've only read through the second book and I'm still watching the first season of True Blood, so I don't yet know how it's going to go. But as of now, count me on Team Sam. (Not as nice a ring to it as Team Jacob, but I'm sticking with it.)

I started thinking this morning, maybe I'm just a dog person? The only other vampire series I was into that had a werewolf was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Seth Green's Oz was one of my favorites. As a love interest though, not so much. Then again, the vampires in that show (the love interest ones at least, Angel and then Spike) were so much more compelling and developed than Edward Cullen or Bill Compton (again, so far), and of course Oz was never in love with Buffy, so I didn't need to turn to the resident dog.

For now, I am very much rooting for Sam, but I fear he will go the way of Jacob. I'm at least hoping to not have to see Sam fall in love with ... well, I'll stop there in case you haven't read as much Twilight as I have.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Infertility pants

This is my new idea; I think it could be a big hit. Picture it: you're stimming, and maybe you've gained a pound or three, or maybe not, but your ovaries are swollen and painful. None of your pants fit. What's a girl to do? Wear jersey-knit dresses every day? Go to work in yoga pants? Not an option. Ok, so you're off to the mall, figuring that this is just another IF-related expense, and daring to hope that one day these will be your early maternity or even post-partum pants. You try on pants in the next size up - still too tight around the waist to be comfortable. The next size after that fits fine around your waist, but they're droopy and huge in the butt. Not very attractive or comfortable.

My answer: infertility pants. I mean, if you've been pregnant or have seen maternity clothes, you know that those early pregnancy pants would suit your stimmed-up belly just fine. But really, who wants to walk into A Pea in the Pod in the middle of a cycle to buy pants? How humiliating. That's where infertility pants come in. No, there won't be a huge market, but it'll be an important market. And instead of a big pregnant belly icon on the tag, there'll be a pic of needles and hershey's kisses.

Who's with me?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Some good news, and something else to consider

I had my consult with Dr. D yesterday, and learned a few things, including a nice surprise. First of all, he said that he thought I responded well to the meds, especially considering my FSH. In any IUI candidate with injectibles, they hope for four to five good mature follies, and I had five. That was probably more than they expected to happen with someone who 1) never produced more than one follie on oral meds, and 2) has an FSH of 14. So he said that was the bright side: I responded well. In fact, he said he'd consider me a candidate for IVF. That surprised me - I asked him what their FSH cutoff was, and he didn't give me a firm answer, but just said that they had no reason to believe I wouldn't fare well in an IVF cycle. However, he did recommend we go with "a couple more" IUIs first, mostly because I had already had a successful pregnancy with IUI in the past.

We talked a bit about the financial aspect of this decision. I am lucky enough to have decent coverage, but I am working with a lifetime max on infertility. Unfortunately, I have no idea where I am with that lifetime max, and the insurance company hasn't returned my call yet. But Dr. D. said that if I have the funds remaining, let's go with a couple more IUIs and if we're still trying we can move on to IVF. He said I could think about moving right now to IVF (to get more bang for my buck, so to speak), if my insurance funds are running low.

I honestly had never thought I'd be a candidate for IVF, so this is a lot to consider. It was sort of safe to know that we'd do a few IUIs and then move on from fertility treatments ... this is a whole new thing to consider. And not just financially. More on that later, I suppose.

We discussed a couple other things. He took the time to answer my questions that I had from this cycle, namely around the follie sizes. I always thought follicles had to be 18mm in order to ovulate, but we triggered when mine ranged from 13mm to 17mm, and he said at that point that I had already started to ovulate on my own. He confirmed yesterday that follicles on Gonal-F are mature when they're smaller in size, and can even ovulate on their own when they're 15mm and more. He also confirmed that a slightly shorter LP is normal on these meds than on Clomid and natural cycles. And lastly, I asked him about going back on Avandia. We went back and forth, during which he told me that being 20 pounds over my ideal weight doesn't make me "obese" (ok, I never said I was), and that even for really overweight folks, being on Metformin or Avandia doesn't necessarily offer any increased advantage in getting pregnant (according to recent studies). But we ended with him giving me a script for Met, because it was part of what worked last time for us, and he said "it probably can't hurt." I am on Met now, and not 100% wholeheartedly, for a few reasons. I'm not even sure I need it, but just felt this desire to ... well to try everything and anything, I guess. I used to be polycystic, and I had insulin resistance, which is why I was on Avandia last time. Now, I'm clearly not polycystic any longer (in fact, I have a low antral follicle count), so will this really help? I have no idea. For now I'm taking it, and I'll figure out to continue or not based on how my body takes to it.

Another marathon post. I'm going to do my best to come up with something short and sweet next time. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A (short) waiting game

I decided to take this cycle off. I don't think I've ever taken a break on purpose, for no good (medical) reason. I've always rushed to the next thing, hating to wait or be held up for anything. So I have a good feeling that this decision will come back to bite me later (in terms of my impatience, I mean), but it feels like the right decision for me right now.

I just need a break - mostly physically, but I hope that the month off will be good for my mental health too. Physically I need a month off, because those injectibles were really rough on me. I had no idea it would be like that. I guess I got off easy with the oral meds, because in comparison the injectibles kicked my ass. I felt really nauseous for about two weeks ... it actually felt just like morning sickness, which is a bit of a mean joke, IMO. Lightheaded, headaches, and pain in my ovaries too. The pain in my ovaries and the nausea got really bad the day after the IUI (two days after the trigger) - so bad in fact, that I was walking with a limp, and I had to leave work early. Laying on the couch helped a lot, as did putting on stretchy comfortable pants. The pain and nausea subsided after another day or so, but the bloating remained - none of my pants fit right, and still don't, four days into my new cycle - everything is uncomfortably tight around the waist. The nurse said, "well you did have five follicles, your ovaries are huge right now compared to normal." So I guess it was to be expected? Please let me know if you felt that way, because I'd never heard of anyone having those kinds of side effects.

Yes, if you put that all together, you're right: I'm taking a month off because my pants are tight and I don't want to deal with the side effects right after just putting up with them for the past couple weeks. I am apparently that much of a wuss. Who knew?

Otherwise, I will say that I did really well this cycle. I have high FSH (14 at my highest) and a low antral follicle count (6-8 usually), and I wasn't responding too well to the higher Clomid doses. Well, I produced one follicle each time, but clearly that didn't get the job done. The RE said they hoped for four or five good follicles with the injectibles ... and this month, I made five. Plus my uterine lining was great (10.8 the day of trigger), and my 6dpo progesterone was 31. 31 for chrissakes. I almost cried when the nurse told me that a couple days ago - I'm glad I didn't know the number during my 2ww, because I would have thought for sure it worked with a level like that.

I have a consult with the RE on Friday morning, in which we'll discuss what could have gone wrong, if anything, and what might be tweaked next cycle. I also have a few questions about the follicle sizes (some seemed small to me, but a quick search of Dr. Google said that follicles might be mature at smaller sizes on injectibles), and a couple other things. Like the Ganirelex that I was prescribed, and that I have sitting in my basement, but was never told to use. I will also broach the subject of IVF, and whether he thinks I'm a candidate. I thought I wasn't, based on my FSH, but it seems like I responded well to the meds this time, so who knows.

Until then, as Rachel from "Signing Time" says, I'll just "wiggle my fingers, like I'm waiting, waiting, waiting."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Why secondary infertility sucks

Let me count the ways...

1 - You know what you're missing. I loved being pregnant. I had a fairly easy go of it (including labor & delivery), and I really can't wait to do it again. Yes, I had the typical complaints, but that's what being pregnant was all about, and it probably didn't bother me as much as it could have, because I felt ridiculously lucky to be there.

2 - You have another person to consider as part of the equation. When dealing with primary IF, my husband & I only had to consider our own needs and wishes. If we wanted to take out a loan to cover adoption or IVF, it was only our own future we were mortgaging. Now, we have a much harder time deciding where to draw the line - both financially and emotionally - because there is another person's life and future at stake here. And to take it a step further, it works both ways, actually: part of the reason we want another kid (or kids) is because of our son. We want sibling(s) for him and his future, as well as for ours.

3 - People's comments are no easier this time around. Dare I say, the comments may be worse? I don't know, that could just be my current pain overshadowing my painful memories of last time. But the comments are similar: Just relax, you know you can do it because you've already done it once... (dude, relaxing didn't get us there the first time). When are you going to give that kid of yours a baby brother or sister ... (thanks, just what I need, more pressure). And my least favorite, the "you never know" comments. You never know ... my cousin got pregnant on her own when her IVF baby was only 3 months old... (yeah, well my kid is two and a half, so I'm thinking that isn't the case for us). Grrrrrr...

4 - I'm seeing way less sympathy from people this time around. You already have a wonderful son, they say, why are you pushing it? They don't get that it's difficult to discover that once again you don't have an easy road for this, and that having my son doesn't necessarily make it any easier.

5 - Time is not as plentiful as it once was, pre-kids. Two parts to this: firstly, we don't have the time or energy for the sex life that we used to enjoy (and some say you can't get pregnant without having sex, to which I politely laugh), and we also have to juggle caring for him along with getting treatments. Ever try to keep a toddler still at an RE's office? During blood work this isn't so hard, but during an ultrasound? Not so easy.

6 - Not having a choice - or at least not having an easy choice - when it comes to family building sucks. Plain and simple, it just shouldn't be this hard to get or stay pregnant.



Friday, July 3, 2009

An introduction

I'm a 37-year old woman, married for almost 6 years, and a mom of a 2.5 year old boy. We dealt with infertility in conceiving him, and we're back in that game again. I had hoped to not have to go down this road again, but always sort of expected that it wouldn't be easy for us to conceive another child.

We tried for almost two years to conceive our son, and got pregnant - amazingly - on our first IUI. That came after a laparascopy to remove some pretty bad endometriosis and open up a blocked tube (that wasn't blocked after all). At the time, I was diagnosed with insulin resistance and PCO (not quite the full PCOS, but most of the associated problems), luteal phase defect, and "weak" ovulation. The funny thing was, I had always been very regular, and despite excruciatingly painful periods, I never had an indication that anything was wrong. But with the surgery, some meds to help my insulin problem, and ovulation induction (tamoxifen + an HCG trigger shot), we got lucky on that first IUI.

Since my son was born, I never went back on birth control, and we figured that if it happened without us really *trying* we'd be thrilled. Of course, it hasn't. About a year ago, we started really trying again - timing intercourse, charting, the whole shebang. That didn't work. Now we've been back at the RE for several months, and we've done three IUI's. The first two of those were on successively larger doses of Clomid, and the most recent cycle was my first with injectibles. I also missed a cycle in there because of a pretty large cyst, that luckily went away on its own.

I'm just about to start my period. Sonofabitch. The cramping and spotting started yesterday at 11dpo, and today my temp is way down and the cramping is getting worse, so I know the end is in sight soon. I'm bummed, cranky, and frankly pissed off. I started this process feeling pretty zen about the whole thing - because, after all, this time around I don't have to worry about whether or not I'll ever get to experience motherhood. I have an amazing son, and I know how lucky we are to have this kid. But this failure - month after month - while different than when I was dealing with primary infertility, it still sucks.