(Click to See My Fertility Chart)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Husbands. Can't Get Pregnant With Them. Can't Get Pregnant Without Them.

An Open Letter to All Husbands Undergoing IF Treatments with Their Wives

Dear Husbands-

First of all, we love you. We know you don't want to be going through this any more than we do. We appreciate your support, your calm, your patience and kindness, and your ability to have hope even when we have none.

Having said that, we need you to take this as seriously as we do. Your sympathy for us when we are subjecting ourselves to daily injections and almost daily wandings and blood draws is appreciated, but what we really need you to do is take an active role in this journey. And what we mean by that is we need you to take your contribution seriously. Because although maybe sometimes it seems like we're doing this all without you, like maybe we can do it all without you, we can't. We need you. And your "contribution."

So when that time of the cycle comes around (you know the time we're talking about), you need to do what it takes to get the job done. We know that the pressure affects you. That's why we try to be so nonchalant about it when it comes your time to contribute. But we're not nonchalant on the inside. Oh, no. Inside, we're freaking out. Because you're watching sports on TV. Or you're going out for a drink with your buddies. Or you're just generally distracted and not on task like you need to be.

And when there's an IUI involved, precise timing is kind of important. When the doctor tells us to be there at a certain time, we would appreciate it if you took that seriously. But we will not bug you about it. Because we're afraid to stress you out, because we know that could affect your performance. And when you sit around wasting time instead of doing the things that need to be done before we leave for the IUI (like walking the dog, and moving the car for street cleaning), we will offer to do those things for you. We will quietly seethe inside and wish we had husbands that gave a damn about procreating, but we will smile and say, "I think we'd better get going pretty soon, don't you, honey?" And when we get to the appointment 30 minutes late and you say, "I'm sure it will be fine," we'll nod and agree, while inside we are screaming.

And when the IUI is over, and both of us have successfully performed our respective duties, you in a couple of minutes in that backroom we've never seen, and us over the last 2 weeks, injecting ourselves, getting ourselves to early morning appointments, tracking everything with precision, dealing with the insurance company and the mail order pharmacy, and researching all our treatment options on the internet, don't be surprised when we refuse to walk the dog, or to move the car. And don't be surprised when we say that these things are now your job and the least you can do. Because this is a partnership, and even if you don't act like it is sometimes, we will gently cajole you into your role as dutiful and attentive husband. Because we love you. And we're in this together.


IF Wives Everywhere (but especially this wife, right here, at TTC Hopeful)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Post Where I Prove That You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

  • My estrogen on Friday was 226. Today? 1297.
  • I have 4 follies in the running: 17.3, 17, 15.9, 15.7
  • Trigger is tonight, IUI tomorrow morning. Apparently my RE thinks I'm ready to pop.
  • Lining: a fluffy 9.1mm (Egg, that one's just for you!)
  • Last, but definitely not least, while talking to the infamous Dr. "Young" about possible scenarios based on the results of my b/w, he said, and this is more or less verbatim: "Depending on your bloodwork, I may instruct you to have intercourse tonight, just in case you ovulate earlier than we think, that way we can make sure that the sperm is waiting there for the eggs, with their fangs out, ready to go!" And when he said "with their fangs out" he made fang gestures with his hands, like he was ready to pounce. And while he was saying this, and making those fang gestures with his hands, I was thinking to myself, "Put it on your blog. Put it on your blog. You so have to put this on your blog." And so here it is, on my blog: My RE. Making fang gestures with his hands, pretending he is my husband's sperm, ready to pounce on my eggs.
  • And I so hope he does my IUI tomorrow. Because I think he's got more to say. And I have a blog. So maybe we're a good match, after all, me and my RE.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Post Where I Totally Over Analyze Everything And Then Blame It On My Ovaries

I would love it if I could stop second guessing my RE. No, let me rephrase that, I would love it if I didn't have to second guess my RE. Because apparently I do. Or I think I do. Or I'm on 225iu/gonal-f a day and my ovaries have now taken control, think they're in charge, and think they know a thing or two. And this is what my ovaries are thinking about:

Let's review my last cycle, IUI#3. The one where I stimmed for, wait, let me refer to FF... 15 days (!!), and didn't have the IUI until CD21 (!!). The one where I was on 75iu of gonal-f for all but the last 3 days, when they finally upped me to 112.5iu/day. And the whole time they were saying "it's fine, things are going great, no, it's not too slow," while I was like "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, GROW, FOLLIES, GROW" (see this post).

This cycle, IUI#4, I started at 75iu/day for the first 7 days, then was increased to 150iu/day for 2 days, now we've gone to the ovary-exploding 225iu/day for 3 days, and we'll see if my reproductive system is still in one piece at the u/s tomorrow.

Having gone to a higher dosage much more quickly this cycle, and based on the fact that all I heard last cycle was that everything was fine, nothing to be concerned about, etc, etc, you'd think that this cycle was going even slower than last cycle, and that they really wanted to kick start it. Nope. Let's just see the 2 cycles together, shall we:

CD9: Biggest follie 11.5; Lining 6.5; Estrogen 132
CD12: Biggest follie 13.5; Lining 9; Estrogen 169
CD14: Biggest follie 14.3; Lining 9; Estrogen 277
CD 16: Biggest follie 15.4; Lining 9; Estrogen 295
CD19: Biggest follie 24; Lining 9; Estrogen 613

CD7: Biggest follie 13.6; Lining 5.5; Estrogen 126
CD9: Biggest follie 12.6; Lining 6; Estrogen 167 (don't know why biggest follie is now smaller than on CD7)
CD11: Biggest follie 14.5; Lining 8.9; Estrogen 226
CD14: Tomorrow

My estrogen was higher (226) on CD11 this cycle than on CD12 last cycle (169). My biggest follie was bigger (14.5) on CD11 this cycle than on CD12 last cycle (13.5), yet last cycle on CD12 my RE said things were going great and to stay at 75iu/day (see this post), and on this cycle on CD11 with everything higher my RE took me up to 225iu/day.

You know, this is like a code that I don't have the key for. I really have no idea what the above means except that I am not pregnant and therefore somebody needs to work harder. And obviously my ovaries think it's them. Since they're the ones who are over analyzing all this. Not me.

Okay, it is me.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Post Where I Totally Overshare About a Subject Which Is Best Kept Between Husbands and Wives

Okay, I'm just going to put it out there, at the risk of getting the internet equivalent of chirping crickets, but I'm okay with that, because maybe I'm the only one that experiences this, and if that's the case, I'm just going to accept that this is how I am.

Fertility treatments make me... ummmm... more interested in... you know... hanging out with DH... in that way.

And it has absolutely nothing to do with making babies.

It starts about 5 days before IUI day. You, know, about the time when things really start to get going... down there. And it always starts with the inappropriate dreams. Okay, now I'm oversharing.

I've never been a super libidinous person. And s.e.x was always tied very closely with love and affection, meaning it was not a physical desire as much as an emotional one.

Oh, but this is different.

I'm starting to think this is how it must feel to be a guy.

And my poor DH, I'm not sure he knows what to make of it.

I don't know what it is, the extra estrogen, all those follies brewing inside me, but the injectable cycles do it, and the femara cycle, too. (The clomid cycles? Nope, nothing.)

So there it is. I'm not complaining. DH is not complaining.

It's like a little bonus.

Friday, February 19, 2010

So Long Ovaries

So apparently the RE wants my ovaries to explode.

Based on my estrogen (226) and the size of my follies (biggest is 14.5), they're upping my gonal-f to 225/day for the next 3 days.

I may not have ovaries by the time of my u/s Monday morning.

I think my RE is craaaaazy.

Okay, probably, it's me.

I don't care anymore. I will follow instructions. Whatever.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Breaking Up With IUI Is Hard to Do

What cycle day am I on again? I'm so not up on my cycle this time.

(Is this going with the flow or is this giving up?)

Here's a brief rundown of my cycle so far:

Monday (after 5 days at 75iu gonal-f): Lining 5.5mm; 3 follies on left: 17.7mm (RE says this is likely a leftover from last cycle), 13.6mm, 10.0mm; 1 on right: 12.6mm. Estrogen 126.

Wednesday (after 7 days at 75iu gonal-f): Lining 6.0mm; 3 follies on left: 17.8mm (leftover), 12.6mm, 10.6mm; 2 on right: 11.6mm, 11mm; Estrogen 167.

RE said my estrogen was not increasing enough, put me on estrogen patch, increased gonal to 150iu, back on Friday.

So, that's where I am. I'm trying really really hard to stop second guessing my RE. It's a bad habit that I've gotten myself into. I'm back on the estrogen patches now. As you may recall, I'm the one who talked the RE into putting me on them last cycle, then talked my RE into taking me off them for the start of this cycle. I think I'm just going to try to let them make the decisions from now on. You know, since they're the ones with the medical degrees. Kind of makes sense I think.

Honestly, I'm not thinking much about this cycle. I'm thinking about IVF, because most likely that's where we're headed. Here are the reasons I'm not looking forward to IVF:
  • Cost (duh). We have the money, so I know this is not as big of an issue for us as it is for many many other couples. I am thankful for that, and I know the decision to move forward with IVF would be much more difficult if we had to go into debt for it. So, although I'm not looking forward to spending all this money, especially when fertile couples can get knocked up for less money than it takes them to not get knocked up, we are not losing sleep over the cost.
  • I think I have to tell my parents. The way I figure it, I'm going to want them to know that we tried IVF whether we're successful or not, and so I'd rather have them aware while it's going on, and maybe have their emotional support. I have to admit that giving them (or not giving them) grandchildren is a big weight on me. I have one sibling, an older brother, and although he is married, they've told me that they aren't interested in children. My brother is 2 years older than me, but his wife is 10 years younger than he is (she's 26), so I figure there's a possibility she'll change her mind. We all know about how that biological clock that we couldn't even hear in our 20s gets deafeningly loud once we hit our 30s. But I also think there's a good chance that they'll stick with their decision to live child-free. In which case it's all on me. So, if we're unsuccessful, I want to make sure that my parents know that we are not child-free by choice, that we did try to give them grandchildren. And if we are successful, I don't want the fact that we conceived through IVF to be some sort of deep dark secret, so we might as well let them in on it right away. Having said that, my parents are very private people, as am I, and this is a conversation that I imagine will be awkward for everyone.
  • I'm going to be switching REs after this IUI cycle. The RE I'm seeing now has pretty abysmal IVF success rates. Like, really really bad. I've stuck with them for the IUIs mostly because they are in-network with my insurance and so my bloodwork, ultrasounds, and consults have all been covered, and I don't have out of network coverage. But I live in NYC, and there are some excellent fertility clinics here with some of the best success rates in the country/world. And the 2 best, the 2 that we're most seriously considering, do not accept insurance. But once we're on to IVF, where we're having to pay out of pocket for everything anyway, we're definitely going to be switching. But I'm really nervous about a) learning the ropes at a new RE and b) getting my medical records from my current RE without drama.
  • Finally, with IVF's higher chance of success comes a higher chance of complete emotional devastation if it fails.
Of course there are many reasons to look forward to IVF, too:
  • Higher success rates
  • Higher success rates
  • Higher success rates

Sunday, February 14, 2010

CD6, Best Laid Plans...

Here's my problem. I get a little bit goal oriented sometimes.

Now, I'm totally not a Type A person. I'm Type B through and through. I'm easy going, laid back, my house is a mess, my bills get paid late, I'd rather stay at home on a Saturday than run around town. But give me something that I really want to accomplish, and it's like I have multiple personality disorder and I go from Dr. Easy-Going to Ms. Right-Now.

I didn't actually discover this aspect of myself until I entered the "workforce" after college and started doing computer programming. I'm not a real computer programmer, but I know enough to get jobs that required some programming skills along with decent communication skills. When working on a project I would get a little bit of tunnel vision - the fact that I could see whatever it was I was trying to program so clearly in its completed state meant that every minute the project was not in that completed state it felt not only unfinished, but somehow "broken," and I couldn't rest until it was "fixed." I would come into work and sit at my desk from 9 in the morning until 9 at night, usually without a lunch or dinner break, just staring at the screen and working.

It's just gotten worse and worse over the years because I've also discovered that I really enjoy working this way. I much prefer a big, detailed and time-consuming project requiring extreme concentration than multi-tasking multiple small projects. I often think I could have been a really good air traffic controller.

So what does this have to do with TTC?

You guessed it. It's my project, and I think I've gotten a little too goal oriented.

When we started TTC, the very first month we used OPKs. Within 3 months I was charting. At 6 months I was at my OB/GYN, and when he didn't give me the answers I wanted, I went straight to the RE. That means I was already at ART by 7 months, whereas I know most women under 35 are instructed to try for at least a year (of course my 35th birthday was coming up fast by then).

So here I am. Project not complete. And staring down IVF.

No one's ever given me the "just relax" line, probably because no one knows that we're even trying, but I tell myself that all the time. I feel this pent up well of energy whose only relief will be a BFP. Until then I feel like I can't relax, not even for a second. I'm hyper-vigilant about every little detail of my cycles and my treatments, and I get so disappointed when it's not all going according to plan.

I kind of figured that I'd be on a break this cycle due to cysts/leftover follicles and was surprised when they gave me the green light for IUI #4. I was actually looking forward to an enforced break cycle so I could spend less of my time analyzing and over-analyzing.

And then I think forward to IVF... and if I'm hyper-vigilant now, I don't even want to think about how I'll be when the stakes are so much higher financially and emotionally. I'm not looking forward to that at all, and I'm wondering if we should take a break after this IUI. I'd love to get in a little vacation... somewhere inexpensive, warm, relaxing. Florida? Arizona? (I'd love Mexico but I think that would be too expensive.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

CD5, Bring It On. Again.

The day after my early (12dpIUI) beta and subsequent BFN, I woke up feeling like my uterus and actually most of my reproductive organs were going to explode. Thinking AF was still 2 days away I chalked it up to my being "broken" and "probably unfixable" but turns out AF decided to not make me wait any longer for her arrival. That means a shorter than usual LP for me of only 12 days (usually I'm 14 or even 15, with or without progesterone).

And so it was back to the RE early Wednesday morning for my CD2 b/w and u/s. I thought for sure with 14 days of stims last cycle I'd have something bad in there that would bench me this cycle, but the RE said I was good to go.

So I've now started my fourth IUI cycle.

My main agenda when meeting with the RE was to make sure that I get more than one follicle this cycle. That was a big disappointment for me last cycle. If you're on injectable meds and only get one mature follicle, are your chances any greater than they would be just on a regular cycle where you ovulate on your own? I'm thinking no, or not much anyway. And so I really really really want this last IUI to be perfect. I know I can produce follicles, as shown during my first injectable cycle (I ended up with 9 good-sized contenders). This time I'd like 3, maybe even 4. So, I talked to the RE about how on my first injectable cycle I had too many follicles, and on my 2nd too few, and how I'd really like to fall somewhere in between this time.

She totally heard me and agreed with me.

And then she told me to start on the same dosage as I did last cycle.


She said that we can always go to a higher dosage if needed.

Okay, I don't have a medical degree, but here's what I was thinking: start me on a higher dosage, just for a few days, in order to make sure we get a few growing at a good pace, and then lower it so they don't mature too fast and so we don't get too many. But, what do I know?

She also wanted to put me on the estrogen patches again. As you may recall I had to fight for them last cycle. I thought they might help my lining but Dr. "Young" did not. He eventually gave in to me and I felt... unsure that I should be pressuring my doctor into treatments that he didn't support. Anyway, turned out that with the estrogen patches my lining was 6.5 at CD9, which was the same as it was the cycle before. The difference last cycle was that I didn't end up triggering until CD20, and by then it had grown to a healthy 9.5. So, anyway, she wanted me to do the estrogen patches again, and I said, "Well, the extra time seemed to help my lining more than the estrogen patches. Both cycles my lining was at 6.5 on CD9." And she said, "Good point," and told me not to do the estrogen patches after all. Am I paying more attention than they are?

Anyway. Here we go again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

13dpIUI, Third Time Not The Charm

Nope. Negative. My RE seemed really surprised. Like really surprised. I don't know why he would be. I wasn't.

Okay, yes, I am feeling discouraged. Very discouraged. Am I hopeless? No. Am I hopeful? Well, not really. But I'm trying. Honestly, right now I'm a little numb.

I am committed to this process, though. We'll do another IUI, then probably straight on to IVF. I will see this through.

DH and I had a long talk yesterday. He is more hopeful than me. He said that he thought I would be pleasantly surprised. I said, "When? When am I going to pleasantly surprised?" He said we just had to keep trying.

So, we'll keep trying.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

10dpIUI, What Dreams May Come

I had my first BFP dream last night. And here I thought I was doing a good job of "not thinking about it." So, now I know how it feels to dream the BFP dream. And it lingers, too, doesn't it? Like a bad taste in your mouth for hours.

The dream was pretty simple. I took a test (and of course the test was weird looking, nothing like a real HPT, cuz, you know, it was a dream HPT) and I guess with the dream HPT the whole thing is supposed to turn pink to be positive, and it did, and I was excited, but what I felt, more than anything, was relief. Relief that it was finally over. And that I could finally get off this crazy IF ride. And then, this is the worst part, after the dream I lingered in this half conscious/half unconscious state (it was about 7am, I think, and I was already waking up a bit), and I was no longer dreaming, just groggy half-asleep thinking, and I was planning things in this half-asleep state: who to tell first, what I had to do next, etc. Then, when I finally fully woke up, I thought "wait a minute... that was a f---ing dream?!"

Yep, it was a dream all right.

But, I don't believe that this dream has anything to do with this cycle in particular, or with the fact that most likely I will be POAS tomorrow. I think that my subconscious mind just took advantage of an appropriate time to message me. Because my subconscious can't send texts. I wish it could. So it sends dreams. If the dream had been a text it would have said this:

"UR getting impatient and need 2 move on soon. For your sanity's sake."

Because as we all know, our subconscious is our sanity's safeguard.

My subconscious is advising me to get off this crazy ride asap. And I'm in agreement.

It's pretty clear to me that this IUI is not going to work. That was hard to type, but it's true. And the next one won't work either. I'm putting in the effort because I know it's the "proper" way to go about this. But I truly in my heart believe that we've always been heading to IVF, and that IVF is the only thing that might work for us. And, really, I'm not even convinced of that.

When we get to IVF we'll probably do up to 3 fresh and however many frozen cycles. Then, I think we're done.

We might look into adoption, but since DH is 50 now, I'm guessing that we'll be too old for most programs. I totally haven't looked into this, so maybe I'm wrong.

Most likely I guess we'll just go with the childfree living thing. It's all the rage in my circle of friends, anyway. As opposed to what I read here in the IF blogs, my friends are not popping out babies one after another. They are enjoying their careers and freedom. Many of my friends are still extremely single. We would fit right in.

I guess we'd travel around the world. Maybe we'd buy a vacation home somewhere warm (of course in this scenario we have a ton of childfree money). And we'd try not to think about what we're missing out on. Like helping our children with their homework, tucking them in at night, teaching them how to ride bicycles, making them smiley-face pancakes like my dad used to do, taking them camping, watching them grow up. Giving my parents grandchildren.

But I will think about it.

Tonight my subconscious is going to dream-text me "UR losing it! Get a grip! For your sanity's sake!"

I know, I know. Look, subconscious, I'm in the last few days of the 2ww - this is when one starts to question everything. Get back to me next week when I have another IUI under my belt and I'm ready to move on to the next cycle! Because we only have one more IUI to go before the big guns come out. Take that, infertility! We've got IVF coming your way!

Friday, February 5, 2010

9dpIUI, 2ww? What 2ww?

I don't have much to post about. I'm trying really hard not to think about my "status." You know what I'm talking about. But here are the things I'm thinking about instead:
  • I'm turning 35 next month. Ouch!
  • When my OB/GYN gave me a clomid prescription after 6 months of failed TTC, I had no idea what it was. And he didn't explain anything. He just said, "Take this on days 3 to 7 of your cycle. This helps a lot of women get pregnant." It was DH that asked me later if it increased the chances of twins and I was like "I don't know." I had to google it to find out that it was an ovulation inducer. But I knew I was already ovulating on my own. I was so confused!
  • I'm probably going to have to do IVF. That's just how it is (okay, that's a little too close to thinking about my "status").
  • Do older childless women really seem to be generally more bitter than the average person, or am I projecting?
  • What happens to my fertility chart ticker when my cycle goes beyond 30 days?
  • Is it going to start snowing already, or what?
That's all I got.

Beta Monday (12dpIUI).

POAS... Sunday?

Monday, February 1, 2010

My First Blog Award. Thanks, Basic Girl!

My first blog award! Is it weird that my eyes felt a little moist after I read Basic Girl's comment letting me know she bestowed little ol' me with this lovely award?
Thank you, Basic Girl!
She and I are both on our 3rd IUIs. And I'm pretty sure we're both getting BFPs this cycle (fingers crossed!).

The rules of this award are:
  • Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
  • Copy the award and place it in your blog.
  • Link the person who nominated you for this award.
  • Tell us 7 interesting things about you.
  • Nominate 7 bloggers.
  • Post the links to the 7 bloggers you nominate.
I feel like I am just overflowing with juicy tidbits about my life these days! So now that I've shared my obsessions in my last post, here are 7 interesting things about me:
  1. I'm an Air Force brat. We moved every 2 or 3 years for the majority of my childhood and I've lived in 3 foreign countries. I loved it and I still sometimes wished I'd joined the military so I could've continued to live the lifestyle.
  2. Although I love to move, and don't find it stressful at all (probably due to the way I grew up, obviously), I find vacationing more trouble than it's worth. DH and I haven't been on a vacation, except to visit family... um... ever. Wow, that sounds sad. But I'm hoping to get over it, because I love to experience new places, and moving every time I want go somewhere new is, well, a little impractical.
  3. I'm not on Face.book. If I had said that out loud you would have heard a touch of pride in my voice. Because from what I hear, Face.book ruins lives.
  4. I'm a total foodie, I love to cook, and I love fresh, local, seasonal produce.
  5. I've owned the same car for over half my life (!!!). My parents bought it for me used when I was 16. I still drive it every day.
  6. I watch Jon.and.Kate and 18 Kids.and.Count.ing. I DVR them and DH knows it, but I'm so ashamed that I refuse to watch them when he's home! We also DVR Lost (yay final season starts tomorrow!), House, Nip/Tuck, 30 Rock, The Office, American Idol (yes, we watch AI. And love it. And, no, we're not 13 year old girls.).
  7. DH and I have been together almost 8 years, but we've been married less than a year. And yes, we started TTC before we got hitched. DH was really nervous about it, but I had a feeling that it wouldn't happen right away for us, and I wanted to have been TTCing seriously for a while before we were married so that we could move on to ART as soon as possible after we were married (which we did - my first RE appointment was the day after we got back from our honeymoon).
Phew! That was a lot about me.
Okay, now it's time to share the love!

I would like to nominate:

Infertility UGH! I think Nixy was my first "follower," and therefore she will always have a special place in my heart! She has some admirable bravery in her willingness to share insights into the effect of IF on her marriage.
Remember All the Way. I love A's positive attitude! You can count on A to see the silver lining in everything, even a BFN. How does she do it? Her sunny disposition and her amazing faith!
Circus Children. Circus Princess has a sparkling wit and style, and she and I and our DHs are virtually the same ages!
I Did, I Do, I Will. Speaking of sparkling wit, Shanny finds the humor in everything! She is so fun to read!
Banking on It. When faced with the many difficulties of IF, Melissa has amazing strength and optimism (that I am trying to emulate!).
The Impatient Optimist. Tio is so thoughtful and full of insights. And she lives in Australia, which is so cool!
Mission Motherhood. Al is a woman with a mission (hence the title of her blog), but she still has time to muse on all the randomness and funniness of IF and life.

Thanks, ladies, for all your amazing stories! And thanks again, Basic Girl!