Famous last words

Last night I thought to myself, “I don’t think I’m gonna experience the clomadness! Lucky me!”

This morning La said I looked like a princess and I about ripped her a hole in her head.

Just now I walked into the theater to see a show by La’s theater company and the house manger confronted me about not having a ticket and I disintegrated into tears.

Clomadness achieved.

Words I’ve Had to Teach Auto Correct

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Some I would have expected:

spermies

dexemethesone

TTC

IUI

Metformin

OPK

 

Some, I was more surprised by:

sperm

ovulate (although ovulation, apparently, was there)

insemination

ovaries (penis and vagina were also not in there)

 

Still others were shockingly already in the autocorrect dictionary:

Clomid

 

I have also taught my phone to capitalize Texas Ranger.

 

In other news . . .got the call back (yes, I willed it into existance/made enough of a nuisance of myself to get a call) and . . .insulin and glucose numbers are normal! No metformin for me!

I started dexemethesone, an androgen blocker, this morning. Tonight, we hop on the clomid train.

I’ve also been doing some ‘soft asks’ of other friends who we may recruit as a second donor, in the event a) we don’t get knocked up this go and b) BFF’s swim team hasn’t improved their record. Its strange, but the more I have investigated plans D,E, F and G, the more hopeful and confident I feel about this time working. 

I’m back to the giddy-hopeful-waiting where I do things like determine the EDD if I were to get knocked up this try. For the record, it would be near the end of June, which would be just fabulous timing for a good many reasons (my job slows down, La’s teaching load gets lighter) and it would be near Pride! Not being a huge fan of wandering around a beer soaked park, I’d much rather be having a baby to celebrate how far we’ve come since the Stonewall riots!

 

Hold steady.

Clearly, I am a product of a digital age because I have not a single modicum of patience. It has been just under a week since they drew blood to re-test for high blood sugar/insulin/glucose levels (this time after fasting) and I feel f**king crazy. I’m trying to rationalize my bratty inability to wait with things like: how in the world can in take a week to get simple blood tests back when they do everything in house? my doctor is probably testing me (and if so, I am failing), and obsessively checking the online patient portal for an e-mail. It occurred to me a bit earlier that they might be able to see how many times a day I log in and I was really embarrassed at the idea but I’ve checked thrice since then so apparently its not actually a disincentive. 

I’m still a little mystified about my period. Which is a funny thing to be mystified when I’ve been bleeding monthly for longer than I didn’t. Thursday and Friday were spotting, Saturday I got some genuine flow (side note: I really associate flow used as a noun with yoga and am weirding myself) and then Sunday just some brown spotting. And now, nothing. Since my doctor won’t respond to the e-mail asking him to decipher this, I am sticking with Saturday as day 1, making today day 4. Clomid starts tomorrow and I am genuinely nervous that my boo won’t like me by this time on Friday. 

I scheduled my Day 13 follicle ultrasound for next Thursday at 8am. I get back from CA the night before and am still harboring some fear that all we’ll see on the screen is degenerated corpus luteum, although God only knows what is happening in my ladbits, and this was the best I could do. I’m crossing all of the things that we will at least get a shot this month. With the exception of the one hail-Mary at home insem in July, we haven’t tried since June. So much has changed between then and now, and I think getting a real try in my help soothe my wounded psyche. Or at least let me feel like I can stop waiting for  something to happen for just one blessed minute.

For now, back to waiting.

well, shit.

I’m writing this mostly because I am nervous, again. And because maybe y’all will have some insight.

I started taking prometrium last week, per doctor’s orders, to start my period. He proscribed 200mg orally once a day for 12 days, and told me I would get a period 3-7 days after stopping the pills.

Today is day 10 (although I take them at night, so I’ve actually only taken 9 pills) and when I went to the bathroom, there was blood. Not a little pinkish tinge, but (pardon if you’re easily offended) dark, mucousy menstrual blood. 

So, I’m nervous for a few reasons:

1. I don’t know if this is ‘normal’ with prometrium and/or what it means that its happening. Maybe nothing, maybe something.

2. I don’t know if I should count today as day 1 of a new cycle. I will wait and see a) if more blood keeps coming and b0 what my doctor says (i have an e-mail out to him)

3. If today IS day 1, then I will be out of town from CD 12-14, which, you know, would suck. Because the initial U/S to check follicles would be day 12 or 13, with maybe an IUI on day 14? Of course, nothing is quite that easy to calculate when it comes to this, but that is definitely not the range of dates I want to be out of town.

So I’m trying to breathe deep and remember that I don’t have control over this. Maybe the prometrium made me feel like it (because if things had gone according to calculations, my work trip would not have interfered in the slightest)  but I’m not.

 

Anyone have experience with prometrium and have any insight?

 

First, the stats:

Cycle Day 34, Day 8 of provera, with 4 more to go. Looking at the next cycle starting somewhere between the 24th and the 28th of September (CD41-45) So we are waiting to wait to wait. This distance from the process while still actively contributing to it is surprisingly nice. This must be one of the outer layers of limbo where things are just kind of hard, instead of full scale shitty.

This weekend, La and I took baby Liam overnight so his mom and dad could celebrate their anniversary (with take out chinese and sleeping in.) Cletus the bulldog was, of course, in love. At 7 weeks old, Liam is pushing 13lbs. He is also so so long, although I don’t have stats. Our people are big people. Of note, I find this a truly endearing quality in Liam but not so much in myself (see below.) Hmm, I suspect gender stereotypes are at play, even when I’d prefer they not. 

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Finally got my test results back from last weeks blood draw [side note: why is it that something you didn’t know before a blood draw was no big deal but as soon as you have to wait for results it feels like themostimportantthing?] 

Mostly, they are good. I don’t have the run down in front of me, but it basically works out like this:

Metabolic labs (insulin, glucose, something else like this that measures insulin over the last month): all normal. I do not appear to be insulin resistant which is a score on a lot of levels. There was some confusion about whether I was fasting for the draw or not (I wasn’t) but I believe that was a question primarily because HAD I been, my insulin would have been very high. 

Hormone labs (testosterone, adrostene, etc.): high, although mostly only slightly high.

Because Dr. G just left a message on my VM, I didn’t have a chance to ask what all of this means. He mentioned that the metformin would probably only be prescribed if I had been fasting. So I’m thinking I’m going to get to dodge that particular bullet. He also mentioned another medication to block the male hormones, although the name he rattled off (which of course I can only, at best, guess how to spell) I haven’t been able to find.

I’m having a lot of feels about this. I mean, from the most pure medical-baby-making perspective, I’m glad to have some answers and the potential to get some support with balancing hormones to help me get knocked up.

But there is never, ever just that. Not when it comes to bodies.

I haven’t written a whole lot about how my feelings, past and present, about my body have contributed to how this process plays out for me. I have harbored a fear from nearly the start of this process that my body will not be able to get pregnant. I have felt this despite hearing – from doctors, nurses, clinicians, friends and my badass partner – that there is no reason to think this would be the case. I have assumed that my fatness would preclude me from being pregnant, because I have heard all of my life that my fatness stands in the way of my happiness (even though I do not believe this to be true, nor does it bear out in reality.) The messages I have received about my worthiness as a fat woman all of my life are not so easy to just discard.

My fatness is, for me, deeply tied up with my gender identity and presentation. I identify as femme, and that is an important part of my understanding of myself and the way I move in the world. It has been a rough road getting to a place where I embrace and perform my femmeness in unapologetic ways that feed me. For a very long time, I shied away from me desire to present and identify as femme because our culture divorces fatness from femininity. I feared being perceived as a joke, a caricature, of femininity and so I dressed and acted in ways that I didn’t feel good for me. Couple this with the fact that I am tall – just shy of 6ft with no shoes. I am, in all ways, BIG. I have giant hands, ski size feet, a big head. There is nothing petite or dainty about me. I have been mistaken for a man even when I was presenting in a culturally feminine way.

So these test results pull on my understanding of myself. On the one hand, I am irrationally proud of my metabolic panels. While I know that my choices about food and activity have likely contributed to having good labs here, I also know that insulin resistance is not the result of ‘poor lifestyle choice.’ (a term I don’t particularly like for a lot of reasons) and, particularly in PCOS, is a symptom, not a cause. The great obesity spectre tells us that fat people are doomed to poor health, and while I don’t really think someone else’s health is any of my damned business, I am also really like that I am not reifying that bullshit. I like having this confirmation that my fatness is not actually indicative of my health, even though I know full well that is the case, labs be damned. I don’t like that these feelings adhere to the cultural trope around fatness and health, that I maybe feel good about this because I am a ‘good fatty.’ I work hard to live out an ideal that ALL bodies are good bodies. So this is hard in a messy way.

But hearing that my levels of male hormones are elevated pulls on a whole other part of me. Despite how deeply I feel that femme describes and fits me as a gender identity, I have long felt like a fraud. This seems to make that so. This isn’t rational, it doesn’t make sense, not even to me. I know that bodies do not dictate genders, I work to live in a world where any constellation of bodies and identities can coexist. So why is it so hard for me to not feel like these lab results say something about me? As judgement free as my doctor (and probably every one else) is about what these results MEAN, there is a button that got pushed hearing those words. 

Of course, it doesn’t help that all of this is coming up about pregnancy. After all, what better marker of femininity exists than being a MOTHER? Yet another thing I don’t believe but feel on a deep, deep level. All of this is getting messed up, crossed wires, in my head and my heart and it feels so, so messy. 

Its amazing how things we can hold and sustain for other people come tumbling down in the face of our own struggles, the long buried narratives that still can have power over us. 

To cheer myself up today I put on the most babely outfit I could come up with. And then I took a picture and posted it. Because sometimes we fake it until we can make it, and we let our social networks help out.

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My guess is that these feelings, although coming up due in part to my unique circumstance, aren’t exactly unique. Other queer femme mamas or mama-wannabes out there who have struggled with this? Fat mamas? Folks who in general have had to feel all the feelings about the intersection pf parenthood (gestational and otherwise) and bodies (so, everyone?!)?

Looking up. Or at least out.

I am feeling about a thousand times more grounded than I was just a few days ago. With that, my heavy heart and dragging soul have lifted. I feel more hopeful than I have in weeks.

To start, I made the decision to spend what very little discretionary income we currently have on two books – one is the third in a trilogy that I LOVE (Margaret Arwood’s Maddaddam series. so so so good.) and the other was Conquering Infertility – conspicuously placed on the used book shelf as tough God herself had put it there for me. The Atwood was to take my mind off of the situation at hand. The other has been incredibly useful for stocking up on some much needed tools to support not being fucking crazy. Which I was, and still kind of am. The approach is also not to get you pregnant, but to help handle the depression, anxiety and general emotional bullshittery of trying to get pregnant when getting pregnant is hard. 

Second, La and I resolved our conflict (not before it took up two whole evenings of tearful conversations) about using BFF’s sperm for the upcoming IUI before getting a repeat SA, and have decided to go forward. Its not a rational decision – but it is an important emotional one. I think I lost sight, in my own depression about how little I can control in this situation, of how La feels about all of this. In particular, how using her best friend’s semen (something that was planned for before I was even in the picture) might feel like something she needs to see through. In many ways, he is her proxy, and I need to think about how entwined using him as a donor is with her stake in this process.

Thirdly, I attended my first Yoga for Fertility class at the Acupuncture place on Sunday. I’m a huge fan of yoga and practice pretty regularly, but this was a godsend. A room full of other women struggling with fertility issues (including the instructor), opportunities to share what’s going on in a totally safe space, and lots of good hip stretching, mindful breathing and meditation – so so amazing. I felt so light and calm and clear when I left.

Finally, today I went to see Dr. G at the OB’s office. After telling him the basics, he decided to 

1. Take blood tests to confirm the PCOS diagnosis

2. Assuming those tests look like he expects, he will likely prescribe metformin for me.

3. Regardless, we will use clomid on days 5-9, have ultrasound monitoring on day 13, and then determine if an HCG shot will be necessary or if we will wait and continue to do monitoring. 

4. He gave me a prescription for provera to start a period since I’m on day 26 and still no O. 

I feel great about how clear and helpful he was, about his desire to investigate further and his plan. I’m nervous about metformin, which I’ve heard can be pretty miserable, but I’m also willing to take it if it helps move things along. I’m going with clomid even though I’ve heard some horror stories because it seems like the best place to start.

So, hopefully in a few weeks we will get this party started for real. I’m still feeling conflicted about all this medical intervention. Its definitely not what I hoped or planned for, and so there is grief about that. On the other hand, I feel exhausted from this process and am willing to jump in feet first if it means lessening the anxiety or at least making our try a bit more successful.

And so . . .onward ho! 

Bust.

Its been a helluva week.

Today is cycle day 22, still no positive OPK. After the almost-the-same test on Tuesday morning, I got almost no line at all on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning I got another dark-but-not-positive and then . . .of course, no line Wednesday night. My cervical fluid has followed a similar, although opposite, pattern – with creamy fluid in the morning and stretchier, clearer fluid in the evening. My temperatures have stayed solidly in the pre-ovulatory range. This morning’s pee stick ritual yielded another dark but not positive. In other words, nothing to speak of.

I sent an e-mail to the Texas Ranger on Tuesday asking for an ultrasound to see what was going on, and mentioning that I would also like to talk more in depth about fertility medications. She responded telling me to come in for a blood draw to check progesterone and to schedule an appointment to talk about further interventions.

I’m a little perturbed about the progesterone check instead of an ultrasound. The progesterone test will show that I have not ovulated. Which I know, because I track my temperatures.  I’m not sure why I had to drive half way across the metro area and get stuck in the hand to prove what I already know. But I did.

The next available appointment for The Texas Ranger wasn’t until Oct 1st. Aside from this feeling like a lifetime away, I was also concerned with how it might work in terms of timing for the next cycle (assuming I ovulate in the next, you know, few weeks) and I was not willing to be patient to talk about something that I’d wanted to talk about a month ago. So, I am going to see a doctor at the same practice this coming Monday.

After a week of grief, anxiety, busy-ness and just general too-much-ness, La and I made the decision to cancel this cycle. Between the havoc that’s been wrecked on our lives with friends leaving and lives exploding in work and ovulation not coming, and the fact that we were advised an IUI wouldn’t be recommended with ovulation any later than day 24 (at this rate, we are almost past that cut-off as is), it seems like the best, most reasonable plan to forgo the IUI, take some time to breathe, figure out our next steps, and then move forward in September/October.

I’m terribly sad and also decidedly relieved. I have been exhausted by this process, wrung out with waiting, and blame filled (from myself, always only myself) when the OPK shows up negative. again. and again. And while there is loss – not getting to try is a particular kind of heartache I think – it feels quieter and more peace-filled.

The one sticking point from our conversation last night was whether to have BFF’s sperm analysis repeated before or after the IUI. Following the previously decided upon ‘plan’ would mean getting it done prior to the Sept/Oct IUI. La doesn’t want to do this. She wants to go forward and have the SA repeated after the IUI.

I have a lot of complex feelings about this. First and foremost, if we are upping our game so significantly, I’m not sure why we wouldn’t test the semen. Its been more than 8 weeks since BFF started acupuncture and supplements, and that was time time frame we were given to see some improvement. I think La’s desire to try is more about sticking her head in the sand and hoping for the best – a tactic I have often gone with when the emotional stakes are high. After all, no news is good news, right?

But it feels hard that in this instance, The Plan is being put aside in the service of BFF/La’s desire to use BFF as our donor. The Plan has been the primary sticking point whenever I wanted to bump the timeline up. Whenever I wanted to make an appointment or ask questions about interventions or see a naturopath or or or . . .The Plan has been the reason I didn’t do any of that. When I’d come home worried or wanting to try something, La would say, but we have The Plan. We have to stick with The Plan. and The Plan says we don’t try that until _____ (after 6 tries, August, if we get a bad test result.)

So I’m a little resentful. And I feel shitty that I feel resentful, but I do. We tabled the conversation and made an agreement to revisit after doing some more thinking and talking and uncovering. I certainly don’t want to make a decision based on my resentful feelings; I also want to give ourselves the best possible chance, because this shit is fucking hard.

 

Who wants to play a game? It’s called “Are these lines ALMOST the same or the same or not at all the same” And I’m asking you to play because I don’t trust my motives – either direction.

Here’s the picture: Image

For the record, they look ALMOST the same to me. The CBE digital gave me a big fat open circle, but the lines on that internal stick were also hella dark.

After the clear negative from the CBE, I left a message for the Texas Ranger requesting an ultrasound. I came back to my desk and saw this and felt like maybe I pulled the trigger a bit too quickly. I’m planning to keep my legs crossed and my pee held as long as I can and re-test. I am totally willing to eat my words and have to call back to schedule an IUI, I just want to be done waiting for the line to turn purple and that annoyingly happy smiley face to appear. 

In some ways, I just want to get this overwith. By “this” I mean the first IUI. I’m sure my anxiety is the cause for the delay, but no amount of deep breathing has seemed to make me be any less pee-stick crazy. I have a feeling that it will be smoother sailing after this, just like it was at home. Of course, I’d love there not to be a second IUI to go smoothly, but I’m also cool with that scenario playing out. Yes, I am bargaining with my ovaries right now. 

I’m sorry the blog has been so single track these last few days. I hope you all realize now that while I am totally grateful for the community of like minded bloggers and I adore beyond measure the stories you tell, sometimes my blogs are just a place for me to spew anxiety because I don’t have any other outlet. I’m sorry for that. 

That said, I’ll take whatever woo you will send.