Left Behind.

I made it through last week. I knew I would, in the rational long sighted way of things, but it felt pretty miserable trudging through. 14 hour work days, heinous menstrual cramps, too many things owed to too many people. But on the other side of it was this:

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My nephew, my bulldog and my super hot wife snuggling on my couch. If that isn’t a reward for a job well done, I don’t know what is.

The other night it occured to me that this story, the one I am living, is no longer just a story about two girls trying to get knocked up without the right equipment; its a story about things not going the way you want, having to let go of some wants to accomodate others, about doubting your body’s ability to do what it is ‘supposed’ to. Its a story about infertility.

Is that a fair title? I don’t know. Technically, we’ve only been trying for 9 months – not even the full year required by most doctors to get a referral. But given my poly cystic ovaries and BFF’s poorly outfitted sperm, I think we qualify. I can’t decide if it is helpful or not to own that identity as ‘infertile’ – does it make me more hopeless or inclined to find my people? Does it sign me up for shit I don’t need in my head or provide an explanation for the frustratingly inexplicable? I don’t know.

More and more, I feel left behind. In ‘real life,’ on blogs, at BabyCenter, in my own crazy head . . .people who I started this journey amongst, or who came after, are on to the next thing. Out of the waiting and into the gestating. On to the baby. And here we are, still tracking temperatures and trying too hard not to read into every.little.thing. We are head down, trudging, waiting for a detour onto another path. Occassionally, there is something interesting on the side of the road, but otherwise, its been the same scenery for months now, and its growing old. I’m tired of telling people the same news, so tired I don’t even wait for their response anymore but shoot off ‘its ok. try try again!’ or ‘maybe next time!’ before they can get a word out.  People offer to ‘talk’ but what would I talk about? Its not that I don’t appreciate the support or even want to take them up on it. I honestly don’t know what to say anymore except ‘it didn’t work. again.’ and, ‘I want this so badly.’

But, we travel on. Because we still believe (we must, or why do it?) that there is an end in sight and that end comes with a baby. Because there are still so many things to try before giving up. Because on days when the sun is big and warm through the autumn leaves, I do see it – the possibility. 

After a frustrating few days trying to get a hold of whatever doctor could answer my questions, I finally was able to speak to the doctor who did my insemination, who said he’d be ‘my guy’ and I could count on him for communication and information. He prescribed metformin and upped my clomid dose to 100mg. I talked to him about the trigger and he mentioned this could be a possibility given my low progesterone and (likely) poor ovulation. The answers to that will come, I guess, closer to the follicle ultrasound next week. I’m at cycle day 6, started the clomid last night, the metformin today. Please keep my hormones and intestines in your thoughts and prayers. 

A final high light from my weekend! So, I’m a Lutheran (and pretty into it, FYI) but (and?) I’m also hella irreverant and prefer my religion with a heavy dose of cynicism. This Sunday was Reformation Sunday. You may remember from your high school history class that Martin Luther, a monk, instigated the protestant reformation by posting his 95 theses on the door of Wittenburg cathedral, enumerating all of the shit he found objectionable about Catholicism. Reformation Sunday is when we Lutherans celebrate our crazy and lovable patron and sometimes sing songs about famous lutherans.

At my church (full of many other irreverant types) we have a board listing things like the attendance, how much money we raised, and usually at least one ridiculous number. Sunday it was ‘Theses: 95’ Feeling like it could use some updating, I added:

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The important thing, you see, is that even in the midst of being such a bratty baby, I can still make myself (and my pastor) laugh.

 

Beginning again.

I started my period yesterday, after two days of awful looming cramps. It was a relief, in some twisted way, that it came when it should have (14 days after I ovulated, 15 days after my IUI), since it meant both not having to wait around for the next *thing* but also because my last ‘period’ was a prometrium withdrawl and wasn’t at all what a period should be. There is always something comforting in the norm.

And the disappointment, while still present, has faded enough that I can make off handed bitter comments about it instead of dissolving into tears. This has made a very, very long week a little easier to deal with. My organization put on our huge annual conference the past few days, and that plus the event on Tuesday have meant 14-15 hour work days for the last week. I am too exhausted to cry, except when I am too exhausted to do anything BUT cry. So far, my timing as worked out pretty well.

My e-mail to Dr. G was finally returned late yesterday with a non-message from his medical assistant telling me to schedule an appointment. This is likely only because I also left a message asking for a response to the e-mail. Unfortunately, when I called to schedule an appointment, his only openings were next Friday during a block of interviews I am conducting, or Nov. 13th (which would be something like cycle day 22, which ain’t gonna help much) So then I tried the Cover Girl – nothing till Nov. 7th. Going down the list I was finally able to get an appointment next week with Angel Cakes, which is not ideal but whatever. I also sent another e-mail asking the Cover Girl if we could do a phone consult or something similar to answer my questions. 

Really, I am primarily interested in getting the SA done so we can have a conversation with our other potential donors and get them on board before I ovulate again, if need be.  I’d also like to start the metformin as soon as possible to get whatever kind of positive impact I can from it. And, I’m trying to get pregnant so I am just generally f*cking impatient. In moments like this, I long for the factory floor efficiency that I hear comes at an RE’s office. But for now, that’s just not the path we are on, and usually I am grateful for that.

But cycle #9 is here. In three more tries it will have been a year of attempts. When I pulled a tarot card asking about how long this might take two months ago, it said 4 months or less. I’m putting my trust in the cards. Mostly because I can’t get an appointment with my doctor.

Popped.

Last night I got a call from Dr. G with the results of my progesterone blood draw (which was over a week ago. ugh.): 5

For reference, anything >4 suggests ovulation has not occurred. <10 would indicate good ovulation, unmedicated. 20 or so is normal for a clomid cycle. So 5 means I landed somewhere right around shitty ovulation. When I told Dr. G (who hasn’t been the doctor at the majority of my other appointments) that I had my surge on CD19 and probably ovulated on CD20, he said something like “you shouldn’t be ovulating so long after stopping the clomid. 4 or 5 days, that’s when you should be ovulating.” When I asked him what that might mean for THIS cycle, he just said, “well, its not a GOOD thing to have such low progesterone.” and then immediately jumped to upping the clomid to 100mg next cycle.

So we took a test this morning. It was negative.

I cycled from hope to despair so rapidly I feel a little sick and a little heady. The irony is that I have been looking at my lack of ‘usual’ pre period symptoms as a good thing, when in fact they were just additional evidence that my progesterone was so low that it probably doesn’t even matter if an egg managed to get fertilized. 

Its pretty impossible to not feel sad, heartbroken, dull. Its also pretty impossible not to feel like my body is fucked up. Maybe not beyond repair, you know, but fucked up nevertheless.

I sent an e-mail off asking about getting on metformin, upping the clomid, using a trigger, and getting a repeat SA for BFF. This last item is the one hanging darkly over our heads. La is sick with worry that the test will tell us what we absolutely don’t want to hear. She has already started asking me how much it will need to improve for us to move forward with him. I don’t have an answer for her because all of this just feels like too fucking much. And, I want something new to try, to make it feel like we are at least on a new part of the rollercoaster instead of on an endless loop.

Today I walked into work to find all of my coworkers crowded around my colleague’s 9 month old daughter. I held it together but it took all the energy I had. My colleague struggled to get her baby too, so you’d think this might make it feel less horrific. It doesn’t.

Tonight I will do my damndest to show up and small talk and charm charm charm the attendees at a fundraiser for the organization whose board of director’s I sit on. I wore my black stilletos and velvet suit jacket to try and give me a boost. I’m not the best schmoozer on my best days, but at least I can drink some wine while I fake it.

 

All aboard!

Ugh. I kind of hate that I am doing this but really I have to word-vomit this somewhere or I just absolutely will not finish my conference presentation . . .

Speaking of vomiting . . .I feel like I am going to. I mean, slightly. Like on a scale of 1 to puking my guts out I’m at like a 4? But its got that dizzy spin to it too, which is just too easy to read into, amiright? 

I totally thought I hadn’t boarded the crazy train y’all but I was w-r-o-n-g. Two days until we test. We bought a double pack of the Peestickologist gold standard First Response Early Result tests last night and its just been sitting in the bathroom taunting me. Like always, I wanna know soooo bad and also don’t want to know *at all*

Back to drinking water. If the nausea is dehydration related, then I’ll get rid of it. And if its not . . .I won’t know until Wednesday anyway.

 

32 and halfway through

Well, this happened yesterday:

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That’s right, I’m entering into my 32nd go around the sun on this little planet. 

This will be the first birthday in 3 years that I won’t be celebrating by drinking alcoholic slushies at the Bear/Leatherman bar. Which is a little sad because yes, that is as ridiculous and somewhat out-of-character as it sounds, but it just happened one year and then it was too bizarre not to have it happen again. Instead, we got a DQ Ice Cream cake and a bunch of my faves came over for dinner.

La also surprised me with these, cause she is the best boo ever:

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Today is 9DPIUI, 8DPO. I have managed to stay pretty well distracted with late night board meetings, birthday celebrations, and an awful lot of work in general. Still, the closer we get to T-day, the more the see-saw of hope-devestation starts to ramp up. So far I am feeling a whole lot of nothing, and I am supremely grateful for that. I’d prefer to be able to remain as delicately unengaged as possible. Still, I am glad to be on the back end of the wait now . . .this weekend is packed full and next week should be as well, so Wednesday will be here before I know it. And so will some sort of answer, whether I like it or not.

Someone mentioned that clomid can delay your period/make your luteal phase hella long – does anyone have experience with this? Cause that feels like some kind of f’d up joke but also, like, of course, right? I’m hoping we won’t have some awful repeat of the Great 60 Day Cycle of 2013.

 

Out of practice

Well, turns out I spent so much time on the other side of waiting that I forgot how futile this side is. 6 days past IUI and I have already hit up http://www.countdowntopregnancy.com which is, if you’re unaware, the most pitiable stop on the TWW Crazy Train. And as much as I am reminding myself that its too early for anything to mean anything, I am, of course, on the look out. Does it count as symptom spotting if you are immediately dismissive?

I’m going in for a progesterone draw this afternoon. I don’t know that its really ‘worth’ my time and energy, but it was recommended and I figure it can’t hurt to have quantifiable data in addition to my chart. Keeping my fingers crossed they’ll find a good vein in my arm and not have to resort to my hand again.

I’ve been lucky to mostly avoid the Facebook pregnancy announcement bitterness (FPAB) due primarily to a  general lack of FB pregnancy announcements. But last night a friend of a friend, who I am FB friends with, announced her pregnancy and the bitter green bile rose up. She has a male partner, and they were talking about trying when we started trying, so of course it makes logical sense that they would have won this race but fuckit if that doesn’t make me feel any better. Its just so impossible not to feel jealous and I hate that.

In two days, I turn 32. Last year I wished on my candles to get pregnant this year. Obviously, I’m not going to make that window on any strict accounting, but I am hoping that I won’t have to wish for the same thing twice. I will happily take my birthday present a week late . . .and really, two little lines on a pregnancy test isn’t so much to ask for, is it?

It takes a village to make a baby

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The butterfly mobile wending its way above my head during the insemination

 

IUI #1 is done-zo!

Due to unfortunate scheduling limitations and BFF’s recent car trouble, the coordination for the IUI was less than fun. I was reminded of the trauma I used to face each week as the manager of a coffee shop trying to balance everyone’s need for hours, days off, and preferences. I am so grateful that, most of the time, I only have to think about how and when to get myself to the places I need to go.

After a lot of back and forth, I talked the triage nurse into washing BFFs sperm on her lunch break (I am not above bribing.) My buddy Hoogie picked BFF up from his office and sperm-taxied him down to the office at noon, where I met them. BFF left his sample, gave me a kiss on the cheek and skedattled back to work. La sent me text messages as I sat and waited for the wash to finish and be called back. After an hour and a half, I was shown to my room and told to undress from the waist down.

The doctor (yet another new one! We are on doc #5 but so far they are all awesome!) was the head of the practice who we had originally been scheduled to see for our first visit at this OB. Frequent readers will remember my freakout about his online bio discussing his commitment to ‘family values.’ Although that fear has been subdued by the countless awesome experiences, I couldn’t put it entirely out of my mind. But he was AMAZING. SOOO nice. Friendly, cheerful, not at all weird or creepy – which I was especially grateful for as I was alone and feeling a little skeezed out about it all. 

It was, as I hear most IUIs are, pretty uneventful. I has harboring some fear about the catheter, since my HSG was akin to medieval torture and I wasn’t clear what, exactly, had caused that level of pain. But I hardly even felt a cramp. He told me my cervix was in a ‘perfect spot’ and my cervical mucus was ‘nice and clear’ – which is always nice to hear. He shook my hand and told me to take a pregnancy test in 14 days if my period hadn’t showed up.

So we are definitely on the hill, chuga-chug-chuggin’ up to the top, waiting with all the trepidation in the world to see what comes next. It feels good to be back on the ride again, instead of standing in line.

 

Of course.

Ah, Monday.

This morning, La and I woke up at 5:30am to get down to the doc by 7:30 for our follicle ultrasound. You should know, if you don’t already, that we are not a family of early risers, and we both work jobs that allow us to enjoy our natural proclivities to some extent. La teaches her first class at 9 or 10, and my office has a flexible-so-long-as-you-get-your-work-done policy, so I usually roll in around 9:30 or 10 as well (I also stay late, just so you don’t think I’m cheating the system.) Suffice to say, 5:30 is like another planet for us. But, 7:30am appointments are the only way we can get the biznass done and have La get to campus in time to teach. So, 7:30am it is.

We saw *another* doctor (this one also young, pretty and well-dressed, though not nearly so tall) who I will call Angel Cakes, because she was just so gosh darn sweet. Angel Cakes put the dildo-cam in, looked around and said “Nuthin’ on the right.” then maneuvered around and said, “Ok, here we go.” The bigger follicle from Thursday was now at “20 by 18” (I’m assuming mm.) Should be anytime now, she reported. She also said that they would like to see a better response than this with clomid, so if we don’t get pregnant this go, she would recommend 100mg of clomid for the next round. 

I asked if we should schedule the IUI and she said to wait for a positive on the OPK. “You haven’t gotten one yet, right?” Nope, I reported. No OPK. Some good quality cervical fluid, but no OPK. “I bet you get one today – have you taken one today yet?” Nope, I told her. Not yet.

So, off we went. I waited a few hours and did my ritual pee stick at 11am. Goose egg, y’all. Nuthin’.

I am doing my best to remain rational, reminding myself that I have no reason to believe that I won’t get a positive sometime in the next day or so. But that is easier said than done. Knowing, as I do, that 20mm is ideal/mature, I am now harboring a fear that I won’t GET a positive, and we will miss ovulation. Google, of course, has affirmed this by way of message boards, where a number of women report not getting positive OPKs with clomid, especially PCOS ladies.

So, I sent an e-mail asking about this and if getting a trigger was still an option. Probably, by the time I hear back, I will have either gotten the positive or missed the whole thing and it will be moot anyway. But it made me feel better to send it. And by better I mean slightly more managed in terms of anxiety. 

Really, I should suspend my doom for AT LEAST another 48 hours. But that would mean just waiting, and damn it if I am not so sick of that.

Still . . .assuming the worst doesn’t happen (not my best asset, but I’m trying!) we will have an IUI sometime this week – Wednesday, maybe? That would make sense, as its the most scheduled of all my days. . .

 

Thanks y’all for the continued love and support. I wish you all much less complicated cycles than this!

Grow on!

Well, I cleared  my business trip without ovulating. Hooray! 

But maybe I willed my follicles to slow down a little too much? Or, you know, there could be a valid scientific reason . . .

Yesterday La and I went in for a day 13 follicle ultrasound. Both the Texas Ranger and Dr. G were out, so I saw the doctor who did my HSG, who is really reminiscent of a super model due to her looks, excellent fashion sensibility and her sheer height. To keep things clear, I will call her Cover Girl. So, Cover Girl stuck the ultrasound wand up there, peeked around, then told me to go pee. I had been misinformed by the front desk staff to arrive at my appointment with a full bladder and had consequently chugged a 32 oz. bottle of water on my way to the 8am appointment. I wrapped the drape around my waist and scurried down the hall to pee.

When I came back she said, “you aren’t very good at emptying your bladder, are you?” Um, I guess not? Although I certainly *felt* I had done an adequate job. When I offered to go try again (always an overachiever!) she waved me off.

No dominant follicles, she reported. Well, maybe one. She said. I didn’t get numbers about how many little ones there were, but did hear that my right ovary looked more polycystic than the left. So, there is maybe a dominant follicle that is definitely not close to ovulation on my left ovary.

I will go back on Monday morning to re-check. Day 17. Hopefully by then at least one follicle will have emerged and be close to popping. I was kind of hoping the clomid might move ovulation up, or, you know . . .do *something.*

So, no news, I guess? I was instructed to keep peeing on sticks “just to be careful’ but she said it would be nearly impossible for me to ovulate between yesterday morning and Monday, given what my ovaries looked like. Unless I’m ovulating immature eggs . . .and that would really suck.

Like always, I’m trying to stay posi-core, but of course have the tiny anxiety creeping up about what IF . . .I haven’t yet gone down the pre-emptive spiral of grief if this cycle gets cancelled  . . .I have at least chosen to suspend judgement that long.

So, grow on, little follicles! Grow on! Don’t let mama down now!

I can’t get enough of these photos of *actual for real ovulation!* so I am sharing them here, again. I do realize not everyone is as into this kind of stuff as me, though. Sorry if it offends!

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