Tuesday, May 29, 2012

bump #16: setbacks

Yesterday morning I went in for bloodwork. {Ouchy! It left a bruise the size of Texas on my arm} I am all too familiar with the phrase "adding insult in injury".  The tests came back negative so our first iui was officially a colossal failure. {This is my surprised face *no expression*} This is most likely due to that polyp they found a couple weeks ago.  So next Wednesday I have an appointment for a salinogram, an ultrasound in which water is used to determine the location and size of the polyp. Sometime after that I will go in for a hysteroscopy, an outpatient surgical procedure to remove the polyp. As if all of this isn't a big enough set back to Project Pregnancy, I will also be put on birth control during that time, (and am not entirely sure what the purpose of that is because after all of those painful appointments I can pretty much guarantee there is going to be no gettin' it on for a while!) In fact, going back on the pill is quite puzzling to me. I'm like let me get this straight, first I took birth control because I didn't want children and now I'm taking it because I do?  Meanwhile 3 more of my best friends from college are pregnant and all due at the same time. Peachy.  And I need to go get gifts for a double baby shower next weekend. The hits just keep on coming!

Note to self:
when I pick up my prescription for the pill remember to also pick up a packet of prozac =)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

bump #15: BFN

The big fat negative I got on a preliminary pregnancy test wasn’t as upsetting as I expected it to be. Probably because I just got back from an awesome week in Cabo {see pictures HERE}

There’s definitely something to be said for keeping busy to take your mind off things. No time to get bummed out about baby-making May and iui #1 being a flop. Now we’re off to spend the weekend in Austin with some friends… other married couples who don’t have kids. My peeps J

Thursday, May 17, 2012

bump #14: distractions

**This bump is my favorite**
and completely necessary if you find yourself struggling to get pregnant.

Distractions sometimes get a bad rap. 

I always tell my students not to be a distraction in class and bla bla bla.
I'm almost positive all they hear is the bla bla bla part.

I'm here to tell you that 
distractions can be absolutely awesome!

Everyone could use a distraction sometimes.

Something to take your mind off silly things like, I don't know, HSG, HCG, LH, and other abbreviations for words I shouldn't know.

Distractions don't obliterate those things, but they make them a little easier to handle.

Case and point... vacation.

Vacation is a lovely distraction, it transplants you from problems to paradise.

Bonus: There is no pee stick ruining your life in paradise.

And so next week will be a beautiful distraction.

I will be living it up in Cabo San Lucas with my mom and the girls.

There will be:
umbrella drinks (non alcoholic, just in case :)
white sand beaches with crystal clear water and tropical fish
and all the yummy mexican food I can eat, which is A LOT!!!

There will not be:
appointments at the fertility center
ovulation predictor kits
or nervous breakdowns

The Go Go's said it best: "Vacation's all I ever wanted!"
Well vacation and a baby, but I'll start with the vacation for now.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

bump #13: another appointment

Why are there so many appointments?

When I hesitantly made my initial consulation visit at FCSA (fertility center of san antonio) in March, I had no idea that I would be doing everything short of taking up permanent residence there.  It is becoming all too familiar and makes me think Cheers had it all wrong... Sometimes you wanna go where NOBODY knows your name.  There is simply no anonymity and these people know way more than just my name :)

I feel like I have spent more time at the doctor's office than anywhere else. Namely my job.

They must think I have something seriously wrong with me for the amount of times I have had to come in late or take random days off.  I suppose I do have something seriously wrong with me, but that is beside the point.

Last Saturday I went in for an ultrasound, Monday was the IUI, and now Friday they want me to come back for an estrogen and progesterone test to check my levels. {make sure they're increasing assuming the embryo is implanted} 3 visits in one week!

I am cancelling the appointment. 
My reasoning is 3-fold.

First, I am sick of spending every waking moment in that office. It takes a big chunk out of my day and there isn't even any good shopping or restaurants on that end of town to entice me.

Second, I take pride in my (usual) excellent attendance and do not want to miss anymore work for these annoying appointments. Let's be honest, with the large chunk of change that IF treatments cost, I really can't afford to!

Third, this IUI probably didn't take. And Friday morning is too soon to really tell either way, so best case scenario they say that the levels look great and I get my hopes up. Worst case, they say it was a collossal failure and I go into work late, sobbing the whole rest of the day.

There are so many "mechanical" components to this whole process, it feels very contrived and science-y, way more robotic than romantic. To be honest, sometimes it feels completely unnatural. And it is.

Getting pregnant should involve romance and candles, not forceps and catheters!

All that to say I want some part of this process to be normal.
Normal people don't have to track their estrogen and progesterone every week.
I don't want to either.

No more appointments that make me feel like a science experiment!

Monday, May 14, 2012

bump #12: IUI

It shouldn't come as a shock that I have not shared many details of the last few months/years of fertility troubles with anyone in real life (blog world excluded obviously!

Pregnancy, particularly pre-pregnancy, is very private. It's personal and fragile and I still don't quite have a handle on it. But blogging about it, just documenting these little bumps on the way to the big bump, is really helpful and healing.

I hope that one day in the not so distant future I can scan through these posts, with the cutest little baby in my lap :) and think "yeah, that pretty much sucked, but oh it was so worth it!" 

I hope that we're not going through all of this for nothing.

Not just the money, though I complained a lot about that here.

Not just the time, man it goes by so slow.

Not just the emotions, wowza! If this is how I feel pre-hormonal flare ups, I can't even imagine what bumped-up bren is going to be like!

Not just the sacrifice. I won't get to eat sushi or drink margaritas whenever I want, and I'm still going to get super fat.

Not just the pain.  I don't even want to know!


We had our first intrauterine insemination (IUI) appointment this morning and if it is successful and brings our long-awaited baby into our lives,

it will all be worth it.

But if it doesn't work out this time, we are prepared to do it all over again...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

bump #11: mother's day

Today is Mother's Day.
It is bitter sweet.

I remember last year on this date, clinging to the hope that it would be the last Mother's Day I would have to spend as "not a mom." 

I remember people at church passing out long stemmed roses to all the mothers and having to pass them by. 

I remember taking a pregnancy test that very Sunday because I was a couple days late. And thinking that would be the sweetest day to find out I was having a baby.  But it was negative. Again.

Mother's Day makes me a little bit sad.
Is that terrible? Should I not even be saying that?

It feels like a club that I can't be a part of. Like I'm not good enough to get in.
It's a reminder of what I don't have. What I can't have.


Pity party of one are the words that keep running through my head.
I need to snap out of it

Not being a mom is not the worst thing in the world.
Not having a mom would be infinitely worse.

I love my moms (mine and andrew's) and when I think about Mother's Day as being about them {instead of about my big empty belly, house, bank account, etc} it changes my perspective.

It changes my heart.

So this Mother's Day I am going to be grateful for the amazing women in my life,
moms and non-moms alike.

I am also going to snuggle up with my puppy and eat donuts to my heart's content!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

bump # 10: good news and bad news

Bad news first:

An ultrasound this morning revealed that there is a big fat polyp making itself cozy in my uterus.

Read more about uterine polyps here and here and here

We have no idea where it came from, or when. I have never had any of the listed symptoms and the HSG in March and the ultrasound last week showed no polyps. How did this happen? And what the heck is a polyp anyway?  My infertility vernacular is increasing everyday...

All I know is that polyps are benign tumors that form in the endometrium and thrive on estrogen. And they act as a barrier, taking up precious space where the baby is supposed to implant, making getting pregnant even harder. Also they increase the risk of miscarriage. Fantastic. Just where exactly is this excess estrogen coming from?  I haven't even eaten soy products in months.  {Although it does explain the last hormonal flare up post.}

Sidenote: My dad, bless his heart, has had to live with 6 females (2 of them being the canine persuasion, but we all know dogs can be real b*****es too) and when my sisters and I were having particularly emotional outbursts, my dad would always chime in "oops did I step on the estrogen button?"

I can now say with certainty, that this poopy polyp has stepped all over my estrogen button!

Here is what the bad news means...

The polyp will most likely need to be surgically removed before we will be able to achieve and maintain a pregnancy. This polyp came out of nowhere and right in the middle of our first IUI cycle.  And we are too far into this to just call it off now - I have already taken the prescribed femara to boost up my follicles (see good news below), I am doing the HCG injection tonight to bring on ovulation in the next 36 hours, and we are going to continue with the IUI on Monday.  The polyp might get in the way of the embryo implanting in the endometrium, resulting in no pregnancy this month. Or, we may be able to get pregnant anyway, but miscarry later due to complications from the polyp. Thanks bing.com, you nasty nuisance with nothing but bad news that sends me straight back to the bitter bandwagon!  Of course the doctors are very reassuring and explained example after example of all the patients with successful pregnancies where polyps were present and didn't interfere at all. Hopefully we'll be one of those couples.

But realistically we are never one of those couples. You know, the ones who get pregnant on the first try. Or the second try. Or... you get the idea.

So I am already planning on this month being a wash and anticipating another exciting invasive procedure next month called hysteroscopy. (This involves getting put under while scissors are crammed up in my business to literally cut out the polyp).
Oh goody. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse!

Now for the good news:

The femara seems to have worked and picked my left ovary to be the main contributor for this month's egg competition.

This is a picture of my big beautiful follicles 
(beauty is in the eye of the beholder - I totally get that saying now!)
Those big black blotches that look sort of like a peace sign are my follicles. 
Aren't they precious?!  The biggest one is almost 23 mm.
To put it in perspective, a good sized follicle for ovulation is 18 mm.

This chart above shows the sizes of the follicles... the next biggest one is 15 mm and could possibly ovulate as well.
Usually only one follicle releases an egg per month though. We'll take what we can get.

So here we are.
Taking the good with the bad and hoping for the best.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

bump #9: the bitter bandwagon

I don't sugarcoat things. It's not my style.  My father-in-law has this saying, "it's like polishing a turd."  Infertility is a big fat turd crapping all over my life.

Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but lately I have been having quite the pity party. 

I blame the hormones.
And facebook.

{Nowhere on the label does it say that one of the dominant side effects of femara is becoming a hater.} So I will say it here.  Those 'hater hormones' have been rearing their ugly head and putting this bren (sans baby bump) on the bitter bandwagon.

The worst is when I log onto facebook. I love FB, it used to be my happy place... all :) and LOL's.
Now it totally bums me out... all :( and FML.

Warning: I'm about to become a tiny bit  lot bit of a b-word. Please try to be understanding of the place I'm coming from, the bummed out, baby-less, bitter place. And please don't hate on this hater.

It's just that every. single. time. I turn on the computer I am bombarded with all these adorable little  - (no, that would be sugarcoating it) big obnoxious pictures of brand new babies and birth announcements and sonograms, which by the way are really wonky looking and should NOT be your profile pic. (sticks tongue out and makes gag noise)  I will of course recant that statement once I have my own mis-shapen blob of a pic of my ultrasound to plaster all over the internet. But for now, I am going to bash on them.

Wow, that felt pretty good. Can I vent just a little bit more?

Not to sound like a toddler, but it's really not fair. These newly-pregos are all newlyweds who just got married like a minute ago.  I have put years. Yes YEARS into this endeavor. Meanwhile they're nonchalantly popping out kids #2 and #3 while I'm still trying to figure out if I'm even ovulating each month. Not fair!

So while I'm still waiting and wishing for a baby I can't help it if I'm also wishing for a few extra stretchmarks and unsightly cankles for all of those perfectly prego people. JUST KIDDING!
(I of course hope that their babies are healthy and happy and all that.)

That's all for now from the brutally honest and {incredibly} bitter band wagon.

Friday, May 4, 2012

bump #8: femara

I think we can all agree there are many better ways to start your weekend than an early morning ultrasound surveying a super empty uterus. *sarcasm*

But whatever.  It is what it is.

This sonogram was the same exam we had back in March at our consultation visit. And no, it was not any more comfortable or less awkward than last time.

I pretty much dread going to FCSA. It is all the way across town, through 3 major freeways of traffic.  I always make Andrew drive because I refuse to learn still don't know my way around this crazy city. The stress of the 40 minute car ride there is enough to make me want to quit this whole inconvenient infertility journey. {Not really, but it sure makes me cranky.}  Somehow sitting in traffic all morning is not conducive to happy thoughts. Who knew?!

Eventually we made it to the doctor's office where I took a proverbial chill pill and we established a course of action for the month, which we will heretofore refer to as baby-making may. But before that,

There were a couple things I had to come to terms with today.

1) My body is not going to naturally get pregnant on its own. For whatever reason, that hasn't happened in the last 2 years that we've been trying and it probably won't happen without some form of medical assistance.

2)  When it becomes apparent that your only option for pregnancy is going to be medically induced, you can greatly increase your chances of success with ovulation inducing hormones.


That brings us to the purpose of today's visit:  to see how many follicles my body is producing on its own to determine if the medication they prescribed me will increase that number, thus increasing our chance of pregnancy.

I am not a fan of medication and that is putting it lightly. I can count on one hand the number of times I have taken antibiotics or other types of prescribed medicine (including last month's valium and doxycyclene).  I know it has it's purpose, but when it comes down to it, I am quite skeptical of the pharmaceutical industry in general and distrusting of most doctors. (Call it a Kohler gene.)

So when the fertility specialist told me that I would need to take femara, I immediately researched the heck out of it. 

I was not pleased with the results of my inquiry.

Let's just say it is NOT FDA approved for infertility treatment and has been associated with miscarriage and birth defects if taken during pregnancy. (It is actually prescribed for people with early stages of breast cancer, but has some benefits when used as an ovulation inducing hormone.)  It should come as no surprise that I freaked out a little bit a lot and am still unsettled about taking it. Why would I put any more risk on my poor reproductive system? Isn't there a better option than this?

Eventually I was talked down from the ledge, so to speak, and led to believe that the chances of miscarriage or birth defects are the same for everyone regardless of their use of femara or clomid or any other drug.  "Right, whatever!" I'm thinking to myself. There is no way that I would ever opt to take pills that could potentially harm my unborn baby or myself. Who does that?

People who want what they can't have do that.
I might have to do that.
Bear with me...

We are in a "unique" situation. And by unique, I mean sucky.
I mean we don't have a lot of options here.

I never imagined in a million years that I would have to

take hormone pills and injections to produce eggs 
 track my temperature three times a day
 pee on litmus strips to see if I'm ovulating
 get ultrasounds to see if I even have follicles
so I can take medicine that has detrimental risks
all the while paying thousands of dollars 
to become a mother.

That it wouldn't just happen at the right time all on its own is heart breaking.  
This is something I am going to have to come to terms with each and everyday.   

I don't have the privilege of just getting knocked up the old fashioned way.
So yes, I am going to take the medicine. And I am going to pray about it. I am going to pray that it does exactly what it is supposed to and nothing more. I am going to continue to pray for a miracle natural pregnancy, but remain cautiously optimistic as we continue on with our plan of IUI.

Today my doctor gave me a super low dose prescription of femara.  2.5 mg to be exact. 
{This is important because the lower the dose, the lower the likelihood of yours truly becoming the next octo-mom.} That is to say, compared with other fertility drugs, femara has a much lower chance of resulting in multiple births. Both the doctors, hubbs, and my uterus agreed that one baby at a time is preferable.

Although now that I think about it, twins wouldn't be that bad. Especially if we got a boy and girl. Then I could be all done in 1 shot!

Somehow I don't think it is that easy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

bump #7: the merry-go-round

Every May my mom helps host a lovely conference for ladies on the central coast called All My Sisters and Me. Up until I moved to Texas, I had gone every year. The conference in always Mother's Day weekend and consists of a yummy lunch, fun time of worship, and thoughtful guest speaker. The most memorable year for me was in 2004, when Sue Haddick was speaking and prophecied over me.

I have to preface this by saying that I don't really understand the gift of prophecy and definitely do not have it myself. In fact, until that Saturday 8 years ago, prophecy kind of gave me the heebie jeebies. I tend to approach a lot of what I don't understand with a great deal of skepticism. I feel the same way about physics. Heebie. Jeebies. :) It's just that I feel like prophecy is one of those things the Bible is referring to when it says "test the spirits..." That being said, when Mrs. Haddick started speaking/praying over me, I knew immediately that her words were directly from the Lord because they pierced my heart and opened my eyes like never before. It was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time. Only God does that.

May 2004 was a turning point. Not just because of that day, but because I had to make some really big decisions that would shape my future. I was 20 years old. I had never lived away from home. I was struggling with school (Advanced Placement also stands for Academic Probation) had been kicked out of Cal Poly after only one year (Apparently organic chemistry and advanced calculus give me the heebie jeebies too.) I was finishing up classes at Cuesta and had applied to transfer to Point Loma in San Diego. The problem was, I had applied in January and it was May. I still hadn't heard back. {It turns out they hadn't reviewed my application because they never received my medical information. Funny how the tiniest things can be such a hold up. Now it's the rubella shot holding things up. Sheesh!}

All this to say there are many parallels from life in May 2004 to life in May 2012. I have some really big decisions to make. I don't know what happens next. But I'm not 20 anymore, actually closer to 30 (eek.) And instead of wondering if I'm going to get into college, I'm wondering if I'm going to get into maternity pants.

Anyway, if you know anything about my personality, I struggle with patience. In fact, my earliest childhood memory is my precious grama charlene singing "have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry. when you get impatient, you only start to worry..." Y'all know the tune!

My patience had run out. It seemed like nothing was working out right and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. 

This is an all-too familiar feeling recently.

So I closed my eyes and listened to these (sweet southern) words spoken over me and sobbed.

"It's been a fun place in your life where you've gone up and down. Sometimes in places of almost getting there and not quite. The path has been very funny. You could almost say 'that's ridiculous, that's crazy, how did that happen? that's ridiculous.' It's almost like you're so used to things being goofy now, it's just like 'oh brother' You're able to kind of brush it off. But the Lord wants to change that, the Lord wants to turn that thing around. He's saying 'enough already. enough'

He says 'I'm taking you off the merry-go-round and placing you on the path that's straight.

I'm pushing you forward to the path of peace. Where joy has been stolen, I say you get it back.' For the Lord says, 'where those places of equilibrium and stability have been stolen from you, that's not right and I'm coming in and I'm gonna make it right' And where the enemy has said that you've make a lot of mistakes, He says 'not the way I see it. You've made a lot of right choices. I'm going to prove it to you so that you will see what I see and get my perspective on it.' You've been clouded from that and haven't been able to see it like he's seen it. You're going to be in a place to right the wrong, there's some situations where you need to make some stands. You have the strength for it. You think yourself weak, He thinks you're strong. 

I keep hearing "make things right" and the word writing keeps coming to me. With your humor, your gentle, loving humor. And the way you see things with a little twist, almost like "oh, that's funny!" He wants you to write these things down for other people to read and how you see him working in other people's lives. But from the way that lets you see it, from a humorous way."

Sue spoke about several other specific things that came to fruition and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and truth she spoke into my life.

I got my acceptance letter to Point Loma on my way home that very afternoon.
My life changed forever.

In May 2004 these words were about taking the next step, following after Christ as he led me to PLNU.

In May 2012 these words are about finding strength to get through the ups and downs of infertility.  

Funny that she ended talking about writing... it only took me 8 years to start this silly blog :)

In many ways it feels like I'm still in that place of almost getting there and not quite.
Like I don't know where to go from here.
 I'm still on this crazy merry go round.

And yet, God's promises are still true.

Isaiah 40 brings comfort:

"The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth;
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed."