Wednesday, November 28, 2012

bump #41: what do all these numbers mean?

Monday I had bloodwork done and here are the results:

Progesterone:  Ideally should be >20, last month was 25, this month is 56. {I'm thinking the progesterone supplements are working}

Estrogen: Ideally should be >200, last month was only 134, this month is 898 {yes, you read that right. almost 900. Good news: no more estrogen patches!}

I asked what these higher numbers mean and the nurse told me that I definitely ovulated (I would hope so, I took the ovidrel shot to be sure!) and that I possibly ovulated more than one egg (duh, there were like 5 of them, remember?!) and lastly, that my uterine lining is looking good for implantation.

Sounds like all good news, but we won't really know how good until our pregnancy test on Monday. Which is like 5,345,897 days away. Until then, I will continue eating for 6, as per Erika's suggestion :) and hope that there's at least one little munchkin in there. Or a big, fat turkey as the case may be.

And once again, my mom has left me in stitches with her email response to all of this:
"Yayyyy on the high numbers! OctoMom has got NOTHING on You!
Hehe, I am really excited and hopeful. The good news is we will know in a week.
I know every day seems like a year, but it will be here before you know it!
 Ooohhh, I wonder if the high estrogen numbers mean four little ones!? ...Like 200
points each. Maybe we will get four and a tea cup! *
 Just kidding, I can't help but be excited!"

*Sidenote: tiny dogs, like less than 2 lbs, are called "tea cup" size. And if this whole infertility thing keeps causing me grief I just might start collecting little tea cup doggies until I feel better.
Here's Maddie when she was 4 weeks old and could fit inside a tea cup...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

bump #40: let's get this turkey basted!

Monday was IUI #3 and we had our highest numbers yet...
Here's hoping that this turkey is properly basted! 

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Friday, November 16, 2012

bump #39: 5 follicles

Today's ultrasound {day 11, so still kind of early} revealed two 16 mm follicles and three 15 mm follicles almost ripe and ready for ovulation. Tomorrow I do the ovidrel shot and Monday morning is the iui.  To put it in perspective, the last two iui's I only had one mature follicle, and they say you only need one. But I'm inclined to disagree. So five sounds fabulous to us! Unfortunately it doesn't sound fabulous to the doctor who kept asking me "how tall are you?" and other concerned questions about the logistics of my five foot (on a good day, after stretching) frame carrying two or more babies. He mentioned something about selective reduction (which we're not really into), but when he said that there is a possibility of triplets my eyes got really big and I exclaimed, "THREE BABIES?! Perfect, then Andrew can get snipped and we're done!"  I was mostly joking because I recognize that the likelihood of this working at all, let alone producing more than one, is still minimal. Five potential follicles does not mean that five will release or get fertilized or become a baby. But five is better than one and for a second it was fun to think about.

So after the appointment, I did what I always do; I called my mom and asked what she thought about everything. She was almost as excited even more excited than us. She heard "five follicles" and immediately screams "FIVE BABIES! We need to have a fundraiser! And a diaper drive! Ooh, this is so exciting! You're going to be on the news!" I think it's safe to say someone got her hopes up :)  We know infertility is dismal and our chances are not great, even this cycle, but it's fun to be a little bit silly about it and find something to giggle at. My mom is good at lightening the mood.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

bump #38: needles

So part of the protocol for this month's iui is injectables (75 units of follistim per shot) for 3 days. Today was day 2 and the shots haven't been too bad {a little worse than the ovidrel shot, but still not too painful}.   I finished 5 days of clomid and had no side effects, which worries me because that makes me think it's not working. The only thing I've noticed with the follistim is that it makes me sleepy, but I do the shot at night so it could just be correlation not causation. Yawn

I have an ultrasound on Friday morning to check on the size of the follicles so until then, who knows if any of this is working?!

In other news, my mom is coming to visit this weekend! {So Super Excited!!!} We will have to do our insemination while she's here, which is totally fine, but perhaps a little awkward for her.

Ok, so when I told her about it, her response was "I am so sorry, I am coming at the worst possible time... you need your "quality time", don't worry though, I'll just turn the tv up really loud."

So funny!

Hopefully I reassured her that she doesn't have to worry about interrupting anything. We're doing iui because "quality time" {normal baby making way} doesn't work for us. But I thought what she said was hilarious, so I had to share it :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

bump #37: stepping up our game

On Friday we met with our RE (reproductive endocrinologist) and OBGYN to conduct an ultrasound, collect bloodwork, and ask a lot of questions about what our next steps should be after 2 failed iui's. The doctors were super helpful and informative, but I learned that in dealing with infertility issues you really have to be your own advocate and do a lot of research on your own. So I did. You would have been so proud of me using big grown up words like luteal phase, uterine lining, and laparoscopy (except I kept saying it like lap-row-scopey and it's lap-uh-ross-cuppy). Ugh. I guess that's the difference between me and med school. The only difference I'm sure.

I will NEVER get used to "scooching" down on that stupid table!
Shouldn't they buy me a steak dinner first? Come on guys, I have standards!
The plan was always to do 3 iui's before moving on to more effective (read: expensive and invasive) procedures. I just didn't anticipate even needing 3 iui's because, duh, the first or second one will totally work. Right. So here we are again.

IUI #3: clomid and injectables
Is it just me or does that sound like the title of a horror flick?

In the past I've only taken a low dose of femara to boost my follicles and an ovidrel shot to induce ovulation with insemination on cycle day 14.  Easy peasy. As far as I know the medications did what they were supposed to, and increased our likelihood of conception, but not enough to make a difference. So for this third and {probably} final iui, we are stepping up our game and I am taking 100 mg of clomid everyday for 5 days and then 3 days of follistim (follicle stimulating hormone) injections. Initially we chose femara over clomid because clomid has a greater risk of multiples which could be complicating for my midget frame. But to that extra chance of twinsies, we say BRING IT ON! We decided to add injectables along with the clomid because they dramatically icrease the chances of success. There was also a voucher reducing their cost, and I'm a stickler for a bargain.  Even with that voucher the cost of this iui is significantly more {like $700 more} than our other iui's, which is why we will probably only do this once and then start selling our vital organs on the black market work on saving funds for ivf in the next couple years. 

There was talk of in vitro, or the "ferrari of fertility treatments" as Dr. Martin referred to it. Which leads me to believe that our past iui's would fall into the not-so-fancy el camino category.
Hopefully this new iui is closer to the luxury category like a Lexus or something.
But an SUV one just in case the clomid works overtime :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

bump #36: another negative

IUI #2 did not work.

Against my better judgement {the last string of sanity that says I sound like an emotional train-wreck and should have grabbed the bowl of Halloween candy instead of the laptop to cope with the devastation} I am publishing this post that is raw and ugly and as negative as every single pregnancy test I have ever taken. Count your fingers and toes and then double it. That's the amount of negativity I'm talking about.  Oh the joys of infertility math!

Suffice it to say that this cycle, this second failed cycle, sent me into a funk that I'm still trying to get out of.

I took all the medicines, went to all the appointments, prayed everyday for a miracle, paid everday for a miracle, and it was all for nothing.

I'm left with nothing.

Well, not nothing... the estrogen patch left a rash on my stomach and turned me into a weepy mess for a solid 2 days. Count your blessings?

I got my hopes up.

I hate fertility treatments because for a split second it seems like the problem is under control, like it's not a losing battle anymore. But it is.

I'm losing it.

Last night in the fifteen minutes I was at Target to pick out my consolation candy bags I passed by 8 pregnant women. The reasonable part of my brain that should have remembered 1 in 8 women experiences some form of infertility and considered that one of them might have had to go through what I'm going through wasn't working. So 8 times I had to fight back tears, take a deep breath, and move on.

I've had to fight back tears, take many deep breaths, and try to move on for a while now.
It's wearing me down.

I usually can see the humor in things, even tougher things, but the only thing remotely humorous about this journey so far is that:
I have pregnacy brain, but without the pregnancy part, meaning I am in a fog most of the time and can't think clearly.
I have gained 12 pounds a lot of weight since beiginning fertility treatments and am still infertile, but am carrying around the extra weight of a hefty baby as a constant reminder of what should be there but isn't.
I experience habitual headaches due to stress about what all these "shot in the dark" treatments and hormones are doing to my body in the long run and, at the same time,
I feel nauseous when trying to calculate how many years it would take to pay off the extensive treatments that are still ahead of me. That nausea, which I can only imagine to be similar to morning sickness, is as close as I am ever going to get to feeling pregnant.

Some consolation prize: If you can't get pregnant, you might as well get crazy, fat, and uncomfortable like a pregnant person. Oh and my moodswings have got to be at least on par with the pregos.
So there's that.

And there's a plan. I know God has a plan for our lives and for some reason it includes all these bumps in this baby-making battle. (Wow, this is bump 36 and not one of those bumps has been a baby. Ouch.) I didn't plan for that.

So what do we do now?

We pray.

We pray that the desires of our hearts would line up with God's will for our lives. I've been praying that same prayer my whole life, and everything always worked out. I mean I always got what I wanted... eventually. But now that simple prayer has taken on a whole new meaning. I might not get what I want, what my heart desires. And I wonder if I ever really meant those words all along. Did I know what I was saying? Can I change my mind and take it back?

No. And if I really thought about it, I wouldn't want to take it back. His plan is greater.
But it still hurts.

Maybe I didn't know that as I prayed that prayer I was actually saying that it's ok with me if God's will is not for me to get pregnant or even to have a baby at all. Maybe instead I was being manipulative and thought that if I just reminded God, ever so lovingly, that I really want to be a mommy more than anything else in the world, that he would alter his will for my life to include that desire.  Maybe this onslaught of negativity on my part is the beginning of me processing that I can't alter his will at all. God is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I praise Him for that. That yesterday, when I was still hopeful and in a way better mood, He loved me the same as He does today when I'm down in the dumps and the worst possible version of myself.  I'm so thankful that His love is the same always.

And today, though incredibly disappointed by our present circumstances, I am still grateful for His gentle reminder that no matter what battles we are facing, the real battle is already won.