Month: April 2014

13dpiui and Feeling All the Feels

We’re getting close to the end of our fourth 2WW. Fertility Friend thinks my period should start Wednesday (I think Thursday), so for now there is still nothing to do but sit and wait and feel a little discouraged.

I’m pretty sure we’re out this month. My BBT dipped low yesterday (back up again today, but that seems happened last month too) and I don’t feel any symptoms other than the usual pangs and aches of PMS. No sign of implantation, either. My progesterone was only at 10.9 last week.

So…crap.

Elizabeth and I decided to take a 2-month break after this cycle for mental health reasons and also to find a new doctor. We’ve both become increasingly discouraged by our clinic these last few months. Whenever I think of our doctor I picture her shrugging or gazing absently at a point over my shoulder. And the nurses are hit or miss, with only a couple of genuinely caring NPs among the brusque, hurried ones whom we come across far more frequently. (One tells us we should really get a progesterone test, while the next scoffs at me for requesting it and says, “We’ll check your progesterone when you get pregnant.” NURSE PLEASE!)

It’s a really well-rated clinic, but it seems to be more geared toward IVF. When I see groggy but triumphant women being wheeled out of the egg retrieval room, I wonder if we are doing the right thing. We had talked about going to IVF next, but let’s be realistic–we’re talking about $15,000 here just to up our chances from slim to possible.

(Not to mention my uterus has already chewed up and spit out over $3,000 worth of sperm.)

Part of me is looking forward to some time off so I can drink wine again and chart naturally without the contamination of Ovidrel and added stress. We’re going to take a little road trip with our dog to visit friends in a couple of weeks, then make a quick family visit the month after. I am trying to stay open and friendly with these awful feelings of failure–I am sure my parents are going to wonder, though they may be too polite to ask, why I am not pregnant when we visit–but sometimes the sinking feeling that something is wrong with my body is too much to hold. During those times I feel the urge to keep going without a break, so the soothing momentum of trying can keep sweeping me along.

After all, you can keep yourself so busy while TTC! There’s the bustle of monitoring for ovulation, then the hopeful ultrasounds and IUIs, and even during the 2WW you’ve got to track your temp every morning and inform FF of all the little things you’ve noticed–cold hands! purple nipples!–and watch the peaks and valleys of your chart unfold every day. Sometimes I just open FF and look at my chart for no reason other than pure fascination of this weird intelligence inside my body. Like, I just sit on the toilet and stare at it.

But it’s probably good to rest for a bit, and come back energized in July. At least to give my cervix a break. I’ve had one hand on the little guy for the last four months.

Waiting is Better in Spring

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know we’re in the middle of our fourth Two Week Wait. Actually writing it out like that makes it seem like a drop in the bucket, like just a moment has passed. Four of anything isn’t that many.

In reality it feels a little longer. Okay, a lot longer.

The wait feels easier (for me at least) as the seasons begin to change. Our world is less constricted. I feel like I can think about something other than the wait and the miserable weather. Dare I say it I even have hope. From the depths of winter nothing seemed possible. New growth felt distant and dreamlike. Now the world is opening up again, bits of green around the edges.

We’re getting better at distracting ourselves too. Less focus on the possible symptoms, more focus on passing the time.

We went for dinner and read large chunks of books that we’re both enjoying. Andrea started a woodworking project. We built a garden bed and a fence to keep out the hordes of rabbits patrolling our neighborhood and stayed outside until the sun set. I even planted a single row of spinach to taunt the buggers and test the new fence:

Garden

Maybe this a good sign. New growth and all? Either way, the time passes.

IUI #4….and 5

So we’re back in action with a double IUI (our first back-to-back ever), and as usual, when I try to figure out whether we got the timing correct, I feel total uncertainty.

I had been testing on my own with OPKs (both the cheapies and Clearblue digitals) twice a day to see if I could be more precise about pinpointing when my surge began. When I got a positive on the morning of CD14 (after a negative the evening before), I was flustered. In the past, we’ve done an IUI 24 hours after the morning surge (twice) and 36 hours after a trigger (once). Since all three of those failed, the amateur scientist in me felt like we needed to do something different this time.

So we did an IUI the afternoon of the surge and the following morning–that’s 7 hours and 27 hours after the positive OPK. Of course I got myself upset by doing another OPK at work before the first IUI and getting a negative result–did that mean my surge had passed? Was I ovulating? Did I not hold my pee long enough? Was the first one a false positive? WHAT DO THE WOMEN ON THE MESSAGE BOARDS SAY ABOUT THIS??

(Answers: who knows, could be, hard to tell, maybe, WILDLY DIFFERENT THINGS OF VARYING ACCURACY.)

I called my doctor, who told me to go right into the bathroom at work and give myself the Ovidrel shot and go ahead with the IUIs as planned and stop looking at OPKs. I get the sense sometimes that her mind is elsewhere, as if on the other end of the telephone she was casually paging through a magazine and telling me “not to worry about it.” I also get the sense–though this is a highly reputable clinic–that the nurses aren’t all pulling from the same body of research. (One tells me frozen sperm live for 48 hours, another tells me 72. The internet tells me 12-24. OMG WTF BBQ??)

The stress of that piled up and I had to take a few minutes in the car before the first IUI so I could have a sob. My wife is good and hugged me and didn’t try to talk me down from the ledge, which I always appreciate.

After that I was fine. Our nurse was named Dory and my wife found great delight in putting her lips to my belly afterwards and calling out for them to “keep on swimming!” Then I went to my new acupuncturist, who put electric needles in my abdomen and fixed beads on my ear for me to press for the next few days.

Then Elizabeth and I both took off work today for the second IUI, which went smoothly as well (a full bladder really makes things so much more pleasant) and afterwards we napped and read and lay around the house while outside it snowed what I hope is the last snow of the season.

Now that the 2WW has begun, the doubts have started to creep back in: Because I don’t feel cramping during the IUI, is the nurse even putting anything in me? What if all the sperm got stuck in the catheter? What if they fell out when I peed? Where’s all my EWCM this month? Should we have waited to do the second later today, or tomorrow morning?

These are childish worries, similar to the fears I have when I’m flying: How does a big heavy airplane carrying people and luggage stay in the sky and not fall???

Trying to let go of all of those worries and just keep my belly relaxed means that I really have to stay mindful and not let my attention drift off as it pleases. Keeping distracted is good, too. And laughing. Lots and lots of laughing.

A Fairly Peaceful BFN

So our third IUI failed. Not a big surprise, since I hadn’t had any implantation symptoms, and on 15dpiui my morning BBT dropped way below coverline. Last night I had my first beer in awhile to commiserate. It was pretty tasty.

A fidgety child (maybe 6 years old) was sitting at the table next to us, eating spaghetti with his fingers and playing on his mom’s iPhone. Elizabeth and I drank our beer and confidently assured one another we will not let our 6-year-old play with an iPhone at the table. (Oh, the promises you find so easy to make when you don’t have children yet!)

Two beers.

Overall I think we did it right this time, not taking a pregnancy test. We decided it was just too anxiety-provoking to watch the little white screen, hoping for a second pink line. Much easier to just watch my temperature gently fall and go on about our lives until my period started. (I refuse to call it AF. That’s too much of a cartoon name for a time of the month that just feels sad.)

We’re going to go for our 4th in a couple of weeks. Our first two IUIs were totally natural, and our third was triggered (Ovidrel) from my right follicle. We’re going to try triggering one more time, this time the left, to see if that tube is better. Symmetry and all. I’m switching acupuncturists and trying to stay positive.

If the 4th cycle fails…not sure what’s next. It’s hard to keep chopping your own expectations down while trying to stay hopeful and positive. I kept thinking that I would definitely be pregnant by this summer, but now it’s feeling less and less likely. We’ll definitely take a month off after the next IUI to think and recuperate, although I hate stopping now that the momentum of TTC is so comforting and familiar. We will probably move to IVF if we can figure out a way to swing it financially.

We also ate cake, after we drank the beer. That helped, too.

The cake we ate.