So far, so good. I had my baseline ultrasound this morning and my ovaries were fairly quiet. No one seems to know if I’m going to have a period or not. When I asked the nurse, she just shrugged and said, “Some people do, some don’t.” I’m due, but other than sore breasts I don’t really feel like it’s coming.
After plunking down another stack of cash to freeze future embryos and signing paperwork about what we want to do with those embryos if we die or divorce, I got the go-ahead to start stims tomorrow.
It’s crazy to me how unreachable IVF seemed a couple of months ago, and now here we are in the middle of it. I’ve got a ring of dots around my belly button where my wife sleepily gives my shot every morning. Our savings account is pretty much drained. And I feel a little more hopeful than I have before.
Apparently it’s been 5 months since I updated this blog. I think I just got tired of announcing our TTC failures, and while I’ve been following everyone else’s journey I just haven’t had the heart to update.
But anyway, life has led us to the inevitable outcome I’d wanted so badly to avoid: IVF.
I start Lupron on Saturday; stims (Menopur and Follistim) ten days after that. And I’m quite nervous. The boxes of meds are piled up on the table, and every time I walk past them I have a little ripple of anxiety. My main concerns are side effects, both long-term and immediate. And most specifically, am I going to lose my shit? I’m under a lot of stress at work right now, and while I think I manage it better than most, I don’t have a lot of time or space in my life for massive mood swings or depression.
Oh yeah, and thanks for your blogs. I don’t comment much because I struggle with typing on my phone, but your stories have really kept me going during this whole maddening process.
Yesterday, a good friend of mine told me she is pregnant.
I’m glad she told me over g-chat, because the second I read the sentence I burst into tears. “We weren’t even really planning on it!” she said. Main emotions here = jealousy, grief, frustration, and deep shame that I don’t feel happy for her.
So I typed out something like OMG@!!! CONGRATS!!!! WOW CRAP I HAVE TO GO TO A MEETING!! BYEEE and logged off. And fetched my wife and sobbed onto her shoulder for a good hour. I haven’t had a good cry like that in awhile–the shoulder-shaking, sob-from-the-throat, can’t-breathe kind.
It felt pretty good, actually. Cleansing.
Pregnancy announcements among our friends are popping up weekly now, which I guess is to be expected in our 30s. And each one makes me feel like shit. Shit because I am jealous, and then extra shit because I am ashamed that I am jealous.
BTW: I am really only bruised by the “whoops” pregnancies. The “we didn’t even plan on it!” ones. There is so much (fertile) heterosexual privilege woven into these statements it burns a hole in my chest.
It’s made me extra sensitive to the fact that someday when we do get pregnant, we won’t even realize how deeply our announcement might hurt some people. My god, how does anyone move through the world without breaking someone’s heart?
I had my beta two days ago, and the nurse’s voice when she called back was oozing with pity. That’s officially 6 failed IUI cycles for me–ME, the under-35, healthy, clear-tubed, high ovarian reserve, acupuncture-getting woman with the stellar donor who has had no problems knocking other women up.
Some things in life just do not come easily.
Today is 16dpo and I’m still waiting for my period to arrive. Elizabeth and I met with our doctor this morning to talk about IVF options, and we were treated quite differently than we ever have before. This time our doctor personally came out to the waiting room to fetch us, shook our hands, complimented my haircut, and after our discussion gave us her number to call anytime. I guess if you are willing to write a check for $18k you get treated like it. That’s kind of nice.
Anyway, we decided we’re going with one final IUI in November with a new donor and trying Femara instead of Clomid, since my lining has been so thin. Then it’s on to IVF. Our doctor spent some time drawing a nice thick uterus and ovaries on a scratch piece of paper, explaining the whole timeline and what we can expect. Our clinic has a good program that includes 6 fresh transfers and 6 FETs–if you don’t take a live baby home from the hospital after that, you get all your money back. Our doctor said they have a 90% success rate with this program. My heart leaped a bit when she wrote that number at the top of the uterus drawing.
So here’s hoping.
This cycle I did something I never do: I bought Dollar Tree tests and started peeing on them at 7dpo. And now I see why they are so crazymaking! I got a faint line at 7dpo (the end of my trigger), then nothing 8-10dpo, then a faint faint squinter yesterday with FMU. A second Dollar Tree test last night was negative…so I took a FRER this morning, day 12, and it’s stark white. I cancelled my beta this morning because it seems pointless.
I also picked up a nasty cold Saturday while working an event that I’ve been planning for a long time–not sure whether someone I hugged passed their germs on, or my immune system is just shutting down after months of preparation for the event. Either way I feel horrible. Sore throat, chest cold for the past two days. It’s actually a blessing–being sick takes up so much energy that it helps distract me from the disappointment of the BFNs.
But Elizabeth and I spent a lot of time yesterday talking about next steps. This year I did 7 iuis with our original donor, whose supply is wiped out now, and our insurance coverage for the year has also run out. So we’re meeting with our doctor on Friday, but I think the plan is going to be:
- Pay OOP for one more iui with a new donor in November–no Clomid, nothing fancy, just to see if the reason I can’t get pregnant is because donor #1 and I don’t mesh.
- Start IVF in January. I really wish it won’t come to that, but it’s looking more and more like we’ve come up that “last resort” finally.
In the meantime I can’t help but notice that literally every single woman in the world except me is pregnant. RIGHT?? 😉
First, a question for you ladies–how many follicles do you usually have on each side? I typically have 18-22 small on each side at my baseline (plus a cyst), and then about 13-15 on each side when I trigger (in addition to at least one biggie). My AMH is on the high side (8.3), which makes me suspect PCOS–but I don’t have any symptoms, and I ovulate regularly. FSH, estrodial, LH, thyroid are all normal. My RE says not to worry about the cyst or the large amount of follicles; my acupuncturist says it’s a problem.
This morning I had IUI #6, which is looking more and more like the Final One Ever, because at some point you just have to throw in the towel. I used our last vial of our donor–we thought we had bought enough for both of us to get pregnant–and now the bank is completely out of him.
Everything seemed right–nice big follicles, ovulation pain right on time, an easy procedure, I felt relaxed and got acupuncture right afterwards. But we’ve had many cycles that seemed really promising, were timed just right, and nothing. So my expectations of success are pretty low at this point.
I think the last BFN hit a nerve. My period was several days late, which got my hopes way up, and even after it started and I went in for a baseline ultrasound, the nurse made me take an HCG blood test because my uterus “looked like it could be pregnant.”
This is a fluke thing that happens sometimes, apparently, when your uterine lining doesn’t shed quickly enough. Of course the result was BFN again, and it seemed a little at that point like the universe was rubbing salt in an increasingly sore wound.
So here we are, at the beginning of another 2WW. I usually feel so hopeful at the beginning, but I’m feeling a little defeated already.
Have you ever turned off the alarm in the morning, gotten up, showered, and gotten dressed, only to then wake up and realize you had actually hit snooze and now you’re late for work?
That happened to me this morning, except I got up, went to the bathroom, POAS, and got a BFP. I went to the bedroom to tell Elizabeth, but then I looked down and saw that the two lines were flashing and changing shapes, and my heart sank as I realized I was only dreaming.
So I woke up for real, went to the bathroom, POAS, and got a BFN. Got back into bed.
I feel pretty much the same as always: disappointed, but not surprised. Neither one of us cried this time.
Then I turned on Facebook to see a friend announce that his girlfriend is expecting a baby. Neither one of these kids are financially or emotionally ready for a baby, and yet one has miraculously begun to grow for them. For free!
I was not feeling so much appreciative joy so I shut the phone off.
Now Elizabeth and I are drinking coffee and watching a squirrel transfer his litter of babies from one tree to another. He takes them down one at a time, pauses in the yard to readjust the wriggling things in his mouth, and climbs up the tree on the east side of the yard. He stops a few times on the way up to catch his breath. Then scurries down the end of the longest branch at the top and tucks his baby inside. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a squirrel do something that makes sense to me, and it’s fascinating.
A week ago today I had my 5th iui. I wish I had something to report, but I don’t.
Other than some monster ovulation pain the day of the iui (thanks, Clomid!), I’ve felt totally, disappointingly normal. No symptoms at all. I have some emotion-feels about that.
The 2WW is really like some kind of backwards twilight zone, where nausea and cramping and suffering are good signs, things that make you really happy to experience. But this peaceful, asymptomatic wellbeing is a total bummer. And then there are days 7-10 where you’re hoping to see blood every time you go to the bathroom (implantation!), but then by day 13 you feel a wash of relief when the toilet paper comes back white (no period!).
Near the end of our last 2WW I went to pee and had a moment of early-morning confusion when I wiped–what was it I wanted to see today? What day was it? Where is the calendar?
Anyway, this time around we’re doing nothing. No early testing, no BBT charting. Not even really talking about babies or the process or what we even plan on doing next. We have one vial of our donor left, and roughly enough infertility coverage left to pay for most of one more cycle. Then our coverage ends until 2015. So the plan is likely one more cycle and then another break, unfortunately.
I’ll be 33 in March, and the closer I get to that birthday, the louder the clock ticks. Every month is starting to feel meaningful, precious. A slowly fading tide. A draining bathtub. Other metaphors, etc. When we started this process in January I really did not expect to enter August still un-pregnant. Elizabeth is going on a trip with her friends later this month, and when she made the plans in January, I said, “But I could be eight months pregnant then!” Now the idea seems kind of hilarious–but that’s the attitude you have to have when you enter in to this whole TTC thing: expect everything, be ready for nothing.
Wishing everyone in the 2WW some peace!
After a 3-month break from TTC, with lots of acupuncture and herbs, we are back. I had my 5th iui today.
This was my first time on Clomid, and today/yesterday I’ve had some wicked O pains today down my left side, where my two big follicles were. I’m taking it as a good sign, trying not to read so much into everything this time.
After the iui, Elizabeth and I waited in the clinic room for the timer to go off. We talked about one of my favorite Buddhist similes: being born as a human is like a sea turtle swimming from the bottom of the ocean, and he reaches the surface at just the right spot that his head goes through a small golden hoop floating on the water. A vast ocean, a tiny hoop, a lucky and determined turtle all coming together at the right time and place: that’s how precious and rare a human birth is.
If this one sticks, we’ll paint a sea turtle on the nursery wall.
Then we went home and I dutifully obeyed that old wives’ tale to put your feet up in the air. Can’t hurt. Now it’s time for the pineapple.
And the wait begins again.
Our break is coming to a close. Two months of wine-drinking, acupuncture-getting, no-OPK-taking fun. It was awesome. But we’re ready to get jump back onto the TTC train.
We’re starting a new cycle next week (our 5th!) and my doctor is going to have me try Clomid for the first time. The only hitch is, the five days I’ll be on Clomid coincide with our trip to Chicago to see friends.
My question to all of you who have taken Clomid before–how are the side effects? Do you think I’ll be okay managing them while running around during a busy trip jam-packed with social activities? Or would you recommend against it?
If we decide not to do the Clomid, it means waiting another month to start trying again. Not the end of the world, but not really my first preference. I can’t decide!
Thanks for any advice you can offer!