TTC

Stims day 6 – and now I get it

Today is my 6th day of stims and things feel like they have shifted. I am definitely bloated, and my belly is so sore and bruised it’s hard to find a good spot for the (3!) shots we have to do every day. I feel okay in the mornings, but as the day progresses the pain in my ovaries gets stronger. Yesterday I was in an all-day meditation retreat and had to wear my wife’s pajama pants because I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting all day in my jeans. By the end of the day I was lowering myself into chairs slowly like I was 9 months pregnant.

But these are good signs! My estrogen level more than quadrupled from Thursday to Saturday, which was a huge relief, since it was a slow go at first. I start going in for daily ultrasounds tomorrow until we trigger on probably Thursday or so. So it looks like retrieval will happen next weekend! I can’t wait to get these eggs out of me and scrambled up.

Hoping my IVF buddies out there are doing well…

Lupron, day 10

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.

Back from hiding, and a Lupron question

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.

Any advice?

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.

Ouch

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?

Beta = negative

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.

 

12dpiui

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?? 😉

A Clomid Question

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!

BREAK

So we’re on a break. It’s definitely weird watching my O date come and go without doing anything about it. And not having a real clear idea what my day my period is going to start next week. But there are also good things: wine, naps, headstands in yoga class.

Fertility Friend is giving me a runaround this month, though–for the life of me, I cannot convince this app that I ovulated. The crosshairs won’t appear. And I think this is one of the prettier charts I have had:

Screen shot 2014-05-18 at 7.31.25 PM

I got a positive OPK (which I recorded) and all my temps are taken at the same time. I didn’t get any EWCM this month (or at least I couldn’t tell; I was so sex-crazed for a couple of days it might have been there and just–uh, mixed in with other stuff). FF just keeps telling me that it doesn’t see a clear thermal shift. ?? (I see it so clearly!)

I was getting mad about it earlier, and my wife reminded me that I’m arguing with an app. On my phone.

Time to go back outside to this beautiful spring weather and enjoy this break while it lasts.

 

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.