Saturday, May 29, 2010

optimism on the horizon

So, Thursday MBL and I drove an hour to see our RE at one of the practice's satellite offices. We had only met this RE once (during my ER), but he is the founder of our clinic and I was told by other women who go there, a more optimistic doctor than the RE we saw in the past. You see, there are two (well, now three) REs at our clinic and I started seeing our former RE because he had the first available appointment. We continued to see him for our reproductive care and planning and we were (mostly) satisfied with our experience. Until we got to our IVF cycle. He just seemed in a funk or something. And what really upset me was after our ET he wheeled me to recovery to rest and the three of us (me, MBL, and him) were chatting when all of a sudden he just interrupted what MBL was saying and said, "I need to go, I have other patients." And walked away. It felt abrupt and a tad insensitive. I didn't want him to stand there and hold my hand or anything, but I also wanted to feel like he cared about us and our experience. And that comment just made me feel like I was another number. Then in our post (failed) IVF appointment, I came with a load of questions about next time and what we could potentially do differently to yield a positive result. I think I hit a nerve because he basically acted like there was nothing we could do to help things. Perhaps he thought I was questioning his expertise?

Anyways, I belong to a chat group of other women who go to my clinic and they all mentioned that this other RE was friendly and optimistic to the point of sounding fake (but it's not). I decided that is what I need and want! And he did not disappoint! He was fantastic. He listened to our concerns and came up with a plan accordingly. He even admitted that he thinks I should have started out on a higher dose of stims AND that I should have stimmed longer because most (meaning TEN) of my eggs were immature!! He did not think there was any problem with the quality of my eggs (take that other RE!). And, actually, he seemed to think that we could still get pregnant from an IUI. MBL's motility went up and his post was count increased a little and now that he has FINALLY stopped chewing, his count should go up even more. He said that if I'm not pregnant this month, then a week after AF arrives, he wants MBL to have another s/a. If there has been no change, then he wants us to do one more IUI and then IVF in August. If there is a change, he wants us to do two more IUIs and then IVF in August (actually, I think he would let us IUI for a while, but I start a school internship at the end of August and it is truly the last month for a while that we could feasibly schedule IVF). He was also willing to test my progesterone. The simple difference between him and our other RE is that he listened to what we were saying and came up with a plan that addressed our concerns.

There is still a chance I am KU this month, but if I'm not, I'm glad that we have a solid plan. I am going to call on Tuesday morning to be placed on the IVF schedule for August. We will have to put down a $700 "case management" deposit, but the RE said if we get pregnant from an IUI before then they will refund our money! He put it like this, "We don't want your money, we just want you to get pregnant!" Now THAT is just the kind of attitude I want my RE to have!!! So, I am feeling optimistic. And last night I had a dream that MBL and I were spending our Friday night chasing our one and a half year old boy around the house. And all I could think to myself was, "This is the best date night I've ever had!"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a completely random post

Warning: in case you couldn't tell from the title of this post, I fully intend on jumping from thought to thought in the following post. Bare with me :).

First, our IVF #2 consult is Thursday and I need to start forming my list of questions for the Doc. I had a pretty extensive list for our failed IVF follow up appointment, but I felt rushed and most of my questions were quickly dismissed. If we are going to invest up to $10,000 ($6,000+ on the treatment and probably close to $3,000 in meds) in another cycle, then I want all of my questions answered. I want to go in knowing we have all the pertinent information and that I did all I could to assist the cycle. Anyone who has had a failed IVF cycle have any pointers on questions I should be sure to ask? I think we may change protocols, but I want to be sure it won't affect our chance for success.

Second, I had a really awesome conversation with my sister last night that really lifted my spirits. Last night she called while out on a walk with my beloved nephews (Rwandan born and adopted) and she was telling me about how great their jogging stroller is and how we should definitely get one for our kids. She also mentioned how she is holding on to the things that my nephews have grown out of, for our use. She brought up our kids more than once and it was just so nice to be reminded that I have every reason to believe that our dream of parenthood will come true. It also showed me that my sister is here to support us in this process. Words cannot express how much this conversation meant to me!

Finally, I am a bit worried about my progesterone levels. This month and last I noticed that my temperatures were lower than they had been previously in my luteal phase. While my BBT did show a nice rise after our IUI, it has not increased that much. And, when I just checked my charts from the past year, I noticed that I tend to rise slowly after ovulating. Should I be worried? At our appointment on Thursday I will be 6dpo, so maybe I should have them test my levels? I don't spot for more than a day before AF (around 13dpo) so I hadn't really considered my progesterone levels before, but now I'm wondering...Any insight would be appreciated!

p.s. Despite writing an email to one of the partners outlining our struggle and the small cost of infertility coverage, MBL found out today that the insurance plan for the next fiscal year does NOT include fertility coverage (meds or treatment). Grrr.

I just have to say this again, I am so thankful for the community of IF bloggers out there! You ladies are awesome!

Monday, May 24, 2010


So, I've been thinking about my fears a lot lately. From the time I was fourteen until the end of college, my biggest fear was that I would never get married. It was a somewhat irrational fear brought on by years of feeling like I just wasn't enough (and years of having bad hair and big glasses...but that's another story). Sometimes when I would share this fear people would tell me, "Maybe that's God's way of telling you that you aren't meant to get married." AND, "You should really consider the fact that you might be single forever." Really? My impression was always that God gave me a strong desire for marriage because He meant for me to get married. Well, after a hard breakup at 21 and several months of depression, I realized that I just needed to look at getting married as a goal on my life's to do list and I needed to use my desire to find a spouse as motivation to put myself out there. So, I joined dating websites and took chances on guys that I never would have considered before and I went on lots of dates (one of the main reasons I took to online dating was that I worked in a field where nearly all of the men were married and my social pool lacked single men as well). Anyways, about 6 months into my experience, a great guy emailed me and the rest is history!

When MBL and I were dating/engaged we knew that we wanted to start a family as soon as we got married. That caused a new fear to arise in me. I became afraid of infertility (and I have to kind of chuckle at the irony of that). I worked with two women who had fertility struggles, one of them took five years to get pregnant and the other went through numerous treatments to get her two kiddos, and I just knew that I didn't want to face that kind of battle. I also just *knew* that I would get pregnant easily because that's what women in my family do---example? My two cousins who got pregnant while using birth control. And my mom who got pregnant four times while using birth control. Ha. I was a cocky jerk. Note: WAS. Anyways, obviously now that we have the diagnosis of infertility there are a whole slew of new fears like will I ever get pregnant? Will we get to have the four children we want? How much will we end up spending on treatments? Will I fall on the "wrong" side of the statistics again? (example: 97% of women under the age of 25 will conceive within one year of unprotected did I end up on the wrong side of THAT statistic?). Blah, blah. Anyways, these fears can be all comsuming, but when I look at the facts I realize that chances are good that we will eventually have biological children. However, I digress.

Now that we have been diagnosed with infertility and I have the underlying fear of never getting pregnant I have to once again face comments about "God's will." Nothing has been said directly to me regarding this, however, there are loads of people out there who are anxious to declare infertility as God's will. Such as, "Maybe infertility is nature's way of preventing those couples from procreating?" OR statements like, "IVF is against nature and people who use it are going against what should happen, which is for those couples to remain childless." These statements disgust me to no end. Seriously, they make my stomach churn. And, they piss me right off! Why do they piss me off? Because it suggests that infertility is a means by which nature prevents certain people from procreating. And that these couples are undeserving of having biological children, whereas all the couples who are able to "naturally" conceive are the ones that nature intended to carry on the human race. I seriously do not understand how people reach these conclusions. My dad's parents were able to conceive fifteen times and had ten children. Both were drunks that fought so violently, their CHILDREN would take turns blocking the stairs to ensure that neither tumbled down them. My godmother's niece has had two children, despite the fact that she is addicted to heroine and cocaine. Her first child was adopted by her 60 year old mother and her infant is being kept in the hospital because she was born addicted to heroine and the mother has lost parental rights. Saying that nature controls who is and is not able to conceive is like saying that my father was undeserving of being born into a loving, stable, and violence free family. I just don't buy it. My husband and I have a great (albeit strained, at times---thanks, IF) relationship. We both have decent jobs. I am nearly done with my Master's and have plans to pursue my Doctorate. We are healthy, well-educated, and will undoubtedly make great parents. So, how could anyone suggest that our infertility is nature's way of suggesting that we should not conceive and have children? Ugh. Makes me mad.

On a totally unrelated note, I had a dream last night that I was trying to speak with my two cousins (the pregnant, birth control using ones) and my aunt, their mom, about the pain of infertility and in the dream I was sobbing from the pain (emotional, not physical, that is). I just wish people were more educated and understanding!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Hi to anyone here from ICLW (and all those who are not, as well)! This is only my second time participating, but I LOVE the connections I have made with other people struggling with IF!

A little background: MBL (my husband, 33) and I (24) have been actively trying to conceive since 2008. I believe we are on our 18th month. That's about 15 months longer than I thought it would take! *sigh* Anyways, we began testing last spring because I just knew something was up. My HSG showed a normal uterus and wide open tubes. MBL's sperm analysis' came back first on the low end of normal and then just plain old low. We did have one analysis come back at 52million/mL, but nothing even close to that since then. We did three clo.mid plus IUIs from July to September of last year, all BFN. I had a lap in October and my RE found just a tiny bit of endo on my cul-de-sac (who knew I had one of those!). We went ahead with IVF in December, which also ended up being a BFN. Our clinic was closing for yearly cleaning one day after my transfer and I think that led them to rush my cycle...out of 17 eggs retrieved only 7 were mature. Our RE tried to tell me that it *could* be my eggs. We sought a second opinion from another RE and he basically told us that the whole thing sounded a bit fishy. We also visited a urologist in February of this year who found a large varicocele. The urologist told us that the heat from it was causing damage to the DNA of MBL's swimmers and that likely contributed to our IVF BFN (apparently even perfect looking sperm can have DNA damage--something even ICSI can't get around). SO, MBL had varicocele surgery in early March and then started Tamo.xifen to increase his counts.

We just had our fourth IUI (but first since MBL's surgery), yesterday. It was our highest post wash count to date with 7.1million motile swimmers. I should have released two mature eggies, so we'll see what happens! We plan on doing two more IUI cycles in June and July if this one doesn't work. If we are still not pregnant, we will do IVF again in August. We have decided to work with our local clinic again, but we are switching to the other RE in the practice.

This journey has been a long one and every month tests me in a different way, but I am grateful that I am not alone and that there are other women out there willing to share their experiences! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 14, 2010

sucker punched.

That's how I feel. I feel like I have been punched in the gut. Nothing specific, per se, happened, it's just the culmination of a bunch of events/news that has left me feeling...well, left out. And scared. And self doubting. And angry.

When I was on Clo.mid in February I also experienced these gut wrenching emotions. I cannot remember another time that I cried that hard. I was trying to explain to MBL that while the meds certainly make me communicate my emotions more, I don't think that they necessarily cause these scary/sad thoughts that run through my mind. I think the meds just bring to the surface the feelings that are always there. I just manage to suppress them during other times (I think). Well, last night was definitely an emotional release for me, sadly it caused me to toss and turn until 1:15am!!! AND, today is my super early day for work, so I had to be up at 5:15. GRRRR!!! I used to be such a good sleeper!

Anyways, I hate when I feel this way. I hate when I doubt our ability to succeed at this. I hate it when my emotions cause me to feel distant from MBL. I hate feeling like I am somehow unworthy of a BFP. I hate being jealous of other people!!! I feel like because our first IVF failed, we have no shot on our second. I just feel broken. And exhausted (emotionally and physically). I am ready to be off this rollercoaster. If all y'all could just send me good thoughts and prayers that one week from today will be OUR day....that our first IUI post surgery will be the one, I would appreciate it!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

feeling anxious

So, I don't know if it is the Clo.mid or just the fact that we are nearing the three months post surgery for MBL, but I have been feeling anxious. Like really anxious. My heartrate is up like all the time and if I bit my fingernails, I'm sure they be nubbins by now. What is making me anxious? The expectancy. My hopes are about to go up and I'm scared of that. After taking the last few months to just relax and try on our own, the fact that we are headed back in to assisted cycles just plain old scares me. I get scared that nothing will happen and I just don't know if I could handle that. The next two months will be Clo.mid/IUI cycles and then we'll likely take July off and head in to IVF in August (IF we don't get pregnant on our IUI cycles). I've been checking out infertility books at the library again and I don't know if it is helping or hurting.

Part of why I am feeling anxious is because there is a limited amount of money that we have available to spend on another cycle (again, if we have to do IVF). If the cycle doesn't work, there will be more waiting and after 16 straight months of negative tests, I'm just tired of the same old story. But maybe you all could help ease some of my anxiety? You see part my anxiousness is related to our potential clinic choice for our next cycle. We went with a local clinic for our first cycle, but since then I have been researching clinics and I recently came across one that offers up to TWO cycles for the price that our local clinic charges for one. The dilemma? Well, our local clinic boasts a 53.6% live birth rate per transfer. A fairly decent and respectable number. The other clinic has a 41.7% live birth rate per transfer (still not terrible, but not awesome, either). So, there is a near 12% success rate difference between the two clinics. What I keep asking myself is, what do those numbers mean for us? Our primary problem has been MBL. After his varicocele was found, we learned that any sperm he had prior to getting it fixed had likely been damaged by the heat it caused. So, despite our current RE's postulation that it MIGHT be my eggs, our urologist felt it was the bad sperm that caused our first IVF to fail. I have open tubes, regular cycles, and a clear, open, normal uterus. And, I am 24. So if our main problem is just getting the now good sperm to meet my egg(s), then would it really matter where we went to have IVF?

Like I said, the clinic offering up to two cycles and our local clinic are the same price. The only differenc is that at the other clinic, if we don't get pregnant after our IVF, we will still have another cycle paid to use. If we went local and didn't get pregnant again, we would have to wait and save up again. UGH. Do people really get pregnant for free??? What I am really hoping is that a miracle will occur and MBL's work will offer infertility coverage beginning in July and then we won't have to worry about this. But, since I don't see any pigs flying, I'm not counting on that.

So, ladies, what would you do? Go local? Or, go with the two cycle clinic?

Honest, helpful opinions, please!! And, thanks, in advance, for your input!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

no surprise here

Well, without missing a beat, AF got here today, a typical 30 day cycle. Seems completely unfair and ridiculous to me that I should get AF on Mother's Day, but perhaps next year I won't? I'll be hoping for that. OR, if I do get AF, I at least have a baby in my arms. Yep, I'd definitely be okay with that.

I was way moody last night when I got home from my 10 hour shift. And while I'm sure part of it was being cooped up in my office with little human contact for that long stretch, I'm sure the majority of it was good ole PMS. My PMS can be so strong, it's like, "Look out MBL she might break down or yell at you at any moment for no good reason and then be fine thirty minutes later." Yeah, it's creepy like that. What's even worse than me PMSing? Me on Clo.mid. And, you know what I will be starting Tuesday? Yep, Clo.mid. Seriously, I become a total nut case on that medication. One minute I'm fine and the next I'm sobbing uncontrollably over the unfairness of infertility and freaking out that we will never get pregnant. I seriously switch from mood to mood with very little warning. Poor MBL. BUT, he did say for better or for worse and when I take Clo.mid, he just has to live up to the "for worse" part of those vows. Perhaps this will be my last cycle on that demon drug? At it looks right now, I will go in for a scan to see how many follies I have around the 19th. I'm hoping for four again...with FOUR targets and better spermies, perhaps something will happen? Then, I should have the IUI around the 21st, which is awkward. You see, I just started a new job and they, of course, know nothing of my infertility. AND, I work from 6:30am to 5:00pm. So, I can't even squeeze in the IUI before I go in to work. Maybe I will have a "dentist appointment" that day and need to take an extra long lunch?? Yeah, I think I'll schedule that ;). On a total side note, our very first IUI was on July 21, our IVF transfer was on December 21...weird, right???

So, on to Mother's Day. It's not really my favorite at this point in my life and that REALLY irritates me. In the past I have been annoyed at the need for political correctedness of everything and just figured those who may be offended are in the minority and should just suck it up. Well, I used to feel that way. Until I experienced an Infertile Mother's Day. Now, I'm pissed that no one on is recognizing those of us who are waiting and longing to be mothers. And, I couldn't bring myself to go to church in case the pastor mentioned mothers, but not those of us who are silently hurting because of our empty arms. I noticed that my aunt (the only one who knows about our fertility struggles) wrote on her wall about the mothers she knows and posted on my sister's wall, but did not write an encouraging note to me. I realize that might be too much to expect from someone who is far removed from infertility (she got pregnant with no problem and both of her daughters have birth control babies). But, I can't help but be hurt by it. And, maybe it's the PMS, but maybe it's just me being sick of infertility being something that isn't talked about or addressed. I am in pain most of the days of my life over this and because it isn't a visible injury, no one acknowledges it and sometimes that's just hard. I don't want to dwell on this aspect of my life, but on a day like today, it's just inevitable. So...whine, whine, Here's to hoping that at our IUI in 12(ish) days, MBL's little guys are in their prime and just KNOCK ME UP!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

it's a promise.

So, I am on day 27 of my cycle, supposedly 13 DPO. I should get AF on/around Mother's Day. Nice timing, right? Unless, of course, a miracle occurs and I end up with a BFP this weekend. Unlikely, but it could still happen. If it doesn't, MBL and I are planning on doing an IUI/Clomid cycle this month. By the time I am near ovulation it should be nearly 3 months since MBL's surgery and since he started taking Tamo.xifen. I am surprisingly optimistic. I think this IUI may work. If we get a decent number of follies (I had four in February) and it is timed right and MBL's count is up, then maybe this will be the combo we need? Our other IUIs were timed 24 hours after my trigger because I needed the nurse to give me the shot. Now that I am a pro at giving myself shots, we should be able to time our IUI perfectly for 36 hours after the trigger. If this month's IUI doesn't work, we will do another in June. If that doesn't work, we are going to do IVF again in August. Writing that sentence made my heart race. IVF again? Please God, please don't let it get that far. But, if we do have to do it again, then at least we will have the funds to pay for it up front (thanks to my new job).

Anyways, as I said previously, I have been feeling really optimistic lately. I truly believe that by my 25th birtday (in October) I will be pregnant. I just *feel* it. Recently I came across a blog that talked about buying baby things even in the midst of infertility. I posted a comment saying that I have bought things for our future baby(s). When we first started trying I was so certain that we would get pregnant right away-I was 23, afterall, and come from a long line of fertiles-that I would routinely look at baby bedding and strollers and paint swabs and dream of what our baby's room could look like. When I realized that there might be a problem with that dream, I withdrew and stopped looking at those things. I couldn't even walk past those aisles without feeling a pang in my heart. I don't know when it happened, but eventually I realized I could walk past those aisles again and I would even stop and glance at the cute baby things. As a matter of fact, on a few occasions, I have even bought some of those cute baby things. We have a onesie from NY that we bought right before our first IVF, pajamas that were on clearance, a robe and pumpkin costume MBL bought before we met, a onesie from a vineyard up north, socks from the dollar spot, and just yesterday I found a onesie that says something like "proof that miracles do happen." That last one is perfect, right? I plan on giving it to MBL along with the positive pee stick (that I WILL get one day).

The point of me going through these things is that when I think about why I feel okay buying these baby items, I realize it is because it feels like a promise to myself. A promise that some day I will have a child. A promise that one day I will be able to tell our child about how we bought that onesie in NY when he/she was just a dream in our hearts. Or how he/she is truly our dream come true and proof that miracles do still happen. For now, all I can do is cling to that promise.

Monday, May 3, 2010

just a bit.

Of progress that is. I did not end up coming out to my small group last Wednesday. The timing just wasn't right. I didn't want to just blurt it out in the middle of our game playing and a good segue just never occurred. At some point I will come out, though. The longer it takes us, the more I realize that this is no fault of our own and therefore I should not feel any shame over our current situation. One of the reasons I do not want to share it with that group just yet is because I'm not ready to answer to, "any news?" for the next few months. But I am positive I will tell them; at some point.

I did make a bit of progress this weekend. MBL and I spent the weekend volunteering and attending a marriage conference. We were quite excited to spend the weekend away and devote time to just us. Well, two of the ten sessions were directed towards parenting and how to balance one's marriage with one's children. I decided that I could not attend either session. While the existence of these sessions does not bother me, attending them would have likely caused the bitterness inside of me to grow. And bitterness is not becoming (on me, at least). So, I decided not to attend. It was a bit tricky to avoid these sessions while I was volunteering, but it worked out all right. Then after the conference was over, MBL and I were speaking with the other two volunteers and the Volunteer Coordinator about how some people seem to be able to avoid pain and hard times, while others get slammed. One volunteer mentioned the passing of her father and her husband and how those two events shook her faith and her sense of security in life. I then mentioned that I lost my job last year and shortly after found out that MBL and I would have difficulty conceiving. The Volunteer Coordinator hugged me and said, "Aw, sweetie, we were married six and a half years before we had our son and I never thought it would happen." She had the sweetest southern accent and that made her story all the more encouraging. I shared our situation without fear or shame and without getting nervous! See? Progress!!

And now I know that it sure does feel good to get out of the closet every once in a while :).