Friday, December 30, 2011

a new year.

I have to admit, I'm sad to see 2011 go. This year has been one of the best years of my life and I'm a little bit scared about what 2012 will bring. I knew 2011 would be good because I started the year off preggo. I knew that 2011 wouldn't be filled with crying in the bathroom over AF and failed cycles. Instead, I knew that it would bring us our daughter and the joys of parenthood. And bring that, it did. I can look back at 2011 and see all the good the year brought. I can't say the same for 2009 or 2010. Now that I am staring at the start of 2012, I find myself anxious.

What am I anxious about? Seeing this:

I hate negative pregnancy tests. HATE. One single, negative pee stick can bring all the emotions of TTC and IF flooding back to the front of my mind. And despite the fact that I did (eventually) get a pee stick to come up positive, that experience was not enough to erase the 21 months of crying over AF's arrival and the one freaking line I saw over and over again. Not to be dramatic, but a negative pregnancy test seriously has the power to break my heart.

As silly as it sounds, I am afraid of seeing those tests again. I really hate infertility and the pain that comes along with it.

That being said, the good thing about our journey of TTC #2 is that we have goals in mind and a definite end point. After our last appointment with our RE, it was made very clear to us that we do not have all the time in the world to try the old fashioned way. So, after talking about it, MBL and I decided that we would try naturally until May and then proceed with IVF. We probably won't do any IUIs this time as they only slightly increase our chances of getting pregnant and we want to put all of our money towards IVF (rather than spending $300-$500 a month hoping an IUI will work). We definitely didn't think we would be considering IVF again, but we are happy that we know the drill and that we will be able to positively use our time naturally TTC.

What do I mean by that? The fact that we are waiting until May to do IVF again means that we can use the interim to reach some of our goals. As cliche as it is to say we are beginning the new year with new goals, that is exactly what we are going to do. So, what are my goals in the next five months?

1. Keep tracking Points Plus. I have been mostly good about this since I purchased a $1.99 app for my phone. And now that I am totally weaned off of Zol.oft, I have noticed that I am losing a bit of weight. I (finally) saw a number I haven't seen since last summer. Granted, it was only 1 pound less than where I had been hovering, but I'm happy to see the number going DOWN.
2. In addition to being responsible with my food intake, I want to keep running. My sister and I are planning on running a 25k (15.5 miles) in May and I want to be in good shape to do that. We actually ran three times over Christmas together and it felt AWESOME to keep up on my running and I discovered I actually enjoy running with other people :).
3. MBL and I need to get our budget on track. This goal bums me out because I know that I have been irresponsible with spending in the past and I really don't like it when I'm in the wrong. We currently don't have a budget and this is a serious problem. I want to be held accountable for my spending and I want to cut out extraneous expenses. To get a kick start on this goal, I checked this book out of the library and I'm hoping it will get me geeked about budgeting.

Those are our top priorities for the new year and I am thinking they are totally attainable and simple goals. I have additional goals for the future, but, right now, they have to take a back burner to the three listed above. But, I'll share them anyways :). Here are some things I want for the future:

After saying for years that I would never drive a minivan, I have serious car envy over all my friends who have one. Turns out, I was a fool to think I didn't want one.

No, I do not want twins (although, I would take them gladly). What I really want is two more babies. Most people don't have to worry about not reaching the ideal size of their family, but we do. And I am praying with all my might that we are able to have two more.

Finally, I want a nice camera. MBL has bemoaned our lack of one for years, but it was only after using my sister's camera at Christmas that I realized what we are missing by not having one!! Holy pete, those things can take awesome shots!

What are your goals for the new year? Are you excited to ring in 2012?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

a life changing appointment

So, this morning MBL and I got up early(ish) and headed to our Chic.ago based RE. We were going there to talk about our last IVF cycle and get an idea of how long he thought we should TTC naturally before heading to IVF again. I appreciate him as a doctor because he is caring but honest to the core. I knew that he would give us a realistic picture of our fertility timeline. I guess he kind of thought it was funny that we were there to just chat about our successful cycle and spent the first five minutes trying to clarify why we were there. When it comes down to it, we went because I had the inkling that there might be more to our IF equation than male factor. I didn't want to admit it, but I was beginning to wonder if I played a role in our IF troubles.

Our appointment was mostly uneventful, we talked about how much we like being parents and how we want to do it again ASAP, then we moved onto our chances of conceiving naturally (he says about 5-15% over a year). Then, I finally asked about my fertility and whether or not the fact that I had low(ish) AMH a year and a half ago and less than amazing results from stimulation meant that I might not really have the fertility of an average 26 year old. He said that I probably don't have as good of ovarian reserve as other women my age, but I got the best results possible from IVF: a take home baby. He then also confirmed my suspicions by saying that it is likely I will go through menopause early. He said I won't go through it in my 20's, but he would guess I would start between 38-44. That's early, but not a significant problem for us as I am 26, making the low end of his guesstimation still 12 years away. Keeping that in mind, he agreed that we should redraw my labs on day 3 of my next cycle and do an ultrasound immediately to look at my antral follicle count. As we were leaving his office (to head to ultrasound), we were joking about having twins on our next cycle. And then things got interesting....

I settled myself in the stirrups and got ready for my first encounter with wandy since September of last year. The nurse had the screen turned away from me, but MBL could see what was going on. First she measured my uterine lining and mentioned that it looks like I either just ovulated or will ovulate in the next few days (yay!). She then went over to the right ovary and counted the follicles she could see and came up with 8. She also told me that my dominant follicle is on that side. She then moved over to the left and suddenly looked very concerned. After a few seconds she told me she measured 3 follicles on the left. NOT what I was expecting to hear. I had a total of 11 follicles. NOT GOOD. A year ago, I had 27. In a year and a half, my count has dropped by 16!! That's bad. I just kept telling MBL that the results were not good and the nurse just agreed with me, but she said that it was good I didn't wait to come back for #2. She said that I might not have had many options if I had waited to come back when I was 30. Wow. MBL and I went into the appointment thinking we were going to have months of TTC naturally with some IUIs thrown in there and then (hopefully) a BFP. We were hoping to avoid IVF. We left planning on returning in the next few months for our next IVF cycle. If we want two more babies, we need to get going. I may be biologically 26, but my body thinks it's already in it's thirties...

Basically, I feel like my world has been turned upside down and I'm still trying to process it all...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the latest

I meant to up my blogging game, but failed miserably at that. I have good reason. This week I will have put in 40 hours at my job. Considering the fact that I normally put in 20, this was a significant change in our daily routine. I work 10 hour shifts, which meant that I was away most of the hours during which Piper was awake. All three of the days that I worked this week, we had an event in the evening. One night I had dinner with a friend, another night we went out with a bunch of MBL's work colleagues, and the third night MBL went out with his boss' boss. That last night, Piper and I were home alone in the evening and it was so special to just spend time with her. I fed her dinner, gave her a bath, and put her to bed by myself and I just loved all the snuggling and playing we did! I used to find being alone in the evenings stressful, but now we're in a groove where I find it enjoyable. Plus, I had such little time with her the rest of the week that I needed every second I could get with her!

Speaking of loving baby snuggles, have I mentioned that I want another one? Now? Oh, I have? Well, it's still very much the case. We are on our first month TTC and I'm already over it. On Wednesday we have an appointment with our RE in Chic.ago and I'm hoping to get a good picture of what our fertility really is and what our chances for conceiving naturally are. MBL really wants to make a baby the old fashioned way, but I'm not holding my breath. There really isn't any reason we shouldn't be able to, but considering all it took to get Piper, I'm trying to hold off from believing that pregnancy "cured" our infertility.

To show that we are serious about this TTC #2 thing, MBL is scheduled for surgery (again) on the 30th. He had a varicocelectomy in March 2010 and we did notice higher spe.rm counts post surgery, but his most recent S/A showed poor morphology (19%). We went back to the urologist (actually we went to a new urologist in the same practice as our other one) in February and he ordered an ultrasound which showed that the surgery wasn't as successful as it could have been. We finally made another appointment with him about the findings in February at the beginning of this month (december) and he said he could go back in and get us better quality. That's exactly what we want!! So, MBL is going under the knife again on the 30th and my plan is to get preggo in March. It doesn't work that way? Well, crap!! Actually, I am thinking we will go back to IUIs in March. We will have only been TTC naturally for four months, but I'm crazy and want another baby bump ASAP. Seriously, I loved being pregnant and I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a mom, so I really cannot wait to do it again.

Now... The only negative is that I am registered to run a 25k with my sister in May. I really want to run the race with her and there is no reason for me to think that I will actually be pregnant by the time May rolls around... But, part of me is still hoping that I will have to drop down to the 5k or 10k because I am pregnant. I am NOT, however, going to let our TTC efforts keep me from training for the race. I let that happen for far too many years and I don't think it helped keep my mood and my spirits up. I am going to keep running and working out and I will stop if/when I need to. And, boy oh boy, do I hope I need to (soon)!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Back at it!

I'm finally getting back into my groove and getting on here to post!  I can't believe that it's been three weeks since I last posted.  I traveled way more than I had originally intended over Thanksgiving, so that left me with very little time to get on here and read updates or even update myself.  But, I'm back now and I'm going to try and be better about posting on a regular basis.

One of the most exciting (??) updates is that I'm finally cycling again!!  The return of AF is only welcome because it means we are officially back on the TTC wagon!  Oh how I loathe that wagon...  But, maybe, just maybe, it will be easier this time around?  Or, at least, cheaper?  I haven't had a real heart to heart with MBL yet, but I set up an appointment with our fertility doc for December 21st.  No, we're jumping into treatments right away, but I want to check in with him and hear his thoughts on our IVF cycle.  You see, we went to an out of town clinic to do the IVF cycle that actually got us pregnant and we really liked to doctor...  So, as long as we are going to be back in his neck of the woods for Christmas, I want to have a face to face chat with him.  We know that I can get pregnant (via IVF), but I want to hear his thoughts on us getting pregnant naturally.  During that cycle I had all sorts of testing done (because we were doing shared risk) and one of the tests done was AMH and my results came back at 0.9.  Normal is between 1.0 and 3.0.  Anything above 3.0 could suggest PCOS and anything below 1.0 could suggest low ovarian reserve.  AMH does not measure egg quality.  When that result came back I was shocked.  How could I, at 24, have a slightly below normal reading?  When I voiced my concerns to the nurse, she explained that it's a newer test and they take the results with a grain of salt.  They use my other tests to get a better picture of my fertility.  Well, I have a great antral count (28-30), low FSH (around 6.5), and a nice looking ute.  Plus, I have been able to get pregnant (with the help of $25,000 and a medical professional).  BUT, I worry that maybe I do have a fertility problem.  All along we thought it was MBL who was functioning subpar, but what if I contribute to that equation?  Both of my egg retrievals resulted in more drugs and less eggs than expected.  Our last cycle resulted in only 4 mature eggs/embryos.  Is that a symptom of reduced fertility on my end?  Especially when you consider our other cycle resulted in only 3 embryos?  I have been so scared to voice these concerns because I don't want it to be me.  Low egg quality is not something that is easy to fix.  BUT, I want to know what the doctor thinks because if it is low egg quality, then MBL and I need to be serious about cramming these babies in!  MBL wants to putter around with naturally TTC for a while before we seek treatment again (which I can totally understand--wouldn't it be exciting to get pregnant from s.e.x.?), but I don't want to waste precious time if my eggs are headed down the crapper.  I feel so blinkin' lucky to have Piper, I really do, but I want her to have a sibling or two!  My goal is to be done having babies by the time I'm thirty (in approximately 4 years) and to have three children.  So, I need/want to fit in two more pregnancies.

So...  In about two weeks MBL and I will be even more officially back on the TTC wagon as we enter into our first two week wait post Piper.  My test date should be right around our 3rd anniversary and, I have to admit, I am praying with every fiber of my being for a miracle BFP!