Wednesday, January 25, 2012

just trying to plan a(n) (infertile) life...

I am stuck in a bit of bind. I am trying to plan my life for the next few months and I'm finding it kind of difficult. If it weren't for this whole TTC/IF/ART thing, it wouldn't be so hard, but because I need to either be near my RE or near my husband for at least one week out of the month, planning trips to visit friends and planning our vacation with my parents is turning out to be a bit tricky. If we had average fertility, I would just have to worry about being around MBL a few days a month.

For starters, I am planning on visiting a good friend in the DC area in March. When I was looking at plane tickets and the ideal time to go, I had to pull out my calendar and try to figure out where I would be in my cycle. Because we're doing IUI with clo.mid/injectables next month, I don't necessarily know what March will look like. And, I work every third weekend. If we decide to throw caution to the wind and go for IUI with injects/clo.mid again in March, then I would need to be near the RE for regular follicle ultrasounds. So, how can I make this work? Deciding it all is making my head spin and my heart hurt. I just want this to be easy.

The next debacle is two fold. I am signed up to run a 25k (15.5miles) in May. I have run this race twice before and this time I am registered to run it with my sister. I want to participate in the race, but I also hope to already be pregnant by that point. If I am not pregnant, however, that means we will also be ramping up for IVF #3 (#1 for baby #2). Our plan has been to do IVF again in May, if I did not get pregnant before then. The race takes place on May 12th. With the way my cycle has been going, I would be on anywhere between cycle day 8-12. If I am on injectables, will my RE let me run? Would I want to take that risk? GAH! If we postpone it and do it in June, then we run into the conflict of a planned trip with my parents. We are visiting this place:

I guess I should just hope that I get pregnant from IUI and don't even have to worry about the whole IVF drama again!

Have you ever run into problems planning trips or other events due to where you are in your cycle? Or due to IF treatment? How did you handle it?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

growing through infertility

**Disclaimer: the post below is probably one of the most honest I have ever written here, but I felt like I needed to say it and share my experience. Really I just want people to open their minds and hearts to compassion for others. I love comments, but please be nice :). Thanks for reading!**

I've been stewing over this post for quite some time now. The journey towards writing it really started back in October/November when I had an awkward conversation with a woman in my small group. That conversation led me to the realization that there is so much I have gained from infertility for which I am thankful. And, while I was angry and hurt by this woman's words, I realized that she is not alone in her opinions and that really saddens me. From the outside, I could totally envy her life. She has four beautiful, easily conceived girls and lives in a beautiful house with a finished basement. She has a good heart and I truly believe she does her best to be a good wife/mother/friend. So, then, what beef do I have with her? Basically, it's one I'm beginning to have with a lot of people and it's the idea that we are entitled to our beautiful lives and healthy children and that somehow those who do not have those things are not deserving of them. And, you want to know the truth? Prior to going through infertility, I felt the same way. I felt completely entitled to my wonderful life with my handsome husband. I felt like I deserved my home, my wealth, and my middle class status. I looked at people who struggled and judged them... Thinking that somehow they were doing something wrong. I hate that I felt that way and writing that just now took my breath away.

I am not proud of who I was. I am not proud of the fact that I lacked compassion for others and judged people for their decisions. Prior to going through infertility, I definitely wondered why people ever went through IUI/IVF to get pregnant... Shouldn't they "just" adopt? Shouldn't they consider living child-free? Shouldn't they think about why they are infertile? Writing that down puts a knot in my stomach. I. just. didn't. get. it.

The sad thing is I know some people still feel that way. Good people who should have compassion on others and their situation. The woman I mentioned above basically told me that although God called her to have a fourth baby, she doesn't think he called me to go through IVF. So. hurtful.

I look at her seemingly perfect life and then back at my chaotic, challenging one and I wouldn't trade places with her for the world. The grass is not greener on the other side. I will never say that I am glad I went through infertility, but I will say that I am glad I was able to learn and grow from the experience. It changed me in ways I am still realizing. I have changed my outlook on people who suffer because of it and I have changed my outlook on life. On days when I want to complain about my ten hour work days (and working weekends), I instead take pause and lift up words of thanks for the job that I have. When I come across the story of someone who is suffering deeply, I no longer assume that they did something to deserve their situation, instead my heart aches for them. I have cried so much in last year for other people and I am thankful for that. Just last week I was innocently browsing Pin.terest when I came across a story of a woman who had twins, but lost one at 8 days old to a rare genetic disorder and all I could do was cry. Cry for the unfairness of it all. Cry for the pain of losing a child. I cried because my eyes have been open to the pain of others and I can no longer sit around taking my life for granted. I no longer act as if I somehow deserve the life I've been given. I can no longer pretend that I am somehow entitled to all of this. And I do my darndest to open my heart to compassion rather than judgment.

In light of this I have a plea, one that relates directly to the ALI (adoption, loss, infertility) community (because this is, after all, an infertility blog): Instead of either silently or verbally judging those of us going through the pain of infertility, take a moment to actually listen to our stories and our struggles. Do not assume that if you were in our shoes you would somehow pick a different path, because until you have been here you do not really know what road you would take. Please refrain from telling us that "God gave us infertility" or that we should "just adopt" or that "God knows best". Maybe those are truths, but please do not force them down our throats, let us come to our own conclusions. Just listen to us. And, if you feel the need to say something, choose your words wisely. You don't have to have all the answers. Sometimes all I wanted to hear from family/friends was a simple, "I'm sorry you're going through this. I have no idea what it's like, but I'm always here to listen." Or just tell us that it sucks and that you hope some day we have our happy ending (instead of trying to declare to us what our happy ending should be). And if, for some reason, you are unable to offer kind words of support, love, and compassion, please do not say anything at all. Silence is better than judgment, no matter how well intentioned it may be.

Act more compassionate and less entitled, it's that simple.

What has been the hardest thing someone has said to you on your journey? What would you have liked them to say?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

it's that time!

It's ICLW time once again! I have participated a number of times, but I am particularly excited this month because I actually have the time to post and to read/comment on other blogs. I really feel the need to get introduced to some new blogs and also to increase the number of posts I put out on a monthly basis, so this should really help with that.

If you're here for the first time: Welcome! If you're a regular visitor, I'm glad to have you back :). I don't want to rehash my whole IF/TTC timeline here, but there are some "highlights" I'd like to share. My hubby (MBL) and I have been happily married for a little over three years. We were TTC that entire time and got pregnant on our 21st month after IVF #2. I was extraordinarily lucky and had a (mostly) easy pregnancy followed by a surprise C-section (due to our DD being breech). Our daughter, Piper, is almost 8 months old and we are back at it trying to conceive #2. We had our first IUI on Monday and are now in the TWW. I'm not too hopeful as our post freeze/thaw/wash count was only 1.5 million, but I had three good eggies, so I guess anything is possible! I am 26 and MBL is going to be 35. Our original diagnosis was male factor (low count and morphology), but his last analysis yielded 96 million motile swimmers! After our two IVFs, we think there *may* be an issue with my eggs... My AMH is on the low end of normal and my most recent antral follicle count (AFC) came in at 11 when it was 26 a year and a half ago. We are hopeful that we will be able to conceive again, but our doc has told us we shouldn't waste time. We are going to try one more IUI and then try on our own until May/June at which point we will do IVF again.

To be honest, we want 2-3 more children. I hate writing that because it feels so greedy, but that's the truth. I used to say that if it took IVF to get pregnant again, then we would stop at two, but I've changed my tune. My daughter is just the absolute light of my life and I cannot wait to do this whole thing all over again (and again and again).

Come back tomorrow for a post all about what IF has given me and why some people just irk the crap out of me!

Monday, January 16, 2012

excited...and then, not so much.

We had IUI #1 for baby #2 today. Totally weird being back in the stirrups hearing the same ole schpeel again. It should have been a good day. One of relaxation and optimism, but it didn't turn out that way.

For starters, we had to wing this cycle as MBL was going to be out of town for work. Not too big of a problem (so we thought) as there was the option of freezing sp.erm and still using it for IUI. I was not too pleased with the fact that he was going to be gone during my "prime" week, but figured it would all work out.

I took Clo.mid (5omg) cycle days 3-7 in hopes that we would be able to do a fresh IUI before MBL left for work. We had our consult with the local RE on Friday and were SHOCKED at the results. I already knew that I was going to convince him to do an IUI this month as I had already taken the clo.mid. It wasn't hard to do. He got me in for an ultrasound during our consult and took a look at what the clo.mid had done. I thought for sure that I was going to see zero follicles as I was beginning to believe that my fertility was total crap (besides the fact that my ovaries had been aching for several days). As it turns out I responded quite well to the clo.mid and had THREE follies developing. On only 50mg!!! The doctor was as shocked as I was and said that was quite the unexpected (in a good way) result. I was geeked.

Next, they took MBL back to get a sample for the actual IUI as my follies were not ready for an IUI on Saturday. So, we were going to have to do an IUI Monday (today) with frozen spe.rm. We asked the lab to call us with the number as MBL wanted to give another sample if his first was not as high as we wanted. I got the call while I was at a friend's house and I was SHOCKED to hear the nurse say that his total motile count was 95 million. That's seriously at least THREE times higher than it has ever been! We were geeked out of our minds. I have three good looking follies, he has a bajillion spe.rm, this cycle was going to rock!

Fast forward to today, I drop Piper off at daycare and then head to the clinic for the IUI. Due to the fact that MBL is out of town and we did not BD before that (due to him still being sore from the surgery on 12/30), this was literally our only chance at getting preggo this month. I was expecting to hear that the count had decreased, but was devastated to hear that after thawing and washing it, we had only 1.5 million motile spe.rm in the sample. WTHECK???!!!! And I had to deal with this all by myself. Awesome. I asked the nurse about it and she was just like, "Oh yeah, that is a huge decrease. We usually see a loss of 50%, but that is a lot... Now can you sign this paper?" Gah. I told her I wanted her to check with the lab and see what went wrong. I can understand a sample losing some of it's potency, but 98.5% of it????? We have NEVER had an IUI with that low of a count (and none of our other IUIs worked). I decided not to cry and instead just laid back and tried to remain calm. There was a new nurse training today, so I got the pleasure of not only hearing awful news, but having my IUI take approximately 5 times longer than it should have.

I told MBL that there is still a chance (albeit quite small) that everything will work out and we will get pregnant from this disaster of a month. What we have going for us is that I did have 3 follies and we were able to "try" even though he was out of town. The downside is that we just spent $600 on a crapshoot.

I was thankful that we got a chance to talk after the IUI went down because I needed to be able to process the whole situation with him. Basically, he is going to talk to his future boss and let him in on the fact that all his traveling is costing us money (MBL is fulfilling a role that would give us a nice salary increase, BUT he is not yet being compensated for it). I've had a beef with the fact that his work is sending him across the globe every one to two months for a week or so at a time WITHOUT giving him a raise, for months now, but MBL is finally getting as fed up as I am with it. Especially because we have the baby (#2) itch.

So, along with MBL talking with his superior, I am also planning on talking with the RE at the local clinic about what went down with this cycle. I did some googling this evening and while it seems normal for a sample to lose quite a bit after freezing, thawing, and washing... Getting down to only 1.5 million is NOT normal. Basically, I feel like losing 98.5% of a sample is a big enough deal that they should have called me to see if I still wanted to go through with the cycle. We would have lost out on TTC this month and $300, but I wouldn't have had to spend $300 more on crappy odds. I fully intend on insisting the RE cover our next IUI. No, it's not his fault that MBL was out of town this month, but it is his responsibility to make sure that we aren't allowed to go through with a cycle that was a waste of time and $$$. (all of that makes it sound like I'm being a real negative nancy about this cycle, but, in all reality, I wouldn't be that shocked if I got a BFP from this insane situation). I just want the clinic to own up to the fact that, in all likelihood, someone messed up. And, hopefully, MBL is able to get his work to understand that he needs to start being compensated for his time asap.

I guess this means I'm officially in my first real two week wait post Piper... Woo hoo?!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


A week and one day after my blood draw, the doc finally called with my AMH results. I was starting to work myself up, so I was really thankful that they called towards the end of the work day today like they promised. The good news is that it is 1.0. Normal is 1.0-3.0. Slightly low normal is 0.7-0.9. My AMH in July 2010 was 0.9. Basically, my fertility is stable at this point, which is a HUGE relief! The nurse said we shouldn't wait around years to try again, but we will likely be able to get pregnant again. I told her we were planning on a May cycle and asked her to check with the doc on what protocol he would use. So...that's where we are with our journey to #2 and IVF.

I finished up my clo.mid for this month and now we are just waiting for our appointment on Friday. I'm assuming the doc will let us do a fresh IUI on Saturday after confirming that my follicles are ready via ultrasound. And I'm sure they are. I only took 50mg of clo.mid, but I'm fairly certain that I have two follies growing and ready for release! I'm training for a 25k and I was unable to do much this evening because my ovaries are so achey. It's confirmed my inclincation to only do this one IUI before doing IVF in May. I'm just not interested in continually having to sideline my training at a 5-15% chance that we'll get pregnant via IUI. And clo.mid is a nasty lady. Mood swings, hot flashes, swollen ovaries, headaches... YUCK!! I'm not trying to make assumptions here, but assuming we are able to get pregnant again, I don't want to still be at this weight and fitness level. Although, maybe this month's chance IUI will do the trick? Then I'll gladly sideline my running :).

Anyone else hate the side effects from fertility meds?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

recognizing IF

The other night, on my way home from my hair cut, I stopped at the local drugstore to pick up a box of tamp.ons. I was already feeling kind of bitter about the fact that I had to buy a box of those things again and when I went to the front of the store, the line was three people deep. Now, that may not seem like that long, but it was moving slowly. It seriously took five minutes for the next person in line to get rung up. Part of the issue was that one cashier was being tied up with a customer who was buying an arsenal of supplements. To top that off, he wanted to double check the price with the ad for each and every bottle. I was getting quite tired of waiting, when all of a sudden I realized the similarities between all of the supplements. In his cart he had DH.EA, CoQ10, Ni.acin, and Fol.ic Acid. Now, perhaps there are other reasons for needing those supplements, but having just done my own reading on increasing egg quality, I know that all of those are used to increase fertility. I seriously considered asking him in the parking lot if he was going through infertility, but I thought that might be going a bit too far. I just hope that if he is facing the ugly beast that is IF, that he comes out on the other side victorious and soon.

The second situation of the past week, relating to IF, happened a little closer to home. Due to our appointment in Chic.ago and Christmas/Anniversary festivities, we were unable to get together with MBL's family until today. Usually this is a somewhat stressful situation as MBL's sister and mom are tightly wound. Taking xa.nax or having a drink prior to spending time with them is generally a good idea. That being said, since having Piper I've been trying to take a more relaxed approach to life and family. We were enjoying our time together when it came time for MBL's mom to open a present from Piper. It was the Willo.w Tree Grandmother figurine. When she opened it, she started tearing up and thanking us for such a beautiful, meaningful gift. I didn't expect the reaction, but I was glad that she enjoyed it. Later, when MBL and I were talking about the gathering, he mentioned that his sister also started crying when MBL's mom opened the figurine. And, then, something that should have been clear for years smacked me in the face. MBL's sister is facing her own kind of infertility. She is 37 years old and is just now (finally) in a good relationship with a great guy. MBL pointed out that she was crying because she wants to have kids and it hasn't happened yet (due to not being in the right relationship until this point). I had never thought of things from her perspective before and I feel bad about that. I also feel bad for her because, in all reality, she needs to get on the TTC bandwagon as soon as possible. I feel awful that our joy caused her pain (and it's definitely justified pain as she probably always assumed she'd have the 1st grandkid). My SIL and I have always had an awkward relationship, but today I realized we had more in common than I originally thought.

Stupid IF, why are you everywhere?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

back in the game

Apparently last month was a "trial run" for my body. I didn't ovulate until day 23 of my cycle and then AF came 8 days later. The only good part of this is that I was able to get in for repeat day 3 bloodwork and find out if my fertility really is going down the toilet. I got up really early to get to the lab so that they would have the results the same day, but that didn't work as planned. They were able to do same day results, but then the doc's office never called with them :(. The next day, I decided that I wasn't going to be able to make it through work with all the butterflies in my stomach! After much debate, I decided to call them on my lunch break. And it was good news (so far)! My AMH results won't be back until late next week, but they had my FSH, LH, and E2 levels. My FSH was 7.4, LH was 13, and E2 was 12. I mentioned my low antral count and she said 11 wasn't that bad. And my other levels suggest that our situation isn't as urgent as we were thinking (as in, we don't need to rush back to the doc next month).

That being said, we are still planning on trying until April/May(ish) and then moving on to IVF. HOWEVER, with the early arrival of AF (after my late ovulation), we are in a bit of an odd situation this month. I usually ovulate between days 14-17 and this month that would mean the week of the 15th. The major problem??? MBL is out of town that ENTIRE week. Saturday to Friday... cycle days 13-19. Awesome. We tried to get a frozen sp.erm IUI scheduled at our old clinic, but they said we needed to see the doctor first. Crap. We got an appointment scheduled for next Friday at 10:45 and I managed to get a clo.mid script from my OB, so we're hoping that we can get an ultrasound to see how big my follie is after our appointment and proceed with either a fresh IUI on Saturday (CD 13) or a frozen IUI on Monday (CD 15). Or, I will have taken clo.mid for no good reason at all :).

On Tuesday, I was feeling quite worried about all of this, but today I'm feeling at peace. I was fairly certain my FSH was going to be 40 and now that I know it's not, I'm not quite as panicky. Hopefully I don't get a rude surprise next week when my AMH results come in.

(oh, and I totally realize that I said we were skipping IUIs this time around, but apparently I am going to have to eat my words ;).