Friday, June 30, 2006
Doc P wasn't too worried today, although he did discuss the merits of reducing my clomid dose again. This month I had five follicles, and he thought that was pushing his comfort limit. I was aiming for three or four, so five didn't look too darn bad to me. I pointed out that we had bad sperm so chances are we wouldn't get more than two or three of 'em to finish the race, even using IUI to drop 'em off halfway to the goal. He didn't look too convinced but he's ok with five, so we're staying with 50mg next month, although we're adding a new pill just in case I'm not wonky enough from the clomid.
'Cause, you know, no ultrasound would be complete without something being off in there... this month, it's my uterine lining. I don't know exactly what it's supposed to look like, but mine is 'very thin'. I got pretty excited about that - I mean, it's rare to hear any part of me referred to as "very thin". What's that? It's not supposed to be a compliment? Eh, I'll take it anyway. The upshot of that is that next month we're adding estrogen to my daily dosing. Doc P says he doubts it will make a difference (really, he is such a worrier!), but it can't hurt so we're going with it. If my lining isn't any better next month, we'll reduce to 25mg of clomid (although, really, since this is the lowest dose of clomid I've been on, and the only time it's been a problem, I'm not too worried about next cycle. Man, I hope those words don't come back to bite me in the ass in a few weeks).
All in all, not a bad day. I took Grape to the zoo with his g'parents after my appointment, and he exhausted himself so much that he took one of his rare naps, so I got to shop with my mom. She bought me some very cute shirts that I hope will be way too small for me very, very soon.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
I found out, accidentally, by ultrasound at 8weeks, 4days. And things looked perfect. In my dream, I just knew everything was fine, and it was. My doctors kept telling me that it wasn't a guarantee, but I just knew better. I knew that since we had a heartbeat at 8w4d, I was going to have a healthy baby.
I don't think the 8w4d thing is a coincidence. Last pregnancy, that was the point at which we had the ultrasound and found out that there was no heartbeat. I guess in my subconscious, if I make it past that point, I feel like I'll be ok. Which is weird, since my conscious knows that there's no magic date, no guaranteed point where pregnancy = living child.
Still, it was a nice dream - even when I was pregnant with Grape, I worried more often than not. I've always wondered what it was like to be pregnant and just enjoy it, without feeling like every day that passed was a bullet dodged, and every day to come was a hurdle to overcome. Maybe it was only a dream, but it was nice to have that carefree confidence even for a little while.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
But we're ok now. As much as I hated her in the beginning, she isn't a bad person. As much as I hate to admit it, she is an excellent Grandma. (So much so that I got a bit miffed when she referred to herself as a 'stepGrandma' in that same email - she may be B's stepmom, but she is 100% Grape's Grandmom, and she is very, very good to him). Still, she has a tendency to say exactly the wrong thing, and she really wants more grandkids, which is a bad combination. See, she has one son. She never wanted an only, but her husband already had two children, half-grown by the time #3 came along, and he just wasn't interested in more. So, now she's on a quest for more grandbabies, and B is her only chance for a granddaughter for a while. I've mentioned before that B's family is knee-deep in testosterone, right? Grandma loves her grandsons, but she desperately - desperately - wants to buy little dresses. You'd think that since we're working for a common goal, we'd be allies, but.. that's not quite how it works.
Since B's not really comfortable sharing too much about our issues with his family, they have only a limited idea of what we're really going through. They are aware that we have "problems", but not what those problems are, or what we're doing about them. Many of my inlaws believe that our "problems" can be cured with patience and relaxation, and many of them don't understand or believe in fertility treatments (which is an easy enough position to take when you're not in the position to need them). I've tried to explain a little bit to sMIL so she'll tone down her questions (we've had the "why are you taking so many pills?" discussion), but she didn't really get it. And she's not interested in getting it. So I just don't talk to her much about our plans for children, and hope that she doesn't ask too often. But she does.
She hints - a lot - that she wants another grandbaby, and I've told her - a lot - that we're doing the best we can. I know she means well, so I try to cut her some slack, but our past history means that my knee-jerk reaction is to take offense when she makes a stupid comment. Happens a lot. I should probably be used to it by now.
Thanks for the great email yesterday. How nice of you to tell me that since Grape is out of diapers and officially a big boy, I can now - how did you put it? Oh yeah, "get a short break and (be) truly ready for #2". I just wish I'd known sooner that teaching my child the joys of toiletry was all that was holding me back. You should have told me about this months ago, before I miscarried the baby that "just wasn't meant to be". Who knew that potty-training would make it "meant to be"?
(the same one whose marriage you referred to as "a mistake")
* I'll work on an explanation of the whole situation, but for now, I'm thinking this says enough.
Monday, June 26, 2006
I'm questioning the whole point of me taking clomid this month for no real good reason (well, there's sort of a reason). What is it they say - 'be careful what you wish for' .. ? That should be my motto.
I figured that on a half-dose of clomid, I'd get half the side effects, but apparently it doesn't work quite that way. Today I discovered that whole clomid-airhead effect was in full force.
I had to go to the store. More to the point, I had to talk myself out of walking to the store. The fact that I even thought about walking to the store should have clued me in that something wasn't working right in my head. It's about a mile each way, which is slightly more than my out-of-shape self can handle in a hurry.. and I woulda been hurrying - it's been raining for a while now. Today is no exception. Mostly it's been raining hard enough that I've been giving some serious thought to working on my ark design. And some small part of me still thought it would be "good exercise" to walk it instead of drive.
I suppose I could have just looked at it as exercise AND a shower all at once - I'm no multitasker, but hey, I can pretend, right? Besides, maybe it would have given me a better perspective on just how long I have before I need that ark.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Heh. My sister called my mom to complain about being pregnant. Yeah, that was a good move.
It's not been a good week for the reproductive health of my mom's loved ones, including some intensely sad news for a close friend.
So when my sis, S, called to complain about the loss of her figure (and the waste of all those plastic surgeries), the absolute injustice of being forced into a third c-section, and the heartbreak of having to have a baby with a birthday so close to Christmas (a subject near-and-dear to her heart since S has always hated having her own birthday then).. mom wasn't too sympathetic.
Mom pointed out that the whole loss of figure was something she knew going into this. The cesarean birth, also should not have surprised her. The Christmas birthday? If it were really that important, they'd have waited. (I should point out, my sister has never had fertility problems. At least not infertility problems... so skipping a month to prevent a birthdate she really didn't want isn't a hardship.. and even if it were, complaining that you chose to try on a certain month and succeeded.. yeah, that's kinda tacky. I promise that if my family planning goes in that direction and I conceive that July baby, I will NOT complain. Jokes ok, angst-ridden diatribes, not ok).
I'm trying to be a little sympathetic. Although she is my older sister, I kinda think of her more as the little sister I never had. The teenage little sister I never had. She sorta got stuck in that all-about-me 17-year-old mentality. (some day I'll share with you the story of how my miscarriage turned into a conversation about how my reproductive issues might impact her life). Remember as a teen when everything was drama-filled and the smallest things became Really Big Problems? She's still stuck in that... so, yeah, I'm trying to be sympathetic. Is it working yet? Not really.
So I'm working on a letter to her* - what do you think?
Just wanted to send a quick note to say how truly sorry I am that you will be enduring a surgical birth, for this poor child who will be born way too close to Christmas. Perhaps you can think of this as a slightly more invasive tummy-tuck, voluntarily endured. As a bonus, between the frequent-flier miles you've got with your surgeon and the overall holiday good cheer, they'll give you a baby. Cheer up, and look on the brighter side of things. And (((hugs))). I know this has been such a tough ordeal for you.
* no really, I'm not sending this. But I do feel better writing it.
Friday, June 23, 2006
So I'm back to obsessing over every bite of food I put in my mouth. It is damn hard to stick to the BMD long-term.
* this is where it gets confusing. per the updated B-schedule, if i ovulate within a very specific 2-day time, he'll be home for an insemination. if i don't ovulate then, i have another two-day window three days after the first. i'm slightly hopeful that it could work, but it depends on my timing being perfect, and my innards have never been good at working under pressure.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Which raises a really good question.
If some people are "blessed" to be fertile, are infertiles cursed? It really is a well-known fact that crack ho's and baby beaters have some serious fertility mojo. It's also a well-known fact (to me at least) that some of the best parents out there can't create a child biologically. Many others can't create one "naturally" (I hate-hate-hate that term, but that's a whole 'nother topic). So, it just doesn't make sense to me that crack-ho's are 'blessed' and some really great parents-in-waiting are not. God, if you read blogs, I'd like to know the criteria you use to select the recipients of your 'blessings'. Give me some direction here so I can work on my fertility mojo, ok? I'd also like to share that knowledge with some other really great moms, so you see, it's not an entirely selfish request.
Otherwise, I may just have to ask one of the blessed what their secret is.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I got to see the new resident today. He took forever with the wand. While I was laying there, I started to doze off and I realized: I am now officially an infertility patient. If I can fall asleep during my wanding, it's become awfully routine. (hmm... I wonder if I could use this to my advantage. Next time the hubby's feeling frisky and I'm exhausted, maybe I could ask him to just be slow and gentle and aim for my right ovary so I can nap a bit. It could work, right?) Anyhow, the new resident was a bit disappointed that the pictures from last month weren't in my chart. I think he's new enough that he's never seen overstimulated ovaries before. I probably should have felt a bit like a medical experiment, but hey - I understand fascination with my reproductive parts. I am, after all, the one who asked to see the pics of the girls since he'd angled the screen so I couldn't see. So I get his fascination. Emotional aspects notwithstanding, fertility is a pretty interesting thing, and I'm usually able to recognize that.
AND, I talked the doc into letting me do a 'trial run' of 50mg of clomid this month, even if we can't try an IUI. I went over B's schedule again and discovered that if I can have a 28/29 day cycle this month, we might just be able to squeak in an IUI in August a day or two before he leaves. (So all that worrying was for nothing... but when you're a hormonal, compulsive scheduler, and a compulsive worrier, these things happen).. Unmedicated, I tend to have cycles closer to 35 or 40 days, which would make me ovulate a few days after B leaves in August, and since we don't have that mythical super-living 5-day sperm I've heard of... well, those few days might as well be a year.
So, I managed to convince my doctor that by doing the 50mg of clomid this month, we'd know if it works, or if it's too low a dose without wasting a good cycle. I'm not sure he entirely bought my reasoning, but he's good about letting me have some control over my care, which is maybe why I like him.
*i have to add this disclaimer: i love my hubby. i do not just love him for his sperm, no matter how much it sounds like that... but the fact is, i'm a sailor's wife. frequent, short absences come with the territory. i am used to it, and while i do miss him, if he's not gone more than two weeks at a time, that's just a normal work week for us. not a big deal. wasting an entire cycle because he's gone at just the wrong time and there's nothing we can do about it... that's the tough part.
small edit: I just wanted to add this. I left it out originally, but it's been really bothering me. One of the things my doc said while flipping through my chart was about B's last SA. He looked at the numbers and said "and he's the man who got you pregnant both times?" .. yeah, he is. and his numbers are bad. it bothers me a lot because I live in fear of the day they decide that his numbers are bad enough that we've progressed past IUI and need IVF. That scares me enough that I get that sick feeling in my stomach. IVF is not possible for us. Seriously. Not. Possible. OK, that's as much as I can talk about that. I refuse to worry about that hurdle unless/until I have to.
Monday, June 19, 2006
One of the guys there (who has been married all of two months) was discussing his family planning. They want to have a baby next year, he said, so they're planning to get her pregnant in March. Just. Like. That.
It was so sweet to see his optimism, his total faith that since they want it to happen in March, it will. Actually, I suppose it's likely that it will, or at least soon after.
Sometimes, I forget that most people will conceive fairly soon after they decide to start trying. I had to remind myself that it's inappropriate to scream "No! Try NOW so you'll know before March if there's a problem!!". Yeah, I'm that cynical.
And a little jealous. B & I knew before we got married that we'd probably have problems conceiving. We knew that we couldn't control when it happened. We couldn't even control if it happened.
Still, I persist in trying to 'plan' our family. Really, I should stop that. I don't have the best of luck in this arena.
When I was very young, and very naive, I had an idea of how my family would look when I was grown. I'd be a young mom, with a large family of closely-spaced children. My reality is a bit different. Ok, it's a lot different. None of those ideals fit my family. Eh, I'm flexible, I've adapted to the fact that while other people can plan out what they want, our reproductive organs (and the travel demands of B's career) have the final say in any planning .. but a girl can dream, right? Right.. and here's my dream: I want a baby who is not born in July.
A small request, and one that probably seems petty to most people, but it's really not. See, there are four grandkids in B's family. They all have birthdays in the last two weeks of July. Call me crazy, but I'd like to be different.*
Given my history, it shouldn't surprise me that B's schedule for work is complicated enough that our next possible insemination is... October. (yeah, do the math. with an October conception, a July birth is likely) Well, we've still got November. (only, two of the four July kids were due in August and arrived early just to make the July cutoff). And December. And that's it. If we don't have a successful insemination by then, we've got a deployment interrupting our "family planning". Again. I'm not so sure I want to pin all my hopes on December, so we'll probably go ahead with an October attempt, even if it's not what I want... because, yeah, none of this is what I want, so what's one more thing?
And people wonder why infertility is so stressful. For a control freak, it's sheer hell.
.. not to mention, October seems so very far away.
*Maybe it's because I remember trying to plan Grape's first birthday party around everyone else's birthday schedules. Maybe it's because I remember my nephew being pissed that he might have to share his birthday with a baby brother he most definitely did not want. Probably it's because I remember the stress my sister in law had to go through to schedule the birth of said sibling so that she would not be giving birth or be in the hospital on her older son's birthday because it really was that important to him.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Let's talk about these clomid mood swings (furthermore referred to as "CMS"), shall we? "They" tell you that clomid can cause moodiness. Sounds pretty harmless, doesn't it? Whoa - harmless isn't what I'd call it. There's something just not right about pulling a Linda Blair. About the only thing I haven't done tonight is levitate and vomit green soup. I'm pretty sure that at some point, my head did spin around backwards.. and then I dissolved into a bucket of weeping goo (but I wasn't green goo, so alas, it doesn't fit my Exorcist theme). Five minutes later, I was normal again. It's just not right, I tell you.
Tonight's fit was set off by my husband's schedule. See, he told me yesterday that they have a previously-unscheduled two-week trip coming up. He was a bit bummed that he won't be home for the fourth of July (again). Eh, I'm used to that. It's only two weeks, hardly something to fall apart over. And then it hit me. His two-week span encompasses the entire week that I might have a chance at pregnancy next month. In fact, it's timed so incredibly well (or badly, depending on your point of view, or where you are in a CMS) that even if we had some miraculous sex the day he left, and the day he returned, with those mythical sperm that can live "up to five days!".. we still wouldn't be able to get pregnant. Wow. Now that's some serious bad cosmic mojo. They scheduled an underway for the very week I need the man - all because some other ship broke down and the powers that be decided that my husband's ship would make a nifty replacement. I'm trying not to take it personally. We're past the days where the military would pay extra money based on the number of children you had, so it's not like they have a vested interest in keeping me un-pregnant. Still, my CMS do lend themselves nicely to conspiracy theories, and I can't help but think someone on the chain of command is plotting against our conception. However ridiculous that may be, it's a hell of a lot easier to complain about than if it were just bad luck. So I'm sticking with that theory. (and yes, when the little men with white straitjackets come and pack me away, I'll be blaming that on my CMS also)
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
So I quashed the little voice that was reminding me to never-ever go to my local ER, and we headed out. When they asked why I was there, I managed to explain where I hurt, and how bad it hurt, and briefly outlined my discussion with Doc P from last week on why I wanted them to rule out OHSS, and explained that (per his orders), I needed someone from OB/gyn and no pelvic exams. I also had to explain (the first of probably six times) that this had started soon after we'd done the deed. A bit embarassing, but hey - I've been a fertility patient long enough that discussing my sex life isn't a new thing. They took my vitals, and sent me to the waiting room. Where I tried to sit. For an hour.
When they finally called me back, I went through my whole spiel again, and when I got to the part about ruling out OHSS just in case, the nurse had the audacity to ask me what WebMD had to say about that - hello? I am not self-diagnosing. I am going by the advice of my doctor, who has far more experience with reproductive issues than the snippy little twit who was asking me the same questions I'd already answered (the same twit who only minutes earlier had misread my chart and asked me why I came in at 2AM when I'd been in pain for a month.. I had to point out that it had only been an hour) ... but I digress... I explained that I was there because of a conversation I'd had with my (fully competent) doctor, that since I have polycystic ovaries, and one of them is significantly overstimm'ed, OHSS is not exactly out of the realm of possibility. But apparently, I'm the twit no one wants to listen to.
Before she left, she asked if there was anything I needed. I asked for water. "Oh, you can't have that, but I'll ask about some ice chips". Great. No one told me this party was bring-your-own. And then we waited. A while later, another nurse came in (acting way too perky for nearly 4AM), repeated the whole spiel, rechecked my vitals, offered to start an IV (no way, no how - I'm a needlephobe, and not getting poked "just in case" I need it, without ever having seen a doctor). On her way out the door she asked if there was anything I needed. I repeated my request for water, and she repeated that I wasn't allowed, and told my husband to come get them if I needed anything - why? so they can tell me no a third time?
The doctor finally came in. He was not an ob, a gyn, or anyone with a specialty that I'd asked for. He asked my husband to leave the room so we could talk - and then proceeded to go down the list of the same questions everyone else was ok with asking in front of my husband. He then tells me he's going to need to do a pelvic exam. At this point I'm too tired and in too much pain to protest, so I just ask him to be really careful because I'm still in pain and I don't want anything to get broken. "Broken?" he asks, looking at me like I've just produced the most ignorant statement ever. Yeah, broken. I don't know what exactly Doc P was worrying about, but he did say he didn't want someone untrained doing too much to me out of fear they'd break something. Which is why I'd asked for a gyn consult the minute I walked in that door. But whatever.
As a concession, he decides I need a painkiller in case the exam is painful. For the love of God, just laying there is painful, of course it's going to hurt when he's poking me.
Another 45 minutes later, my vicodin has kicked in, my hubby is snoozing in the corner of my room and doc butthead returns. He checks a few things, and starts pressing spots on my belly, where I have to remind him - again - that I'm swollen from my clomid so could he please press lighter. He's pretty confident I didn't have a cyst burst ("at least not a big one"), or ovarian torsion, and I need to follow up with my doctor. No blood work, no ultrasound, nothing except a manual exam by a doc who's not specialized in gynecology.
So yeah, I'm calling Doc P to see if he can get me in a bit sooner than the "7 to 10 days" on my ER paperwork. I'm just not feeling like Doc Butthead really took me seriously. Maybe it's the fact that he didn't actually test anything. Maybe it's the fact that he kinda glazed over when I asked questions, and just wrote out a script for vicodin and abstinence. Or maybe it's just that I want someone who will know what to look for, and what to look at without me prompting.
I hate being treated like I'm ignorant of my own body.
Friday, June 09, 2006
My sister is pregnant. After a few months of complaining about how long it took (six months), she's officially announced it to her blog. She still hasn't told me yet, although she did call me the same day she found out - which (coincidentally) happened to be my birthday. I'm glad she didn't mention it then, but the fact that she still hasn't said anything.. well, that's sort of another kick in the teeth. I'm assuming she's got her fingers crossed that someone else will bring it up between now and the time she gives birth so she won't have to deal with the ickiness of telling an infertile about pregnancy.
Look, I know I have fertility issues. I am aware that other peoples' pregnancies bother me, and I'm acutely aware of the isolation infertility can bring. Leaving me totally out of pregnancy announcements or discussions just emphasizes the fact that other people think infertility is some unmentionable disease, something to be avoided, or discussed in whispers. It's not. OK? Maybe it would be better if I just didn't tell anyone that we are having problems, but I can't do that. I am shockingly honest about our fertility problems because I remember how isolated and alone I felt in the beginning. At one of the lowest points in my life, I finally confided in a friend what was bothering me, and I was absolutely shocked to discover I had TWO friends who had already been through fertility treatments and who understood where I was coming from... but since that's not the kind of thing that polite people talk about, I never knew. The relief I had just knowing that other people knew what I was feeling was incredible. So now I'm a little too honest about our problems. If I can spare one friend or aquaintance the pain of that isolation, it's worth all the whispers and pity I get.. and I do get them. Since the entire world knows that I'm having a hard time getting and staying pregnant, there are lots of opportunities for those awkward situations.
.. but I never expected it from my sister. She has known from the very beginning - from my first (unsuccessful) attempts to conceive in my first marriage, to the time when my now-husband and I started trying. She was the first person I told about my first pregnancy.. even before my husband knew, my sister knew. (tacky, I know - but we'd been trying so long, I didn't want to tell him until I was sure, and she was my second opinion). When I was still giving veiled references to other family and friends, my sister knew the absolute truth.
So why is she afraid to tell me that she's pregnant?
Thursday, June 08, 2006
On Doc Paranoia's orders, we were practicing abstinence, sorta. I'll admit to a few moments of the highly effective "pull-out-and-pray" method of birth control*, but overall, we did ok. The more miserable and uncomfortable I got, the easier abstinence got. I've never been good at it before now, so I'm guessing I can add abstinence to the list of skills infertility has taught me. Ironic, isn't it?
*yes, I know, it doesn't work..... for most people. considering our history, we're pretty confident that we're safe.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I'm not all about baby dust, or vibes or cutesy little names - I don't like "embies" or "follies" or any of that oh-so-sappy stuff.
And I especially can't stand the pesky "what's wrong with me??!" whiners who've been trying three whole months and are terribly upset because their first two (or three) children were conceived the first try/on accident/immaculate conception. Yeah, you know the ones. I try to feel bad for them - really, I do... but I just want to tell 'em to go whine somewhere else and call me in a year or two. I recognize that's not generally acceptable in most of the happy-sunshine message boards. But I still want to tell them where they can stuff their whining... and then I feel bad because I whine about this, and I'm not exactly in the worst position in the world - I have a child, I have conceived twice, and I have decent medical care that covers nearly 100% of my IUI's. Really, I shouldn't bitch too much. It could be a lot worse.
Still, I can't help but feel a primal urge to bitch-slap every person who complains that they're having "fertility difficulties" because they're not pregnant after a few short weeks. Maybe I should just send 'em some of my baby dust? I think we know how well that's been working for me.
Friday, June 02, 2006
So, it turns out I managed to hyperstimulate. On only 100mg of clomid. Even though I have pcos. The odds were against me, but once again, my body has proven that things like odds or statistics mean nothing to me. Us. Whatever.
At the moment, I have one nice-looking ovary with three 'contenders' and one grossly swollen ovary with "too many to count". (I stopped counting at 7, but I figure if my untrained eye saw 7, it's a safe bet they brought friends).
It's not Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) . Yet. Although it could turn that way. Doc Paranoia cancelled my potential IUI, gave me a list of warning signs to watch out for and a stern lecture on not getting pregnant this month. Ha! If I could get pregnant, I wouldn't be in this position, now would I?? We talked about this cycle (out), next cycle (probably not happening), and whether or not reducing to 50mg of clomid would be a good idea (he says yes).
I came home, made a pan of brownies and totally blew the BMD. Not like it matters now, right?
.. and I have to admit this: the hubby & I actually had a talk about whether or not octuplets would be a bad idea. I think that probably says something about our desperation.