Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fertility-Challenged Psychosis

Let's talk about this, shall we?

There is a dirty little secret floating around the fertility-challenged community, and I'm ready to expose it. Yeppers, hard-hitting investigative journalism from my very own blog. Sweet.

So here it is: Infertility can make you crazy.

At the moment, Fertility-Challenged Psychosis (otherwise known as FCP) is not a medically recognized illness, although I am sure it will be some day.

Until then, here's what I know:

Who is at risk?
People at risk for developing FCP are generally those who have been trying to conceive for a prolonged period of time; the risk goes up exponentially with every failed cycle. Women are much more likely to develop FCP, although the reasons for this are not clear at this time.

What are the stages of FCP?
FCP is broken up into three main stages: Mild, Moderate and Severe. Each stage has distinct symptoms or characteristics.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are generally subtle and harmless in the initial stages. Obsessive charting of basal temperatures, rigid intercourse schedules and constant thoughts about baby-making-sex, babies or pregnancy are the first signs that a person is at risk for FCP, or has already begun to develop it. Monthly HPT use is common, as are a number of natural home remedies, vitamins, teas or creams designed to facilitate pregnancy. Occasionally, dietary adjustments or periodic use of cough syrup are also seen. This is considered mild FCP and it does not generally interfere with a person's ability to lead a normal life.

Moderate FCP involves negative thoughts directed towards expectant women or couples, a snarling reaction to clueless well-meaning advice, and a fixation on medical numbers (hormone levels, SA results, follicle counts). It is also at this stage that a person begins to devote a significant amount of their waking thoughts to conception. Often, they will begin daily visits to Dr Google. By this point, their HPT use is becoming somewhat extreme with multiple HPTs per cycle and many will consult Dr Google to find a dealer to better afford their habit. They will begin scrutinizing their peesticks - holding them up to different light sources while standing on their heads and closing one eye, using digital photography to manipulate an image of a peestick or dismantling that peestick to verify the presence or absence of a line, and saving daily sticks to use as a comparison for future sticks. In fact, this is so common that you may hear about someone who is a "pee-on-a-stick addict". This stage has the potential to affect social relationships and can have a mild impact on the person's ability to lead a normal life.

Severe FCP is categorized by obsessive thoughts of babymaking, both during waking hours and in dreams. Mumbling disturbing phrases "relax this, asshole!" or "what do you mean just adopt, you twatwaffle?!" while sleeping is another symptom. They will begin asking others (including strangers) questions like "do my boobs look bigger today?", and may exhibit obvious twitches or tics in a medical setting.* . They engage in debates - sometimes with themselves - that make little sense to the non-fertility-challenged, such as "is oral progesterone comparable to suppositories?" or "frozen or fresh? frozen or fresh? maybe both?". Many people with severe FCP are undergoing treatments that involve daily injections. Do not become alarmed if you suspect your friend with FCP is also a junkie. Chances are what you are seeing is the result of a treatment plan that is supervised by a physician... despite the fact that most fertility-challenged are aware that crack is actually a highly effective fertility enhancer, it is exceedingly rare for one to actually go that route.

It is at this stage where we see random outbursts directed at pregnant women, overly fertile crack 'ho's, and strangers who want to discuss reproductive plans. It goes without saying that severe FCP can have a profound impact on social or familial relationships, and will most likely have at least some affect on normal life.

It is important to note that one symptom is common for all stages:
Obsessive "pregnancy sign interpretation" can appear at any time, but there are clear differences in severity through the stages: casually poking a breast to check for tenderness is mild, punching that same breast while sniffing a noxious odor and cackling gleefully "ha! I've got morning sickness and sore boobies!" is obviously more severe.

How can I tell if I a friend has FCP?
If you suspect you someone you know is suffering from FCP, there are some very simple ways to confirm this. First, search the bathroom for leftover peesticks of any kind. Any more than three is considered at-risk. More than 10, and there is almost definitely a problem. Consult Dr Google's records; this can also be helpful in determining the severity of FCP - if you see terms like "nausea at 7dpo pregnancy?", this is indicative of moderate FCP. Searches for "nausea 1dpo pregnancy?" clearly indicate a more serious case of FCP. In its most extreme stages, you will see things like "voodoo fertility rituals", "how to be crack ho" or "duggar". Pay particular attention to anything referencing the word "blog". This is a sure sign that FCP is present**, although it is also a sign that the person is aware of their illness and actively attempting to combat its debilitating affects. The use of a blog to purge feelings or find a sense of community is one of the few treatments that appears to do anything to lessen the severity of symptoms.

Is there a cure?
Now that you know how to recognize FCP, you are probably thinking What next? As of now, there is no cure. Many people believe that pregnancy, birth or adoption will cure FCP, but this is not true. While any of these may be considered 'treatment' in that they can generally counteract the more extreme symptoms, there will always be some remnant left behind as a reminder. FCP causes drastic changes in a person's psychological and emotional makeup, and nothing will erase that permanently. Time, and patience will help.

Coming soon: the answers to the burning question "What can I do if my loved one has FCP?"

*There are two leading theories behind these twitches or tics: some believe they are a result of frustration at the realization that the patient's vast reproductive knowledge is greater than that of most doctors, while others believe it is because many of these patients realize that the cost of their treatments has paid off their physician's car, or in some cases, their physician's house.

**While this is useful as a diagnostic tool, I am obligated to point out that you should never ever attempt to investigate the possibility of that blog's existence. However well-intentioned you may be, if you have not been invited to share in that aspect of a friend's life, it is unethical and immoral to snoop. Unless you are investigating yourself, in which case you're probably allowed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Do my eyes deceive me?

It's been five weeks since my last clomid pill, and I'm still experiencing side effects. That shit is evil.

"Visual Disturbances". That's on the list of possible side effects. Although I'll be damned if I can find anything much more specific. Dr Google told me about women who have clomid-trails, but he doesn't seem to know anyone besides me who has these little black spots in their peripheral vision... I worry it's another symptom of Fertility-Challenged Psychosis*.

"Visual disturbances" is just not specific enough for me. Kinda sounds like there are little anti-establishment types who are planning a protest rally in my ocular region, doesn't it?

Anyone want to hook me up with a better description of what a visual disturbance is? I'll take personal experiences, documented evidence or urban legends about the second cousin of a friend of a friend who knew someone once...


*Fertility-Challenged Psychosis (FCP) is another new disorder I've just made up. It covers any and all bizarre behavior, psychosomatic symptoms, or random outbursts caused by prolonged attempts to get pregnant. More details in tomorrow's post.

Monday, August 28, 2006

SIF thoughts... "is it fair to him?"

You know you're a charting addict when your child wakes you up at 4AM because he's sick, and your first thought is not "poor baby, you must feel miserable" but "ahh.. shit, I didn't get my temp before I sprinted him to the bathroom".

Which begs the question - how do you prioritize the demands of the child(ren) you have with the desire to make another?

Overall, I'm not too worried about my own priorities right now. For the most part, G takes a much greater position in my life than any 'potentials'. When I have an appointment or an insemination, G happily goes to a play date. If he's forced to watch a movie by himself because B is only home for a few hours on a day that I'm ovulating, the boy is not complaining (either of them, as a matter of fact). I do feel the occasional twinge that my moods are impacting his life, but other than that, I'm confident that he is not suffering because I want another child.

What if he were? Would I recognize that or would I be blinded by my own plans?

In the last week, I have heard some disturbing rumors about a friend. She currently has six children and is pregnant with her seventh, due in just a few months. The rumors that I am hearing imply that she is/was so preoccupied with conceiving or gestating that the children she has are being neglected. Maybe not in that 'call the authorities, they have no food or clothing' kind of neglect, but in more subtle ways. Without getting too specific, most of what I'm hearing centers around the social and academic needs of her children not being met. She's a 'net friend, and not anyone I know in person, so I have no way of proving or disproving these things I'm hearing, but I suspect there's at least a bit of truth to the matter... and quite possibly more than just a bit. I suppose that I could be blunt and ask her about it, but frankly I'm not sure I want to know.

I am sure that discussion would just create more problems than it would solve. She will take my questions as a personal judgement of her parenting and who wouldn't?, and nothing will change with her situation. It may be a moot point anyway, as this is her final child, and she will not be in a position where pregnancy or trying for it will affect her children again... although I suppose it could be argued that she is overwhelmed by the number of children she has and they will always be in this situation*... but that's not really the point of this.

The point is: hearing these things about someone I have always considered a good mom (albeit in the limited scope of my knowledge of her life) gives me pause. I know that she considers herself a good mom, and thinks she is doing all she can for her children. I am sure that she, like me, considers the time, emotion and energy invested in conception and pregnancy a small sacrifice for the greater good of the family overall. But is it? What if it's a big sacrifice?

How do you recognize when/if your desire to build your family is at the expense of that family? At what point does the amount of time, or energy or money invested become a liability that is actually hurting your family? And what do you do to realign your goals if you find yourself in that position?

*I am reluctant to even publish that statement - I do not want to get into a debate about "how many children is too many?" because while I do believe there is a such thing as 'too many', I also believe it is an arbitrary number at best, and depends on the individual parents and children involved. What may be a fine number for someone else might be too many for me, and vice versa.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

No, I'm not superstitious.

I noticed last night - to my horror - that I had 13 people over there on my blog-list. Not that I'm superstitious, but the thought of 13 anything having to do with my reproduction freaked me out made me a tiny bit nervous.

So I added Offsprung - he hasn't been blogging long from what I can see, but he's articulate and really damn funny... if you haven't already, go check him out.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Small stuff

My house is suffering. I have easily two loads of laundry to wash and I'm embarassed to even mention how many need folding. How come everyone always tells the childfree "At least you get to sleep in" and no one ever says "hey, you've got less laundry, appreciate that!" .. most of my laundry belongs to G, who goes through an average of four outfits a day... and I hate laundry more than I hate getting up early, but no one ever told me to appreciate smaller loads

If I don't vacuum and mop today, I'm pretty sure the dog hair on the floor will rise up and revolt. There's more of us than of her, men - let's take over! Take out the vacuum cleaners first, then head for the broom!

And yet, it seemed like a good time to blog.

I get overwhelmed pretty easily, and I think that's why I'm sitting here, with my blinders on, so I can't see the laundry waiting on my right, or the snoozing dog on my left who has a Pigpen-like cloud of fur floating lazily around her. When I have too much going on, or too much to think about, I get scatterbrained and overwhelmed and I can't think straight. I have to remind myself to take it one step at a time, start small and work my way up. When I'm cleaning, I always start with the bathrooms. They're small, and I can see progress quickly. Baby steps. That's my motto.

What does this have to do with babymaking through infertility?

You start out with baby steps, you start taking those prenatals and you throw out the birth control.. way back before you realized just how much you didn't need that birth control. After a few months, you pick up one more thing to do - maybe you start charting your BBT, or maybe you start actively picking your nook-days based on when you "should" be fertile. A few more months roll by, and you take that next step. You call your doctor, and they give you some more suggestions, maybe run a blood test or two.. and so on and so on.

Baby steps.

By the time you've been trying a while, you've researched everything and there are no baby steps. You know all the steps for each new treatment or procedure, and you're no longer taking it one step at a time, but you're planning out the whole cycle in one shot... maybe even working up a contingency plan for the next few cycles. You've probably got at least a rough timeline in your mind for when it's time to move on, what will be next, and what will come after that.

I started this whole process with a carefree day-by-day attitiude. I was really a go with the flow kind of woman. Somewhere along the way, I turned into the Repro-Control-Freak. Oh yes, that's me - RCF. I need to know the plan for at least the next cycle after this one, and I need to know the whens also. When will AF be here? When will I ovulate again? When can we inseminate when B is home?

Which makes it ever-so-much fun when my body starts going into that uncontrolled-pcos ovulation fakeout. Last night, I heard my cervix laughing at me as I was running around in there trying to find it. And then, when I did find it, I distinctly heard a giggle as it shifted from "soft" to "medium". Clearly, it's in there thinking "Ha! Interpret this!" .. the good news is, I haven't ovulated yet, so the D10 fakeout that panicked me* for a minute turned out to be a false alarm. Whew.

The bad news is, I'm already worrying about a potential IUI that is at least a month away... I should just go bury my head in some laundry.

*i meant that whole RCF thing; i'm already planning next cycle. ovulating on CD10 with a 14-day LP means... no IUI next month.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Is it just me..

or are you sick of the pop culture pregnancy worship going on .. ?

I can't even sit down to read my news without seeing two or three (or five) celebrity pregnancy or birth announcements... or worse yet - pregnancy speculation. Is she or isn't she? Pregnant or just fat?

I get that the world is fascinated by pregnancy and babies, ok?

I'm just tired of it being 'news'.

Why I keep on trying..

... also known as 'why I sometimes really do appreciate what I've got'.

Contrary to the beliefs of a small but vocal set of buttwads, SIF does not mean you don't appreciate the child(ren) that you already have. In some ways it's harder because you really do appreciate what you've got.

Last night, I was laying in bed half asleep, when I heard these weird snuffling sounds coming from G, who was laying in bed next to me. Alarmed, I rolled over to make sure he was still breathing normally.* He was, but he was also sporting the biggest smile I've ever seen, and the snuffling noise turned into a big belly laugh. I wonder what he's dreaming about that makes him so happy? Still giggling, he managed to say "mommymommymommy".

Me. I am what is making him so happy, even in his sleep.

He half-opened one eye, patted me on the arm, and rolled closer to snuggle up before falling back asleep. For one small moment, all was right in the world.

I know that parenthood is not always about sweetness and snuggles... many days, those moments are few and far between, especially with an ornery child on the brink of independence (in his own mind at least).. but there are some moments that remind me of the days before G, when I wondered and worried that I'd never hear the word "mommy". I used to fantasize about what he'd be like. It was always the sweet, snuggly moments that I dreamed about... and I can honestly say this is one dream that is better in reality than it was in my mind. So many things lose their shine when they go from a dream to a reality. Parenthood has not.. and even on days where I feel like I can't take one more tantrum, or one more battle, I know that he is a gift, and I do really, truly appreciate him.

That is my motivation for plowing on through the bad cycles, the disappointments and the tears. I know exactly what my goal is.

*as a remnant of my difficulty conceiving him, I still have a hard time getting used to the idea that he's not too good to be true.. and one of the side effects of that is an obsessive need to check his breathing while he sleeps, even now

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

And I thought we were making progress...

The B & I, that is.

I thought he'd been paying attention to the gazillion conversations I've had with doctors, nurses, assistants and receptionists. And the super-technical TTC words.

I thought we'd gotten to the point where we were comfortable saying anything to each other.

Then today, he sends me an email that asks "when are you due?"

So I fire one back asking "for what?"*

B: "your monthly thing"

What the hell? Does he mean my period? An IUI? An update to my dye job?

Yeah, he meant my period, although it took two more emails to determine that.

So.... after all the discussions we've had, he's still at the point where it's my "monthly thing"?**

I'll cut him a break and tell you the rest of the story: I found out later that he wasn't alone at his computer, and I'm guessing that while he's comfortable discussing my cycle with me, he's not ok with discussing it with the guys... for crying out loud, one of 'em brought me Oreos last time my monthly thing showed up. And he's ok telling them all he's taking the morning off to go whack off when it's SA time... so discussions of his plumbing are ok, mine are not. I never got the guy-handbook, but I bet that would make sense to other men.

*see, my life does not revolve around babymaking - if it did, I'd have known exactly what he was asking me.

**and, really, shouldn't he know that I'm only on CD10, I haven't yet ovulated, and I won't know until then when I'm due for
that monthly thing? Jeez, I'm going to have to link him to my chart so he can follow along with me. And then we're going to have a talk about luteal phase length. Even my mom knows about that. (she's actually quite fascinated by that - 'exactly two weeks? really?!')

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Yet another thing I didn't learn in health class..

Way back when, I learned the average period lasts 4-6 days. I am so not average. I'm special. I used to be average, but it seems that as I aged matured blossomed, and as I grew increasingly addicted to these nifty drugs, things changed. I am on CD8. Five days of a slightly heavy period if you define slightly heavy as "grab the sandbags, men, she's flooding!" and then three days of spotting. Now if the last three days don't count, then I'm still in normal range. If it's normal to be lining your drawers with sandbags.

But, since I am Suzy-Sunshine, here's my newest theory on why it's good that my period reminds me of the shower scene in Psycho: that estrogen must really have made a difference if it's taking this long to evict. Can you imagine what it's going to be like when we have a really good lining* and the IUI fails? I'll be building an ark just to get away from my bathroom.

OK, that last part was maybe a little gross.

People, the truth is not always pretty.

*as opposed to 'acceptable'

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hormone Jeopardy & what I learned from TV

Q: Frequently occuring when my hormones are out of whack, symptoms include
crushing pressure over one side of my face, nausea and sensitivity to
light and sounds.

A: What are menstrual migraines?

Oh yeah, I'm having a good day.

We ended up being pretty lazy today, just hanging out here and watching mindless TV. Fascinating stuff on. A documentary about an uberfertile who had three sets of twins naturally. In less than four years. We didn't make it very far into that one. Right about the time she was explaining what she was thinking during her ultrasound with the third set, I changed it. I wasn't wearing shoes, or else I probably would have just thrown one at the TV and kept watching 'cause it was pretty interesting. Besides, how often do you see a family documentary on discovery that doesn't involve a Duggar or two? This was a monumental occasion.

The next channel was one of those trashy talk shows where the burning question is "who's my baby-daddy?". Freaking trainwrecks. I don't want to see, but I can't look away. There was a girl on who was trying to find out if the man she'd always known as her father was, indeed, her father. Her famous quote, when asked about how she felt without him involved in her life: 'it's harder now, since I'm 18 and have two kids of my own'.

Man... I am learning SO much, and I think I'm close to a cure for infertility. Based on my totally-scientific research, I've determined this... first, sex with multiple partners is a definite fertility-enhancer. If you shag 'em all closely enough together that you won't know who the lucky baby-daddy is, you're increasing your chances for conception. Especially if you're under 18. thank you, Springer, for that lesson! Second, if I can convince the B to become super-religious, isolate ourselves from the world and practice a patriarchal-centered home life chock full of submission and bad hairstyles, we'll practically be guaranteed a houseful in no time. Thank you, Discovery!

Or... if all else fails, I can go the non-televised route and just become a crack 'ho. I hear they're remarkably fertile.

So what are your fertility suggestions?

I'm out of the closet...... again.

I'm coming clean about my lurking habits.

I've added some new links on the side over there --------------->

I've tried to rearrange 'em alphabetically, so I hope I didn't lose anyone - if you've suddenly disappeared from my sidebar, it's probably my lack of technical ability and not a commentary on your blog... let me know if you don't see yourself there any more and I'll fix it.

I would add the rest of the blogs that I lurk, but blogger's being cranky and keeps making me sign in for every little change. Since that makes ME cranky, I quit before I was done. Persistence is not one of my virtues, unless it involves reproductive persistence. For that, I'm worse than a starving dog with a bone. I thought about just not saving my changes periodically, but that leaves me wide open to a bigger frustration.

I also am too frustrated to email the new links and let them know I've added them, like I usually do so I may have just committed a breach of blogging ettiquette. I don't think it's that bad, but you never know. So if you see yourself on my sidebar, and you don't want yourself there, drop me a line and I'll fix it as soon as blogger stops being finicky. Really, I'm going to be lurking you anyway, it's just a question of if I'm lurking publicly or not... and since my favorites list on my browser is getting distressingly long, it's easier to park everything here rather than there.

There's a good chance I'll add a real post later, but I've promised the G a trip to the park today, and his morning Mi'Mouse cartoon is almost over.. so I should probably get out of my PJ's and act productive for a little while.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I hate hormones.

Warning: This post is rated at least PG13. Parental Discretion is advised. Children under 13 should probably not read it. Actually, if you are under 13, or anywhere near 13, step away from your computer and go ask your parents why the hell you'd be interested in an infertility blog anyway.

I'm not (very) dramatic. I'm not one of those people who needs dysfunction and drama to survive. I like it when life is calm, even a little boring. I hate it when I'm being super-emotional. You just know the Cosmic Gods of Irony are rolling around in spasms of laughter at what the drugs are doing to me. For any 13-year-olds who are still reading, heed my words. Drugs are bad.

These fucking hormones are going to be the death of me. I'm on CD6, I haven't taken a single clomid or estrogen in almost three weeks. I assumed things would be getting back to normal soon.

Normal. You know, like not freaking out over little things. Who put the fork in the spoon spot in the silverware drawer?? Not crying over stupid stuff. I forgot to feed the cat today? She must feel so unloved and unwanted, I'm such a rotten person. Not getting irrationally pissed off over stuff that shouldn't bother me. Why the hell are the neighbors mowing their grass right now when I want quiet? Damn them.

Yeah. So I'm not there yet.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Take your belly out of my sight and leave me alone.

B is always trying to make friends for me. I love the guy, but I'm happy with one or two people I can do things with. I don't need a whole lot and quite frankly, I don't have a lot of energy to maintain friendships with most of the high-maintenance women I know.

Still, he persists.

Several months ago, he introduced me to the wife of one of his friends. She was a little abrasive for my tastes, and she was an over-sharer. Within 10 minutes of meeting her, I knew that she was worried about her husband's fertility. She had one child when they met who was an 'oops' baby, and they had tried for 8 whole months before her youngest was conceived (that's not the oversharing part - since most people know our problems, they're comfortable talking about IF, but wait for it... aquaintance TMI coming up). Once she got pregnant, she felt better about her hubby's swimmers... until the paternity test showed it wasn't his baby. Yup, I learned that within the first few minutes we met. I have zero tolerance for marital infidelity. Apparently they were separated at the time, but the fact that she wasn't sure which man's baby it was tells me they weren't too separated.

So that was strike one.

They were TTC at the time, it had been a few months and she was (again) worried about his swimmers. Shortly after that, I discovered I was pregnant and she got kind of distant and snotty. I wasn't exactly missing her, so I didn't mind that part. When I lost that baby, she was ok with me again. Strike three.* Right around my miscarriage, she found out she was pregnant. I tried very hard to be happy about that. Really, I did. My issues are my issues, and shouldn't diminish someone else's happiness. But when she called to ask me if I thought it would be ok for her to go on rollercoasters at an amusement park because she was "only two months", I drew the line. When we were at said amusement park and she was complaining how not-fun it was to be pregnant and unable to do anything fun on the one-month anniversary of my miscarriage, I walked away. I didn't say a word to her after that... until we saw her last week and I had no choice.

She is by now obviously pregnant. And. She. Wanted. To. Hug. Me.

run away.. run away now...

But I survived, I resisted the impulse to scream or cry (or ask her if she was actually having her husband's baby for a change) and made polite small talk for a minute.**

After we left, B looked at me and said "I could have lived without seeing that beyotch again".

See why I love this guy?

*I have a high tolerance for infertiles who distance themselves from pregnancy. It's a coping mechanism, I get it... but if you've only been trying three months, and already have two children less than two years apart you do NOT count as infertile and lose the right to give me attitude about a pregnancy I fought two years to achieve. thankyouverymuch

oh, and strike two was when she corrected my child in front of B for something that i didn't think was wrong - she thought it was inappropriate for him to be in a diaper with no pants in front of her three-year-old daughter on a day when she'd dropped by with no warning and he'd just woken up. Overstepping? yeah.

**ordinarily, i wouldn't have bothered, but... her husband's a really nice guy, and he's still friends with B. for his sake, i'll be polite.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My own personal summer... with special apologies to friends & family

Oh. Shit.

Blogger just lost an entire post. I'm a little pissed since I thought I'd copied it, but all I copied was the last part. Damn. Damn. Damn. I'll try to recreate it as best I can...

Personal Summers.

That's what the women at my mom's office call their hot flashes.

I know this because I was slammed into my own personal summer while I was talking to her yesterday.

She had called to ask the results of our IUI. "I don't want to ask this, but I really want to know - did it take?" she said.

Whoops - the downside to telling the world our plans is that... the world wants to know the results.

Is it weird that I feel bad letting down my family and friends? They're just not taking it well. I want to tell them to relax, these things take time, it will happen eventually, maybe.

I think they're confused. They're newbies to this whole fertility challenged thing, and they have normal expectations. It's been five months since the miscarriage, when does the gestating start?

Maybe September*. Maybe October. Maybe next year. Maybe never. I don't tell them that last part, because I'm not sure they could handle it.. and if I'm being honest, I do believe it will happen.

When? That part I don't know.

Tomorrow's blog: How I ran into an tactless fertile aquaintance the other day and survived to tell about it.

*yeah, maybe september. i'm not planning that cycle yet, but B's schedule has changed again... so end of sept/beginning of oct looks possible, assuming there are no other schedule changes... and that, my friends, is the reason i'm not holding my breath

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

See ya, babe..

B left this morning*. We had to drop him off which is always hard - anything less than two weeks, and he just drives himself. More than two weeks, he needs a ride.

Not too long ago, I said that I didn't think B worries as much as I do about all this babymaking stuff.

I should have just laid down and waited for Karma to come make her "You shouldn't have said that" victory dance.

B was really disappointed in this past cycle's failure. One more gut-punch on this merry-go-round.

I feel worse for him than for me.

But we've had some good discussions this week. He's got a timeline on when he wants this to work. As in "no later than". No pressure though, it's not any time soon. My timeline has already been blown away. I wanted to be pregnant by October, before my due date. Not happening. I like his better than mine.

And he asked the "what now?" question.

Ooooohh boy, that's a big one.

The answer? Carry on, Sailor. We just keep going. We've only tried IUI twice, and even though I had high hopes for both, I know the odds. I'm not sure how many times we (or my doc) will be willing to try, but we've got at least a couple more chances. If that doesn't work, our next step would be to try & get into the IVF program. I know, I know "IVF isn't an option", but if I've learned anything, it's that whenever I make a broad statement, the Cosmic Gods of Irony will jump up to bite my ass and prove me wrong. (I am not pregnant... I am not pregnant... hey, it's worth a try) I know our priorities, and we will find a way to make it work if need be. The very thought of it still scares me to death, but that's a post for another day. For now, it's enough that we've got a plan.

*want more evidence that karma is out to get me? not 5 minutes after i typed this, he walked in the door. just to drop off some stuff before he went back to his ship, but still...

Monday, August 14, 2006

It's the end of the cycle as we know it...

... and I feel sick.

OK, so technically it's the beginning of a cycle, but that just didn't fit with the song.

Tho I do feel sick.

I got my Oreos last night. And I did, indeed, suck down nearly the full bag. The only reason I didn't eat ALL of the cookies is 'cause I had to share. My son just doesn't understand "Mommy's Menstrual Cookies". He will when he's older. Three is just a bit young to introduce him to the concept that life is not fair and that he's likely to lose one of his precious little fingers if they wander too close to the cookies that Mommy is desperately inhaling.

Damn, they were good.

And I'm really paying for them now.

Metformin causes "gastrointestinal side effects".. mostly, I'm past that stage. I relive it whenever I eat too much sugar, or fat. That greasy-pizza-with-Oreos-for-dessert combination that seemed so perfect last night? Maybe not so smart. Still worth today's pain. Besides, if my guts are unhappy, it distracts me from my cramps. Positive thinking, people, positive thinking!

And OMG, I have cramps. I'll blame them on the clomid, too, because.. well, I never really used to get cramps. (No need to throw things at me, I'm making up for it now). I used to be one of those girls you love to hate - absolutely guaranteed only-4-days period with a little backache, no cramps, and no real risk of accidents because, well, it was a light 4-day period.

God, if you're reading my blog again, I'd like you to know I miss those days. This whole take-my-breath-away pain is really just adding insult to injury when you consider that CD1 already makes me miserable, ya know?

My how things have changed.

I think it's karma biting me in the arse for rolling my eyes one too many times when friends would complain about cramps (or worse yet, take to their beds to sleep off the pain, which I considered the height of wussiness. Damn, I was pretty smug).

I slept last night sandwiched between my heating pad (on top of me for the cramps) and a towel (underneath me to protect my white sheets). See, I've learned. I got awfully tired of bleaching my sheets month after month because those vicious cramps, they mean business.

'S ok, I'm not p-word (pregnant, that is... psychotic and possessed are still debatable) so... bring on the good drugs!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Still waiting...

for AF. Should be soon, my temp has dropped like a rock. That downward curve turned into a jump off a cliff yesterday. I decided it would not be in my best interests to jump off that cliff also, so.. I picked myself up and started imagining the Oreos I'd be eating in just a few short hours. Say it with me: Mmmm... Oreos...

And then AF didn't show, so the Oreos are still in the imagining stage. My temp is still way down today, so I figure I've only got a few more hours til I'm gorging myself on some sugary goodness. Yay for sugary goodness!

If I even want it by then. I'm still feeling queasy several times a day. It fits with my mood, too. Yesterday I was so PMS-y that my head spun around backwards and I started screaming in some weird language I don't speak. This nausea must be that pea soup I've never eaten just straining to make my weirdness complete. No, I am not p-word (pregnant, psychotic, possessed... the list just keeps getting longer), but I am still all hopped up on artificial hormones, and artificially-enhanced natural hormones.

Which brings me to my one Suzy-Sunshine silver lining to this being a new cycle: I will not need those drugs. No, I'm not so insanely optimistic that I'm convinced that my hormonal weirdness is a sign from the universe that I should go drug-free and then (and only then) will we have a successful cycle... B is leaving this week for a month. No B, no chance for conception, no need for the Exorcist-drugs. Not as cool as giving up the drugs because we had a successful cycle, but I need a break so bad I'll take what I can get. Isn't that a recurring theme of infertility? take what you can get?

Screw that, I'm happy about this one. I'll take it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A two-fer

Thanks for the comments on my last post - it helps to know I'm not nuts or oversensitive. And I'm in a much better mood - thank God for clomid mood swings. What goes down must come up. Usually quickly.

So... I talked to my mom today. She told me that she found out her next-door neighbor had her second child by IUI*. Mom was really cute - she said to me "When she told me that, I had to ask her how many follicles she had"**

It was really hard not to laugh about that. I'm pretty sure that six months ago my mother didn't know what a follicle was. And now she knows enough to ask about them.

My mom.. the uberfertile.. discussing follicles. Brings a tear to my eye.

*i would love to know how that subject came about.

**she had five - mom was most reassured that five follicles can produce a single baby.

Bring on the Oreos

So, I caved yesterday and tested. It was negative. Now, my rational side tells me "Self, it could be too early", while my emotionally-burnt-out side says "Self, it would be too early for a normal person... which you are not. So quit hoping, accept reality and move on... to a big box of Oreos. We've been through this before, it's not new so suck it up and move on with life".

What's a girl to do?

Well, a girl's going to stick to her low-carb diet until AF officially shows... but I'm not ruling out buying those Oreos to have on hand. My temperature started to drop this morning, so that's another hint. I can take hints really well.

.. and as much as I liked feeling hopeful, I'm paying for it now. Right about now, I'm missing my cynicism, and those giant walls of pessimism that have served me so well in the past.

I was thinking about it last night, and if you add up all the time I have spent trying to get pregnant, both with B and in my first marriage... it's seven years. Yes, years. I know that technically the TTC-clock reset itself after G was born, but emotionally, that time doesn't go away. So it's been seven years.

That's a hell of a lot of disappointment.

When I miscarried Baby, I took it really well. I cried for a few hours, pulled it together for G and went numb. Oh, I cried a little in the next couple weeks, but for the most part, life went on. I stayed busy, I did things to get out of the house and I tried my best to make life normal. I lost count of the number of people who told me they admired my strength/grace/calmness. Seven years. That's a lot of time to learn to expect the worst and to carry on even when you're dying inside.

(word of caution: don't try and explain that to someone who's never been through infertility. they will suggest therapy or prozac or electroshock treatment)

So yeah, I need to pick myself up and move on today.

But I'm so tired.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


... and seriously insane.

My temp didn't drop today. Since Clomid entered my life, my luteal phase has gone from 14-15 days down to 12-13, and always always with a 2-day drop at the end. I have managed to write off my lack of a temp drop as the effect of the estrogen I took earlier this cycle. Dr Google is seriously holding out on me with this one, so I'm making it up as I go - here's my theory: clomid affected my uterine lining (this part I know for sure). Somehow, that thinner endometrium caused the shorter LP. Since I took estrogen to combat this, my LP has gone back to normal... which means my temp will drop either tomorrow or Saturday. Anyone with a link or info on how estrogen taken before ovulation affects a luteal phase, drop me a line - I can't find a damn thing and it's irritating me.

I'm still getting queasy in the afternoons (not mornings, because this is not morning sickness), but I've managed to find the cause - apparently my metformin is now making me sick. Either that or it's nerves that coincidentally occur after I take my met. Still, nausea is a listed side effect of met. Although apparently developing new nausea after the initial break-in period can be a sign of lactic acidosis. Everybody breathe a small sigh of relief with me here - this is something serious enough to distract me from the 2WW-from-hell.

My mood swings are starting to reach into the spectrum of "mentally ill", they're so sudden and extreme. This one, I am sure is just nerves.

But these are not - NOT - symptoms.

And the fact that I slept for 11 hours last night and still want a nap now. Stress-related. Absolutely.

Remember back when I wrote that I deny symptoms. And can find a rational way to excuse away anything? Yeah.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

2WW reminiscing

Yesterday, I got my hopes up. Way up.

I fell asleep in the middle of the day (not unusual), and woke up feeling sick (also not unusual), and then my nausea stuck around all day (that part is unusual).

By bedtime, I was convinced. I was p-word.

Woke up this morning, with a slight drop in my temp and zero nausea.

I felt a little sick after breakfast, and started to get hopeful again until I remembered the 2WW of Nov '05. Nov '05 was a promising 2WW - well-timed baby-making-sex, and some seriously incapacitating nausea starting at 10dpo. Oh yeah. On the third day, Grape started throwing up. Now I'm no expert, but as far as I know, morning sickness is not contagious. On day four, not only was I throwing up, but I had the AF to prove that it was, alas, just a stomach virus. Ever the optimist, I was actually thankful. It's hard to wallow in disappointment when you're tossing your cookies every 10 minutes. Seriously, that's the way to go.*

Still, that was not my worst 2WW, or the farthest I had to fall from optimism. Our first IUI was (by far) the worst. After all, I'd gotten pregnant twice without either clomid or insemination; with both, it was practically a sure thing, I just knew it. Hey, I was young and stupid then.** I was so optimistic, I tested before AF was even due. I just knew I'd see two lines. I didn't. AF showed up right on time the next morning, about two hours before my sister's wedding. My pregnant sister's wedding. Good thing it's socially acceptable to cry at weddings. That was also my first introduction into the ball-busting cramps I get on clomid. You know they're rough if they're busting parts I don't even have. Whooo-eee that was a fun day!

So, sitting here now, feeling a little queasy and a lot tired, I'm not thinking p-word, I'm thinking "God, I hope I don't give G this virus."

*yes, i'd rather spend the entire day praying to the porcelain god and feeling like death than face that disappointment.

**so it was only a few months ago - i've grown a lot since then.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

You're my obsession

Nothing like catchy stuck-in-your-head-for-days 80's song lyrics as a title. Maybe I'll get this song stuck so well it'll knock out the real obsession - my BBT chart.

What? Nothing will knock out that obsession? Not even the kind of song that stays, playing one line over and over again? I should just embrace the obsession then, eh?

OK, you've twisted my arm.

I was looking at my chart this morning, scrutinizing it making a study out of it, comparing it with previous months' charts for some hint of when to expect AF, and where my current temps are compared to before... and I ran into a problem. See, I know better than to compare my FertilityFriend chart to anyone else's since my body works in weird ways, so that whole 'chart gallery' thing is useless to me.. and all I have for comparison: my own old charts. Only, my cycle has changed so much with the addition of clomid, I really only have a couple of months to use for comparison, and my luteal phase has varied wildly over those months. Best as I can tell, AF is due some time between Thursday and Sunday.

Makes it hard to know when to test, right?

So I've picked an arbitrary date, and will be testing on the 13th... Of January.. 2007. If AF has not shown by then, and I have gained more than 10 pounds, felt movement and had at least one ultrasound that shows a moving, growing, kicking baby in there somewhere, I may break out a peestick.

Til then, you can find me with my fingers firmly planted in my ears, alternately humming, and singing the one line I know: you're my obsession.. mm mmm mm mmmm mm you're my obsession...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Optimism only goes so far

I've lost my optimism. My BBT chart still looks good, I haven't lost any symptoms (or gained any, but honestly, I never had symptoms with either of my previous pregnancies until way past when AF was due, so that by itself isn't a bad sign)... but I'm going into full self-preservation mode.

Well, damn, how incredibly typical of me.

I want to continue to believe, but the pragmatic part of me knows that there's already enough pressure on me. I had a good number of follicles, a really nice set of swimmer-numbers, and a decent (but not great) lining. I guess I feel like if I dwell too much on that, it will mean that if this cycle's a failure, it's not going to happen. Throw in the not-so-small fact that this is the last cycle we'll have to try before my original due date, and... well.. yeah. Just a little pressure.

So I wasn't really surprised when I woke up a couple of days ago and no longer had a good feeling about this cycle. I guess it's my way of letting myself down easy. Just in case.

edited to add this update: I know I said my optimism was gone, but... we went to the beach today. There were a couple of bellies frolicking in the surf, and I said to myself "Self, I'm the hottest pregnant chick on the beach" .. so maybe Hope was just on break for a couple days.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Just another manic Saturday

This weekend, I am babysitting. And puppy-sitting. Watching this sweet 16-month-old, and watching G play with him, I am reminded just why I want another baby. Watching Dog-on-Crack, I am reminded just why I do not want a puppy. Ever. J, our dog, is old. She is calm and tolerant. Her worst infraction is sneaking onto the couch at night to sleep. She is a non-dog-lover's kind of dog. My kind of dog.

... total subject change: I talked to my mother yesterday. She mentioned that my sister was thinking of calling me now that she knows that I've been informed of this whole pregnancy thing. Yeah, she's been avoiding me the last four months. I guess she was planning on avoiding me for the next 18 years or so, until someone else broke the news. Anyway, Sis had her latest ultrasound yesterday, and discovered she's having a boy. Of course, this is exactly what they wanted. Because, you know, it's not enough to just be fertile, my sister has to be fertile AND get the gender she's aiming for. I'm not even allowed to have a preference... when you're struggling with infertility, you're supposed to put aside normal human thoughts* and be grateful for whatever you can get. I get irritated when people ask us if we're trying for a girl, but the plain fact of the matter is that given a choice, both B & I would, indeed, like a girl.

I feel terrible admitting that. Before G was born, I wouldn't admit to having a preference (I wanted a girl then, too) because I was afraid that was like admitting that I'd love a daughter more than a son. I feel worse admitting that when I found out G had a penis, I cried... but not for me, for him. I worried that I wouldn't be a good mom to a boy. I didn't particularly care for hot wheels, or playing sports, or any of those things I imagined would be in my future. I didn't realize at the time just how much G would change that. I still don't particularly care for the little cars, but I adore the way my child's mind works when he's playing with them. I still don't love playing baseball, but I love the look of sheer delight and pride on G's face when he hits a ball past me (which, frankly, is often; I'm not all that athletic).

Now that I know how wonderful it can be to have a son, I feel safe admitting that I do still want a daughter. I know that my feelings now will in no way reflect on my feelings later if our next child is born sporting external plumbing. I will love another little boy just as much as I would a little girl. This morning really solidified that. Watching this little boy I am babysitting, seeing him play with T & Grape, I realized that if some day we are parents to three little boys - and only three little boys... that's just fine with me. If my future doesn't involve dresses or hair bows, or mother-daughter bonding, I will survive. Happily. To use an old cliche, I will be happy with either... but I don't think that infertility should negate feelings, and I think it should be ok to secretly want one or the other. Even for an Infertile.

* and yes, it is normal to occasionally want one gender over another. Most of my fertile friends have opinions on this. I've never known anyone who would be genuinely unhappy if they birthed the wrong gender, but I have known many people who had at least a slight preference.

Friday, August 04, 2006

No HCG, No Ode.

Well, the morning sickness is gone. I'm not creative enough to come up with a good-bye poem (that would be an ode, probably. Ode to HCG.). At the moment, my house could use some attention and it's hard to be creative with dishes in the sink... Once again, I've gotten sidetracked. Back to my vanishing nausea.

In a weird way, I miss it. Certainly gave me enough fodder for writing, and some great jokes. Plus I could say "I feel pregnant" without all that pesky worry of whether or not it was all in my head. Because, you know, it wasn't. Any future nausea could potentially be interpreted as a real. live. sign. Well, it could be, except I'm pretty good at creating psychosomatic symptoms if I have to. And I get nauseous when I'm nervous or overly excited. Or depressed. Or any of the other emotions that cycle me through the 2WW. Go figure, right? So any future symptoms will leave me wondering "am I p-word?" (Pregnant, psychotic, take your pick, either will work)

I do still have sore boobies. A few months back, I noticed that for the first time, and naturally got all excited. Since then, I've noticed that happens every 2WW. Tho my Ta-Ta's are big girls, they are unusually sensitive to hormones. Probably I should have been clued in when they over-reacted to puberty, but I wasn't. Come to think of it, a lot of me overreacted to puberty. And it could be that I didn't notice the Ta-Ta sensitivity because I was never in the habit of poking the girls. Until recently. That might explain why they're shrinking lately. I'm torturing them two weeks out of each month, so they're running away. Which is ok with me - don't tell them, but I have plans to replace 'em some day.

If only fertility were as guaranteed as cosmetic surgery. If I want new girls, I go to my doctor, pay him money, he puts in new ones - which actually implant! And stay! Hot damn, that's the way to do it!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hope meets Reality

I've talked before about clomid side effects. Perhaps my least favorite (worse than the migraines and the visuals some days) is the disturbing feeling of stupidity. Yes, hormones make me stupid. And scatterbrained. The kind of scatterbrained that makes me return one of my own DVD's to the giant video rental place down the street. I did that once while I was pregnant with G. I almost did it again last week. In the last few months, I have also: nearly gotten lost driving through my own neighborhood, considered walking to the store (for exercise!) in the midst of pouring thunderstorms and forgotten to feed my poor pets (or fed them twice) more times than I can count.

So, by now, I sorta expect things to be fuzzy.

I don't expect to remember things with startling clarity. Yesterday, I had more cramps. Expected, since as you know, implantation started yesterday. But then my back started to hurt and it felt the same way it did when I was pregnant. You know, the pregnancy where that backache turned out to be the early sign of miscarriage. Now how is it that I can barely remember my own name, but I have no trouble recognizing that I'm having the exact same backache today that I had five months ago?

I'll blame that on the clomid, too, thanks.

It was a reminder that no matter how hard I wish to be pregnant, my real goal this time will be to stay pregnant. I started to panic a little and had to actually stop and remind myself that it is now August, not March and I am not miscarrying. I'm not even pregnant. Yet.

I knew when we started trying again that there would be times when I'd worry far more than I ever had.. I just never realized it would start before I even saw two lines. I guess the downside to carrying Hope in my back pocket is that she can't entirely drown out her sorrow-sister Experience... and if Hope says pregnant, Experience is always there whispering for now.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Still symptomatic, still special

Jeez, it is exhausting being this optmistic. Having to analyze every tweak or twinge, utterly draining. At the rate I'm going, I'll be sleeping through the second half of my 2WW.

Today, my uterus hurt. I thought it was just normal post-O ovary pain, until I realized it was more centered and not where my ovary usually is. Now, I'm not ruling out migratory ovarian syndrome*, but I'm at least 50% certain that it was indeed my uterus. Like 52% certain.**

Hmm, a sharp uterine pain. Could be implantation. Sure, it's only 4dpo, but so what? Maybe I've got an overachieving embryo in there who wanted to get the good seats and implanted early. It could happen. I mean, everything I've read says that implantation typically happens at 7-10dpo... but I'm not usually typical when it comes to this stuff. I'm special.

Besides, when I consulted doctor Google, I learned that implantation is a process. Apparently it is not as simple as the swimmer-impregnated egg reaching the welcoming arms of the uterus, and diving right in. It takes days. So that 7-10 day thing, is that when implantation starts? Ends? Dr. Google didn't tell me that. Which means, I get to make up whatever I want. So I've assigned a 3-day timeline to this whole implantation process. Meaning, that implantation that typically occurs on day 7 actually starts on.. oh gosh - day 4!! Just like me!!

*yeah, i made that one up. as far as i know, ovaries can't migrate. still, like i said, i'm not ruling it out. with my history i do have to consider every possibility and the impossibilities too.

**i'm also 23% certain it is indeed some new and unheard-of condition (like.. oh.. migratory ovarian syndrome). 18% of me is in a clomid-induced haze and doesn't care, the final 7% just wants to know when the brownies will start arriving again.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


In honor of the lingering HCG symptoms, I give you HCG Haiku:
swirling nausea, yuck
the shot that keeps on giving
stick around nine months?

OK, so it's crappy. Hey, I'm a blogger, not a novelist. Definitely not a poet.

And haiku is just not funny. Maybe a limerick.

There once was an ov'ry of mine
With follicles oh-so-sublime
The shot made me jump
When stuck in my rump
And now I am not feeling fine.

Oh yeah, that one's way better. Seriously, this HCG thing.. it sucks. Morning sickness. I have freaking morning sickness. My mother pointed out to me that if I get pregnant, this won't go away. Just in case I didn't know that. But, dude, that's different.

And how am I supposed to obsess over my potential symptoms if I know that they're all from my trigger? Jeez, where's the fun in that? Oh, look at that, cervix is in a pregnant position... hey maybe that means... oh yeah, maybe it means I have HCG..

For anyone interested in obsessing with me, I have cramps. 3dpiui, which probably means... IUI cramps. I have, however, managed to convince myself that they're probably implantation cramps. My neighbor agrees. She's an uber-fertile who understands little about reproduction (other than it happens to her at an alarming rate), and I've never actually had implant cramps, so it's not like either of us know what we're talking about.. but that's ok. We got excited anyway. It's all part of that optimism thing I'm working on this month. And since it's wayyy to early to have real symptoms, I'm working with what I've got. Which means, I'm actually thankful for the HCG shot because now I can say "hey, if I still feel this crappy in a week, I might be the p-word".

He's a fertile...

No, not my DH, my child. Sure, he's only three and it's pretty early to make that determination, but still.. after the conversation we just had, I'm convinced he's not destined to be an Infertile. He just doesn't think like one.

G: "Mommy. Want two" (pointing at two fingers)
Me: "Two? You want two?"
G, nodding: "Two"
Me: "Two what?"
G: "Want two baby"
Me: "And just where am I supposed to get two babies?"
G: "Adopt baby"

I'm getting the "just adopt" line from a three-year-old. Only in my life do these things happen.