Thursday, December 22, 2011


Big fat negative.

There's nothing more to say.

Please, God, give me strength. I really need it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Damn This Thing Called Infertility

As I have been watching my trigger tests get lighter and lighter, hoping... PRAYING, that they darken back up, I have come to a realization that makes me very sad. I might not have children.
I know, I know, chances are small that I'll NEVER have kids, but chances are fairly high that it won't be any time soon. And...
What if I don't ever get pregnant?
It is a question that has been surfacing more frequently lately. I had such high hopes for this cycle... I mean, everything was perfect!! But here I am at 12DPO, getting negative pregnancy tests and feeling like AF is imminent. So I'm forced to ask myself, "What if I don't  ever get pregnant?"
Over the past few years, and especially over this last year, I have pretty much begun defining myself by my desire to be a mom. So many things that I have wanted to do, that Patrick and I have wanted to do together, have been put on hold because "what if we get pregnant?" Our quest for a baby has eclipsed everything else. NOTHING is as important as becoming parents. But now I worry that we have given up too much. Invested too much.
When we started seeing the RE, I told myself that I drew the line at IVF. I didn't want to do anything that invasive, and besides that, it is wayyyyyy too expensive. I told myself that we would do three cycles of injectables, then we would take a break. Well, its looking like cycle 2 is a bust so now I find myself trying to find ways to get IVF. "If I do three egg donation cycles, we can afford one cycle of IVF!" "If we do a shared cycle, I can donate half of the eggs they retrieve and our cost will be minimal... for IVF"
Reality is, we can't afford it. Our insurance covers nothing of infertility and there is no way to swing it that would make it feasible for us. These three cycles of injectables nearly did us in. If this doesn't work, we are on our own.
Yes, there is a chance we will conceive naturally, but with one tube and only about 4 cycles a year, its unlikely at best.
So back to the question, "What if I don't ever get pregnant?" I cry as I write this because it hurts to much to think about. It has the potential to destroy me. Every failed cycle hurts more, breaks me down more. Having to give up, knowing that it could take us years on our own, if it ever happens... I'll be ruined emotionally.
Everything in my life has been a set up, a decision made with the consideration of having children. Our house is in a nice neighborhood with good schools. Our dogs are suppose to be good family dogs. All our furniture can be cleaned or easily replaced. We even picked out stain-proof, child-proof carpet when we re-did the house! Hell, I have chosen a path in my career where I can have more flexibility for a family over being more successful and making more money. I have a life built around children... with no children.
I feel like such a failure. Its probably PMS talking but I am so devastated. I won't be able to do this much longer, this desperate hope that gets crushed so viciously each month. If we decide to take a break, I don't think I'd be able to live with a chance of "maybe". I would have to go back on birth control... take my life back and redefine everything. We have been in such a state of limbo, waiting to get pregnant, and I can't do that forever.
I just want this so much. My heart aches to be a mommy. My life will never truly be complete until then... but it feels sooooo empty now that a child is so glaringly missing from this picture of our life.

Oh, God, please give me strength.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Working on a Christmas Miracle

So I know I haven't written in a while... holiday craziness, working, Dr. appointments, and house stuff has kept me away. This cycle has been another screwy one.
After my week of birth control, my cyst was still there but my hormones were back to baseline so my RE let me start the Follistim... at 50IU. I was very disappointed. After four days of stims I went in for my first checkup and I had two 8-9mm follies on my right side, and one 8mm on my left. The cyst appeared to be gone, but my E2 had shot up from 28 to 350, so the Dr lowered my dose slightly. Two days later, I had FOUR follies between 8-12mm on my right, two 8mm on my left, and the cyst was back at 18mm... E2 down to 348, so he kept me at the lower dose. Two days later, I had two 10mm and one 13mm follies on the right, one 8.5mm on the left, cyst seemed much smaller, E2 179. They raised my dose for the weekend to the highest I've taken yet, hoping that the little ones would catch up to the bigger. Yesterday, I had two at 7.5, one at 10, and one at 16mm on the right, one at 12mm on the left that they are thinking is that cyst popping back up, and my E2 has shot up to 717, so they kept my dose the same, and wanted my to come back this morning. My poor, bruised veins! Well, this morning the lead follie on the right is up to 17.5mm and all those other little ones are gone. My left side has all of a sudden blossomed with a bunch of small ones... the tech measured like 4 or 5 that were between 7-10mm, and that 12mm possible cyst is still there and at the same size.
I don't know what is going on with my body. With the exception of that lead follicle (thank goodness its on the good side this month) any promising follie that has popped up has been gone by the next appointment. Even my cyst has come and gone. Crazy ovaries!
I'm trying to stay positive and remind myself that "it only takes one" but I can't help but be a little upset. The injectables are SO much more expensive and I was getting one follicle with the Femara that was only costing me a couple dollars in co-pay! I really feel like it was the drop in my dose that caused all the other follicles to fall behind and not be able to catch up, because prior to that, all my follies had been really close in size.
Oh well. My lining is excellent, I'm going to ovulate from the right side, and I'm going to think positive thoughts!
Right now I'm waiting to hear whether I get to trigger tonight, or whether the RE wants me to do one more night of stims and go back tomorrow. I'm assuming I'll get to trigger since there is nothing else close to being ready. If I trigger tonight or tomorrow, I'll ovulate Thursday or Friday, meaning I can reliably test a few days before Christmas. It would be SO WONDERFUL to get my BFP for Christmas!!!! That would also put my due date at the very end of August, just a couple weeks before my birthday. A double whammy present... pregnancy for Christmas, baby for my birthday! Oh, I hope it happens!

Please, God, let this be the cycle that makes me a mom!

Edit- just heard from the RE's office... E2 is up to 818, RE thinks there might be a 12mm follie "hiding" behind my dominant one on the right. He is very positive about this cycle (YAY!), wants me to do one more night of stims and go back tomorrow (boooo) and probably trigger Thursday AM (YAY!) Grow, hiding follie, GROW!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Can't Deny the Crazy

So after promising myself that I wouldn't get all wound up and crazy with this cycle, I ended up doing just that. Last Tuesday, at 8DPO, I woke up with a very strong sense of optimism. After reading through my regular forums, a hint of my testing craziness kicked in and I nearly ran to the store to get some tests, but I restrained myself. Well, as I was getting ready for my day, I was rummaging through my bathroom cabinet in search of something and stumbled upon an unused pregnancy test. Its a sign! my crazy brain shouted. I wanted to test right away but my logical side (if you can call it logical during the 2WW) reminded me that I was only 8DPO and that I should really wait to test the next day with FMU. Compromise reached.
The next day I was up as soon as my hubby left, peeing on that test stick. I was a bit disappointed when I opened it to find that it was a blue dye test, but I was an addict looking for my fix and anything would work at that point.
I watched as the test developed. Staring at the forming line.
...but wait, is that?... a second line? I lean closer, stare harder. There is something... maybe. I know blue dyes are notorious for evap lines and faulty tests. I stand in the bathroom for 10 minutes, turning the test, looking at it from different angles, looking at it close up, from arms length, until I convince myself that this is the start of something. I walk to the guest room, where we get morning sun to see it in better light.
The line disappears in the direct sunlight. :/ What?
Back in the bathroom, the line is back...
Needless to say, I went into full-on, obsessive testing CRAZY!
I immediately ordered 50 tests strips from Wondfo, even though I know there is a bad batch going around... I'll take my chances. I even got the 2-day priority shipping!
On the way home from work, I stopped at the dollar store and picked up two tests to hold me over until my strips came on Friday. I took one as soon as I got home. It was negative.
The next morning I tested with FMU. Again I convinced myself that there were two lines. I told myself that it wasn't my trigger. I told myself it didn't matter that it took a little while to show up. I told myself that it wasn't an evap.
I stared and analyzed those three tests all day. I would take them all out and look at them under different lighting. I would take pictures on my cell-phone to see if I could see anything in the close ups. It was bad.
Friday afternoon my Wondfos showed up... and they are from the bad batch. I took two immediately.... negative. Took another a few hours later... negative.
Saturday morning I took two more with FMU... positive!!! One was a real squinter, but the other one was definitely positive. I wanted to be excited, but knowing that they are part of the bad batch and because the two tests dipped in the same cup came up so differently, I refused to let myself get my hopes up.
Okay, I got my hopes up a little.
I refused to go pee all day at work. I stopped and bought some First Response Early Result tests on the way home. By the time I got home, I felt like my bladder would explode. I didn't want to waste the FRERs so I took three more Wondfo tests... negative. I told myself  it was okay, that I would use a FRER with FMU.
Sunday morning I woke up to AF at 13DPO.
I was disappointed, but I had known from the beginning my chances were slim at best this month. I also hadn't put much stock on those positive tests. More than anything I was just happy for the waiting and guessing game to be over.
Yesterday I went back to the RE for my baseline BW/US. The follie on my left ovary is now a nice little 30mm cyst. It is a very good possibility that it didn't even ovulate, which would explain my screwy chart. :/
I told the RE that I really want to be a good bit more aggressive this cycle. He agreed and said that they would start me at 75IU of Follistim instead of 50 and that our goal would be to have 2-3 mature follicles on my right side this time. He told me that he is very worried about me hyper-stimming because I have such an excellent ovarian reserve, but that he wouldn't be so conservative and that they would up my dosage if necessary. As for the cyst, he said that if it wasn't hormonally active, we would start the meds in spite of the cyst since we are trying to get follies on the right side anyways.
Well, B/W came back a bit elevated... E2@ 76.8, Lh@18.2... so the cyst is "slightly active" and the RE wanted me to start birth control instead. But only for a week (hopefully). He wants me to come back on Monday to see what's going on. He said the cyst doesn't have to be gone, just smaller and my hormones need to be back down to baseline levels.
I'm VERY excited for this cycle!!!! I have a good feeling and I'm really hoping for my Christmas BFP!
I felt very foolish for getting so caught up in my testing frenzy, but I really can't help myself. I'm just going to go with it this time around. Trying to deny myself the outlet of my anxiety just results in an eruption of crazy all at once. Also, Wondfo is acknowledging the bad batch and kindly sending me more tests, so now I will have just shy of a 100 pregnancy tests... I can't resist that type of temptation!! I'll use the bad batch to tests out my trigger and just to feed my addiction until I can reliably test for the real thing.
Fingers crossed for August twins!!! ;)

Please, God, keep me strong this cycle and bless me with a Christmas miracle... or two.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Two Weeks of Questioning, Over-Analyzing, and Obsessing... Let the Wait Begin!

Well, it seems I am officially in my two-week-wait... the dreaded 2WW! This is the worst part of the cycle for me. With no meds, RE appointments, or scheduled sexy-time to keep me busy, the two weeks of waiting before I can find out if I will get my elusive BFP should be a time for me to take it easy and recoup.
Not so much.
I am obsessive compulsive by nature. Not enough to be labeled OCD, though I definitely have tendencies, but I think most of us do. I also do not drink, I quit smoking four years ago, and I have given up my coffee habit to help with the TTC, so, having no-where to channel my compulsive energy, I can safely say...
*Standing up for dramatic effect* My name is Zui and I am addicted to charting... and everything else involved with TTC.
Every morning I take my temperature around the time my husband gets up. If it looks like I am expecting it to, I go back to bed. If it does not, I take it one more time (as I sometimes fall asleep while taking it and breathe through my mouth) before going back to sleep, and then again when I wake up an hour or so later.
If I have accepted my first temp, I will get up and enter it on FertilityFriend, along with all my symptoms/specific signs. Since it is still early, I play the "what do I think I am going to feel today" game, where I guess my symptoms based on twinges I feel within the first half hour of getting up. If I have not accepted my first temp, I now have a bit of a problem as I have three temperatures and only a spot for one. The first two are usually pretty close and the third is way different so now I play the "which one looks like it fits" game. The temp that I accept will depend on which side of me is dominant that day- if I am in a visually perfectionist mood, the one that looks best is going in, if I am in a logically perfectionist mood, the first temp I took will go in since I know that it is the right one. I do record all the temps and times they were taken in the Notes.
Now begins the fun part. I make my one allowed cup of coffee for the day and sip it while I spend the next 10-30 minutes staring at my chart, looking for possible answers to all the questions my symptoms and temps pose, as if they will rise out of my chart like some crazy magic-eye if I stare long enough. Since, obviously, no answers are forth-coming, I move on to phase two.
FertilityFriend's VIP membership gives you access to all sorts of nifty, obsession-feeding tools. My favorite of which is hands down the Pregnancy Monitor. This little addition has percentages... possible answers!! It tells you how often the symptoms I have entered/guessed for the day show up on pregnancy charts! So of course I now have to check and uncheck symptoms to see what I should be feeling to make it more likely that I'm pregnant.
Once that's done, I'm sometimes left with an odd symptom or occurrence that is on my chart but "unexplained" by the tools below my chart. When this happens, I move to phase three- searching the Chart Gallery for similar occurrences. This happens more once I get later in my wait, when the symptoms could actually be a sign of pregnancy. I need to know that what my body is doing is normal and that it doesn't mean my cycle is a bust.
Finally, it is time for breakfast and blogging! Well, usually its breakfast and forums but the other way sounds better. I log on to my frequented forums, check the threads that I usually haunt for updates, search for threads about any nagging questions that FF couldn't answer (there's usually a lot), then begin my postings. This is part of my day that helps me the most. The women on those forums are always amazing and there is something so bonding and healing about sharing with someone who understands what you are going through. I truly have become invested in what happens in their journeys. It is amazing that you begin to care so much about someone you have never met.
After my emotional pick-me-up, I go about my day. On days I work, if I have time once I get to the salon, I'll check in on my chart (like that magic-eye is going to appear in the different lighting of the salon), check in on the forums, and then begins the google searches. Every weird twinge or symptom, every temp dip, and every possible scenario that could come of something I'm feeling. I know most of the answers, I have been doing this for a long time, but I look it up anyways. My addiction must be fed. Usually the day does not allow too much time for obsessing.
Once I get home its more of the same. I see how many of symptoms I guessed correctly, removing or adding ones I missed. Then its a check-in with the forums, which I will continue to do sporadically for the rest of the evening.
As I get closer to my test day another items is added to my list of obsessions. Because I have forbidden myself from buying and taking any HPTs,  I have to satisfy my testing urge in another way. Again FF is my dealer with their test results/photos gallery being my drug of choice. If I am feeling particularly hopeful, the ultrasounds gallery is an added bonus.

The hardest thing is not knowing. The wondering if the symptoms I'm feeling is a side effect of the progesterone I'm on, or a pregnancy symptom. Questioning if the dip in temperature on 8DPO is because of implantation, or if I slept with my mouth open. Am I dizzy because I'm hungry or because its a pregnancy sign? Are my boobs bigger? Are my nipples darker? Did you smell that too? Am I nauseous or is it in my head? Are those period cramps? Does my tummy look bloated?
So many questions!!
I have told myself that I will not stress over this cycle because I ovulated from the wrong side and my chances of actually getting pregnant this cycle are so low, but I know I will obsess. I can't help myself. True, I have already written this cycle off as a bust, but what else am I suppose to do for the two weeks I wait for AF? I think my crazy obsession keeps me sane.
I think we all need to act a little crazy to stay sane sometimes.

Please, God, give me strength to face the next two weeks... and please let this work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crushed... Wait, I am crushed, right?

I'm in a very weird mood today. I went in this morning for my B/W U/S appointment and Patrick came along to sign consents for this cycle. I was pretty excited as two days ago I had 3-4 follicles on each ovary measuring between 5.3-7.5mm. I have also been feeling pretty... amorous lately, so I figured things were getting close to happening. ;)
Right away the tech said, "Oh, we have some activity in there!" I looked over excitedly, only to have my hopes dashed as I saw my left ovary (the cut tube is still attached and fluid-filled so its pretty recognizable) with a nice, big follicle. She measured it at about 17.5mm and said it looks ready to be triggered. I tried to tell myself that it could just be the part of the tube that wraps around that they always mistake for a cyst, but there was nothing else on that side, all the other follies were gone.
My response was a half-hearted, "Let's hope we have some activity on the right side, too."
She scanned over to the right side as I held my breath, praying.
Not even small ones.
All my pretty little follies went away. And then something strange happened... instead of the crushing disappointment that I would have expected, I felt nothing. Its like I just went numb.
The tech said she was sorry that it looked like this cycle was a bust and that they would talk to the doctor, look at my blood-work, and call me this afternoon with a "plan".
I just nodded as Patrick thanked her and she left.
I think Patrick was expecting me to be upset. I didn't say much as I got dressed and we left. As soon as we were out of the office Patrick started reassuring me that "at least we can try again, we always have next month." He kept it up until we got to the car but I didn't hear most of what he said, I was too... detached. Finally I replied lamely, "I'm just happy I don't have to be stuck with anything for two weeks." But the truth is, I'd happily be stuck, poked, and prodded daily for my entire pregnancy if that's what it took.
I'm still waiting for the sadness to come and it hasn't. I think I've reached a breaking point and, to save my sanity, my emotions have shut down. Today is also the first day that I could look at my pregnant suite-mate at work and not want to gag over how easily it happened for her and how flippant she has been with her pregnancy (she's known for a month and hasn't been to the doctor!). The other day I overheard her talking to someone about the possibility of miscarriage and she told them, "I'm not really worried about it. We got pregnant pretty easily this time so I'm sure we'll have no problem getting pregnant again if something happens." That day I fumed for hours over that statement, today barely a flicker of emotion, gone so fast I can't even name what I felt.
I'm just empty today.

God, please give me the strength to get through this.

Or maybe the emptiness is His way of helping hold me together so I don't crack wide open?

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Walking Pin-Cushion...

...but a happy one! I went in for my second checkup on the Follistim today. Last Friday I went in for the first and I had 2-3 follicles on my right side, and one on my left, all measuring between 4.5-5.1mm and my E2 had gone up to 65. I figured it was a good start and the doctor must have agreed because he kept my dose at 50IU.
I really wanted to go up. Good start aside, I know from my previous cycles that not all those little follies are going to mature and I want as many as possible... well, no... no more than 5. Actually 4. Even the chance of having 5 babies at once gives me anxiety. But I digress.
I was a little unhappy about staying on the low dose, but I did as I was told.
Today I went back to see what had changed. A lot, apperantly. I now have 3-4 follies on each side! They all measure between 5.3-7.5, with the ones on my left being slightly bigger. My E2 is rising steadily, up to 92, so my Dr. is still going to keep me at the same dose. I feel better about that dose now. Had it been higher, I can only imagine how many follicles I would have produced!... probably too many to continue the cycle had they kept growing.
It just goes to show... just because I have WebMD and read every fertility forum I can find, I'm still NOT a doctor and I need to trust that mine knows what is best for me. Even though I think I know everything, I very obviously don't.
Lesson learned.
I really just hope that my little follicles keep growing and maturing. And that they do it quickly. I'm starting to feel like a pin-cushion. My last two shots bruised, last night's more than the others, and my poor tummy is pretty tender. I feel like I'm collecting puncture wounds and blue spots... and that's not even mentioning my arms! I look like a freakin heroin addict with all the needle marks from my 3X weekly blood draws. I have to go back Wednesday AND Thursday and I'm dreading having to be stuck again. My veins are already so bruised, it hurts when they stick me.
But its all for baby!
Today is also the first day that I'm noticing that my ovaries feel very heavy/full. It feels almost like a period cramp, just in the wrong spot... like a dull ache. I know its a good sign that my follies are growing so I won't mind when it gets worse as they get bigger.
The only other... side effect?... I'm having is that I'm on a bit of a short trigger, but that might be from being on my period, as its gotten better as my flow slowed.
Overall, I've been in a pretty good mood, dotted with some irritability and some very happy moments as I think about being one step closer to getting my positive.
Grow follies, grow!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just a Little Prick

Well, I started my Follistim on Tuesday! I'm actually REALLY excited about this cycle. I know I shouldn't get my hopes up, especially this early, but I'm excited.
Tuesday's B/W came back with my lowest hormone levels ever... my E2 was below 20! The U/S looked great-- though it took them a while of staring at the screen in confusion before I reminded them that the upper portion of my left tube that was cut is still attached to my ovary and is filled with fluid. They only see me at least once a week, you'd think they would remember by now. Oh well.
They told me they would call me with results and that I would probably start my shots in two day. I was a little surprised when they called later and told me to go ahead and start the Follistim at 50IU and come back on Friday. I was also a little disappointed that we would only be starting at 50IU instead of 75 like the nurse had told me they usually start at. I know I'm younger and they don't want to overstimulate my ovaries, but I only have one tube and I do NOT want to waste the time, medicine, or money by not having any/enough follicles on my right side. Yes, yes... it only takes one... but I want to have the best possible chance to get my positive this month! I'm hoping for 3-4 follies on my right side. Since we are only doing timed intercourse and not IUI, my chances of having that many fertilized are low. My doctor told me that I would only have a 5-15% chance of conceiving with the injectables... let's do what we can to improve those odds!
But I'm ranting.
That night, I got my meds out of the fridge and put them on the counter to warm up a bit-- I heard that the cold meds can sting a bit and its best to let them come up to room temp. After dinner, I took the medicine, grabbed my pen, needles, and alcohol swabs, laid it all out by the computer and pulled up the Follistim instruction video on YouTube. I knew what to do, but I wanted to make SURE I did it right. So...
Assembled medicine and pen...
Attach needle...
Swab injection area with alcohol...
Pinch area...
Little prick, barely felt a thing...
Oh crap. I'm holding the pen too close to the middle to get my thumb to the plunger. My other hand is pinching the area and there is a needle in my stomach so there will be no shuffling up the pen. Obviously didn't think this one through too well.
I stood there for a moment, trying to decide if I should just try again, but I really want to keep the number of puncture wounds on my body to a minimum, so I just unpinched and pushed the plunger with the other hand.
After, I cleaned up my makeshift medical area, put the pen in the fridge, and plopped down on the couch. Patrick asked me how it was and I told him fine. I didn't mention my blond moment with the plunger.
The rest of the evening I SWEAR I felt little tinges in my ovary, like the medicine was stimulating it. I really am amazed at the things we can convince ourselves of.
Day 2-
I worked late so I called Patrick on the way home to tell him to take my pen out of the fridge. He was in charge of dinner, but had yet to make anything, which worried me as we are suppose to be eating healthy and at 8pm, if dinner isn't made, we usually pick it up.
Got home to Chinese take-out... grrrrr... but at least he took the pen out like I asked.
This shot went much smoother. Having learned from the previous night, I positioned my hand closer to the top, pinched my belly, little prick, pushed the plunger, and done. Didn't even bleed.
I haven't had any bruising or redness from the shots, but my injection site from last night is a little tender today. Nothing bad, I can just tell I had shot there. I've also not had any side effects yet from the medicine, which I am pretty happy about. Usually, if the drug info lists it, I'm gonna get it, so this is nice.
I have been charting again and my temps, which were up from the birth control, finally started coming down this morning, followed late morning by the beginnings of AF. I took my last birth control pill Sunday night and I skipped Monday night's since I was going to the doctor the next day, so I have been expecting to start any day. I doubt its going to be a long or heavy period since its only been two weeks since my last one, and the nurse that did my U/S said my lining was pretty thin already from the birth control.
Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that we continue with the smooth sailing and sail right into a smooth pregnancy! Positive thoughts, right!

And to top it off, we have had some BEAUTIFUL weather in Houston the past few days (besides being a little windy here and there)... so all and all, I'm feeling downright chipper!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This Ride Isn't Fun Anymore... I Think I Want Off

My last cycle reminds me of an M. Night Shyamalan movie... too many twists to result in anything good. After barely eeking in a BD (baby dance for those new to the TTC lingo) before I ovulated, I felt confident that we at least had a CHANCE to conceive that cycle. That chance flew out the window when 6DPO my temperature dropped... scratch that, plummeted, to the lowest number my chart has seen in two years.
My average pre-O temps range from 97.2-97.5ish, tending to pop up to 97.7-97.8 on O day, and creep up over the next few days to even out at the 98.2-98.5 range.
On 6DPO, my waking temperature was 97.05... and I was bleeding. Not enough so actually be AF, but more than spotting. Of course, my mind was desperately trying to hold on to hope of still getting preggo, so I tried to tell myself it might just be implantation... but I knew better. Stress had gotten the better of me and undoubtably sabotaged my cycle.
The 97.26 degree temp the next morning pretty much confirmed it, and I called in to the Dr.'s office to report my new cycle. My flow was strange, fluctuating between a light flow to slight spotting. I expected my hormones to be screwy on my BW/US the next morning.
Day 3 my temp was back down to 97.07, AF hadn't increased but hadn't stopped, so I headed to the office to see what my crazy body was up to. We had decided to do a cycle injectables this round, which I was very excited about, but the cost has me stressed and I definitely didn't want to spend that much money unless my cycle was ideal!
The girl at the desk asked me if we would be starting treatment that day. I laughingly told her that I had no friggin clue because my cycle wasn't suppose to be due for another week and I had no idea what my body was up to. Well, she must have mentioned this to the Dr. because after my blood was taken, instead of a nurse coming in to do my ultrasound, the doctor came in with an intern (I guess that's the right term) to see what's happening.
Long story, shorter: the follicle that released was still trying to be active, still visible on US, but my lining and blood work was back to normal day 3 levels. So I have been on two weeks of birth control pills (ARGH!) and going back on Tuesday to *fingers crossed* get rolling again.
I just don't know how much more of this I can take. I try really hard to be optimistic, but this is taking a toll on me. My body doesn't feel like its under my control anymore. I snap from being happy to sad to angry to excited to bitter and every emotion in between. Back in the day, if a woman couldn't get pregnant they called her "barren", and that is exactly how I have begun to feel... barren. This time that is suppose to be fun and a bonding experience for Patrick and I has turned into a roller coaster from hell and I think I'm reaching a point where I need to get off the ride. I am not this angry, bitter person. I'm usually the happy one!
I need to get back to that.
Hopefully Tuesday will bring a new outlook.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This cycle has been... unpredictable. I wasn't expecting much in the beginning. After all, I had ovulated from my right side last cycle so, chances were, I would probably ovulate from my left side this time.
I went in for my day 3 baseline BW/US and my E2 was the lowest its ever been- 34.
Went back on day 13 after taking Femara days 3-7 and there was nothing. My E2 was 69 and both ovaries were totally quiet.
Three days later, on Monday... nothing. E2 up to 104.
Wednesday... 3 small follicles on my right!!! E2= 101. Down some... ???
Friday... one 12.7 mm on right.  E2 down to 96
Monday... 15mm on right. E2= 153 YAY!! Getting there!
Wednesday... 18mm on right, trigger time! E2 down to 99.7 WTF?!
Well, when I first saw those three follicles on my right ovary is was really excited. Then, when only one went on to grow I was a little disappointed but one is better than none! I figured the slight dip in my E2 level was from two follicles shrinking, even though I couldn't explain the decrease from Monday when I had no follicles to Wednesday when I had three. Oh well... the doctor wasn't concerned so it was probably no big deal, right?
I really hoped that I would be ready to trigger on Monday. Patrick had sinus surgery scheduled for Wednesday and I knew there would be no sexy-time for a few days after surgery. He is, after all, a whiny man when sick (or as he says... siiiiiiiiiiick!)
So of course, in line with my baby-making luck, I wasn't ready on Monday and had to go back Wednesday... but at least my E2 was up.
Now I was hoping I WOULDN'T be ready yet so Patrick would have a couple days to recover before I made demands of his body. ;) Again, no such luck. I took Patrick in for his surgery, waited until they took him back, then booked it over to the clinic for my BW/US. But there it was... a beautiful 18mm follicle, ready to be triggered. The nurse said that I might be able to wait until the next night before my trigger, giving Patrick another night to recover. I hoped I'd be able to wait.
They called me later and said that the doctor wanted me to trigger that night and have intercourse the next two days. As I looked at my husband's bandaged, bloody nose, slightly bruised eyes, and pasty complexion, I knew that was not going to happen. The nurse didn't mention my E2, but when I checked my online lab results I was shocked to see that my level was down to 99.7! How?! Why?!
Of course I panicked. What if the follicle wasn't mature? What if there was no egg in it? What if it was abnormal? It wasn't until some searching on the internet (thank you forums!) that I found out that Femara will cause low E2 levels even with mature follicles. Now, I knew that Femara lowers estrogen levels, but I thought it was only in the beginning of the cycle, especially as the medicine is suppose to be out of the system in about 9 days. Oh well, lesson learned.
Anyways... I didn't trigger that night. I refused to waste the Ovidrel on a missed cycle. This way I could have it for my injectable cycle that was looking more and more like it was definitely going to happen. Patrick was MISERABLE after his surgery. Every night he fell asleep on the couch, propped up against the pillows to keep his head elevated, I would go to bed alone, anticipating a thermal shift in the morning. My cycle that I had thought futile had turned in my favor, only to have circumstance stand in my way.
But my shift didn't come Friday or Saturday like I was expecting. In fact, by Sunday morning my temperature had gone down a bit. Sunday night I tried to initiate some baby-making but my poor hubby was still in too much pain. Monday morning I was afraid to look at the thermometer, only to be shocked that my BBT had gone down some more. And what do you know, Patrick felt better that night!
I got my thermal shift this morning. Looks like we might actually have a shot at getting that positive this month! :D

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

July- August 2011 (and a bit of September)
I was so excited about this cycle. I just had a feeling that this would be IT. My day 3 BW/US was great, took the Femara with little side-effects (it only gives me headaches), and if the "ovaries take turns" theory held, it was my right ovary's turn to ovulate.
I went in on day 13 to check my progress, my lining was perfect, and as the tech scanned over to my right side, there it was... a perfect, 18mm follicle, ready to be triggered!! I just knew it was meant to be. She said they would call me that afternoon with my BW results and that I would probably trigger the next day.
They called later, and said everything was perfect. My E2 was 265 which is GREAT for a Femara cycle. Patrick and I were intimate for the next three nights, until I ovulated. I couldn't believe how easy this cycle was.
At 6 DPO my temperature dropped below the coverline. Implantation dip? I wanted to take a pregnancy test... I went out and bought some, the first I had bought in nearly a year... but I made myself wait, knowing early testing just leads to early disappointment. At 10 DPO I couldn't wait any more. I was 13 days past my trigger shot so the HCG was likely out of my system, and if it was an implantation dip I was likely 4 days past implantation.
I peed on the stick, put it on the counter, and tried not to watch the lines form.
The pink dye spread across the stick, and as it passed the spot where the test line should be, some stayed! Nothing had ever stayed in the test line. I watched, frozen on the toilet, as two pink lines formed on test.
My heart stopped, my chest squeezed, my breath caught.
The test was positive... I was pregnant.
I nearly cried I was so happy.
The test line was faint, but... *all together now* A LINE IS A LINE IS A LINE!
I couldn't wait for Patrick to get home to tell him! But wait... I needed to wait until my blood test to be sure. But I really wanted to tell him. But I would hate to disappoint him if it was wrong. But it couldn't be wrong. But it was still so early. But I was so excited, I wouldn't be able to keep the secret. But something could happen. But I have been through so much already... surely nothing would happen.
I was back and forth all day. I still walked around with a smile the entire day, I can't remember ever being so happy. I put my positive result into Fertility Friend. My due date was April 30, 2012. I had dreamed of having an April baby... silly, I know, but it seemed like the perfect time to have a baby.
The night, when Patrick walked in the door, I was in the best mood of my life. He was not. He had had a tough day at work and traffic had been a nightmare on the way home. He had wanted to cook that night, and as he stood in the kitchen, angrily chopping an onion, I decided that I wanted him to share in my happiness. I went and dug out the baby bib I had bought three years before for when I was going to tell him I was pregnant, held it to my stomach, and walked back to the kitchen.
He looked at it for a moment and froze. His eyes popped wide and he asked, "Are you pregnant?"
I could only nod as the happy tears started flowing. As my news sunk in, he set the knife down and a huge grin spread across his face. "Really?"
Again, more nodding. He came around the island and picked me up in a bear hug. We laughed, and hugged, and kissed, and shared the most joyous moment in our marriage... learning we were going to be parents.
The next day the test was negative. I took three more, and they were negative too. I scoured the Internet and found instances of negative tests after a positive that still resulted in pregnancy. There wasn't many, but I held on that hope. I wasn't ready to admit to myself that I had probably had a very early miscarriage that I wouldn't even have known about had I just waited to test. The blood test the next day confirmed that this was the case, though.
I had known better than to test early. I had known better than to tell Patrick until I was certain. I had known better than to get so emotionally involved in a cycle. But I had done all those things and now I was living with the consequences. I was DEVASTATED. I cried for days. I don't think even Patrick knows how hard I took that cycle. He was upset, true, but he stayed positive. He reminded me that at least now we knew we could get pregnant. I agreed and put on a tough facade, but on the inside I was crushed. I had built up so much hope, now that it was gone, I felt ruined.
I started my next cycle, but my hope was dashed. At this point I was just going through the motions. At the start of the cycle Dr. Griffith told me he thought it would be best if we moved on to injectables
Patrick talked to his HR rep in charge of their insurance plan at work about adding an infertility rider to their plan during open enrollment in November. The rep said they would definitely look into it and add it if the cost is reasonable. *Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed*
A few days into my cycle Patrick told me his sister is pregnant. My first thought, though I hate to admit it and hate even more that I thought it, was that should have been ME! He told me they had found out two weeks before. That was when I had gotten my positive... we probably would have been due at the same time.
I felt like I was living my loss all over again. I cried all over again. I am SO happy for them, don't get me wrong, but I hurt.
It took me a while to get over it all again. I was angry... not at anybody or anything, just angry. I couldn't understand why this was so HARD. Why I couldn't just have something I so badly wanted. I didn't blame God, I know He has a plan for me and that I will get pregnant when the time is right, I just wanted the time to be right NOW. I felt alone with my pain. Patrick looks at our journey as having started in February, after the surgery, since nothing could have happened before then, but I have been emotionally involved in this for nearly four years! My mom told me it just wasn't a good time for me to get pregnant. That was the last thing I wanted to hear, especially from my mom. I felt like she wouldn't be happy for me if I was pregnant. How does she know whether or not its a good time?! I know she was trying to make me feel better (she doesn't know about my positive test last cycle she only knows I'm getting upset with the whole TTC thing) but she is suppose to support me. She was suppose to hug me and tell me she was sorry that this was happening. She tried for five years before she got pregnant with me, she is suppose to understand how I feel!
The lady that rents the suite next to mine came over to chat with me on a particularly hard day... maybe my hormones were off-kilter, I don't know, I was just emotional. She knew immediately that something was wrong. We were talking and she just said, "Oh, honey, there is something that's just eating you up inside."
I broke down. I told her everything. She hugged me and told me she was sorry that this was happening to me. She told me to trust in God's plan. Told me that I needed to do something that made me happy and get my mind off the things that didn't. She said that I had no control over this, and that I needed to give it over to God and concentrate on things I did have control over. She told me everything I needed to hear.
I was ready to quit. I was ready to throw my hands up and scream, ENOUGH!!! I told myself, and Patrick, that if this cycle didn't work, I was done. We would go on a break from TTC until our insurance covered infertility or until we could afford the treatments without cringing as we handed over the debit card.
Instead, I prayed. I asked for guidance, instead of a baby. Strength, instead of a BFP. And I got it.
Patrick got a big bonus at work and, after talking it over, we decided to do one cycle of injectables if this cycle doesn't work. Then we'll take a break.
My hope has returned, and I have a positive outlook on the next leg of our journey.

New Beginnings vs Same Old S***

With the new year came new determination. I decided it was time to know what was happening in my body. I called an RE's office and made an appointment. I filled out mine and Patrick's history before the appointment and waited anxiously for January 25 to come. I had started charting again with my new cycle which had started Jan 7.
Even though we were still trying to eat healthy, we had gotten off track over the holidays and getting fully committed to the healthy living was hard. I was not following as closely I needed to be so my cycles had returned to normal... ie. NOT normal.
January 25, 2011
I was the youngest one in the waiting room at our new Dr's office, Houston Fertility Institute. I felt out of place, but I just KNEW I would finally get the answers and attention I so badly wanted.
I liked our doctor from the moment we met him. Dr. Griffith is soft spoken, calm, knowledgeable, with a sense of humor, and a knack for reassuring and making you feel at ease. I'm using his name because I have nothing but good things to say about him, or the rest of his staff, and definitely recommend them if you are in the Houston area and looking for a clinic.
Dr. Griffith went over our histories, asked us a few more questions, and immediately told me he knew there was a problem and that I was likely going to need surgery. His exact words to me were, "Pain is never a good thing. It is always an indication of something going on."
He said we could do an HSG- a procedure where they inject dye into the uterus and fallopian tubes and take an X-ray to look for blockages or other problems- but he was so sure that they would find something he said he felt comfortable skipping that step and moving straight to a laparoscopy... provided Patrick's semen analysis came back normal. At this, Patrick goes stiff.
Patrick- "Semen analysis?"
Dr- "Yes. There is no use in cutting on your wife until we know there's not an issue with you."
Patrick- "O-Okay. What does that include?"
Dr- "We would get a semen sample from you and analyze it under a microscope to make sure there are no problems."
Patrick- "What if there is a problem?"
Dr- "Depending on what it is, we would retest to make sure it wasn't just a fluke and if we got the same results we would refer you to a Urologist to see if it can be corrected or if we would need to work around it or move straight to IVF."
Patrick's eyes were huge and he sat there a moment, processing. Then he asked, "How do you get the sample?"
I held back a laugh and could tell the doctor was doing the same.
Dr- "You would come into the office, we have designated rooms, the staff will give you a cup, and you will masturbate to ejaculation."
Here, Patrick's eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets and he turned into a snickering 10-year-old boy.
Dr- "You can also do it at home and bring us the sample, but it has to be here within 45 minutes."
We then discussed the possibility of endometriosis, he confirmed my PCOS diagnosis and told me it was actually fairly common for women to present with cases similar to mine, and he promised that I would never have to take Clomid again. He said that we had age and time on our side and he felt confident that I would one day be a mommy.
He sent me to have blood work to see where I was in my cycle and told said that if I wasn't close to starting on my own, they would give me medicine to bring on a new cycle so we could get the diagnostic ball rolling.
February 2011
Patrick had his semen analysis done Feb. 11 and they called him the same day and told him everything looked good.
I had started Prometrium the day after our first appointment, but a mistake at the pharmacy had given me only half the dose needed and I didn't start until Feb. 16, 11 days after my last pill. It worked out, though, and with Patrick's normal results, Dr. Griffith said we should proceed with the laparoscopy. It all happened fast from there. A week later, on Feb. 23, I went in for surgery.
I don't remember much about what the doctor told us after I woke up in recovery. I remember him telling me I had a lot of scar tissue on my left ovary, and that it looked like I had been having cysts rupture (I had felt them, but thought them to be gas pains or constipation pains until he described what it would have felt like) and that the scar tissue had fused my left fallopian tube to my ovary and that he had to cut the tube because it "was sabotaging everything".
Even though I didn't understand most of the whats or whys... hell, I was so out of it from anesthesia I barely understood simple English, as the post-op video Patrick took of me showed... I understood that I still had one tube and that meant I still had a chance to get pregnant on my own.
Patrick on the other hand, took what the doctor said to mean that we now needed IVF to get pregnant. (Dr. Griffith had actually said that even though I only had minimal scar tissue on my right side and my right tube was open, the presence of scar tissue raises concerns of HOW open my right tube is, which raises concerns of the possibility of ectopic pregnancies, so they recommend IVF to lessen the likelihood of an ectopic)
Needless to say, Patrick was crushed until I spoke to the doctor the next day and cleared this up.
March 2011
A week later we met with Dr. Griffith for my post-op.
Turns out, I had a hydrosalpinx of my left fallopian tube. In response to injury, the body sends inflammatory cells to the area, and the inflammation and scar tissue results in a loss of fimbria (the frilly tissue at the end of the tube that sweeps up the egg when it's released from the ovary) and a closure of the tube. The tube then fills with inflammatory fluid and becomes distended. My tube had basically gotten caught up in the scar tissue from my ruptured cysts, had a inflammatory response of its own, causing more scar tissue, and filled with fluid. This was the cause of all my pain. As my cycle progressed and my left ovary tried to ovulate, it was causing more fluid to gather in my tube, with was now being pulled between my ovary and uterus.
Dr. Griffith also felt that we probably were getting pregnant, but the inflammatory fluid draining from my left tube was coating my uterine lining, preventing implantation and, in essence, sabotaging everything.
FINALLY!!! Answers!
Next, he said that, given my excellent ovarian reserve and the fact that Patrick's semen analysis made their Hall of Fame, he was certain that I would get pregnant.
I could practically see Patrick's head getting bigger at the mention of "Hall of Fame" and "his semen analysis" in the same sentence. Dr. Griffith joked and said that Patrick's results were so good they were hung up in the back room. I figured he was just trying to encourage Patrick and assure him everything would be okay, and I was grateful for it.
Dr. Griffith said that our next course of action would be to put me on injectables with timed intercourse and see what happened. He said that we would have a 15% chance of multiples on the injectables and usually he would lower that chance in patients with one tube, but given Patrick's little swimmers, he was going to keep them at 15%. I have always wanted twins so this was fine with me. We agreed to do the injectables.
After we talked a little while longer about options, chances, etc., he sent us out to talk to Brittany at the front desk to discuss insurance coverage and cost. We walked out of his office with high hopes.
It didn't last long.
Our insurance covers NOTHING.
Brittany told us that the monitoring for a cycle of injectables would cost $1500. I died a little inside. I would happily spend that and more if I knew it would work, but if I was to shell out that much money and not get pregnant, I would feel like I flushed it down the toilet. (And at that point I still had no idea how much the medicine was!) I asked her if we could do another cycle of *dumdumdum* CLOMID while we figured out our finances and decided if we could afford to continue. She said no problem and we left, discouraged.
Two weeks later, I was back in the office for Day 3 blood work and ultrasound, crossing my fingers that Clomid would be good to me now as there was no way that we could afford the injectables if we weren't sure they would work. After living with Patrick's inflated ego for two weeks, I also asked the receptionist for a copy of his semen analysis, certain they couldn't have been THAT good.
They were. So good, he insisted that we post them on the fridge.
His concentration was at 177.5 million/mL...impressive. Coupled with the fact that he produced a volume of 14mL, Patrick produced a total of 2.485 BILLION sperm. That's right, BILLION! Even with a slightly crumby 67.61% motility, it still left him with 1.68 billion motile sperm.
Hall of Fame is right. At least we don't have to worry about his swimmers! (Probably the only thing we don't have to worry about in this quest)
A week later, after taking the Clomid, as I checked in to my day 12 appointment to check on the progress of my cycle, I had my card ready to pay my $40 co-pay when Brittany says, "Okay, its going to be $800 today."
I nearly fainted.
After I stared at her dumbly, I managed to ask why so much. She told me that the monitoring for Clomid cycles was $800 and that, now that I had been diagnosed, my insurance wouldn't cover my monitoring any more. I told her I had not been told it would be so much and asked if I could put half on my credit card and have a few days to get the other half together. She agreed and I felt sick as I handed over my card. There went half of my injectable cycle on Clomid!
April 2011
I responded very slowly to the Clomid that time. I didn't trigger until day 18 and didn't ovulate until day 21. We timed it very well...knowing almost exactly when you're going to ovulate REALLY helps ;) ,
and we hoped that it was going to be $800 well spent. Let the TWW begin!
We went to mediation on the lawsuit for the house on April 11 and they settled!!! We were ecstatic to be done with that nightmare! We didn't get what we wanted but we got enough to fix the house as long as we do some of the work ourselves and budget wisely. Things were going our way.
My 14DPO pregnancy blood test came back negative. Time to reconsider out options.
May 2011
After our failed cycle, I explained to Dr. Griffith that we couldn't afford to move forward with treatment and we had decided to just try on our own for a few months as we saved up for the next step. A few weeks later he called me and said that he had a treatment option that he felt would be a good fit for us. He said that the reason I wasn't responding well to the Clomid was that my estrogen was high (790 at ovulation with only one mature follicle) and that he thought switching to Letrozole (Femara) would produce positive results. He then told me that, as they don't use Femara very often since its not approved as a fertility drug, they were willing to do my monitoring for free for a few cycles to see how I respond. I was thrilled!!!!
June 2011
When I went in for my day 3 BW/US, the US showed what the tech thought was a cyst on my left ovary, and my E2 came back at 101, so they wanted me to do two weeks of birth control and come back.
Turns out the "cyst" is just the way the fused tube sits on my ovary, because two weeks later it was still there and my E2 was down to 31.3, so they gave me the go-ahead to start the Femara.
I ovulated on the left side.

As I have now pretty much caught you up, I will cover July and August in my next post because it's kind of a long one and needs to stand alone.

A Year of Changes

We lost Rudy in early March 2010. Patrick took it VERY hard. I felt as though we had lost a child. The last month was horrible, watching him get weaker and weaker, his stomach visibly growing with masses. At the end, the vet we took him to to end his suffering said that he had cancer on every organ except for his spleen. In three months he had gone from nothing visible to looking like he was pregnant he was so infected. It was rough.
In April we got the twins. Two crazy, lovable, fluffy Australian Shepard puppies born on Valentines Day. We weren't planning on getting another dog so soon, much less two, but the moment we saw these two monsters there was no leaving without them. Patrick had been so depressed and the puppies helped heal a lot of the pain we were both feeling. They could never replace Rudy, but I truly felt he had led us to them.
Patrick had sold his business in March and had been working with a Marketing company since November, so in May I decided that it was time for me to make a career change of my own and leave the salon I had been working at for four years and rent my own suite so I could be my own boss. I had been unhappy where I was for a while but we hadn't had the stability for me to make a change. Now that I had the opportunity, I was going to jump in with both feet.
With everything being so hectic in the first half of the year, we had strayed from our TTC path. I stopped charting, testing, everything. I randomly tried a couple more rounds of Clomid (I just called in the refill to the pharmacy and the Dr's office would approve it without ever speaking to me or asking to see me) but I wasn't invested in the cycles and barely even tried to take it at the right time. People would tell me, "Oh, this is when you're going to get pregnant, now that you're not trying." I knew better. My cycle was all over the place. I would have had better luck predicting the Apocalypse than trying to figure out when my next period would come. Stressed played a big part, I know. Starting at the new salon was a great move for me, but stressful none the less. Having two rambunctious puppies was stressful, especially when they started becoming very fearful of strangers (they never had a negative experience with one, it just tends to be a breed quirk among herding breeds). Patrick and I were fighting a lot, each one worse than the last. I felt like our marriage was crumbling. I knew he was depressed after Rudy's death, but I didn't know what to do about it and, honestly, I was a step away from falling into the depression pit as well.
I became hyper-aware of all the hardships we had faced over the past two years. The lawsuit against the insurance company still hadn't gone anywhere, they were just ignoring our lawyer, I felt as though every time we tried to catch up financially, there was something else that needed more than we could afford to spend. Rudy's illness and death was just another weight added to our load of crap to deal with. With every fight, unexpected bill, and added hardship, I felt myself edging closer and closer to pit.
Then, one day just after my birthday in September, I decided I had had enough. I would take control of my life and work harder to bring positives to it. I called Patrick and told him there were going to be chances. No longer would I sleep until the last possible minute before I HAD to get up. No longer would I fill my body with junk, oblivious to what I was putting in my mouth. No longer would I let our marriage fail. I was going to get up early, take the dogs for a walk, do yoga, work out. I was going to buy fresh groceries once a week, learn to cook, eat healthy. And he was going to do all those things with me. We would reclaim our intimacy, strengthen our trust, and work together to better ourselves. These were things I had control over and I was going to take it. I bought the book Making Babies: A Proven Three Month Program for Maximum Fertility, using it as the basis for our healthy-living program.
I happened to start our new healthy lifestyle on the first day of my cycle. I followed everything to the tee. And one month later, I started my period. I had NEVER had a normal cycle without medication. Something had to be working! Everything the book said made perfect sense, and I had just seen that it actually did work. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone trying to conceive.
Everything was going great. Making those changes had changed my whole outlook. I actually had hope for positive things.
A week later, my positive momentum crashed and burned. Patrick and I got into a hellacious fight. I moved out, back to my parents. I wasn't ready to call it quits, but I needed to separate myself from the chaos that was my home-life before I went crazy. Patrick needed the wake-up call that things HAD to change, and I needed to see that he was taking this seriously.
A month of being at home, and Patrick was making dramatic changes. In December, we went on a vacation with friends that had been planned since June. It was the first time we had spent a lot of time together since I moved out. I was shocked at how far he had come and how determined he was to prove to me that things would be better. I moved back home as soon as we got back, more determined than ever to make 2011 OUR year.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I was worried about the Clomid. I didn't like having to take medicine to get my body to do something it should have been doing naturally, but I accepted I needed the boost. Without the meds I only had four or five chances a year, if that, to get pregnant, so I filled the prescriptions Dr.R gave me. He had told me to take the Clomid, take some Mucinex to thin my cervical fluid, and call the office when I started my period so they could decide whether or not to alter my dosage. Those were my only instructions and they seemed easy enough.
January 09
I started my period on New Years Day. I took it as a good sign-- new year, new cycle, new chance and all that. Dr.R had me start at 50mg of Clomid days 5-9 of my cycle. I waited until day 10 to start my temping since nothing would happen before then anyways. I anxiously awaited my temperature shift, but, again, I only got another mountain range on my chart. Luckily, I didn't have many side effects outside of some hot flashes.
February 09
My cycle lasted 38 days and ended on Feb. 8. I called Dr.R's office and left a message for the nurse to tell her how long my cycle had lasted. She called me back later to tell me she had called in a refill and that they were upping my dosage to 100mg. The higher dosage came with side-effects... lots of side effects. I felt like if the warnings listed it, I had it. My cervical mucus was was non-existent if I didn't take the Mucinex, I was bloated, nauseous, had headaches. I had hot flashes so severe I felt like I was about to spontaneously combust! I was burning from the inside out. The worst, though? I was a classic case of the Clomid Crazies. I feel sorry for Patrick during that time. I was an emotional mess.
I ovulated perfectly on day 14. Patrick and I had timed everything perfectly. My chart was a thing of beauty.
March 09
On March 1, 8 DPO, I had a dip in temperature. Implantation dip? I was hopeful. Following the dip, my chart became tri-phasic, my temps between 98.4-98.6 degrees. I became very hopeful. My nausea got worse, as did my mood swings, and my breasts were so swollen and tender, I had to wear a bra, a cami with a built-in bra, and a shirt to keep them contained and not moving. Surely these were pregnancy symptoms. I took pregnancy tests and they all came up negative, but my temp stayed up. I took so many pregnancy tests, I should have bought stock. My temperature didn't drop until 19 DPO. My period started Fri. March 13. I was DEVASTATED!!
Dr.R decided to keep me at the 100mg dosage. This time I ovulated on day 16, and again we timed it pretty good.
April 09
I refused to get my hopes up like I had with my last cycle. I tested obsessively, yes, but I kept a certain amount of disconnect. The side effects seemed worse this time. After another 19 day luteal phase, Aunt Flow came on April 17.
May 09
After another round of 100mg Clomid, I ovulated May 4, day 18 of my cycle. The mood swings were getting worse with each cycle. My luteal phase was only 16 days that cycle, and AF came May 21.
June 09
I was excited for this cycle. I had gotten a fertility monitor and really hoped it would help. It pin-pointed my ovulation on day 18, but I was beginning to understand why we weren't getting pregnant. I was a raging monster of emotion. It never failed, the days leading up to ovulation, I would start picking stupid fights with Patrick. We'd have little spats that built into a massive blowout fight the night before my temperature shift. It made it difficult to be intimate. AF came 16 DPO, on June 24.
July 09
I decided to stop the Clomid. I hated what it did to my body, the way it made me feel. More than that, our house was in complete disarray. After the hurricane, once the power came back on, we found some more damage and decided to file a claim. The insurance company's check wouldn't even fix our roof, let alone the damage inside, but we decided to fix it and send the insurance the bill. After we opened the wall in the guest room, though, it was obvious that the damage was a lot more than we thought, so we called to have another adjuster out. Six adjusters later, and we were getting ignored. To make it worse, on the advise of adjuster 2 and 3, we had taken the walls down to studs in the master and guest bedrooms so they "could see all the damage" and we were now sleeping in our tiny office on a full-size bed. Patrick is not a small guy... it was not comfortable. We never thought it would take that long, but it was apparent that the insurance company wasn't going to be paying up any time soon.
Even though I wasn't taking the Clomid, I continued charting. I ovulated on my own on July 18, day 25 of my cycle. AF came 13 days later, on Aug.1.
August-December 09
The rest of the year was difficult for us. I was depressed that the Clomid hadn't worked. I stopped tracking my cycle completely. I was still getting the pains in my abdomen with every cycle but I blew them off.
It was miserable living in the office at home, so when the weather cooled, we moved upstairs into our game-room. Since two rooms were down to studs, we couldn't run the A/C on that side of the house, and summers in Houston can be brutal. We ended up hiring a lawyer to start litigation against the insurance company.
People started telling us that "it was for the best" that I hadn't gotten pregnant yet. I hated those words. I hated that people knew how badly I wanted a baby and that they were so insensitive. Maybe they were trying to help or make me feel better, but it made it worse. I knew it wasn't a good time, I didn't need to hear it. I started avoiding pregnant ladies and babies because I was tired of hearing, "Oh, Zui needs to rub your belly so maybe it'll rub off on her" and "Oh, watch out! Zui is baby-crazy, she might try to steal your baby" and all such nonsense. Do people realize what they're saying when they open their mouths? Do they not realize how hurtful they can be?
In the beginning of Dec. one of our dogs got sick. We started taking him to the vet about twice a week but he wasn't getting better. The week before Christmas we had to rush him to Gulf Coast Vets (a referral only, specialty vet in Houston) to have emergency surgery to remove a mass the size of a baseball off his kidney. The X-ray from when he first got sick showed nothing, and in three weeks it had grown that big. They removed the mass and the kidney, and told us he should be fine but they would call us with biopsy results. The week after Christmas, the veterinary oncologist told us it was cancer-- the most aggressive she had seen. We could do chemo but she wasn't sure he would make it through the $12k treatment cycle, and if he did, she said he probably wouldn't have more than a year afterwards. If we did nothing, she only gave him two months.
Patrick and I were devastated! Our dogs were like our children! We'd had Rudy since shortly after we started dating. He was only five... how could he have cancer. We couldn't afford to do the chemo and didn't want to put him through the pain and discomfort to only buy him a few months. So we decided to make him comfortable and try our hardest to make his last few months the best ever.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Starting my TTC Journey

My story is long, so to make it easier on everyone, I'll tell it a year at a time.
My husband, Patrick, and I got married on May 25, 2008. At the time, I was 22 and he was 26. We had been together for four years and knew that we wanted to have a big family, so we decided that, though we were not going to "try" yet, I was going to go off birth control and whatever happened, happened.
February 2008-
I went to my OB/GYN for an annual checkup and told my doctor (we'll call him Dr.R) that I was getting married in a few months and planned to go off the pill right away. My cycles had never been regular and I just knew it would take us a while to get pregnant. Dr. R had me give blood to test my hormone levels and told me to go ahead and stop taking the pill after that cycle to "give my body a couple months to get back to normal". He also said that, given my irregular cycles, if we had not conceived within six months, to come back and that he would put me on Clomid to "help things along". Then he sent me on my way with a pat on the back and a "good luck".
I began hearing the same thing from everybody that found out Patrick and I weren't preventing pregnancy: "Oh, honey, you're still so young!" It made me mad. Yes, most people are probably not ready for children at 22, but felt like I was. I was married, had a house, a steady job as a hairdresser, two dogs that weren't TOTAL monsters, and I loved kids. Besides, my mom went through early menopause in her 30's, and my biggest fear, to this day, is that it will happen to me. I feel like if I wait to long, I won't get a chance.
So I ignored the concerned scowls, the comments about having plenty of time, and continued with the path I had set for myself. I took my last pill at the end of February.
March '08
At about the end of March, I began having slight, but sharp, pains in my lower abdomen, around where I assumed my left ovary to be. I figured it was my body getting back to work and didn't get too concerned.
April '08
As the days went on, the pain in my abdomen got worse. After three weeks,  it felt like I was getting stabbed in the ovary. I would have intense twinges of pain if I sat down, stood up, if my bladder was really full, and any time I went to the restroom. Sex was EXCRUCIATING! Then, all of a sudden, it was gone. A week or so later, I started my period.
May '08
We closed on our new house on May 8. We got married May 25. It was an insane month.
June '08
We left for our honeymoon on June 1 and didn't get back until June 9. The abdominal pain started towards the end of the trip, again beginning as mild discomfort and getting more intense over the course of the month, before disappearing about a week before I started my period in the beginning of July. I again dismissed the pain as my ovaries waking up.
July '08
My new cycle began on July 7. After spending hours on the internet, trying to figure out the best way to go about this whole "baby thing", I decided that I needed to start keeping better track of my cycles. I signed up for, bought an ovulation prediction kit with 30 tests, and started paying better attention to my fertility signs. I wasn't very consistent with any of it because I really wasn't willing to admit that I was TRYING to get pregnant.
August '08
I began getting positives on my ovulation tests... and kept getting positives. Out of the 30 strips, about 20 of them came up positive. I scoured the internet looking for reasons why. One of the sites I found mentioned that high levels of LH is usually a sign of PCOS, but when I looked it up, the only symptom I had was irregular cycles. I'm not overweight, I have almost no body hair, never had acne problems, I'm hypoglycemic... everything the opposite of PCOS. Mid-way through the month, the pains came back and I started trying to find out what was causing it. I couldn't find anything that made sense. After all, I'd had my blood work done and surely they would have called if anything was wrong. In light of my new hobby of trying to self-diagnose my fertility issues, I was finally forced to admit that I was trying to have a baby. I had been baby-crazy for a while, but I was becoming obsessed... and a little depressed that it hadn't happened yet, seeing as I was so young and all-*insert sarcasm here*
September '08
So finally I got a basal thermometer, and on Sept. 1, I began taking my BBT. I wasn't very good at it. I never woke up at the same time, and usually I forgot all together. I'm pretty useless before I have my morning coffee, and trying to start a new morning routine was... challenging. Then, on Sept. 12, as we were staying at my mother-in-law's house, preparing to ride out hurricane Ike with them and their generator, we learned that Patrick's brother had gotten his girlfriend pregnant. I'm ashamed to say that my first thought was "why her and not me?" but my jealousy left pretty quickly and my next thought was "at least our baby will have a cousin that's only a few months older, they can grow up together". (The things we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better.)
After the hurricane was difficult. We had no power for two weeks, it was hot, and I couldn't get a good night's sleep with the generators running all night. We went back to check on the house, and didn't find any glaringly obvious damage-- there was no tree in the house, no windows busted out, and almost all our roof tiles where intact. The yard was a mess and there were a few water-spots where the roof had leaked but for the most part it looked okay.
The salon I was working made us come back the Tuesday immediately after the storm, even though there was no power there either. We were forced to cut hair by the light coming in the front windows and shampoo with cold water. The generator they hooked up in there only gave us enough juice to power one lamp in the back and run one blow-dryer. They could have given us more light, but then the owners would have had to sacrifice the $15 they got from the blow-dry/style. It didn't help that I lived 45 minutes away and had to drive over 30 miles with the lights out at every intersection. After two days, on Sept. 18, I walked out to my car and had a mini-breakdown. Not a fun way to spend my 23rd birthday.
That night I made Patrick spend the night at home with me. I was so stressed out I was making myself sick. I was almost constantly nauseous, super emotional, exhausted, and somehow, I convinced myself that I was having pregnancy symptoms. I had gotten my thermometer, and at some time in the week since I had last taken my BBT, I'd had my thermal shift, and the pain had gone away. It made sense. I was pregnant, I just knew it.
October '08
I started my period Oct. 3, fourteen days and three pregnancy tests after my first raised temp. and 88 days after my last period.With the start of my new cycle I became serious about temping. I only missed a couple mornings. I kept waiting for a pattern, but I never got a thermal shift. After another ovulation kit, I had more positive tests than negatives and a chart that looked like a mountain range.
November '08
The pains started somewhere around the beginning of Nov. Fed up with the pain, confused about what was happening in my body, and worried that something was wrong with me, I made an appointment to go back to my OB/GYN, but I couldn't get in until mid Dec. so I waited. I started my period Nov. 30 after a 58 day cycle.
December '08
I was so excited about my appointment with Dr. R! I felt like I would finally get some answers. I had made a list of questions and concerns, I had done some research (okay, a LOT of research), and I felt like a well-read woman who was aware of her cycle and concerned about her body. Dr. R came in, did my exam, and then asked me if I had any questions or concerns. Why, yes, I did.
Me: Well, I have been off the pill since February, and I have only had three cycles. I tried those ovulation predictor kits, but almost all the tests came up positive.
Dr. R: Okay, we'll do a hormone panel on you and see if it shows anything.
Me: We did a hormone panel last year, but I never heard anything back.
Dr. R frowned and picked up my chart, flipping through the pages.
Dr. R: Oh yes. Your LH is high. You have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Really? He looks at blood-work that he's had for almost a YEAR, and based on one random hormone screen and some positive ovulation tests, he decides NOW that I have PCOS? It didn't occur to him when he first got the results? The tests don't need to be repeated? I sat, staring at him for a few moments, shocked and confused.
Dr. R(rushing to explain): But don't worry. You have none of the classic symptoms. The only problems you will probably ever have with this is a hard time getting pregnant because your cycles aren't regular.
Me: Well is there anything I should take for it?
Dr. R: No. We usually prescribe Metformin, but its to help regulate blood sugar since most people with PCOS have an insulin resistance and it mimics Type 2 diabetes, but you have low blood sugar so you don't need that. We'll put you on Clomid and you should get pregnant in no time.
As he began writing my prescription for the Clomid, a prescription for medicine to start my new cycle, and making notes on my chart,I remembered about my pains.
Me: Also, I have been having these stabbing pains, about a month or so into my cycles, usually on my left side, where I'm guessing my ovary would be...
Dr. R: Oh, those are probably just cysts. Don't worry about that, they'll go away.
He didn't let me finish, didn't even pause in his writing or look up at me. I was speechless for a while, a hundred questions running through my head.
Me: Um, should we do any tests or anything about that?
Dr. R: No. You can wait and see if they get better. If they really bother you, we can do surgery and remove them.
Okay, I definitely did not want surgery. The pains sucked, but surgery would be worse, and if the doctor wasn't worried, I wouldn't be either. Just like that, I had been dismissed. I wasn't happy with the answers I had gotten, but at least I had answers. So I left the office, disappointed with what he'd told me, but excited that at least now I could move forward. Deep down, I knew there was more going on, that something else was wrong, but I wanted it to be easy so I accepted what I was told. I really hoped the Clomid would work.