Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tick Tock Tick Tock - Negative Rambling Warning

I'm sitting here alone in a quiet house listening to a clock in the kitchen tick away the seconds.  Minutes pass, hours go by, days keep moving by us and it feels like time is running out.  Running away from us.   Panic.  That's what I feel.  Sheer panic.  Throw a little fear in there and you have my soul right now.  Quiet in the house, dark destructive loud chaos in my spirit.  We are running out of time.  Whether it's my biological time or my emotionally able time, it's running out.  I'll be 32 this month.  I have a few years left of "prime fertility" (which is clearly SO prime) before my fertility starts to decline (doesn't have far to go, right?) and you get into the ages of more likely miscarriages, birth defects, etc.  I can't believe it.  Sometimes I wish I could go back seven or so years and punch the 24 year old me in the face for being such an idiot about pregnancy and marriage, "I don't know that I'll ever get married and have kids.  I love being an Aunt and who wants stretch marks? ick."  Oh to wish stretch marks were my biggest fears these days.  I was so in denial of what I wanted because I was so afraid of it.  Sure, I wanted a husband and a family but I was terrified of being dependent and weak (which is how I viewed marriage at the time) and of "destroying my body" because I was in such great shape.  How completely ignorant can a person be?  I guess it was also immaturity and not being "ready" for what life was about to bring my way....Rik.  Thank God for him.  If it wasn't for him, some days I don't think I could get out of bed.  He changed my life and I like to think I changed his as well.  We needed each other and God couldn't have sent a better man into my life to help me through what was heading our way.  I highly doubt I've been the pillar of strength for him that he has been for me.  Eating my words on the dependent and weak situation these days.  No idea how this post turned into this heap of stinking emotional garbage, but I've been wallowing in it for a few days now and I want you to smell horrid with me, I guess.  Back to my point....which I guess I just made which is that I'm at my emotionally able limit, or will be soon.  Does that make me a quitter?  The doctor said give it six months post-surgery because those are your prime months of fertility after having endometriosis resected.  The thing is, I didn't have it bad enough (or in the yuckiest places) for it to have a huge impact - negative or positive.  We are in that beloved gray area.  You know the place where people look at you with bewildered faces, slightly pudgy cheeks and look much older than they should because the stress of the situation is aging them at an alarming rate.  Yep, that's our stop.  Unexplained Infertility.  Another failed attempt.  I have officially lost my hope.  Each time we've gone through this, each time we've tried to conceive, I've let myself hope.  I've let myself crawl out of the dungeon three or four days into it to start the next cycle and somehow, I end up thinking this is it.  During the two week wait, I let my body convince my mind that every twinge I feel is a sure sign we're pregnant.  It's a total mind screw.  It's not healthy.  Rik is here and he is wonderfully supportive but he has so many other things he can focus on that sometimes, I just feel alone.  Not because he's not here for me by any means, it's just that I feel like I think of it more because I have nothing else to focus on really.  Up until now, I've never had that feeling.  I mean, honestly, we started the fertility plan because he wanted to.  I wanted to start with adoption.  How have I left this "possibility" suck me in and keep me going month after month?  We said three IUI's to start.  Then we had surgery and the doc said give it six months.  So here we are still chugging along.  Up and down the emotional ladder like we're stuck in hell and this is our punishment.  To climb up and down this ladder that is thousands of feet high.  I'm exhausted.  I'm defeated.  I'm sad.  I'm lonely.  I'm just........inside out.  I literally feel like I have been ripped at one of my seams and turned inside out.  All my sensitive spots are exposed.  I tested Thursday morning.  I knew it was negative before I even tested, I only did it out of necessity.  I had all the signs of unpregnancy.  One line.  Negative.  I crawled back in bed and went to sleep for another hour.  Numb.  Not shock or bewilderment or disappointment, just numb.  I got up, got ready for work, kissed Rik good-bye and headed to work.  I got to work and started my day as usual.  Then my Mom called and wanted to discuss how we could generate more revenue for "baby money" and I told her I couldn't talk about that because I had just found out about our BFN.  She meant well, but after another 20 minutes of discussion about IVF costs, adoption, fostering, etc., I had to let her go.  I hung up the phone, laid my head down on my arms and literally felt months of HURT rush up to the surface.  I couldn't stop the tears.  I cried and I cried and I cried.  I couldn't stop it.  Luckily, my office door was closed so you couldn't hear me unless you happened to walk by...unfortunately, someone did and wouldn't you know who came to check on me?  The 7 month pregnant girl in our office who is accidentally pregnant.  She knows what we're going through and I do love her to death, but wow.  Rubbing my back with her belly in my face didn't help.  I couldn't even look at her.  I ended up asking my boss if I could take a personal day and ended up leaving work because I could not pull myself together.  I called Rik before I left and told him I couldn't get myself back to the upright and locked position.  He was sympathetic as usual.  I think he forgot I had to test that morning so I threw him off a little calling him sobbing.  Poor fella.  There isn't a place you can go that makes you feel better when you feel like your heart is being blown to smithereens.  I went to a place in the park that usually makes me feel happy and peaceful.  It just made me think of things in a more painfully clear manner.  This is probably not going to work for us.  With each passing IUI, our chance of conceiving decreases.  I sat there and cried some more.  Feeling 150% sorry for myself.  (obviously, I still am)  Sitting on that bridge, shivering in the cold, my feet dangling over the water, I just wanted to scream.  Then I noticed there was a leaf on my shoe and so I kicked it in the stream and watched it float away.  I feel like that leaf.  Floating along, no clue where I'm headed, getting stuck in the muck then swept up in the current again, finding myself in a bottleneck now and then, waiting my turn to eek through....I don't know how much longer I can do this.  I try to be positive, I try to feel upbeat.   It's getting harder each month to do so.  This week, I had three different people at three different places (two of them were at new doctors offices I've gone to) give me unsolicited advice or thoughts on infertility.  Why do nurses feel the need to tell you a success story they've heard about just because they read your "Meds" list and see the reason you're on the medicine is due to "infertility"?  Why do people think telling you to "stop thinking about it so much" or "relax and stop stressing about it" or "God will give you the desires of your heart if you are just patient"....  He may not.  Ok?  God may not ever give us a child.  Show me one place in the bible where God says, "Hey, I will give each person that comes into this world a child or their own."  Why do people say this to me!?  Is it because they don't know of anything else to say?!  Relaxing will NOT get you pregnant!  You try NOT thinking about a disease you have that is altering the path your life takes forever!  That's like telling someone who had an arm amputated to stop thinking about it.  I feel like a part of me and my life is being carved out, amputated, removed, eliminated, erased, forgotten.  Hearing a success story is great, but don't get your feathers ruffled when all I say back is, 'They must be so excited' in a pretty monotone voice.  I can't fake excitement for your cousins friend who tried for six months to conceive, gave up and then got pregnant two months later because they "weren't stressing anymore".  Yes, they were.  If you're TRYING, you're stressing.  And no offense, but 34 months of this crap (Mom, I used crap there for you but it is NOT what I wanted to type in this situation!!!!!) is plenty patient and if God needed me to be patient, He should have given me the gift to start with because that is not something I excel at.  In my case, patience doesn't get you pregnant.  Relaxing doesn't get you pregnant.  Sex doesn't get you pregnant and apparently reproductive medicine doesn't get you pregnant either!  So don't mind me if I'm unfriendly, if I glare at you for even opening your mouth about how miserable you have it because your kids are out of school and driving you nuts, if I don't shoot confetti out of my rear end when you announce your 21 year old just had her 3rd child ("maybe you should sit next to my daughter because all she has to do is look at a man and she gets pregnant" - Yes, bring her in and I'll dry hump her to be sure I get all kinds of her fertile mojo all over me!), if I yell at you for doing everything your doctor told you NOT to do while you're pregnant or if I beast cry at the most inappropriate times and make you really uncomfortable.  I'm fighting a battle of bloody epic proportions in my heart and mind and soul and I don't really have a lot of energy left to spend on niceties, false or otherwise.

I know it's not Thursday so pardon the vomitous eruption of emotions here.....I had to get it out and while I am probably not even close to done, I feel like a negative parasite and should probably wrap this up before I suck every happiness and hope out of any of you still reading this jumbled, garbled deluge of  self-pity.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thought Vomit Thursday! Get It While It's Hot!

Hello friends.  Sorry it has been a week since I've posted anything.  It's not even that it's been a busy week, I've just been super lazy.  I'll do better, I promise.  This is going to be a Thought Vomit Thursday of EPIC proportions....mainly because it's a long post.  If you're not interested or in the mood for a long read, I understand, but keep reading anyway.

I have literally felt so uneducated this last week.  I don't mean like the "I didn't get the proper education" uneducated, but more like the "I don't know enough about my "situation" to know if I'm on the right track, the wrong track or no track at all" uneducated.  I read your blogs, I see your stats and your measurements and your test results and I can't help but wonder why I don't know all of mine off the top of my gourd and does that mean I am not serious about this infertility business?  I feel like I'm serious business.  I also have no clue what 90% of the hormones the doctor is testing me for are supposed to do and if mine are at normal or abnormal levels?  I will say though, I have come a long way in the past year or two.

Before last year, I had no idea where my cervix was or what it did, where my uterus was hanging out in there and where it all was in relation to my fallopian tubes and ovaries (which I was semi-familar with).  Up until one year ago, I had NO idea that your cervix was a little tubish shaped thing with a hole at the end.  I kind of thought...never mind.  You get the point.  Sure, I have seen the diagrams but they are usually a frontal view and I needed a more accurate and lifelike illustration to help my visual-learning self come to grips with what the doc was seeing when I was on the table being fileted during my once a year appointment.  Thanks to a lovely book my friend gave me, I now get it and understand and can pretend to be knowledgeable during my procedures that involve discussion about such things.

What I do NOT get is how medications work, how they effect my body, why we use them, what my hormones should be doing, which tests do I need, which tests have I had and ultimately, why is nothing we're doing working and by working I mean getting pregnant?

Tuesday, I had my 12 day scan.  I had done what Dr. S asked of me and taken the crappy anastrazole for the alloted time and so there I sat, with bated breath, while we waited for the ax to drop.  As you'll recall, last month, the anastrazole did nothing more for me than my body was naturally doing.  I produced ONE follicle, released one egg and didn't get pregnant.  What happened, was not at all what we expected.  Who happily gobbled up an entire humble pie and asked for seconds?  This girl.

We had three follicles.  They measured in at a lofty 10, 12 & 14 mm's.  All on the right side which is usually my "quiet" side.  The left was completely silent this month.  A ghost-town if you prefer.  Dr. S was pleased and said my endometrium was nice and fluffy, triple-striped and measuring 9 mm I think it was.  She told us to go home, continue the OPK's and when we had an LH surge to call and report it but if we didn't have one by Thurs or Friday morning to let them know and we'd do a trigger shot Friday with an IUI Saturday.  Easy as humble pie.

While we were there, Rik asked if we needed to sign up for the class on the injectable meds and go ahea and have those ordered so they'd be here for next month just in case this month was another failure.  Dr. S basically said that she didn't think injectable meds would be a good benefit for us because it would only increase our chances about 1-2% because we have already had so many failed attempts w/ IUI's after good responses from Clomid & now Anastrazole.  She said there gets to be a point when you have to start questioning the fertilization process, egg quality and other more serious problems.  It wasn't easy to hear at all.  I have to tell you at one point I thought I was going to fall over.  She said those problems were confirmed and worked around by IVF.  The three letters I never wanted to hear.  She said she would recommend continuing with the oral medication and IUI's until we couldn't do it anymore emotionally and then move on to IVF if we still weren't successful.

We left with our results both happy and sad.  Overall, I felt pretty good because that little light of hope was already starting to shine through the clouds and lift my spirits.  Three follicles this month!  Then my mind started working and thinking and wondering about things that maybe it shouldn't, but usually does and I end up emotional, frustrated and cranky.  By the end of the day, I was all of those things.

Total sidenote here: At the old clinic, they did lots of things to/for me like prescriptions, scans, bloodwork, trigger shots and tests during a cycle (albeit with wretched service) .  It sounds like the same happens for all of you ladies as well.  I got accustomed to that level of pampering (not that being stuck and jabbed and poked with the DC is pampering, but in this twisted IF world we live in, you get my drift) and at this clinic, it's more hands-off, let your body do the work if it's working and we'll do our part when it decides to cooperate.  My body cooperates and they do their thing and viola!  No baby.

So my thoughts were centered around why they were letting me ovulate on my own instead of using the trigger shot to release more eggs, does my body only release one egg naturally, and if so, why the heck are we trying to create more follicles with medicine when we are only taking a stab at one per month anyway?  So I started trying to figure out if the hcg shot causes more than one egg to release (I had no idea!) and it seemed like that was a true statement.  Then I started researching ovulation and it seemed like what I read stated that the most mature egg would release during ovulation.  Naturally, I was confused.  I felt like we should be getting two or three follicles to release each month so that we had more than one shot to get pregnant.  Again, I've already admitted I'm uneducated about this girls so don't beat me over the head if you already see where this is going!  :)  Ultimately, I just needed to know one thing, "What's the point?"

I received a positive LH surge yesterday morning and called it in.  They scheduled our IUI for this morning.  While I had the nurse on the line, I asked her the above questions and she stumbled around a bit and ended up sort of confirming what I was thinking and then also saying I should ask Dr. S.  So, Rik and I discussed everything last night and I typed out a few questions this morning that I wanted answers to.  I always get nervous or anxious in the room and all of my well planned questions and coherent thoughts take a vacation the second the doc asks if we have any questions for her!  She surprised me when I pulled out my sheet of paper today (with about 9 questions on it) by pulling up her stool and reading them all one by one, taking time to thoughtfully explain each and every one of them for us.  I had to fight back tears the whole time and ended up covered in hives by the time it was all said and done, which also happens when I am nervous or anxious or both.  The IUI didn't help things either because it had actually been the most painful one I've had to date.  Stupid tilted thing-a-ma-jig aka uterus.

Here were my questions and her answers and hopefully, this will help someone else that might be uneducated and confrused about what the heck is going on down there and why we are doing what we're told to do in the first place.

1.) Does ovulating naturally (without a trigger shot) release only one egg? Dr. S = Not necessarily.  If you have two that are mature, two can release naturally and the same goes with three.  That is why we have you take the oral medicine so that you have as many mature follicles as possible by the time you have an LH surge or we give you an hcg injection.
2.) Does HCG cause more eggs to be released if there are several mature follicles?  Dr. S = Yes and no.  It causes you to ovulate when you're body doesn't naturally.  The reason we let you ovulate on your own is because at times the risk outweighs the rewards in that hcg can cause your eggs to die if they aren't mature enough when released.  When you're not ovulating on your own, obviously that risk is worth taking because the benefits are that you will then ovulate and hopefully one or two will survive.  (this one, i got a little fuzzy on because I thought about it too much so this may not have been her exact response but it's close)
3.) What is actually considered a mature follicle?  I think she said anything over 13 or 14 mm's.
4.) If ovulating naturally releases only the most mature follicle/egg why are we taking medicine to produce more follicles and then being allowed to ovulate naturally, releasing only one egg anyway? ((See above so she didn't really have to answer this one.))
5.) What benefits are there to taking medicine if this is the case (above)?  Dr. S = The goal is to get several mature follicles by the time you ovulate so that you do have a couple of eggs that are released.  
6.) Can we be more aggressive without moving on to IVF? Or is this our next best option?  Dr. S = Not in our case.  Basically, we fall into a grey area in that we are partially unexplained infertility, partially explained by endometriosis.  The possibility of getting pregnant doubles for people with endometriosis during the six months after having the surgery and getting it all cleaned up.  With us, however, it's not really that cut and dry because I didn't have any of the closed off fallopian tubes, seriously effected ovaries or misshaped/deformed uterus that was corrected in surgery.  At this point, it's a waiting game and if it doesn't work in six months or so with what we're doing, we'll have to decide if we want to move forward with IVF to check egg quality and fertilization issues.  My body responds so well to oral meds and I ovulate like clock-work it seems so it really doesn't make a ton of sense why this isn't working.
7.) Why were injectable meds mentioned at our last IUI if not it's not something that would really increase our chances of conception?  (I had gotten excited thinking we were heading in a new/agressive direction and now I feel really let down and like we have hit a dead-end.)  Dr. S = At the time of the last IUI, we hadn't gotten any response out of the Anastrazole.  If we hadn't gotten the response we needed from it this month, she was going to pair it with something to stimulate my ovaries and just let the Anastrazole do it's thing with my lining.  Since we did get the response we needed this time, there is no use in using injectables because getting five or six or more follies is not something they want to see (and I don't either). I just had NO idea that's why she recommended it or why it was no longer something that could benefit us.  I am happy with this answer, most of all.
8.) Do we have any idea why this isn't working or what our problem might be?  Dr. S = Nope.  Hopefully, it's just a matter of time and we do something right and get a positive result.  I have to keep reminding myself we have had one IUI since surgery (even if only slightly increased our chances) and it was working with ONE follicle.  Patience.
9.) Are there any other tests that can be done? Dr. S = You've had them.  Other than retrieving eggs and testing them in the lab/doing IVF, there aren't any other tests to do.  


So, I'm still a mystery....but a smarter one now.  I'm still frustrated but more so at my body than anything else.  I'm still cranky, but mostly just because I'm tired of all of this, depressed that I've gained an extra 10-15 lbs, exhausted from the emotional mess I stay these days and annoyed that I haven't done more Q&A in the past.  I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had thought to ask all of this information on the front end or at least during the past year.

Anyway, she sent us on our merry way today by telling us to take a home pregnancy test in two weeks and let them know the results.  Sure, I still wish I could go to the office and have them draw my blood and then let me know, but I'll do it the ol' fashioned way and POAS like the rest of the TTC community.  She also recommended that I start taking a different Progesterone supplement, one that doesn't cause me to look like Sponge Bob Square Pants.

And to round out this post which has turned into a seriously long novel that could have been delivered in a Trilogy (a la Matrix or Lord of the Rings), I give you (insert dramatic drumroll) my stats, measurements and a few test results.  Yep, I asked for a printout!  I'm such a big girl these days (and I don't mean because I'm chubby now)!

Baseline Ultrasound (I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS MEASURED!!!!!):  Antral Follicle Count 10-20 (read somewhere that this is "normal")

IUI Cycle #1:
Clomid 50 mg x 5 days starting CD 5
3 follicles greater than 16 mm (one was 30)
Endometrium 9mm
10k hcg given
TMC (what's this stand for exactly, I know it's the specimen that was used for insemination) 13 million
Provera 10mg started for 10 days   (this is NOT true - I didn't take Provera, ever....Thanks old clinic!)
BIG FAT NEGATIVE!

IUI Cycle #2:

Clomid 50 mg x 5 days starting CD 3
3 follicles greater than 16 mm
Endometrium 9 mm
TMC 11 million
hcg 10k given at home by hubby
E2 = 254 pg/ml (Estradiol is at a normal level)
THIS is when I started taking Prometrium 3 x's a day on CD 14 but it's not mentioned in my chart.  Thanks again old clinic!
BFN

IUI Cycle # 3:


Clomid 50 mg x 5 days starting CD 5 - I still think I was at CD 7 at this point but devil nurse insisted
3 follicles greater than 15 mm (I had already ovulated at this point though - Thank you old clinic!)
Endometrium 12 mm
hcg 10k after natural ovulation
Progesterone was 8.9 when tested (no clue what cycle day this was though)
Prometrium 3 x per day for 12 days starting CD 14
NO IUI performed, just timed intercourse (the name of which makes me think you're supposed to use a stop watch or something - makes me giggle)
BFN

IUI Cycle # 4: NEW CLINIC
Anastrazole 2 mg x 5 days starting CD 3
Endometrium 9 mm
1 follicle @ 16 mm on CD 12
No hcg given
Motile Sperm Count 39 million
Prometrium 1 x per day for 7 days before eye-bulging incident and discontinued :)
BFN

IUI Cycle # 5:
Anastrazole 2 mg x 5 days starting CD 3
Endometrium 9 mm
3 follicles - 10, 12, 14 mm on CD 12
NO hcg given
Motile Sperm Count 32 million
Progesterone supplement to be started on CD 16
results: TBD

If you hung around this long, thank you and I love you.
Shannon





Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thought Vomit Thursday! Thanksgiving Style!!




Ok, it's Thanksgiving and it's Thursday which means luckily for you, I get to vomit thankfulness all over this place.  Now, in no particular order, here are a few things I'd like to offer thanks for:


  • I'm thankful for feminine products.  Yep.  I said it.  Tampons, pads and panty liners.  Think of where we'd be without them?  Not your ideal situation to be in once a month is it?  
  • I'm uber thankful for my family and all my nephews, nieces and god-children.  I mean those little rascals make me happier than you can imagine.  Just last night, I got a text from my niece that said, "I can't wait to see u tomorrow.  I love you so much!"  I mean really....no matter how bad your day is, reading that just makes it all better.  My mom has been super supportive since I told her about our situation and sent her the link to this blog.  She didn't know much about what was going on until recently.  I'm glad I have her support and her confidence.
  • I'm beyond thankful for my husband and all that he does for me.  This man is one of those men that your friends don't believe in.  The kind that does TONS of housework without ever being asked to do it, sends flowers for no reason, brings me presents when I'm sick or sad, knows exactly how to cheer me up when I don't wanna smile, loves having a houseful of kids that aren't ours on a regular basis, cooks a steak like nobody's business, is gorgeous, tender hearted, sensitive to others and loves me even when I've lost my mind and have no idea which way is up.  He's pulled me back from a dark place on more than one occasion.  I love him with every ounce of my being.  I know how blessed I am.
  • I'm thankful that I live in a country where I'm free to be who I want to be.  I am thankful I have a job that provides me with the money to pay bills, buy food any time I'm hungry, buy clothes to keep me warm and shoes to protect my feet.   Partly, because of where I live, I can have clean water, indoor plumbing, electricity and shelter.  I know not everyone in the US has these things, but because of where I was born, I have a better opportunity than some.
  • I'm thankful for my health.  I know this IF business means I'm obviously not as healthy as I thought I was, but overall, I can't say I am UNhealthy.  My brother faced cancer seven years ago and went through hell for a long time while he fought that battle.  I've never had to face anything like that and I am so grateful for that.  I can see, hear, run, play, carry kids around on my shoulders and do so without pain or complication.  I have very little to complain about, although I do it so readily some days.
  • I'm thankful for my friends.  My IRL (in real life) friends are amazing.  Supportive, hilarious, solid, dependable, trustworthy, loving and always a pillar of strength when I need it even when they are battling their own fight of kids, school, infertility, health issues, etc.  I've had the same best friend since tenth grade and another best friend since seventh.  Some of my "newer" friends I've had for a few years and because we've gone through a lot of the same things, it feels like so much longer.  I really am so appreciative of all my IRL friends...I just wish I saw them more.  :)
  • I'm thankful for my blogger friends.  I know most of you have heard this ad nauseam but because of a lot of you ladies, I have gotten great advice, learned a thing or two that have helped me in my struggle and honestly, felt less alone than I have in years just by reading the posts you've posted about your IF journey.  Many of you have gone on to have little bundles of your own now or are in the process of that now.  It gives me hope.  Keeps me thinking this could work after all.  Because of you, I haven't given up yet.  :)  To those of you still on this crazy ride, hoping for your little baby boy or girl (or both), you have given me comfort and let me know these feelings I have most of the time aren't as insane as I sometimes think they are!  
  • Last but not least, I'm thankful for living in a day and age when technology and medicine allows us to pursue something that we otherwise would not be able to pursue. Hopefully, next year we'll be able to show our gratitude for a healthy pregnancy or baby.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving regardless of what you're doing.  If you're home alone, chilling out, enjoy it!  If you're with your family and friends today, have a blast.  I know we will!!!

Bursting with all kinds of vomitous appreciation,
Shannon

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

To Smite or Not To Smite?

Alright, let's get this update out of the way because I've been putting it off long enough.  Obviously, I shared with you gorgeous ladies (& Doc) that our last IUI failed.  For whatever reason, even though we were hesitant at first to go forward with the IUI after how little response we got out of the Anastrazole, I managed to get myself all worked up into a tizzy thinking that little scrapper follicle of ours was going to produce the most amazing and receptive egg EVER and turn out to be our miraculous and precious lab-love-child.  It wasn't to be.  For reasons that we mortals (as usual) will never understand.  I wish I was one of the enlightened ones from time to time but apparently that dumb-founded look suits me better in His eyes?

With me, I usually only have about three days to be really sad about a failed attempt.  I take a test or have my labs done and usually start that day, sometimes before the labs are even back.  Something about those tests MUST send out the signal and here comes the Goddess of Endometrium Linings in her gorgeous red chariot (sticking w/ the Gods theme?)...  Anyway, back to me being mortally dumb-founded and sad for three days.  I usually start some type of new treatment cycle on day three or day five depending on what we're trying and so the sadness is replaced by acceptance, which is replaced by focus, which is then trumped by determination which then blossoms into hope all over again.  Rollercoaster anyone?  Six Flags has nothing on IF.  Fo' real.

So anywho, I called the RE's office to tell them my test was negative since she had me test at home (which still bothers me because I don't feel "important" enough for them to test me in their office and don't they know I need to feel catered to/pampered?  I want them to stick me and make me bleed and tell me personally that this didn't work!  For those of you that know me, you know why that sounds completely insane - I'm a swooner of the worst kind when it comes to needles, or at least I was in my pre-IF life.) and the nurse called back to let me know they were there if I needed anything and to let them know if we decided to pursue another treatment cycle.  Naturally, I jumped right on board and told her we were definitely interested in the next cycle.  I told her what Dr. S had recommended at our previous IUI (in case it failed) which was possibly combining the Anastrazole with something else or doing Clomid and injectables.  She said she'd call me back after she spoke w/ Dr. S.

She called me back and gave me the kind of news that leaves you dumber-founded for a few days and asking a ton of questions that make you look like a know-it-all and a control-freak all at the same time.  She wanted us to try the Anastrazole again.  Nothing else.  The nurse kept saying how starting injectables takes some time, you have to pre-order the meds, take a class on them, go over payment options, etc. and she kept making me feel like I had been the one to recommend we do that next.  All I had done was tell her what Dr. S told us we might try next!  So of course, I back-pedal and try to explain that I wasn't PUSHING for injectables, she had just been wondering what Dr. S might want to do so I threw out what Dr. S had told us.  Don't you HATE that feeling when someone misunderstands you and the more you try to explain it, the more ridiculous you sound?  Sometimes, well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.  Ugh.

So, I asked her why we were only doing the Anastrazole after my body didn't respond well to it.  She said because it keeps your endometrium thick (triple stripe style) and makes a good environment for the fertilized egg to implant in.  I get that.  But on Clomid, my endometrium was always thick and my former RE always seemed happy that it looked so great.  AND I produced several follicles (which obviously weren't successful, but still).  I just don't understand why we are doing this again with nothing else.  It feels like a filler month while we move on to injectables.  I produce one follie a month on my own.  That's not a problem.  My endometrium is never super thin.  That's not a problem.  So why are we doing NOTHING more aggressive than taking these stupid pills that did nothing for me!?  And then, to beat it all, she said if THIS fails, we'll move on to injectables but only after we know this fails so that's another month of ordering meds and training and blah blah blah.  I wanted to take up the Goddess's tampon shaped trident and smite the nurse through the phone I was so upset!

So, what do you think?  I mean should I have pushed for something more aggressive?  This is our 35th month of TTC.  I'm tired of being so passive.  We aren't monitored much, the nurse told me to take an OPK and once positive to schedule my IUI for the next day and I had to ask her if we could have an ultrasound on day 10 or 11 to know how well the Anastrazole was working this month.  I just feel hung out to dry or something.  Am I being too sensitive here?

I've been a good patient though and I have taken my stupid friggin Anastrazole every day like a good girl and do my best not to get more depressed about the whole situation.  Sadness hasn't really turned into acceptance which will hinder focus and determination from making an appearance and probably erase hope completely this month.   So, I've decided this mortal stuff sucks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

BLOG AWARD!!!!


My friend Sarah over at Baby Talk gave me my first blogger award today!  I am so excited!  Liebster is German for "favorite" or "beloved".  I feel so loved!  Thank you Sarah!  SO, without further ado, I am passing this on to my 5 of my own favorite or beloved blogs.


  • Jennifer over at A Journey of Babysteps who is not only a REAL LIFE friend, but a blogger friend as well.  Follow her on her journey to motherhood through adoption.  
  • Josey over at My Cheap Version Of Therapy who I already love to bits and pieces for how encouraging and supportive she is!  (Josey, I'm working on replying to your comments-I love you for every one of them!)
  • Oak at The Elusive Embryo / Acorn Chronicles has to be one of the most sarcastic, tell-it-how-it-is (or should be
  • Elizabeth at Many Many Moons because she is pretty much my twin (and she IS a twin already) with her injuries and accident-prone self.  Thanks to her, I have most of you.  :)
  • Natalie at I Was Told There Would Be Pajamas because she cracks me up and was my first and only internet girlfriend.



I hope those who win will keep the love going around!  Here's how!  Repost to your site, thank the person who awarded you, choose your top five favorite blogs and then hopefully, they will do the same!

I love you all for following me and I hope that we continue to connect!  Give these girls above a look, you won't be disappointed, they are AMAZING.

Till next time,
Shannon

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thought Vomit Thursday! (All the cool kids are doing it)

Jumping right in....

  • I know I should stop saying, "All the cool kids are doing it" in my post title, but it auto-populates and I don't want to take the time to undo it.  Although, by the time I'm done typing this sentence, I could have fixed it three times.  Oh well.
  • I had an awesome visit with my dental hygienist today.  Well, at the dentist in general actually.  After our uber shocking (insert sarcasm) negative pregnancy test, I decided it was time to take care of some things I've been neglecting.  I was thinking this would help distract me.  So, I started with the important stuff.  Teeth.  They had a cancellation and were able to fit me in this morning at 9:15.  The lady at the front desk (who sounds like one of those actresses who is faking a southern accent because it's SOOOO strong) handed me a "new patient" form to complete b/c they have to get them updated once every couple of years and I was due.  She also handed me my old sheet for reference sake which I thought was awesome in case I forgot an allergy or a surgery date.  SO, I start filling it out and the first question under the medical section is, "ARE YOU PREGNANT?"  SO, I very deliberately checked NO.  Then a few questions later it asks, "What medications are you taking?"  I thought, "Crap, I need a bigger piece of paper for this!"...  So, I sighed and started filling it in.  Next question was "Why are you taking this medication?"  So, I snarled and wrote why: Infertility.  Then I thought I'd check my old sheet to see what the OLD Shannon was taking.  Naturally, "Birth Control".  My reason for Why?  "NO BABIES FOR US YET!"  Really, Shannon?  REALLY?  Such a friggin schmuck.  (does that apply? I never know what a schmuck really is, but I am sure it applies here!)  I checked the date on the old form.  January, 2009.  One month before we tossed those BC pills out.  Ugh.  So, I grumbled my way through the rest of the questions and waited my turn to be tortured  The hygienist finally calls me back and what's in her hand?  Yep, my new patient information sheet I just completed.  You can imagine what happens next, right?  Oh yes....it was awesome.  She read over my sheet, flipped it over to the GOOD stuff and then it began.....
Her: Well, since you might be pregnant, we won't do x-ray's today, but you are way past due for those.
Me: It's ok, I'm not pregnant.
Her: Well, you might be.
Me: No, I'm NOT.  I took a test yesterday, I'm NOT.
Her: Oh.  Ok.  (She moves some things around the tray and stands up)
Her: Yeah, I have two friends who tried and tried for years to get pregnant and they are both pregnant now thanks to all that stuff (and references my paper) and I am just SO excited for them!!!!!
Me: Yep.  That's very exciting.  (Insert every single ounce of "Oh my gosh, really lady?!" tone into your voice here)
Her: Yes, it really is.  I think one of them is due any day now, actually.
Me: Well, that's just fantastic!
Her: *Silently to herself but I heard it clear as day* Oh crap.....how am I going to clean her teeth when both of my hands are busy trying to pry both of my feet out of my mouth?
I seriously just wanted to crawl under the chair and cry or die or both.
  • Since I decided to take care of some things that needed to be taken care of (with me), I made a list.  Wanna see it?  Good, here it is.  
    • Dentist (CHECK)
    • Hair Appt (tomorrow)
    • Yearly Visit 
    • Have my eyes checked
    • Have my hearing checked (I have ringing in my ears lately)
    • Massage
    • Chiropractor
  • My 3 year old niece wanted me to call her today on my way home.  So, I did and she was talking my head off about her pink Christmas tree she is going to put up in her bedroom here at my house and how she wants to spend the night with me "to-mario".  In the middle of one of my questions about her new tree, she said, "Bye" and I said, "You getting off the phone?" and she said, "Well, I am finished talking to you now.  Bye" and hung up.  I cracked up.  Silly girl.
  • I have OCD about my fingernails.  They have to be the same length and shape.  My pointers have to match up, middles have to match up, etc., and I compare them several times a day.  More when I'm anxious.  You can imagine this gets a little bothersome and time-consuming since an infertile spends 90% of their time in some form of anxiety; however, my nails look fantastic.
  • Funny story here, which I guess we should share with the rightful person....  I managed to hurt my own feelings.  Recently, I was able to get a little bit of new traffic thanks to Elizabeth at Many Many Moons and for that, I am SO thankful (really, THANK YOU E!).  Just you few new readers/friends have honestly made me feel so much LESS lonely on this journey through infertility.  Through her blog, I came across many new blogs and quickly began following most of the girls that I thought were just super funny and sarcastic (that would be you, dahling).  Somewhere along the way, or maybe she is how I found Elizabeth, I don't recall, but I came across Josey's blog, My Cheaper Version Of Therapy.  I immediately did what I always do when I find someone I really like and read up on her old blogs and laughed/cried my way through a lot of her story.  Like with all of you, I formed a little connection with Josey.  That's what this is about, right?  It's part of what is so awesome about blogging.  I've been following her and her soon-to-be-here "Rockstar" ever since.  Well, at some point about 2 weeks ago, I thought to myself, "Wow, Josey never comments on my blog anymore.  I hope I haven't done something to make her think I'm a jerk or anything."  I love my new friends, ya know?!  And so, as usual, I'd look forward to reading the comments I'd receive on my posts (I swear if I could, I would hoard those things, I love them that much) and wonder now and then if I should email her and ask her if I had commented something on her blog that was offensive or rude.  I mean, all of you show me love on a regular basis and I couldn't shake the feeling that maybe I had offended her specifically or something.  Then yesterday, I realized she doesn't even follow my blog and has never posted on it the FIRST TIME and that I'm an idiot for not realizing that sooner.  *sigh*  How ridiculous is this, really?!  I mean REALLY.  All I can do now is smile sheepishly and scuff my feet and say, "Aw shucks, I feel silly."  So that's that.  Dangit Josey! I thought we were friends! :) Being me is hard.
  • So, we failed at our most recent attempt at having a baby.  Thank you to all of you who sent me sweet messages and emails showing your support.  It really means so much to me.  I don't know what we're going to do next.  I don't know if this is the end of our rope or not, but you know I'll keep you posted and maybe even ask for some advice in the near future.  Just please continue to pray and send positive thoughts our way and I'll be much obliged to do the same.
  • One more thing I forgot to add earlier....In our team meeting today at work, our main manager was there talking about what happens when we don't service our customers the way we should.  She said, "We get sued, we lose our bar license, we lose our jobs, our children starve."  I just hung my head in shame.  I am the ONLY one left without kids of my own or at least one on the way.  Ugh.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Failed Attempt

I am not going to lie.  I'm disgusted.  Another failed IUI.  When will this end?  I am so tired of this whole process.

Please say a prayer for my friend.  She has her own test to take Friday and I am so hoping she gets her positive results this time around.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bulging Eyeballs Could Be Attractive

Spongebob-Squarepants-spongebob-squarepants-24761069-1024-768.jpg
credit
This was me last week...and while I could tell you this whole story in about three sentences, I am not going to because I'm home alone, sitting in front of a cozy fireplace and feel like writing.  Lucky you!

Several months ago, (yes, we're starting way back there) I had bloodwork done post IUI and Nurse Devil-bra (Debra to those who like Satan) called me with this frantic message: "Your progesterone is low.  I have already called in Prometrium for you.  I need you to go right now and pick it up at the pharmacy.  Take one pill immediately, another around six and then again at bedtime.  Take it three times a day."  It was already one or two o'clock so for her to sound so desperate for me to get three doses in that day kind of scared me.  I was new to this wretched game!

I had no idea what Prometrium did or what a normal Progesterone level was.  (I believe when I finally got some answers, I was told mine had come back at 8.)  I didn't know anything about it at all though, because this was literally ALL the information I was given.  I picked up the meds, took it as prescribed and then did a little research.  That's when I found out that it's actually better to take it vaginally instead of orally.  It was Friday afternoon, Devil-bra had already gone for the day and I was stuck to wonder all weekend long about what I should do.  On Monday, I called first thing and left a message.   She called me 9 hours later to let me know she was really trying to get out of there and what was it I needed? I told her I was wondering how I should take the medicine because I had read online (don't you HATE saying that to medical personnel?) that taking it via suppository was more effective than orally because it goes directly to the source, not just increasing the hormone in your blood.  Her response was, "Well, I guess.  We've had a lot of LUCK with our patients taking it orally but if you're having a lot of side effects, you can take it the other way."  Luck?  I don't want luck....I want my best case scenario for success demon woman!  So that's what I did.  Suppository.  Didn't love it, but I did it.

Now, fast forward to our BFN from that cycle.  She calls, tells me what I already know about the negative and I asked her what to do about the progesterone supplement.  She said, "Oh stop taking that, you'll get your period and then call us and we'll set up your next cycle."  End of convo.  Four days later, when I still hadn't started, I was freaked out thinking we actually had a BFP and maybe they had it all wrong.  Again, me = uneducated.  So, I called back.  She finally called back and said, "Oh, yes.  You'll start soon.  Prometrium delays your period by about a week usually."  My response was something like, "I had no idea because NO ONE TOLD ME THAT!!!!!!!"  She made some type of dismissal about relaxing and not getting discouraged about failing to conceive after only two IUI's.  I hung up FURIOUS.  Such an emotional rollercoaster.

So, fast forward to recent months and our other failed attempts.  I've had my progesterone levels checked and turns out, the last time, they were pretty normal but Dr. S (new and fab doctor) told me to take it anyway.  I took it as the bottle directed, three times a day for two weeks.  I noticed during this time, I started having blurry vision here and there and these weird shooting pains through my eyeball.  It was really odd.  Nothing I was too concerned about, but uncomfortable and weird nonetheless.  I never mentioned it.

This past IUI was completed and Dr. S asked me if we had any Prometrium left.  I had Rik dig out the bottle and we went over the dosage.  She told me NOT to take it three times a day, just once per day.  Via suppository, not orally because it's more effective that way.  I could have kissed her.  

So, I started taking it again.  After a few days, I noticed my eye was hurting like before.  Not just a little bit, but a lot of bit.  So bad that I was telling anyone within ear shot that my eyeball was killing me!  I felt like someone was pushing something about the size of a pencil into my left eye right above the tear duct.  Very uncomfortable!  I couldn't figure it out!

I started stressing about it a wee bit.  What if this is a side effect to some of my meds?  What if I detached my retina trying to go to the bathroom after my laparoscopy?  I mean, I was considering everything at that point.  Then I had an epiphany.  I could check the interwebz for an answer!

When I got to work, I checked for possible side effects and sure enough, listed under Prometrium's side effects was "Pain behind the eyes, blurry vision, etc".  I copied it, sent it to Rik and said "AHA MOMENT!" without another thought.  I was just happy I knew the WHAT of the pain.

Rik wrote me back and said, "Call your doctor now, please".  Weird response....why?  So, I went back and re-read what I had sent him.  I had only looked at the side effects, saw the words "pain" and "eye" and was happy.  I missed the whole, "If you experience any of the following severe side effects, please stop taking this medication and call your medical provider immediately" part.  So, I called Dr. S's nurse and left a sheepish message about weird side effects and my eye pain. As if I don't already feel like an idiot every time I'm in there or talking to them, now I have to talk about my eye falling out of my head.

After talking to the nurse and hearing how baffled she was, I felt really silly.  I hadn't taken the medicine that day and was really starting to wonder if I should because technically to me, a little (lotta) eye pain was worth it if it was going to help our situation!  The nurse said she was going to talk to Dr. S and call me back.

Finally, on my way home from work, Dr. S calls me from her cell phone (did I mention I love this woman?) and asks me some questions.  She ends up saying that she did read that the eye pain was a rare side effect and bulging eyes had been reported in a few rare cases but in all her years of practice, she had never seen it in any of her patients.  Of course she hadn't.....urgh.  She told me to stop taking the medication immediately because by that time, if we were preggers, implantation had already occurred and that's what it was so important for anyway.  I thanked her, we got off the phone and then what she said registered with me...... BULGING EYES!?!?  BULGING EYES!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

I literally started to wonder how long the Prometrium would stay in my system and could it continue to cause the eye pain, pressure, blurry vision business and what was the the likelihood that I would end up looking like Sponge Bob Squarepants before it got any better!?

Thank GOD that didn't happen and my eyes have remained in my head, in their sockets where they belong sans pain.  No medicine, no pain.  I cannot tell you how relieved I have been.  I 100% do NOT want to meet my future child looking like Mr. Squarepants.  The kid will be traumatized enough just having me as a mother, let's not add insult to injury here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The love of a child....even when that child is someone else's!

I had my niece all weekend long.  It was awesome to have her over.  She's 11 and ever since she was born, we've been pretty much joined at the hip.  She has my pointy chin, the same head of hair and quite the feisty personality.  I like to tell myself she takes after me.  Even if it's not true.  I love this little girl with a passion fierce.

Yesterday, we had her friend over and we had a great time.  Shopping, dinner, bonfire, marshmallows, movie.  I think she felt completely spoiled because all weekend long, she was the center of my attention and when you have three other siblings, I think that has to feel lovely.  She also has a non-existent biological mother (and honestly, this is a good thing for her and her brothers) and my sister-in-law, her stepmother, has a houseful of kids that she's trying to love and raise.  Sometimes, that one-on-one time is the best gift you can give to a kiddo like Mallory.

Anyway, I overheard her and her friend in the garage yesterday and inevitably, the question came up, as it always does, about whether or not I had any children.  I could have kissed Mallory for her response.  Without hesitation and with a smile in her voice, she said, "Nope.  She doesn't need children.  That's what we're for.  We're her children!" and off they went to draw on the sidewalk.

What would usually hurt me, that question I hear ten times a week thanks to marriage, age and my overall love of everyone else's kids, didn't phase me at all because Mal's response was so genuine and sweet.  She didn't know I could hear them, she just looks at our situation with childlike innocence.  To her, we don't NEED children because we have her and her brothers and sister.

I realized right then and there that no matter what happens in our situation, I will continue to love those kids as I always have, stay focused on their futures and helping out in any way possible when they need me.  They need me just as much as I need them and that's a good feeling.  This weekend was like a balm for my sad soul.  Just hearing her laugh and watching her dance around the movie theatre Friday was better than $600 of therapy.

After I took her home today, she sent me a text that said, "I love you so much.  I can't wait to see you next weekend.  Will you straighten my hair?"....All I could do was smile.  It's good to feel loved and needed even by other people's little miracles.  In one way or another, they are my miracle too.  They bless me more than they will ever know!

Friday @ the IMAX 3D of Puss In Boots
She was super excited.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Choice

There was a comment made to me yesterday that pretty much ruined my whole morning.  It came across a little more harshly than intended, but it still stung because let's be honest, we infertile's are sensitive.

I was talking to a friend about someone else we know who is going through infertility treatments and how they were strapped financially but because she coupons, they were able to survive through the tightest times.  This friend of mine (who doesn't like the person I was talking about one bit) said, "Um, I do NOT feel sorry for someone who is struggling because they are spending their money on infertility treatments.  That's a choice she's making!  Feed your family or infertility treatments?  She made that choice to spend all her money!"  After a very deep breath, I politely said, "I disagree.  It's really not a choice for some people."

I understand where she was coming from.  I understand she was saying we CHOOSE to spend our money on these treatments.  It is a choice to spend the money, but what other choice do we have?  If you want to share your life, that bond with a child, see your family grow, your parents hold their grandchild, your husband hold his baby, if you want to find that unconditional love you've heard about and longed for, you spend the money to adopt or get treatments for whatever it is that's ailing you.

It IS an ailment most of the time.  Infertility is an illness.  It's not something you chose to have "happen" to you!  It's usually indicative of a problem you need to have addressed or corrected.  A hormone problem, an immunodeficiency issue, infection, scar tissue, deformities, and on and on.  So technically, it's choosing to correct an illness or problem, or not.  Is it any different than choosing to get treatment for other serious illnesses?  People who don't know the longing, the emotional roller coaster month after month, the hope, the loss, the sadness can't understand.  They may try.  They may think they do...but they don't.  They say things like, "Enjoy your free time!" or "At least you can go out any time you want." or "Come get my kids, that'll change your mind!" or "Just relax!  You are thinking about this too much!"  and every single one of those hurts beyond words.

We've had our fun with our free time.  We've gone out any time we wanted to.  We would love to take your kids and we know it won't change our mind!  We have relaxed for years and that doesn't get you pregnant!  Trust me on this one.

Anyway, back to my story.  This friend of mine happened to realize that the person she was talking to actually fit the same scenario she was talking about and honestly, I saw a physical change in her appearance when she realized she had hurt and offended me.  I know she didn't MEAN to hurt me.  I know she had no ill-intent when she said what she said.  I still decided it was best to end the conversation.  A while later, she came back and apologized if she had hurt me with her comment.  I had already decided that I would do my best to educate her because it was just her ignorance about infertility and the situation itself.

So, I said, "It's ok.  I don't expect you to understand.  It's hard for someone who has never wanted a child so badly to imagine how it feels to think or feel that you will never have a child.  Imagine if you lost your baby right now and tried but could never get pregnant ever again?  It wouldn't be a choice for you either if you thought you could fix the problem.  There are days I would gladly go without food if it meant having a child of our own!"  Yes, she is pregnant.  Accidentally.  She's 22 years old and extremely naive.  I know these things, yet I couldn't help but try to educate her.

Her response to all of this was, "Oh....really?" and that concludes our lesson for the day.  The student taught the teacher a thing or two with those two words.  I just shook my head and again, ended the conversation as politely as possible.

My morning was shot.  I managed to get it back together by lunch time, but it got me thinking.  How many of you would go without food to pay for your treatments or your medicine?  Is this really a choice? By definition, yes.  "Choice: An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities."

I was pregnant once.  I remember the joy I felt.  The little life I couldn't wait to share with my son or daughter.  I remember that love I felt for my child even though I had no idea who he or she was.  I know what it feels like to know I'm going to be a mother.  I know what it feels like to have that taken away from me.  I can't erase those feelings and I can't forget how good in my soul I felt for that brief period of time.  How could I not try to fix this problem of ours?  How could I ever choose to ignore those feelings?  I can't.  It's not a choice.  Not for me.

In one way or another, I will become a mother.  Rik will be a father.  My mom will babysit her grandchildren.  My best friend will get to love my little one.  There's no "choice" about that.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thought Vomit Thursday! (All the cool kids are doing it)

I saved up this week and may have gone a little overboad w/ the TVT, but oh well....Hope you feel like you got your money's worth.  I mean this comes around once per week right?  Let's do it.
  • I had a stinky armpit today.  Singular.  I don't even know how that happens or why, but I had to approach people from my left side all day.  I'm sure they thought I was trying to be all sorts of languid and regal, but I was really just trying to save their nose hairs and my hygienic reputation.  
  • I had a thought Tuesday.  Yes, just one.  I feel like LIFE is a stop light.  Sometimes, I'm sitting still, impatiently waiting for something to change so that I can tear off again, rushing towards my destination.  Other times, I feel like I'm slowing down or speeding up to make it to the next point in our journey, hoping I don't get stuck waiting again.  And then for what seems like just a little while, for a brief moment, I'm hammer down, pedal to the metal, full speed ahead hoping it's nothing but green lights as far as the eye can see.  All the stopping, going, waiting...It's interesting to think that a stop light is set up on the exact same timer all the time, day in, day out...gotta be boring for the stop light....which brings me to my next point....
  • I form relationships with inanimate objects.  For whatever reason, I think they have feelings.  I feel guilt over leaving a piece of cereal in the bag when I'm tossing it away.  I've been known to dig a bag back out of the trash and remove a single mini-wheat all because I was wracked with guilt over how unwanted it must have felt.  I can't put a product back on the shelf at the grocery store if it's damaged because how would I feel if no one wanted me just because I'm a little banged up and slightly damaged goods?
  • I told a dyslexic person I didn't care if they didn't like to read aloud today and that they needed to do it anyway before I remembered she is dyslexic and has a very hard time reading out loud, especially when she's nervous.  Doh!  I feel like such a jerk!  It's bothered me ALL DAY LONG.  I hate when I do insensitive things, even when it's accidental!  
  • Why would anyone ever go into a fast food restaurant without their shoes?  We went into McDonnie's yesterday and there was a guy just standing there, sipping his super sized soft drink with no shoes on.  He remembered a hat, but not his shoes?  And I didn't get the vibe he didn't have any, just that he didn't want to take the time to put them on.  It was just gross.
  • Blogger keeps taking away the photos I post on my blog even though they are MY photos.  Why is this happening?  I want you guys to see the pictures, that's why I post them!
  • I found an email last night that my husband and I exchanged back in 2006.  It was a couple of days before I moved out to Colorado to live with him for six or so months and I hadn't seen him for weeks at that point.  They were the sweetest emails.  It's crazy to see where we are now and how far we've come in these past five years.  I love how much we still love each other.  Young love is so cute and I'm glad I saved those emails.
  • Embarrassing situation - Rik knows the receptionist at our new RE's office.  He previously coached her son's select baseball team.  That donation drop-off for our next IUI is not going to be comfortable for my super proper, very private husband.  Say a prayer he doesn't trip on his way up to the counter.  
  • We went through 8 or 9 bags of candy on Halloween.  Rik had to make an extra candy run and that was with us only giving each child ONE piece!  We had a ton of trick or treaters.  SO many, in fact, that we just sat with the door open, in a chair with the bowl on our laps to accommodate the steady stream of children, teens and yes, some adults (ridiculous!).  My favorite of the night was the little ninja who literally ninja'd his way across the yard to our doorstep by ducking and covering behind mailboxes, front-rolling behind trees and deer sprinting across our lawn to finish in grande style by leaping gingerly onto the porch, landing in a fighter's stance and saying, "Trick or treat!?" very threateningly.  I loved it that he took his costume THAT seriously....it was awesome!  Oh! and the little army men who army-crawled their way up our neighbor's hill were hysterical too.
  • I'm wordy. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The "What If" Post - A Post I Never Posted

This was in my drafts from January 6th, 2010.  For whatever reason, I didn't feel "ready" yet to post it and I guess I never got back around to it.  We were only about 10 months into TTC and a week past our miscarriage.  I think deep down, I already knew we were in for a ride.  My opinion on fostering has evolved a little bit now simply because of our mental/emotional state with wanting children.  It's still something I want to do someday, but I don't know that it's right for us right now.  Anyway, here are my thoughts from almost 2 years ago.

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So, everyone we know either has a kid, is having a kid or just had a kid. We're "behind" so to speak. And I think what's funny about this is that I was never "ready" to have kids before and now that I am, I feel like my time is running out and I'm way past due and the thought of raising a baby now is exhausting. A welcome exhaustion, but still...exhausting!

How can you go from being unready to past ready in the span of a year? ha! Like 30 is suddenly so far gone that my aged womb could never carry one child, much less several. ((Not that I'm asking for several here, for the record)) Anyway, the point is that all of a sudden, we want kids and it's not like you snap your fingers and say, "Ta da! I wanna baby!" and there it is.

You've spent years and years and hundreds or even thousands of dollars preventing what you surely thought was going to happen to you if your significant other so much as looked at you the wrong way, only to find out it's pretty dang hard to get yourself knocked up! It's amazing how all these "accidents" happen to people! We couldn't have been more wrong in our thoughts that getting pregnant was the easiest thing in the world to do! (Well, let me be clear here, some of us couldn't be more wrong, others are blessed with little ones they never asked for or planned for all because they skipped their pills for a month or took some antibiotics!)

Anywho, when it comes to planning a family, there are so many things to THINK about....to weigh out, to measure I suppose you could say. I don't think you can ever be "ready" for a baby but you can quantify a certain readiness that I would be ok with, I think. That's where we are now. And the trying part, while that's not difficult at all, is somewhat like bungee jumping. Not the act itself mind you, but the whole scenario seems to play out like a very exciting and scary outdoor adventure....like bungee jumping.

It's a free-fall into the unknown and then you're pulled back to reality only to fall right back into the unknown again. It's exhilarating and then scary and then exciting and then it's over and you just hang at the end of the rope until your feet touch the ground again. Then you go up and do it all over again.  Month after month.

We've not been "trying" to get pregnant for very long by most standards (10 months or so) but when you've put off trying for so long in order to get all the fun trips and so forth out of the way, it's frustrating to sit where I am almost a year later and still not be pregnant. It's kind of like ticking off one more year we don't have to build a family with. It makes me a little angry with myself for not getting started sooner. Then again, I don't look at the time we spent enjoying our relationship together as wasted so I won't go that far. But it's still a little frustrating.

By the same token, I hear these stories where people, close friends of ours, have tried for years...sometimes six, seven even ten years and still, no baby for them. It's their only wish in life for themselves. It breaks my heart for them because I can't imagine what they feel month after month. It scares me in a way because I think, "What if that happens to us?" or "What will we do if we keep trying for another year or two and still aren't where we wanted to be?" I know it's not always about what WE want or where WE think we should be in our life, but sometimes the controlling part of my persona rears it's ugly head. What can I say? I worry.

I don't feel that I should even begin to complain because God has already blessed us so much in our life together, it would seem so ungrateful of me to sulk and pout over something I cannot understand or change. It's just one of those situations where I'm helpless and wonder how people try to have a baby for that long without going insane.

I know this is a more personal post, but it was on my mind and so I decided to write about it. I know others are probably dealing with similar situations on a much grander scale, but this is my weight to carry and if it's heavy right now, I need to talk about it. So, I am.

When my husband and I first began talking about marriage and our life together, I told him I had always wanted to foster a child. Mainly because I wanted to take a few kids out of a system that seems so corrupt. I wanted to make a difference for just a few of those kids that can't do anything for themselves but deal with the hand they are dealt. The abuse so many of the children in foster care are subjected to just eats at me all the time. We decided that we'd wait until we had our biological children first.

I wonder if that's such a good idea now. Maybe we should just help others and let what God has planned for us fall into place.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Not-So-Hostile Take-Over - Hubby Style (again)


So, Rik's back with a brand new edition and honestly, he had it ready before the weekend last week but I had to post something from me before posting another one of his or else it would then be HIS blog and we just can't have that now can we?  So, here he is....again, rocking my socks off.

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There probably isn’t a perfect way to feel about things, but there are some things I’ve felt throughout the process my wife and I are going through. Sometimes, the “observation deck” from which I’m watching everything is miles away from my wife’s observation deck, so much so that we end up seeing things from entirely different viewpoints. Other times, we’re standing shoulder to shoulder (well, my elbow to her shoulder).
Point being is that I don’t always feel the obvious things about all this.  Details, for example. I don’t typically dig to deeply into them.  “Oh, you’re having an IUI? Cool.” What I take this to mean is that there is a non-surgical procedure where the doctor will use a long skinny squirt bottle to shoot my boys up inside.  Shouldn’t take 2 minutes, right?
But I don’t think about the psychological effects.  Personally, I have no problem with getting assistance to put my fellas in the best spot possible to do their job (yob).  That doesn’t feel like a failure to me, or doesn’t make me feel like any less of a man.  It’s just one step in the process.  The ends justify the means.  And that could be where my wife and I end up looking at things from different observation decks.  The means are definitely important to her, especially since she’s the one that must endure said means. 
Cramping, bleeding, swelling, discomfort.  Naturally, I don’t want my wife to suffer those things.  But, since I don’t dig into details very often, I don’t always know all of these byproducts and side/after effects of having an IUI done on you.  Now that I know, I do feel a little differently about putting my wife through that.  Actually, after the trauma of the first one, and seeing how utterly miserable she was BEFORE the procedure, and then seeing the aftermath, literally made me state, “We’re not doing another IUI” to her.
Not doing another IUI.
That took a minute to sink in…for her.
She thought I had changed my mind about us trying to get pregnant through the fertility clinic.  She thought I was pulling up anchor and heading off to deeper seas to sail around for a while.  She thought we may never have kids together.  And all I meant, really, was that if the IUI process was going to be this emotionally and physically traumatic, then I cannot ask her to go through that again…but we’d find another way to achieve our goal.
I guess my “feelings” on this stuff is that if we have no better options, then we just have to go through with it – whatever that may be.  The endo surgery, for example.  I actually did a little research on that, but never real put myself in the shoes of having to go through it.  No, I didn’t like the idea of a probe going in through her belly button, but I never thought that she might not ever wake up from that (as mentioned in my last post).  It was just a step in the path along our way.  Just grab the ball, put your head down, run hard, and keep running until you reach the end zone (um, football analogy there – just kidding – I know you know it was a football analogy). You ignore the hits and the cracking of pads (bet you though maxi pads there, didn’t you? Stick with football just a minute longer) and keep fighting through the pain to make it to the goal. Period (um, not THAT period).
I do feel some anger, though.  Angry that it wasn’t easy.  Angry that it still isn’t easy.  Angry at that damn nurse at the other clinic that really and truly seemed to ruin everything.  Angry at seeing my wife become someone else’s science project…and sad about that, too, really.

~Rik




One in the ovary is worth two in the...no, wait...um....

So, got my scan on yesterday at the doctor's office.  It showed me what I was already expecting.  No, not expecting like that, expecting as in I just knew it.  I've gotten so accustomed to seeing the ultrasound machine images of my girl parts that I knew exactly what she was (or wasn't) seeing.

See, in the past, when they've done our scan, we've gone through the measuring of the endometrium lining - which was just mediocre since Clomid tends to thin your lining out a little bit - and then onto the ovaries.  It's a routine all infertile couples go through and figure out and grow accustomed to seeing.  How many of you think you could do your own scan at this point?  Well, with a little help unless you're like Gumby.  Anyway, through the grainy black and white, you're able to distinguish your triple stripe, then the dark circles come into view and you can almost immediately tell what you're going to be dealing with for that cycle.  It's reassuring to see those little black blobs show up because you know that something is working properly for a change.  At least that is how I feel.  Usually.

On Clomid, my body responded well.  No hot flashes, no mood swings, nothing.  I've actually felt happier while on Clomid.  Odd huh?  Dr. S thought so.  Anyway, we've seen follies as big as 33 mm across.  We've seen them as small as about 11 mm.  We've never seen less than three follicles that were "mature" and once, I think we had about five that were good, mature, healthy possibilities.  I've always been pleased with that (other than the scary big #33).  So, there I sat (laid) yesterday, on CD11, looking at the screen, seeing my ultra thick, luscious lining (ok, so the Anastrazole did do that right) and just waiting to see if my body had liked the new medicine as much as the old medicine.  She went straight to the right ovary and the black and white grainy business never changed...just more black and white graininess.  She wiggled the DC around and finally, two little marbles appeared that were just tiny.  She didn't even measure them they were so small.   She said something about the right ovary not looking too promising and moved over to the left side.  After just a second, our one follicle popped up on the screen.  Nothing too dramatic, it measured about 16mm on CD11 so in another few days, who knows where it'll be.  We've had two follicles in the past grow about 6-8 mm overnight so we're hoping this little follie will grow a little more, but not too much.

Rik says he feels pretty good about this little guy.  He even tossed out the idea that maybe he is just such a tough and scrappy little follie that he ate the other follies and he's the last one standing.  King of the hill style.  I couldn't help but smile.  My husband knows just what to say sometimes.  Dr. S asked us to pee on a stick the next few evenings and once we come up with a positive OPK, we can either do another IUI and hope our one follicle is a good one (it only takes one) or she can give us our trigger shot and we can do the IUI then.

Here are my thoughts (as if this whole novella isn't already full of my thoughts), I don't know if we should drop the moolah on an IUI when we had such a poor showing of follicles (no offense to my one little scrapper) because technically, couldn't I do this much on my own?  How much will it tip the scale in our favor?  I have no problem ovulating.  It's getting the two key ingredients together to make an...um.....omelet maybe?  What takes two ingredients? ok, I can't think of a good food analogy here, but you get the point.  Something fantastic.

Maybe I've just answered my own question though....I love blogging.  The IUI would give those two key ingredients their best chance to get together and make something wonderful.  Since that seems to be the problem, maybe the IUI is the answer.  Especially if in the past, the endometriosis was making this process tougher and has now been eliminated.  I was just feeling like we should try on our own, call this month a loss and jump back in with both feet next month.  While we're dropping the money on this, I want to give us our best chance possible, ya know?

ergh...I don't know what to do.  Rik said he thinks if we don't do this cycle just because of the money factor, we'd regret it later and he's probably right.  It does just take one egg.  And it's not like the other months (with all their glory) have been successful.  I do find it ironic though that my left ovary is so active.  Always the bigger producer, also the one with the cyst and now 3 weeks after surgery on it, it's our only shot.  Show off.

So, what do you ladies (& Doc) think we should do?  I need some advice.  Also, Dr. S said that for next month, if we're unsuccessful this month, we'll either go back to Clomid and some type of injectable or do the Anastrazole in combination with something else.  I don't remember exactly what she said though because once she said "injectable" I pretty much heard nothing but horror film music the remainder of the visit.''   Ugh.  Solo pronto!  I guess....

In other news, Rik has already finished a new post for all you gals (& Doc) but I had to post this before I posted his so that I don't feel like such a slacker.  Also, all grammatical errors can be chalked up to the fact that THIS little lady won't stop pawing my arm and dropping her ball on my lap.  How can I resist this face?


Tess is a jealous creature.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Blogger - The Hubby Tells All (or at least some)


Alright Lady Bloggers (& Paul), my sweet hubby went out on a limb here and shared his feelings (gasp!) with all of you so that maybe you could share it with your hubby or someone who is going through IF and might need a little company.   Show him a little love.  He'll be writing more very soon because he didn't really get to write much of anything he really wanted to write about.....how well we all know that feeling!  It's what keeps us coming back.  

So, without further delay, meet my fella, Rik.  

I love this man.


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This article is geared towards guys who are going through the non-fertility experience.  My wife and I have been going through it for a while now, and she has asked me to write some thoughts from my perspective on the whole deal.  Not really sure where this will end up, by the way, but maybe something here will be useful.

First, I'd like to share a quick story.  My wife, Shannon, had to face one of her biggest fears very recently.  Namely, exploratory surgery on her girl parts (laparoscopy and hysteroscopy - Google them).  Yep, she was freaked out about it for at least 4 days prior (probably more, but she kept it bottled up pretty well if so) and we went through countless "what if" scenarios.  My job was to convince her that no, her abdomen will not explode and that yes, I will definitely still find her very attractive after it's all said and done.  But, to be honest, some of her fears gave me a little spook as well (although I kept that to myself).

So, anyway, after a few sleepless nights, we found ourselves sitting in the waiting room.  She was fully decked out in her hospital gown and kick-@ss hospital socks, kicked back in the chair and waiting to be taken back.  This was big. She was certainly terrified.  Terrified of being put to sleep. Terrified of what they might find - or, actually, what they might NOT find.  We wanted endometriosis to be in there because that would mean there was hope for us to get knocked up, and that it was the endo that was the culprit.  But still, this was big and pretty scary for her (and, ok, I was nervous as well).

In my mind, I figured she'd freak out when they came to take her back, throw some punches around, latch on to the arms of the chair and just refuse to go.  This idea couldn't have been farther from the truth.  She stood up when they came in, made some sort of joke about walking the halls with her backside exposed, smiled really big, kissed me as she walked by and said "See ya later."  That was it.  That was that.  Off she went.

Surgery was supposed to take between 30 to 90 minutes, tops.  I was prepared for this.  What I wasn't prepared for was the phone call I got from the Operating Room.  It had been a while since she'd gone back there, so I thought this was the call saying she was in the recovery room.  Nope.  This was a call to say, "Hey there this is Nurse Suchensuch from the OR...just wanted to give you a quick call...to let you know that it's taking longer than expected...due to poor visibility."  Poor visibility. Poor visibility?  So I asked the nurse, "Poor visibility?"  She said yes.  "What causes that?" "Hold on" she said, and put her hand over the phone.

I heard muffled voices and then she came back to restate, word for word, what she had already told me.  This concerned me.  I said, "Okay" and we hung up.  And now the mind starts racing.  You know that feeling you get when you know you're being lied to?  Yep.  Had that feeling.  Actually, I knew she had just lied to me, because why would she call to tell me something so meaningless?  I interpreted it to mean, "Hey, things are not at all what we planned for down here, and the doctor is still working and yes, your wife is still alive, we think, but we have some problems down here that we didn't expect and hopefully, if all goes well, neither you nor she will know the difference."  Not good. (By the way, she WAS lying to me. The reason it was taking so long was due to way more endo than the Doctor had expected, as well as some on an ovary...which makes it pretty serious. Poor visibility, my @ss).

For the next 45 minutes, I admit to you that I was scared.  What if she dies? Never considered that. What if they have to take out her ovaries? Never considered that.  What if she doesn't make it out of the OR?  I don't sit around at home on rainy days and think about these types of what-ifs, but a couple what-ifs were currently kicking my @ss in that waiting room.

Thankfully, the doctor came in a little later and first words out of her mouth were "She's ok."  I don't remember much of what she said to me from that point, but it involved photos and some pretty crazy stuff.  Truth be told, I was pretty shaken up.  Didn't expect that. Not at all.

And so, here are two points I'd like to make.  First, my wife is much more brave than I could have ever imagined.  Second, I'm not as bullet proof as I once thought.  What do these two points mean?  I don't know, probably, but I think recognizing both points are crucial to "the guy's portion" of the non-fertility process/experience/mind-bomb.

I have made progress on sharing my thoughts and feelings on things with Shannon, even though there is still room for growth.  But, recognizing and acknowledging to my wife that I am impressed how brave she has been through this whole cluster, and that she is showing strength that is truly admirable, can make a huge difference.  Think about it - think about how many different times you have said to yourself, "Man, I'm glad I'm a guy."  Women definitely got the short end of the stick, but they really, really, really, really get the short end of the stick (actually, make that the "sharp" end of the stick) in this whole non-fertility thing.  All we have to do is make sure we get as much as possible into the cup.  Damn, I'm glad I'm a guy.

To the second point (I ain't bullet proof), it probably is important to avoid the whole Macho Man Randy Savage (RIP) approach.  You can't bulldoze your way through this.  You can't put on that stone face and hit the mute button.  You need to acknowledge, to your wife/pincushion, that you aren't immune to the left field emotions that crop up during this stuff.

Combining these two points will bring you and your wife closer together in that she is getting stronger and you are getting...well...more open to being, well, less of a robot, I guess.  At any rate, it will help you both feel like a stronger team in this, and it does make it easier - on BOTH of you.  You still have to man-up and pick her up when she's freaked or worried or emotional or just pissed off at you in general.

Now that this article is ending, I had a ton of other things to say but...it is what it is.  Good luck and go kill some rabbits! (that means go get her pregnant, by the way).
- Rik