Posts Tagged ‘TTC’

You’re Infertile? Ok, Take My Dog

Wow–it’s been almost a month since I last posted.  I’ve wanted to.  I’ve also wanted to comment on more of your blogs but. . .

I just couldn’t.

Maybe because I’m bitter, maybe because I’m sad.  Maybe I am trying not to give infertility the dominant place it has in my life.  If I don’t talk about, if I don’t blog about it, maybe it won’t exist.  I’ve actually done a decent job of convincing myself of this the last couple of weeks.  It isn’t healing.  It isn’t strength.  It’s about denial and that’s the safest place for me right now.

Don’t get me wrong–I’ve endured endless FB pregnancies, real-life pregnancies (including my best friend) and have had babies rubbed in my face constantly.  I don’t fall to pieces.  I just feel detached.  Like none of it is real.  I suppose this is better than the alternative–emotional breakdowns and constant tears.  The only place I really cry is church when a baby is baptized.  That gets me every time.  It absolutely tears my heart to pieces.

Today, though, the sadness returned.  I talked to my best friend last night who is pregnant with number two.  She is one of the few people who knows about my trouble TTC.  We chatted a lot about work and her impending baby (impending baby–lol–I have no idea where that came from).  I know she means well and really has no idea the extent of the hell I’ve been living through, but did she really have to mention that this was an “oops baby” that was conceived because she was on antibiotics?  Did she really have to tell me that it must have all been part of God’s plan because it wasn’t something she had planned for herself?  I honestly love her with my whole heart, but after she put God into the equation, I felt like I had been stabbed.

In other news, my husband and I have had some canine and feline issues lately.  Not with our own animals.  Other people’s animals.  For the sake of loyalty, the identity of the people in question will remain anonymous.  To give you a quick back story, we have three animals: two small dogs and a cat whom we cherish, love, and spoil.   They are a handful at times, pee/poop on the carpet and do other insane things, but they are our world.   Recently, we found out that for reasons that I can’t go into, certain “people who we are very close to” are having issues with their own pets.  For some reason, these people thought it would be fitting for my husband and I to take in their dog and cat.  After all, we are childless.  We must be overly eager to  nearly double our pet population in our tiny town-home, right?  After throwing thousands of dollars down the drain on IUIs and medications, we surely must be rolling in the money to care for more animals, right?  If we gracefully decline the offer of a pet surely we must be cruel and selfish people, right?

God knows my husband and I love animals.  We can’t stand to see them mistreated or hurt.  But. . .why is it our responsibility to constantly pick up the slack of others?  Pets are blessings, but they are also commitments, just like, dare I say it, children.  You have to take the good with the bad.  Trying to guilt someone into taking the pet you no longer choose to care for is just plain wrong.  I used to let people guilt me into things.  All the time.  Over little things.  Over big things.  However, things changed somewhere between IUI#3 and IUI#4.  I learned I can’t save the world.  I just can’t.

We managed to get out of having to take the dog.  Strangely, it felt like an enormous victory for me.  I am so used to things not turning out right for me, I am shocked when something actually goes my way.  It feels 100% utterly amazing.  Like I have a sliver of control in what happens in my life.  Of course there is a lot more to this story (my husband actually committed us to the dog a few weeks before without my agreeing to it–boy, did he get in trouble with me for that one) and the verdict is still out on the cat.

And to end on an even crappier note, I just passed my 2 1/2 year mark of TTC.  Happy freakin’ anniversary!  Maybe I’ll celebrate by buying some Pre-Seed and ovulation test strips.

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The Party is Over (or is it?)

Two posts ago I was celebrating a break from TTC–no OPK’s, no scheduled sex, and most importantly no doctor visits.  Well, that break is officially over.

CD1 came about one week early and I am a bit surprised.  Not surprised that I’m not pregnant, but surprised at its super-early arrival.  With Femara, I have a 27-28 cycle.  Without it, I am about 25-26 days.  This cycle was only 21 days.  I guess it could have something to do with the progesterone and Follistim I took two cycles ago, but who knows?  Just something else to scratch my head over.

I had planned to go back to Mr. Re since I took a month off.  AF’s early arrival actually has made it easier (work-wise anyway) for me to do another IUI this month. 

But, like before, I am financially strapped.

I feel so bad.  I can’t even scrap together enough money for one IUI cycle with injectables.  Not if I want to have gas to drive to work, make a car payment, buy food, and pay a student loan.

But. . . I am the teensiest bit happy, because this means I get to take another BREAK!!!

I won’t be going on a fabulous vacation, taking up any new hobbies, or partying like it’s 1999.  I will just be trying to be me.  I will be trying to find the me that I used to be.

However. . .and there is always a however. . . I will be getting bloodwork done Friday.  For whatever reason, I have not had my FSH or AMH tested (in case you don’t know, these tests measure your ovarian reserve).  Of course, I have asked my RE before why I have never been tested and he says it is because the results don’t really change the treatment.  I guess I see his point, but if my only path to pregnancy is IVF, I don’t want to waste any more time or money on IUI’s or other less effective treatments.

So I have persisted, and he has agreed to run the tests.  I am scared though.  Maybe I am opening Pandora’s box and don’t want to know the results.  Maybe I have been kept in the dark for a reason.   

At least I will get the results on Friday for the FSH and Estradiol (the AMH takes 10 days).  I could really use some good news. 

 

The Truth About an HSG (according to me)

What do a catheter, a clamp, and a balloon have in common?  If you said they are medieval torture devices to determine whether your Fallopian tubes are open, you are correct!

I’ve seen a lot of posts lately about the sometimes dread HSG, also known as a hysterosalpingogram.  Kinda has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  Hystersalpingogram.  Who wouldn’t want one of those? 

I actually had mine last June.  I remember being only slightly nervous about it.  I had heard that the procedure might feel like having menstrual cramps and was advised to pop a Midol or two before the procedure. 

I am a very literal person.  If you tell me to expect menstrual cramps and to take a Midol, I am going to expect menstrual cramps and take a Midol.  This is my downfall.

Like I said, I was only slightly nervous and my ob-gyn actually seemed more afraid for me than I was for myself.  I attributed this to her being a super-nice person who was genuinely concerned for my well-being.  After I was on the table in the you-know-what-position, she put the speculum in which really didn’t bother me.  Then came the catheter (or was it the clamp?).  Getting it in was something of a challenge.  It definitely felt like it didn’t belong there, but it was only slightly uncomfortable.  After some maneuvering, she asked me to cough.  I thought to myself,  Why in the world does she want me to cough?  They are not x-raying my lungs.  I would later find out that the doctor wants you to cough because she has to put a clamp on your cervix!  A clamp!!! On your cervix!!!  Do not try this at home! 

Anyway, It seemed like my abdomen was getting more bloated.  Guess this is where the balloon comes in.  By this stage, I wasn’t paying attention as well to what she was saying because I was a bit more uncomfortable, but was not in any kind of real pain.   Finally, she told me that we were getting ready to inject the dye.   

And injected the dye she did and just like she promised I started to feel mild cramps.  And then more cramps, slightly more intense.  Then more cramps, the type that made me wince a bit.  

Then sheer agony!  Just like that!

Even several months later, I cannot find the words to describe what it felt like to have that dye flow through my tubes.  I can only describe it as searing.  It was so bad during the procedure, I involuntarily pulled my knees to my chest (the same thing I did when I was younger when I had cramps) to alleviate the pain.   Apparently, this is a big no-no when they are trying to x-ray your tubes and uterus but I just couldn’t help myself.  Ok, and sometimes I like to be difficult.

Then came the unthinkable thought.  The unforgivable thought. 

It went something like this:  “If this is what childbirth feels like, you can count me out.” 

Of course I don’t mean this now, but for me to have a thought like that gives you an idea of what I must have felt like.

When it was all over, I honestly thought I would be floating up near the ceiling looking down on my battered body, but I was not. 

In all fairness, the pain probably lasted about 30 seconds tops.  Afterwards, I was in no pain.  I just felt like I had started my period and spotted for a few days.  My tubes were clear, though the doctor said that the dye didn’t flow through my left (or was it right?) ovary at first.  However, it did flow freely when they turned me over to my left side. 

I know you are thinking that all of this sounds awful, but did you know that most women have little to no pain at all. I hate these women.   I was just one of those women who should have taken some hydrocodeine or gotten a morphine drip.  

I worry though.  Am I really ok?  I had some major pain so how could something not be wrong?  But, at the same time I don’t think I could ever go through that test again.  Not without being knocked out or drugged up.

I can’t conclude this without being positive so here is some helpful advice:

1.  Bring dark clothing.  I was bleeding-bleeding afterwards and was never so happy to see my dark capris sitting on the bathroom counter.  However, I was not thrilled to see my thong underwear sitting beside it.  Sticking an enormous pad in a thong is not a natural experience, believe me.  Don’t even think about a tampon.  You don’t want anything going back up there for a while!

2. Bring someone with you.  Don’t worry.  They stay in the waiting room.  Trust me, you probably don’t want someone watching the whole thing anyway.  If they do wish to watch, rethink your relationship.

3. Have lots of sex–but not the day after, or the day after that, or the day after that (don’t worry, it will be the LAST thing on your mind).  Your chances for pregnancy increase slightly after the procedure is done.  I didn’t get pregnant but I always have to do things the hard way which explains why I’m still not pregnant.

4.  Don’t curl up into the fetal position during your procedure no matter how badly you want to.  Kick the radiologist instead.  He’s a man and doesn’t have to go through this.

5.  Remember–when your ob-gyn says take a Midol this is really a secret code for pop a Zanax.  You won’t be sorry.

Cycle Day Something

Ask me what I’ve been doing lately.  No scratch that.  Ask me what I haven’t been doing. 

I am proud to say I haven’t:

  • visited Mr. RE for any ultrasounds/blood work/haughty conversations with Nurse Stilletto
  • missed any work due to reproductive issues
  • swallowed a fertility pill or injected myself with a needle.
  • suffered any super-mega-major episodes due to said pills and needles.
  • spent any money on anything fertility related
  • had timed intercourse in the hopes of catching an elusive egg
  • peed on an OPK stick (aka Often Partially Kidding Stick)
  • obsessed endlessly about fertility and which cycle day it is

However, I have:

  • Stopped worrying whether I am having implantation cramps and gone back to the gym already.
  • Taken the time to appreciate what I have.
  • Felt happier than I have in a long time
  • Stopped entertaining thoughts of infertility
  • Stopped replaying the inconsiderate words of rude fertiles
  • Just tried to get on with my life

.

I didn’t seek medical treatment this month mainly for financial reasons–the money (even with decent insurance coverage) just isn’t there.  But I’m ok with that because I feel like this huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders, if only for a month.  I can’t begin to tell you how it feels not to have to drive myself to the doctor, not to request time off from work, not worrying if I had sex at the “right time”.

It takes courage to sit back and do nothing because I have always been the type to feel like I had to be doing something, anything to reach my goal.  To simply throw my hands up in the air is not me, but it sure feels good.  The way I see it, the plans I make, at least according to this area in my life, simply do not give me the result I want, so why make any? 

It feels good just to live my life.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same person I was before all of this, but I know that I want to live. 

I want to be free. 

For now, maybe just now, I don’t have to worry about how this cycle will end.  I just wish it didn’t have to.

Thoughts on ICLW

I just participated in and completed my first ICLW.  I had seen the badges all over  blogs and finally decided to sign-up to see what all the fuss was about.  Plus, I got my own rocking badge, so it was worth it.   At first it was a little difficult to comment on at least five different blogs, not because I didn’t want to, but because the task seemed overwhelming, particularly after a day of working.  The reply task seemed easy enough though, if I had comments to reply to.

I ended up leaving comments on blogs that I was familiar with, not necessarily on the list, and quite a few that were on the list.  Here are a few things I took away from the experience:

1)  Blogspot sure does have a lot of technical issues (maybe the site should be renamed NotBlogspot or Non-Blogger),

2) Quite a few of you are now prepping for the grandaddy of all fertility treatments, the IVF.

3) Many of you are able to stay optimistic despite the lemons infertility has handed you.  (You guys are an inspiration for all of us).

4) A lot of you have found the ability to express the feelings of  loss so beautifully and poetically, you could have a career in writing.

and finally. . .

5) We all have hope.

I met many new women during this experience.  Some who had been TTCing for quite a while, some visiting the RE for the first time, and others who had loved and lost.  Even through the tears and agitation and “funks”, I could read between the lines to discover that these women still have hope. 

It’s been posted on various blogs, but here is the poem by Emily Dickinson, once again:

Hope is the Thing With Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Whether you are into poetry or not, these words will move you.  How many of us have had hope in our hearts?  Sometimes, that hope might be more obvious, bursting in our souls, but most of the time I believe it is silent, but significant.  I believe it’s the glimmer of hope that propels us forward.  Our circumstances might seem dire, but hope has the ability to protect us from an uncertain world, without demanding something in return.

Just as the cranberry thread or bracelet is the unofficial official symbol of infertility, I think this should be the unofficial official poem of infertility.  It is short, sensational, and universal. 

Hope is what I took away from my first ICLW experience.  If you guys have hope, maybe I should too.  Thank you!

Shiny Happy Pap Smears

It’s that time of year again : the dreaded pap smear!  Make me spread myself in stirrups, feel up my boobs, scrape me in a place I can’t see–that doesn’t bother me.  Make me walk in a roomful of pregnant fertiles–my heart travels to my throat and my stomach drops!

Even if I can bribe someone to walk me in blindfolded, I will still be feeling a host of emotions when I go.  It was at last year’s annual exam, that I spoke to my ob/gyn about my difficulties getting pregnant.   Well fast-forward one year and many ultrasounds later and I’m empty-handed and brokenhearted.  Guess what I’m going to be thinking about during my pelvic examination? Let’s hope that my river-crying breakdown/screaming fit with my husband/pets, let it-all-out while driving in heavy traffic episode of the month doesn’t correlate with this appointment.

As much as I don’t want to make this appointment, part of me actually wants to visit my ob-gyn again.  Why?  Read below:

1)  My ob-gyn is friendly and empathetic.  She makes conversation while she’s fondling my boobs, which certainly makes the situation less awkward for both of us.

2) The receptionist smiles (even if it is a fake grin) and says hello.

3) Everything is so shiny, bright, and white. (kind of like a negative pregnancy test–just kidding)

4) The examination room is  girly and cozy.  There are pictures of cool shoes like wedge sandals on the wall and photos of bubbly, happy, blonde babies.  The stirrups even have warm footies (usually in purple or hot pink) on them and you get a full-length cloth gown to cover up. 

Do you see why I’m sold?

Here is a breakdown of my RE’s office:

1) The receptionist (to her credit is polite and friendly), but I feel taken aback every time she slams that glass window shut after I hand her my paperwork.

2) Nurse Stiletto (more on her in another post) is super-organized and knowledgeable, but yet, she is still Nurse Stiletto (sigh)

3) Mr. RE is a nice-enough fellow, knows his stuff, and I sincerely believe does not want to merely take my money.  He answers my questions, but sometimes I need a little more support than just a pat on the back on the way out.  (Yes, he really pats my back.  I guess this is his way of being comforting?) 

4)  The examination room is, well, private, but seems a little dark and yellow.  Instead of a full-length gown, patients are given this half paper-towel gown to cover themselves from the waist down.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have waddled frantically from the bathroom to the exam area, paper clutched around waist, hoping against hope that I make  it to the exam table before the RE walks in.  I mean, he sees my vagina.  Can’t I at least keep the image of my butt sacred?!

I am ready for the shiny and the bright–permanently!  I want girly at all my doctor visits!  I want a transvaginal ultrasound where I see a baby in my uterus!   I want one of those beautiful, blonde babies in the photographs on the wall (ok, maybe not those, per se; they are the ob-gyn’s children and it wouldn’t be nice to kidnap them).  I just want happy.  Is that so wrong?

The Labyrinth

“How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!”

These are famous last words by someone named Simon Bolivar.  Of course I had never heard of Bolivar (well, maybe somewhere) or this quote until I read Looking for Alaska by John Green a couple of years ago.  Here is the entire quote:

 “He was shaken by the overwhelming revelation that the headlong race between his misfortunes and his dreams was at that moment reaching the finish line. The rest was darkness. “Damn it,” he sighed. “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!”

These words, or rather this question, have been on my mind today.  For those of you who don’t know (and I certainly didn’t until I looked it up) a labyrinth is similar to a maze or tunnel–one you get easily lost in.  A labyrinth of suffering, so to speak.

I flipped through some old calendars today to count the number of cycles I have been TTC. 

I am on cycle 29.

 Two years ago, I honestly thought cycle 1 marked the start of a short journey.   Like everyone else, I assumed I would conceive a child in a few months.  I was happy and hopeful.  I think I actually glowed at the mere idea of being a mother.  Now I wonder if I’d even recognize that same glowing girl if I saw her.

Today, I asked myself a question I didn’t think I ever would:  Do I even want a child any more or do I just want my suffering to be over?  If I relinquish suffering, do I have to give up the one thing that would make me complete?

I try to have faith.  I believe in God and I believe in science.   But, how much does one person have to endure?  I’ve got to a point where I am just plain tired.  Tired of the what-if’s, tired of the maybe’s, tired of the unanswered questions. 

I feel so lost in this maze, this place I’m expected to navigate but have never been to.  I keep telling myself that there is a way out–somewhere away from this labyrinth of suffering.   

Happy January–the most desolate, depressing month of the year.