Monday, January 31, 2011

It Takes 2 to Tango

i knew things were going too smoothly.  well, we've known this was a possibility for a few weeks, but we were crossing our fingers and praying that it wouldn't actually happen.  this past week it became official.

B and i are separating for a year...not by choice, of course!  his job needs him on a project in rhode island for the next year.  if i weren't working, going to school, running my photography business, and pursuing fertility treatments, i'd go with him, but with things the way they are...well, ya gotta do whatcha gotta do.  this is a huge sacrifice, especially since we're trying to get preggo, but it's also a great opportunity for him to fast-track his way into management.  besides, with the economy the way it is, if he says no, someone else will say yes and that would make him expendable.  so, in an effort to secure his position and provide for our family, he said yes and is currently looking for housing near providence.

how does this affect our TTC, you ask?  well, we're going to do all we can before he has to leave, but after that, he'll just have to fly home for procedures.  his boss somehow knows we're TTC (he doesn't remember saying anything about it) and told him that they understand this is a huge sacrifice, especially with us working on a baby, so they'll be flexible with his schedule and if he needs to fly home for anything, that would be fine.  of course he'll already be flying home on weekends (or me flying up there), so we'll at least get some time together, but it's kind of hard to make a baby when there's 8 hours of driving between you.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Step 7 Results

3 miles into my 6 mile run on the treadmill, my cell phone rang.  it was casey, my nurse.  she told me that my hormone levels were normal and that my uterus looked good, but those 2 extra follicles could indicate PCOS.  i shouldn't be surprised, since i've suspected that myself (always maintaining a safe distance into denial, though).  now my mantra is "i'm not freaking out. i'm not freaking out."  it's always a blow to hear that there could be something wrong with you, whether it's minor or life-threatening.  as i sat down on the treadmill to cry after i got off the phone (my 1st good cry in about a year-yay me!) my thoughts were racing.  my good ol' use-comedy-to-deflect-pain/fear defense mechanism kicked in.  mid-sob i thought of the endorphins that should be surging through my body at that time and my favorite movie quote of all time popped into my head:

"exercise gives you endorphins. endorphins make you happy. happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't."

my hysterical crying quickly turned to hysterical laughing.  thank you elle woods!  i really needed that.

step 7

step 7 - cd3 blood work and ultrasound - check!

i should be getting the results later today, but i did get a little bit of information from my ultrasound tech (or maybe it was just me reading into what she was saying).  she told me that my uterus looks good. (i think that means it's not misshapen) then she checked out my ovaries. she pointed out the black spots, which i was sure she was going to label cysts, but she said they were follicles. whew! she told me that they like to see at least 5 on each ovary and that my right had at least 10 and my left had at least 12. (i think that means i get an A+)  i'll let you know what the nurse tells me when she calls later today, though. wish me luck!

I Got Some Love!

andrea over at palm trees & rainy days... showed some love by giving me my very first blog award! yay me!

here's how this award works:

1. thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.

2. share 7 things about yourself.

3. award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.

4. make sure you contact these bloggers to let them know about the award

7 things about me...hmmm... ok, here it goes:

1. i'm clumsy, very clumsy, like fall on my butt-phantom bruises-bump my head just trying to get out of the car clumsy.  i don't know how i've survived this long.

2. between B and myself, we have 54 nieces and nephews. with all those grandkids, you'd think there wouldn't be any pressure on us, but i'm not naming any names! ahhhhh-father-in-law-chooo!

3. i am a graphic designer & photographer. i also do artwork on the side and go to night school. i think it may have stemmed from my maternal need to create. (deep stuff, right? ha ha!)

4. i've had baby names picked out since i was 16. one of my sisters used the boy name that was at the top of the list. i guess my parents will just have to deal with the fact that two of their grandsons have the exact same name.

5. i'm training for a half marathon. i've never run one before, but it's on my life list and i thought now was as good a time as any to do it. now, if i can just run it without falling down...

6. i love chocolate, but hate chocolate ice cream! whoever came up with that flavor must have been missing a few taste buds, because they don't taste at all alike.

7. i am completely unorganized and messy. my excuse to B is that i'm an artist and that's just how artists live. his response to that is, then you can live in the closet under the stairs. who does he think i am? harry potter?

i was going to nominate several blogs to also receive this award, but it seems as though someone else beat me to it, so i will just have to second their nominations and award it to everyone else on my blog list that hasn't already received it. can't you just feel the love?!?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Does My Infertility Make You Uncomfortable?

almost everyone who knows me in the real world knows B and i are TTC.  i'm not ashamed of my infertility, so why should i keep it a secret?  i think it's always interesting to see people's reaction to it.  most people have no problem asking when we're going to start trying or why we don't have kids.  but B and i have very different approaches to answering these questions.  my response: well, we've been trying for a while and have come close a few times, but it just hasn't happened for us yet.  we're crossing our fingers that this'll be the year, though! (cue the sympathetic nods)  B's response (he likes to mix it up) #1: i'm allergic to kids.  #2: we're saving up for a lake house. #3: i used to have one, but i traded it for the cats. #4: my parole officer doesn't really think kids are a good idea for me. (my fave!)  some people get that he's joking, but for those who don't have a sense of humor, the looks on their faces are priceless.

people treat you a little differently when they know you're an infertile.  they walk on eggshells around you, or are unable to talk to you about anything other than your "situation", or avoid any conversation with you at all. these are especially noticeable when you've been invited to a baby shower. ugh! the dreaded baby shower, the one place you can't escape your status. everyone throws pitiful looks your way, soothingly pats your arm when presents are being opened, gives you "special" questions during the baby trivia game, asks you how your pets are doing... but, don't worry, the invitations will dwindle and, perhaps, cease altogether.  after all, you make fertiles uncomfortable and who wants debbie downer at their baby shower??  as for me, i try my darndest to put on my happy face and even give the fertiles some advice of my own ("oh, the epidural is the way to go! would you get a root canal with no anesthesia?!?" "i love the name larry. i can just picture it now: baby larry. adorable!" - i didn't say it was necessarily good advice!) and attempt to participate in their stories of poopy diapers and binky dilemmas and even go to the extreme of giving the best present of all, because someday it will be my turn and i want to have lots of friends there with lots of awesome loot for my kiddo(s) and for that to happen, i need all the good kharma i can get! so, bring on those shower invitations! i'll be there with bells on!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What to Expect When You Expect to be Expecting

here's a bit of my own personal brand of humor. even we infertiles need to laugh! as B always says, "anything worth taking seriously is worth making fun of".

  •  lots of blood work (the word "prick" comes to mind)
  • ultrasounds with the ever-popular "magic wand"
  • surprise (and some not-so surprise) visits from good ol' aunt flow
  • a really fun, cramp-inducing HSG (i'm so looking forward to mine)
  • lots of non-spontaneous, romance-lacking, passion-repelling "love making" (remember when it used to be fun?)
  • no more caffeine (goodbye coke zero. you'll be missed dearly!)
  • temp taking, lots of temp taking, along with charting every single dip and spike and any odd sensations or symptoms you may be having (so much for "relax and it'll just happen")
  • unsolicited advice - everybody's gotta get their two cents in, whether you want to hear it or not
  • multiple peaks at your hoo-ha from multiple people: DH, RE, OB/GYN, nurse, ultrasound tech...
  • the dreaded 2 week wait...over and over and over again, usually resulting in tears
  • listening to your DH whine about all the times he has to go in a cup (well, this ain't no picnic for me either, bud!)
  • prenatal vitamins (aka horse pills)
  • sudden rampant pregnancy disorder (SRPD): this is a neurological disorder in which someone suffering from infertility will suddenly see baby bumps everywhere they go, as if pregnancy is a contagious disease that everyone else is catching. symptoms include: staring, obsessing, glaring, crying, pouting, and standing in front of a mirror with something stuffed under your shirt or pushing your tummy out in an effort to see what you would look like with a baby bump
  • gestational hypochondria: usually occurs during the 2WW, where the infertile over-analyzes every twinge, ache, and cramp, convincing herself that they are pregnancy symptoms
  • complete and irreversible insanity

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just Waiting

i finished the progesterone last thursday, so i'm just sitting and waiting for AF to show up. i think she's trying to make an appearance, but is taking her sweet time. hopefully, tomorrow she will arrive and i can call the nurse to set up CD3 blood work and the ultrasound, as well as the HSG for somewhere around CD10 or so. cross your fingers for me! until then, there's not much to report. maybe when i'm not feeling so hormotional, i'll be able to think of something a bit more interesting to blog about. so, now you have something to wait for, too! ha ha!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Step 6

step 6 - S/A (semen analysis) with IUI prep - check!

i told B before i left for work to let me know after his appointment that he was able to drop off his sample on time. (i was a little worried, because of today's foul weather). at exactly 2:06 pm, i got a text from B that read "humiliating, but done." i kind of feel bad for him, because his manhood is in question, but mostly i don't feel bad for him! i'm the one who had to have 13 vials of blood drawn last week, while he only had 2 drawn. i'm the one who has to have dye put up her hoo ha while she lays on an x-ray table. i'm the one who has to have transvaginal ultrasounds and take hormones and probably even have to have injections in her bum! so, yeah, he can go in a cup once in a while. it's only fair...not!

Step 5 Continued & Step 6

step 5 - provera/progesterone - in process

10 days total. i have to take one this evening and only have 2 more days after that. shortly thereafter, good old AF should make her appearance. yay me. actually, i will be really happy to see her this time, because it marks the beginning of the second phase of tests, which will lead to our treatment plan, then our actual treatments and (hopefully) a baby! okay, now i really am excited to see that old witch!

step 6 - S/A with IUI prep - delayed

thank you, mother nature, for sending the snow/ice mixture last night and this morning. that was so considerate of you.

B was scheduled for his test this morning at 8 am, but thanks to the fabulous weather we're experiencing, that didn't happen. i called the clinic to see if we could reschedule for thursday, because i was so sure they wouldn't have any openings later today and even if they did, he probably wouldn't be able to make it in time, because he has a meeting at 10. lucky for us, though, they did have one opening at 2 pm, which should work perfectly with his schedule. so, wish him luck on his test!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Enjoying the Ride

i feel so full of hope today and i'm so excited about what's to come. of course, when i really think about it all, my stomach does flip flops, my head starts to spin, and my palms get all sweaty, but i think it's more from excited nerves than anything else.

i'm feeling a little reminiscent today, as well. i was doing my usual blog-stalking of other infertiles out there when i was reminded of some of the odd things i've done in an effort to increase my fertility. my favorite story would have to be the time we were visiting my BIL and his family in jacksonville, florida. this was about a year after our first miscarriage, which was still haunting me (still does) in a major way. all i could talk about was getting preggo. actually, all i could think about was getting preggo. my SIL, who has had 3 kids with no problems and loves being preggo (just doesn't want any more kids) was thoroughly encouraging me in my obsession. we all drove down to st. augustine for a little shopping at the outlets and the entire ride was filled with this continued dialogue. as most of you know, there is a ripley's believe it or not museum in st. augustine. we weren't planning on going there, but we were driving right past it. remembering that we would be right by it, my SIL excitedly told me about the two statues that guarded the entrance to the museum. she had heard that they were fertility statues and all you had to do was touch one of them. i laughed it off, but secretly hoped it was true. we happened to be stopped at a traffic light right by the museum and i could see them standing there on either side of the gate. they seemed a little ferocious looking to be fertility statues, but i thought "what the heck!" well, that and my SIL practically pushed me out of the car. my heart was racing with the excitement as i ran to them. being rather timid by nature, this was full-on thrill-seeking for me! i pushed my way past the people on the sidewalk in pursuit of just one touch before the light turned to green. i finally made it! i slapped both hands on the belly of a vicious looking guard, sword raised over his head just as the light changed and the people behind our car starting honking impatiently. i frantically retreated to the safety of the car where i was greeted by laughter at my superstitiousness (is that a word?). as it has been 5 years and i still don't have a child, you can guess that it didn't work. the best part of the story, though, is that as i was googling pics of the statues, i learned that those scary statues were the wrong ones! my SIL had confused them with the pair of friendly, south american-looking statues on exhibit in the museum. boy, do i feel gullible! how could i confuse these
statues for these
statues? that's about par for the course, though. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Step 3 Revisited & Step 5

i am just plowing through this process!

step 3 - blood screening - check!

i went first thing this morning to labcorp to have them suck me dry. the nurse couldn't believe the number of tests they were requesting: 13! that's right, 1-3. that means 13 vials to fill with blood. she asked me why i had to have so many tests run, so i told her about how we are going through fertility treatments and they want to screen us for everything first. she then told me that she just found out that she's pregnant on new year's day. i congratulated her then listened as she went on about her morning sickness, the fact that they weren't trying and were surprised, how she didn't want any more after this made me think back to a time not so long ago when that would have really really hurt to listen to, but not now. i was truly happy for her. she did eventually ask about us and how long we'd been trying (we had plenty of time for conversation as the 13 vials were filled). she just "umm-hmm'd" along as i told her about our struggle. "it's gonna work!" she declared as she removed the band on my arm. "i got the faith!" i hope she's right.

step 5 - provera/progesterone - started, but not complete

since my nurse (i love that we have one nurse assigned to us that knows us by name and we can go to with any questions!) called to tell me it was a go on the provera, i started taking that last night. 1 pill a day for 10 days and i should see AF. i know this drill all too well. i think this is probably the 6th time i've had to force AF to show up. the first time was with a shot (luckily, the only time i've had to use that method), which left my rump sore and bruised and my cramps painful beyond belief. i much prefer the pills. my cycle feels pretty normal when i've taken them. anyway, as soon as AF shows her face, i have to call my nurse, casey, to schedule my CD3 blood work then call the clinic to schedule my HSG for somewhere between CD5 and CD12. we're moving right along!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Steps 3 & 4

step 3, part 1 - blood work to screen for immunities, STDs, etc. - postponed :(

i got to labcorp 3 minutes after they closed. seriously, who closes at 4pm?!? i'll go first thing in the morning, before work.

step 3 part 2 - call the financial adviser - check!

best news of the day, actually. everything is covered 100%!!! the only out-of-pocket costs to us will be $10 copays. yes, that includes all diagnostics, IUI AND IVF!!! WOW! i'm still on cloud 9.

step 4 - blood work to test my hormone levels - check!

i went into the clinic at 7am for this, which is a big deal seeing as how i am the exact opposite of a morning person. i also just got the call from the nurse saying that my results were good and i'm free to start taking the provera tonight. so, i should expect to see AF in the next 10 days.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Step 2

doctor's appointment - check!

just got back from meeting with the RE. i'm super impressed with her, her credentials, the office staff, and how on top of things they are. i feel exceptionally optimistic at the moment. she went over our history and any previous testing we've had done, which was minimal, then talked about the diagnostics that need to be run now. she addressed my delayed/lack of ovulation and assigned me a whole slew of tests to be run. we talked about my charting habits and how well i had been doing with that, but apparently i've been wasting my time. she told me that my ovulation problems are not from weight or anything so easily fixed and that charting would do nothing but induce stress and basically drive me crazy. amen to that! she told me that i never have to take my BBT ever again! yay for me! i always hated charting. from here on out, they'll be inducing and monitoring my ovulation, which takes a lot of the stress off me. they know that it's caused by a hormonal imbalance, but aren't sure what's causing the imbalance. i'll have to be tested for PCOS (i've been checked for it before and it came up negative, but they want to double-check) and thyroid issues, among other things, then they'll be able to determine the right treatment. B will have to have another semen analysis, but this time with IUI prep, so they can figure out if IUI will be a good option for us. i'll get him set up with that for next week. as for me, here's what i have to look forward to:

today - tons of blood work to screen for STDs, vaccinations, blood type, and lots of other stuff that is all standard procedure
7am tomorrow - go in to the clinic for more blood work to see if i'm able to start taking the progesterone to induce AF (they don't want to make me wait for the real thing, which is fine by me)
CD3 - blood work to test hormone levels
CD5-12 - start taking antibiotic for HSG and have HSG performed (dye injected into uterus to check for blockages in fallopian tubes or any abnormalities in the uterus itself) *note to self - buy motrin!*

that's pretty much it for now. we're hoping to get all of the testing done this month so we can meet up with the dr again mid-february to go over results and determine the next steps.

it all feels so surreal at the moment. we've talked about doing this for so long that it seemed more like a dream than a possibility, like daydreaming about going on an african safari - you never think you'll actually get to go! but this is real. i'm not planning anymore; i'm doing. i can't believe that we've actually started down this path. i know it's going to be a bumpy road, but i have my eye on the prize...which is kind of scary in itself. me - a mother? is it really possible? after 8 years, i've kind of accepted the role of aunt. heck, i took it and ran with it in recent years! i always reminded myself that i didn't have to change the diapers or do the disciplining or wake up for the 3am feedings. i've taken solace in the fact that once they start crying, i could just give them back to their parents. now, i keep imagining myself a frazzled mess with a screaming baby on each hip (i'm glutton for punishment and wouldn't be at all surprised if i had twins). don't worry, i'm not scaring myself out this. i'm just trying to stay grounded and remind myself that i have a wonderful life as it is and that i can be happy even if i never get the chance to be a mom. a baby would be a dream come true, but i have to be realistic and not expect any moment of my life from here on out to be so idyllic as i once imagined. the diagnostic process is going to be uncomfortable and tedious. the treatment process could be painful and disappointing, as well as physically/emotionally draining. the end results could be trying. no matter what, i can get through it. i have B by my side and so much to look forward to, whatever the outcome.

now on to step 3 - calling the financial adviser to go over our out-of-pocket costs and going to labcorp to have them suck a liter of blood from my arm. fun for me - not!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Step 1

ob/gyn appt - check!

it went really well, actually. i adore my new doctor! she is so personable and friendly, but has an air of confidence that invokes trust. i can't wait to have her treat me during my pregnancy. :)

i'm starting to get nervous about monday's appt. i was doing pretty well there, but now i'm over-thinking everything. i can't help but wonder what the tests are going to be like and what the process is going to bring. i just hope it works. it would break my heart to go through all of this for nothing.
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