Month: April 2013
Status

Spring Has Sprung and Other Updates

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013.  CD18.

Howdy, folks.

I’m so sorry I’ve been slacking lately.  I expected to finish out NIAW with this grand Q & A post in vlog form, and then this lovely sinus infection/mucus overload/dry cough/croaky voice thing happened, and I both look and sound terrible.

Ain’t nobody wanna see that.

So that will have to be put off for another day when I can talk without sounding like Urkel.

Errmmm… what else?

Oh yes.  The weather here in Northwest Ohio has turned.

FINALLY.

It’s freaking gorgeous outside today, and I’m already dreaming of bonfires and barbecues and capri pants.  I suppose it’s about time we were exposed to some nice weather anyway, right?

may

 

So besides this ultra-sexy, mucusy sinus thing I have going on, the rest of my body seems to be confused as well.

Like this morning for example… I brushed my teeth, took my vitamin, grabbed my purse and started to walk out the door.

And then out the blue my stomach’s all like, “Hey gurl heeeeeey!  You know that vitamin you’ve been taking every day for the past 4.5 years?  Well eff that, because today we don’t want it anymore!”

*commence puking*

And then I was fine.  Drove to work.  Drank a smoothie.  On with the day.

The Metformin is slowly trying to kill me.  I’ve lost weight like whoa, and have had to cut my dosage back quite a bit to cope.  I feel like maybe I just need to give it more time and figure out what I can eat on the lowest dosage first, before attempting to move onto a higher dose at all.

I also really enjoy not feeling like absolute dog poo.

Another thing I’ve been reading (read: Googling) is that many people/doctors are saying that thin women with PCOS tend to respond better to the traditional Metformin, as opposed to the Metformin Extended Release.  I checked my prescription, and sure enough, I am taking the XR.  I have a note in to the doctor to ask about switching to the traditional dosage, although I know that may also do a number on my digestive system.

How much worse can it get, right?

Oh, and then this happened:  For a week straight, I was getting almost positive ovulation tests… I’m using the Wondfos, in case you were wondering.  Finally, yesterday morning’s result was the first obvious positive I’ve seen in a couple of months.

I tested again in the evening to be sure, and that test also showed a nice, dark test line, darker than the control line.  Textbook perfect, exactly what one would want to see.  I’ve had some fertile CM as well, and took advantage of the weekend at home with the husband to make good use of it.

I’m really happy that I seem to be ovulating this month, and assume that I’m ovulating on the right, as my CD3 scan showed a cyst on the left, which I also assume came from ovulating on the left last month.

My question then, is this…

I ovulated on the left last cycle, presumably – ovulation sucked/didn’t occur at all, I grew a cyst.

I now assume that I’m ovulating on the right this cycle, which is going well.

Should I expect to ovulate on the left again next cycle…?

And if so, does that mean that my left ovary may be compromised because of the cyst?

AND, should I then bother using expensive meds next month and risk wasting a cycle on what may be a bum ovary, or should I perhaps wait one more month before jumping in with both feet and a good ovary?

GAH.

Obviously I’m overthinking this, and no decision will be able to be made until I’m in the stirrups on my date with Dr. Dildocam on my next CD3, but of course I tend to speculate.  About everything.

…Ever notice that speculate and speculum come from the same root word?  Hmm…

Latin speculatus, past participle of speculari to spy out, examine, from specula lookout post, from specere to look, look at

…Errm.  Sorry.  I digress.

So anyway, that’s what’s up with me.

I’m sick, enjoying the weather despite the sickness, seem to be ovulating again, speculating about said ovulation and ovulations to come, and acting as an armchair etymologist in my copious free time.

Yeah.  Good times.  🙂

 

Status

Empty Arms

It’s only fitting that National Infertility Awareness Week should coincide with what would have been my due date.

Nothing makes you more aware of your infertility than a baby you loved, but never got to meet.

***

Last August, the most amazing thing happened.

The pregnancy test strips I was using to test out the trigger from my first Femara/Menopur cycle started getting darker, instead of lighter.

I was pregnant.

It was amazing and terrifying and brilliantly exciting.

It was surreal.

In that moment, alone in my bathroom and surrounded by peed-on paper strips, I experienced more joy than I had in my entire life.

Our Gummy Bear was on his or her way, and I suddenly had everything I had ever wanted.

I didn’t know then that seven weeks later, it would all come crashing down.

I miscarried.

The miscarriage was physically, emotionally, and psychologically the most difficult thing I have ever had to do.

The physicality of it only lasted a few days, but there are some aspects from which I may never fully recover.

I was a mother that night, and the next morning, I wasn’t any more.

I was empty.

Today is my would-be due date.

Today is the day that I was looking forward to, so intensely, and for such a short period of time; it’s also the day I have been dreading for so long.

Today is when I remember the tiny life that never got to be, and yet was loved so incredibly much.

I’ll never forget my first baby.

Gummy Bear gave me hope that I may one day hear that faint heartbeat, feel kicks and flips from the inside, and hold a wiggly, screaming new life in my arms.

Today, although my belly is flat, my heart is broken, and my arms are empty…

I am still standing.

I am a mother today,

and I will have hope, always.

Just as I will hold that baby in my heart.

I will remember.

Celebrate.

Grieve.

Mourn and memorialize.

As long as I remember, my baby lives on.

Love lives on…

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Always.

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10.15

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Join the Movement to Show Your Support

Sometimes being supportive isn’t so much what you say to someone who’s struggling, but what you do.

A hug can say more in its simplicity than a whole monologue on how “what’s meant to be will be” and “you’ll be a mother someday, I just know it”.

There are so many ways we can support our fellow Infertiles this National Infertility Awareness Week, and many of them don’t require a word out of our mouths.

***

For the intrepid few, sometimes a tattoo shows their struggle and their support.  These are mine.

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You can update the profile photo on your social media accounts with this Twibbon, showing your support.

twibbon

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You can update your Facebook cover photo with one of these fabulous creations from The Infertility Voice.

NIAW-2013-1in8

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You can help to educate others and encourage sensitivity by posting links on social media to information that will help others our struggle.  There is a great article here, and some wonderful tips on infertility etiquette here.

I particularly love infographics like these:

 

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There’s also this cheeky little claymation rendering of What Not To Say To Someone With An Uncooperative Uterus.

infertility6

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You can also share your support on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter by posting, tweeting, or pinning photos and graphics.

You can support, inspire, advocate, and show a great deal of compassion without speaking a word this week.

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Maybe give some of these a try:

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***

Do you have a favorite image that shows your support for the one in eight?  Please share it with me on Facebook,  Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest so I can pass along the love.

I look forward to your submissions, and I look forward to being inspired!

Keep up the good work, folks. 

This NIAW, we can  get the word out about infertility, and we can do it as loudly or as quietly as we like!

We can make a difference – Join the movement!

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Join the Movement and Educate

***

Have you ever been stuck in an awkward conversation with someone you don’t know well?

Yeah.  Me too.

And then the million dollar question comes up… The “why don’t you have babies?” question.  

Yeah.  That one.

And then you word-vomit your entire non-reproductive history onto them, things get even more awkward, you realize there’s no coming back from this social faux pas, and you just abruptly stop talking.  Or they back slowly away from you, hands in the air, like they’re afraid you’ll lunge after them to assault them with further knowledge of cervical mucus quality.

…Yeah.  It happens.

***

When you tell someone that you struggle with infertility, it can be as intimidating for them as it is for you.

Infertility is a very broad term.  There are hundreds – maybe thousands – of causes for infertility, and the average Fertile bystander probably has very little idea what those causes may be.

If you’re anything like me, the conversation probably goes a little like this:

So when are you and your husband going to have kids?

Well, we’ve been working on it for a while.  It will happen one day.  (UGH… I know where this is going…)

You know, the same thing happened to my cousin’s best friend.  She was just trying too hard, and after like six months they took a vacation and relaxed, and then BAM!  Pregnant!

Maybe you’re just stressing out about it too much?

…Yeah.  That’s not it, actually.  There are medical reasons why I’m not getting pregnant, and the doctors are working to figure out why.

It’s probably your husband.  Does he wear tightie-whities and sit in the hot tub all the time?

What are we, a 70s swinger couple?  No, he doesn’t, and no, it’s not him.

You know, I heard that after you turn 30, you need to see a special doctor to help you get pregnant.  You probably just waited too long and missed your window.

That’s not… no.  *sigh*facepalm*sigh*

…….Okay, here’s the thing:  Infertility is defined by a man and a woman having regular, unprotected sex for one full year and not successfully conceiving  a child.  If nothing happens after a year, most women see their OB, who should refer them to a reproductive specialist for additional testing and, sometimes, artificial reproductive technologies.  Age has nothing to do with that process most of the time, but yes, some women’s fertility will start to decline after age 35.  Maybe that’s what you heard.  And for the record, I’m only 32 and my husband wears boxers.

Uhh…  Yeah.  Nice talk.  Anyway, I hope you get knocked up… Bye!

And then you just scared away another Fertile and simultaneously made a big awkward scene at a wedding/church/office break room/check-out line at Target.

It can be frustrating to try to explain your entire medical history to someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of infertility like some of us do, but in the same way that we expect people to be receptive of we have to say, we need to be patient and clear when explaining our infertility to them.

Next time the conversation erupts around you, try to inform rather than defend.

So you’ve been trying for quite a while then?

Yes, four years actually.  We’re seeing a very good specialist though, so we have a lot of hope that it will happen soon.

So what exactly is the problem?  Are you just too stressed out, or what?

Well, I am stressed, yes.  Trying this hard for something you want more than anything, and failing month after month for four straight years would stress anyone out.  However, that is not the reason we haven’t been successful.  Infertility is a disease, and much like cancer, there’s not always a clear-cut way to cure the disease.  It’s a lot of trial and error, but we’re getting closer every month.  *patient smile*

Oh, okay.  Well I wish you the very best of luck, and I hope it happens soon!

…Hey, wait!  You know, I have a friend who is having some trouble getting pregnant too… Would you mind if I gave her your email address so she could have someone experienced to talk to about all of this?

And then you become an ally, an advocate, rather than a Bitter Infertile/Socially Awkward Crazy Cat Lady.

We can all open ourselves up to educating and informing others, and oftentimes one open door leads to another.  We all have an ungodly amount of medical knowledge stored up in our warped Infertile brains – we just need to be careful about how we word-vomit that knowledge onto the unsuspecting, uninformed public.

Please take advantage of this National Infertility Awareness Week to share with others, and in turn, others may share with you.  Being an advocate and having a reputation as an Infertility Ally can be a very fulfilling thing.

Use what you know, what you’ve been through, and the compassion you’ve gained along the way to educate and inspire others!  Encourage the conversation about infertility, and in turn you’ll encourage sensitivity and compassion toward our cause!

***

And so, in the spirit of educating, informing, and opening up about infertility, I’m working on a Q & A (vlog!) post for later this week.  If you have a question about infertility, treatment options, medications, side-effects, or anything  medical/ART related, please feel free to ask!

You can also ask anything you like about me – personal questions, relationships questions, what kind of cup I pee in a thousand times per month – nothing is off limits! 

If you follow this blog’s Facebook feed, you may have already submitted a question there, but please feel free to leave your questions in the comments here, shoot me an email, or Tweet me a message.

I’m an open book this week, so please expect an extra helping of TMI – in video form!

 

 

 

Status

National Infertility Awareness Week: Join the Movement

Today, April 21st, 2013, marks the first day of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).

NIAW was created by RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, to help bring awareness to the disease, those who suffer, and ways the public can help.  Each year has a theme, and this year’s message is Join the Movement.

Those of you who are not new visitors to this blog, or who know me in real life, are very much aware that this is not my first rodeo.  I’ve blogged my way through two other NIAWs in the past, and was just joining the infertility blogging community during 2010’s awareness week.

I feel as if I’ve grown each year, and that each year’s theme for bringing awareness has mirrored that growth for me in so many ways.  This year’s theme is no exception:

Join the Movement.

I’ve been through so much in the four years we’ve been working to start a family.  I’ve had highs and lows, moments of frustration, moments of elation, and moments where I’ve wanted to quit.

I’ve had moments of pain, sorrow, grief, and dark moments where I’ve just wanted to die.

I’ve stumbled and fallen, picked myself up and dusted myself off, stumbled again, and needed the help of others to get back on my feet.

It’s not been an easy road by any stretch of the imagination, however one thing has remained constant:  support.

I am blessed in so many ways, and I am fully aware that I have been blessed with supportive people in my life.  Family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances.  I’ve been on the receiving end of much positive encouragement throughout this journey, and I do not take that for granted.

Ever.

This year, in keeping with RESOLVE’s NIAW theme, I would like to invite you, the readers: friends, family, total strangers – to join the movement.

There are a thousand and one ways you can get involved, whether you are suffering with infertility, supporting someone who is, or just feel the compassion to help others know that they’re not alone.

You can share your story.  Blog, tweet, share with a friend.  Whether you suffer from infertility or not, you can shine a light on this disease and help break the silence.

You can show support for the entire infertility community by changing your Facebook status.

It’s as easy as this:

Infertility affects 7.3 million Americans, as many as 1 in 8 couples.  Like me.  (or my friend/my sister/brother/cousin.)

Or this:

I stand with the 1 in 8 who live with infertility.  In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, repost if you’re with me.

Or this:

Infertility is a heart-wrenching, faith-questioning, relationship-testing, life-altering experience. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Whether a friend, a family member, a colleague or yourself has fought through this difficult fate that MILLIONS of women are fighting day in and day out. Post this as your status if you or someone you know has struggled at a chance to be a parent.

Or this:

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  1 in 8 people in the US are struggling with infertility right now. That means that 12 out of every 100 Facebook friends on your list is, or has struggled with infertility.  Please show your support this week by sharing this status.  We can only bring awareness to this disease if we are willing to talk about it!

You can update the profile photo on your social media accounts with this Twibbon, showing your support.

You can help to educate others by posting links to information that helps them understand our struggle.  There is a great article here, and some wonderful tips on infertility etiquette here.

The most meaningful, and absolute best way that you can join the movement this year, is also the easiest.

Show compassion.

Every person you know is fighting some battle.  It may be infertility, and it may not be.  Sometimes it’s not for us to know, and sometimes broadcasting our support for an entire community of infertility sufferers isn’t going to make you any friends.

One thing is certain, however; if you show kindness in your everyday life, listen when someone needs to talk, encourage others to express themselves in whatever darkness is in their lives, you will be a supporter, and that is a legacy worth leaving behind.

I urge each of you to reach out this week.

Be open, be compassionate, be supportive.

Be receptive to those who reach out to you.  Be willing to connect on a deeper level.

Be the voice of those who aren’t willing or able to broadcast their woes.

Be the secret confidante to those who just need a friend.

Be the public bullhorn for those who want to be heard.

Be informative to those who ask questions.  Be patient.  Be present.

Be a friend to those who need a shoulder upon which to lean.

***

Join me in supporting the one in eight this week.

Join the rest of the infertility community in standing strong in the face of enormous struggle.

Join us in what may not be the most popular stance, but one that could make a huge difference for someone you know.

Join the movement.

For more information about NIAW, click here, and for some infertility basics, click here.

Status

Roadblock

Monday, April 15th, 2013.  CD3.

It’s been an interesting couple of days around here…

On Saturday morning, I woke up with my alarm.  I got up to get myself ready to head out to the homeland to visit my BFF and her new baby, but by the time I made it the ten feet to the bathroom, I was doubled over.

I spent Saturday in a relay between my bed, the couch, and the bathroom floor.  Activities included cramping, bleeding, puking, and trying to keep my intestines inside my body.  It was pretty much the worst start to a cycle I’ve had in recent memory, and I attribute much of it to the Metformin for magnifying my already brutal Cycle Day One side-effects.

I was so disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to see my friend, but I was also a little relieved that Aunt Flo had showed up, and that I could now move forward with this medicated cycle.  New doctor, new drugs, new outlook.

There was even a little back-of-the-gas-station drug deal that went on yesterday, as my friend delivered the Gonal F (and a TON of other fun stuff!) to me in a half-way point for the both of us.  As of 7pm yesterday, I was ready to get started…

Bring it on!

And so, I drove up to Ann Arbor this morning for my CD3 baseline scan.

I was told that my right ovary looks great!  He (Dr. Something I Can’t Remember, But Who Is Very Tall) said there were lots of follicles that should respond well to the Gonal F.

The rest of the conversation during the scan went a little like this:

…Let’s just take a look at Lefty here… Oh.  Oh no.

Umm… what?

Well, let me just look at this from another angle…

WHAT?!

Yes.  Just as I feared.  You have a very large residual cyst. 

UGH.  Seriously?

Yes.  When was your last ultrasound?

I don’t know… less than a month ago when I had my hysteroscopy?  And they didn’t see a cyst then!

Okay, well then this cyst is from this month.  Do you know if you ovulated?

If I did, I never got a positive test, and my temps barely came up, so I figured maybe I hadn’t.

Well that makes sense.  This cyst is probably from a failed ovulation that geared up and never followed through.

Well, that’s just lovely.  So what now?

Well, we recommend that you wait another month before starting any kind of medicated cycle.  Call us on your next Cycle Day One and we’ll set up another scan.  As long as this bad boy is gone by then, we should have no problem moving forward with a medicated cycle in May.

Okay?

…I guess so, yes.  I’ll call in you in a month then.  Thank you.

And then I calmly put on my pants, checked out with the receptionist, made friendly conversation with the billing clerk, walked to my car, shut the door, put my purse down on the passenger seat, and said a very bad word in a very loud voice.

Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed that I won’t be able to move forward with this cycle.  I was so ready to start cycling again!

I will admit, too, that I had some high hopes for this cycle.  I feel like so many stars aligned this month, and I know I’d placed this month on some kind of pedestal.  I would have probably been monumentally disappointed had this cycle not worked, so maybe it’s better that I’m knocked down a peg before we even got started.

On the plus side of things, another month off means another month of acupuncture, vitamins, and Metformin doing their thing to get me turned into a lean, mean, egg-making machine.

At least that’s what I’m going with today.

Tomorrow may be a different story.  NAIW may be a different story… as will GB’s due date that falls during that week.

Let’s just hope I can start the next cycle before Mother’s Day, or I may just start saying very bad words in very loud voices in very inappropriate places.

Status

Digestive Pyrotechnics

Friday, April 12th, 2013.  CD31, ??DPO?

Hiya folks!

Sorry I’ve been such an absentee blogger lately.  I really haven’t had much to report, but figured I should probably check in so no one thinks I died or anything.  🙂

Here’s what’s what:

  • I’m currently on day 31 of this stupid cycle, which is three days longer than I figured it would last…
  • I’m pretty sure I didn’t ovulate, or if I did, it was so weak that my temps barely made it out of pre-ovulatory range.
  • I felt a little PMS-y for a few days, and this morning my temp dropped way, way down.
  • I know I couldn’t be pregnant, because I never got a positive OPK, and basically didn’t feel like having sex at all.  I’ve also caved in and tested, and of course, BFN.
  • I’m trying to be optimistic about the cycle ahead, but Metformin is kicking my ass, I’m terrified of everything on my plate, and I know I’m losing weight that I can’t afford to lose.  It’s a little bleak, but I’m hanging in there.
  • That being said, my hormones are obviously suffering… just like my sex drive.
  • And my digestion.
  • I’ve recently upped my Met dosage to 1500mg per day.
  • Coincidentally, I have also recently begun suffering from what could only be described as digestive pyrotechnics.
  • Like, shit just got real.
  • Like, I called off work (and canceled acupuncture!) one day this week because I wasn’t sure I could get off the bathroom floor, real.
  • Like, a literal shit-show.
  • I really need to feel better and more like the healthy human being I am, instead of feeling like a constantly-hungover college freshman whose diet is limited to Mountain Dew, ramen noodles, and Taco Bell.
  • I’m going to start referring to my frequent bathroom trips as “border runs”.  Ha.

  • Anyway, I emailed Dr. F and asked what to do, and she suggested splitting up my dosage over three meals each day.  That’s been somewhat better, but I still feel like poo.  Literally.
  • Once the next cycle gets underway, I plan to start taking Femara and Gonal F to see how that works for me.
  • We may do an IUI if the cycle goes well.
  • I found out from the awesome patient coordinator at Dr. F’s office that my insurance will pay for monitoring pretty much without fail, even though they won’t pay for injectable meds any longer.  That’s a huge relief!!
  • Work is keeping me super busy, which is the best thing for me right now.  Distraction.
  • The husband works in the auto industry, and his shift changes constantly.  He has been working nights for the past four months, and that has been difficult – especially on the baby-making front!  He just changed to days, so that will be MUCH better for both of us!
  • We’re talking about going to the gym a couple times a week together, which I’m looking forward to… or I will be, once I feel like I have control of my intestines.
  • We just planned a fun local-ish vacation weekend for right around the Fourth of July, and I’m excited for that!
  • My best friend had her baby, and I’m going to visit her this weekend.  I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.
  • I am attending a very important baby shower two days after my due date.  I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.
  • I’m trying really hard to forget that this is April, the month of my due date, but someone out there remembers that I was once pregnant and keeps mailing me baby formula samples, and coupons for breast pumps.  I don’t know who you are, but I hate you.
  • Oh, and National Infertility Awareness Week is the week of my due date.  *facepalm*
  • I really feel like the next cycle needs to get started already so I can get through the rest of this month without having a woe is me breakdown.

So that’s it.  Not a whole lot of news at the moment, but hopefully the next cycle will bring about some excitement.

And distraction.

 

 

Status

The Plan

Monday, April 1st, 2013.  CD20.

Have I update you all on what the next step is for me?

I can’t remember, and am too lazy to read back through all of my own nonsense.

So I’ll just tell you…

I’m currently twenty days into this cycle and I’m fairly certain I haven’t yet ovulated.

Great, right?

*grumble*

Anyway, I’m also slowly increasing my dosage of Metformin.  I started 1000mg last night, and I don’t feel completely awful today.  Still some GI ickiness, but not as bad as the first dose, so that’s something.  I’ll move up to 1500 mg next weekend, and hopefully I can maintain that level.

I’m also still taking 5000iu of Vitamin D3, my Rx Prenatal, and Pregnitude every day, along with weekly acupuncture.  I’ve moved away from the Chinese herbs because of everything else I’m taking, but the fact that I haven’t ovulated this month is making me wonder if maybe I chose incorrectly.

Anyway, I’ll talk more with the acu-lady about herbs during this week’s appointment, but I have a more pressing matter in front of me at the moment.

The plan for my next cycle is to go forward with a hybrid Femara/Gonal F cycle, and if the monitoring looks good, maybe IUI as well.

Insurance won’t cover any further injectable meds for me, so the Gonal F will be paid out of pocket.  I may be able to get the Ovidrel covered, but no guarantees.

Does anyone have any suggestions on where to order Gonal F Rff 300iu pens for as little as possible?  It might be tax return season, but we’re not rolling in extra cash these days!

I’ll happily take any suggestions.  🙂

Thanks, all!

I hope your April Fool’s Day is filled with the minimum amount of fools this year.

 

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Fools

In case you haven’t seen this floating around FacebookLand, here’s a fantastic way to squash any of your so-called friends’ wayward thoughts of SUUUUPER creative April Fool’s Day false pregnancy jokes.

(Thankfully, I haven’t seen any yet today, but in previous years I’ve seen them all over…)

I hope your day is Fool-free!!

 

fools

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