Saturday, March 31, 2012

"O" the Pain!

I missed my post yesterday. I was pretty busy, but I did manage to get some additional information from my RE. Turns out my E2 was almost 1400, which translates into at least 4 mature follicles. No wonder they wouldn't let me do IUI! I wouldn't let me do IUI with that. But they should have just told me that. I'm not an idiot.

Anyways, so around 2:30pm today, while sitting in a theater watching Hunger Games the ovulation fun began. Ovulating with one follicle is not comfortable, but with four follicles....OUCH! Holy crap! I felt normal this morning, but now I feel bloated to 3 times my normal size. I can't laugh, or cough, or fart without serious pain. LOL! It is pretty entertaining to me at least. :P

Thursday, March 29, 2012

When did I Lose the Right to Choose?

Well, today was the big day...the day where I go in and they say, "Wow! Look at all those beautiful, plump follicles! We would like you to trigger ovulation tonight and come in on Saturday at 8 am for IUI." That did NOT happen. It was more like, "Wow! You have 4 dominant follicles, and we aren't sure you should proceed with an IUI, but we can convert to an IVF (for $6500 little dollars)! But if you decided to move forward with the IUI you need to be aware of the risks of multiples and be prepared to perhaps 'reduce' your pregnancy. Or you can cancel the cycle."

Those are some heavy choices right there! After all we've been through this cycle, not to mention the previous 3, we don't feel like cancelling the cycle is something we want. I don't know about all of you, but flushing $500+ down the toilet is not something I enjoy doing.

So when I left there I felt like I was on a game show, placed before three doors, and asked to pick my best. Hubby and I discussed this and consulted our parents as well and decided to risk it and move forward with the IUI.

12 o'clock rolls around and the buzzer goes off (the phone) and I'm standing in front of the three doors with the game show host who says to me, "What is your decision?" I replied, "I want door #2! Lets make some IUI baby magic!" To which I am told, "Oh, I'm sorry! Door number 2 is no longer an option, but door number 1 looks mighty nice! And by the way...if you pick door number three and try to make baby magic on your own we can't trust you to play our game any more."

WHAT!!!!!!! Did I magically leave the United States of America and get transported to China or some other oppressive nation? When did I lose the right to make informed medical decisions for myself in the "land of the free"?

Naturally I cried and argued and pleaded for my IUI, but they won't budge. We don't have $6500 lying around so IVF is off the table. So we have to make a choice. If we do it on our own anyways and don't get PG, no loss. If we do it and get pregnant...I don't have to go back. If we do it, get PG, and then have another miscarriage or something then I'm stuck because if we don't "abstain from intercourse for the next 5 days" my RE just doesn't feel right about prescribing me fertility drugs in the future. Talk about a veiled threat!

So we have a choice. You'll just have wait and see what we decide. :P

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Revamp (Note: this has nothing to do with Vampires. LOL!)

So, my twin blog Que Sera Sera updated her look and I loved her template, so I had to go to the site she got hers at and get a new one too! I always wanted a cute blog, but could never find cute templates. We aren't twin blogs anymore. LOL! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, Peg! :P

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Exhaustion, Blood, and Alejandro

Well, today was the big follicle check, but first a note on exhaustion.

Last night I went to bed at 9:30 knowing I needed to be up at 4:30...I was so stressed about going to sleep I couldn't sleep. That was of course paired with being stressed about the results of my appointment today and what I would do if nothing was happening. Just before 11:30, when I was finally starting to relax a little, Tyler woke up crying. Ugh! He is all snotty and stuffed up all of a sudden. I got him settled down and back to sleep and then finally fell asleep around midnight...and then he woke me up again at 12:40. That was the best 40 minutes of sleep I got all night. After wrestling him in the guest room for an hour I stuck him back in bed and went back to bed. I think I fell asleep at about 2:30...and dreamed about not being able to sleep. 4:30 came really fast!

Thankfully, hubby is awesome and opted to take a half day turned into a whole day and we were able to spend time together. :)

So, I went to the Vampires first and they drew for LH and E2 again. My LH was 2.5 (very good! I'm not going to ovulate any time soon). My E2 was 487...from 90 on Friday! That is AWESOME! Based on my calculations, that means I have at least two good follicles in the running.

To confirm this, Alejandro revealed a 16mm follicle in the left ovary, and a 15mm and two 12mm follicles in the right ovary. Also, my endometrium is still looking healthy at 11mm. All good things! I was prepared to call it quits today if things weren't looking up.

I go back in on Thursday for, hopefully, my last follicle check and blood work. I am really optimistic now! If I wasn't so tired I would be elated, even! :P

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cold Feet

I'm getting the day before cold feet. I have never experienced this before this cycle. I am so nervous about my follicle check tomorrow. Once again I am faced with the chance that this cycle could get cancelled, keep going, or I may actually be ready to trigger ovulation. I hope and pray that I will be ready to trigger. I can't take this cycle going on and on like this. It is killing me at this point.

Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me! :P

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Waddle, Waddle, Waddle!

Something from the lighter side.... This has been stuck in my head since my Young Women from church showed it to me! Enjoy!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Stranger and A Friend

"Good things happen when you meet strangers."
~Yo-Yo Ma

In the past, when I was going through fertility treatments to have Tyler, and when I got started back onto it last year, I never sought out online support. I honestly never thought about it. I don't know why. Well, after my miscarriage last September I was searching online for information about miscarriages and whatnot and came across a forum for infertility grief. I started actively participating on that forum. It helped me a lot to see that I wasn't alone and that I really don't have it that bad! Some of these women had been TTC for years and years and had either had multiple miscarriages or never got pregnant at all. At that point I shut down my pity party and started to move on.

As I was involved in this forum, I found other forums that are for women going through the same treatments as me, namely IUI, as well as other treatments for fertility. I have been active on these boards for months now and have so many new friends...who I have never met, and probably never will (but would LOVE to!). I am already planning to meet a couple of them as it is geographically possible, and I'm really excited.

Anyways, my point here is that there are 7+ Billion people on this earth and there is always someone out there who can relate to you and understand what you are going through. I have found those people for me. They know the lingo, they know how it feels, they understand the craziness, they need my support as much as I need theirs.

They are strangers and my friends.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Morning with the Vampires and Alejandro

Well, my date with Alejandro and the Vampires went ok today.

I saw the vampires first. (Funny side note: the RE I saw today saw my bandage and said "I see you already saw the vampires!" I cracked up! I have never heard anyone else call them vampires but me.) They managed to suck my blood for the third time in a week from the same vein without making it hurt, and it is bruised. That is a win in my book! They tested to find out what my LH and E2 levels were. First off, an explanation of these hormones.

LH (luteinizing hormone) is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and egg production/ovulation. They wanted to take this test today to see if I am going to ovulate. The way that works is when a woman is getting ready to ovulate the LH level surges (I have only surged once ever in a monitored was a total fluke!). My level was 1.5 which means I am not going to ovulate anytime soon. During the surge the number will fall between 21 and 50 or so. This is a good result for me at this point, and honestly I don't like it when my body decides to do it on its own during a medicated cycle because it screws up the timing and takes away the control that is needed for IUI (and IVF). (

The second blood test was the E2 (Estradiol). Estradiol is one of the three main types of estrogen, Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), and Estriol (E3). Estrone is ever present in the body. Estriol is made by the placenta during pregnancy. Estradiol is the trouble maker! The description of E2 on WebMD is too good to not just copy and paste:

"Estradiol is the primary sex hormone of childbearing women. It is formed from developing ovarian follicles. Estradiol is responsible for female characteristics and sexual functioning. Also, estradiol is important to women’s bone health. Estradiol contributes to most gynecologic problems such as endometriosis and fibroids and even female cancers." (

As I said...E2 is the trouble maker! Anyway, as the follicles mature the E2 level will rise and get to 150-300 (per follicle I believe) at ovulation. This test can tell lots of things, but in my case it gives the RE an idea as to how follicle/egg development is going. My level was 49.9 on Saturday and then 36.? on Monday. Today it was 90! That is very good if you ask me! It is a step in the right direction for once this cycle.

So, what did I learn from Alejandro? The RE came in and started hemming and hawing about how long this cycle is going and said that it isn't uncommon, but at some point we have to decide if it has stalled out. He wielded Alejandro (because Alejandro isn't just grabbed or picked up, he must be wielded!), and I was prepared for the worst.


I was pleasantly surprised! My uterine lining (called the endometrium) measured 8mm (optimal thickness for implantation is 8-12mm), and looked very healthy still, which is awesome considering I'm cycle day 28, and as you ladies all (should) know, a regular menstrual cycle is 28 days, which means if I was having a normal cycle I would start my period today. Since the endometrium is still good we can still keep going! That was a HUGE relief to hear!

As Alejandro continued his inspection of my nether region, we found that I have a smallish follicle in the right ovary measuring 10mm and a slightly bigger follicle in the left ovary measuring 12mm (they need to be 18mm to trigger ovulation). That isn't great, but it is better than what I had on Monday, and combined with my E2 level, we are moving in the right direction. I'm getting my optimism back! It feels good to be out of the ambivalent stage of this mess! I don't like being ambivalent. It doesn't suit me. It makes me sullen and foul tempered. Heehee!

So aside from being exhausted due to getting up at 4am and driving all morning, I am feeling pretty good about things. :P

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cautiously Optimistic...kinda

So, tomorrow is the big day. The day we find out if the increased dose of meds kicked my lazy ovaries and follicles into gear. I am trying to be optimistic, but a BIG part of me is sure that I'm going to go in there and have nothing. I'm still somewhat ambivalent about this cycle, but I want to have it work out SO MUCH!

Anyways. I know it isn't much, but I just haven't been inspired today. :P

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Not Funny Enough?

Warning! This post is kind of a rant. I'm not angry at anyone and don't want to offend so please don't take it as that.

Every time I write a blog post I ask hubby to read it. Call me crazy, but its important to me and I want his support. And that way I know at least one other person besides me is reading all of this mess. I also want him to check it over to make sure it sounds right and my spelling and grammar are ok, and to make sure it is a little humorous or at least not too bleak and depressing. So I asked him this morning if he read my post from yesterday and asked him how it was. He said it was fine and I asked him if it was funny at all. He said, "not as funny as some of the others." For some reason that ticked me off.

I'm not a freaking comedian and this is not a comedy show! Very little about this whole process is funny. I have to make it a little funny or I will have a serious breakdown, but I'm sorry if I can't make everything hilarious. I try to make my posts light and informative, but some things just can't be spun, and some days I don't have a funny bone in my body. In fact after giving myself 21 injections, there is very little humor left regarding this cycle. Add that to explosive diarrhea from the metformin lets just say...BLAH!

Anyways, rant over. Sorry about that. Lets just say that I won't be asking hubby to read anymore.

Moving on...I was talking to my cousin, who is pregnant, last night. She is one of my best friends. We grew up next door to each other and went to school together, and I am very excited for her to become a mother. If you are reading this: I LOVE YOU! She told me she had only read my first one or two blog posts, but hasn't had a chance to read the rest. She said, "I read your blog and I thought, Yep, that's Katie!" It made me glad. I want to be true to myself, and anyone who reads this. I am who I am, and I'm proud of it! We are so pressured to be proper, and polite, and ladylike, and whatever else, and in the course of things wind up presenting ourselves as something we maybe aren't. Why isn't it okay to be real? If I'm in a bad mood or sad, why do I have to put on a happy face and pretend that everything is kittens and puppies and rainbows in my life?

Wow! I must be in funky mood today. Sorry. It is who I am.

I have my next date with Alejandro in two days. Yay me. :P

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MIA- Missing in Ambivalence

I didn't write a post yesterday. You may or may not have noticed. I'm feeling a bit ambivalent (I looked this word up to make sure it was the one I wanted, and it describes how I feel perfectly!) about what it going on this cycle. For those of you who aren't sure what ambivalent means (much like myself), here is the actual definition:

noun \am-ˈbi-və-lən(t)s\
Definition of AMBIVALENCE
: simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action
a : continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite) b : uncertainty as to which approach to follow

Yep, that pretty much says it all! I rarely find a word that describes exactly how I feel. Are you wondering why I'm all ambivalent and stuff? It starts with another date with Alejandro...(enter flashback/dream sequence)

I woke up at 4:30 yesterday (to Tyler crying) and got a move on. Tyler and I headed on up to Baltimore and went and got my blood drawn and then headed up to meet with Alejandro. I was somewhat hopeful since I had a 14mm follicle on Saturday and leaped up onto the table with vigor (as much vigor as you can when you wake up at 430 and drive 90 miles) and got my paper sheet on. When the RE came in and wielded Alejandro I got in the stirrups and off we ambivalence.

As it turns out, my 14mm follicle is actually two smaller follicles that are snuggled up against one another. So basically I don't have a dominant follicle...after 19 days of injections. That is insanity! I honestly think that the RE wasn't sure what to do. We were at a crossroads of sorts. Our options were cancel the cycle and start a bleed so we can start from scratch, or increase my meds.

A week ago, I would have melted down into tears of despair at the though of ending the cycle. Yesterday I wasn't thrilled about the idea because we have already invested so much time and money into this cycle, but at some point you have to cry "Uncle!"

The RE wanted to review my blood work results and U/S pics with my regular RE and said they would get back to me. So I came home and waited. Eventually they called. The verdict is this: I am taking more meds. It makes me glad and kinda scared, too. Everything could come out fine. I could still not respond and have to cancel the cycle. Or I could overstim (have more than 3 dominant follicles) and have to cancel the cycle. So I took my higher dose last night (with a little extra for good measure).

I go back in on Friday to see Alejandro. I'm still ambivalent.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This or That?

Since I don't have a lot going on today in my TTC universe, I decided I would address one of the questions I ALWAYS get asked: What is the difference between IUI and IVF?

They are very different. The most basic difference is IUI is non-invasive, and is very similar to a pap smear in terms of the procedure and level of discomfort. IVF on the other hand, is invasive. They retrieve your eggs, fertilize them in a lab, let them grow a few days, and then put them back in your uterus.

Quite honestly, I don't have more than a basic knowledge of IVF. This is largely because there are varying types of IVF that are dependent upon an individuals actual fertility problems. The other thing about IVF is it is VERY expensive ($10,000-50,000 per cycle depending on what you have done, where you live, and what insurance coverage you have).

IUI, on the other hand, I have a very intimate knowledge of.

On the day of an IUI, a semen sample is collected (or defrosted if you have preserved sperm or are using donor sperm) and then washed. What is sperm washing, you ask? Sperm washing has a couple of purposes. It removes chemicals and seminal fluids that may irritate the uterus. It also removes deformed, dying, or dead sperm creating an optimal sample for fertilization. This is accomplished by adding some sperm washing solution and then spinning it repeatedly in a centrifuge until all of the flotsam and jetsam is gone. It usually takes about 45 minutes at our clinic.

After the spermies have had a bath, the lab tech gives me a little vial of clean spermies (in a non-irritating suspension) to put between my boobies to keep nice and warm until its time for the IUI.

When its time for the IUI, I get up on the table and in the stirrups and they load the spermies into a syringe with a catheter on the end:

The RE (or sometimes a nurse or med student) will insert the speculum (AHHHH! Open Wide, LOL!), and then they insert the catheter into the cervix and inject the semen into the uterus. They take out the catheter and the speculum and then you get to lie there for 10 minutes or so. Piece of cake!

Financially, IUI is more reasonable also. Depending on what insurance coverage you have (if any) IUI runs anywhere from $0 (if you have AWESOME coverage) to about $5000 if you have to pay for everything. I have some coverage, so for me an average cycle costs around $300 (not including gas to drive back and forth). We have pretty decent coverage!

The difficulty in any ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology - includes IUI and IVF) procedure lies in the two weeks following the IUI, called the 2WW by IFers, and feared by all of us! It is the longest 2 weeks of ever! Ideally, in that 2 weeks, the egg gets fertilized, travels down the fallopian tubes, floats around in the uterus for a while looking for a nice place to nest, and then implants and starts producing nauseating (literally) levels of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin AKA- the pregnancy hormone). Implantation takes 6-12 days after fertilization which makes the 2ww even more excruciating. Every twinge, pain, and tweak is over analyzed and Googled extensively. It is how it is.

Anyhow, that's pretty much how it goes. :P

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Double Booking Fail

Today was the big day...the day with two dates. Alejandro was right on time this morning. He was suave and all Latin American-y, and he totally screwed up my date with hubby. It didn't help that our day started at 4:50 A.M., that will put anyone in a foul mood on a Saturday. Then Alejandro swoops in and breaks the news that we still aren't ready for our IUI (actually, that was the Doctor. Alejandro is just an innocent bystander in all of this.)

Anyhow, I am down to one dominant follicle on the right side (or as my mom calls it my "bad" side, and I'm beginning to agree with her!). It is only measuring at 14mm and I need it to be 18mm, mind you it was measuring 14mm last Sunday and then shrunk to 12mm. What I'm left wondering is where did the follicles on the left side (my "good" side) go? Because this follicle is taking it's sweet time, we had to drive WAY out of our way to get more meds, wait for the pharmacy to open, and in doing so lost our desire to follow through with our plans for the day. End date with hubby. :(

Dr. Y and I talked and decided to put me back on Metformin. Oh YAY! Let me tell you how excited I am about that! Diarrhea central, here I come! Thankfully Dr. Y had the courtesy to remind me to take it slow and work my way up on the stuff (like I could ever forget after the last time I forgot!) Story Time!

About 2 years ago, after Tyler turned 1, I decided it was time to start thinking about getting the fertility crap started again. I thought, "Hey, I had a pregnancy that was very good, and I have a healthy boy. Maybe the Evil Empire will treat me now, even though I was exactly as much as I did before!" Hahaha! Silly Katie! Yep....they treated me alright...treated me to some metformin and the advice to lose 50 lbs. I took the metformin...and the advice, but in the midst of all of this they forgot to remind me to ease my way up the metformin ladder. The next day, before heading out on the 65 mile drive to wherever I was going, I got my bottle of metformin and popped the whole maximum dose at once. I should have taken 1/4 of that for a few days, then 1/2, then 3/4, and so on. Well, about 12 miles into my 65 mile drive my stomach started cramping. There was NOWHERE to stop for at least another 8-10 miles. I punched it, pulled into the grocery store, ripped 1 year old Tyler out of his car seat, and hauled balls into the store. I didn't have time for a stroller, cart, or nothin! Poor Tyler had to sit on my lap while I did my business. It was traumatizing for both of us! The rest of that day I was sick as a dog between the runs and a seriously upset stomach. LESSON LEARNED!

So, that's my funny poop story. I am hoping that the metformin is the key to this whole fiasco. We are still on track for this cycle for now. She checked my estrogen level today, too. It was 49.9. I don't know what that means, honestly. They left the message on my voice mail and didn't say anything else about it. All I know is that by doing this test they can determine either how good the follicle is or how close it is to being ready for ovulation. From some quick online research, I learned that the number should be at least 150 for ovulation. I will learn more and report on that!

I go back in on Monday for another date with Alejandro. (wink, wink!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Double Booking

Tomorrow I have a date...two dates actually. One with my hubby (YAY!), and one with this guy:

No, this is not some kinky love toy! Geez! What kinda girl do you think I am? LOL! This is an ultrasound probe (AKA - Alejandro...He's from Latin America and has a very sexy accent!). This is the "fun" little tool that allows the RE to see my ovaries, uterus, and follicles (I think you can figure out where that goes on your own!).

I am both dreading and excited for my date with Alejandro. I'm terrified that this cycle will continue dragging on forever, and at the same time hopeful that my lazy little follicles decided to grow like crazy since Wednesday.

Anyhow...believe it or not, that's all I have to say about the matter today. Shocking, I know. :P

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's the Diff?

Fair warning....this post is a lot of me thinking in type...not as entertaining or informative as some other posts. Sorry!

I have been thinking the last few days about whether going through fertility treatment is harder, easier, or the same as when I went through it to get pregnant with Tyler. The answer I have come up with is...I don't know.

It is definitely different this time for lots of reasons:

*I don't have a M-F, 9-5 job, which has alleviated a lot of stress in regards to having to take time off of work.

*I have a kid (sometimes 2) who I have to juggle when I need to go to the RE. I think this replaces the stress of not taking time off work! Thankfully, I have lots of support from family and friends who are more than willing to wake up before the birds and watch my kid. THANK YOU! You will never know how much this helps me and how grateful I am!

*I have a much longer commute to the RE than before. Since having Tyler, we have moved to the country. If the Evil Empire would quit being so evil, I would have about a 45 mile commute (each way) to the RE, but since they are just evil, I have found someone else and as a result have an 88 mile commute (each way). This increases our costs because of fuel prices, but Que Sera, Sera!

Looking at this list, I realize it is mostly logistical changes, but emotionally, this should be easier, right? I already got what I wanted. I have a beautiful, smart, well behaved son who is the light of my life! Shouldn't I just be happy I got him? That is what I always prayed least one child...I got my wish. Am I being greedy now?

Honestly, I think that is neither here nor there...we want what we want, and I want another baby. It is not something unreasonable to desire. I'm not a bad or neglectful parent. I don't want another kid for the tax write off (although its a nice benefit!). I want my son to have a sibling so that he has a built in friend and is not alone when my husband and I die.

So, emotionally, is it easier this time around? At first it most definitely was. We knew what our problem is, how to treat it, and had been through the treatment so there was very little, if any, anxiety about what was to come.

Now that we're a year into it...A YEAR!...I'm not feeling so hot about things. I've had a miscarriage and 2 failed IUIs in the last year. I'm an emotional wreck. I would have to ask hubby how it was last time (he remembers detail), but I don't think it got this bad for me before. I have really blocked out a lot of my TTC journey from before, probably because it was so unpleasant, so I am finding that I can't decide if it is harder this time.

Whether or not its easier or harder, I know one thing because this I DO remember: when its all said and done, when that baby is born, it will have been 110% worth every gallon of gas, injection of drugs, mile to the RE, and tear that I have/will shed!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Uncle! Uncle!

You know that person who always picked on you growing up? The one who gave you noogies or wedgies or called you names? Well, my ovaries are that person, and my bazillion little follicles are their little friends forming the circle around us taunting me while I get pummeled.

So after what I was hoping would be a positive follicle check (more on this in a minute) turned out to be an epic fail, I found myself on the proverbial floor in the proverbial corner with a HUGE wedgie and a sore head and a very bruised ego after all the taunting and name calling (sorry for all the proverbs, LOL).

Are you wondering what happened that was so awful yet? I will tell you in a minute, but first I need to explain what happens at a follicle check so you understand (kinda) why I was so upset.

In your tummy are two plump little ovaries, one on the left and one on the right, filled with millions of teeny, tiny, invisible follicles. Most follicles contain an egg waiting to be released one day. Now, my understanding is that for non-PCOS women, on a normal day, early in the cycle their ovary looks something like this:

Not much going on here. Trust me, there are hundreds of thousands of follicles in there! Compare that to this picture of a ovary of a woman with PCOS (this is what mine look like):

All those big black blobs are follicles that have started to grow some and then stop and hang out. Thank you hormone imbalance! The way its supposed to go is ONE, or sometimes two, follicles are supposed to grow up and get real big and one day they will explode (this is what causes ovulation pain!) and the little egg gets thrust down your fallopian tube where it can get fertilized and then rides down to the uterus, implants and you grow a little baby (or have a period).

The trick with PCOS is there are already A LOT of potential follicles to claim dominance, and unless you want to be the next Octomom or Jon and Kate Plus 8, you really only want one or two to get big and explode. Enter playing with hormones to get the right balance to make just enough, but not too many follicles to grow.

So here is part of the reason I was so beat down today....I went in on Sunday to have my ovaries checked for a dominant follicle(s) and there were 3 potentials measuring 11mm, 13mm, and 14mm (they need to be around 18-20mm to trigger ovulation). The follicles "typically" grow 2mm per day (mine don't usually, they are very lazy!) Using this reasoning, in 3 days I should have had something like a 17mm, 19mm, and 20mm. I wanted to look on the screen and see at the very least this:

...wait for it...

I had a couple that were 11mm and 12mm! What in the world happened over the last 3 days!!! They didn't grow AT ALL! They may have even shrunk (RE says they may have been measured wrong before...not really buying that!). Then to put the icing on the cake she dropped the three letter bomb on me...IVF.

That is something that I NEVER expected. I am a great candidate for IUI since I have gotten PG twice with it. Honestly though, it is pretty standard protocol for REs to start pushing IVF after 3 failed IUIs. Well, IVF isn't going to happen here, and after my 3 remaining IUIs are used up my TTC journey will be put on hold, in terms of medical intervention, until we are independently wealthy or insurance doesn't cap fertility coverage. (insert plug for you all to sign this petition:!/petition/approve-infertility-coverage-every-state/W43WWdd6).

So after a visit to the vampires (The Lab) for blood work, I left in tears. All my hopes of getting pregnant temporarily dashed...blah, blah, blah. I have to admit that I am VERY hormonal right now. I have NEVER been this hormonal on an IUI cycle. It is killing me! I cry at everything. I have high highs and low lows...this is so not for me!

Anyways, after a good cry, a hug from a great friend, some girl talk, a few donuts, and a call from the RE saying my blood work was still good for this cycle, I realized that its not so bad, I'm not done yet, and this will happen...eventually.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In or Out?

I recently read a blog post debating whether IFers (women with infertility) should be public about their infertility. Those who are not public are referred to as closet IFers and those who were public are "out of the closet". I really liked this way of discussing the issue.

I am, obviously, out of the closet with my infertility. I always have been. I am one of those "open book" people. Ask and I'll tell (much to my husbands dismay). The woman who wrote the blog post was a closet IFer trying to come out, but is having a hard time of it.

I find myself asking, "What is the big deal if we shout our infertility from the rooftops?" Then I stop and think about all the times one of my fertile friends gets pregnant and is wracked with guilt because they have to break it to me that they are expecting. And quite honestly I tremble in fear some days when I log into Facebook to see who else is pregnant (the stork is being very liberal with those little bundles these days...someone give the dang bird my address!).

I have definitely thought about running back into the closet, that was never closed, but I think it's too late for me. So, should other IFers stay in the closet?

I don't think so! Infertility is a long, painful, lonely journey filled with guilt that I can't give my husband loads and loads of cute little babies, anger that God would curse me with this affliction that denies me the one thing I want most, frustration that my body is broken, and sadness that nobody understands how hard it is to see that negative pregnancy test month after month.

Who wants to go through that alone? The hard part of being out of the closet with infertility, besides seeing all the cute little baby bumps of course, is helping people understand that it is a medical issue and that if I "stop thinking about it" or "just relax" I'm not going to magically ovulate. And when you try to explain the whole, complicated process of getting pregnant eyes start glazing over. To be honest, I didn't truly understand in detail the process when I went through it all to get pregnant with Tyler. I had a better than high school education understanding, but in the effort to conceive baby #2, I have gained a more complete level of knowledge in regards to how it all works.

So, if you are thinking about coming out of the closet, be ready to explain your situation to brick walls, put on your happy face, and get ready for a whole lot of "advice" that's gonna piss you off!

If you aren't an IFer, but know someone who is, please take the time to listen to them and ask questions, don't give advice, give hugs, and if you get Preggo be sure to let them know, because it sucks to hear it from someone else, and don't shut your IF friends out, because it sucks to be left out more than it sucks to be infertile (most days :P)


My Madness...

So, lately I have been reading some other blogs written by women with infertility issues and they have inspired me to write one too!

I am hoping to use this blog as an outlet for myself as well as a place for my friends, family, and anyone else who happens upon it to learn about what couples with infertility issues go through. So here goes....

As you can probably guess by the name of this blog, I am an unlucky victim of PCOS - Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. PCOS is one of those blanket conditions that encompasses a lot of women with a lot of different problems, but it generally boils down to some sort of hormone imbalance. This imbalance usually causes weight issues, unwanted hair growth (think of your great-aunt Velma and her chin right!), irregular and often absent periods, anovulation (no/infrequent ovulation), and insulin resistance to name a few things.

Pretty much any combination of these things will often lead to difficulty in getting pregnant. Fun, right? Not so much. I would be lying if I said that I miss having my period (AKA- Aunt Flo (AF)) every month, I don't. She's a witch with a capital B, but if it meant not having to deal with many of the above mentioned symptoms/signs of PCOS and infertility, I would gladly welcome the old bat with open arms!

Anyhow, infertility has become my greatest trial in life (so far). I always wanted to have 3-5 children. Both my husband and I come from families with 5 children, and our religion teaches that our greatest mission in life is to have a family, multiply and replenish the Earth, and raise them up to be good, God loving, self-reliant people. We got married when I was 21 and after about 3 months of wedded bliss we decided to go for it and start populating the world. Ha! That didn't quite go as planned.

After about 8 months of trying with no success we went to visit my OB. He had us start the usual protocol of temping and timed intercourse (so not romantic!) and put me on a medication called clomid that is usually the first stop for PCOS victims trying to conceive. Biggest FAIL ever! After a while longer we made an appointment to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). After taking a medical history, about 3 gallons of blood, and some poking and prodding they decided that I had PCOS...DUH! I already knew that.

This RE office, who shall remain nameless (for now) quickly changed from my salvation to the bane of my existence. They would treat me...after I lost 40 or 50 pounds, but until then all I could have was some metformin, which they peddled as some miracle drug for women with PCOS ("It will help you lose weight and regulate your period!"). Let me tell you about will give you the worst case of diarrhea you have EVER had! And you will have said diarrhea for as long as you take it. I took metformin for no less than 2 years, probably longer, and I had mild side effects from it. Many women I know have severe stomach problems on that crap! And guess what else...I didn't lose weight and it didn't regulate my period. I can happily report that in that 2+ years of medically induced diarrhea I never once crapped my pants. Yay me!

So, I went with the flow for quite a while...tried fad diets, weight watchers, joined gyms, you name it. I didn't lose a stinking pound even with the nonstop squirts. After about 2 years of giving the RE from hell my money every month or two so they could "check my progress" which was code for weigh my fat rear end, I heard a commercial on the radio for another RE. Let me tell you, I made that call asap!

I started seeing my new RE and he assured me that though weight loss could help things along it wasn't necessary. He kept me on the metformin (yay me!) and started me on a monitored clomid cycle. What is a monitored cycle you ask... A monitored cycle includes blood draws and ultrasounds every few days (and not the outside kind...the inside kind! Think medical "novelty" toy, but not so much fun!) Add to that driving into the city, paying a minimum of $5 to park and then walk a couple blocks, and the discomfort of having to be late to work half the time because of monitoring (thank the Lord for understanding bosses!). I did these things willingly. I showed my lady parts to no less than 2 people each visit and got probed and poked repeatedly. It became clear very quickly that I wasn't responding to the clomid, but had to endure 4+ cycles of increasing dosage just for good measure. That is A LOT of probing! And let me tell you about has NASTY side effects. Hot flashes, headaches, hormones swinging haphazardly like George of the Jungle, and other PMS type discomforts.

FINALLY after what felt like an eternity of this my RE agreed that more drastic measures were necessary. In May of 2008 he started me on my first cycle of injectables. Starting on a specific day of my cycle I had to give myself a shot of the hormone FSH in the belly every day until it was time to inseminate. So, a few days before I was to start the FSH I sat down with the nurse who showed me on a foam block how to do the injections. Pretty simple....except for the part where I stab myself with a needle! Every day! That first night It took me 40 minutes and threats from my hubby, to get up the courage to do the injection...and when I finally did it didn't hurt. I was elated! After 10 days of FSH injections and trips to the RE every other day for monitoring it was determined that it was time to induce ovulation...another shot of hormones, yay! Then about 36 hours after that I went in for my first IUI (Intrauterine Insemination).

People always think IVF is the first stop on the infertility railroad, but its not. Typically after timed intercourse is a fail, IUI is the next stop. IUI requires a vial of cleaned and prepped semen, a speculum, and a syringe with a catheter on the end. As the name suggests, the RE inserts the semen into the uterus. This way more sperm are able to get to the egg. It is virtually painless and only takes 5-10 minutes. Piece of cake! Two weeks after my IUI we were told to take a home pregnancy test and then come in for a blood test to confirm the results. My test day was the day after Father's Day, but we decided to risk it and do the test a day early. It was positive! I actually got pregnant on my first try. Many women have to do 3+ IUIs to get pregnant.

I made it through the pregnancy in one piece and gave birth to our sweet little boy Tyler who just turned 3!

So why am I writing this blog now? We are at it again! We hoped we would be one of those couples you hear about who have trouble getting pregnant and do fertility and after they have one kid their fertility issue is magically gone. Nope, not us! We have been actively trying for a year now. I am seeing a different RE this time (the old one joined the first RE's practice AKA: the Evil Empire). I drive 88 miles each way for monitoring, many days with a kid in tow. I am just about to have my 4th IUI since starting to try for baby #2. My first IUI I got pregnant, but had a very early miscarriage and D&C. Just like every other cycle, we hope this is the one. After this we only have 2 more IUIs covered by insurance, and when they are gone, we are done.

We have had to really re-evaluate our goals for a family. At this point in time we think that we will have one more and call it good with 2 kids. The roller coaster of fertility treatments is too draining, emotionally and financially.

So after this novel of our TTC (trying to conceive) Journey, I am hoping to spend more time talking about the intricacies of infertility and its treatment and my experiences with it.

Thanks for reading my story and I hope you'll come back for more!