Day 1012

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I haven’t updated this blog in 312 days. Woops. I do most of my writing and venting nowadays on my TTC IG. You likely found my blog from there; but just in case, you can find me at @2ndaryinfert

Limbo. Stuck. Imagine bending backwards to walk beneath a stick. Do it a few dozen times, each consecutive attempt, lowering the stick an inch. Now imagine you’re at that height where you’re pretty sure you won’t make it under without falling, but you’re going to attempt it anyways. You take a breath, walk towards the stick and begin to waddle as your spine curves backwards in an almost impossible arch. Your hips cross under the stick, your belly button, your lower ribs. You’re holding your breath so you can brace your abs to keep from collapsing onto the ground. The stick reaches your chest and heart as you awkwardly shuffle forward and you’re astounded that you’ve made it this far without failing. But then you find yourself suddenly stuck, bent backwards with your heart under this stick, forcing you to a most uncomfortable standstill. You’re unable to continue but unable to let yourself buckle. Your chest is tight and it’s difficult to breathe. Your neck is aching while you focus on this damn stick.

I’m stuck in limbo.

After spending an arm and a leg at a new RE, whom doesn’t make me feel at ease like my Gyno did, I now have answers. Answers that bring a tiny bit of relief because we’re clued into how to fix what’s taken almost three years to figure out. While alleviated, I somehow find myself more devastated than before. It’s true; my husband and I have a <1% chance of conceiving naturally. It’s true; statistically the solutions available should increase that percentage greatly. But those solutions are unobtainable.

Over these last few years, we’ve gone from “ready to be pregnant in two weeks” to “oh my kale, how are we going to pay our bills?” Testing was so much more expensive than we ever anticipated. I mean, hello? We’ve both conceived accidentally with other people, eight and sixteen years ago. There should only be something a little off. Right?

No.

That’s not how it works.

I watched a video in my psychology class about a gay male couple looking to adopt. One of them said, “Straight people just have to FUCK and they get a kid.” Of course, it stuck a cord with me. That’s not always the case.

We no longer have the means to cover fertility treatments with our current savings. We have to wait and save up for it. It’s agonizing, waiting for something that you’ve already waited 1,012 days for, only to not end up not having enough money to pay for it. We are stuck. We are stressed as hell.

So we wait. We work. I brood. Lather, rinse, drink cheap wine, repeat.

 

 

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700

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Day seven hundred. 100 weeks. 16,800 hours. One million eight thousand minutes. That is how long I have been dreaming of you, how long I’ve been trying to find your existence, to make you into reality.
For my twenty fifth cycle, I’ve switched it up. My considerate doctor chose to spare me the discomfort of ovulation on Clomid for a few cycles, while we experiment with using Clomid to boost my dear husband’s testosterone and sperm count. In his words, “instead of making more targets, we’re going to up the ammunition.” This is a lesser known use of the drug, but enough experiments have been done to make a positive difference a possibility. If that doesn’t work, by April we’ll both be taking it. I’ll also undergo a scan when I experience ovulation pain to ensure that multiple follicles are indeed the cause.
We took my 24th cycle off from trying- a first. No temps, no LH tests, no sex unless we wanted to. I thought the break would boost my libido, but it didn’t to much extent.
So, onward we pursue. Clomid significantly dried my CM, so I bought conceive plus lubrication. My doctor said he personally didn’t have an opinion either way with the use of conception friendly lube, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. Reading the dozens of Amazon reviews of infertile couples using that particular lube conceiving on their first try had my heart racing like sixteen year old on a first date. If this cycle doesn’t work, I (would like to think that I) won’t be any more disappointed than the other 23 tries, but I have a different mix of hope this time; this feeling is somewhat the same of the mixed bag of optimism I had after my hsg last February (which I just paid off yesterday, thank you very much insurance for pretending infertility isn’t a disease.)
If you’re infertile, don’t watch the movie Serious Moonlight. I thought it’d be a lighthearted comedy about marriage. No. It stoked the fires of my fear that infertility will tear my marriage apart…eventually. Of course the happy ending involves a baby girl and a secure marriage, and of course I had to watch it on a night that Eric was in the middle of a 36 hour shift. Bad decision learned from.

Cycle 22

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Here I sit, on the verge of (hopefully) ovulating in my twenty second cycle of trying to conceive. Having been through one round of Clomid already, I figured this time the side effects wouldn’t be so bad, since I knew what to expect. They’re not. Last month and this month I’ve had:

  • Slight dizziness here and there
  • Hot flashes up the ying yang. For most of the cycle. Every day and night. I now know what to expect when menopause hits in twenty-thirty years.
  • Crampy/soreness/tenderness in all the reproductive area. Inside and out, around ovulation. So it’s like I get two periods a month, but bleed during one of them.
  • Irritability. Sorry, husband, for giving you the silent treatment for overcooking my expensive steak.
  • Less control over my emotions. This is a big one. I am not a weepy person. Is it the stress? Or that plus the elevated levels of all the hormones surging through me? Whatever, I ugly-cried myself to sleep last night. Pity party for one, please.
  • Compromised mental clarity. This, I don’t know what to think of. Am I depressed? Is it the constant night waking from hot flashes? Is it the stress? Is it adrenal insufficiency? Doing homework or taking quizzes in class has suffered the most in this area. I’m an A student and always have been (ok, except that english class I slacked off in in my freshman year of hs.) Now I’m struggling to pass my chemistry class.
  • TMI alert— dryer CM. So, not only am I sore all up in there, but I’m barely moist enough to make the whole baby making happen. Since we also completely avoid all oral stimulation (can’t have our saliva killing off his swimmers) during ovulation, it’s all up to me to keep the ride comfortable. And no, I don’t trust that Pre-Seed stuff to help instead of hinder.

All this, and I’m only on the lowest dose of Clomid. I’m afraid to think of what the 100mg dose would do to me. If these three rounds of the 50mg don’t work, we’ve decided to take December off of trying before moving onto the higher dosage (and possibly adding Metformin to the mix.) It’ll be our first month of not trying to conceive since we started. I’ll be turning 26, my daughter will be turning 7, and it’ll be our first Christmas without my Grandma, whom we lost in June. Of course I’m simply hoping that this cycle will be the one, and all those other troubles will melt away from our fiery happiness.

603

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Six hundred and three days I’ve been waiting for you. Most times patiently, sometimes not. Eighty six weeks of your constant absence. Your absence that continues on, despite all we do to bring you into existence. The pills, the non-stop temperatures, the urine tests, the doctor visits, the invasive tests, the bills, the sex even when it’s the last physical thing I want to do, the waking up at 11 because that’s when my husband and your future father gets home from work and I’m supposed to be ovulating. Everything we do is still not enough.
To feel insufficient is one of the most debilitating emotions. It breaks me down little by little, no matter how much I succeed at everything else. 4.0 in school, new PR in crossfit, losing weight and feeling physically great…it’s not enough for you. I’m not enough, and no matter what I try, I haven’t been able to change that.
So we wait. And try more. And try harder. We’re waiting for you, are you ready?

Clomid: Day 3

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So far, the only symptoms I’ve had from taking Clomid are mild bouts of dizziness here and there. I’ve also felt bloated by the end of the days, but that might not be related. I worried that messing with my hormone production would automatically turn me into a raging bitch or weeping mess. Having a level head is a high priority to me, and it seems that extra estrogen hasn’t overridden that. Yet.
A woman that attends the same crossfit class that I do recently made it known that she’s pregnant. Of course my initial reaction was to be happy for her and positive about it, but I find myself comparing my efforts to hers more and more. I think to myself, will I be able to do that when I’m pregnant? Will I have morning sickness or be seemingly symptom free as she is?
Comparison is the thief of joy.
I haven’t had much of an appetite the last few weeks. I’m attributing it to the stress I’m in denial about; the stress lurking under the surface, that I push down further whenever it floats up too close to feel. Stressing hasn’t done me any good since this while thing started 21 months ago.
I’ll be starting fall quarter classes on Monday, and I’m hoping that they’ll provide a much needed distraction to whatever ails me.

Wishing, Hoping, Planning

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Anyone trying to conceive for any length of time likely has some things in mind of how they’d like their pregnancy and infancy of their newborn to go. Since this will be my second go around, when it comes around, I have many things in mind that I’d like to go differently. There’s also a thousand things that will be different simply because this will be a planned pregnancy with someone who loves and wants to expand our family. My first time, it was not.

This time, I am much more educated in the nutrition department and before I get all pregnancy hormoned up, I would like to think that I will have the restraint to have an 80/20 paleo pregnancy. I have followed paleo for quite some time and know it works well for my body and my activity levels. So I’m thinking 80% paleo, 19% ice cream, 1% bagels. Yes, that sounds about right. I am in much better shape than I was seven years ago and I hope not to grow too much wider throughout the forty weeks, so there’s a small possibility of feeling good about my pregnant body.

With 99% more support this time around, I hope to exclusively breastfeed for as long as possible. The last time I had an infant, I struggled and had no help, and was too exhausted to know how to ask for help. I saw a lactation specialist once who gave me a nipple guard which helped a total of twelve times in the three months that I tried and tried before I grew so exhausted that I gave in to formula. I will not stick to a schedule. This was likely my downfall during my struggles. I had it in my head that my daughter had to eat every certain number of hours according to her age, even if it meant I had to constantly wake her up to do so. What was I thinking? This time I’ll let the baby sleep, for sanity’s sake.

I will continue to be active when I become pregnant. I will continue with crossfit and running for as long as I don’t have a high risk for anything. It’s not that I was super inactive my first pregnancy- I worked fast food and was on my feet a lot, but I never pursued a real workout.

I will try to cloth diaper. I’ll get a toilet spray thing and launder, launder, launder. But I’m not opposed to switching to disposables if I truly can’t keep up with the work.

First foods will be real foods, no cereal or puffs for this hypothetical real food baby.

I will have a co-sleeper crib. One of those arms reach type that we may buy or build, to help with breastfeeding.

We will honor our parents in naming our child. We have a boys name already picked out, and several female names lined up that include at least one of our family names.

I will keep the baby things to a minimum, but ensure to have high quality gadgets that I feel like I’d need. Examples include a movement monitor, a video monitor, a sling or carrier that supports hips, and so forth.

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Clomid: Day 1

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It’s taken many, many months of deliberation, of consideration, of parse and weighing to get to this point. Many questions needed answering before I was willing to take this simple, tiny white pill for five days.

  • Can I handle the possible side effects?
  • How do I truly feel about selective reduction?
  • Am I willing to risk having multiples?
  • Am I willing to have a high risk pregnancy due to multiples?
  • Do I want to artificially meddle with my hormones?

All these and more answered, and re-answered. The biggest, most recent one before my doctor would prescribe me the Clomid is what I think I would do if faced with a wildly successful conception…of multiples. My opinion of abortion, for myself alone is that I  would never consciously choose to end the life of a person I was carrying unless that life presently threatened my own. An easy choice, an easy answer. Well, that’s not what my doctor was looking for, so he threw out a ridiculous number. He looked me in the eyes and asked me what I would do if I became pregnant and there were twelve embryos. Twelve. Oh. So, that’s not humanly possible, right? Waiting for something to go wrong would be a risk losing every life, so something would have to be done before  that point. No easy way out.

“So what’s your cut off point? What’s your magic number?” He calmly asked me. Well, shit. I don’t know. Why the hell didn’t I consider this before? I told him I’d get back to him on that. After a phone call to my husband, he supplied his “magic number” as if it were a no brainer- three, of course. But if I happened to have more than that, he would never argue against whatever my decision may be.

Do you ever feel your conscience? That distant, quiet tugging at the back of your mind? It may sound silly, but in this case, I have. I have this feeling that if I do happen to become pregnant with multiples, and there were five (yes, really) that I could do it. Oh, hell yes it would be hard. Yes, there are a ton of risks, but if eight has been done, I can freakin do five if that’s what life throws at me.

But if there’s more than that? Honestly I feel as if I’ll be SOL. Seriously, how can one choose how many should be taken away? What number of people do I reduce to? Who will I be denying the chance to live? Let’s hope I am never faced with this horrifying dilemma.

All these thoughts ran through my head for the hundredth time as I stared at the tiny white pill next to my eggs and coffee. And then I swallowed it. Here goes nothing (everything.)