Monday, March 25, 2013

Outside forces - Nonny and students

So, I had two thoughts today after therapy tonight. The first was a recurrent thought I've had in the women's room at the office - the wallpaper and pleasant potpourri scent remind me SO much of my beloved late Nonny's bathrooms in her condo.  Maybe she is looking over me during this hellish process?  That thought gives me warm fuzzies.  I know that if she were still here, she would stroke my hair with her elegant, manicured fingers, and hold my hand and tell me that everything was going to be OK.  It is a very comforting thought.

Another group of people who have an impact - both good and bad, are the students I work with.  They are so sweet and very interested in everything about my life - which is good...and bad.

"Miss, when are you going to have a baby? You'd make the best mom!"

"Oh, you're married?  When are you going to have kids?"

"Are you pregnant!!!!?" (That's my favorite when wearing perhaps not the MOST flattering outfit...)

"What are you waiting for? You're not that young anymore!  Don't you want to have lots of kids?" (Many of my students have young parents.)

I love their enthusiasm and care about me.  I am flattered by their faith in my untested parenting skills.  But...what a twist of the knife.  I'm just glad I don't work in a school with a high teen pregnancy rate...that might put me over the edge!

So basically, I believe that Nonny is watching over me, and I would prefer my students keep their baby wishes/questions to themselves.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

And again-hopes dashed.

Warning - this is a very negative post...

I had really thought this month might work.  Things had been different - we couldn't have timed the IUI any better...everything looked right on track. But all of the home pregnancy tests I took starting Wednesday were COMPLETELY without a trace of a second line, and then I got my period right as I'm going out the door to have the blood test at the clinic this morning.

I really hate the blood test.

It has always come after I've already found out on my own I'm not pregnant, but you still have to waste your time in the waiting room and suffer another blood draw to have your disappointment confirmed.  Couldn't they do it ONE day earlier??

Also, I was not really amused talking to the nurse practitioner this week during our "post-op" call.  I brought up the two friends of mine who had "unexplained" infertility that then found out they had something irregular auto-immunewise.  Her response?  Doing those tests would be fishing and we have no reason to believe they would be positive based on my medical history.  Umm OK - then I choose Go Fish!  There obviously has to be a reason we're STILL not pregnant - but there seems to be NO push on their end to find it out.  It's just as well, we still don't know a lot, and IVF is your best chance.

I've started reading about IVF...and all it's doing is making me really scared. SO many different hormones, timing that is SO important, tons of monitoring, invasive procedures.  I can't believe we're actually at this point - the last resort.

Worst day of the month.

But I'm trying a new tactic this month - instead of being a ball on the couch with tissues and movies, I'm going to go meet a friend for brunch...but still packing tissues in my purse, and tampons. Damn it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Well that was unpleasant

I'm hoping that maybe the fact that the last IUI was weird and painful means maybe it worked? Because it was miserable.  Cervixes are NOT meant to be lifted - that is what I learned as tears ran down my face and I probably left permanent fingernail indentations in my husband's hand.  I am even more comfortable with my decision now that that was our LAST Clomid/IUI cycle....

So now we're in the two week wait (tww).  I hate the two week wait.  It is just cruel.  There is NOTHING you could be actively doing to get pregnant...but don't know if it worked for TWO WEEKS.  A HALF A MONTH.  FOURTEEN DAYS.  It's way too long.

Here's how the TWW usually goes.
Day 1  - oh, thank God we don't have to have any more sex this month - the rest of it is just for fun
Day 2 - I don't think it worked. No. It probably didn't work
Days 3-13 - Was that a twinge? Am I having mild cramping or is that something I ate... Are my breasts more tender than usual?  To drink that one glass of wine or not... I don't feel different...I'm probably not pregnant.  What if I am pregnant? And so it goes..on and on and on.
Day 13 - (every month so far) Period starts before my pregnancy blood test at the clinic...hopelessness ensues
Day 14 - they MAKE you go get the test...even though you know it's negative - SO aggravating

Start the whole cycle over again.

At least I know I will NOT be riding the Clomid roller coaster again.  Who knows? If Spring ever comes, maybe I'll even get to exercising again...

Starting to research the IVF process/steps/medications for June.  Let me know if any of you have some IVF experiences!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Follicle Focus

So, I will admit I was a little worried/down after the monitoring results from Wednesday.  Every other cycle that I have been monitored on, the follicles were found to be a little shy of the mature range (they want 20mm or greater) by day 12 or 13.

This was Day 11 and there were 2 on my left ovary only measuring 13mm, and none on the right ovary - which was weird because I felt twinges on my right side the past week or so.  The doctor said he didn't want me back for monitoring until today (Saturday).  I was surprised and concerned - I know that the follicles grow about a mm per day, but I was worried that if we waited until today, I might have ovulated on my own already - according to past data.  Throw in a high-pressure day at work Thursday, and a crazy snow storm without a snow day on Friday, and a couple of negative home ovulation tests, and by last night I had convinced myself that this month was a bust.  It felt like all the crappy side effects from the Clomid had been for naught.

I grumpily got out of bed this morning to get ready for my 8:30 ultrasound/bloodwork appointment.  I much prefer the wee hours of the weekdays to the Saturday appointments - there are always more people in the office on the weekends, and today, with babies...which is always hard.  There is a family waiting room off to the side, but it seems no one uses it...

The ultrasound tech was someone I hadn't had before.  She wore a neon yellow sweater which seemed to match her sunny disposition perfectly. I almost forgot to close the bathroom door to get undressed from the waist down - modesty is so out the window at this point - who hasn't seen my lady bits by now?  She joked about how some women are so careful to cover up with the pitiful paper sheet. I liked her right away.  She even did the play-by-play while she was poking around in there....uterine lining looks great...let's look at righty - oh! There's one - 21mm!

I was shocked - there was nothing there on Wednesday.  I told her I had thought I was feeling things on the right side - she said, "See? You don't need us!"

She continued on and said that on the left one was 16mm and the other 18mm.  I told her I was surprised, that this cycle seemed weird.  She noted that maybe weird is a good thing - at least it's a change. I made a point of thanking her for the play-by-play and instant info.  She said that she understands - women going through this have no control over anything - at least they can know the stats before the nurse calls hours later.  New. Favorite. U/S tech.

I was smiling as I went back to the waiting room to be called for my blood work.  As I walked past the ... sperm production room? I noticed for the first time ever that there was a carefully displayed selection of mags and a specimen cup set out on the exam table - now I went from smiling to laughing out loud.  I wonder who has that job - can you please go set out the porn in an artful display?

I had the one male phlebotomist - he is now my favorite - barely felt a thing as the needle went in, and we swapped war stories about yesterday morning's commute. I left the clinic in a great mood.

The nurse called around 11 to say to do the Ovidrel shot tonight and the IUI tomorrow morning, as my LH surge had started, according to the blood work.  (I do so love the clinic's patient portal - as soon as we got off the phone, I could look at all the numbers myself.)  The estradiol measurement was more than 2x higher than it's ever been - this could just be because we are measuring so close to ovulation, but again, this is something different in this cycle, so maybe a good sign?  The other thing I am very happy about - the IUI, and thus the next round of blood work in 14 days, will both take place on Sundays - no more missing work this cycle!!!  Best mood in a week.

This is the thing about infertility I hate the most - the roller coaster - last night/this morning - low, 30 minutes later? Feeling great.  So now I'm hopeful about the IUI scheduled for tomorrow morning...but will that only make the two week wait worse?  I want to be optimistic..but then the disappointment is so biting.  I guess there really is no "good" way to go through this...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The mad dash to monitoring

People seem to think that when you work in education, you have SO much free time.  I honestly can't think of a worse profession for trying to schedule appointments.  True, I could make an appointment at 4pm without having to miss any work, but there is zero flexibility during the day, and to take a whole day off is a REALLY big deal and impacts your colleagues.  Apparently, there is even a note in my chart that says, "Teacher - minimize monitoring as much as possible."

The thing is that the IVF clinic really thinks they have a solution - they have appointments for bloodwork and ultrasound that start at 6:30 in the morning!  Ummm I'm at work by this does not help me out at all, in fact it is a cause for significant anxiety.

I've started, what I believe may be, my dream job this year.  It's new, exciting, challenging, and I'm definitely still learning the ropes and making mistakes, so I absolutely do NOT want to come across as someone who is slacking off or not meeting my responsibilities.  I hate missing work. Ever.

I made the decision to tell my boss earlier in the year what was going on, why I would need to come in late 1-3 times per month and possibly take 1/2 days without much notice due to the importance of timing and domino effect of each step.  She has been really understanding and supportive, but it is less than ideal, and if I didn't know my boss as well as I did before I even started working here...I can't imagine how hard it would be to make the decision to reveal your infertility struggles at work or cover it up/be secretive about all the time you need to be flexible/miss work responsibilities.  I am so grateful I can trust her and count on her support.

So back to 6:30am...I've figured out some tricks to be the absolute first person on the sign in sheet.

1. Leave my house at 6:10 to get there around 6:20 even with traffic (I'm so lucky our IVF clinic is 3 miles from my house and near the highway to get to work.)
2. Park as close as possible to the door - I haven't quite figured out if the # of spaces you are from the door is an unofficial order - today I chose to totally ignore that - I got out of my car first and was at the door.
3. Exactly at 6:30 the tiny light on the security pad at the door turns green (another woman showed me this today).
4. Walk purposefully to the sign in desk and try not to throw elbows.

Generally, they do blood first - which is good AND bad.  If you're the first on the list and you do blood first and WHILE you're in there they call the first ultrasound patient...that sucks.  There is only one ultrasound tech, and that process takes about 8-15 minutes per patient, whereas blood is under 5.  Today was my lucky day!  First for blood and was back in the waiting room by the time the ultrasound tech came out.  I was at work signing in before homeroom ended, though I had had to arrange coverage for my breakfast duty.

Having done this for 3 cycles now, I am definitely finding my favorite phlebotomists and ultrasound techs.

For the blood-takers it's all about who is the least painful and fastest - so far I love all of the phlebotomists at my clinic.  In all the testing and monitoring, I only ever had one not perfect stick, so I really cannot complain.

For u/s techs...while they have all been pleasant, I dread getting the silent one.  I had her today.  The other two have given me the follicle counts/measurements and lining thickness they observed, which makes my day MUCH better. Sure I still get the call from the nurse in the afternoon, and she gives more info as to what the numbers mean and the next steps, but at least I get a tiny reward of information for having messed up my work schedule.  The silent one says nothing...which I'm sure is what she's SUPPOSED to do...but you just violated me with a u/s wand for 5 minutes and I hear clicks and beeps and I know you see something...but no reward!  Fingers crossed that there are some good follicles.  So far each of my previous two monitored cycles, I have had 1-3 follicles that have matured.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Abbreviations Abound

While I admit that I haven't been using the message boards very much at all during our quest,  I find it pretty ridiculous all of the abbreviations that are used when it comes to talking about trying to have a baby and makes it so intimidating if you are looking for answers - you have to learn a whole new language first!  I am going to make every effort possible to NOT use the abbreviations such as...

Here is part of the helpful list I found on  I mean REALLY...(and I took out ones that seemed totally irrelevant at the moment)

 “Aunt Flo” / menstrual cycle
AFC antral follicle count
AH assisted hatching
AI artificial insemination
advanced maternal age, American Medical Association
AO anovulation, anovulatory
ART assisted reproductive technology
ASA antisperm antibodies

BBT basal body temperature
BBs breasts - what if yours are AA's? or CC's? :)
BCP birth control pills
BD baby dance (get it?) - This one cracked me up - I mean...come on...
BFN big fat negative (pregnancy test) Sigh...this one seems very accurate in its tone.
BFP big fat positive (pregnancy test)
Blast blastocyst
BMI body mass index
B/W bloodwork

CBE Clear-Blue Easy (hpt brand) LOVE it - even in the abbreviation list, they use abbreviations...
 cycle day
CM cervical mucus
CP cervical position

D&C dilation & curettage
DC dear child
DD dear daughter
DE donor egg
Dembie donor embryo
DH dear husband
DI donor insemination
DOR diminished ovarian reserve
DP dear partner
DPO days past ovulation
DPT days past transfer
DS donor sperm, dear son
DTD do (or did) the deed (get that one too?) Not much better than Baby Dance...
Dx diagnosis

E2 estradiol
EDD estimated due date
Embie embryo
EPO evening primrose oil
EPT Early Pregnancy Test (hpt brand)
ER egg retrieval
ET embryo transfer
EWCM eggwhite cervical mucus

FB Fertility Blend (proprietary vitamin-herbal blend)
FET frozen embryo transfer
FM fertility monitor
FMU first morning urine
FP follicular phase
FRER First Response Early Results (hpt)
FSH follicle stimulating hormone

GIFT gamete intrafallopian transfer
 gonadotropin releasing hormone

HCG human chorionic gonadotropin
HPT home pregnancy test
HSG hysterosalpingogram
Hx history

IC Internet cheapie (generic home pregnancy test)
 intracytoplasmic sperm injection
IF infertility
IM intramuscular
IUI intrauterine insemination
IVF in vitro fertilization
IVIg intravenous immunoglobulin

Lap laparoscopy
LH luteinizing hormone
LMP last menstrual period (start date)
LP luteal phase
LPD luteal phase defect

MF male factor
MFI male factor infertility
Morph morphology (sperm shape)

NP nurse practitioner, naturopath

O ovulation
OB/GYN obstetrician/gynecologist
OPK ovulation predictor kit
OR ovarian reserve, operating room
OTC over the counter
OHSS ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

PCOS polycystic ovary syndrome
 primary care physician
PCT post-coital test
PG Pregnant
PGD preimplantation genetic diagnosis
PID pelvic inflammatory disease
PIO progesterone in oil (injection)
PMS premenstrual syndrome
PNV prenatal vitamin
POAS pee on a stick (the stick = an hpt)
POF premature ovarian failure
Preemie baby born prematurely
PUPO Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise

RE reproductive endocrinologist

SA semen analysis
SHG sonohysterogram
SMEP sperm meets egg plan  I actually think this one is kind of cute.
SO significant other
SQ subcutaneous
Stims ovulation stimulation drugs

traditional Chinese medicine
Taking Charge of Your Fertility (popular book)
tubal ligation
TR tubal reversal / tubal ligation reversal
TTC trying to conceive Guilty - I know I've used this one...

TWW, 2ww two-week wait (between O and time to test for pregnancy) Possibly the worst part of the whole shebang.
Tx treatment

U/S Ultrasound

So let's say you are looking for an answer on one of these message took me 15 minutes just to decipher what the respondents were trying to say/what the question was talking about - and then you have to throw in a handful of salt, as little of it has been proofread by medical professionals. 

So, I just wanted to say that I will be trying my best to make my blog readable by everyone - even if you haven't learned the secret language of infertility yet :) (Though now you've had a mini crash course!)