Friday, March 30, 2012

Take Two

I'm now on Day 4 of IUI Cycle 2. I don't have a lot to say about the actual process, since now it all feels familiar to me. I know what to expect. I've already told you all about it. So I'm just sort of doing it without a lot of thought/worry. I did want to say that I really appreciate some of the kind words and messages I got from you all when I first found out that IUI Cycle 1 did not work. It was a hard day. I got past it and feel nearly AOK now (although still get teary at odd moments and random things). It wasn't fun, and you helped me feel less alone.

My doctors both made sure to point out that for 4 cycles of IUI my chances of getting pregnant each time remain the same. The first failure does not mean it is less likely to work the 2nd or 3rd or 4th time. I have 3 more goes at this. All completely for free. Now that we're fully in this, I am not getting any more residual medical bills - the study is paying for every single thing at this point. And if they don't work, I will go back to Dr. Tran (who I see nearly every time I'm at the clinic) and we will talk IVF. And we will try that for as long as he thinks. And if that doesn't work, we will try something else. Or we will look into adoption.

I have this feeling sometimes that people who have been through this and ended up with a child (or children) in a way are the most empathetic, because they have been here before. But in a way, I wonder if they can actually possibly still understand - while looking at their child(ren) how I feel. Because now they know that it's OK - that it worked for them. They have the family they want. And I still don't know if I'll get there. So their successes can feel painful to me. Like I'm being left behind, even by those who also went through this. They give hope, too. But it's a two-sided coin, I guess.

I don't take a lot of comfort in platitudes. I love that so many people have faith that this'll work for me. And I hope you are right! But in order to get through the day, I have to be a little pragmatic and think about facts and figures and next steps along the path. Because when I do that, I realize this WILL work. It'll work because I'll be a mom. Ian and I will be parents. Some way or another. And our journey may be almost over and it may be just beginning but we'll get there. We roamed this globe together...we've traveled through life together for 7 years and counting...we'll get through this, no matter what "this" turns out to be. And it's tiring and stressful and sometimes heartbreaking and possibly expensive. It affects me physically, it affects us both emotionally, it makes me tired and antisocial and sometimes angry and frustrated and sad. But from what I can gather from all of you - worth it. And actually just the start of a much longer and far more important journey of being parents....and a family.

A friend pointed out to me, via a private message, among many other amazing things, that she only realizes now that she has happy healthy children how much more important it is to her to be a mother than to be a biological mother. This gave me so much comfort. It only took me a second to process it and think, "duh". You have no idea. It's like suddenly I realized that our end of the road - our adoption option - will be OK. It won't be a loss, it will still be a gain. And suddenly I feel safe and OK saying, "it'll work out". Because it will work out.

Monday, March 26, 2012


so, just got my period. i sort of knew it was about to come. i am super sad. way sadder than i've been about this in non-IUI months. but i'll get past it. and try try again.

some days

most of my coping mechanisms, cleverly developed over many years of anxiety disorder, are failing me at the moment. this morning was bad. guess what? this shit is hard. what if i actually just can't have a baby? what if your happy ending isn't going to be my happy ending? what if i bought this house and the "as yet unconceived baby's room" will emptily taunt me for years and years more. hard to keep these thought at bay anymore. so, there's that.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Every month I want to ask everyone I know who has ever been pregnant how they knew - what it felt like - what symptoms they had when. And every month I don't ask anyone, cause I am embarrassed by my neediness. And because I also know that it doesn't matter. We are all different. And just cause it'll make me feel better when some people say some things that I am feeling, it doesn't mean that I am pregnant because I am feeling them. I am. Or I am not. Nothing I can twist around in my head changes it either way. And what I am tempted to ask for merely is helping me twist things around in my head.

Then again, whatever gets me through the day.... right?

So, go for it! Here on this no holds barred blog o' mine I'm gonna ask. If you are currently or have ever been pregnant, what was it like for you? I swear I will not use your words to help me go insane! At least, not much. I am genuinely curious.

I am currently having cramps. Which I am presuming to be a slightly early onset of my normal menstrual cramps. But I also know that you can feel cramps when you are at a very early point in a pregnancy. So, that's what has started me down this path this month.

Did you have what felt like menstrual cramps at any time in your pregnancies? What did you feel?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

two week wait

OK. My first try at IUI is done, and now I am just hanging out here in the dreaded Two Week Wait. Two weeks between the insemination and when I can find out if it worked or not. I am not going to test early because it would be pointless. The hormone in the trigger shot is the same hormone pregnancy tests look for, so a false positive is almost guaranteed. So I wait. I'll be given a blood test by UCSF two weeks after the IUI and if it comes back positive, they'll do another one two days later to make sure the levels are getting higher, not lower. I have a poke and prod appointment one week from the IUI. Not sure what they'll be looking at then.

In terms of how I feel about it - I don't know. I think I'm sort of assuming it didn't work. I definitely will be more surprised if it did than if it didn't. Again, I know that's sort of self-preservation. So, that's fine.

The procedure itself went fine. Ian was very proud that he had nearly 60 million super fast active sperm AFTER they were washed and the slightly less fast ones were removed. You want to have 5-10 million at least. He was all big chested excited, which is hilarious. I was like, "they obviously aren't that great, since they haven't gotten me pregnant yet, dude!" Everything went well...I had responded to the drugs just as they want. It was crampy and not entirely pleasant, but I was OK. So, yeah. Just waiting.

Oh yeah, also, if anyone ever tells you, "I'm going to use a metal speculum without lubrication. But I will put a little warm water on it!" don't accidentally think that the water might help in any way. It's gonna feel just like you might imagine a metal speculum will feel without lubrication.

In the meantime, I have the pregnancy hormone coursing through me from the trigger shot, so I feel like I'm getting a mini preview of some of the things I might experience when I am actually pregnant.

1. I will crave eggs and then feel nauseous after eating eggs.
2. Very tired. All the time.
3. Cry easily. I am NOT normally a crier, but today I have cried twice already. First, I cried at the end of the final episode of the first season of the TV show Parenthood. I couldn't find a screenshot or video of it, but if you've watched the show, it was the part when they go to get Amber from the truck stop after she's run away.

The second was when this song came on while I was driving to work:

Phew. To be fair, that song is horrifically sad to me, for a variety of reasons. But I have listened to it dozens of times before without crying.

Otherwise, all is well. My belly is still a little bit sore. But totally tolerable. And I am ready for the weekend. One more workday for the wicked. Aka me.

Also, we signed all our loan paperwork yesterday - we close on Friday and already have an appointment to pick up our keys Friday afternoon and we move into the house on the 31st. That is all hecka exciting!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sinking Feeling

So, this is how I usually am - I get super super excited about something and then right before it happens I am suddenly not excited. I think it's how I avoid disappointment in an awesomely unhealthy self-preserving way.

I just had a horrible sinking feeling that we already missed the window. That I ovulated last night while I slept, probably early in the night, and by the time we even get the sperm up there it's going to be too late. The egg will be past its prime - dead already. I feel this like I KNOW it. Even though of course I can not know this. Even though an egg can live up to 24 hours even if I did ovulate early last night. Even though my doctors know what they are doing. Rationality out the window, I guess? I am trying not to cry about it right now. I have a hole in the pit of my stomach. It just hit me all of a sudden that this is going to be pointless.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On Discomfort

So, the last 20 hours or so have sort of sucked in terms of my comfort. You know that feeling you get when you seriously severely overeat? The feeling like your stomach is going to burst at the seams? That's what my left ovary feels like. I saw it on the ultrasound yesterday and it is gigantic. It has two huge follicles in there. One of them measured at a volume of 21! The other was so squished by Mr. Gigantic that she couldn't tell the volume, but estimated about 19. It's sort of the same feeling I have every month at this time, but compounded like woah. My back aches from it. And I just feel like I am bursting exploding out of the side of my belly. It feels so heavy and full and uncomfortable. I keep not wanting to say that I am in pain, that it's just discomfort, but if I am honest with myself, I am in some pain.

In addition, giving myself the trigger shot was sort of traumatic. I wasn't scared to do it, but it was harder than I thought it would be to mix and get all the liquid in the needle and then it actually hurt more than I thought it would. It hurt way more than the saline solution of the fake shot. And it bled. And now the spot is bruised and sore. It made me get teary-eyed and feel sorry for myself.

So, my plan is to work for a few hours, but to leave early and go home and maybe take some stronger painkillers and have a rest. Tomorrow I will come to work just for a couple hours in the morning and then the actual IUI will happen at 12:30 and I plan to basically lay around for the rest of the day thinking good pregnant thoughts.

Yesterday my friend rubbed her adorable 5 month old all over me for luck. I don't know if it worked, but I enjoyed hanging out with the little smiley squirmer either way. Maybe I should pull out my Ghanaian fertility necklace and wear it tomorrow.

In the meantime, there is no position I can be in that is comfortable. So I will sit here and feel sorry for myself for a minute longer.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Poke + Prod

I've taken to just calling my appointments at UCSF, "Poke and Prod" cause that's pretty much the scoop now that I'm actually in an IUI cycle. I go in and they take my blood (poke poke poke) and they do an ultrasound (prod prod prod). Then based on what they see, they tell me when to come in next (seems to usually be about 3 days later) for a repeat performance.

Interestingly, since I'm someone who does not mind needles, or blood, I'm starting to find the poking to be draining, whereas the prodding still doesn't really bother me. I just keep thinking that I'm basically trading in piles of my blood for free treatments, since I give so much more blood for the study than I would in a normal IUI treatment cycle. It sometimes bums me out. But I don't really know why.

Yesterday I got a bill for lab work at UCSF that I'm pretty sure should've been covered by the study. It already went through my insurance and they paid much of it - it was in the several hundreds of dollars range - and all that's left for me is like $25. Which, considering I drop c notes like they are nothing on medical bills weekly, isn't much. But I am concerned that it would repeatedly happen and also that this, of course, counts towards what our insurance will be willing to cover in all of this. Anyhow, I'm anticipating a super fun time next week trying to sort that out.

Back to the poking and prodding. So, so far it's been this: Five days of mystery drug taking (Clomid or Letrozole). Then a poke and prod on Monday (the day after I took my last pill). At that point I had 3 or 4 follicles that had a volume of 9 (.9 ml) or 10 (1 ml) and a bunch more that were much smaller. We want at least one follicle at 14 (1.4 ml). Went back yesterday morning for another poke and prod. This time I had a follicle that was 15 (you get how it works now, right? 1.5 ml) and one that was (if I recall correctly) 13 and a bunch smaller. Interestingly (to me, at least), both of the big ones are on the same side (lefty). Also, interestingly, I can totally read my ultrasound now. I can find my uterus and my ovaries and see all the follicles. I can tell about how big they are. So much prodding! Also, it was really fortuitous that Dr. Tran saw us waiting and offered to do the Ultrasound since everything was a bit behind and he didn't want us waiting needlessly. So we got to catch up with him a bit and he told us he's been keeping an eye out and overseeing everything in my case, which was nice to hear. I just really like him.

Anyhow, Dr. Tran thinks that I will have two eggs, which is awesome. That means the drug did its job! He thinks by the time I do the trigger shot, that one that is about 13 will have grown enough. So, I go back on Monday for another poke and prod, and assuming everything is copacetic, they'll give me the trigger shot paraphernalia, and I'll trigger shot myself up on Monday night. The trigger shot will trigger ovulation to happen about 36 hours later. Ian will go in on Wednesday morning for what he has put in our calender as "Spermination" and I'll go in for insemination on Wednesday a couple of hours later.

Incidentally, insemination day is also my brother Andy's birthday. Don't you think if he was a good brother (which he is), he'd wish for me to have a successfully impregnation when he blows out his candles? Make sure you tell him that!

Ian isn't 100% sure he can be there when I'm actually inseminated, but he's gonna try. I told him that it would be nice if he was at least in the same building when he gets me pregnant, but ya know.... he'll do what I can. I know he'll be there if he can. And I don't mean to be a martyr (much), but if he doesn't have to go through all of this crap that I have to go through, why should he have to suffer too? On the other hand, it would be nice to have him hold my hand, since I'm nervous. So, we'll see.

I don't know if there'll be more poking and prodding between the insemination and a pregnancy test a couple of weeks later. It'd be nice if there wasn't, but I'm not holding my breath. We should find out if this first try worked just days before we'll move into our new house. If it does work, then yay! If it doesn't, we have three more tries at IUI before we leave the study, go back to the regular UCSF Clinic, and try something else. So, yeah. Continued cautious optimism.

Otherwise, I'm feeling pretty OK. The last 2 days I've started to feel icky and bloaty in my general stomach region. Also really tired. And these things make me a little more easily frustrated and needy. But I feel like the mental side effects are really side effects of the process (all the doctor visits, the emotional strain of trying to keep it together, the crankiness at feeling fat and ick) , but not of the drug itself. I'm guessing I'm on Letrozole, based on what I've felt and not felt. But I don't know. Everyone reacts differently to different drugs, so it's hard to say. I think we get to find out at the end of everything. I hope so!