Friday, December 31, 2010

in with the new

First injection completed!  And I must say, for a girl who passed out getting a flu shot two years ago, I did extremely well.  I made it through the actual injection fine...when I started to feel a little tingle from the meds, though, I let myself think about it all and got a little queasy, but nothing that lying on the couch for a few minutes couldn't cure.  One down, somewhere around 30 to go!  And to top it all off, we heard the birthday announcements on the Today show this morning and Dr. Howard Jones, the father if IVF in the US, turned 100 today!

Officially beginning IVF seems like an appropriate way to end 2010.  This year has been consumed by the apparent successes and subsequent failures in our journey to add to our family.  As we start this new year and new treatment, I have great hope that things will eventually work out for us, whatever that means.  2011 will be a better year...we may not have a baby, but I believe we are more prepared and are more ready to make difficult decisions than we were a year ago. 

As a sign that things can change, I received a lovely email from my sister this morning.  It was short, just said she was thinking of us, but it was an acknowledgement nonetheless.  The same sister that failed to even call after any of our three miscarriages remembered that we were starting injections today.  Yes, things can change.  Things can get better.  Cheers to a different, better 2011 for all of us. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010


The countdown is on....I start my follistim injections in the morning!  Never thought I would be so excited to stick a needle in my belly.  Wish me luck and feel free to pass along any injection tips!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

melt-down moments

I've been trying to post positive things lately...I want as much positivity as possible surrounding me as I start my first IVF cycle (which is still really weird for me to say).  Over Christmas, though, I had a few "melt-down moments."  I debated over whether to blog about them--they are over, and rehashing them does nothing.  But because blogging often helps me process and close the door on things that are bothering me, I decided to put these out there.  Feel free to stop reading now.

1. Christmas Eve Mass: We purposefully went to 6:00 mass rather than 4:00 mass, since 4:00 is usually children's mass.  There I was, kneeling quietly waiting to receive communion, when out of nowhere the contemporary band stopped playing and a children's choir began to sing.  For some reason this hit me like a ton of bricks...I started literally weeping in my seat.  Not my finest hour.

2. The Night Before Christmas: A's family has a tradition that they read this book every Christmas Eve.  Since the youngest is now 15 and there are no grandchildren, it seems a bit out of place to me and I did my best to avoid it, even going to bed first on Christmas Eve. As we sat at Christmas breakfast, however, out popped the book, and my father-in-law proceeded to read the entire thing.  The appearance of a children's book felt very insensitive.

3. Presents: Let me preface this by saying that this is going to sound petty and entitled.  I realize that our families are not obligated to chip in for our treatment in any way.  Because we really only need help with treatment costs, though, we asked that instead of presents our parents give us money to put towards IVF.  This was our way of letting them know that any help would be immensely appreciated.  On Christmas morning, we got $200.  This was very nice, and we are grateful.  But A's little sister got a new iMac...the 27" screen iMac...the $1800 iMac.  It pained me to see this excessive piece of technology sitting there knowing that my in-laws, who have the means to do more, had not even given us enough to cover 1/3 of our follistim.

4. Traditions: A's family is a bit obsessed with traditions.  One tradition is to draw numbers to decide the order of opening presents.  During the number drawing this year, his little sister said something to the effect of this is how we do it and this is how we will always do it no matter how many people are in the family.  This was a special sting...I know that they value their traditions, but they were able to create their own.  I worry that his family will try to impose their traditions on us, rather than giving us the space and freedom to forge our own way.

5. Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Finally, in one of the few conversations where it was acknowledged that we are dealing with fertility issues (I brought it up everytime), we were talking around how everyone has an opinion about IVF.  A's mom said "Just don't tell anybody you are doing it," to which I responded, "I should be able to tell everyone, and I should receive nothing but support."  She didn't really respond, which of course made me feel that she doesn't agree.  I hate feeling like his family wants us to hide this, like it's some dirty secret.  We don't ask cancer patients to wear a wig and hide their chemo.  Why am I supposed to hide this very serious medical condition?

Sorry that these sound so whiny, but thanks for listening bloggie friends.  Sometimes you just need to vent.

Monday, December 27, 2010


We had our baseline appointment this morning and got our first look at my little follicles (very little right now).  I guess I missed some information along the way because I had no idea they would be giving us a follicle number today.  We had 8-9 on one ovary and 9-10 on the other, and my RE indicated that a few more might form but that this was basically what we were working with.  I must admit that at first I was a little disappointed.....I thought the number should be higher.  After doing a little googling and talking with a few women who have done IVF recently, I feel much better.  I'm also trying to remind myself that I cannot control the number of follicles, or eggs, that I produce.

We also found out that my thrombophilia panel came back with almost completely normal results.  The only thing that was a little off was that my MTHFR enzyme level was slightly elevated.  My doctor was not concerned.  He did switch me to a prenatal vitamin with more of the active form of folic acid, but he was confident that this had nothing to do with my previous losses.  If anyone out there in bloggie world has any insight on MTHFR, please pass it along.  I keep referring to it as mother f***er because for some reason when I see this string of letters that is the first thing that pops in my mind.  I'm pretty sure that is not what it stands for, but it's much easier to remember!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

sometimes there is a bigger plan

After a fairly pleasant Christmas with only one or two minor meltdowns, A and I decided to drive from his parents' house back to our own late yesterday evening.  The original plan had been to drive back this morning (the 26th), but I was finding it difficult to keep my happy face on, and since my in-laws will be at our house this evening A made the executive decision that we needed a break.  Our trek back home includes a pass over the Appalachian Mountains, so the in-laws weren't convinced that our returning home early was a good idea considering the snow that had fallen.  But off we went. 

The first little bit of the trip was fine, but then the snow picked up and night set in.  The mountains were dicey...neither of us were sure we were going to make it back, fearing a night in a dingy roadside motel.  We continued on the road though, slowly, and eventually made it back.  Sleeping in my own bed last night seemed well worth the somewhat dicey journey.

This morning we woke up and the news announced that many local churches were cancelled due to weather.  Our road seemed fine, though, so we decided to head to mass.  I converted to Catholicism in 2007 (I was formerly Baptist, Presbyterian, and non-denominational), and until our foray into infertility I found such solace in the Church.  Sure, I disagreed with many of the conservative views, but we attend a more liberal parish and I had made peace with negotiating my own path through Catholicism.  Once recurrent loss entered our life, I began feeling more and more uncomfortable in a church where I feel unable to share my whole story. 

So, in an unlikely turn of events that included coming home early through a snow storm and braving potentially icy roads in our Southern town, A and I attended mass at our home church.  And on this Feast of the Holy Family, I heard assisted reproductive technology mentioned from the pulpit for the first time, and surprisingly, it was in a beautiful way.  Our priest's homily was about the beauty of family, and how we should choose to be familial to those outside our family as well.  Towards the end of the sermon, he began discussing how there are different meanings of family and he parted with this: "Two of my nephews are gifts.  My sister conceived them using an anonymous donor's genetic material, as she likes to call it.  They are now 9 and 11 and have started meeting annually with other children conceived from this same donor.  It's a beautiful, new way in which they have found familial connections."

Involuntary tears began to flow from both myself and A.  This priest, who we are honestly not terribly fond of, gave us our sweetest gift this Christmas.  He gave us hope that many in our Church, even many in authority, recognize the miraculous gift reproductive technology affords families.  While I am not sure where my journey with the Catholic Church will end, I know that it was no mistake I was sitting at that specific mass this morning, and I am thankful that our priest chose to share his story on this beautiful feast day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

may your days be merry and bright

I am heading to my in-laws this afternoon, but before I left I wanted to wish all of you, my newest friends, a Merry Christmas.  Most of us have not had the year we dreamed of, and the holidays are difficult when you are still waiting to share them with a little one, but I hope that each of you can find moments of joy and peace over the next few days.  You have all brought a little extra brightness to my life, and I wish that same brightness for you this holiday season.  Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

playing the odds

Like so many of you, I am having trouble with the holidays this year.  I am so focused on starting stims on the 31st...I just wish I could skip Christmas and get started with IVF.  I realize that's not going to happen (the fertility patient's life is full of waiting, after all).  I fear that I am putting too much hope into this IVF cycle.  I keep reminding myself that there is a good chance it won't work, but I know that my heart is extremely attached to the cycle.  As I wait to get started, I am being constantly reminded of the potential for wonderful success or gutwrenching heartbreak associated with our next treatment.  

I know that some people in the infertility world do not like Guiliana and Bill Rancic, but I have added their show to my DVR list and find myself waiting to find out what happens next.  Last night they found out that their second IVF cycle didn't work...they weren't pregnant.  I felt so sad watching this ending, but I also found it to be an interesting commentary on fertility treatments.  Even the best treatment money can buy does not ensure that you will end up with a baby.  I think there is a misperception in the world that many people go into IVF flippantly, often because it is most convenient for them.  This is so false.  I would venture to say that 99% of the people who undergo IVF have spent countless hours debating the pros and cons and have tried everything else possible to get pregnant.  I also think there is a misperception that if you try hard enough you will eventually get pregnant.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.

In my own life, I see people end at so many different destinations.  Two of the former patients I bought meds from both went to my doctor and both used the same protocol.  One is now expecting twins, and the other is still painfully childless.  When I read your blogs, I see so many stories of heartbreaking negatives...but I have also gotten to watch as some of you found out a child was joining your family (tasivfercalmly chaoticjennmrs. joerebecca).  I cherish the stories of success, as they give me hope.  But I also cherish the stories of not-yet-successes that are shared, as they help me keep some perspective and give me strength to continue.  Hopefully we will all have our own success stories to tell one day.  I so want that day to be on beta day after our upcoming IVF, but am trying to remember that it's extremely far from a guarantee.   

Sunday, December 19, 2010

investing in the future

When I graduated from law school, A and I took a fabulous trip to Italy.  I wanted to give him something special for his graduation, but due to the incredible amount of money we have spent this year on trying to get pregnant, Italy was not an option.  Instead, we went to a beautiful inn in the mountains for the weekend.  It was a perfect get-away...we had fires, games, wine, and delicious food.  Despite the great time, though, I definitely felt guilty that I couldn't do more for A.

While the emotional side of this has been grueling, the financial side has been incredibly difficult as well.  This year we have spent enough out-of-pocket on trying to get and stay pregnant to pay for a car.  If we get pregnant through this process, I know I will believe that it was the best money we ever spent.  I fear what will happen if we don't get pregnant, though.  I know that we couldn't have walked away from trying for a biological child without trying IVF, but if our fresh and frozen cycle don't result in a baby it will be hard to swallow the dent this has made in our financial situation.  I just hope our investment pays off!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

all is good...

Ready to start birth control on Saturday.  Of course my body decided to wait until a couple of weeks before IVF to perform a perfect 28 day cycle.  Now back to birth control...didn't think I'd be taking these again so soon!

pre-freak out mode

My body just won't cooperate, and I'm getting really worried that it's going to steal this January IVF cycle from me.  I was supposed to start my period this week so that I could do a day 3 start of birth control.  Well, today is day 29 of my cycle and there are no signs of the period cramps or discharge.  I know you're probably thinking that day 29 isn't even really late, but for me it is.  Previous non-medicated cycles have ranged from 21-25 days.  It should be physically impossible for us to be pregnant, but I took a test this morning just to make sure and there was no second line.  I was really relieved at that...the last thing I want is to deal with another early miscarriage or ectopic right now.

To add to my concern, I have a sneaking suspicion that I didn't even ovulate this month.  None of my OPKs ever came back positive, but I had chalked it up to them having been open too long.  Plus, I wasn't really testing religiously, just trying to keep a basic picture of where I was in my cycle. 

I've never wanted to start my period so badly in my life.  I am getting so excited about trying IVF, and now just want to get the ball rolling.  I have an email into my doctor, but am so anxious I can't stand it.  Any ideas out there?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I've read lots of inspirational blog posts/books/articles about how infertility made someone a better person.  I hope to get to that point one day--to be able to look back and see that my life was enriched in some way by all of this--but for now, I am at least ready to admit that our fertility issues have made me a different person. 

I am a more empathetic person.  I have always considered empathy to be a gift I possessed, but there's a whole new level now.  When I see someone in a difficult situation, my heart literally hurts for them.  I suppose this deeper level of feeling is due to the fact that I have real-life experience with deeper sorrow now. 

I am more careful with my words.  I have learned how the most seemingly innocuous words can sting, and try to choose the words I speak and write with greater concern for how they might affect their recipient.

I have fewer fights with my husband.  Don't get me wrong...I still throw an all-out, irrational tantrum once in a while (this past weekend, for instance).  In general, though, I pick fewer fights.  I'm not sure if this is because I have realized that most of what I fight about is irrelevant in the big picture or because I'm just too tired to get started.

I am much better at all things medical.  I can now get my blood drawn without my husband present and don't even pass out when they have to go to the veins behind my knees.  I still get a little queasy when certain procedures are being described, but am leaps and bounds beyond where I was a year ago.

I have decided that maybe the Duggars aren't so crazy.  Yes, 19 kids is a lot........okay, I guess they are still pretty nutty.

I talk on the phone a lot less.  We don't have a landline, and in November I used less than 150 minutes on my cell phone.  I just don't have the energy to engage in small talk anymore and thus have found myself avoiding phone conversations all together.

I'm not sure that these are all for the better, and I don't know how permanent they are.  It will be interesting to see how life continues to evolve if we ever get to the other side of this journey. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

here we go!

We officially started the IVF process today!  We had our injection teaching class and our embryology consult.  Basically, I got overloaded with information about all the different injections (I start stims on Dec. 31st...Happy New Year), then we had to sign lots of forms saying what to do with our embryos in every conceivable situation.  We only found one question difficult to many eggs we wanted (potentially) fertilized.  Before we decided to do IVF, our biggest hesitation was the thought of having lots of leftover embryos and having to make a hard decision about what to do with them.  After our losses, we were sure that, in our opinion, embryos are little lives.  Please understand that I am not being all judgy here...everyone decides what they are comfortable with, and I support anyone else's decision 100%.  Destroying our embryos at any point, though, is not really an option for us. 

We had originally thought we would only expose 8 to fertilization.  But the more I read the more I worried that if we limited the number exposed we would end up with no high quality embryos.  My theory in moving through all of this is that I don't want to have any regrets if we get to the end of trying biologically with no baby.  If we do not end up with a quality embryo, I know I would regret not fertilizing all the eggs.  So for now we have decided to have all the eggs exposed to fertilization.  Our clinic discussed the great need for adoption embryos, so we feel comfortable that there are some good options out there if we end up with more than we can use.

For those of you who have done one or more IVF cycles, is there anything you wish you had known beforehand?  Anything that helped you through the process?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thank You!

Yesterday was a fabulous day...A graduated with his masters degree!  This is the culmination of many papers, exams, and years of working full time while going to class.  I am so proud, and we were thankful that both of our families were able to come visit and celebrate with us.  After everyone left today, though, I was a little sad.  No one in our families mentioned or wanted to talk about our recent decision to do IVF.  They didn't ask questions or how we were feeling.  In fact, they went to pains not to refer to our current situation.  I know that discussing these topics makes some people feel really uncomfortable, but it's the most important part of our lives right now and I actually like to discuss it with loved ones.  When people act like it's not even going on, I start to feel like they don't care.  I know that I am unhealthily consumed with trying to get pregnant, but don't our parents even care? 

And thus another reason that I love writing and reading blogs.  This community is so's full of women who don't know me in real life but care about the mundane details of our struggles.  I can write about my test results and don't even have to explain what they mean.  You all understand the deep desire to talk about it all, the therapeutic effect of sharing your excitement and anxiety.  So many of the blogs I follow are currently going through an IVF cycle...I get so much comfort reading your words and learning more about what I can expect in January.  I long for a group of people I can be this honest with face-to-face, but I know that I am unlikely to find that.  So thank you, each of you, for being my sounding board and making this all a little more bearable.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

out of nowhere

Even when you think you are doing something completely innocuous, infertility and/or pregnancy loss sneaks up and bites you in the butt.  These unpleasant stings typically come in the form of questions posed by the outside world.

While walking my two precious pups, I met an older neighbor on the road.  She told me how much she loved Yorkies, how many Yorkies she has had, etc.  Then, suddenly, she looked at me and boldly asked, "Do you have children?"  "No, not yet," I was able to choke out.  She then proceeded to inform me that I was smart to not have kids, that dogs are so much better.  I quickly resumed my walk and ended the conversation.

I know that before we found ourselves here, I too asked insensitive questions.  I am sure that I questioned people about when they wanted kids or how many kids they wanted.  Now I cringe and pray that I never asked someone who was mired in infertility or who had just found out that a pregnancy was not to be.  When I step back, I realize that the questioners I encounter mean no harm...they believe they are asking innocent questions, simply expressing interest in mine and A's life.  The hard part, though, is answering the questions.

"Do you have kids?"  I hate answering that question.  No, I don't have children, but yes, I have carried three little lives for a short period of time.

"When are you guys going to have kids?"  It seems a bit like over-sharing to say "as soon as my medical team can figure out a way to make it stick."

Sometimes I just want to be extremely honest, but I know that would make the questioner feel bad and wouldn't really solve any of my problems.  So, for now, I continue to say that no, we don't have kids, and yes, we hope to have kids soon.  Hopefully those answers will be changing for all of us soon!  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a useful second opinion

I had my phone consult with the out of town doctor today, and he was fabulous!  He had clearly reviewed my record beforehand and seemed very honest and knowledgeable.  He basically told me that recurrent losses are the hardest things he deals with, as you so badly want to give someone an answer.  Although every miscarriage has a cause, doctors often cannot pinpoint that cause, so you're left guessing.  You can do all the testing in the world and it all come back normal, yet the patient is still experiencing miscarriages. 

Based on my records, he said he didn't disagree with anything my current RE is doing.  He agreed with the testing we are having done and said the only additional test he would consider would be genetic testing, but that might not be necessary.  He said he thought IVF was a good option...or at least not a bad option.  IVF is our best chance at getting pregnant--if we were his patients, he would present that as an option and let us decide if we are ready to make that leap.  He said if we want to get pregnant quickly, that's what he would recommend.  He did say, though, that he would feel okay letting us try a progesterone protocol a few times.  If we don't go to IVF now, he said that if we experienced another loss he felt that "the writing was on the wall" and IVF would be his only recommendation.

In sum, he said IVF is a good option for getting us pregnant.  He didn't think it was nutters to go ahead and move to IVF, especially if we are exhausted from the ups and downs of it all.  He made me feel good about the decisions my RE is making, and he said to feel free to schedule another phone consult down the road if needed.  Based on all of this, I am pretty sure we are doing the January cycle.  Unless the thrombophilia panels shows something totally wacky (we get the results around Dec. 15th), we are moving to our "best chance" of getting pregnant.  Pretty exciting stuff.

Monday, December 6, 2010

a little bit of this...a little bit of that

Last week, kkasun passed along a Cherry on Top award to my little blog--so exciting!  The instructions told me to pass it along to five blogs that had that "little something extra."  The problem is that it is impossible to choose just five of my readers, commenters, or blogs I follow.  Every blog I follow is just incredible, and each comment I get is precious.  So to anyone reading this, I think you're a "Cherry on Top!" 

I was able to ask my doctor a few questions this afternoon and feel good about simply dismissing crazy doctor's "second opinion" about the methotrexate shot.  I also found out that my giant panel of bloodwork should be in around December 15th, and I am getting thyroid results back tomorrow.  These will allow us to rule out any off-the-wall causes for our pregnancy losses.  I have a phone consult with an out-of-town doc tomorrow, but unless something crazy happens we are on track for January IVF. 

The one thing that isn't working out terribly well is the financial side of IVF.  We can make it happen, it's just not a perfect situation.  This is making me really, really nervous.  I think that for this reason, I'm questioning whether we should continue "just trying" for a while.  We are definitely exhausted by our three losses, and I really don't want to set us up for more of the same.  Ahhhh...why is this never easy? 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

babies, babies

This has been a baby-filled week for me.  First, on Monday, I got the pregnancy announcement I already mentioned, the one that said the expecting parents were "surprised."  Then, Wednesday morning, I found out that a dear friend had given birth to her beautiful daughter.  Finally, Friday I got a text saying that a good friend's soon-to-be adopted daughter had arrived in the world.  For some reason, however, these constant reminders of babies didn't bother me so much this week.  Maybe it's because the friend who gave birth has been so incredibly present and supportive during our struggles, and the couple who are adopting have gone through three years of trying to conceive themselves.  But maybe it's due to the fact that I am feeling peace, and excitement, about moving on to IVF.

Our decision isn't technically official, but I am 99% sure that we are doing IVF in January.  I talked to a patient coordinator at an IVF clinic a few hours away (a friend of a friend), and she assured me that she had never heard the theory about methotrexate causing miscarriages and that they allowed women to being trying again one cycle after a methotrexate shot.  I am doing a phone consult with a regional clinic on Tuesday, then we are going to call our clinic Wednesday with our official decision.  I know I will feel better once the decision has been made and am excited to move forward. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So, our second opinion appointment did not go terribly well.  I should have realized that the flash flooding in the streets and the fact that the office didn't have our appointment on the books were bad signs.  Basically, more than a second opinion, we got a completely opposite opinion.  After a quick run down of my history, this RE said that the first pregnancy was likely not ectopic and that the subsequent two losses were due to the methotrexate shot we had in August.  She said that pregnancies have virtually no chance of survival within the first 5 to 6 months of methotrexate.  Her recommendation was to wait until January then just try naturally and use progesterone supplements beginning three days after ovulation.  This is very different advice than the recommendation we received from my current RE.  He thinks it's time to move on to IVF, that I very likely have tubal issues.

Now we have no clue what to do.  We didn't really like the second opinion doctor, and her staff reminded me of my old fertility office staff (which I HATED).  We like our current RE so much and I really want to continue treating with him...but we also want to make the best decision we can.  To add to my confusion, I have been doing some mad googling and can find almost nothing that supports today's diagnosis.  I found one article that said that your risk of miscarriage may be slightly increased after a methotrexate dose, but many more that basically said that methotrexate is irrelevant to subsequent pregnancy success.  This is confusing because the doctor acted like it was common knowledge and we would have no problem finding literature to support her recommendation.

We are so unsure of how to handle this.  Right now, I am thinking of calling to try to get a consult with my regular RE and talking to him about this different perspective.  I am sure, though, that he will disagree with her and stand by his original plan.  I am so ready for all of this to be over...if doing IVF would get us pregnant, it would be so so worth it. confused right now.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


A family friend won his battle against colon cancer this past summer.  Last night, we found out that the cancer has metastisized on both of his lungs.  His doctors say it's not treatable.  He is 27 years old (the same age as A and I)...a newlywed...a uncle.  I don't know him that well, but I know that his wife and family love him dearly and cannot imagine a life without him.  I know that he must be scared, exhausted, and angry with the hand he has been dealt. 

Hearing about his new diagnosis doesn't make the pain of our recurrent losses hurt any less.  It didn't take the sting out of receiving a pregnancy announcement this morning.  It does, however, give some perspective to our struggle.  I want so deeply to have a child, and I am anxiously awaiting our second opinion appointment this afternoon.  I am grateful, though, that the news we receive at this appointment will not change the fact that A and I are healthy and suffering from no apparent terminal illnesses.  We will not receive a death sentence this afternoon.  We may not get the news we want, but we will have each other to hold, comfort, live beside and breathe with as we move forward on this journey.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

kind of like a cold

We are not medicating this cycle and are giving my body a bit of a break in our (potential) run up to IVF.  We are not, however, using any "barrier method" of birth control.  As we were driving home from church this morning, A said, "Wouldn't it be great if we got pregnant this month?"  My response:  "I don't really want to get pregnant this month.  I'm pretty exhausted, and getting pregnant is pretty much the same as getting a cold.  I don't have the energy for it this month."

I immediately realized this was not a normal response, but for me at least it was an honest one.  Rather than being the route to having a baby, being pregnant has become a temporary health condition.  Oh, two lines?  No worries...I will feel a little off for a few days, then within a week things will be right back to "normal."  Just like a cold.

I know I need to change my perspective before we go to IVF.  I want to proceed with IVF with as many positive thoughts as I can fit in my head.  But the only experiences I have had with pregnancies have been short, scary, and over too soon.  We all have our ways of coping, and I would love any advice on how to view pregnancy as a positive thing again. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

where we are

I haven't posted anything medical in a bit, so wanted to give you all an update on where we are.  In my first post regarding IVF, I forgot to mention that we have a thrombophilia panel scheduled for next week.  Based on the timing of our losses, my doctor doesn't think this will reveal any problems, but wants to check (I'm all for checking everything).  We called another local RE, and they were super helpful...they fit us in on Tuesday for a second opinion consult, so I am looking forward to that.  This will be the first female RE I've seen, so that's sort of exciting.  Finally, we have found a minimal IVF program less than two hours from our home, and we are going to call them Monday and hopefully schedule a consult.  We aren't sure if that would be a good option for us, but it sounds intriguing so we at least want to look into it. 

Our insurance does not cover any part of IVF, but we had previously been told that about $3,000 worth of services could be billed in such a way that they would pay.  Our plan is changing on January 1st, though, and the insurance coordinator at our clinic thinks we have lost that coverage.  I know that when you are spending this much money $3,000 shouldn't be such a big deal, but it was a devastating blow to me.  If only we lived in a state where coverage was mandated!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


In honor of Thanksgiving week, I'm doing one last "thankful" post.  I must admit, writing only positive things has been quite a challenge for me.  So here's my final list of things for which I am grateful.
  • Running.  I love running, but it's one of the things I had to give up while trying to get pregnant.  In our little break from TTCing during the run up to IVF, I am so enjoying getting on the road.  It's great to feel like I have some control over my body again!
  • Seasons.  I am blessed to live in a part of the country that actually experiences four seasons.  We are currently at the point where fall meets winter, and it's exciting to feel the air getting crisp.  It reminds me that Christmas is right around the corner.
  • Paper mail.  I have a few friends who, like me, still believe in writing and mailing actual cards.  Receiving a handwritten note is a unique blessing, and I am thankful for the friends who have written me over the last few months.
  • My precious dogs.  I've posted about them before, but I just couldn't leave them off this list.  They are my little angels, and they manage to make me smile every single day, no matter what else is going on in my life.  When I am grumpy, they just love on me more, which is fabulous.
  • Our house.  We live in an adorable little 1940-built cottage, and it's the perfect first home.  It's located in the most expensive neighborhood in our town, so I'm not sure how much longer we will be here, but I am so thankful for the time we have spent here and the warmth it has provided.
  • This blogging community.  I am so thankful that I discovered this group of women who understand the place I am in right now.  I am now seriously addicted to following blogs and am thankful for this outlet.
  • My in-laws.  I hear so many in-law horror stories and am repeatedly reminded of how lucky I am.  My in-laws are very supportive, yet give us our distance, and I could not have joined a better family.
  • Finally, this year I am thankful for the three little ones we have lost.  Don't get me wrong, I am NOT THANKFUL that we lost fact, I am still very angry and confused as to why we will never get to hold them and love on them.  Their short presence in my life, however, changed me forever and connected A and I in a deeply new way.  I feel confident that we will be able to look back on this time at some point in the future and realize that we grew tremendously, both as individuals and as a couple.  While I would prefer a baby in my arms (or in my belly) to any growth experience, I am glad I got to be their mother, if only for a few days, and I am thankful that they touched my life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

An open letter to my hair.

Dear Hair,

I am trying to focus on the positive things in my life this week, but you are making it particularly difficult.  Over the years, I have grown to appreciate your naturally curly nature since it seriously reduces the amount of time required to get ready for work.  This new curly on the top and stick straight on the bottom thing, however, is just not working.  It's not cute.  I know that I am putting you through hell with all the "I'm pregnant," "I'm not pregnant," "I'm taking ridiculous amounts of hormones," and I am sorry for that.  I am running short on patience, though, and I just don't have time for you on my "to do" list.  Please help me out and return to your formerly manageable ways.

Still A Guest Room

thankful for A

Today, and every day for that matter, I am thankful for my husband A.  A is not perfect, but I am often convinced that he is as close to perfection as one can get.  He is a perfect balance to my sometimes neurotic personality...he reminds me that common sense is more valuable than "book smarts" at times, and that over-analyzing decisions does not always lead to the best result.  My family can be less than supportive, but A walks directly beside me in all things.  He treats me like a princess, but what I am most thankful for is the way he treats others.  His kindness and willingness to serve are his greatest traits, and he inspires me to be a better person.  When I get frutrated with family, friends, or even strangers, A reminds me that we have no ideal what is going on in their lives.  What looks shiny on the surface may be gray and mucky underneath.  As if all of this weren't enough, he's incredibly handsome!

Our marriage is far from perfect...I find irrational reasons to be angry and/or sulk quite often.  I say things in the heat of a disagreement that I instantly regret, and I don't treat A with the same kindness he grants to me.  I hope he knows, however, how lucky I feel to be his wife and how truly grateful I am for him.

Friday, November 19, 2010

thankful part a little reality

Today, I am thankful for the entertainment industry.  This may sound trivial, but aren't there moments when we all just want to get lost in fiction?  For our early Christmas present/let's forget about the miscarriage for a bit outing, A got us tickets to an Elton John concert tonight!  Elton has always been on my list of concerts I want to see before I or the performer dies, and we have floor seats on the 18th row...way to go A!  In additional exciting entertainment news, the newest Harry Potter is on the agenda this weekend.  The Boy Who Lived always cheers me up (despite the probable darkness of this film), and I am thankful that JK Rowling was brilliant enough to create such a wonder-filled world.

Outside the world of fiction, we got the news we expected at our appointment yesterday.  Because the first pregnancy was ectopic, our doc is fairly convinced that the subsequent failed pregnancies have also been ectopics that resolved themselves.  Since we seem to have good eggs and good sperm based on the number of times we've conceived, he thinks the problem is my tubes.  The only way to take the tubes out of the equation is, of course, IVF, which is his recommendation. 

We are currently on the calendar for the January IVF cycle, but I am still trying to process this all.  Ignorantly, I never thought we would end up here.  The practical side of this is overwhelming right now...should we get a second opinion (while I'm sure it's a good ideal, I also hate the thought of finding and talking to yet another doc)?  Where are we going to get the money?  What if it doesn't work? 

Our biggest reservation has always been the thought of leftover frozen embryos, so we discussed with our doc the ideal of only exposing 8 eggs to fertilization and I am feeling much better about that.  There is still so much to consider, though.  I don't want to rush into this, but I am so ready to make a decision and go with it.  I am THANKFUL, however, that I don't have to make any of these decisions alone. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


As hard as it is to believe, Thanksgiving is upon us.  In just one week, we will be eating Turkey and checking out the Christmas sales.  The holiday season has always been my favorite time of year, but recently every special occasion has been bittersweet...each one is a reminder that I thought I would be pregnant by now.  In an effort to get into the holiday spirit and remind myself of how blessed I truly am, I am going to post a few blogs over the next week about things things for which I am thankful (with some not so cheery posts potentially thrown into the mix).  It is difficult to focus on the "happy" in life when we feel so bogged down by the "sad," but trying to change my focus reminds me of how much more difficult my life could be.

Today I am very, very thankful...A found out this afternoon that he passed his comps and will be graduating with his masters degree in three weeks!  Our family needed a victory, and the giddy feeling of knowing that A is finished with his program was a welcome break from bad news.  I am so proud of him--his diligence and persistence are now paying off!

I am also thankful for flowers.  I find a fresh bouquet to be so soothing and heartwarming, and this week I have been inundated with blooms!  A brought me a beautiful bouquet on Monday, and my sister (yes, the usually evil one) sent a lovely arrangement on Tuesday.  Then today at work, I was called to reception to find a gorgeous bouquet...amazingly, they were from two out-of-town friends who had heard about our third loss from a mutual thoughtful!  I am thankful for the flowers I have received this week for two reasons.  First, they are gorgeous and make my house/office smell fabulous.  But second, and more importantly, they are a tangible recognition of the losses we have suffered.  I can see/touch/smell that someone is thinking of us and knows that we are grieving. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

picking up the pieces

Today I went to work, was fairly productive, and am getting ready to head to a civic organization meeting.  My life looks the same as it did last Tuesday; my heart, however, feels different.  I think that's one of the hardest things about this journey...your losses, your pain, are for the most part invisible.  I am usually thankful that I do not have to rehash our story over and over again, but I sometimes wish that there were some way that others could tell I was hurting.  Maybe if they could see my loss they would be less callous and more understanding of the time required to heal.

I haven't really processed this latest loss yet...I am still in my "dazed" faze.  I can tell, though, that the physical proof that the pregnancy is over is on its way.  My back hurts, cramps are beginning--the official end is near.  Thanks for sticking with me through this ordeal.

Monday, November 15, 2010

worst fears confirmed

We got our hCG results back, and my fears were confirmed...this pregnancy is, once again, not viable.  We are broken, confused, angry, devastated.  For some reason I thought that each loss might get easier, but it doesn't.  Each baby we lose is uniquely loved and will be uniquely missed.  My heart is punctured with three holes now, and none hurt less than the others.  I truly don't understand why God allows us to continue to conceive when every conception results in heartbreak.

I am so afraid to think about where we go from here.  We are meeting with our doctor Thursday to discuss genetic testing and anything else we can do to look for a reason. 

Thank you all for sitting with me and encouraging me this weekend.  I treasure your comments and am thankful for all of your support.

knowing the ending

I took a pregnancy test this morning and the line was really, really light.  I am going for my blood draw at 2:30, but I already know the end of this story.  I will get a phone call around 4:30 confirming what I already know. 

I am an avid reader, and I have always been adamantly opposed to flipping to the back of the book to read the ending before finishing the rest.  Right now, I feel like I know where our story ends, but I so desperately want to change those last few pages. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

a sinking feeling

Despite my better judgment, I have taken a home pregnancy test every morning for the past 5 mornings.  I keep waiting for the line to be dark.  Although it has gotten slightly darker each day, it doesn't appear to be making enough still isn't as dark as the control line, and today is 17 dpo.  Today's line actually looked the exact same, maybe even a little lighter, than yesterday.  I realize that these tests aren't completely accurate, but I have the worst feeling about our results tomorrow.  I know there is nothing I can do to make this little baby grow, but I am going crazy nonetheless.  2:30 tomorrow cannot come quickly enough.

Thanks so much for all of your comments and encouragement.  I so want to be on the other side of this process, but am fearful that this won't be the one for us.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ambiguous Results

I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep...I just feel like this baby isn't going to make it.  I hope this feeling is due to lingering anxiety and is completely unfounded. 

I just got my results from my second blood draw, and my hCG is now 64.69....this is a 62% increase.  I am so sad that it didn't double.  I was really hoping for clear results, and this feels like we are still stuck in no man's land.  I am going back Monday afternoon and am hoping for something more definitive.  Please grow, little one!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Freak Out Mode

I just got a call from my nurse and she told me that after a discussion about my case, the doctor has decided that 1) I should go ahead and take progesterone supplements and 2) he wants to do an ultrasound next Thursday to look for anything that might be out of place.  I am thankful that he is being so proactive, but now I am totally freaking out.  When I hung up the phone, I started to cry (in my office which is not good).  I wonder what it would feel like to be one of those women who sees two lines on a stick and then blissfully waits for her first appointment in a few weeks, just knowing she will be holding her baby in 8ish months?

Results for Draw One

When I went to get my blood draw yesterday (13 dpo), I asked the nurse what number we were looking for.  She said that at this stage they would like to see at least 40.  And where was I?  40.56.  It feels a little low to me, but I am so thankful for this number and am anxiously awaiting tomorrow's results.  Almost more importantly to me, my progesterone was at 15.3, so they aren't even putting me on supplements.  With the ectopic, it was only 1.7 on our first draw, so this feels like a good sign.  I still don't feel pregnant at all, and my fear is making the hours drag by, but I am thankful for each moment with little D (we nicknamed the first one B, so the second was C and we are now to D).  I just pray that D is tucked safely away where he can grow and thrive and that one day I will get to meet him.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

That girl.

I didn't want to be that girl...the girl who starts a blog and then announces to the world that she's pregnant one month later.  Of course I want to be pregnant more than anything, but conceiving again feels somewhat disrepectful to all the couples who have been trying for years.  Yet here I am.  After testing on Sunday and seeing nothing (10 dpo, 11 days post trigger shot), I saw a very faint line yesterday.  It was so faint that I was pretty sure I was making it up.  This morning, however, the line was clear.  It was still faint, but it was definitely there.

I called my RE's office and am going in for my first beta hCG tomorrow (one day earlier than scheduled, thank goodness).  While I know I should be excited that we conceived on our first IUI, I am honestly scared out of my mind.  We have now conceived three cycles in a row, with the first being ectopic and the second going down to 8 on my second beta hCG.  I have no reason to believe this one will be any different, and unlike the last two times, I am running empty on hope.  My fears are multiplied by the great importance that has been placed on the success of this pregnancy.  During one of our last meetings with our RE, he told us that if another pregnancy tuckers out quickly then his diagnosis would be that my tubes don't work and that we should proceed directly to IVF.  

I am so afraid that we will have the same result as last time, and I just don't have the stamina to go through that again, especially so soon.  I keep looking for signs that this one is different, but have failed to find any so far.  Until tomorrow, I am counting down the hours and trying to stay as positive as possible.  This blog has been so wonderful for me, and your comments mean so much...please don't abandon me because of this faint second line, as we still have a long way to go!

Monday, November 8, 2010

In need of a 12 step program.

I am at the point in my cycle where I can't stop peeing on sticks.  No matter how hard I try to resist, these sticks have a gravitational pull over my body.  Sure, the nurse told me not to take tests at home and to wait for my blood test on Thursday, but I'm certain that she knew I wouldn't listen.  The worst part is that I see second lines everywhere.  I dream about them, and I can usually convince myself that there is a faint line staring back at me from any little stick (even if it's not a pregnancy test).  I cringe at the amount of money we have spent on plastic sticks, but taking these is the one thing I feel I can "do" at this point.  So I give myself permission to continue my neurotic testing for the next few days, dreaming about what it would look like to see a dark, certain second line.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Good Progesterone=Ovulation (Hopefully)

We finally got my results from my progesterone test on Thursday, and I was at 23.69 seven days post ovulation.  Despite the nurse's assurance that this was a good result, I immediately began comparing this to previous levels and googling (as if I hadn't googled info about progesterone levels a thousand times before).  It's wild for me to think that most people who get pregnant have no ideal what their mid-luteal progesterone level was...they most likely have no ideal that such a test exists.  From the first month we were able to get off birth control, my progesterone levels have been monitored.  It's really quite funny how much I have learned about my body in this process.  If we had not experienced difficulties, I would have never truly appreciated the intricacies of conceiving a child, how everything really has to be perfectly aligned.  While I would gladly trade the two lost pregnancies and months of disappointment for ignorance, I am thankful for the knowledge we have gained.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

living on a prayer

"Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever."  Psalm 73:26

I have always loved the Psalms.  David's honesty in his conversations with God is awe-inspiring.  He is not afraid to show anger and frustration, yet he constantly acknowledges God's sovereignty and goodness.

Our journey with infertility and pregnancy loss tests my faith daily.  Never before have I felt so shaken, so alone.  While I once firmly believed that the trials we experienced would serve some purpose, that there was some plan for our lives, I now find myself saying aloud that sometimes things just happen and nothing good is meant to come from them.  I still believe in God, but I find it difficult to sing of His goodness and love after the loss of our two precious pregnancies.  I believe that some of my disillusionment stems from the reverence with which I was taught to address God.  While growing up, I was never told that it's okay to yell and scream and be angry with Him.  Instead, I was taught to pray by saying how wonderful He was and how thankful I was for everything in my life.

So, I am now giving myself permission to tell God exactly how I tell Him how much this sucks, and how it is not fair that A and I cannot have a baby because we are good people who would love a child so deeply.  I plan to tell Him just how angry I am that I never got the chance to meet the two little ones that A and I conceived, and that I cannot believe He would allow so many couples to go through this terrible battle.  Any good relationship requires honesty, so I think it's worth a try.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Testing 1, 2

This week is test week in our household.  Tomorrow, A has his comprehensive exam for his masters degree.  I am so proud of all the work he has done and cannot wait for this to be over for him!  A is not a fan of standardized tests, so he is not terribly excited, but he has worked extremely hard for this degree.  I know that the most recent miscarriage and the first IUI were huge distractions for him, and I feel terrible...unfortunately, that is our life right now, and I am thankful that A is better at compartmentalizing than me.

On Thursday, we have our mid-luteal phase blood draw.  I realize this is not a test I should worry about, but I cannot help but be anxious.  I blame this anxiety on two causes: 1) I am terribly hard to draw blood from.  The record number of pricks it took to get my blood is 8, and that included one on the side of my calf and one behind my knee.  2) We have only gotten good results at this phase one time, so I don't have a good track record with this test.

For today and tomorrow, however, I am pushing needles from my mind and sending all the good vibes I can to my precious husband....Good luck, A!

Monday, November 1, 2010

To be like the movies...

I am embarrassingly addicted to romantic comedies.  Predictable though they may be, I enjoy escaping into these happy endings.  Recently, I watched two movies with nods to infertility and/or treatments.  In the first, Have you Heard About the Morgans, a couple goes into the witness protection program at a time when their marriage is in crisis.  This couple is dealing with infertility, and (SPOILER ALERT) ends up adopting a baby.  In the last scene, you see the wife holding the newly adopted child and when she turns you see that she is also miraculously pregnant.  Cue the happy music.  The second movie, The Back-Up Plan, is about a single woman who wants a baby.  She undergoes IUI with frozen sperm and, shazaam, gets pregnant with twins after the first insemination.  Other characters in the movie point out that this outcome is rare, but it is nonetheless the outcome presented to the audience.

I must admit, I enjoyed both of these movies, despite their cheesiness.  But today I began wondering if movies like these are part of the reason I feel so alone in my struggles to have a baby.  Most of my friends have attempted to be supportive, but many of their efforts have fallen short.  When they repeat phrases from the list of "worst things to tell a woman who just lost a pregnancy," I realize that they simply do not get it.  To them, infertility is a temporary condition, something that will soon be in my past.  They do not see that infertility is a disease, and they cannot imagine the depths of the scars it has left on my heart.  But is it their fault they fail to understand?  Have they ever been presented with an accurate picture of infertility, one where not everyone ends up pregnant and not all stories have the happy endings they deserve? 

Maybe one day Hollywood will make a movie where the couple ends up with mounting medical bills, difficult decisions, a still empty nursery, and the bitter memories of babies lost.  Until then, I believe that the best way to change the perception of infertility is to be open and honest in our struggles, letting others see the hope, fear, and anxiousness that we live through month after month.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reaching Out

This past week, in an effort to find conversations with people who understand where we are, I reached out to two women who have struggled with infertility.  Although I would not consider either of these women close friends, they both graciously shared with me and encouraged me this week.  The "end" of infertility looked very different for these two conceived and carried to term healthy twins using injectables; the other never conceived at all, and she and her husband are beginning the adoption process this January.  Despite their different situations, they each shared jewels of wisdom that I am clinging too during these excruciating days of waiting.

The woman with infant twins reminded me that it's okay to cry and worry, but it is imperative to remember that I am not alone.  When babies come, however that happens, we will appreciate them much more than if they had come easily.

While talking to my friend who is soon to begin the adoption process, it was like I was hearing many of my own thoughts spoken aloud.  She admitted how much it hurt when people refer to children as a gift from God...if God is handing out babies as gifts, why is He withholding them from us?  She explained that even though she has accepted their new path, it still stings to see a pregnant woman, swollen in beautiful anticipation.  But most importantly, she shared with me a breakthrough she had while coming to terms with never being pregnant.  She said that she once believed that the worst thing that could happen to her would be for someone to tell her she could not have children...but she now realizes that the worst thing that could happen is for someone to tell her she could not have her husband.  The love they share is what fuels the desire for children, and that love can be shared with a biological or adopted child equally.  A beautiful thought to carry us through this two week wait!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Superman...Part 2

A couple of things to add to my last post....

1) Thank you all for your encouragement and well wishes as we head into this IUI.  Blogging has been such a great release for me, and I treasure each comment!

2) Just to make sure that no one thinks my husband is evil, here's a portion of the email A sent me after reading my last post:

"....please do not blame yourself anymore for all of this.  We are in this together.  It is not "my sperm" and "your eggs."  These are "our sperm" and "our eggs."  We are going through this with the cards that we are dealt and they are our cards, not my cards and your cards.  We are playing the same hand here. 

WE have a good sperm count....that is a good thing.  WE have a good estrogen level as of yesterday.  WE had good HSG results last week.  WE are now trying IUI."

Have I mentioned yet how much I love him? 

Happy Friday everyone! 


When I arrived yesterday for our IUI, the nurse who was running A's sperm came walking from the back of the office to greet me.  She was shaking her head and asking whether A was with me, so dread began to fill my stomach.  Her first words were "my machine won't even count his sperm."  How could this be right?  A had an analysis about eight months ago, and everything looked perfect.  Now we were adding sperm trouble to our list of hurdles?!?  I guess she could tell we were befuddled, so she quickly explained that her machine could not count them because there were too many.  Too many sperm!  Superman sperm, she called them.  In our 1/2 cc that they inserted, instead of the 10 million that they prefer, A had produced 52 million.

Don't get me wrong, this is wonderful news, and we are more than grateful...but it is also further confirmation that either my eggs, my tubes, or my uterus are truly sub-par.  If A had married a "normal" girl, he would have knocked her up months ago.  Instead, he and his superman sperm are stuck with me.  Here's hoping there is no kryptonite anywhere in my reproductive system.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hello little follicle!

Today we had our ultrasound to check my follicles.  On one side I had two, one measuring 23 mm and one measuring 13 mm.  There were two on the other side as well, but they were both fairly small.  Based on the ultrasound, we went ahead with the hCG trigger shot and will inseminate tomorrow!  I know that the IUI success rate is not great, but am really trying to be positive about this treatment...I have been giving my follicles little pep talks all day.  IUI round one, here we go!

Monday, October 25, 2010

a full time job...and then there's work

I am an attorney.  I consider myself to be honest, nice, and loyal, but I am an attorney nonetheless.  When A and I first began trying, I was a young litigation associate at a large law firm.  Translation: I worked countless hours, including most nights and weekends, in search of the billable hour.  Granted, I was well compensated, but I was more than overworked.  Before our baby-dancing commenced, I was already a bit disillusioned with my job...I often spent my days trying to save large, wealthy companies a few extra dollars.  But soon into our reproductive journey, I realized that being an associate and becoming a mom were simply incompatible for me.  A and I knew that we might need expensive treatments in the future, something that my lucrative salary would help support, but we also knew that having to schedule sex between document review sessions was probably not helping our efforts.  So we took a leap and I took a new job.

I am now the first ever General Counsel (actually first ever attorney on staff) at a non-profit in our city.  This organization serves the disabled and disadvantaged in our community, and I was lucky to find a position in an organization with such a remarkable mission.  The hours are great, the people seem nice, but being the first at anything is never easy.  The responsibility of shaping this position into something useful to the organization falls solely to me.  I am usually the first to volunteer for a challenge, but lately I feel completely spent.  I want so badly to be a good new employee, to create a position that will endure beyond me, but my heart and energy are elsewhere.

I have heard from many women that their job is an escape from the TTC journey, somewhere they can get lost in something other than baby-making.  For me, however, it feels like the tests, monitoring, appointments, hope and heartbreak are literally a full-time job.  I cannot find the capacity to commit to both fertility treatments and lawyering.  Taking a break from work is not a real option for me right now, so I am trying to take work one day at a time and be as committed as possible under the circumstances.  Hopefully between google searches about "ways to increase the success rate of iui," I can produce enough legal mumbo jumbo to appear useful for now.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Still a guest room...

To all women trying to conceive, I am fairly certain that the title of my blog is self-explanatory.  We all have that one room in our house that continuously reminds us that we are still childless.

When A and I bought our little 1940-built cottage two years ago, we immediately deemed one room the future nursery.  It's a beautiful is one of the rooms that still retains the original hardwoods and intricate molding.  It has two large windows that fill the room with gorgeous natural light.  Plus, its just a step away from the master, a truly perfect nursery.  I have spent countless hours pondering where the crib would fit best and exactly which pieces of furniture we will need to buy when the time comes.  But today it remains a guest room/office, with no baby gear in sight.

A loves this room--he studies (almost finished with his Masters, so proud!) and works at the desk in front of the window overlooking the front lawn.  He spends a considerable amount of time in the "future nursery" each week.  I, however, tend to avoid the room.  For me, it holds a tinge of sadness.  I look at the daybed and think that it should be downstairs by now.  I look at the walls and remember that the time to have them painted a beautiful baby-appropriate shade has not yet arrived.  So for now, I visit the guest room/office on an as needed basis and dream about the days when I will spend sleepless nights in this precious place.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A little good news....finally!

We had our HSG yesterday, and the x-ray showed a normally shaped uterus and clear fallopian tubes!  This felt like the first time in quite a while that we had gotten good news from a reproductive endocrinologist.  We are relieved by the good news, and I am thankful to have this test behind me.

The HSG was the first time we had seen our new doctor since the failed pregnancy last week.  While my tubes looked clear, he still has concerns that they are not working properly.  He mentioned, almost in passing, that if we have another pregnancy that tuckers out quickly he would recommend we move ahead to IVF.  The reality of that statement did not hit me until much later in the day, so I am now trying to process exactly what that means.  For now, we are concentrating our efforts on the IUI scheduled for next week and hoping for the best!

On a lighter note, we have learned to ask for copies of everything as we go through this journey.  Before leaving the test room, I asked a nurse if I could have a copy of the picture from my HSG.  She said she would bring it out as soon as she could print it.  A few minutes later, a nurse brought A and I a huge, full size x-ray scan.  We felt pretty ridiculous walking out of the hospital with a life-size picture of my uterus, and we are seriously considering taking it to our next church group meeting in case anyone else wants to play show and tell with their ultrasound pictures!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Last year, A and I helped begin a young married couples group at our church.  We thought it would be a great way to meet people in our age bracket.  The group has resumed meeting this year, and out of the five regular couples who attend, two are pregnant...very pregnant.  We had a get together last night, and A practically begged me to sit this one out.  I had felt overwhelmed all day, and he tried to convince me that a night at home with the dogs would be more beneficial to my mental health.  Not wanting to let my fertility issues rule my like, I declared that I would be attending, that it might actually be good for me. 

The pregnancies have never been a central topic of discussion at our meetings before.  Last night, however, was an exception.  Our priest had invited an engaged couple to join us, and almost immediately upon walking in, the bride-to-be exclaimed, "There must be something in the water, you're all pregnant!"  Not all, I wanted to point out (though not for lack of trying).  A few minutes later, our new associate priest walks in and begins chatting.  Less than sixty seconds into the conversation, he asked if this was the group for people having kids, people raising our future parishioners.  Surely this is it, I think.  No more stabs in the gut tonight.  Not so.  As we were eating, I tried to politely disengage myself from a conversation about which birthing classes are best, and how they just hope their babies don't decide to come early and muck up pre-made plans.  Then, trying to be polite, I ask one of the fathers how much vacation he is taking when the baby is born.  He quickly responds with "Two weeks, since it's at Christmas.  We planned it that way."  Well, isn't that nice...planning exactly when you want to conceive to give yourself a convenient due date!   The final, and probably worst moment, came at the end of the night.  One couple had brought their 3-D ultrasound pictures.  I saw the dad standing there with them and tried to back away quickly, but I was too late.  "Don't you want to see our ultrasound pictures?"  So there I stood, one week to the day after learning that we lost our second pregnancy, looking at an ultrasound picture of a healthy baby girl.

To be fair, these two couples have no ideal that we just lost two pregnancies.  And I usually like these people...they are intelligent, fun, and have many of the same views on our church as A and I do.  But last night I was certain that they were little demons sent directly from Hell to rip the newly forming scabs off my fresh wounds.  The moral of the story is simple....I should listen to A more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Substitute Child

When I graduated from college, I received the most fabulous gift from my parents....a precious little yorkie (Big C)!  Big C is truly the best little friend ever.  He weighs about 3.5 pounds and is cuddly and playful at the same time.  He even wakes my husband A, who has Type 1 Diabetes, up in the middle of the night when A's blood sugar goes low (not sure if Big C is worried about A or just wants to steal a few crackers).  As Big C grew, I worried that he was lonely and repeatedly pestered A about getting a little sister.  A made valid points...what if the Big C didn't like the new dog, what if the new dog had a terrible personality...but still I pestered.

Then came the end of birth control and the beginning of our quest for a baby.  Although I didn't know what our journey would look like, I knew we wouldn't immediately have a baby to cuddle.  So, I got the next best thing--a baby sister for Big C, a yorkie poo named Little S.  A had adamantly opposed the addition of another dog, but suddenly a little furball seemed necessary to complete our family. 

We have had Little S for a bit over six months now, and though she is not a newborn, she has brought great joy into this time that can feel overwhelmingly sad.  She has invigorated Big C--it warms my heart to see them racing and playing with their toys together.  She has the sweetest face, and although she is not the brightest dog ever, she is a master at loving well.  Although I hoped to be decorating a nursery by now, somehow picking up the stuffing she has just removed from her teddy bear is soothing for me.  Our family of four is still missing a little one (or two or three), but our substitute child has helped make the wait a little easier to withstand.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Following the Yellow Brick Road

Do you ever just feel like you are following your treatment path, not really stopping to ask for directions, towards a goal that gets fuzzier and fuzzier all the time?  Don't get me wrong, I am an empowered patient.  I read up on treatment options and diagnoses, and I ask a lot of fact, asking too many questions actually got me kicked out of one fertility practice.  But sometimes I still feel totally overwhelmed, like I am riding some conveyor belt rather than actively walking this path.

Over the next week and a half, we have two new procedures scheduled.  First, on Thursday, we are having an HSG test.  Hopefully this will show completely opened tubes and a beautifully normal uterus.  In the meantime, I am taking higher doses of chlomid in the hopes of doing our first IUI next week.  If the HSG shows open tubes, then we will have an ultrasound and (if the follicles are ready) hCG shot to induce ovulation next Wednesday, followed the next day by the insemination.  (The act of typing this makes me realize just how unromantic this all sounds!)

So here's to several firsts coming up for us....first time to actually see my fallopian tubes; first phone call with an internet pharmacist; first shot being delivered to my home; first attempt to get my body to produce multiple follicles; and, as always, hopefully our first little one!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Round Two

I despise cliches, but I now have a deeper hatred for one in particular: "Lightning never strikes twice."  I can tell you from experience that this is a lie.  When A and I lost our first baby, we were left with no doctor and no real plan.  We had an appointment with a new reproductive endocrinologist and were taking the six week break between doctors appointments to heal and regroup.  We were by no means "trying" to get pregnant, especially considering that we had been told it would be virtually impossible for us to conceive on a natural cycle.  I continued to monitor my ovulation, though, so I would know approximately where we stood.

We met with our new doctor on Monday, October 4th, and we were more than pleased with our new helpers.  A new plan was set into motion, and we were set to begin IUI on my next cycle.  I knew that I should start my period sometime between Friday and Monday, and for some reason on Saturday I decided to pee on a stick (I am fairly certain that this is because peeing on sticks is my new vice).  And there it was again...a faint second line.  A was doing some weekend work at his office, so the stick and I quickly jumped into the car to get his opinion on whether the line actually existed.  He saw it too, and a couple hours later a second test showed a darker line. 

We were completely overjoyed.  We knew that we should remain cautious, but this just seemed meant to be.  We had conceived on a natural cycle when we were not even trying!  Surely this was the baby we would bring home from the hospital in eight months!  Although I tried to remain guarded, my heart was full.  The baby would be due in June, which was mother-in-law would be off for the summer, our family has no birthdays in June, I would be through the pregnancy before the hottest months of the year.  I could not have written a better script.  I even sewed a little green sleep sack on Sunday night (sewing is a new hobby I am attempting to use to de-stress).

Our first blood test was this past Monday, and despite being certain we would get a good number, my hCG was only 33.  Although this was low, we knew that it would be fine as long as it doubled correctly.  Plus, I chalked up the lower number to not knowing the exact date we conceived.  We went back on Wednesday, and as I waited at work that afternoon my stomach sank.  Although I had no physical reason to think things had gone wrong, I feared the worst.  At around 3:00 p.m., my fears were confirmed.  The nurse called and said my hCG had dropped to 8.  Two ovulations in a row had resulted in conception, and for two cycles in a row we had lost that precious promise of life.

I have always felt empathy for couples who suffered miscarriages, but I had no perspective on how such a loss truly felt.  It is an invisible one can look at you and tell you just lost your child.  For me, at least, this invisibility is burdensome.  No one knows the reason for the vacant look in my eyes.  People are confused when I, who am normally outgoing, am quiet at a dinner party because I feel completely alone at the full table.  The loss of these two precious ones stings with a pain I have never felt, a pain with which too many women are familiar.

In a bit of irony, A and I were scheduled to go on a trip to the desert Thursday.  We decided to go, hoping that some time away from our normal surroundings would be helpful to our healing.  So I now sit in the desert, both literally and metaphorically, wondering what our next path will be.     

Friday, October 15, 2010

The beginning......

In December 2007, I began having "problems."  They were not life threatening, but they were bothersome enough to seek medical intervention.  For the next year and a half, my husband (who I shall refer to as A) and I heard words like endometriosis (confirmed through surgery) and interstitial cystisis (unconfirmed through surgery), and ended up being diagnosed with a mystery reproductive ailment.  Because no one knew exactly what was going wrong, we were told several times that my fertility could potentially be affected.  Though it was a frightening thought, I was sure we would be able to produce a bouncing baby when we were ready.  After all, in 2008 we were only turning 25, and we were both relatively healthy.

Fast forward a couple of years.  Baby fever set in late in 2009.  We kept holding off for "the right time to start," then had a bit too much to drink one night and tossed the pills.  April 2010, both 26 years old.  I was so certain that we would have a baby in nine months...I began researching crib safety and seriously contemplating what color we should paint the nursery (green is most practical since it would work for a second child of the opposite gender).  Since we were treating with a reproductive endocrinologist already, he decided to monitor me as we began trying.  He also gave A a quick test, who of course checked out perfectly.

My doctor quickly determined that I had serious hormonal issues/deficiencies--namely, my body refuses to make progesterone.  Within a few months of trying, we were already beginning our first chlomid cycle.  My head spun...What if chlomid doesn't work?  What would we try next?  How much would this all cost?  How could I manage fertility treatments and my full time job?  It all seemed to be going downhill so quickly.

Then, on our second chlomid cycle, something miraculous happened.  I saw two lines.  I had spotted a bit the week before, but there were two lines on the stick.  This was it--I was officially becoming a mom.  The next two weeks were the most stressful days of my life.  First the doctor said it was a chemical pregnancy, a term I despise.  Then as levels continued to rise, we thought everything was okay.  Then the word ectopic began floating around.  After two and a half weeks of tests and a traumatizing experience at my doctor's office (which included this doctor mocking me and cursing at A), I was given methotrexate to "treat" a failing pregnancy that was believed to be ectopic.  I spent 8 hours that day being shuffled to three doctors, and at the end of the day I had lost the baby I desired more than anything, the doctor who was supposed to be helping me, my sanity and my hope.  I was exhausted and felt clueless as to where to go next.