Friday, October 29, 2010

High Hopes - Always a Dangerous Thing

I've got hopes for this cycle. High hopes. It doesn't help that I am having the same twinges and pulls in my abdomen that I did last time (when I became pregnant). Implantation??? Maybe... Maybe not...

No implantation bleeding yet though. I've been checking for it constantly, now that I've had that pregnancy symptom before. It feels like the old days when I was waiting for my period, hoping it wouldn't come, and checking to see if it did all the time. Now with the Prometrium, my period won't come on its own, so I thought I was done with "checking". Thanks infertility for bringing me another fun bathroom activity!

I didn't have Ryan hide the pregnancy tests this time around. I trust myself more now. Plus, after some convincing, I got Ryan to agree that we can test Wednesday night instead of Thursday morning, just like we did last time. Seeing that BFN on Thursday morning and then going straight to work would be hard. Seeing a BFN on Wednesday evening would give me time to grieve before venturing into public again.

There is the update! I hope no one reads this for a loooong time! ;)

Pregnancy Announcements

Ahh, the wild and wonderful world of pregnancy announcements. They take on a whole new meaning when you're infertile.

First the disclaimer... Pregnancy is such a wonderful event. And the announcement of the pregnancy is one of the best feelings in the world. I know! I've been there! So I would never, never tell someone how they should announce their pregnancy. Obviously, you have every right to announce it in any way you please.

Disclaimer over.

The purpose of this blog is to answer a question I have been asked several times: What is the best way to tell an infertile that you are pregnant?

I have been on the receiving end of some pregnancy announcements that were so painful for me, despite my positive feelings for the people involved, because of the method used.

I can only speak for this infertile. I prefer it to be quick and in writing. I don't like games, because the minute you tell me you want to "talk to me about something exciting" or you want me to "watch this video" or "figure out this riddle", guess what? I already know. :)

But what makes it worse, I can't stop and deal with it at that point. I still have to make the phone call or play along with the riddle because, even though I know, there is always the little voice saying "what if I'm wrong?" It makes the whole experience long and torturous for me. I know it is never intended, but while it is going on, it just feels cruel.

Once I know you are pregnant, I can process the info, compartmentalize my feelings, and move on. The "moving on" part always includes excitement for the soon-to-be parents and a love for the expected baby.

I prefer in writing because it's just easier for me. Call it cowardly, but it feels better to learn this news on my own and allow my natural reactions to come as they come. Email, text, Facebook... all of these work well. I don't like announcements in front of groups of people because, I know from experience, it makes everyone in the room feel weird. They are happy for the couple, but feel awkward around Ryan and I. I get sideways glances and hushed comments, when everyone should be focusing on the excitement of the new pregnancy!

Okay... It took a lot of courage to put this post out there. I've wanted to do it for years, but kept chickening out. I didn't want to hurt people's feelings. I was afraid of negative comments, or hearing how 'selfish' I am. But I finally felt it was time to answer the question I've been asked so many times.

Having said ALL that, you preggos and soon-to-be preggos out there... you share your amazing news however you feel you want to. Us infertiles are pretty good at getting through that situation. Many of us have had a lot of practice. I think I've achieved "pro" status. But for those of you who asked (or who wonder in silence)... quick and in writing is the way to go! ;)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Moded and Corroded!

Did you ever say that expression in 1st grade? Admit it! You did. And it is the perfect expression for this blog posting.

This childish statement goes out to all those well-intentioned busy-bodies who spent the last 7 years making me cry with the following statements…

- Just relax and it will happen.
- You’re trying too hard.
- Forget about it and you’ll get pregnant.

Notice all of these items put the blame on us. Not on some unexplained medical condition we might have, but on our mindsets, our attitudes, our anxieties. The reason we weren’t getting pregnant was under OUR control, but we were CHOOSING to “try too hard” and “not relax”. And THAT is why we weren’t pregnant yet.

Even though, logically, I knew that there was some other issue going on, I spent so much time blaming myself for our infertility because of these comments. I think this happens a lot to those with “unexplained infertility”. There is not a diagnosed medical condition, so the problem must lie somewhere else… right?

Well, in 2010 we were vindicated! We achieved pregnancy. No, we didn’t relax or try less. We sought medical treatment. If there were no medical issues, then why did we get pregnant on our 2nd Follistim with IUI cycle? We were anything but relaxed, we were trying really hard, and we were definitely thinking about it.

So, for all you well-intentioned busy-bodies out there… moded and corroded! :P Hopefully this is a lesson to you that no diagnosis does not equal no medical issues. And maybe you’ll think twice before making these comments to other couples who struggle with starting their family.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This IUI

Yesterday afternoon, I was at my desk preparing for a client meeting. All of a sudden, I felt a huge yank on the left side of my abdomen. It took my breath away. A few other yanks followed and then a dull aching and cramping. The cramping soon began in my right side as well.

I debated calling the doctor's office. I was afraid I was ovulating and my IUI wasn't until 10:30am the next morning. I pride myself on being a 'trusting patient'. I am still my own best advocate, but I make a conscious effort to trust their protocol and relax. They aren't perfect, but they know what they're doing.

I did a quick Google search and it appeared an egg has 12 - 24 hours to be fertilized before it deteriorates. This concerned me, so I gave in and called the doctor's office.

They put my mind at ease quite quickly. The yanking and pulling could be ovulation, but it could also just be my body preparing to ovulate. Either way, they assured me I wouldn't miss our opportunity. It was intense because of the amount of mature eggs I had this time around. Last time, I had 1 large egg and 7 smaller ones. This time around, I had 3-4 large ones (and 1-2 small) and I guess that makes a big difference.

The cramping continued until early evening, and then subsided. Later that night, I felt a bit more on the right side.

This morning, we dropped off our 'sample' at about 8:30am and had two hours to kill while we waited for the IUI appointment. We went and got some breakfast (Starbucks for me, Sonic for him). The weather was nice, so we just ate and relaxed in the car. Ryan fell asleep, poor guy. He worked last night and works again tonight.

Finally, it was time to head back to the doctor's office. It was super busy, but we eventually made it into the little room. This IUI was done by Nurse H. My cervix wasn't as "cooperative" as it has been in the past and it was a bit painful, but everything went smoothly. I've had some cramping since, especially on the right side and down low.

I came home and took a long 3 hour nap. I've been up for a few hours, but I could go back to bed. I'm exhausted. This process is emotionally and physically draining. But so worth it if it results in a baby that will be ours forever. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

God's Promise

I love when I read a new scripture. By new I mean one that I have probably read before, but that takes on a whole new meaning when read again in a different situation or mindset.

I came across this one in Sunday School and it hit me very hard. This is a flat-out promise from God. And God doesn’t break promises. What a comfort this was for me… I’ve probably read it 30 times since Sunday.

Perhaps things may be confusing and heartbreaking now, but God promises they won’t always be that way. No matter what the struggle or situation, I think everyone can gain something from reading this promise.

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

Isaiah 42:16

Monday, October 18, 2010

Feeling Happy and Hopeful

I had my mid-cycle appointment today. I had no idea what to expect. I had felt a lot of tugging and pulling last Thursday and Friday, but that tapered off some over the weekend.

I have five measurable eggs (3 on the right / 2 on the left). It appears three of them will be mature enough at ovulation to be fertilized (another one is borderline). So, while it is possible that triplets could result, it is unlikely and the chances of more than triplets are slim to none. That was reassuring. If I could guarantee that all three babies were healthy and happy, I would love triplets (once I stopped hyperventilating). But there are no guarantees in life, so I am open to whatever God gives me. Just give me something! Haha

Nurse M went on and on about how wonderful my lining looks. That made me feel good too. It seems everything is ‘perfect’ this time around. I’ve even read studies that say the first few months after miscarriage are your most fertile (some people dispute this). But I have to remind myself that even in the most perfect of circumstances the chances of this working are 18%. And there is a chance for another miscarriage as well.

So I will trigger tomorrow night, and the IUI is on Thursday. I was thinking, “Wow, it will only be a few weeks until I can post all these ‘secret’ blog postings…” but that’s not really true. If this cycle is successful, no one will be reading this until late December at the earliest. Weird! :)

The Lesson of the Wheat

In church yesterday, our speaker told the story of Sarah Peterson. Sarah was a member of the LDS church back in the early 1850s. Her husband, Canute, was serving a mission for the church. Back then, the typical mission was not 18 or 24 months, but could last several years. When Sarah’s husband left, she was now in charge of not only caring for their family alone, but raising the wheat that would sustain the family through the long winter.

According to everyone in town, Sarah messed up. She planted her wheat too late and too deep. She had failed. As everyone else’s wheat was growing tall and strong, hers hadn’t even sprouted yet. She was told there was no hope that she would have a crop for her family that year.

But then a rash of crickets came through the area. Everyone’s wheat was eaten and wiped out. It was complete desolation. Soon after, amidst all the damage, people began to notice small buds peaking out of the ground in Sarah’s field. What used to be considered “late” was, in reality, right on time. That harvest, she had enough wheat to sustain not only her family, but the entire town.

This was a testimony to me that sometimes God’s plan is greater than we know. Everything can appear completely hopeless when, in fact, it is all part of God’s beautiful design to teach us (and maybe those around us) an important lesson.

Maybe sometimes we feel like those fields of eaten wheat. Wiped out, devastated with little hope to cling to. But it is important to always remember there could be a miracle waiting just around the corner.

Friday, October 15, 2010


October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, a time to promote awareness for those who are suffering or may know someone who has suffered a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, a still birth, or the loss of an infant.

When I had my miscarriage, I was amazed by how many women contacted me who had also experienced miscarriages. Most of them contacted me privately, through emails or quiet conversations.

What amazed me even more were the stories I heard and the emotions that still surfaced in these women, even 30 years later for some. They spoke about the sadness and longing that was still a part of them. They spoke about feeling alone, and about husbands who couldn’t understand their grief. It was an eye-opening experience.

It is sad how alone these women feel, when in reality there are so many of us. What saddens me more are people who think that miscarriages happen to so many women, it must not be that big of a deal.

But it is huge. It is huge because it is the loss of life, the loss of a dream, and (for a period of time) the loss of hope. It is the loss of what once was, what could have been, and what will never be. Personally, it was the loss of a happiness and a fulfillment that was 7 years in the making. It was devastation.

Fortunately, I am of the mindset that my baby had a spirit. And whether he or she returns in this life or the next, I will hold my little “appleseed” someday, and that baby will be perfect.

I can only speak about miscarriage. I can’t imagine the heartache that comes from the loss of an infant. I hold those families close to my heart today.

So for all those women out there who are suffering in silence and anonymity, I wanted to say that you are not alone in your grief. I am crying with you and for you, and remembering your precious babies today.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What a Headache!

After the whole miscarriage roller coaster, I am once again trying to keep the timing of my treatments private. I tried that with our first Follistim/IUI, but because of certain obligations, I had to miss out on events and find substitutes and the word soon got around.

The second Follistim/IUI treatment, I was open about the timing from the beginning. So when I got my BFP, I felt I needed to tell as everyone right away, as they knew the exact day I’d be finding out anyway.

We watched the heartache of close friends and family who had waited so long for that good news, only to see it taken away a week later, and we decided we couldn’t go through that again. Somehow, someway we would have to keep this next treatment private.

So far we’ve been pretty good. My co-workers might know (because of the missed work due to appointments), but to the world at large our secret appears pretty safe.

The benefit to doing this is I can vent all I want and I don’t feel bad because no one is reading this (yet)! In the past, I sometimes tried to censor myself for fear that people would think I was trying to get sympathy. By the time anyone reads this, I will be way past this point. No sympathy needed (or wanted either!).

This cycle reminds me of our last one, but with an even stronger headache. The nurse told me that the headache is a sign I need to drink more water. I am supposed to drink half a gallon a day. On Tuesday (day 1 of the shots; day 3 of my cycle), the headache came within an hour of the first dose. I had already drunk my required half gallon of water before dinnertime and still it was there. By Wednesday morning, it was gone… just in time to take my second dose. Sure enough, an hour later it was back. I’ve just come to accept that it will be my companion during the 6 days or so that I take this medication. It is just interesting that it gets worse with each cycle, although this time makes more sense because they did increase my dose slightly.

Other than that, I am still plugging along, doing my shots and appreciating every moment. Any time I start to complain too much, I think back to where I was 2 years ago…

I was sitting in a psychologist’s office sobbing hysterically because we had too much debt and not enough money for treatments. The stock market had tanked, my career was stalled, and we were basically paycheck to paycheck. There was no light at the end of the tunnel and I was in the midst of a deep depression. No hope, no encouragement, no way out of where I was. I was so hysterical, at one point, she had me hold onto this little machine and concentrate on the patterns of the vibrations it made. Looking back, I think she was just trying to distract me enough to calm down so I could drive myself home.

Whenever I begrudge the shots, the emotions, the disappointments I am feeling now, I picture that person sitting on that couch holding onto that stupid vibrating machine. And it makes me grateful for every bit of it… even the headaches.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baseline Ultrasound

Today I met with Nurse M and had a baseline ultrasound. Everything looked great... no cysts and my uterus appeared normal. So we will proceed with starting treatment up again.

Starting tomorrow, I will take 100 iu of the follistim for 2 days. Then I'll lower the dosage to 75 iu for 4 more days. My mid-cycle ultrasound is in one week.

I am a bit nervous about how the increased dose will work with my body. Last cycle, I took 75 iu for 6 days and I had some pretty uncomfortable side effects, not to mention 8 eggs at my mid-cycle ultrasound. But, as I've said several times, I am trusting the medical professionals as well as God above that it will all turn out how it's supposed to.

Give 'er Some Credit!

Sometimes my body surprises me.

The last four weeks have been somewhat of a waiting game. After the miscarriage, we waited for the next cycle to begin on its own. The longest month of my life, literally. About two weeks ago, I thought we had made it, cramps and all. It was only about two weeks since the miscarriage, but I had been warned that my next cycle could come at any time.

I called the doctor's office as instructed and made an appointment for the next day. By the time I showed up to my appointment, it was gone, and a quick ultrasound proved it. (Thank you to Nurse H for not charging me, saving us $100. :))

After 2 more false starts, I was getting frustrated. Throughout this time, I was told if I didn't start on my own by October 14th, I would have to take Provera (strong progesterone) for 10 days and force myself into a period. I really didn't want to do that.

Finally, it came on its own. And, if you were to consider the miscarriage as my last "cycle", it was only 1 day late.

Sometimes, I don't give my body enough credit. I think of it as "broken", because of the unexplained infertility.

Then I have to remember... Although I may not be able to conceive for some unknown reason, my body is healthy, functioning, and can do a lot of things on its own, including bounce back quite quickly from a pregnancy loss (I wish the emotional side was that easy!). Not everyone can say that, and I should be grateful for the body I have.

Wow, a whole post dedicated to my monthly visitor. Never thought I'd see the day. :P