Friday, January 28, 2011

Beta #3

I had a lot of anxiety with this beta test today. In my first pregnancy, it was my beta blood test at the 5 week mark when I found out the baby had died. That memory kept flashing back in my mind as I waited allllll day for the phone to ring.

In order for my number to keep increasing at the rate it was before, it needed to be about 5200 today.

My result: 7058!!!

So far so good! I am too grateful for words. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beta #2

Our number continues to rise! We went from 385 to 1376 in 72 hours!

The next test is Friday...

Grow, baby, GROW! :D

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We did it

Last night, we did our first Progesterone shot and I survived!

Check out that needle! My heart stopped when I opened the package and saw that thing.

I began by putting my upper, outer butt cheek on a heating pad for about 10 minutes. I also placed the vial of Progesterone in a dish of hot water to warm it up a bit. Once it was ready, we wiped the top of the vial with an alcohol swab, attached a needle to the syringe and pulled up on the plunger to draw 1ml of air in. We stuck the needle into the vial and pushed the air into it. Then we turned the vial upside down and drew in 1cc of the Progesterone.

Next, we pulled the needle out of the vial, capped the needle and removed it. We put a new needle on the syringe and pushed any air out until a drop of the Progesterone came out of the needle. I then laid on my stomach on the bed, exposed my butt cheek, wiped the area with alcohol, had a mini-freakout, and ultimately decided to put my iPod earbuds in my ears with a bit of Michael Buble playing.

I took a deep breath and let it out. Ryan put the needle in quickly, like a dart. He then pulled back on the plunger to check for blood and make sure he wasn't in a blood vessel. When all looked good he slowly released all the Progesterone out of the syringe. This takes longer than one might think... that stuff is a tad thick.

Once it was empty, Ryan was ready to remove the needle. It was then we realized we forgot the gauze! So, Ryan left the device stuck in my butt cheek while he ran to get the gauze. A mistake we won't make again! He came back, removed the needle and rubbed the area for a couple minutes to distribute the Progesterone. I kept the heating pad on for about 30 minutes following.

The area hurt for a while afterwards, but it feels okay today. I feel pretty calm about tonight, as it is the next butt cheek's turn. ;) I am a bit anxious about injecting the same general areas day after day for months, but I'm sure it will be fine in the end. This baby is worth going through anything and, in the grand scheme of life, this ain't that bad! ;)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'm scared!

Yesterday, I began spotting just a bit. Nothing extreme, just a pale, pale pink. It concerned the doctor's office enough to put me on bed rest for the weekend. They also ordered me a new medication to replace the Endometrin. It is Progesterone (Ethyl Oleate) in injection form.
I had 2 choices:

1. Stop the Endocmetrin immediately and start the Progesterone shot right away


2. Keep with what I'm on and start the shots if the spotting gets worse

We ultimately decided to switch to the shots. If something goes wrong, I never want to look back and wonder 'what if'.

But I am very scared! This Progesterone is given through an intramuscular shot. Like a 2" huge needle into my butt. The stories I've read about it are nightmarish. Knots under the skin, horrible hot rashes, bad bruising, lots of pain. I'll do this everyday, in the same area, for the next 2 months.

Whatever it takes... whatever it takes...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Beta #1

This afternoon we received our first beta number. A beta blood test measured the amount of pregnancy hormone (hCG) in your blood.

Our number was awesome: 385! The nurse commented that, because I had two follicles, twins are a definite possibility with a number that high. But there's no way to know until the ultrasound. And, of course, we will be ecstatic either way.

The first beta number doesn't tell you much. It is the comparison between 2 blood tests that determine whether the pregnancy is looking good so far. My next beta is Monday, and we want the number to be at least double at that time.

Let It Be

When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Recently, music from The Beatles has become available on iTunes (finally). I downloaded this little ditty along with a few other favorites.

I've heard this song a thousand times, but a few nights ago it came on while I was driving home from work. As I was singing along, the words just rang out true and strong.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.

When it comes to life, there are some things that will never be in our control. I will never be able to control if, when, and how I become a mom. When pregnancy comes again, we will never be able to control whether a healthy baby will result. If we put in adoption papers, we will never be able to control if a birth mom chooses us. If we foster a child, we will have no say in whether we will be their forever home.

My only choice is to do what I can and then just 'let it be'. This is my greatest struggle.

Do you know why the phrase "Let it be" is repeated so much during that song? I think it's because some of us have to sing it that many times before we start to feel it, start to believe it. It's a constant battle.

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Early Morning Miracle

Last Saturday, I went to lunch with some friends. At the luncheon, I suddenly felt a stabbing pain under my left lung. It was quick, but dramatic and it took my breath away. Later that day, I felt that same pain a couple more times.

The next evening (Sunday), I was laying on the couch watching TV. I am on a new progesterone supplement since I had breakthrough bleeding on the Prometrium. This new stuff (Endometrin) is *strong* and made me tired and crampy within a day or two of beginning it. Those were the only two symptoms I had noticed for the prior week.

Anyway, Sunday I was laying there when I began to feel very weird. The feeling reminded me of how I felt right after our honeymoon cruise (strange that was over 10 years ago, but I still remember this feeling). Immediately after disembarking the ship, I felt slightly nauseated, like my feet were on solid ground but my insides were still rocking. This continued all evening.

Over this week, I began to feel increasingly nauseous. I tried not to get my hopes up too much. I know the Endometrin side effects mimic pregnancy. However, I couldn't deny that I felt very different. I felt full (but still hungry), bloated and shaky inside.

My "test day" was Friday, 14 days after ovulation (and my IUI). Last night, my symptoms felt so strong I asked Ryan his thoughts on testing this morning instead. Surprisingly, he was up for it. We went to bed around 11pm.

At 3am, I woke up needing to pee very badly. I didn't want to take the test so early, especially because Ryan wanted me to wake him up and I felt bad waking him up in the middle of the night. I laid in bed for about a half hour. I couldn't wait anymore. I knew I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep until I went to the bathroom (I can't sleep with a full bladder).

Finally, I said out loud, "I'm going to test now." I was shocked to hear Ryan reply, "Thank goodness!" Apparently, he had been tossing and turning for hours, having all kinds of strange dreams, waiting for me to take that test.

The 2 lines came up pretty quickly. I wasn't incredibly surprised (with all the symptoms I've been having), but I was incredibly grateful. Ryan said a prayer of gratitude immediately after we saw the results. Needless to say, we never went back to bed!

We are so thankful for those special priesthood blessings and our friends and family who fasted for us earlier this month. I didn't expressly tell people this, but that was the Sunday before our IUI. We feel so blessed.

Now the waiting game begins. We want nothing more than for this child to join our family sometime around September 30th. :) But that is in Heavenly Father's hands. Having experienced a miscarriage before, I know nothing is guaranteed, and I am just grateful for today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Been There, Done That!

In the past several years, I have received many, many sweet emails suggesting I try certain things to help me conceive. Because I find I am getting the same suggestions, I thought it might be helpful to spell out what I have tried, been tested for, or researched already:

- Most suggestions in The Infertility Cure

- Gluten intolerance: My anti-gliadin blood test showed normal results (3)

- Avoiding dairy

- The Fertility Diet

- Blood clotting disorders (I haven't ruled this out completely, but I feel comfortable about it right now.)

- Relaxation techniques and meditation (I'm open to using this in conjunction with treatments, but not as a stand-alone technique)

- Thyroid issues: Tested and confirmed "normal" by both eastern and western physicians

- Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs (Admittedly, I did not participate in this as long as is necessary to see significant results; however, I do not want to do it again exclusively. I would consider it in addition to western infertility treatments.)

I'm sure there are other things I have tried, and I'll add to this list as I remember them all!

The doctor has diagnosed me with unexplained infertility. So what do I think are my issues?

For sure, I believe I have luteal phase defect. I spot my way into a period and usually begin the spotting 9 days after ovulation, if not earlier. I am combating that issue with strong Progesterone supplements.

I also think I have a build-up of yeast in my system due to a lifetime of taking strong antibiotics several times a year. I'm not sure I have full-blown Candida, but I have begun taking supplements and high-quality probiotics.

Regardless of my issues, I honestly think I haven't conceived and carried to term yet because my life is on God's timing, not mine.

Frantically searching for that mystery cure causes me so much anxiety. I'm just not going to do it anymore. If I receive a new suggestion, I'll look into it if it seems it might be an issue. But I am not going to turn my life upside down. I'm not going to only eat raw food... or stand on my head... or any other weirdness like that. When I get these same suggestions, I can't send anymore long emails justifying why it's not an issue or trying to prove I've researched it already. It's too stressful. In a matter of a few days, I received 4 "suggestions". It gets tiring.

I am thankful for those dear friends (and some strangers) who have suggested ideas in the past. Because of you guys, I was able to get some of the answers above. A wonderful friend helped me learn about Candida, which turns out might be an issue. Another sweetheart suggested gluten intolerance, which I was able to be tested for and cross off my list. A childhood friend relayed her experience with blood clotting disorders, which I asked my doctor about right away. I am grateful people love me enough to try to help.

The purpose of this post is to put everything I have tried out there. I am hoping to cut down on hearing the same suggestions multiple times. Now, I can just link back to this post. :)

I also need to express the peace I feel with the treatment we are pursuing. Western infertility treatment got me pregnant once, and I believe it can do it again. It took me several years to have the money and the faith to try these procedures. Please don't question me about that decision. Whether it is another IUI or pursuing in vitro, this is the path we are going down at this time. We are confident this is where we need to be right now.

If you hear of something new I haven't explored yet, please send it my way. Just understand the peace I feel right now, and don't question or argue with our decisions. That is not the way to help. It fills me with anxiety and, as I've been told too many times to count, I'm supposed to "just relax" right??? ;)

After Tribulation Come the Blessings

A very dear friend shared this scripture with me today and I love it...

For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.

For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.

Doctrine and Covenants 58:2-4

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have written about the topic of friends before… but I feel the need to write again… even if it’s just a repeat of thoughts I’ve already expressed.

I am so grateful for friends. I have lovely friends who have been close to me during different times throughout the last 8 years.

Some were friends that walked the infertility road with me for a little while. They received their blessings and moved on. It’s not that they don’t care; I imagine life just became too busy. Sometimes, I feel a little bitter and wonder where they went. Was I just a convenient listening ear and therapist for them to vent to, and now they don’t need me anymore? Do I remind them of a painful time in their life? I try not to think that way and just be grateful for the time that we shared.

I have other friends who did not struggle with infertility, but were there for me anyway. Over time though, as they had kids and families, our friendship faded away. I think it’s easy to be supportive for a while, but as the years tick by (especially those years with no progress), it gets more difficult. I guess our lives are too different now. Recently, I’ve run across old blog entries with comments by old friends who just don’t comment anymore. I can’t help but wonder if I did something wrong or if that is just life.

I especially hold dear those few friends who have not given up on this journey with me. They were there at the starting line. They were there for the first tests in 2004, during the failed treatments of 2006, the depression in 2008, and our return to treatments in 2010. If it takes me 10 more years to become a mom, I can count on them to be there through it all. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it. And they ask for nothing in return. It’s just amazing and I don’t feel worthy of it. There is no way to repay that kind of gift.

A huge benefit that has come from infertility has been the new friends I have made. Some of them I have never met in person, but they have touched my life beyond measure. I am grateful for the Wannabe Moms Club and the face-to-face support it has given me. What beautiful, intelligent girls these are. Each of them different, but we’re all connected. And they all will make fabulous mothers someday.

In that ugly, ugly world of infertility, there are some tremendous blessings. One of the greatest has been its effect on friendships… whether it is testing an old friendship or bringing me new ones, I am grateful for that.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Get Real?

I have been accused of something just awful… Apparently, I am too positive. Dreadful, isn’t it? ;)

I am actually okay with being called “too positive”. There are worse things in this world. What hurts is being told I’m not “real” about this trial of infertility or that I “sugar-coat” my experience.

Hmmm, have you read this post?

Or this one?

Or, more recently, this one?

Did you miss the entire year where I was clinically depressed to the point of medical intervention?

Did you forget my miscarriage?

I am writing this blog from my experience and my perspective. I choose to focus on positivity whenever possible, simply because I find I get through the day better when it’s there. Some days that method doesn’t work and I feel bitter and alone. But guess what? I write about those times too.

Just because I don’t declare war on every pregnant woman out there and fill my blog with negativity all the time doesn’t mean I don’t hurt. But concentrating on that doesn’t get me anywhere. At the end of it, I'll still be infertile. But I'll also be angry, bitter and miserable.

Someday, my children will read this story. How wonderful would it be if they could come away from it feeling like their mother handled herself gracefully during these last 8 years? That is my goal. I’m not there yet, but I try. Sometimes, I let out a nice big vent and it feels so good. And then I remember the TRUE goal of my journey, and all that negativity doesn’t seem as important anymore. It is not my purpose.

So, if you are interested in reading how *I* see, feel and experience infertility, stick with me. I promise a journey of faith, hope and the occasional meltdown. Should be a fun time!

If you are only into vents and rages, I have a number of other sites I can suggest instead…

Friday, January 7, 2011

IUI Time

This IUI went fairly smooth. There was a little problem getting the catheter inserted but once everything was in place, it seemed to go well. I went home and rested afterward, as there was quite a bit of pain and cramping for several hours following.

And now we wait!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mid-Cycle Ultrasound

A couple days ago, I commented to Ryan how perfect it would be if I only had a couple eggs this cycle (rather than seven like last time). I could "enjoy" the cycle as much as possible, without the pain of swollen ovaries and the worry of higher order multiples. They had lowered my dosage this time around so I was hopeful.

My wish came true during today's appointment.

Ryan was able to go with me, which I so appreciated. It is fun when he comes. We watch 30Rock episodes on my iPhone in the waiting room and I get to watch his goofy antics while we wait in the examining room.

Nurse M did my ultrasound. Sure enough, I had 2 little eggs on my right (too small to be worth much) and 2 more mature eggs on my left side. One egg was 20mm and the other 14mm (smaller, but big enough to fertilize once ovulation rolls around).

The IUI is scheduled for Friday!

A New Word...

I have invented a new word:


noun \ˈmämˈsnäb\

Definition :

1 A woman who, after engaging in the act of birthing a child, automatically assumes they are more important and more mature than women who have not engaged in this activity
2 A woman who, after engaging in the act of birthing a child, decides it is no longer necessary to speak with or befriend women who have not engaged in this activity

— mom·snob \-ˌer\ noun
— mom·snobby \-ish\ adjective

Sentence Example: If I ever beat infertility, I will never become a mom-snob.

See Also: Chameleon

Monday, January 3, 2011

Go Forward in 2011

As I mentioned before, Ryan and I fasted this Sunday. Our hope is to be blessed with children someday, and this was the purpose of our fast. I received emails and phone calls from family and close friends who fasted with us, and we so appreciate the support. More than you can know. The day ended with a priesthood blessing which, again, confirmed that our deepest desires will come to fruition in the Lord's time.

I am buoying myself up with this promise and have decided on a personal theme for 2011... Go forward on the assumption that everything will work out. My goal is to use this simple phrase as my mantra whenever times are tough. I am hoping I'll be able to. So far so good... but it is only day three of 2011. ;) Little victories, right?

This is What Hope Does to a Person

In the last month or so, I have had many experiences that have given me new hope. I feel as certain as I ever have that I will be a mother someday. It's not if, it's when. And how!

Soon after I first felt the reassurance that motherhood would happen someday, I broke {my} number one rule of infertility... I bought something for our future baby. In 7 1/2 years of trying to have a child, I have NEVER purchased anything baby-related. I don't think it was a conscious thing; I just never felt confident enough to "go there".

Recently, there was a commercial on TV for AT&T (I believe). Everyone is riding around town on giant computer mouses (mice?). The main guy in the commercial is wearing a "Rush" t-shirt (one of Ryan's favorite rock bands). He rides his mouse into a music store and purchases a little "Rush" onesie to match his t-shirt. Ryan pointed out the commercial to me and, literally, the day after I received that spiritual confirmation of eventual motherhood, I bought Ryan that t-shirt along with... you guessed it... the matching onesie.

Once the package came in the mail, and I saw that teeny-tiny little shirt, I have had this urge to purchase itty-bitty pieces of clothing. I've been able to resist, for the most part.

But today, I ran to the store to grab a few things and I saw a display of baby clothes. They were only $2. I walked on past at first, but as I walked back by again, I had to stop. They weren't anything special, just little tiny clothes. I tried to keep walking, but they were only $2 and, try as I may... I couldn't help myself.

(As you can see, I'm covering my basis. Ready to go either way.)

In the past, this would feel like I was setting myself up for disappointment. For some reason, it doesn't feel that way now. Now I just think of them as little good luck charms. I hope I am not proven wrong.

Hope can be a wonderful thing. I know it can also be dangerous. But for now, I am sticking with wonderful. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thanks, Santa! (Base Ultrasound)

For Christmas, Santa brought me my period.

Well, not exactly, but being off the hormones did cause the spotting to return. I spotted for several days before Day 1, including on Christmas. :( It's strange... Day 1 is always right on schedule; it's the spotting before Day 1 that frustrates me.

When my period finally came last Tuesday, I called the doctor's office and made an appointment for my base ultrasound later that morning. Ryan and I were both on vacation, so he was able to come along. Nurse H did the ultrasound and asked how my "month off" was. I told her the break was nice, but I was very excited to get back and try again. She laughed and said that was obvious, and they all thought it was cute that I called the morning of Day 1, ready to come in right away. Hey, what can I say, I am anxious to be a mom!

The ultrasound went well. No cysts to be found. I got my doctor's orders and found they are switching it up a bit.

They actually decreased my Follistim dosage. I guess the *7* medium to large eggs I had last time scared them off a bit. This time I am doing 100iu for 1 day, 75iu for 5 days. Mid-cycle ultrasound is next Wednesday.

We are also ditching the Prometrium and turning to Endometrium for Progesterone. Now that medicine costs a pretty penny. At $5 a pill, 3 pills a day... you can do the math. This is in addition to the cost of Follistim, Ovidril, ultrasounds and the IUI. But there has been break-thru spotting during the last 2 cycles on the Prometrium, so what else can we do? I don't want to look back and wonder if this was the missing piece.

We have also been thinking a lot about our next step, should this cycle not work. Do we try a 6th time with Follistim or move on to IVF? No final decisions have been made, but we are leaning toward stopping the Follistim treatments. It is not an easy decision, especially because I got pregnant on this treatment. So who's to say that can't happen again? Even so, from the very beginning we agreed on 5 Follistim cycles, so it seems natural to stop after this one.

Of course, I am hoping I won't have to make that decision...

Ryan is not feeling very hopeful about this cycle at all. I have to admit, deep down in the pit of my stomach I am having doubts too. But I am trying to push those away and think positively.

Tonight, we began our fast. Fasting is very difficult for me to do while on the Follistim. I have to do a water-only fast, as the medicine requires I drink an insane amount of water or the side effects can be debilitating. I am fasting from food however. I know there are close family and a few friends fasting with us and I am so grateful for that. Beyond grateful. We are so blessed.

We began our fast with a prayer, pouring out to God our deepest desire but asking for comfort to accept His will, whatever that may be. It's in His hands now.