Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holiday and DIUI #3 Update

Well, I'm finally home and getting back to normal again. The holidays have been a whirlwind of activity for about a week now, as we celebrated with both sides of our family and had some travel to boot. It's nice to travel, but it's always GREAT to get home. Hope everyone had a great holiday as well.

Last Saturday, hubby and I celebrated Christmas early. Since we were going to be out of town for Christmas, it didn't make sense to pack up our gifts and go through the hassle, so we opened our gifts that morning. It was nice, he pulled through with some fabulous ideas as usual. I think he liked my gifts to him as well.

After we were done opening gifts, he asked me what I thought the blood test would reveal (I had gone to the RE's office early that morning for my beta HCG). I got the test a day early knowing I'd be out of town starting the next day. So part of me was worried that the reading would be off because I was going in early, and another part of me was just sad and worried that I would be let down yet again. Even though my period was late, I didn't take that as a positive sign since that had yielded nothing last cycle - I think it was just the progesterone messin' with me. So when hubby asked me what I thought, I just started to could it be such a wonderful and blessed time of year when our situation was such a stark contrast? I just couldn't bear getting bad news again right before Christmas.

We hugged for awhile, and then I made myself snap out of it so I could get ready to see my family later that day. I took a shower, brushed my teeth, and settled into my usual routine. After I had done my hair and makeup, my husband came up to me and held his cell phone to my ear. My heart skipped a beat as I realized that it was a message from the RE's office. I held my breath and came in a day earlier than normal...we have your results...merry're pregnant! As she continued to rattle off additional details in her message, I started to cry. The news was even that much sweeter when I saw the look on my husband's face and realized he had already listened to the message and knew what news I was taking in.

My beta was 86! This was a much better number than the 14.7 I got in my first cycle that resulted in miscarriage. My numbers were so low that cycle that I had to go in every 3 days to ensure the numbers were still rising. What a great feeling it was this time when they said to continue my meds and not come back until my 6-week checkup!

So I've now had one week to revel in the fact that I am indeed pregnant. I still don't believe it most of the time, although the symptoms are here in full force. I've had bouts of queasiness (no throwing up yet, knock on wood), extremely tender breasts, very tired, HUNGRY, sensitive gag reflex...all wonderful things because it reinforces this wonderful fact that I have still been marveling about how to fully accept as real. What a special Christmas this has turned out to be. I know I am very newly pregnant, and will probably never feel "safe" until the little guy or girl is placed into my arms. But until then, I will enjoy this time and try to take good care of myself and Kiwi*.

For all of you who are still TTC, I truly hope this news does not sadden you too much. I almost feel guilty sharing because I know there is still so much hurt out there in blog-land. I will always try to be as sensitive as possible to your continued experiences as I can, and I hope you will allow me that opportunity.

On the other hand, I've been anticipating the moment when I could be home again and write this post to let all of you know - because I know you all can really relate to just how big and monumental this news is for we who have struggled with infertility.

*A quick story on why we're calling our little one "Kiwi". When I was pregnant the first time, my husband spoke to my belly to rouse the new embryo, saying "..wakie, wakie..." Not hearing him correctly, I asked incredulously, "Did you just call our baby Kiwi???!?" After we had a good laugh, that was how we referred to the baby ever since. So it just stuck, and we now refer to the baby as Kiwi exclusively.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Feeling More Holiday-ish

I don't know why, but I got bit by the holiday bug this weekend. I didn't go all out, since we won't even be in town for Christmas, but I did get decorations out and deck the halls a bit - while listening to Christmas music :) I got that familiar warm feeling inside that I usually get during the holidays. People are in a better mood, and more generous and thoughtful of others. It may sound cheesy, but the holiday spirit just makes me feel good.

I got 2 DIUIs this cycle, and the first one was pretty uncomfortable. Apparently I have this sharp curve in my cervix that made it hard for the RE to feed the catheter in (he showed me the curve on the ultrasound monitor - it was interesting to see), and he finally got it after catheter number three. I think it was the most bendy and small, diameter-wise. This is the warmest and friendliest RE in the office, but he doesn't really have the touch when it comes to performing a comfortable procedure. My assertion is that he's a guy, and they'll never know what it feels like to have a vagina, so can only come so close to finessing a speculum and catheter up the ole channel. But he did leave with a warm goodbye, bless him...

For the 2nd DIUI, I was instructed to come with a full bladder. Something about the bladder pushing/flattening out the cervix. It was the same RE, and it went much smoother this time. Hubby was with me too, so that was a plus.

So now we wait. Ironically enough, my fertility tracking software says I should expect my menses on, you guessed it - Christmas day! The good thing about this cycle is that I was in way better spirits leading up to the inseminations, as well as on the actual days themselves. Last cycle, I was enraged, name it. Hubby and I were fighting a lot, and those hormones were really raging in me. We have *hopefully* learned to co-exist with these hormones in a harmonious manner!

In other holiday news, I've started on the Christmas cards, and am more than halfway done with my Christmas shopping. The small wrinkle in my holiday progress is that I'm out of town on business for the next few days, and will have to suspend these activities till I return. The upside of this is that once I return on Thursday, the week is practically over, then I'm on vacation for 2+ weeks! I'm really looking forward to this respite from work...I've never taken a vacation this long where I'll have so much time (1 week) to myself. I intend to take some quiet time reflecting on my life, and getting back in touch with my spirit. And playing lots of piano.

Hope everyone is well in blogland!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Crazy Thoughts

I went to the RE's office today, and even though my POAS in the morning did not detect a positive surge, the sample I gave at the office did. The magic wand revealed 1 follicle per side, and of course the one on the right side is larger. The doc did mutter something about the right follicle being up and behind the uterus and potentially closer to my left and unblocked fallopian tube, but of course I was in a *duh* type of fog and didn't think to ask any clarifying questions. Do you all feel as dumb as I do when it's show time with the RE's? I think of soooo many questions after the fact, but nod obediently when I'm actually there...

So I got the HCG shot in the a**, and this time it was a bit painful! Whatever, the nurse said it might have been because the liquid was cold. Ok, so do ya think you could warm it up a little next time? You would not believe how much time I waste thinking about all the little process and operational improvements this office could institue to be more patient-friendly. But by the looks of it, I am not in a unique situation here.

I'm scheduled for a DIUI tomorrow morning. This is the first cycle I'll have gone it alone since DH is away on a business trip. He was really upset with me that I didn't tell him this was "the week", but to be honest - I wasn't really thinking about it all that much this cycle. He wanted to be with me during the procedures...if I get another DIUI on Friday then he'll be able to come along. Tomorrow, however, it's just me, the RE, the nurse, and the strange and almost somber lady that comes with "the goods" in tow.

Obviously, it would be wonderful to get a BFP this cycle. I'm hoping for it, but not counting on it. This is still only my third true time of TTC, what with the azoospermia that we didn't know about for all that time when we first, how I wish I had made my husband get tested sooner!

I was wondering about the guy sitting across from me in the RE's office today, and tried not to be obvious about noticing his discomfort as he sat there alone, waiting for his name to be called. Hubby and I often exchange knowing glances when we see these guys there now, empathizing with them and hoping that they don't get the same news we did. In a twisted sort of way, it's comforting to see all the people that come in and out of that facility. We see people of all races and walks of life, and feel a little less alone in this plight.

So here is where my crazy thoughts come in - what if I am not destined to have children because God's plan is that I devote my life to something else? Do you ever think about those people that have done amazing things in life and noticed they have no children? Think Oprah, Mother Teresa, and all the women you've come across who have amazing lives sans the rug rats. I've often reflected on them and thought that having children would have altered their lives in unimaginable ways, and maybe even impeded their levels of success.

Since my brother died of lung cancer a couple years ago, I have often mulled over taking on this cause and doing for lung cancer what the Susan G. Komen foundation has done for breast cancer. I think that with the experience and business knowledge I have gained through my career that it would be really useful and leverageable to drum up a grass-roots campaign and/or nonprofit venture. People need to get more educated about lung cancer, and stop thinking about it as just a smoker's disease. My brother didn't smoke, and he died of it before he reached the age of 40. This is a disease that is tainted, because people think it is the person's fault for smoking. I've participated in some fundraisers for it, and contribute to several charities focused on cancer. But it doesn't feel like this is enough. I feel like I could make a major contribution and lend a strong voice to this cause. And maybe that's why I'm not getting pregnant. Is that crazy, or what?

Or perhaps I'm meant to focus more on my career, and continue to advance the corporate ladder? I'm a manager already, but maybe I could eventually become a director, and advance even further into the executive ranks. Shoot for the stars, and persevere over that proverbial glass ceiling!

But then I always come back to this overwhelming desire to be a mother, and to raise and nurture a child with the values that my husband and I share. To watch a little being become a toddler, child, teenager, and adult. And to have contributed more in life through this being than anything else I've ever done. And all this brings me back to square one. I really, really want to get pregnant. I'm very good with kids, and they genuinely like me. I'm the auntie who hangs out with my nieces and nephews and engages them in true conversations, beyond the usual comments about how big they've gotten, what grade they're in, and so on. I'm the aunt that feeds them, buys them cool gifts because I'm up on today's trends, and could handle my newest nephew (he's 4 months today) this past weekend with ease. This was the first time I got to meet him, and he took to me right away - and rewarded me with his sweet, sweet smiles, and even copped a feel on one of my boobs. His dad didn't know whether to reprimand him or give him a high-five :)

So here I continue with this third cycle, and these crazy thoughts continue to swirl in my head. I wonder what news Christmas will bring this year.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

DIUI #3 and Other Holiday Ramblings

Yes, I'm on to DIUI #3. I'm doing the same drugs and everything, and am currently on cd8 and taking Estress 2x/day. So things are on track as far as TTC is concerned. It took me almost 2 full cycles to realize that all the hormones have made me quite the raging b*tch at times, and what a light bulb went off in my head when my husband sheepishly asked, "Can those drugs that you've been taking make you a little...moody?" Poor guy. We made a pact - I will try to be less moody and volatile and he will try to be sensitive to my challenges and not bait me so much. I think that's a good understanding to reach!

In other life news, I'm not feeling very holiday-ish this year. I suppose this is common for the fertility-challenged, but it's pretty bad. It's not like I'm being a total scrooge, but this is usually my favorite time of year when I would have busted out the holiday decorations already, and in a good year - would even have the lights hung on the house by now! I did have anticipation for the autumn season though, and those are the decorations that still dominate my home right now. Perhaps another reason I'm not into decorating is because I'm not hosting anyone for Christmas this year - we're traveling for both sides of the family. Will I even have the energy to get the tree out and decorate it? Only time will tell.

How are the rest of you feeling about the holidays? Have you started Christmas shopping yet, or are you one of those extremely annoying people that finishes their shopping by July of each year? Ok, you're only annoying because that is way too organized for even an anal person such as myself.

On a more positive note, I am starting to listen to Christmas music. But mainly only this Celtic Christmas album I bought at the end of last year, cause I'm sort of in a Celtic music phase right now. Not the full-blown Nat King Cole tunes or anything like that...although I am learning some classic Christmas songs on the piano. I've been really into piano lately, which is a nice de-stresser in my life. Played growing up, and was intermittent for the last 10 years or so. So it's nice to pick this up again. Better stop the rambling before it gets too out of control.

Hope everyone is feeling positive and optimistic this holiday season - when it gets tough just remember all the good things in your life that you are thankful for. Then take a deep breath...and s-m-i-l-e :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Not Pregant but Still no Period

Grr...I am currently at 20 dpo, and tested negative on my blood test taken on Monday. Still no period either. I'm ok that I'm not PG this cycle, I just wish it would act more normal and not make it appear that I might be PG. Stopped the progesterone suppositories and just waiting for AF again. Sigh...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Beautiful Post

I came across this post on James Boyce's blog today (, and thought I would share it with all of you:

A Small, But Perfect, Example Of Fearlessness
Courage comes in many sizes. But today, on her 4th birthday, I wanted to introduce you to a small but pure example of Arianna's definition of fearlessness - my daughter Phoebe.

To my daughter:

It's been two and a half years since we brought you into our family, and brought you half way around the world, and from the very moment we met you, you have amazed and blessed me.

On this page, you're surrounded by fearless women, which is why for your birthday, I wanted you here. Because many of these women here have conquered their fear when adults - I think you're the first one to be showcased here because when you conquered unimaginable fear, when you were barely eighteen months old, and not yet three feet tall.

I remember reading and re-reading your paperwork before we flew to China to meet you. "Found in a park," the translation of the police documents, stated, "one day old." One day old in America, you would be wrapped tight and warm and in a nice nursery in a hospital with round-the-clock care and doting parents, grandparents, friends and family, your every cry analyzed and noted.

But at just one day, you were already on your own. Someone smarter than me would know if a baby that young can feel fear, but lying in that park alone, you must have known something was wrong. You lived for eighteen months in orphanage and then, one day your life changed.

They told us you had never been in a car. In what must have been a complete blur to your little heart and eyes, you rode for four hours over Chinese country roads, saw your first hotel, rode your first elevator, and then what was going through your mind when they knocked on our door, and handed you to us.

I can still, and always will be able to close me eyes and see you there.

All your worldly possesions in a tiny purse, wearing your pink pajamas and socks but no shoes. Just a tender little soul, all alone, with everything and everyone they ever knew in life, gone forever in the time it takes for a hotel door to close.

Your body and face were pure fear, primal, and complete. You clawed at the door, and the wall, you screamed louder than any human may ever have.

But fearlessness isn't the absence of fear, it's the abilty to overcome your fears. And you did.

We spent our first night together as a family, you never closed your eyes. We had our first meal, our first trip to the park, our first everything.

I once actually had a woman tell me "you were so brave to go to China and adopt a girl." That's laughable. Imagine, someone calling me brave for flying in business class as an adult with my family, knowing where I was going and what was happening - no, I wasn't the brave one that day.

You flew home with us and didn't cry once, not from Hong Kong to Tokyo, not from Tokyo to Los Angeles, not from Los Angeles to Boston, not one peep. You faced your adventure, unable to speak with us, with the same strength you faced your first day on earth.

I remember when you tumbled in the airport in Los Angeles as we were changing planes. A full face plant in front of twenty people onto the concrete floor. You could hear the people gasp, waiting for your cries that never came. You just stood up, brushed yourself on and caught up with us. I realized that it was because no one would ever come when you cried at the orphange, so why bother. That realization still troubles me.

Now you proudly ask people where they are from, listen as they answer and then tell them you're from China. You love your brother and your mother and me. You explore the world and life with a sense of purpose and determination that we all love so much.

I'm not sure I will ever see pure fear like I did that day when we met you.

I know I never again will see such courage.

Happy Birthday Phoebe.

I love you.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I Wonder Who Else is IF-Challenged

As hubby and I keep our fingers crossed that this is the cyle we get PG, I've been wondering who else is IF-challenged. We know many couples who have been married for some time and have no children, and always thought it was by choice. And while this may be the case, we now also wonder if they have strugged with infertility like we have been. Oh, how I wish I could take back all those times (pre-IF) that I would ask couples when they would have children - because I know how much it stings when people ask the same of us. Your sensitivity meter sure skyrockets when you're going through IF yourself, doesn't it? But when people throw those questions at me, although it may sting and be painful, I just keep repeating to myself something I heard Oprah say once, "When you know better, you do better..."

You may notice at the bottom of my blog that I have included a link to the RESOLVE web site. I am not currently a member, but am checking out the organization and mulling over whether I want to get more involved with them. In searching through their site, I came across this blurb:

"Infertility affects approximately 10% of the population. Since infertility strikes diverse groups-affecting people from all socioeconomic levels and cutting across all racial, ethnic and religious lines - chances are great that a friend, relative, neighbor or perhaps you are attempting to cope with the medical and emotional aspects of infertility."

This really made me take pause. Amd it made me wonder who else I may know who may be dealing with the same problem as hubby and I.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Sign of Things to Come?

Here's a quick summary of what's been happening this week:

Tuesday - Went in for ultrasound and I have 1 follicle per side. They were worried about whether we would proceed with IUI this cycle because the dominant follicle was on the right side (and my right tube is blocked).

Wednesday - Another ultrasound showed that the left follicle grew. I also tested positive on the OPK.

Today - Had an IUI. The sperm count was 19 million! I guess they usually look for 10 million or more. As I lay on the table after the IUI, listening to the kitchen timer - I tried to visualize what 19 million swimmers would look like. Another ultrasound revealed I haven't ovulated yet, so I'm back in tomorrow for another IUI.

Here's the amusing thing - I use a fertility tracking software that tracks your cycle, meds, and provides cycle forecasting based on your cycle history. As I entered in the latest events, I was surprised to see that the prediction for this cycle showed me pregnant on 11/20. This is the first time it's ever done this, even when I've had optimal timing in previous cycles. Maybe this is a positive sign of things to come!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Feeling a Little Blah

I'm on cd13 and still no surge. This is not a surprise. I go in tomorrow for the fun ultrasound and to see how many follies the hot flash-producing drugs have stimulated in my ovaries. I will probably ovulate in the next couple of days or so, if my previous cycle that resulted in the chemical pregnancy is any indication of timing.

I feel like I should be more excited than I am. Defense mechanism? Probably. But here's the crazy thing - I'm afraid that if I don't have a good attitude about it that it might not take. You know, the mind-body connection, stuff like that.

On top of all this, I am fairly stressed about work. Yes, I am missing a very important meeting that my boss said I didn't have to travel for. My boss was pretty darn cool about it. Why can't I just be more of a guy, and take the boss' word at face value and move on without all the over-analyzing? Because I'm a chick, that's why. This is what chicks do. We take a perfectly good situation, over-analyze the heck out of it, and worriedly twiddle our thumbs as we play through all the what-if scenarios. What if my boss really isn't ok with this, and is just playing nice? Women are pretty darn notorious for avoiding confrontation and not expressing their true feelings, especially when they're anything but nice. What if this jeopardizes my career, at least in the short term? What if I have now been knocked down a peg or two in my boss' eyes? Should I have just skipped this cycle and gone to the dang meeting?!

The meeting starts tomorrow. On top of all this, I have to go to the RE's office for the ultrasound, and have to hightail it home in time to call in to the meeting that I didn't travel for. I hope my husband can come with me, so that I can call into the meeting from my cell phone if we can't make it home in time. My husband is working day and night on his current catastrophic project at work. So it's not like he's just sitting around waiting to chaeuffer me to my RE appointments. But he is being a dear, and refused to travel this week because he wanted to be here with me for my IUI(s).

Perhaps it's good that I'm so busy; it could make for a relatively painless 2ww. I just hope that all this juggling, planning, and sacrificing is all worth it. I really do.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Life revolves around getting knocked up

So I started a new cycle a few days ago, and am humming along with the fertility drugs. Taking Clomid right now, and am happy to report that the hot flashes have yet to begin. Instead of being so depressed last cycle after the miscarriage, I am now dutifully distracted by all the drugs, cycle days, and other various details one has to pay attention to when trying to conceive.

I have been super-busy at work, and so has hubby. While it has been a challenge, I've been thinking we've been doing a pretty damn good job; leaning on each other as needed, and the not-so-busy person picking up the slack without needing to be asked. And then trading places appropriately. Then, some business travel of mine just got reshuffled, and BAM!'s smack dab in my ovulation window.

I try not to think of myself as a special person just because of my IF challenges. I know that people are challenged in a myriad of ways, so my IF plight is just par for the course. It just really stinks when you're doing your best to hum along in life (with IF being a subset of said life), and you realize your life really does revolve around it because it's such a timing game. I talked to hubby about the trip, and we both decided we wouldn't travel that week. Period. So I told my boss I had a personal conflict, and she was ok with it. Hopefully this isn't a foreboding of things to come with future cycles.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Let the New Cycle Begin

Ok, today is Day 1 of my new cycle. I do have a question for people, though. If you had a miscarriage previously, or know someone who did - did the start of your next period begin with old blood? I had a little spotting last night that was brown, and then I started full-flow today. The RE thought it might be related to the drugs I took previously, but that explanation sounded a bit strange to me. How come you can never think of good questions until after you hang up?

I just spoke to a nurse from the RE's office, and I'm going to follow the same protocol as my previous IUI cycle. Clomid, Estress, HCG shot, IUI. Apparently I had 2 follicles on either side last cycle! I thought I only had 1 on each side...

So here we embark on our 2nd attempt via DIUI. It is nice to be starting anew. It gives me hope and gets me out of the little spiral I was in (this is not to say I won't spiral again, but let's just take one day at a time). Bring it on!

Monday, October 09, 2006

My Breaking Point

I grew up a casually religious person. Casual in that I always felt that I believed in God, but had never gotten deep into church or the Bible, and didn't feel right affiliating myself with deeply religious people. Not that I had anything against them, I just felt uncomfortable hanging out with them knowing that I didn't share their convictions. Now for the deeply religous folks who largely kept their beliefs out of mainstream conversation, I was fine. But for the ones who were always wrapping your life around your religion - this made me feel weird.

However, later in life - I have started to ask some of those life questions, and when my family experienced a tragedy two years ago - I found an enormous amount of comfort and strength from a then new church that my husband and I found. We attended regularly for about a year, and then tapered off when life started to normalize and we started to think how nice it would be to find a smaller church that could provide more intimacy amongst church-goers. We never found that smaller church.

Then, with everything that's been going on in our lives, I had started to get the yearning to attend church this past weekend. Funny enough, my husband mentioned it on Saturday as well. So we went on Sunday. It felt nice sitting in the church again, and as I admired the woodwork on the ceiling, the associate pastor began her prayer during the collecting of tithes. I barely remember the words, but they hit me like a ton of bricks. Her comforting voice, her powerful was too much. I started to cry. Right there in church. Imagine my utter shock when I next saw the title of this week's message, "The Breaking Point". I felt like God was talking directly to me. I have felt so alone during all this, as if He has forgotten about me, or is playing some cruel joke on me. Maybe I have forgotten about Him. And I have found my way back.

I cried during the entire service. Not a sobbing cry; just tears flowing down my face the whole time, and the occasional nose-blowing. I'm sure other people noticed me, but nobody made a big deal out of it. I did notice one lady at the end of the service. She looked at me a couple of times. I didn't really return the look, but I could tell it was just a look of concern. That made me feel a little better. And my DH was there the whole time. He asked if I wanted to leave, but I said no. How could I leave when this message was here for me?

Here's what I got out of the sermon: When you have reached the breaking point, your thoughts and emotions are impacted in a radical manner different than when things are just humming along in life. It impacts your perspective and makes you forget the good things. And it makes that additional pain that much harder to take. While it can seem like no big deal, someone who is in that state of emotional stress does not process life's little bumps effectively. Boy, is that the truth.

Even though I have a job that is pretty great, I have let recent events at work really get me down. And I'm normally a pretty optimistic person. I think I've realized in the back of my mind that I'm responding to things differently due to my IF challenges, but this sermon really put things into perspective. It was like - of course things have been tough, look at everything you've been through these last two years! I lost a brother and dear friend to cancer, and have been dealing with the IF blues. And I have a very demanding job that has had an incredible amount of change and churn...

But the purpose of this post is not to complain about my life. Because I have a huge amount to be thankful for. I come from an extremely close-knit family, and I see them all the time. I have many wonderful nieces and nephews, and they make me smile and laugh with their innocent questions (the younger ones) and teenage trials and tribulations. I have a small group of very close girlfriends that "get" me. I can call them at any hour of any day and cry my eyes out. I have done this. They have done this with me, too. I have a really cool dog. When I am sad, he comes up to me and looks right at my soul with eyes that understand my grief. And his usual jubliant self is quiet, and sits with me for support. I have a beautiful home in a wonderful neighborhood, with some great neighbors. I have really made my house a home, and have all kinds of relics from my happy youth, and from my various travels around the world. I have been fortunate to travel quite a bit, both on business and pleasure. I've been to some fantastic destinations, both domestic and international, and will always cherish those experiences. And I have a husband who I am completely in love with, and with whom our relationship continues to evolve and deepen with each "experience" that life throws at us. IF is definitely no exception!

This is the perspective that has been clouded by my grief as I have reached my breaking point. I am so thankful that God has reminded me of this. I have thanked Him several times today. I'm sure I will thank him again tonight. And tomorrow. And the next day.

So please, all of my IF sisters: If you find yourself on the tumultuous path to your breaking point, or are already there - remember to right your perspective and take a deep breath. And if you're a believer of God, talk to Him, believe in Him, and He will be there. And take another deep breath. And tomorrow will be a better day. It was for me.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Sent Him an Email

As a follow-up to my last post, I wanted to provide an update on what I did last night. After the feeling-sorry-for-myself stage passed, my husband called me. Still feeling blue and uncommunicative, I wasn't very chatty, and our discussion was brief. Then I felt like a complete jerk, and wrote him an email.

I told him how, although I've had my good days, I've had some really bad days as well. And that, although I know he's got a lot of stress in his life, that this sort of trumps all that other stuff because...well, because it does. I told him I was sorry for coming off as mean, aloof, and distant. And then I told him that I really miss and love him, and can't wait for him to come home on Friday so we can make the most of our weekend (I leave on business Monday night). He responded like the gem that he is. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Back to Normal

I went in for another HCG test on Saturday, and I finally tested negative. So I guess that means my body processed the miscarriage fully on its own, and now I just wait for my period before I kick it into high gear again.

This has been a reflective day. Maybe it's the cloudy weather that's got me feeling a bit ho-hum. You all must be thinking I'm a bit bipolar, what with my last post proclaiming my utter happiness with life, and this one, that is on the gloomy side.

Let me explain why I'm sad. I have always been a great communicator when it comes to work, school, arguing with the sales clerk on why she should allow me to return an item, etc. You know, the easy stuff. But when it comes to emotions, I am NOT one to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I tend to bottle stuff up. My husbands says so. It's been a couple of weeks since the whole miscarriage started, and sometimes I just get down about it. And I don't want to sound like a broken record about it with my husband, so I just acknowledge that I'm sad and let myself experience the plethora of emotions. Then the logical side of me kicks in, and I tell myself that while this was sad, this was only my first DIUI, it's a good sign that I even got PG, etc., etc., etc.

And then I get upset because my DH hasn't picked up on the fact that I'm sad, and wonder how he can be so insensitive about this, because, excuse me - it needs to be about me right now. I know, it's totally unfair. He can't read my mind. But he has so much crap going on in his life right now, I just keep my mouth shut so that I don't add to it.

So then I go and listen to sad music, look at the gloomy day, and let myself be sad. Oh, and he went out of town on business again today, and won't be back till Friday. I'm away on business next week, and 2 weeks after that. Even though we have our weekends together, just knowing that all this time apart is coming up just sucks. Because even though I'm not being the best communicator about what I'm going through, just having his presence really does help. And now he's gone again.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Post Unrelated to IF

While my life has pretty much revolved around IF lately, I am on an official respite from the topic since I'm sitting out of the game this month. I'm actually pretty happy today. Here are some of the reasons why:

- A bunch of good TV shows are back again: Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Nip/Tuck
- And some new ones that I like: Men in Trees, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Really bummed that Related got canceled, though. For those of you who don't know that one, it was about a family of four sisters and their lives and relationship with each other. It was a pretty wacky family, but extremely endearing. Why do they always have to cancel the shows that I love? They got rid of Everwood, too. Dang them!

2 of the 4 guys on my "island" are now in a movie together: Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg in the upcoming The Departed. This is truly a reason to celebrate. If you don't know what I'm referring to with the island reference...don't ask :)

Workout Progress
I've worked out every night but one this week! And the desire to continue doing so is still strong. Definitely a good thing, and I feel better about myself, too.

It's supposed to get into the 70's this weekend, and cloudy, too. Fall weather, come on over! Thoughts of bundling up, sweaters, and fall festivals abound. Maybe we'll go pick apples this weekend and savor the smell of hot apple cider. Mmmm....

My Husband's Back
He was out of town on business all week, and he got back last night. It was a very good...ahem...home-coming! That makes us both happy :)

It was a tough week at work, but rewarding in certain ways as well. There's nothing like a Friday when you feel like you've accomplished good things and really earned that paycheck. Cheesy, but honest. You know what I mean??

The Weekend is Wide Open
No plans, we've got a blank slate. Sometimes those are the best kinds of weekends. I think I'll wake up, make some good coffee, and enjoy the crisp morning in the backyard. And watch the hummingbirds enjoy their sugar water from my feeder. Hope they don't fight too much over it. They love that stuff.

There's probably more, but that's all that comes to mind right now. I'm just in a pretty contented state of mind, and in this uncertain / disappointing / angry / resentful / confusing world of IF, I thought I'd share! Hope you all have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Moving Right Along

I went in for another blood draw on Saturday, and my HCG level had decreased to 36. I go in again this weekend for another test, because they want to make sure my levels get back to zero. So, things are moving right along. I think AF may finally be over. I normally have a 3-day period, and this one was just under 7 days long. I'm glad it's over - I haven't had such a long period since I was a teenager!

So now I'm in the zone of just being normal again, and have been enjoying my caffeine, sushi, and wine. I'm also completely stoked that fall is finally here. It really is my favorite season, as thoughts of crisp mornings, fall foliage, and cozy nights beckon. It's a comforting season to me, and I even look forward to Halloween - when I get to see all the kids turn out in their wackiest, sweetest, and silliest costumes.

I've resolved to get back into shape as well. I grew up a thin girl, and have gained pounds over the years like many of us tend to do...sigh. I don't think I'd be considered overweight, but I just don't feel like me. So I've been working out and regulating my diet more. I'm not a fanatical dieter who gets into calorie-counting and regimented workout routines. It's more little life changes that I am hoping to turn into good habits again. So here goes!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It Started Today

Although I have been feeling signs of the impending miscarriage for a few days now (more cramping, pain in my upper thigh, back pain), it started today in a more obvious manner with the arrival of AF. It's not extremely heavy, but I have passed some tissue. And now the blood is bright red, not the brown spotting I've been having up to this point. I knew I would start today when I got all the pre-period symptoms that I usually get. That certain lower back pain, those certain cramps you get...those familiar pains were there, but at a multiple of maybe 3. Intense sugar cravings, too. It was painful for me to see the tissue on the toilet paper today. Lots of questions swirl through my mind..."Did you ever form into an embryo, or was your development stopped before it ever began? Why did this have to happen, God? I thought that you had finally blessed me like you have blessed everyone else in my family? I know I've had a great and blessed life, but why this additional challenge?"

It's life's great challenges that bring me closer to God. They also make me question, scream, moan, and weep. I have mixed emotions today. On the one hand, I'm glad that AF has begun, and anxiously wonder if my body will regulate soon - the next thing I know, I'll be embarking on IUI #2. On the other hand, I am sad. Don't really feel like talking to people about this, but blogging is different. It allows me to express my feelings in a targeted community that can relate to my experiences on such a deeper level. We have a shared pain, and our shared elations are that much sweeter because of it. I so look forward to sharing in some joy with you all in the future. And I hope to share in some of YOUR joy as well.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm ok...

Thanks so much to everyone who has posted such supportive comments. My husband has been very supportive as well, but you get a different/complementary type of support from women that just can't be denied! You all rock!

So I'm doing ok...for some reason, I started to have a sinking feeling about this pregnancy last week, when I saw how low my HCG numbers were. By the time Saturday rolled around and I saw that my numbers had decreased, I was a bit prepped for it, mentally. I just sat at the kitchen table and cried a little bit. Not even the sobbing, put-your-whole-body-into-it type of crying, just lots of tears rolling down my face. Then, hubby and I went out to a nice steak dinner, and I had a glass of wine.

The good news is I can enjoy my wine again during this respite from baby-making, and even have an occasional mocha or two (I'm not a huge caffeine addict, I just think mochas are yummy, albeit high-calorie indulgences). Add sushi to the list, too.

The bad news is that I have to be in this wait-and-see mode now. Best case, I start AF soon, and have another cycle after that (when I can go for IUI #2). Worst case, my body takes longer to regulate, or I don't have a normal miscarriage on my own. I did start some very light spotting (brown) a few days ago, and have started to feel some cramping that's a little stronger than normal. So I think my body is in the process of the miscarriage - just wondering how long it's going to take to get things back to normal.

The main pregnancy symptoms that are still with me are the sore boobs and heightened sense of smell. Boy, has that one been something! I've been gagging on ladies' perfumes, the "scent-free" lotion that my husband used this morning, and even on the mint Chapstick that I previously loved so it just plain stinks :)

Thank goodness I have found so many interesting blogs to keep me busy during this waiting period...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Numbers Went Down

Four days ago, my HCG level was 181. Today, it's 131. Stopping all meds, have to sit out at least 1 cycle before I can try again. I'm bummed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Number are Rising...Not Fast Enough?

I went in for another blood draw today, and my HCG level is now 181. It was 52.9 four days ago, and the nurse said that the good news is the levels are rising, but that they're still not as high as they usually like to see. I go in for another blood draw this Saturday, and she thinks that will be fairly conclusive in showing that I have a viable pregnancy or not.

Although I still feel pretty positive about my overall state, of course the nerves have started to sink in. It probably doesn't help that I'm blogging right after my conversation with her, either. Almost like drinking and dialing...except I'm getting scary news and blogging :)

Has anyone experienced (or know anyone who has) lower HCG levels than normal and had normal pregnancies? On the one hand, I get information from Dr. Google that says as long as your HCG levels continuously rise, you're ok; "normal" levels vary widely from woman to woman. It also says that although your numbers should double every 48-72 hours, that even a 60% increase is acceptable and considered normal. Although I started at a low number, they seem to be increasing ok when I do the math...yet I still get the cautious tone from the nurses every time they report the numbers to me. They also say that it is absolutely possible for me to have a normal pregnancy, blah...blah...blah.

Now I have to count the days till Saturday and hope for good and conclusive results...Sigh...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Proof Positive

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile...our computer has been on the fritz. It's amazing the withdrawals that one goes through when one can't get their blog fix! So I went in for another blood test on Friday, and my HCG level was 52.9. So it definitely went up, and more than tripled in four days. Definitely proof positive that I'm pregnant, since some experts categorize you in this blurry category of "equivocal" if you're between 5-25. I go in for another test tomorrow, because this is still considered a low HCG level for the stage that I'm at. But from everything I read, it looks like it's more important to have rising levels than to get fixated on the number itself. And in about 2 weeks' time (6 weeks gestation) I should be getting an ultrasound which should be more reliable in showing how the pregnancy is progressing than relying on HCG numbers alone.

So I am allowing myself to be a little more excited than after the initial news, because at least now I have a better indication of pregnancy. I also am experiencing quite a few PG symptoms, the main ones being:

- I'm tired all the time! Even when I'm having a good day, this sudden feeling of "Ok, I need to lay down" will rush over me in a flash.
- Headaches. Started getting them pretty quick after ovulation/IUI, and I haven't shaken them yet. Although they seem to be less frequent the last few days.
- Back pain. It's different than the back pain I'd get before AF - not only does it hit my lower back, but it often creeps up to either my mid or entire back as well! When this comes on it gets really difficult for me to be comfortable at work. Sit...stand...sit...stand...I'm just plain uncomfortable!
- Gag reflex. My gag reflex is really sensitive when I brush my teeth in the morning, especially when I brush my tongue. Ugh...
- Wacky sense of smell. I was gagging on the smell of Krispy Kreme donuts the other day - it didn't even smell like donuts! I love donuts...
- Occasional queasiness. Not enough to vomit yet, knock on wood.
- Emotional wreck. I've always been on the mushy side, and shed tears of empathy during the touching parts in movies. But lately, I've been a bit more...unstable than usual. Let's just say I've been so damn weepy, my husband looks at me (and usually catches me) at any remotely touching moment depicted on the tube, and sighs and laughs simultaneously as he hops up to get me some tissue. And I was really pissed the other day as we had to weave around all the carts in the aisle at Home Depot. How could the cart retriever guy be so clueless? Hello!!! You just walked by two stinkin' carts that are getting in everyone's way!
- Sweaty palms and feet. Yep, still dealing with this lovely symptom too! I'm just glad it's starting to cool down in these parts, because with the cooler weather we experienced over the weekend, my symptoms weren't as bad as they have been.

Also - although my HCG levels are "low", I have a good feeling about this PG. It may be wishful thinking, but I'd like to think it's women's intuition, or whatever you want to dub it. So I'm not sharing my news widely (aren't you all lucky in blog-land??) until I hit my second trimester. In the meantime, I'm savoring up all the information I can about pregnancy, what to do, what not to do, helpful tips, etc.

I'm also taking lots of naps :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

There's Good News..and Other News

I went in for a blood test today, and just got the results. The test indicates that I am indeed pregnant, but my HCG level was only 14.7 - very low for where I should be at this point. This could mean that I have an ectopic pregnancy, or it could also mean that my pregnancy continues normally, the HCG levels increase, and I go on to deliver a healthy baby. I go back this Friday for a re-test, and in the meantime, I continue on my prenatal vitamins and progesterone suppositories.

So the good news is that I'm pregnant! I knew it, I just knew it. The flip side though is that the nurse instructed me to be "cautiously optimistic", because those HCG numbers were pretty low. Of course I am about to go Google about low HCG levels, and learn what I can about this. I would really appreciate your thoughts and prayers - I could use all the help I can get!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Getting Tested Tomorrow

Well, I am 16 dpo...and still no AF. I took a hpt today, but I don't think I had enough urine since the reference line was pretty light (it was negative). I go to the RE tomorrow for an official pregnancy test, and it was slightly amusing when the receptionist at the office today was so upbeat and hopeful for me when the treatment I've received at that office has ranged from lukewarm to cold. They've not been a horrible office, but they haven't knocked my socks off, either. So tomorrow, we'll see what the blood test says.

Ok, total honesty now...I don't want to jinx myself, but I just feel pregnant. I'm even being so bold as to not wear a pantiliner during the day because I just don't feel like AF is going to come. Yesterday I came up with what I thought was a great idea and decided I wanted to do a little day-trip to a small town about 1 hour driving distance from where we live. It was a beautiful, windy (windy, as in way curvy road, not as in the gusts were blowing at 50 mph) drive. I woke up with a headache, and realized that when we got into the windy parts of the drive, that it was really making my head feel worse - then I got really woozy. I'm not normally a gal who gets car-sick, and we've done this drive several times before. By the time we arrived, I hurriedly got out of the car, fearing that my worst fear of vomiting in the middle of this small town was going to come to fruition. But we started walking, and as we made our way through several antique shops, the queasiness started to go away. Once we stopped for lunch, I started to feel much better.

Boobs are sore, and I seem to have a headache every day now. I just feel different from all my previous cycles, and I never have such a long luteal phase, either. So we'll see. I'm cautiously optimistic, but also haven't let myself get too excited because it could just be I'm having a freakishly strange cycle and still get my period - just really, really late. I dunno...tomorrow will be interesting!

Friday, September 01, 2006

My Husband has Hope...but my Temps are Dropping

I am currently at 14 dpo, and haven't taken a hpt yet. All my previous cycles (prior to knowing about the azoospermia), I would test like a mad-woman, way earlier than any significant HCG levels would have been present. Then I would spiral as I saw BFN after BFN. This is the first cycle since the diagnosis that I have a true chance of becoming PG...and I have yet to test. Part of it is I don't want to repeat that vicious (and truly un-fun - is that a word?) cycle. The other part is, I don't want to get that BFN. If I don't test, there is still hope.

What I have been doing ocassionally though, is taking my temps. I took my temp yesterday when I woke up, and although lower, it was still higher than usual. I didn't temp faithfully this cycle, so don't know my exact coverline. However, I've done it enough in the past that I know my body pretty well and can guesstimate what a "high" or "low" temp is for me. This morning, my temp was even lower, so it looks like AF may be right around the corner.

Here is why I am ok with this. First of all, this is my first shot at IUI, and I only got one insemination. It would be awesome if I'm PG, but it almost feels selfish for me to want it this quickly and immediately. Especially when I see the long road others in blog-land have traveled to get to the prize. So I am ok with being patient a little bit longer. What a different perspective I have ever since I've started blogging. I'm so thankful for everything I've learned about others' experiences, and find it so therapeutic to vent in such a supportive network of people. Thanks, everybody!

The other reason I'm ok with this is to see the evolution of my DH. He's a pretty pessimistic person - he calls it realism, and is an approach he's developed to help him deal with the harshness of life. If he doesn't hope too much, he won't be as hurt/disappointed. I, on the other hand, am an eternal optimist. I have my dark moments, but they're usually fairly fleeting. Even when we first learned of the azoospermia, I didn't have as many breakdowns as I would have expected to have. I like those "Life is Good" t-shirts and apparel - they make me smile. And yes, I own a t-shirt and baseball cap with those logos, expressions of my attitude towards life. My hubby made me take pause the other day. As we were wondering about whether or not this was the cycle, he said he had a good feeling about it. And he wasn't doing it just to B/S me. He knows I'd see right through it, and he just isn't that type of person. This was the first time I've ever heard him talk this way, and it was so huge to me when I consider what a personal struggle it's been for him to deal with his fertility issues.

So even if this is not "the month", I'm ok with it. Hubby and I are on a great path, and I'm so thankful for it!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Redecorating During the 2WW

I am proud of myself in that I didn't obsess too much about my symptoms today. I have been eating like crap, though, so with the slight chance that I may be PG, I actually forced myself to eat a pear. For some reason, I've been living like a bachelorette since my husband's been away on business, and have been perfectly content having Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream for dinner. cream (just picture Homer from the Simpsons saying this part). Then, in anticipation of the ice cream dinner, I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill, and quite enjoyed myself as I sang (ok, yelled) some of my favorite songs out loud while listening to my iPod. And yes, one of those songs was actually Brittany Spears' "Hit Me Baby One More Time". I'm a closet fan of teenage music, and will also sheeplishly admit to everyone in blog-land that I like Backstreet Boys' "I Want it That Way". Ah, the joys of having hubby out of town and only a loyal dog who loves me no matter how awful my voice is.

So to kill time and distract me from doing more internet searches on pregnancy symptoms, I decided to do some blog redecorating and change the template I'm using. I like it better, I think. What I don't like is the darn section of the site where you can update your template. It's so darn manual, and the screen is not very big, so lot's of scrolling action to find the section of code you want to edit. I wish I could manage my blog in FrontPage - does anyone know if this is possible? I will research that one of these days...

Ok, the only other "symptom" that I will share (and apologies in advance for the TMI, especially to the men) - my nipples have been pretty sensitive the last few days, but my boobs aren't. This is different than usual because if I have breast tenderness leading up to AF, it's usually an all or nothing type of deal - boobs and nipples. But currently it's just nipples. Things that make you go hmm...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Loving the Sweaty Hands and Feet...Not!

Again, not sure if this is a pregnancy sign or if it's the progesterone messing with me again, but I've been dealing with another pleasant side effect lately. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have sweaty hands and feet. Apparently, this is a not-too-uncommon phenomenon for non-pregant folks, and I have Google'd various tips and tricks on how to deal with this unpleasantry. Rubbing antiperspirant on said surfaces is supposed to help, but I'm afraid the chalky substance all over my laptop's keyboard would just be too icky. One lady even wrote about putting a pantiliner in your shoes. Discreet AND absorbent! Oh, my.

I know this is a pregnancy symptom, so if this is my plight and I am in fact PG, bring it on. I'll deal with it. But if this is just another stinkin' side effect and nasty AF arrives - that will just plain suck! Been feeling particularly hormonal, too. I did put hubby on notice about this the other day, when it was coming on strong. Tonight, I just feel depressed. Really depressed. It's a bit of a pity party, and it doesn't help that I watched a 2-hour recap of 9/11 and followed that up with another sad rerun of Grey's Anatomy. That show, and ER, always make me ball like a school-girl. Oh, and I'm listening to Vonda Sheperd and Norah Roberts right now. Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment. Deep breath...I need to go hug my dog.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Early Pregnancy Sign, or Progesterone Side Effects?

I'm not obsessing, really. Ok, maybe a little bit. But how do you not obsess when the BFP has been so alluring yet out of reach for so long? I think people may say they just kicked back during their 2ww, but who are we kidding here? It takes every bit of will-power for me to not do endless internet searches on early pregnancy symptoms, or think that every twinge, cramp, and bloat is a sign that this is the month.

I am currently at 5 dpo, and have been on the progesterone suppositories for 4 days. Here are some of the symptoms I've been experiencing:

IUI day: During dinner on the day that I got inseminated, I got this horrible headache that felt like my head was being squeezed, and interspersed with this constant sensation, I also had these horrible shooting pains in the back of my head. This lasted until late-afternoon the next day, after I took a couple of Tylenol.

1 dpo - present: Been having trouble sleeping through the night, and have been really, really tired. I read that this could be a side effect of the progesterone? Has anyone else experienced this?

3 dpo - present: A ton of cramping and bloating. The cramping doesn't hurt bad, I just feel twinges here and there. Yesterday I felt some mild cramping around my right ovary, and today it was at my left ovary. I also feel twinges around my uterine area, and it feels like a busy place. It feels as if there is "construction" going on. As for the bloating, it's similar to the worst kind of bloating I get on the months that this occurs prior to AF. It seems a bit early for me to be bloating this much if I'm not PG, but I kind of forget the exact timing when I usually experience this.

4 dpo: Last night, I got a pretty insatiable craving for something salty. This would ordinarily be no biggie, as it used to be a PMS symptom for me as a teenager. However, the feeling was really strong, and I haven't had this as a PMS symptom for years. If anything, I typically get intense sugar cravings, and need something moist and chocolate-y. Cakes, brownies, or cookies usually do the trick. But last night I was truly bummed when I saw that we were all out of microwave popcorn. Must remember to add that to the shopping list.

So what do you think? Is the Progesterone messing with my body and making me think I might be PG even though I may not be at all? As I write this, I'm thinking, "you need to stop obsessing about this...go read a book or something..." - but I'm so tired right now, I know that if I started to read a book (and I'm actually in the middle of an extremely intriguing one right now) that I'd just end up falling asleep. I hope hubby comes home soon so he can entertain me - and keep me awake!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dolly the Dove

We have a dove that built a nest in the eaves right above our front door. Hubby heard her building it all day a couple Fridays ago, and was wondering what all those scratching noises were. He discovered the nest on Saturday, when he walked out and scared the bejeesus out of her as he peered at his newfound discovery. It makes me chuckle to think of them looking at each other, eye to eye, and backing up (or in her case, flying) in shock.

I have a newfound appreciation for birds, which started when I got myself a hummingbird feeder last spring. It took a couple weeks for any hummers to find the feeder, to my great anxiety. Finally, I added a couple drops of red food coloring in the sugar water, and they discovered it in a jiffy - and have been loyal feeders ever since. They're fairly bold creatures, and let us glimpse them up close by diving for a sip or a longer drink when we're sitting just yards away on the patio furniture, and even sometimes when I'm standing just below the feeder itself.

Our neighborhood seems to have a plethora of winged creatures. I'm not much of a bird expert, but I'm fairly certain that in addition to the hummingbirds and doves, that we also have sparrows, robins, and the blue-feathered ones - I forget what those ones are called, but they really like to torture our dog by sitting on the fence and shouting birdie profanities at him.

So back to the dove. I am assuming that the bird is a female, and it gave me a strange type of satisfaction to know that she chose the eaves in OUR house to build her modest abode. Well, it looks modest from my viewing angle, but it could be quite impressive as far as nests go. So with the assumption that the bird is a "she", I immediately decided to name her Dolly. I check on the nest every time I back my car out of the garage, and sometimes she is there, and sometimes she isn't. Actually, I haven't seen her at all in the last week or so. At first I figured she was out with the gals, maybe on a jaunt for more nest fixin's. But now I'm not so sure. Maybe she realized the error of her ways, what with building a nest practically on top of a garage door that loudly opens and closes several times a day! Or maybe something happened to her?! Since I'm trying not to over-analyze every facet of my life while I'm in the 2WW, perhaps I've been over-doing it with the Operation Dove Watch. I should never have named her...that is the lesson I will walk away with.

Dolly, if you're out there...come home!

In the 2WW

So I guess I haven't posted about the actual insemination...! It was relatively straightforward and painless, which I was very glad for. Once I saw the doc pull out the catheter, I started to get a tad anxious based on my only other experience with a catheter in the ole cervix during the HSG procedure. This went much better! I think the whole procedure lasted about 5 minutes, and then they set a timer for 10 minutes, instructed me to lay still till the timer went off, then I was free to go. My husband made a humorous observation that it was like boiling eggs. Set the timer, wait, and voila! In this case, we didn't want my eggs to cook, of course, but this experience was still somewhat analogous in an odd sort of way.

Last night, I started on the Progresterone suppositories. Those are not loads of fun, but I'll do whatever it takes to increase my chances of maintaining a healthy pregnancy. I take them from now on, and even once I have been deemed pregnant. So this is just another daily ritual that I'll have to incorporate into my routine. No biggie.

Thanks to everyone for their well wishes!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Insemination: Take One

Hubby and I went to the doctor yesterday, and the ultrasound showed that my 2 follicles have continued to develop nicely. She also delivered the unexpected compliment that I had a "gorgeous uterus"'re making me blush, doc! I got an HCG shot in the rear, which made me feel pretty bloated and uncomfortable the rest of the afternoon and evening. I return today to get my first insemination, so please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Houston, We Have 2 Follicles...

Now that my venting is complete (see previous post), I can more calmly provide an update on my doctor's appointment yesterday. Let's see, I spent 3o minutes in traffic hightailing it to the facility, and was calmed by the fact that I ended up arriving 5 minutes early. I then spent over an hour waiting to be seen, and was even interrupted at one point by the doctor I would end up seeing who called me the wrong name because he had entered the wrong room. Ok, I'm really not feelin' the love right now. Ok, the venting is really done now. I think.

So this cycle, I currently have 2 follicles developing (guess the Clomid is working), 1 on each side. The one on my left side is slightly bigger, which I take as a good sign since that is my "good side" (since the right tube may be blocked). I tested negative on the ovulation predictor kit (OPK) this morning, and am scheduled to go back to the doc's office tomorrow afternoon. I am hoping hubby can accompany me so I don't feel like such a loser sitting there by myself amongst all the other couples in the waiting room. I know, not a sensible feeling to have, but it's one of those irrational thoughts that creeps into my head all the same.

Will post again after my appointment on Thursday. I wonder how many cycles it is going to take for me to finally get PG.

Will I Ever See the Same Doctor Twice??

Let me just start by saying that although azoospermia is a plight that hubby and I must deal with, I also feel very blessed to have such a wonderful husband and that all in all, the whole process of finding the right donor sperm and all that other stuff has been pretty smooth. I also have a heightened appreciation for the availability of donor sperm here in the US, since the supply in the UK is becoming more and more constrained (more on that in the "Azoospermia - WTF" and "The End of my Line?" blogs listed in the sidebar of this blog).

As I continue through what will be my 2nd IUI cycle (Cycle 1 was a "no-go" because I ovulated on my right side and *might* have a blocked fallopian tube), several random thoughts swirl through my head:

  • When I traipse into the doctor's office, I can't help but feel like it's a cattle call of couples being treated for any myriad of infertility issues, somewhat akin to being rounded up when you board a flight on Southwest Airlines;
  • Why are the nurses so damn calm? Have they become hardened to the mental states that most couples are in once they land at this type of facility? Would it kill you to have a sense of urgency and actually worry with me once in a while? Why do you have to be so damn clinical all the time???
  • Will I ever see the same doctor twice? Every stinkin' time I have come in to be poked and prodded by that ultrasound doodad, it's a different doctor. "Um, doc - are you sure we're a "go" for IUI this cycle since I ovulated on my right side and may very well have a blocked tube? Hello??? Did you even spend 2 minutes reading my chart before you busted into the exam room? What do you mean, did the other doctor tell me this office doesn't do laproscopy procedures to unblock fallopian tubes anymore? Do you guys even talk to each other?"

Ok. Venting is done for now.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Will This be the Month?

Now that we have our sperm donor selected, and the sperm ready and waiting at my doctor's office, it's just a matter of ovulation. Since there is a possibility that my right fallopian tube is blocked, the doctors advised me to only go through with the intrauterine insemination (IUI) when I ovulate on my left side. Though IUI is not nearly as costly as IVF, it ain't cheap. Each cycle, I am to call the doctor's office and let the nurses know when I have started my period, also known as cycle day 1 (CD 1). Then, starting on CD 11, I am to use an ovulation predictor kit to determine my LH surge. If I haven't surged by CD13, then I go into the doctor's office for an ultrasound, where they can confirm that I'm developing a follicle, and that my uterine lining is thickening to be ready for implantation. If the follicle hasn't developed enough yet, then I continue testing for my surge and come in again (for another ultrasound) a couple days later if ovulation still hasn't been detected. Each time I get an ultrasound, it's $200. This happens to be an out-of-network office, so my insurance only covers these costs once I have fulfilled a $600 deductible. I've paid over this amount now, so am hoping that the reimbursement checks start to arrive soon.

Last month, I dutifully started testing on CD11, and detected a positive surge on CD16. As I sat in the exam room, I asked God whether this was going to be the moment. A few minutes later, the ultrasound showed a very nicely developing uterine lining and dominant follicle...but it was on the right side. IUI would not be in the cards for me in July.

In hindsight, I think this was for the best. Hubby and I went to Las Vegas the weekend of June 23rd, and both of us fell sick with the flu as soon as we got home. I'm glad I didn't get the IUI through all of this because I want to be in optimal health when I do get pregnant.

Will this be the month? I will probably know by the end of this week! This cycle, the doctor started me on Clomid, which is a drug that makes your body develop more than one follicle. The hope being that if I ovulate on my right side again, I'll also ovulate on my left side. There is an 8% chance of conceiving twins when you take this drug, but I would just be so overjoyed to be pregnant that twins would just be a different type of blessing. I'm currently on CD 12, and will likely go into the doctor's office tomorrow for the first ultrasound of this cycle.

On a side's been rather comforting to see the ultrasounds confirm that I am indeed ovulating and seem to be creating a hospitable environment in my uterus. We've been trying to get pregnant for so long that sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me. It's pretty exciting to see that my body is doing what it's supposed to be doing, so please keep your fingers crossed for me for this cycle, and I'll keep everyone posted! Ta ta for now.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Selecting the Right Sperm

So the whole process of selecting which donor sperm you want to go with has been a mix of fascination, trepidation, amusement, and still some sadness. I am able to go through this process almost as if it's an extension of browsing through one of my favorite catalogs (yes, I'm a shopper). Let's see, do I want the guy with the dark hair and eyes, or should we go for one of those Nordic donors? Ooh, there's an exotic section of donors who are comprised of unique backgrounds, too. Ok - a little too exotic.

Having always been an extremely organized individual, I take to this task as though it's a series of items I need to check off of my to-do list. Make a list of qualities you want the sperm donor to possess...check...set up an account with the sperm bank...check...check insurance coverage on infertility...check...setup an appointment with a couples therapist...check...But sometimes I put the brakes on my full-steam-ahead mentality when I can see in my husband's eyes that this is still hurting him. And then I question whether this is still the right path to pursue. We'll go for days and sometimes even weeks without discussing this topic in depth, but every time we bring it up - he still wants to pursue it. I do, too. So we move on.

We browsed through the donor catalog for several weeks before we started to narrow down the choices. It finally came down to 2 donors, and number 1 was the clear winner in our eyes. Number 2 was in the running too, but we just thought we'd nailed it with all the similarities to my husband that we'd identified in the front-runner. The last step we opted to pursue was to have the sperm bank perform a photographic match of my husband to these final candidates. The results were very surprising - my husband matched almost perfectly to the 2nd donor! The lady on the phone even said that they could pass for brothers. And yes - he was a very poor match to the guy which we orginally thought had been "the one". So after a brief discussion, we opted to go with Number 2, and ordered up his goods to be delivered and stored at my doctor's office.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Going With the Donor Sperm Route

After many months of deliberation, and extended periods of time when we didn't discuss our azoospermia issue, we decided to go with the donor sperm route. There were many reasons for this, but which I am not going to delve into detail on this blog. Suffice it to say that it took quite a bit of soul-searching, and my husband finally decided that he wanted a child that was a part of me, even if he couldn't contribute his DNA to the picture. I felt elated, tentative, and sad all at the same time. Elated that I may finally get pregnant and experience the joys associated with pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Tentative that this might not work. I do have a potentially blocked fallopian tube - what if they find other issues with me as well? My husband had male infertility, but what if I had other issues that we just hadn't uncovered yet? Lastly, I felt sad because of the sense of loss I had knowing that I would never have my husband's child. And I know he felt this too.

Considering Adoption

When we first learned about the diagnosis, we started to discuss adoption. I tried to picture how I would react adopting a child, and thought that felt ok. I had to bite my tongue because when my husband first mentioned donor sperm (per his urologist's suggestion), he quickly dismissed it as something he didn't think he could ever go through. So as quickly as my hopes were raised that I could still have the baby be a part of me, they were dashed by my husband who didn't think he could bring himself to go that route. I decided to not verbalize the hurt I felt, because we were both hurting enough already. Besides, adoption could still work out great. We both knew several families that had adopted, and were very happy and fulfilled.

I started researching adoption on the internet, and was quickly overwhelmed at what I found. There are domestic and international options, and it seemed that the international route was more promising, just because of the increased chances of adopting an infant, which is what we wanted. We both thought it would be neat to adopt from China, and I was also excited to see we could potentially adopt a Vietnamese child. I even emailed a lady who headed up one of the Vietnam adoption agencies, but it didn't feel quite right. Deep down, I still wanted to investigate the donor sperm option, and I knew it was time to talk to my husband about it. Adoption would have to wait for now.

D-Day aka SA Results

It may be a let-down that this post doesn't cover my husband's experiences with providing his sperm sample, but I just don't feel I could do it justice to summarize his experience. I'll have to see if I can convince him to author a post and share his perspective on this himself. I think it'd be more authentic that way. Oh honey...

So as I already detailed in my first post, my husband received the dreaded news from my OB/GYN that he had no sperm, which is also known as azoospermia. I wasn't home at the time, and didn't know yet. When I did get home, he didn't answer to my calls. Was he upstairs, or outside, or something? I headed upstairs, and I was taken aback as I saw him standing in our master bathroom, in front of his vanity. The look on his face said it all: something was wrong.

We had been waiting several days for the SA results, so it didn't automatically occur to me that it was this that could cause him to be so upset. When I asked him what was wrong, he simply stated that the test results were in and that What?! What do you mean you don't have any sperm? What does that even mean? You don't have any at all??

I was surprised at how calmly I was reacting. It was very surreal. There we were, discussing one of the most shocking moments of our lives, and I felt like everything was moving in slow motion. A good chunk of my world had just been pulled out from under me, and all my assumptions and hopes about getting pregnant as soon as we were ready to were dashed in the few seconds it took for him to tell me the diagnosis.

The rest of that conversation is a bit of a blur for me. I remember breaking down and crying at one point, but it wasn't even a real hearty cry. It was a I'm-just-so-shocked-I-don't-know-what-the-hell-to-do type of cry. And my hubby was pretty stoic yet emotional at the same time, if that makes sense.

For all you men out there, take note. It never once occurred to me that I should leave my husband because he could not father my child. This is something that he felt would be a horrible yet acceptable course of action on my part, considering our situation. That is not what marriage is about, and I knew we just needed to process this information and figure out where to go from there - together.

He had to go through some additional tests to determine whether he had a blockage or not (he didn't), and the last resort (extracting some sperm through needle aspiration of the testes) was dashed when the urologist didn't think that a viable option.

The HSG Test

On the day of the scheduled HSG test, my husband accompanied me to the lab that was going to conduct the procedure. I was a bit surprised when they didn't let him accompany me into the exam room, but tentatively felt ok to brave it alone. I'm not a major wimp, but it was more fear of the unknown that was giving me butterflies in my stomach. My doc had quickly explained to me that they stick a catheter up your cervix and inject dye into you...this dye then paints the uterus and flows out of the fallopian tubes, if your tubes are unobstructed. So the part about dye flowing out of my fallopian tubes, while a bit out there, didn't really worry me. It was the part about the catheter up the cervix that really had me worried. As it turns out, I was partly right to worry about that point...

First of all, this next section is something that all females should be able to relate to and empathize with me on! Let me just start by saying that the doctor performing the procedure was a man. Now I am not discriminating against male doctors, before anyone gets upset. But it's an important aspect to point out because not all male doctors are "in tune" with a woman's anatomy and some of the finer points that should accompany any procedure that happens "down there".

My horror first began when I saw him take out a speculum, and without another thought, he started to head to my nether region. The problem in this was that he didn't lube it, or even dip it into any water. He forced it into me, and as if that pain and discomfort wasn't enough, he then proceeded to TURN the speculum while it was inside of me!!! Again, if you're a woman - you are probably gasping in horror, because you can probably imagine how it felt to have the lips of the speculum (that hang over on the side) scrape against my vaginal wall. Not good.

Once I got over that, he started to feed the catheter into my uterus, and was kind enough to warn me that it was about to enter the cervix. Ok, I'm good with that. I could feel some slight pressure as he fed it into the cervix, but I was starting to think it wasn't going to be so bad. Then he told me he was going to pump up the balloon in the catheter, which would act as a cervix plug and prevent the dye, once expelled, from leaking out of the uterus by way of the cervix opening.

This is when the cramping began. And I'm not talking the kind you get with your period, even if they're bad. I'm talking the type of cramping that made me want to double-over in pain, and I even let a moan escape. It was that bad. The next several minutes, the doctor proceeded to take pictures of my innards while occasionally re-adjusting my position...get on your side...get on your other side...get on your back again...I had to bear this a bit longer than usual because he couldn't get my right tube to drain. As time went on, the level of pain did decrease, although only slightly. I guess I was just dull to the pain now. I also felt like a had a huge gas bubble in my belly, and I so wished I could stick a needle in my stomach to relieve the pressure.

Then, the doc deflated the balloon, and removed the catheter and speculum. Yes, there was more pain at the removal phase, but not as bad as just a few moments ago. They had me wait in the exam room while the xrays were developed, and I was so uncomfortable (still had the sensation of a huge, volatile gas bubble in my belly), that I couldn't find any position, sitting or standing, where I was comfortable. I finally settled into a half-standing position, where I was doubled-over and leaning on the exam table. It must have been a lovely sight for the assistant to walk in and see me like this.

Bottom-line results showed that my right fallopian tube never did manage to drain any dye. To this day, I'm not sure if my tube is in fact blocked, or whether the high amount of cramping that I experienced had simply blocked the tube temporarily. Apparently this happens sometimes. The good news was that my left tube did drain, so I have at least 1 tube in good working condition.

Maybe We Should Get Checked Out

As I mentioned in my first post on this blog, my husband and I (who I will from this point onward refer to as my dear "hubby") had been trying to conceive for almost a year when the nagging worries started to creep in at an increasingly alarming rate. When we first started trying, I was excitedly doing research on how to become pregnant, and learned about the fascinating world of ovulation and all the funky things you can look at to determine if you're producing eggs. Ah yes - I charted my temps, tracked my cervical fluid (I hate the word mucous in this context, or in any context for that matter. It just sounds gross and is not a word I choose to use to describe something that emanates from my body.), and read up on lots of information on the internet about a woman's cycle and when best to do the deed to maximize your changes of getting pregnant. But month after month, my heart would drop as I'd start yet another cycle after thinking that every headache, backache, and bit of queasiness that I experienced during the 2 week wait meant that I had "surely gotten knocked up this time".

So we scheduled an appointment with my OB/GYN and came in for a consultation. I was to have an HSG test, and hubby was to have a semen analysis (SA). The HSG would tell whether my fallopian tubes were blocked, and the SA would verify that my husband had healthy swimmers. I also had some other tests as well, but I forget what they were called...something about measuring my hormone levels to make sure I was producing enough progesterone, maybe? So off we went to get the tests done, of which I will provide a brief description in my next post.

*Please Note: I found it extremely helpful as we embarked on this process to be knowledgeable about my cycle and the nuances within. If you've been trying to conceive (TTC) for awhile, I highly recommend that you learn about fertility in general, and chart your temps and any unique items that make you, you. Once I entered this whirlwind of diagnosis, I could hold my own talking about temping, ovulation, cycle days, what-have-you, with my doc. And this was only possible because I became self-educated, NOT because I had a particularly informative doc who took the time needed to explain all these concepts to me. Another useful tip - request copies of all test results so you will have your own file on your medical history, and can keep the myriad of doctors you may deal with straight on the facts. Doctors are intelligent but busy people, and it is very easy for them to miss details in your file that are important to highlight, address, etc. If you are new to fertility and want to learn more, look for a future post that will provide useful information on your quest for newfound knowledge.

Let's Give This Blog Thing a Try

Where do I begin? First of all, I'm pretty new to blogging. Don't get me wrong; I know what blogs are, and have even checked some out after I read a magazine article that included some honorable mentions. Then today, the idea struck me to search for a blog that I could relate to, particularly in one aspect of my life. I couldn't find one. I found many, many blogs that I could partially relate to...but nothing that was exactly right. Random thought - I hear a voice in my head reciting that part from Little Red Riding Hood: "This porridge is too thick...this porridge is too thin...this porridge is just right...". Who knows if it was even porridge that Little Red Riding hood was sampling, and if it was the consistency of the meal that put her off. Whatever the case, I digress.

What I'm really looking for is a way to connect with other folks who are in a similar situation as my husband and I are in. We're trying to conceive (TTC), and we're now chasing the 2-year mark. About 1 year into this journey, we finally started to wonder if something was wrong. I never doubted my ability to by a fertile myrtle (is that how one spells that word??), as evidenced by my highly fertile sisters and mother - who, bless her heart, had 5 kids! Surprisingly enough, she just recently told me that my grandmother got extremely upset with her after she had her tubes tied shortly after my birth - I guess grandma thought the perfect number of kids was 10. Aye, caramba!

So after the usual gamet of tests (I'll get into the details of my test results in a separate post), we got the most shocking news of our husband's semen analysis (SA) had come in, and he had no sperm. Just like that. That's how my OB/GYN delivered the news to him. No emotion, no "I'm sorry to have to tell you this..." type of lead-in. She just dropped the news on him like a lead balloon.

So this is where my story begins (at least for the purposes of this blog), and where I'll chronicle the trials and tribulations that began on that fateful autumn day in 2005.