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!