Sunday, November 30, 2008

Big day tomorrow

Tomorrow morning we have our appointment with the urologist. It feels like our first "big appointment" since starting this IF journey. One where we might get some information, answers, or direction. One where the doctor could make us hopeful or give us the hard truth. I'm a little excited and nervous.

I have a list of questions and will make sure we get a second SA. I hope he is kind and compassionate -- doctors who aren't make me want to cry. And the tears can be pretty close to the surface these days.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we head out of town to be with our families, I want to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy the time with family and friends, the yummy food, the time off from work...and most importantly a time to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for. I hope there is much to be thankful for in your life, despite IF.

Today on the nest somebody asked if IF has caused them to stop going to church/ lose their faith, which led me to reflect on what I am most thankful for: I think this struggle has been strengthening my faith. Wow. I have had a relatively easy life until this point, and have read so much in the Bible about how suffering can produce all sorts of good, faith related things. And I'm starting to experience it, and it is good. Not the suffering itself, mind you, but the results of it.

With my new IF glasses on, I see the world through these painful lenses. I read the Bible, love my husband, hear a sermon, talk with a friend, go to work, etc. in a new way. And with these lenses, the things that don't matter are stripped away and I am left seeing God. The salvation he has given me and his glory stand alone. It is what matters most -- much more than my desire for a baby -- and I am thankful he has given me new eyes to see this.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yippee! Another SA!

Yes, I am excited for my DH to repeat the SA test. He's not, but maybe my excitement will rub off on him? After his first SA experience I don't blame him...

Background info: Through an infertility web board on the nest, I met a blogging friend whose DH got negative SA results the same week my DH did. Amazingly, he also had a low motility rate, but all the other numbers were normal -- just like my DH. Needless to say I've been following her blog closely -- thanks gringa78!

Anyway, I've known that it's important to repeat the test a couple times to verify accurate results. However, I realized just how important this could be after Gringa posted a couple days ago about a conversation they had with her DH's doctor about the SA results. The doctor said she is "skeptical since all parameters except for motility were normal," and thinks the sample could have been sitting out for too long and the sperm were dying!

I am now looking forward to a repeat SA and potentially better news!

Gringa's doctor even said to hold off on the urologist appointment until the SA is repeated, which tempted me to do the same. However, we already have a urologist appointment for December 1, and there is no way we could get the SA referral and the SA this week since it's Thanksgiving. I think we'll stick with our appointment and get another SA through their office.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Moving on to cycle 9...

AF showed up yesterday.

I didn't cry, and I think it was the first AF arrival in these last 8 cycles with no tears. I think since getting the SA results I just don't have high hopes of a BFP. So maybe that helped.

My DH wanted to prove the SA wrong and get pg this cycle (or in the next few would be nice too :)). And while I truly didn't have high hopes for a BFP (as evidenced by the lack of tears), I did day dream about not getting AF...then getting that second line...

...I would actually feel a little silly for starting an infertility blog and joining infertility web boards only to get a BFP that same month! I reasoned that as dumb as I would feel for jumping on the infertility bandwagon, I wouldn't care because I would have my BFP. Just delete the blog, disappear from the nest...and voila! No more infertility!

But, as of today, that is only my imagination. I still belong here. I still feel like I'm struggling with infertility and no tests or BFPs have proven me wrong.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Prenatal vitamin rebellion

Like a good TTC-er, I started taking prenatal vitamins a few months before we started TTC. I remember the excitement of just buying the vitamins! And wondering if I would run into anyone I know as I walked through Costco with them! And then in just a few short months we would get to start *trying* for our baby! Yes!

Now that I'm nearing the end of that Costco sized bottle of vitamins with no baby in sight, I am not so excited about them. In fact, I feel a little rebellious toward them. They're huge and have a gross aftertaste. And sometimes I just don't feel like going back to the kitchen (those 20 feet seem far at the end of the day...), getting a glass of water, and taking it after I'm all ready for bed.

In my rebellion, I have purposefully skipped a couple vitamins. I confess. I get the bottle out and wonder why I am taking prenatal vitamins when I am not even pregnant. And then I put the bottle back in the drawer.

(Although in my desire for a healthy baby and hopefulness that I could in fact be pregnant I have never skipped more than 1 per cycle...and then I take it the next morning...I am too much of a rule follower to be that rebellious)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tough night

I can't sleep tonight. My mind is swimming with all the what-if's that lie ahead. The ultimate one being: what if we can never have biological children?

For those of you dealing with IF, I know these emotions and thoughts are a daily struggle.

But I sure do feel it tonight. It really hurts and the tears keep coming.

Ball chair

Have you ever seen one of these? Somebody left an unwanted ball chair in the hallway at DH's work about a year ago, and he thought it looked fun to sit in at his desk. It's supposed to be ergonomic and help you sit up straight, and he liked it well enough. I think it looks silly :)

Yesterday DH switched back to a regular office chair at his desk and realized how much more he liked it -- forget the ball chair! He also said his "male parts" felt much more comfortable... Hmm....maybe the switch back to the regular office chair could help our fertility!

Friday, November 14, 2008

My sweet husband

Last night as we had our usual welcome-home-hug-and-kiss my husband looked at me so tenderly. He told me when he was home at lunch he had read this blog and it melted his heart. He knows it's been hard for me (and for him) but he felt like he gained another level of understanding as to how difficult this whole process is. He told me he's sorry it's so hard and hugged me tightly.

I am so thankful for M.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Double whammy

I started spotting yesterday at 3dpo.

I thought I wouldn't be very sad about it after the SA results -- I mean, if his motility is 3% what are the chances of conception? A healthy couple has a 20% chance of pregnancy each cycle, so my guess is we have a 0.002% chance (haha, I am making that number up...). So I thought I could let go of all of my spotting fears and focus on DH's upcoming urologist appointment.

But, I must admit I did feel the usual sadness as the spotting began last night. It wasn't even less than normal. And spotting is a double whammy of hopes and let downs: first I'm sad that the spotting started and think my chances of being pregnant that cycle are out. Then I start to have a secret hope: maybe implantation will occur and the spotting will stop. Or maybe the spotting won't matter anyway. The double blow comes when AF arrives.

Spotting is like getting two AF's for me.

But I know God can create a baby in me even if we have a 0.002% chance. And I know the medical doctors can be instruments to make that miracle happen, too. I'm sad but hopeful.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Confessions of a chronic spotter

Even before last week's SA results, I always had some fear that we would face IF.

Why? Because I am a chronic spotter. Most months I start spotting 6-7 dpo. Last month I really only had 6 days in my 25-day-cycle of no spotting/ AF. And most of those days the spotting is light, but as AF nears it is quite heavy.

I wasn't always like this. When we got married I went on BCP's like most other women, but that's when the spotting started: on BCP. So I talked to my doctor and switched kinds. And switched again. Frustrated, I went off the BCP to let my body get back to normal. We used non-hormonal birth control during this time, but I didn't go back to normal.

Although we weren't TTC, I wanted to know all about it. I wanted to know if this spotting issue would eventually be a problem for us. I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility and began charting. I wanted to know/ reassure myself that I was at least ovulating. And I was, as far as I could tell. And my temps were well above the coverline, which made me doubt my low progesterone theory.

Eventually I went to the nurse practitioner. She said the spotting wasn't a big deal but had me get a blood test for my thyroid and an ultrasound. Both came back normal. She told me to go onto a different BCP for 3 months, but I felt like she just brushed me off. Pushed me back onto more BCP. I decided to get a second opinion and hopefully find a doctor I felt more comfortable with.

I met with my current nurse practitioner to discuss my "issues." She had me sit down with her in her office and took notes as I talked! She looked at my charts! That was a relief. I got another blood test for my prolactin levels: normal. She said she agreed with the previous NP and that I should go onto a different BCP for 3 months. I told her we wanted to TTC pretty soon, so she said after the BCP try for 6 months and then come back and see her.

We passed the 6 month mark. I had M go in for his SA to rule that out before I went in for more testing/ treatment.

And now here we are. I thought this was me. My issue. Is it both of us?? MFI and, what would I call it...Female Factor Infertility? FFI.

I guess the bottom line is that IF is both of us. In our case it might literally be both of us, but even if it's not we're in this together. I don't care who it is. But it is a little scary to potentially face that many more obstacles.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

(Un) Officially struggling with infertility

I've read other TTC blogs and considered starting one when we began TTC. But then I thought it would be silly to start one when I might conceive within a few months, because then I would rather post pregnancy related news on my family/ friends private blog.

So 8 cycles into this journey I'm starting this blog. Conception already has not happened "quickly," and it looks like the road might be long. I say we're (un) officially struggling because no doctor has diagnosed anything yet.

My DH had a SA this past week, and he met with his doctor to go over the results. He called me on the way home to tell me that all the numbers were in the normal range except one. His motility is low. My first thought was relief -- at least he has sperm! And the count is normal! Whatever the motility is I'm sure we can work around it.

We went home at lunch and I did my initial Google search (it's dangerous to do but who can resist??). Tears followed. Lots. Wow, motility is pretty important. A normal motility percentage is 40-50% (some websites say 40% while others say 50%). M's is 3%. That's very low and I don't know what it really means for our TTC journey. Is there anything that can be done to help improve his motility? Could it be an error on the test? Is IVF the only option?

Wednesday was an emotional day that resulted in leaving work, prayer, a nap, talking to my best friend, and a raging headache. DH is wonderful, he said something to the effect of "This will probably be good for us." It's difficult to say but I know he's right. I pray we will grow in our relationships with God and with each other.

The verse we had read at our wedding almost 3.5 years ago:

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor the fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on high places." Habakkuk 3:17-19

All I can say at the onset of this journey is," Amen!"