Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trying to Conceive: Take Two

Today, I stumbled upon this interesting article titled Daily S.ex 'Best for Good Sperm.' I've read before that more s.ex is better for motility, so this just seems to reinforce that idea all around!

I don't think an IUI is going to happen this month, and if you would have told me that a couple weeks ago I would have been crushed. Timing has just not worked out for getting the SA done, doctor appointments, etc all to work out around AF. But with my new found hope....I am actually excited to have a month of TTC au naturale!

Here's the plan...make use of the info in the above linked article. ;) Take the progesterone supp.ositories that I have had in my fridge since January. I have been waiting for a "real" cycle to try them out and see if it helps my spotting (which is here again this cycle)...and I think this next cycle will be the real deal. No more waiting for surgeries to heal, new sp.erm to form, or sickness. I'm even looking forward to charting!

So, AF should be here by the end of this weekend and then we'll be trying to conceive again with DH's new sp.erm and my fibroid-free uterus!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Renewed hope

I think people must have been praying for me, because, suddenly and in an instant, a burden lifted off of me yesterday.

And, today, I am hopeful.

I am hopeful I will be able to get pregnant! Maybe not jumping up and down hopeful, and definitely still mixed with some doubt hopeful, but it has suddenly reappeared.

Honestly, it was so sudden that I do feel like it was a gift from God. I had been researching IVF all week, and coming to a place where we said we probably wouldn't do IVF was difficult. I felt like a whole potential leg of our journey was cut off, that we have that many fewer steps to take to attempt to get pregnant....and that that would have been our best shot. Who can deny those 50% success rates? And most people with MFI need IVF.

But as I was reading a few of your blogs after work yesterday, I sat back and suddenly thought, You know we could totally get pregnant. We haven't even really been able to try much since January because of our surgeries! We need to get back to TTC!

And that thought led to another. I don't think DH's MFI is that bad anymore. I could be wrong, and no doctor has said this directly (although Dr. Uro did say we could be candidates for IUI when we got DH's post surgery SA). But, but, but....do some math with me!:

A sample "normal" SA that I made up. All of these numbers are within normal parameters (as shown in paranthesis):

Count: 48 mil (>20 mil)
Volume: 2 m/L (>1m/L)
Motility: 60% (>50%)
Total motile: 58 million


Now, here is DH's last SA sample:

Count: 145 million (>20 mil)
Volume: 4 m/l (>1 m/l)
Motility: 10% (>50%)
Total motile: 58 million

The total motile #'s are the same!!**

I know motility is very important. And there are a lot of sperm that are not moving, obviously. But...if we do the "sperm washing" we will still have quite a few motile ones for an IUI, I would think. And his next SA could be even better, since the full effects of the surgery take up to a year!

DH got home from work and I busted out these calculations for him. And I think he was just thrilled to see me happy about our pregnancy prospects for the first time in awhile.

Before bed I was reading my Bible and came across this about King Asa, who lived a life seeking God but went astray at the end: "In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought the help from physicians." 2 Chronicles 2:12

Wow, I was so humbled! I want to seek my help from the Lord all the days of my life! I am thankful to have doctors to work with, but my help and hope come from the Lord who gives and takes away.

**MFI girls, there might be something you know that I'm not seeing. Feel free to let me know if this is totally unrealistic. Just be gentle -- I just got my hopes up. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tiny steps

I spoke with the urologist this week. I called rather spur of the moment -- DH looked at me in surprise when I told him I had called. I'm sure you can tell by the tone of my posts these past few weeks, but I want to know what direction we're going. I want to know what our chances our. And I figured I'd ask our three doctors: Dr. Uro, Dr. Ob/Gyn, and Dr. RE.

Dr. Uro said the fever might affect DH's SA, which was sad to hear. But it won't affect it until the new batch comes in three months, so next week's SA should be a "safe" sample.

She wouldn't tell us what she thinks our chances of success with IUI are because it is about our "combined fertility." She recommends talking to Dr. RE about that. In parting, she said to let her know "how it goes." I don't know, I can't imagine calling her up out of the blue a year from now saying, "We're pregnant!" or "Thanks anyway for the surgery, but no luck here." But maybe if we do get pregnant, I'll be so excited that I would call her...?

***

DH & I had a real conversation about IVF last night. I've been researching and praying about it this week. As things stand today, we wouldn't do it. I'm the one who presented the concerns, and DH is the one who said, "I'm just not comfortable with it." I am in agreement, but that doesn't mean I'm not crying about it. And, of course, this is before we talk to Dr. RE. Things could change. But I needed to know where we stood, if that makes sense.

(And please know we are not "against" IVF overall. I am cheering each of you on who do it!)

***

Next week I will talk with Dr. Ob/Gyn and, hopefully, will get her opinion about our chances with IUI. I also want to talk to her about my weird cycles, but I already imagine she will say something to the effect of, "It could just be your body" and "It could be hormonal."

We will also do another SA sample next week. I wanted to do it at the beginning of the week so we could have the results by Thursday, but we have random college students staying with us through Tuesday. The SA is stressful enough to do in the morning before work, let alone with strangers in your house. :) So we'll see when we manage to get that sample in and get the results.

And then, hopefully, we will have an appointment with Dr. RE. I feel like by then we should have all the pieces of the puzzle and he can give his recommendations for treatments.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fevers, antibiotics....and sperm

Poor DH has a horrible sinus infection! Last night was another rough night on the sleep front for him (...and me) and I wished I could just do SOMETHING to make the poor guy feel a little better. Fortunately we were able to get him into the doctor first thing this morning and, since taking one dose of an antibiotic, he is feeling much better already.

When he got to doctor's office this morning he had a fever slightly over 100 degrees, and when he told me this, I must confess my mind went straight to one thing: sperm. Didn't I read once somewhere that a fever can harm sperm...?! And then I googled about antibiotics, and although I didn't spend a ton of time to find any good articles, it looks like antibiotics can affect sperm, too.

**sigh**

As I have prayed lately, I have suddenly been in less of a hurry to move forward with treatments. I feel like there are a number of variables yet to be determined (especially another semen analysis that might show more improvement...or not). And once those variables are known, we have some very big decisions to make about treatments. So maybe God is using DH's fever to make us take things slowly?! Although I feel like we are already moving.so.very.slowly.

Don't get me wrong, I do not look forward to more waiting. And I want to get pregnant so badly that part of me feels like I could call Dr. RE tomorrow and tell him we're doing IVF ASAP. But God has not directed us yet, and there are a few more pieces of the puzzle that we need to see. The fever/ antibiotics may very well have no affect, and we could have all the info we need to make our decisions in a couple weeks.

Ohhh, I hope so! I hope we know in a couple weeks what we are doing!!

PS - When googling about the fever topic, I came across a fertility forum that has a doctor posting answers. The doctor gave his medical opinion and then wrote, "*****baby dust******." Wow and weird.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Couch night

So much for "deep thoughts" on my blog today. Although I had high hopes, I am fighting a cold post-camp (although I think I am winning!) and did not get a restful sleep last night.

In fact, for the first time in our (now) over 4 years of marriage, I spent the night on the couch.

It's not what you think. :)

I'm fighting this cold, and DH says I have the immune system of a horse (is that really an expression?). I got the sore throat, tiredness...but so far the throat is better and I have not progressed to the congestion stage. DH, on the other hand, went from sore throat to crazy severe sinus infection in two days flat.

So last night, DH is sniffling. Tossing and turning. Softly moaning from time to time. Getting up to go to the bathroom. Getting up for water. And I cannot sleep. What finally moved me out of bed and onto the couch was when he passed gas loudly. Seriously, I know he's sick and miserable, but I think he made all the noises he possibly could to keep me awake.

And to add craziness to our day, DH's car battery died when we tried to drive it to the store to get medicine tonight. (I think it was already weak, but since we didn't drive it all week while at camp it just gave out) We thought about going to get a new battery and installing it tonight, but DH was in no mood or condition to deal with that. So now I have to drive him to the doctor tomorrow morning...on the one day I have to be at work at 9 for our audit. Oh well, my boss was nice enough to cover for me in case I'm late.

Ok, so all of this ties in perfectly to my all-time favorite you tube video. DH and I laugh about this video all.the.time because it is SO how he is when he is sick. I don't normally like to play upon stereotypes and I'm sorry if this offends anyone...but it is true for us :) Even tonight DH said he wishes my name were "Laura" so he could say it just like the video...



Hope you enjoyed! And I made DH take a ny.quil tonight to knock him out. Hopefully we'll both sleep better. :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We're home!

We had a FABULOUS week at camp -- we work with some great students. :) And although we are absolutely exhausted...and nothing about the week was restful...it was nice to get away.

We also 'celebrated' our 4th wedding anniversary while at camp! I put celebrated in quotation marks because our celebration consisted of an anniversary greeting and a kiss. Let's just say it's pretty difficult to make a special day of it when you're at a high school camp. However, we did book a little two day get-away as a belated celebration next month -- I am SO excited!!

And to celebrate on this here blog...a little something from our wedding day. DH does not want a picture of us on this blog, unfortunately, so this just gives you a little taste of the day. And I love flowers :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Off to summer camp!

DH & I are off to summer camp for a week. And yes, you read that right...we're going to summer camp and we're not 13! :) We are volunteer youth leaders at our church and we each have a group of students that we have been working with since they were going into 7th grade. Our students are now going into 10th grade and this is our 4th summer camp with them! After this week we'll only have two more with them until they graduate...crazy how fast they grow up...

Needless to say there is no internet access, so I won't be able to post or stay up to date with each of you. I hope you have GREAT weeks and that I hear lots of happy news upon my return.

xxoo
Hillary

Friday, June 12, 2009

Where is the end?

Where is the end of this journey? I have read quite a few blog posts this week of some of my blogger friends who seem to be near the end...in that "one last IVF" stage. My heart breaks for them in that difficult place, although I have also been amazed at the resiliency and hope they experience.

Where is my end point? That I don't know -- and I have, thus far, felt so new to all of this, and that the end was far, far away. But I have been overwhelmed this week thinking about The End. I could still have a long road ahead of me...and that is daunting. But, even scarier, The End could be near. What if we decide to not pursue IVF? We could be told that we have such a small chance of conceiving even with an IUI that it's just not worth it. Or we could do a couple IUI's....but The End could be just a few months away. I'm not ready to be done with this and close the door on having biological children. I'm not ready to face The End.

I told DH we need to decide in the next few weeks if we would be willing to do IVF. I feel like I need to know where our line in the sand is. I know this line could move if God changes our course...but for now, I would like to pray, research, talk, and come to some decisions about our next steps.

I had lunch with my infertile friend Grace this week, and it was wonderful to share our stories. She is amazing and I am thankful for her friendship. Interestingly, she feels like she may be nearing the end of fertility treatments...she is currently on a medicated cycle, and has one more left. She may do a few IUI's, but at this point is not sure how much further they will go. They started looking into adoption and they feel a lot of peace and excitement about that, so that might be the new path they embark on.

The End has felt like it is all around me, although I feel CRAZY that I haven't even done any treatment cycles and I am already thinking about it (I probably am crazy). Part of me wants to say, "Nah, I'll get pregnant before The End!" But I can also see very clearly that that does not always happen. I feel like I have to trust God that if The End comes he will prepare me.

I am not an infertility newbie anymore -- if I crane my neck and squint my eyes, I can see The End. I just don't know if I will actually get there, or how fast it is approaching.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Small comforts

Today continued to be emotional and I have so many infertile thoughts swimming through my head. I think these thoughts will trickle out onto this blog, but overall I think I have been feeling my infertility more than I do most days. The hopes, the fears, the what-if's have come to the surface in full force.

And, tonight, DH felt it with me. We BBQed pizza together after work, and he could tell I was sad. I started releasing all of these thoughts to him, and, while slicing pizza with the roller, he said from behind me, "I'm feeling it right now too. I'm sad we're infertile." And I heard it in his voice: the sadness. And hearing him say that, feeling him feel it with me, made me hunch over the pizza in big wracking sobs. We're together in this. Not that I ever doubted it, but I felt it tonight.

We held each other, I cried, and we shared our fears.

And it felt like a release followed by small earthly comforts that have given me some peace tonight:

*Hugging DH
*Laying on his chest
*Kissing DH
*Putting my jammies and slippers on
*Lighting candles
*Drinking a cup of tea
*Writing this post

I am thankful for the small, and not-so-small, comforts and blessings God has given me. I know he is with me, walking with me, and guiding me. I am here and it hurts, and somehow in the midst of this I know it is a season that God will bring me through. This is not my forever.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Down

I feel so sad and deflated today. Why? Well, I started my period....leaving me with a whopping 19 day long cycle.

I know, I know. This cycle could easily be explained away as a weird one to toss out because of the fibroid surgery and the estrogen I'm on. I asked Dr. Ob/Gyn before the surgery if I could expect to have a different cycle this month, and she said NO. And part of me is trying to explain it away, but another part of me feels like this fits into my messed up body's messed up cycles and I wouldn't be surprised if it really was just me being messed up.

And then I feel overwhelmed...I still don't know what's wrong with me. We already have some big male factor issues, and I just wish I could have these nice little perfect cycles to somehow balance out our male issues. If I were ok, I could make up for the difference or something. I know it doesn't work like that, but now I feel like I'm just dragging our combined fertility down...down...down...

I read this little poem today on John Piper's blog and it encouraged my soul:

Not grace to bar what is not bliss
Nor flight from all distress but this:
The grace that orders our trouble and pain
And then, in the darkness, is there to sustain.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Spot watch ended

I only made it one day into Spot Watch '09...I guess the competition was fierce.

The day after I wrote that post I started spotting. *sigh* I do want to give it one more month in case this cycle was just "off" because of my fibroid removal and the fact that I'm on estrogen.

If I continue to spot next month, I am again seriously considering going to the nutritionist I mentioned in this post to see if I can stop the spotting through diet... if it is a hormonal issue, I guess. I put those thoughts on the back burner since I hoped removing the fibroid would be the solution. Although....if we start treatments I might continue to wait, depending on what the treatments are. Too much is in the air, but all I can say is at this point, if I continue to spot, I am really going to do something about it when it feels like the time is right!!

Interestingly, the day I started spotting Amanda commented and told me about this post from Dr. Licciardi's blog. He's an RE who discusses various IF issues on his blog. Well, on Saturday the topic was SPOTTING!! It's a great post that sums up a lot of what I've read about possible causes of spotting. The only ones he mentions that I don't think I can rule out are endometriosis, hydrosalpinx (which sounds like it is usually caused by scarring from endo?), and hormonal issues. He does say there can just be no explanation, some women are just like that, and it isn't always a problem. Interestingly, he does say that women who spot usually don't tend spot when they are on injectables...which sounds like a hormonal thing to me. Anyway, if any of you are dealing with spotting you should check out the post!

I hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, June 5, 2009

I'm on spot watch

Now that I've had the fibroid removed, can I please stop SPOTTING all the time? Pretty please with a cherry on top???

I am hoping but trying not to hope (things could be weird this cycle since I did have a uterine surgery right?). I am post ovulation, although I don't really know where since I didn't bother tracking anything this cycle. But I actually had EWCM the day of the surgery, so I'm guessing I had an early O....maybe cd 10 or 11?? No guarantees, although I've never ovulated later than cd 14. And today I am on cd 16.

I have started checking the toilet paper very thoroughly, although after spotting for many days each cycle for 3 years I am pretty good and spotting it...er, sorry for the pun.

So far, so good. I'll keep you posted as Spot Watch '09 continues. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I desire IUI

I loved reading about all of your (annoying) interactions with RE's and nurses -- and suggestions for best getting and receiving information! You guys can always relate. Love you. xxoo

You know, I didn't appreciate hearing the nurse imply that an IUI might not be an option for us.

But let me back up: I have always known IUI's might not be a possibility. Before DH's surgery this was not an option at all, I think. No doctor outright said this (and we weren't with an RE yet), but the uro talked about having the varicocele repair surgery...or IVF. And after the surgery...well, things definitely improved, but I don't know what the RE will say. I think they would let us do an IUI, but, statistically, is it even worth it?

So I did know that. If our IUI success rate is, say 3%...would it be worth it? Or 8%? 15%? I don't know. What is the lowest chance of success that it would be worth our time, emotions, and (almost most importantly) our $5,000 of insurance money??

Looking at it by the numbers, it would probably make the most sense to just jump to IVF, since our MFI is still significant and our chances of achieving pregnancy would definitely be higher.

But we are not just going by the numbers. Our hearts, our beliefs, and our relationship are intricately tied into these decisions. And, from where we sit today, we are just not ready to do an IVF cycle and I don't know if we ever will be. It's as simple as that. I have read about women who say they wished they hadn't wasted their time on IUI cycles, and after many failed ones finally got their BFP through IVF. Maybe down the road I will realize we should have just done IVF (if we ever do), but I don't think I will regret trying an IUI or three.

So...unless Dr. RE tells us our chance of IUI success is dismally low (how low is too low to try?), that's where we're headed.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A new day

One interesting aspect of blogging is that it captures my emotions, thoughts, and fears of one instance of time. It's a snapshot that might not be what I'm thinking most of the time, or even some of the time.

My last post was one that I had indeed been mulling over in my head all week...but it wasn't emotional. It was this abstract thought that I cannot imagine treatments working. But then it became emotional in that moment of time, and I'll tell you what set it off: a nurse at the RE's office.

I called to inform them that my surgery had been completed and that I'll plan on calling them after two AF's. And I asked what the plan was...an IUI, perhaps? Of course the nurse said we'll have to talk to Dr. RE about the plan (which I understand), and Dr. RE wants another SA in 2 months. But I pressed harder. "What if the next SA shows the same results? Could we do an IUI?"

In her most hesitant, infuriating voice, "Welllll, you miiiight be able to do an IUI with thooooose numbers."

I got off the phone and wrote that post.

And later I talked about the conversation with my DH, and we confirmed that some of the other things she said about DH's SA were flat-out wrong. I don't think she knew much about MFI. I'll talk to the Uro and Dr. RE next time.