Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The protocol

I have a protocol. Doesn't that sound so official and exciting!? My appointment went well today, and I am very thankful.

Dr. H is really winning me over. He does the ultrasounds himself! And more importantly, I just felt like he was so present with me. It was a brief appointment, but I felt like I could have asked any questions I wanted. I did forget to ask a few questions I meant to (I get so spacey due to the excitement/ nervousness while I'm there), but he even made a point to stop me before I was leaving to let me know to call the office with any questions.

Everything looked good on the ultrasound, and he said I have lots of nice baby follicles on my ovaries (hmm...does this mean I was really going crazy when I thought I had a lowish antral follicle count? I wouldn't put it past me). He said since I'm "so young," have all those baby follicles, and just had bloodwork in July I didn't need to do baseline labwork.

I was surprised about the meds protocol. I think I was expecting a course of Follistm since that is what I read about the most. However, I will actually be doing 50mg of clomid on cycle days 3-7, and then injections of 75 iu's of Menopur cycle days 7-9 (with more meds to be determined depending on my monitoring appointment).

Dr. H wanted me to come in on cycle day 10 for my first monitoring appointment, but I explained to him that I had had a 22mm follicle on cycle day 8 on my previous clomid cycle, and I was worried about ovulating too early. He seemed really doubtful that that would happen, but said I could come in on cycle day 9. That appeased me. :) Plus, I can't help but wonder if he will be surprised at this whacked out body of mine -- we'll see! And I don't mean that in a pessimistic I-hate-my-body sort of way, just that I know my body. Well, I should clarify: I know my cycles act strange at times -- not that I can predict it...

I then met with a nurse who gave me my protocol, went over when to take what, and gave a very brief little tutorial on how to do the injections. Very brief. I might be freaking out on cycle day 9 when that 1 minute lesson feels nearly forgotten, but it didn't look too difficult and I've seen there are tutorials online as well.

So tomorrow I pop that first clomid pill. I'm thankful I experienced no side effects last time, so taking the clomid sounds like a piece of cake to me.

I am praying for that God would use this doctor and this medication to open my womb! And I of course welcome any of you to join with me in that prayer!

Monday, September 28, 2009

And we're off!

She's here, she's here! AF arrived today! I called the RE's office and they want me to come in tomorrow (cycle day 2). I wonder why that day rather than 3? I actually feel better about coming in earlier since I ovulate so darn early....I feel like each day REALLY counts. Maybe my body will trick them with a lower E2 than I would have had on cycle day 3, hehe. :)

Tomorrow begins my regular treks down to the RE (about 2 and a half hours round trip). I'm not looking forward to getting up extra early, driving, and getting in later to work. But it's worth it and fortunately my job is incredibly flexible.

I got two things that will hopefully help improve these commutes. One is that I recently (and finally) purchased a bluetooth headset to go with my cell phone. This past January they passed a law here in CA that you have to use one of these to talk on your phone while driving....but I never got one. And, er, I never talked on my phone while driving. :) So now I can {easily, safely, and legally} call DH after each appointment....and whoever else wants to talk to me early in the morning. Secondly, this afternoon I went to the library and got an audiobook -- The Memory Keeper's Daughter. It looks like it might be a tear jerker, which is a risky choice considering I will be hyped up on fertility drugs and plain dealing with infertility, but the selection was rather slim and I've heard good things about it. And if I'm crying in the car at least I'll just be driving by myself.

I'm so excited! Here we go!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daydreams

Today marks the day I earnestly begin the wait for my period. After a year and a half of trying to conceive....21 cycles...I have mostly done away with the fleeting, "Maybe I am pregnant!?" thoughts that I had at this point in my cycle in the earlier days. Instead, I now want my period to arrive so that we can start our IUI cycle. C'mon, AF!

However, I do catch myself still daydreaming about being late. And then, on a whim, taking a pregnancy test. And then seeing a second line. And then, while crying joyful tears, showing DH the second line and rejoicing with him. Really, the day dream is the same each month and continues cycle after cycle.

The dream is almost the same as it was in those early days of trying to conceive, too. I would probably have tested before I was late in all my excitement, but the scene would play out much the same...same pregnancy test, same tears of joy, same celebration with DH.

But....so not the same. Incredible surprise, miracle pregnancy test. Huge, gasping tears of miraculous joy. Amazing, deep rejoicing with DH. No, if we are blessed with a positive pregnancy test it will not be the same as I once thought it would be. We have prayed, we have waited, we have suffered, we have longed with great longing....the joy, therefore, must be more profound.

Friday, September 25, 2009

So scary

Today I witnessed something that was incredibly scary. I will start by saying that, as far as I could tell, everyone seemed to be ok and nobody appeared hurt. I don't want you all to get as freaked out as I did! But I will warn you that this was a terrifying moment that involved a baby, so if you're feeling fragile you may not want to read... :(

I was entering a parking garage, and a few feet behind me was a mom with her very young baby (I would guess around 4 months old) and the baby's grandma. Mom was pushing a stroller and grandma was carrying the baby in her arms.

Suddenly, I saw the grandma start to slip, and turned to see her crash face forward on the ground -- HARD. So hard that even had she not been holding a baby I would have been worried about her. But she was holding a baby! The baby in her arms looked like he both hit the concrete and was crushed underneath her, and I honestly thought that the baby could be dead. It was horrifying and my heart felt like it stopped beating for a moment, and a surge of adrenaline rushed through me as I tried to figure out if there was anything I could do to help. I immediately got my phone out and was ready to call 911.

The baby's mom swooped down, grabbed the baby, and as she pulled him to her chest he let out a shriek. And although it was a frantic cry from the babe, I was so very relieved that he was conscious and able to cry. The mom tried to simultaneously comfort him while being pretty hysterical herself. The grandma got up (looked ok) and was so distraught and full of apologies.

They rushed out to find their car, and the mom was practically yelling, "Where's our car? Where did we park?" as she half sobbed and tried to comfort her shrieking baby. I saw them get to their car, and as I reached my own car and could no longer see them I heard the mom's sobs come out full force.

I sat in my car and my hands were shaking. I prayed for that family and that they all really would be ok. That poor mom and grandma. If I thought it was terrifying, they must be in shock over what happened! I called DH because I just had to tell somebody, and as I described what happened I started crying. He prayed for them, too. I just felt like that could have been me or any of us in that situation - it was just a nice little family and a freak accident. Wow.

It's been a few hours now, but I still feel a little out of it and blue. I am praying they took the baby to the hospital to make sure he is ok. Maybe the grandma's arms shielded him more than I could tell -- I hope so.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy fall!

Yesterday marked the first day of fall....a date I actually have noted on my calendar. Like many people, I absolutely LOVE the fall. Since I live in Sou.thern CA, the weather itself doesn't change a whole lot....so I think I try to compensate for that in my home. I love the smells (candles and soap), colors (some seasonal decor), and, most of all, flavors (pumpkin, cinnamon, apples, pears, butternut squash, hot drinks...I could go on). I love to cook in the fall.

So yesterday I kicked off the new season like it was a holiday. I woke up and happily said to DH, "Today's the first day of fall!" All day I looked forward to "celebrating" when I got home from work. The only downside of the day was that it was HOT here (still is). I wish my state could figure out that it's FALL and show some excitement by cooling off!

Evening came and I got home, pulled out my fall bin, and cheerily put on music. DH got home from work with some fall flowers in his hand and greeted me with, "Happy first day of fall!" I giggled and jumped with glee like a school girl!


I decorated and did some cooking to prepare for tonight's dinner. We invited some friends over with their 2 year old daughter to "celebrate fall" with us tonight. My friend loves the little things like I do, so she didn't think I was too weird. :)

We had a fun dinner with great company and lovely flavors melding together. I started with an appetizer of rosemary bread (store bought from Costco) with gooey brie to spread on top, and a glass of chardonnay...

And then a salad of mixed greens tossed with a blush vinaigrette and topped with apple, crumbled goat cheese, and candied pecans (from Trader Joe's....these make any salad heavenly)...

For the main course, I made this Risotto with Butternut Squash, Pancetta, and Jack Cheese (although, I substituted Parmesan cheese) from Cooking Light:

I should have taken a picture of MY risotto, but didn't think of it as I was serving everyone. Plus this picture's prettier, anyway. And I must say, this risotto recipe was easier than others I have made before because it did NOT require constant stirring. This was soooo yummy, and I think the Parmesan was a good switch because the jack cheese would have been too mild. Also, if you are intimidated to cut a butternut squash up, Costco sells a huge bag that's already pre-cubed for a reasonable price (at least they did last fall...).

Lastly, we finished our meal with Nutty Apple Spice Cake with Quick Butterscotch Sauce, also from Cooking Light:
Yum, yum! I used caramel sauce instead of butterscotch and rum extract rather than rum, since that's what I had.

*Sigh* I love the fall. Wouldn't it be lovely to conceive in the fall...? A girl can dream. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thinking ahead

This morning I woke up and started thinking about my next cycle. Usually these thoughts come with excitement and hope, since I at least feel like we're moving forward. However, as I laid in bed anxious thoughts started to fill my mind.

Yesterday, I read a post on a message board I frequent in which most people said their RE liked to see an E2 level less than 50 on cycle day 3. I read the post and had the casual thought, "Huh, mine's never been below 50" but didn't think much of it.

This morning, for some reason, that sunk in. Why is my estrogen so high (ranges from 50-68...not terrible, but not below 50)? Will my RE cancel my cycle? What do they do about high estrogen?

Shortly after this I saw a lovely blog post by my friend Andrea, who is newly pregnant after her 4th IVF. Last week she had a bleeding scare, and her post today was about the amazing gift of peace that the Lord has given her. She is not scared. Her words and the scripture she quoted settled my troubled spirit.

God is in control. I cannot be shaken.

And to steal a verse she used in her post:
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore (Psalm 121:2-3, 7-8).

Thank you, Lord, for calming my heart. Help me to trust you, and forgive me for my worry. Use my next cycle as you desire. Amen.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My blog spot

My friend Melody posted about National Blog Spot Day. Funny thing is, I googled it to link it here, and can't find that it's (un)officially actually a day in the blogging community! lol, Melody, did you create this day? Either way it sounds fun, and maybe we're starting a tradition!? :)

The purpose of the day is to post a picture of the spot from which you blog (in other words, your blog spot) and give your readers a little visual. Now you can all picture me blogging!

Here it is:


Isn't it a cozy little corner? It's my simple little nook. I love to sit in that blue chair with my netbook on my lap and blog or read your blogs. I also love to sit there to read my Bible, or have an evening cup of tea. I keep a blanket in the basket that I love to wrap around myself in cool evenings. And right next to this chair is our desk with our other computer, so DH & I can compute in parallel. How romantic. :)

Interesting fact about that chair is that it was left in our house by the previous owner during escrow (along with a few other things). Since we knew she had already moved out of state, we offered to get rid of the remaining junk in the house if we could keep it and a blue dresser we have in our guest room. So for a little legwork to clean out the last few remaining items (which wasn't too much), we got a couple pieces of furniture for free.

If you'd like to, please share your blog spot...and let me know in the comments that you did so I can check it out on your blog!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Normalcy

Life feels rather normal right now. Almost like I'm not infertile...

Work is moving along at a nice pace and is not stressful at the moment. The work situation that gave me some anxiety last month just resolved itself this week....and nothing is changing with my position. I feel a lot of relief about that and am happy things are continuing as they were for the time being. Now things can change on my schedule when I get pregnant. :)

Our youth ministry Bible study groups have resumed this week, and this is such a wonderful thing to occupy my time and help me not get so self-focused about my infertility. It also is nice to get back into the routine of things in general, and I LOVE my girls. It was such a treat to be with them on Monday night, and is amazing to see them maturing as young women AND in their faith. They are in 10th grade now!

I ovulated on cycle day 10, which seems to be my new norm. So the cycle is progressing as expected, and I imagine the spotting will start any day now. DH & I decided that I would not take the progesterone supplements. I have no idea which med caused me not to ovulate and spot for the entire cycle following my IUI, and I don't want to risk a repeat of that when we're so ready to move forward with another treatment cycle.

Nothing too exciting. Life is good. How are you?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Our illegal IUI

While talking with our new RE last week, we decided to move forward with another IUI. He was flipping through our records and asked DH if he had gotten the HIV/STD bloodwork panel prior to IUI #1. He didn't see it in there, but said that it is required by law in our state before an insemination.

We thought and hesitated. I remembered the old RE's office giving us a lab slip for that at our first appointment in April....along with a lot of other forms and documents. I also remember that they mentioned it was a legal requirement. But then I had the fibroid and had surgery, so by the time we actually decided to do an IUI we completely forgot about it.

DH never did that bloodwork, and the RE's office never asked for it. Oops. I guess if I had gotten pregnant it would have been an illegal baby!

I also wonder if now we got the old RE in trouble. Maybe the new RE will turn him in for doing an insemination without that bloodwork. Double oops.

(Although I really doubt the new RE will care enough to take the time to actually 'turn him in.' But he did seem rather shocked!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Great news...

....we have a new RE!

We walked into that office today praying we would know whether or not to work with the doctor, and we left with a clear and definite yes! We are so thankful that God has made this clear to us and given us tremendous peace today.

While we sat in the waiting room before our appointment, I told DH I was really relying on his perspective on the new doctor. Just like our first appointment with the old RE, I think I so badly want the answer to be "yes" so that we can move forward with treatments, that I don't feel like a very impartial judge. Plus, DH was the one who had a "bad feeling" at our first appointment with the last RE...so I trusted his input. And even he is excited about our new doctor!

The doctor spent an hour with us: talking through our medical and infertility histories, our IUI cycle, and what out options are while also doing an ultrasound and giving us a tour of their office (we even saw the IVF lab through a window!). That time he spent with us and how diligently he wanted to know about our history spoke volumes to us.

And, really, this appointment went exactly how I had expected our last first RE appointment to go (but didn't). But since I didn't really know what I should expect then, I didn't know that....if that makes sense. But today felt right.

The doctor said the most beautiful words....that we are so young and healthy that he thinks we will get pregnant. Aren't those lovely things to say? He said he thinks an IUI is a very reasonable place to start, but that if we're tired of waiting we could also do IVF for "better odds." We told him we'd like to do at least one more IUI and actually know the pre- and post-wash SA numbers. He wants to put me on injectibles because, in his opinion, they produce better quality eggs and have higher success rates than clomid.

And even though we are still not sure if we would do IVF -- and are hoping we don't need to -- we did bring up our ethical concerns in regards to embryos that are created. We told him what our parameters are, asked if he would be willing to work with us, and I held my breath as I waited for his reaction. However, he immediately said he would work with us...that he wants to assist his patients in conceiving their child in whatever ways they are comfortable. So now at least we know if we do get to that stage, this doctor will be willing to work with us even if we "lower" his success rates or do things differently than most.

Wheee!! I'm still praying for a break cycle miracle this month....but if not, I am excited for October!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our date to the RE is tomorrow

Tonight, I'm feeling all those happy anticipation feelings because TOMORROW (Sept. 10) is our consultation with the new RE. I'm upbeat and talkative, and I'm excited that the "big day" is here.

Of course, I am just excited to be doing something on the infertility front. We're that much closer to doing another treatment cycle, which I hope and pray means we're that much closer to having a baby. This is a step forward in the right direction.

If I think about the RE appointment itself for too long, however, I can start to feel that nervous knot in my stomach. With all of the anticipation for the appointment also comes all the unknowns that can make me anxious: What will the doctor be like? And his staff? The office? What will he say to us? Will we actually want to use him as our doctor? Will he say our situation is dismal?

Sooo...I'm trying not to think too much about our actual appointment. I'm just happy that we get to take a half day off work (two hour drive round trip + at least an hour long appointment = not worth going back to work). We get to enjoy the time in the car together, and then DH's parents are meeting us for dinner after the appointment, since we'll be only a half hour away from their house. All fun things I'm looking forward to-- it's like a date. :)

Since we're staying down there for dinner, I won't get to update all of you until pretty late tomorrow night. Hopefully I'll at least have something to tell you about! At my first appointment with the last RE, I felt like he had nothing to say and nothing really happened at the appointment. I'm praying DH & I both feel 100% about whether or not to go with this doctor -- and that that answer will be yes!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

10 year high school reunion

The ad I received for my 10 year high school reunion, titled "Why I should attend."

I think I will re-title it, "Why I will not attend."
  • Your regular friends are sick of hearing about your kids. (um, not a problem for me)
  • You'll reminisce with some of your oldest and best friends. (I already keep in touch with the few high school friends I am close to)
  • You don't have to lie about your age. (People think I look 16 anyway!)
  • Rekindle or begin new relationships. (as in old boyfriends? happily married, thanks)
  • If you don't go, others will talk behind your back. (aren't we 28 now, not 14? Somehow this threat doesn't scare me...)
  • Roll back the years and be 18 again for the night. (I like being 28 better!)
  • Enjoy an evening without kids. (Unfortunately, not applicable...)
  • It won't be repeated for at least 10 years. (True. I probably won't go in 10 years, either :))
  • Do you really want to be remembered by your yearbook photo? (It wasn't bad!)
  • You can finally find out what happened to... (this is the only one that's a little enticing)
Aren't those funny?! Really, I'm not bitter about high school. I just wasn't that close to many people and have enjoyed my 20's a lot more. My close friends are not going...plus, it is $91 per person! I think that money will be better spent on IF treatments.

Did you or will you go to your 10 year reunion?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A milestone: My first anovulatory cycle

My period arrived today on cycle day 20...giving me a 19 day anovulatory cycle. As far as I know, this is my first one ever. How's that for a milestone? And to celebrate, I will share this momentous chart with you:



I haven't charted much in last year....ever since we got our MFI diagnosis and each had surgery, it didn't seem necessary, and then with the RE I was being monitored. But I must say I am so glad I charted this cycle -- otherwise I would have been even more lost and confused than I already was with all the spotting.

As you can see, I took a number of OPK's in case my body was still going to figure out how to ovulate despite the spotting. However, not listed on the chart are the two HPT's I took out of desperation. They were not hope filled tests with sad endings; instead, they were science experiments to rule out one reason why my temps were so high the whole cycle (my normal pre-ovulation temperature is below 97.4, and this chart started at 97.7).

Anyway, onward and upward. It's a new cycle and I am glad to put that one behind me.

The only downside? A relatively big downside? I will now be on cycle day 6 at our appointment with the new RE, which is too far into the cycle to do anything. When my LP lasted forever during the IUI cycle, I was so relieved to know that I would at least be on cycle day 3 or earlier at this appointment (according to my calculations). And then when I wasn't ovulating early this cycle, I thought that cinched the deal. Don't people need to take pills to get their period when they don't ovulate? That was what I was hoping, at least.

So it looks like I will have to sit another cycle out. I cried about this and DH & I prayed together. God knew I would get my period today. God has a reason. And it might be something as crazy as me getting pregnant on the break cycle between treatments....or it might be something I will never know or understand. But I believe God has a purpose in everything, and although my heart is sad to have to wait, my eyes look up to wait expectantly on the Lord.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Less than a week

In less than one week we will be meeting with the new RE. I am excited and hopeful but trying to remain cautious.

I was so excited for our first RE appointment with the old one back in April. I was SURE he would have some helpful information, do the usual testing, and give us a treatment plan. However, at our first appointment he didn't really have much to say, but got us set up for testing. I figured we had to do the testing for him to see the big pictures of our fertility issues, but THEN he would lay out our options and his recommendations. (I was wrong)

However, he called on cycle day 3 and said we should move forward with a clomid / IUI on that day. After I pressed for information, he made it sound like this would be another 'test' to see how DH's sperm did post-wash. But I still felt a little lost -- what was the plan? What was he looking for and expecting? (Another red flag)

This lost and confused feelings escalated during the cycle. I felt like I never got any clear information from anyone at his office, and started to feel like it wasn't just that they weren't communicating with us, but that maybe they really didn't have a plan for us. (All alarms were going off and we jumped ship)

So now it's onto a new RE, but after my previous experience I am trying to tread carefully. I so badly want to walk in there, love him and the office, and move forward immediately. However, DH & I have discussed that we want to carefully weigh our first impressions and ONLY move forward with this new doctor if we feel 100% sure about it. If not, we will set up another consultation with another doctor. Now that we have some experience with an RE under our belt, I think we will be more confident to make that kind of call after the first meeting. We have seen some of the warning signs and red flags.

I am scared we will have to wait even longer if this new RE isn't "the one." I want to do another treatment cycle right away. I know in the big picture these few months of waiting will be worth it to find the right doctor for us, but it is a struggle to keep waiting.

But please, oh please, let this RE be wonderful.

PS- Currently on cycle day 19. Still spotting. No ovulation in sight.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My consolation prize

Background story: Two years ago at summer camp my friend had an insulated water bottle. It was a billion degrees outside, and yet she always had ice cold water. I was a little jealous, since I had my big ol' plastic water bottle that allowed the ice to melt in five minutes flat, and I really only like ice cold water (so prissy, I know). It is difficult for me to actually get myself to drink water at room temperature or warmer. And quite honestly, I just don't drink that much water.

Fast forward to summer camp this year. It's the night before we leave and DH and I are rushing around to pack. I then said, "Hey, if we have time, can we go look for an insulated water bottle?" DH looked at me like I was crazy and said we already had 4 water bottles. We never went to get one, probably because we ran out of time.... or was that really a conspiracy by my DH who didn't think I should get one?

Ever since camp, I've brought up this water bottle from time to time as a bit of an inside joke.

I have a headache tonight....I probably didn't drink enough water today. (insert significant look)


You know, if I ever get pregnant, I'm supposed to drink a lot of water....it would be so much more enjoyable to do that with an insulated water bottle.


Wow, it's hot today. Too bad I can't drink cold water at work.

It escalated to the point that, during my IUI #1 cycle, I emailed DH and told him the water bottle would be an excellent way to celebrate being pregnant. And if I wasn't pregnant, it would make an excellent consolation prize. :)

So look what arrived about a week after my negative HPT?!?
The consolation prize: A camelbak stainless steel insulated water bottle

And while I would vow to never have an insulated water bottle if it meant I could have a baby, I must say that I LOVE my water bottle!! It will still have ice in it when I get home at 5, and I really do drink a lot more water than I did previously. And I love that it has a straw. It's awesome.

Even DH loves it and is always asking for sips. :)