Friday, May 28, 2010

Hair loss...

The icing on this whole not getting pregnant cake is that I'm losing my hair and there is nothing I can do about it.

Female hair loss and hypothyroidism, which is when your thyroid just runs slower than average, run in my family. I've had all the necessary blood tests to test for hypothyroidism but they all came back fine. Unfortunately, hypothyroidism is notoriously difficult to diagnose via blood tests because unlike the fact that you can't be a little bit pregnant you can be a little bit hypothyroid. So since I exhibit many symptoms and I have a really low basal body temperature, my thyroid probably runs a little slower than most.

A slightly slow thyroid in the grand scheme of things is no big deal, you have some very minor problems that you'd never even notice. Unless you are like me and you start getting the hair loss. Hair loss, is a big deal to me, I don't care if that makes me vain and shallow, I am not okay with going bald. The good news is there are lots of topical medications that should at least keep my hair where it's at now, if not even grow some of it back. The bad news is that you can't take them if your pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. So now I get to not be pregnant and not keep my hair! What a deal!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grief and infertility...

From my experience discovering that you have fertility issues is like going through the 5 stages of grief. First you are totally in denial and are certain that at the end of those first months you will be pregnant only to be devastated because you were just so sure nothing is wrong. Then you get angry, at others, at yourself (especially at yourself). I felt moments of actual rage when I just felt like I could rip a piece of my skin off because I was so furious with myself. Then there is the bargaining. "I'll promise that I'll adopt a child in need, after I have a healthy child of my own." And then there is my personal favorite, the depression. We got stuck in that stage for a little while, and I really think that this blogging help bring me out of it and once I was out I was able to help pull out my husband. Thinking back on that time it just makes me feel so heavy and I do not want to revisit that stage, which is what I'm afraid may happen at the end of this next month.

Each month we get closer and closer to the 12th month mark (which is September) and at that point we are deemed infertile as a couple by our doctors. If in September we have not gotten pregnant, I truly believe that this year will have been a process in which we grieved the loss of our ability to have children and will at that point hopefully be able to move on from that loss.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The power of a cocktail...

Last night I went out for a little girls night and I thankfully had a really good time! It was low key and stress free, just what I really needed. BUT of course they all wanted to know if I was pregnant yet, which is what everyone asks you if you have recently gotten married.

I was actually the first to arrive so I went to the bar and got a drink and took it with me outside to wait for the rest of the girls. I usually don't drink at all, let alone on a week night but I thought what the hell I'm not pregnant, right?! So, I'm sitting there waiting and one by one as everyone arrives they all notice my drink and say, "I guess you're not pregnant if your drinking!" Then we all laugh and the conversation moves on. I didn't have to feel uncomfortable making up some fake reason as to whether or not we want to have kids right now because no one asked me point blank whether or not I was pregnant.

The power of the visual message that one little drink sends is a remarkable thing, and I think most of the reason I had such a good time last night was because I could just sit back and let my drink speak for itself. Now excuses, no lies, no awkward conversation, just the fact out there on the table for everyone to see. Now if I can only figure out how to have a drink in my hand every time I see my mother all of my problems would be solved!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The analysis results...

So, we've gotten back our results from the semen analysis. They weren't all that bad either. We've got a super high sperm count with excellent motility and all around everything looks good except one little thing. Their morphology, or shape. We have a slightly lower than average amount of normal shaped swimmers and almost all of the defects are in their heads. There are 3 parts, heads, midpieces and tails. Defects in the tails = bad swimmers, defects in the heads = bad diggers. So our analysis means that our swimmers probably aren't having a problem getting to our egg but they may be having a problem getting inside it. Good news is that shape defects do not equal fetal defects or anything like that. The DNA inside a funny shaped sperm is not also funny shaped, so we don't have to worry about that. The bigger problem is that this doesn't necessarily mean that we shouldn't be able to get pregnant on our own. The most frustrating thing is not getting pregnant and then not finding something finite that is wrong with us.

And Yes I know they aren't really "our" results but I view them that way because my husband's semen is the only semen my eggs have and since he has no eggs and I have no semen, they are all "ours." It truly helps to view all of this from a team prospective, it helps to cut down on the inevitable self loathing that comes along with fertility struggles. So for now, we continue on trying to conceive and trying to find out if there is problem. Next up, the urologist to make sure there isn't something physically wrong with "our" penis. I'm leaning towards a clean bill of health in that arena, you'd think we'd notice something like that!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back to the ol' grindstone...

Well, my week of "down time" is finally over. It is so sad that I have started to consider my period week of feeling bloated, uncomfortable, crampy, and just all in all gross the down time during this whole trying to conceive procedure.

For that one week I'm not waking up in the middle of the night with a night terror thinking that I forgot to take my basal body temperature, or testing my pee everyday for a week to find out when I'll be ovulating and most importantly I'm not driving my own mind crazy asking myself over and over, "Could I be pregnant?!"

So while I don't really feel like doing the temperature taking and the pee testing, the plus side is that my husband and I have pretty much gotten my monthly schedule down and we've gotten to the point where sex is fun again. At the very beginning it was so fun and exciting to think we could be pregnant at the end of every month, then it got really hard and everything was forced but now we know the science of it and we're able to relax about it again. You just have to push through that hard part in the middle, get over that hump (pun intended!) and I promise you'll have fun again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Change is in the air...

Slowly, but surely my job has become harder and harder to do every day. I am a nanny to some fabulous children but every time I see them I am just reminded that I don't have any children of my own.

It doesn't make it any easier that I have been with a lot of them since they were born and they look to me as a sort of mother figure. Not a mother replacement, there is never a replacement for a mother, just like a cool aunt or a way older sister kind of thing. Just a bond that is a little more special than that of mere babysitter.

But that is where I'm having the problem, the longer I am with them, the closer we become and the more I am reminded that no, I am not your mother, and yes I want my own children. It wasn't sudden thing but a gradual one, and now I think I may be ready to sever those ties. I would never just vacate their lives, but it would be nice to only see them now and then to catch up. It would be nice to have some time to heal between visits from the sting knowing that I'm not pregnant and not knowing if I ever will be.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On the plus side...

One good thing about this whole fertility fiasco is that I really have gotten to know my body. I read the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and it really was an eye opener. I would highly recommend it, and if you don't want to read a whole book just google "cervical mucus" and you can get the basics.

I had been one of those women who went running to the GYN because I thought for sure I had some scary of disease when it was just my cervical mucus signaling to me that it was a fertile time during my cycle. You'd think that the doctor I went to would fill me in on this but no, the doc just sent me on my way with a clean bill of health. Now I know that when I have all this gross stuff coming out of me that it's a good thing and through the charting I'm now able to see a pattern month to month. And what a bonus it is when I get that crazed feeling when the littlest things sets me off and I could just tear all my hair out, I can just look at the calendar and say, "Oh, that's just the PMS talking, I'm not nuts!"

I don't understand why schools even bother to do the "the changing bodies" discussion with kids if they aren't going to talk about everything that goes along with getting your period. I mean really, who can't figure out how to put on a pad or insert a tampon, they come with directions! What young girls need to know is that their bodies and all the weird things that they do are NORMAL! Perhaps I should blame my mother, but honestly I'm not even sure if she knows her body as well as I know mine now. There is one thing that I'm certain of, if I ever do get pregnant and it turns out to be a girl, when she gets her period I'm totally going there with her. She'll think it is gross and TMI but she'll thank me for it later when she knows what is going on in her own body.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Enjoying semen analysis...

We've had our first foray into the adventure that is semen analysis! It was actually really fun. The whole scene had this air of ridiculousness about it that it was hard to be too serious, plus it was the middle of the day when we were supposed to be at work so that just compounded the fun factor.

Our appointment to drop off was at 1 pm and the hospital where our fertility center is located is about 10 minutes away, so we got the ball rolling around 12:30 pm because you want the sample to be in it's cup for as little time as possible. So, we both enjoyed the "producing" process for a grand total of 15 minutes and then getting everything into the cup was just so comical that it had us both hysterically laughing.

So it's about 12:45, the sample is in it's cup, in it's plastic bio-hazzard bag, in it's paper bag, and it's labeled and all ready to go. We are frantically putting ourselves back together so we can leave the house while trying to keep the sample warm under whoevers armpit is available. We race to the hospital with me driving because I had been there before to pick up the cup and also so my husband could keep the sample warm under his armpit. We managed to find a free parking spot on the street and get the sample there on the dot of 1! It was amazing timing and we were so proud of ourselves! We drove home giggling the whole way and thankfully didn't stop to think about what the results were going to show and in that moment ignorance was bliss and we just got to have a fun afternoon together and not think about what information could be coming our way.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monthly disappointment...

She's here again, stopped over last night. My monthly gift. Always expected, always a disappointment. Even this month, when I knew that I wasn't pregnant I was still so upset when I felt that first little drop. I was prepared, I was wearing my designated "period panties" with a panty liner, so I was ready for the inevitable but it still made me so sad.

Although, I think that this time it made my husband even a little sadder than me and that is just the worst. He is always the strong one and it is so hard for me to watch him suffering, especially when I know there is nothing that I can do to make him feel better, even though I know exactly how he is feeling. Last night we just literally supported one another. We didn't talk about how disappointed we were this time, we just leaned against other on the sofa and watched TV.

Having a family is something that we've both always wanted. It is that final step that makes you feel your life is complete. All of our close friends have either recently had their first child or are currently pregnant, so it has even become hard to socialize without that constant reminder. Every one in our lives is forever asking us when we are going to start our family, they don't know that we are trying and failing every month. And we don't want to share that with them, it would be a shared disappointment for everyone every month, month after month. It is hard enough for us to deal with our own sadness, let alone sharing that pain with those close to us. So for now, we stay isolated. Like a pair of Pooh bears with their own little rain cloud above them. But we have each other and we both know it and that is what gets us through to the next month, every time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's almost swimsuit season...

Well, the time has come to once again stand before the mirror in a swim suit and analyze every nook and cranny. This year I'm having a particularly hard time getting back into my old bikinis. I, like many other women I'm sure, have a weight that fluctuates a little from time to time, especially during the winter months. And while this would normally not be a problem, I'm having trouble getting back down to my fighting weight where I feel good and comfortable in a bikini.

From the moment we started trying for a baby, I decided to do my best to watch what I eat and just try and make healthy choices for my body in general. However, even doing that I still need to diet a little in the springtime like I do every other year to get into a swimsuit and feel good about how I look.

Now I've stumbled into a conundrum because I can diet to my hearts content until I ovulate and then what if I got lucky and got pregnant, it would not be the healthiest thing to starve my unborn child just so I can look good on the beach! So I go back to eating when I'm hungry and not dieting, and then I get my period and I go back to dieting, and so on and so on. This is probably the worst thing that I could be doing to prepare my body for growing a baby!

If I can't be pregnant and have a gorgeous baby bump then I just want to have a flat tummy that looks good in a two piece. Is that too much to ask?! But since the flat tummy is being so elusive this year I just feel stuck being uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm thinking that perhaps it is time enjoy my body the way it is and just suck it up and move into one piece territory. I just want to feel beautiful again. Of course I'm due for my period tomorrow so it's safe to say it'll be at least another week until that happens!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Early pregnancy tests...

This morning I used one of those magical little strips with the ability to tell you if you are pregnant up to 5 days before your missed period and it was negative! :( I knew that it was going to be but part of me was still just so hopeful. I even let it sit out for 10 minutes since some morning show tested a whole bunch of preggo tests and found that you get the best results after waiting 10 minutes instead of the requisite 5. My findings: after 10 minutes a negative test is still just a negative test.

I had my serum progesterone blood test done on Thursday and my doctor called me late Friday afternoon to tell me that the result came back as "really good" for someone who was on their 10th day after ovulation. So while I was glad to hear that, I was also kind of hoping that she'd call and say, "Your number looks fantastic for a women who is in the early stages of pregnancy!" No such luck, and my test confirmed what I already knew, come Tuesday I'll be getting a little visitor that I would do anything not to see for 9 months! Well, next month is a new month!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Waiting Game...

Que up the Jeopardy theme music! We're in wait and see mode. We've got the results coming in from 3 separate blood tests that I've taken, PLUS next up: SEMEN ANALYSIS!

When I called to schedule the appointment for my husband he was given the option to produce his sample at home, so I went ahead and signed us up for that. There is nothing I'd like to do less then try and get my husband to "produce" in one of those tiny rooms at the fertility center. I just don't think either of us would be able to get anyone to "produce" anything!

I was actually totally unaware that "producing" at home was an option, I'd just assumed you had to do it in the office. What a life changer it is that we don't have to go through that humiliation! There is not a man in this world that does not sweat bullets at the mere thought of having his little swimmers analyzed, let alone being forced to "produce" them while the nurses and staff are bustling around the office right outside your door.

So, we've been spared somewhat. Now we just await the results! Dun dun dahhhhh! Oh, and could I have said "produce" any more times?!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It starts...

Hello world! I've decided to create a blog about my quest to start a family with my husband. Partly to share my story with others who may be struggling like we are and partly (or maybe even mostly) to give myself an outlet vent out some frustration!

So, let me catch you all up to speed:

In September my husband and I decided that we were ready to have a baby. We assumed, wrongly, that since we are both young and healthy it'd be a piece of cake but now cut to May, we've had no luck and we've started the process of having our fertility analyzed. Hasn't been such a fun time for us lately.

In the beginning it was fun, making as much love as we could, waiting excitedly until the end of the month to see if I'd get my period. Then I'd get it, we shrug it off and keep on trucking. Still nothing was happening. A few months went by with no results, so we decided to start using the over the counter ovulation predictor kits (OPK's). A few more months went by and still nothing, so I started charting my basal body temperature. Now we're on our second month of temperature charting, and I've been to see the doctor and she's prescribed all the usual tests for us to start taking. So I feel like we are now embarking on the great quest to conceive!

You know how every one always says, "relax and then you'll get pregnant," well I was relaxed and I didn't get pregnant! And now, I'm STILL not getting pregnant so how am I supposed to relax?! Having sex all the time was so fun at first, then we both got burnt out and down on ourselves because we both individually felt like there must be something we were doing wrong.

The OPK's were fun in the beginning, getting little cups of pee to stick the test strips in, setting up my bathroom counter like a little science lab. But does anyone realize what a huge pain in the ass that becomes? Month after month, gross pee strips everywhere that tell you whether or not you'll ovulate in the next 12 - 36 hours. Maybe it'd be worth it if the strip said, "If you have sex in the next 5 minutes, you'll definitely get pregnant this month!" You know, give you some kind of certainty with the result.

The basal body temperature charting was even fun when we began, watching my little line chart grow and go up and down and decoding it to figure out what it all meant. UNTIL, I started waking up at 3am and shoving my thermometer in my mouth while my husband gently tried to tell his crazy wife that it is not time to wake up yet and I just need to go back to bed so that everyone can get some sleep. The waking up in the middle of the night is something that I just cannot even figure out either. I thought at first it was because I had just psyched myself up to take my temperature so I was majorly jumping the gun. But after two months of it now I think that I may just be a very light sleeper. So the second I'm awake any little bit I've programmed myself to shove a thermometer in my face. Great.

So, that's where we're at currently. I'm not pregnant, the bathroom trash is full of a million little dixie cups and test strips with pee all over them, no one is getting any sleep, I'm going for a blood test in a couple of hours and every time someone comes over I have to hide all our baby making paraphernalia because the last thing we want to do is tell everyone what is going on just so they can ask us every month if we're pregnant when so far the answer has been a big fat no!

So ladies (and gentlemen too I suppose!) follow along with me on this journey that will hopefully have a happy ending. Commiserate with me if you're feeling my pain, laugh with me at the silly things people will do to conceive a child that is desperately wanted, and give me your tips and tricks and old wives tales because I'm telling you all right now, I will do whatever it takes!