Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hoping for smooth sailing...

Now that we are on the fast track for fertility treatments, I of course have been doing all the online research I can about our different options. I'm hoping that with a little medication we'll get pregnant but judging by the way our conceiving process has been going so far I'm preparing myself for something more invasive. I do just keep thinking how fabulous (and much cheaper!!!) it would be if all we needed was a little magic pill to get us pregnant. I have a friend who had PCOS and got pregnant after only one month of medication. There are so many stories like that out there, I am so hopeful that our story can be one of them too!

I want our story to have a happy ending, but I want the journey to be an easy one too. That may be asking too much, but we have already been through so much. No one talks about how the months before you go to seek fertility treatment are rough and then once you see the specialists and decide upon your treatment, there is no guarantee that they will work and so the months following could be just as rough as the previous ones. Perhaps after seeking treatment it could actually get more stressful, now we are going to be spending money (a lot of money) for procedures that may or may not work with our future hinging upon the outcome.

I know my husband and I are prepared to do everything that we can to have a child of our own, I just hope we can weather it well. We are so in love with each other, and we are committed partners in this life that we are trying to carve out for ourselves and I don't want anything to get in the way of that. Fertility problems just drain you and I know that nothing could ever end our marriage but I don't want us to even have a bad week with each other. My husband handles stress much better than I do, I get snappy and can kind of freak out a little but I want to be tough and strong for him so that we can deal with this together and sanely. He already works so hard and has a pretty stressful work life and I just didn't want his home life to stressful as well. I just wanted everything to be perfect. Well, it is way too late for the perfect conception but I would settle for a bump free ride to an imperfect one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trying to stay positive...

I am feeling anxious, excited and scared about going to see the reproductive endocrinologist. I was googling the doctor that we have our appointment with and he was actually named our area's top fertility specialist this year so I am feeling pretty confident in the choice of doctor that my OB referred us to so that is good. I am just scared to death that I have endometriosis, but I keep thinking that my OB who has checked me out like 3 or 4 times in the past 6 months would have said something by now. It is really highly unlikely that I have it, I of course just keep thinking the worst.

In a situation such as infertility it is so important to stay optimistic, and I feel like I am having an ongoing battle with myself to stay positive. It comes naturally to my husband, being positive, and of course I find that annoying! I want to be like that too so I get annoyed at him because he is what I'm not and I get annoyed at myself because it shouldn't be so difficult to be positive like him. Then I'm just sitting there feeling like we are never going to have a baby and just generally being miserable to be around and smoke is pouring out my ears because I'm trying so hard to stay positive... Yes, last night was just a hoot, let's hope I can pull myself together so we can have a better one tonight.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Another miracle...

Okay, I have a feel good story for all you women in my boat out there! I had one of my good friends over for lunch the other day and she brought lunch, her gorgeous new baby boy and an amazing story. Thank god she came with food and a good story otherwise I would have kept her baby and kicked her out.

So anyway she and her husband are friends with a couple who had been trying to have a baby for the past two years and for almost the entire second year were doing one round of IVF after another and it just wasn't working. So they gave up, assuming that they could not have children, and low and behold she was pregnant the next month.

My first thought is that we could still have a baby if someone that did IVF for a year suddenly got pregnant naturally but then I think about the odds of that happening and I get cynical. So my second thought is that my friend is just making the whole thing up and is trying to get me to spill the beans about what is going on over here as to why I am not pregnant yet, but I know the couple she was telling me about and I know that they've been doing IVF for the past year so the whole thing does seem plausible. Then my third thought is that I need to say something and stop sitting here silently deciding what I think about the whole thing before I get found out. So I say, "Oh I'm so happy for them!" (lie) "I just knew they would get pregnant!" (lie) and "Of course she got pregnant after they gave up on the fertility treatments, she was probably just so much more relaxed!" (HUGE lie!)

At the end of the day, I am happy for them, will I truly be able to share in their joy? Absolutely not, I'm too focused on my own situation right now but I do believe their story. I feel like I have to believe, otherwise the stork might pass me right on by.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pay attention to us...

After receiving another fabulous comment from my lovely commenter with a great tip on doctors visits: write down questions before you go, it really got me thinking about doctors in general. Writing down all your questions before you go and then just reading off the list when you get there really does help and so does writing down the answers. It ensures that you don't forget something and also I always felt like I was being rude if I was asking too many questions so now I can just blame it on the list. "Sorry doctor, I have to ask it, it's on the list!" Plus, this is our our ability to have a baby we're talking about so lately my politeness has gone out the window with the doctors that we've been seeing.

I just have been feeling so passed around by my OB. I actually went to her because I was having really painful periods and she was asking me all about what is going on and I said, "Well my husband and I have been trying for about 6 or 7 months now and I'm just having trouble dealing with my cramps." Then we talked about how much sex we were having and when, and if we were using OPK strips and what else we were doing and from that she decided that we needed to go ahead and start testing for infertility. So she sent us here, she sent us there, doctors for me and doctors for him. Now that was all well and good but we never covered what I can do to help myself get through these cramps which was why I originally went in there! She is totally right in pushing us to see the specialists, especially with the possibility of endometriosis looming over our heads and I know that there is not some miracle remedy for women that get cramps like mine but I just would've liked it if we had tried to solve that problem first and then went on to the infertility stuff because I'm still suffering every month! Hopefully this will be the last month I have to deal with them, of course I say this every month to myself!

It is just hard going from doctor to doctor to doctor, and I'm hoping that when we get to the fertility specialists they will treat us with care. I actually signed over copies of my medical records from the past year to myself from my OB just so I could have copies of everything to take with me to all these different doctors and I would highly recommend doing that. Plus you can take all your test results and google them to learn more and honestly to double check what your doctor is telling you. Sometimes it is just nice to get a confirmation. I just want to be paid attention to, not passed around like a tray of hors d’oeuvres. I'm hoping we'll get that with the specialists, I mean really they had better, we're going to have to pay for most of it out of pocket!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

We're going in...

So, all my big talk about waiting until September to see the fertility specialists was just that, big talk because we caved and I made an appointment for next Tuesday. Honestly, we were really going to wait but now another potential problem with me that would need to be addressed sooner rather than later has popped up. When we were at the urologist for my husband to get his physical and the doctor mentioned that I should discuss endometriosis with my doctor. This was a while ago and I didn't really think about it but I got my period yesterday (did not need my sad little cup of pee!) and I checked out the symptoms of endometriosis and I found that I have quite of few of them. So, now that we haven't been able to get pregnant, I have a lot of these symptoms and endometriosis gets worse with every passing month I figured I'd better see my doctor.

When I called to try and make an appointment, I swear it was like a black flagged pooped up next to my name because the receptionist made me talk to one of the nurses and then that nurse talked to my doctor and then called me back and the consensus was all the same, you need to see the specialists. It was like there was a little star next to my name with "is refusing to see the specialists and there is nothing else we can do for her here!" So we bit the bullet and we're going in so much sooner that we thought, but we're still going to play it safe. We've decided to keep moving forward with trying to find the root of our problem, but we aren't ready to do any assisted fertility treatments. It is hard to stay always hopeful, but I don't want to think of the sadness if I admitted to myself that we might never figure out what the problem is.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


You know, I think that I may have officially lost my mind. I'm sitting here, having a snack and typing away while a little cup of my pee is sitting on the counter in my bathroom. I'm due for my period today, but it very often comes a day or two or three late so I really have no expectations of being pregnant but on the chance that I don't get my period today and I decide that I want to test, I didn't want to waste my first morning urine because we all know that has the highest concentration of hCG. How nuts is that, I'm saving my pee for later. This is not half a hoagie that I might want later if I can't finish it, this is a cup of pee!

The saddest thing is that I am STILL hopeful that I'm going to get a positive result! I know that I'm getting my period, I'm having the same symptoms that I do every month but I am still just so darn hopeful. I am driving myself crazy. I suppose that is part of the human condition, the thing that enables us to keep going when all other signs are pointing to stop. Although Einstein has a different opinion, he said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So, I guess according to Einstein I'm crazy and something has got to change in order for us to conceive. Then this crazy lady will just have to figure out what that something is.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NSAID's and ovulation...

So I was googling fertility issues yesterday, as I often do when I'm bored and I came upon a very interesting bit of information. Doctors and scientists have recently discovered a link between the use of NSAID's (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including aspirin and ibuprofen) and delayed or absent ovulation. I found this info on the Fertility Plus website and if you click on the title of this post (NSAID's and ovulation...) you'll go to the article so you can read more about it if you'd like. The information is pretty technical but if you scroll through it there are some articles that us non doctor and scientist types can read a little easier.

I really found this all very interesting because I get pretty bad cramps on days 2 and 3 of my period and I take regular doses of ibuprofen and sit with my heating pad to get through them. Now, some months my cramps are better than other months, and I think it is directly related to how much exercise I'm able to get in on the days leading up to my cramps, but sometimes I'm busy, I don't get to exercise as much as I want and I am stuck in complete agony for 2 days straight. I have been recording everything on my chart from basal body temp to headaches to how much ibuprofen I took and I can now see that the months I took more ibuprofen for bad cramps the next ovulation is delayed and I have a longer cycle.

I've been trying to take less ibuprofen anyway but seeing on my chart that when I took more I had a later ovulation and a longer cycle was enough to make me stop taking it completely. Of, course NSAID's and my ovulation delay could be totally unrelated to each other but do I really want to take the chance? I would kill for a regular cycle so I'll try anything! Besides you shouldn't take NSAID's while pregnant anyway, most doctors recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) for women who could be pregnant and that is only if you have to take something. So for me it is out with the Advil, Motrin, Aleve and the Tylenol too just for safe measure. I've warned my husband that I am going to be extremely cranky and out of commission in a few days when my cramps get here but we are both looking forward to our little science experiment and hopefully in the coming months I'll be able to have a regularly scheduled cycle!

Monday, June 21, 2010

That bloated feeling...

I don't know about the rest of you ladies out there but I get seriously bloated right before I get my period. I actually gain about 5 pounds but I look like I gain 10 and I just feel generally gross. However, this month (and this is just purely speculation on my part) I think I've figured out how to keep my bloat down! This was the first month in my entire life that I actually consumed the recommended amount of water everyday (8x8oz daily) and this is the first month in my entire life that I haven't been restricted to wearing only sweatpants in the week leading up to my period because I can't button my jeans.

I just cannot believe that I have lived my life bloated for one week out of every four or so! It isn't related to being pregnant, quite the opposite really but I definitely feel as if I've had a breakthrough. I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, but it is really amazing how I have gotten to know my own body through this whole ordeal. Oh, and for you optimists who may say, "What if you are pregnant and that's why you aren't bloated like you usually are?!" I already took a pregnancy test and it was negative, but I can button my pants, so if that's the only good thing I get this month, I'll take it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Endless summer...

I made a really big decision, I decided to end my career as a nanny. I had been babysitting since I was in high school, continued throughout college and then made it into a career after I graduated. My mother could have killed me because we had both spent so much money on my education, but I enjoyed it and I got paid well for it and I was happy.

Then we got married, and we started trying for a baby. Well, you all know how well that is working out and I've talked about this before, so it shouldn't be of any surprise that I was struggling at work where I was surrounded by children. It just felt like every day I am with these kids who I have a strong bond with since I had been there since they were all babies, but they would never be my kids. This change in me came at a pretty good time, as it happens I left nannying with all of the kids going into a full day at school next year (the youngest will be in full day kindergarten) so they kids won't miss a beat with anyone new this school year and they'll have the summer to adjust to someone new. Plus I have no doubt we'll see each other from time to time.

Now I've really taken this summer for me. I'm attempting to find another job, something more in line with what I went to college for and still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that we'll most like start some sort of assisted fertility treatment in September. Half of me can't wait for the summer to be over and the other half never wants it to end.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lesson learned...

If there is one thing that I've learned through this whole ordeal it is that I have to continue to live my life like I'm not pregnant while I'm waiting. I quickly fell into a pattern of restricting my activity and falsely believing that I could eat whatever I wanted when I was hungry just in case I might be pregnant that month. Well the boredom, depression and the 10 pounds that I gained helped me learn this lesson big time.

It also had to do with not limiting myself in my everyday life. Now, I'm not saying that if you and your partner are trying to conceive you should definitely not think twice about riding that roller coaster on your 10th day after ovulation but don't beat yourself up about that glass of wine that you had or pushing yourself during your last work out. Of course if you have extenuating circumstances, always follow your doctor's orders but we humans are built for reproduction and babies are resilient little things, even in the womb. Our foremothers didn't take prenatal vitamins or refuse to drink coffee because of the caffeine and they drank wine all the time! So I'm using my common sense and letting myself live my life while we are trying for a baby. I think it is going to make the whole process just a little easier and maybe I won't feel so let down at the end of the month if it turns out we didn't conceive because at least I didn't miss out on anything.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

To answer your question...

In the fabulous comment that I just got, I was asked if we had done a post coital test. I will answer that in a minute but for those of you that don't know what a post coital is, it is a cervical mucus test that must be done within 1 to 2 days of ovulation. You and your partner have sex about 2-8 hours before your appointment and then the doc takes a speculum and opens you up and checks exactly what the sperm are doing in there. Are they alive? Are they swimming? How far have they made it? Did your hostile cervical mucus kill everything off? That sort of thing.

So, to answer your question, no we have not done a post coital. I would think that a test like that would be perfect for me as I suspect that my cervical mucus might be causing our problem, BUT I need a prescription from my OB/GYN for that and she has already dumped me and said that I need to see the fertility specialists. At the point we are at things are quickly becoming less and less covered by our insurance and we aren't quite ready to drop the big bucks at the fertility clinic.

We've decided to take the rest of the summer and continue doing what we're doing and if we still aren't pregnant by September we are going to see the official "fertility guys." My OB/GYN says if you are able to pregnant, they'll get you pregnant in 3 months (if that is true the egos on these guys must be ridiculous). Basically, in September we'll be bringing out the big guns. At that point I'm assuming they'll run more tests (such as post coital) to determine which form of assisted fertility would be best for us. Now we just have to actually make it to September!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On a side note...

Hello everyone! And I say "everyone" loosely, I know that me, my husband and now at least one other person are reading this blog because I got a comment! And I would love to say thank you to my kindred spirit out there that wrote it. It was a wonderful comment, it moved me and it basically gave me exactly what I was looking for in writing this blog in the first place, some validation. Achieving pregnancy is not a black and white thing, it is full of grey murky areas and every single woman is different. Contrary to what celebrities, and apparently all of my friends who are fertile myrtles would have you believe, for a lot of woman getting pregnant is a struggle! Even the never aging Halle Berry was quoted as saying that celebrities make it look easy in regards to the over 40 crowd getting pregnant when that just really isn't the case. I'm not even close to 40 and I'm having a hell of a time.

Now, on a side note, I am having serious trouble with our internet provider. I am actually posting this from my husband's office because we haven't had internet access at home in so long! I just wanted to apologize for the absenteeism and let you all know that I'm not going anywhere! As far as an update goes, I am in the fabulous 2 week waiting period, I'm due for my period next Wednesday so we'll see. I'm not holding my breath and neither should you guys, we'd definitely all pass out and die.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Post ovulation dry up...

Ah the good old cervical mucus, it is such a vital part of conception and now I'm wondering if that might be what is causing us some problems. So we know that when your egg is released or sometimes right before, you have cervical mucus changes, basically no more fertile quality mucus and sometimes a dry up. Well, I definitely fit in to the dry up category.

I will get a positive OPK (ovulation predictor kit) test and then by the next day (most likely the day that I ovulate!) I have no fertile quality cervical mucus, really I don't have any cervical mucus. I pretty much have a totally dry day. Normally I wouldn't worry about this because we should have sperm in there waiting for the egg anyway, but we haven't been able to conceive so everything is worrying me!

I'm wondering if this mucus dry up is occurring before my egg breaks through and is killing off all of the sperm that had been happily waiting for the egg in a nice fertile environment and then I have no other mucus to aid any new sperm trying get to the egg. I'm picturing a river running though the African plains. All of the fish are happily swimming around, then the drought comes and all of those fish die. Then fish that were swimming up stream either try to continue on through the dry river bed and die or they just hang out where there is still water. Well, my egg is on the other side of that dry ass river bed and no little swimmers seem to be getting to it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Prenatal vitamins...

Way back when, in the very beginning, I went to my doctor for a pre-conception visit. I just wanted to talk about what I could do to make my body the best environment for conceiving a baby. One of the simplest things you can do is take a prenatal vitamin, and my doctor gave me a prescription for gesticare with DHA.

Now, I have pretty good health insurance with a prescription plan but of course these specific vitamins aren't covered and they cost $50! So there I was shelling out 50 bucks a month, not getting pregnant, the vitamins were seriously backing up my "system" and to top it all off they made me really queasy if I took them on an empty stomach! Plus every time someone came over I had to make sure they were hidden away and that I didn't open the cabinet or drawer where I had stashed them and then of course I forgot about them later causing me to forget to take them the next day.

In the process of all these fertility testing shenanigans I brought the vitamin issue back up with my doctor: they are ridiculously expensive, they make me queasy and constipated and I keep forgetting to take them so do I really need to take a prenatal vitamin when I'm trying to conceive? The answer: yes, but you don't need to take the whole enchilada. I already eat a pretty healthy and balanced diet so the big thing for me is to take 1 milligram of folic acid a day to prevent lots of different conditions, most importantly preventing neural tube defects dealing with the brain and spinal cord, like spina bifida and anencephaly. And then I just have to be conscientious about staying hydrated and drinking those 8 glasses of water a day. That will get me through those 2 weeks or so before I would be able to confirm a pregnancy and start up with the everything but the kitchen sink prenatal vitamins. For me it really is just so much more comfortable and cost effective!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Clean bill of health...?

So after what felt like days and days of not being able to get online, I'm back! Yay! So sorry about that! And that isn't the only good news I have, after our appointment with the urologist it turns out that the below average number of normal forms that our sperm count had is really no big deal. In fact our sperm's numbers seem to be quite fantastic. Which means that the problem must be on my end. So in a way we got good and bad news. There is a problem, but we can rule out all male fertility issues.

It really sucks to be the one with the fertility problem but if it was going to be someone, I'd want it to be me anyway. Since I'm the female and there are multiple things going on inside me every month that all add up to my fertility there hopefully is something that is fixable so that we can get pregnant. If we have no good sperm, then we have no good sperm and there really isn't a whole lot we can do about that. Our hopes for a child that is genetically ours would be gone.

Along with this clean bill of health for our sperm comes more uncertainty and insecurity for me and our fertility on my end. We know that I have a slightly irregular cycle but that I do ovulate every month. All of my hormone levels are in the right place. I've had numerous pelvic examinations, and everything always checks out fine. We've even seen my uterus on an ultrasound and I have lots of great looking follicles (eggs that haven't "hatched" yet) and nothing jumps out as being wrong. I do get some fertile quality cervical mucus, I may not be the queen of the egg whites but I'm not quite the Sahara either. So with this clean bill of health we are back to square one, wondering why we aren't getting pregnant when everything seems like we should.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baby names dilemma...

My husband and I are very close with my cousin and her husband, and in the beginning of this whole fiasco we actually tried to time it so we could be pregnant together. Obviously that didn't happen, so now she's due in October and wondering what the hell is going on with us because she knows we're not pregnant and she knows that we want to be and she knows I don't want to talk about it. But she's been really good about it and hasn't bugged me too much for more information, although a couple of days ago we came across another little bump in our friendship. Baby names.

They already have one son which they have named after her husband, and are now choosing names for the baby on the way. Naming the first born son after the father is a pretty popular thing to do in our family, if we did it our son would be the third and my cousin's son is actually the fourth. Now we aren't completely sold on the idea of have another Jr. running around and we have 3 names total in the running for a boy, problem is my cousin likes 2 of them and one of them is my husband's name!

So, couple of days ago she was asking me if I liked all these baby names that they are considering and I said yes of course I like them all, I'm not going to knock any of their choices. And then she dropped the bomb on me that she really likes my husband's name the best and wanted to know if we were planning on using it if we ever have a boy. So I just told her the truth, that we aren't sure, we have 3 names for boys that we like and one of them is my husband's. And then it turned out that she also likes one of our other choices as well, which really was just icing on the cake. The whole conversation just left me really bitter, but thankfully I didn't show any of that to my cousin.

After the conversation when I had time to mull it all back over, I was able to figure out why I got so upset about the baby name stealing nonsense. It wasn't that she was stealing our names, it was that we might not ever be able to have a son, let alone name him after my husband and if she named her second son the same name as my husband that would just be a huge blow to my ego. I don't want her son running around with my husband's name, the jealousy factor would just be too huge for me. I truly believe that baby names are first come first served, with a few exceptions you should be polite and ask permission to use (like someone else's junior!) and be respectful if the answer is no. At the end of the day, we should just be flattered that they'd like to name a child after my husband but I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed they have a girl because I just don't even want to revisit that conversation as I'm pretty sure the answer will always be no.