Something is different…

The husband and I met with our new reproductive endocrinologist on Monday. After a long discussion with a brief pause in the middle so he could inseminate someone (what an awkward conversation) we came up with a plan.

I will be taking prometrium for 12 days. Some time around 5 to 7 days after I stop taking that I should get a period. I call them on day one and set up a lab appointment for day 3. They will run a battery of tests on me including a fasting test to see if insulin resistance is one of the issues behind why I don’t ovulate.

After the tests I will take Letrozole. I will go in on day 12 for an ultrasound to see whether I ovulated and if I did then we will do an IUI.

It’s all so odd to be on this side of things again. That being said, I don’t feel as much pressure as I did before. I don’t have that anxious feeling like I’ll be a failure if I don’t ovulate or get pregnant. Do I want to have another baby? Yes, absolutely or I wouldn’t go through all the hormones and the irrationality that comes with it. It just feels different. Less….angsty for lack of a better term.

So there ya have it. I will update as I go along.

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Gearing up

So after putting this off for over a year we’ve begun gearing up for trying again.

It’s almost like my body has decided it’s time because I got my period for two months in a row the last couple of months. The last two days I’ve had a pre period headache (that I called head ashi) which I sometimes get a week before I bleed.

I even ovulated!! July 4 I pee’d on an ovulation predictor kit and got the tell-tale smiley face. Unfortunately, we were staying with my dad at his cabin and when I say cabin I really mean a camper trailer where we slept in the living room with our toddler. NO privacy and due to the toddlers separation anxiety that popped up out of nowhere we had NO time alone and NO time to get busy. Ugh!!! I just kept telling myself that there would be another time to work on that aspect of trying. Hell, I was just thrilled with knowing that my body was ovulating.

Those of you with PCOS know that ovulation is a much coveted thing. Typically I get my period twice a year but since I and my baby two and a half years ago I’ve been having my period about 4 or 5 times instead which is an improvement.

I’ve got baby fever so bad!!! My cousin just had a baby, my brother’s wife is having one end of August, and my other cousin just announced that she’s pregnant as well. I am starting to realize that I’m getting a bit obsessed as I’ve already bought the fabric for a crib quilt and know the theme for the nursery. I am also perusing names. I need to step back and take a deep breath.

I may be a dreamer but I am hoping beyond all hopes that maybe with changing my diet and getting exercise and monitoring the ovulation process…we’ll be able to get pregnant without pokes, prods, prying eyes, ejaculation cups and catheters. Call me crazy but I can hope.

Right?

 

It’s Decision Time

November and December were horrible for me for a variety of reasons:

1. For some reason I wrenched my neck mid November during finals. I’m sure it had to do with stress as I tend to hold stress in my shoulders and there is no time to stress like finals. I went to the chiropractor who adjusted me and I felt better almost instantly.  I then wrenched my neck again the day after Christmas picking up after the mess. This time I went to the chiropractor for 2 weeks and NOTHING made my neck feel better so I made an appointment with my doctor. He prescribed Naproxin for the inflammation and muscle relaxers to help me get some sleep so my muscles can have a chance to heal. He also suggested I have breast reduction surgery as my issue is strictly muscular in nature.

I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon which went well and I started to get excited about finding cute bras to wear and wearing summer dresses but then *screeching halt* he said that if I have the surgery and then get pregnant and beast feed that my breasts will go back to their regular size and that it can greatly reduce my chances of producing milk.

*sigh*

So then the great debate with my husband began. He wants to have another baby but there are so many factors for and against. I won’t go into those right now.

2. Christmas was hard. I was totally fine and not feeling emotional at all until my cousin announced she was having a second baby. Don’t get me wrong I am so very happy for her and in fact I sent her a text message congratulating her but at the same time I felt very sad for me. My husband and I had to run to the Asian market and on the way there I had a really hard cry.

I don’t know. I just felt like it would have been nice to have a heads up from her. She knows what I have to go through and she had a bit of a struggle with her first. I know that it’s not all about me but dang. Ya know?

So my husband has been talking about career changes that would leave us without insurance. Due to the fact that the affordable care act states that we HAVE to have insurance we’d be eligible for insurance through that BUT through doing some research today I found that the state of Minnesota does not mandate that infertility has to be covered. This means that NONE of the insurance plans that are eligible to us cover infertility.

When I read that my heart sank. I just feel very sad like maybe I’m not destined to give my little a sibling. So I kind of think that maybe we need to step up our efforts to get pregnant while he still has insurance through his work. It’s not the best insurance but at least SOME of it would be covered instead of having it all out of pocket.

I’m not sure how things will work out but I know that no matter what happens they will.

From the movie Shakespeare in Love:

Strangely enough it will all work out.

How will it?

I don’t know it’s a mystery!

More Than Just Punctuation

Not all that exciting but I am getting my period.

I got it right around the same time last month as well. For someone who suffers from PCOS this is a big deal. Here is why:

I didn’t get my period until I was 14. A lot of people say I was a late bloomer and I truly felt like I was when all my friends carried around tampons and pads. I know this sound weird but I felt left out almost like an outsider. It’s truly a rite of passage and I felt like I was failing at that.

I finally got my period on July 27 1989. I know that it sound odd that I remember the date exactly but it was on my Dad’s birthday and I was in Texas on a youth group mission. I remember being equally parts horrified and excited when I wiped and saw that blood. I called my dad and excitedly told him the news to which he replied “Great!”  completely unenthusiastically.

The next month I didn’t get my period again. I remember approaching my overly dramatic Mother and telling her that I hadn’t gotten my period again. She spun around from what she was doing and demanded to know if I had been having sex. I was mortified! “WHAT!? NO!!!” was my response.

She took me to the doctors for an exam. I don’t remember all that was included in this exam as it was 24 years ago but clearly remember the doctor telling me and my Mom that I would not have any children. I was sort of sad but sort of glad. It’s hard to gauge the true impact of that kind of statement when you are that young.

Imagine my surprise when in my senior year in high school I found myself pregnant. I hadn’t planned on having kids ever and I had plans for after school. Suddenly I had to change plans.

I’ve never gotten regular cycles and typically only gotten my period on average twice a year. You can imagine when I got married and actually wanted to have kids what a kink this put in my plans.

I’ve had my period about 4 times this year. It would be nice if, like some of my other friends, I could set a watch to my cycle but it’s not how it is. We keep asking ourselves in my cycle is trying to regulate and maybe it us but I doubt that it ever will.

This is my infliction. This is my burden.

Why not me and it’s not fair!

Since my last couple fairly optimistic posts the green eyed monster has come out in full force.

Today a friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of her youngest son (who will be 3 soon) wearing a shirt that says “I’m the big brother”. Now, I wasn’t sure if that picture meant what I thought it meant or if it meant he was now able to wear his older brothers clothing. I am careful not to just assume that I know all because clearly I don’t (even if I like to think I do! haha).

It wasn’t until that picture was at the top of my feed again that I saw that people were saying “Oh I’m so happy for you! Congrats!” that I realized that the picture did, in fact, mean exactly what I thought it meant. Am I happy for her? Yes! But when you pair this with my step sister who announced a few weeks back that she also is pregnant and is due in December along with my husbands co worker who is due next month it gets to be a bit much.

*heavy sigh*

I try SO HARD not to be jealous and feel bed but it’s so hard when so many people around me can simply get laid to get pregnant. There isn’t thought about how they are going to finance the conception of their child. There isn’t the intrusive pokes, prods, vaginal ultrasounds, and worrying that this cycle might not take and the dreaded TWW.

WHY NOT ME?

IT IS, IN FACT, NOT FAIR!!!

She has three children already, why can’t I be the one to get pregnant easy this time?

I feel bad and damn it…I’m going to let myself feel bad. This fucking sucks!

Let me be perfectly clear…

In my last post I stated that we were going to put our baby making dreams on hold. What I mean to say is that we are putting the medically assisted route on hold. I will never give up on trying to have a baby.

I have a friend who works for whole foods and has all these pieces of advice such as:

* Get rid of all products that contain parabens.

I was already in the process of this when she told me to do this. I read an article by the American Cancer Society that stated that they found parabens in cancerous tumors in the breast that had not been broken down. I have breasts and this scares me. Enough that I am working on eliminating as much parabens in my life as I can.

*Avoid using plastic storage containers and switch to glass.

Apparently there are some toxins in plastics that act as hormone disruptors. Who knew? This one will be much harder for me. Glass is SO expensive and since I don’t work funds are tight.

*Eat organic and Non GMO.

Again there are toxins and pesticides in non organic and GMO foods that are hormone disruptors and inhibit fertility. As with the glass issue organic and non GMO foods are very expensive and funds are tight. So we’ll see what we can do. I did tell the husband that I’d like to eat more organic and he seemed receptive so we’ll see.

*Start taking Chaste Berry.

From what I gathered this will help me with the progesterone levels in my body.

*Start using progesterone cream made from Wild Yam.

If my progesterone level is low which it very well could be since I don’t get a regular period this will help with that.

*Start drinking raspberry leaf tea

*Eliminate soy completely

*Try to alkalinize my body as much as possible with things like acv, green super foods or aloe Vera juice.

*Get tons of protein (like 75-100grams a day)

So those are the things that she suggested. I’m going to start looking into these things and see where that takes us. I never used to believe in all the natural remedies until I was pregnant with sweet pea and used things like magnesium citrate (to relieve constipation), Arnica (to relieve pain) and drinking raspberry leaf tea (I guess it strengthens the uterus muscles and gets it ready for labor).

 

Guarded Optimism and Cautious Hope

So I got the call from the new RE, who called me personally which I found to be refreshing. We talked about the other RE’s we’d seen, what my diagnosis was and what treatments we tried and what was successful. He then told me that he’d have the scheduler send me an email with some papers I needed to fill out and a confirmation of the date and time we’d agreed upon for our first appointment.

I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. When you are dealing with infertility you learn to practice guarded optimism and cautious hope. You hope for the best possible outcome…a viable pregnancy that results in a live birth but many of us in the community have experienced a loss of both. Some have had miscarriages (myself included) and some have suffered through still births. These experiences are life changing in a way that anyone who hasn’t have the misfortune will never understand. Sometimes they can cause such a fracture in a relationship that it can never be repaired. That is what started the rapid decline in my first marriage. Other times it can bring a couple closer together and help them refocus on who they are and why they are doing this because through the infertility process it’s really easy to lose sight of those things and focus solely what you don’t have and feel an overwhelming fear that they may never have it.

These are all things that have been going through my head for the last week. That along with the dread of what I am about to go through. After I got off the phone with the RE it all came flooding back to me. The blood draws, the vaginal ultrasounds, the hormones, the pills, the FSH shots for 45 days, the HCG trigger shot which I’m sure was more traumatic for my husband, who had to give me the shot, than for me. The two week wait the negative test and the crying, the mourning, etc…

waterAfter all of that I was beginning to wonder if this is what I really wanted. So much work, so much heartbreak. Then I saw a picture of my son on my phone that helped me refocus. When I look at his face it’s all worth it.

Here is the news that was hard to take this week. Our insurance sucks. Straight up sucks donkey balls!! We have a huge deductible before our benefits kick in and then after that we only have $2500.00 lifetime max for infertility and that DOES include drugs.

::Sigh::

When we were doing the shots of Follistim on a daily basis for 45 days the cost without insurance was $900+ and we had to get that refilled twice. Luckily our insurance picked up most of that tab and our copay was around $75 each time. Anyone doing the math can clearly see that the cost to our insurance is nearly $1800.00. That leaves us with $700 for everything else. So basically we will be paying for this out of pocket until we meet our deductible and then after that it still doesn’t cover much.

Knowing this we have to put our baby dreams on hold for a while. We need to pay some debt and collect our coins to save for when we try again. That’s the bad news for me but the good news is it’s only a year away. It will give me time to get into grad school this fall and get my feet firmly planted into school so that when we do try again I won’t be working through the stress of trying to adjust to grad school AND trying to get pregnant. It will be one thing at a time instead of jumping in head first.

Am I sad? Yep. I am. My heart is breaking a little as I write this. I was hoping that I’d be pregnant by the end of summer and on my way to having a baby. However, I’m a bit on the relieved side that I don’t have to be poked, prodded, emotionally unstable and stressed out. I am trying to look on the bright side and keep my chin up. Can you tell??

Something I don’t really understand….

and it’s something I probably never will either!!

Let me preface this entry by defending myself first before I say what I have to say. I am 38 and in the infertility world that is considered advanced maternal age…which cracks me up every time I hear it. To me advanced maternal age would be 45 but whatever. Let’s not split hairs. The point is I’ve struggled with infertility since my 20’s. My ex husband and I tried for 5 years with 1 pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage. My current husband and I tried for a year and a half before we conceived our son. I completely understand the feelings, hurt and struggle that accompanies infertility.

That being said….here is what I have to say.

So when you are dealing with something as frustrating and as maddening as infertility you need support. Sometimes your family doesn’t or cannot understand what the struggle is like or maybe the don’t know how to offer their support. When I started this journey I found message boards to be helpful…at first.

One of the first things that raised a red flag with me was the amount of time and obsession these women put into trying to conceive. I read post after post about how many DPO they were what kind of CM they had and what the next procedure was and VERY little else. I’ve read a lot of articles about how fertility can cause issues in a marriage and if your wanting to become pregnant borders on obsession then yes….there will be problems. I understand what it is to want to have a baby more than anything else in the world but it’s SO important to remember that there is a whole world out there and people who love you and want to see you. There are things to do and your husband…most of all, your husband. He loves you and wants to talk to you about life…not just DPO and CM.

Find things to do that will distract you like joining a bowling league or some other sports. There are tons of clubs you can join on Meet up from groups that tour museums to people who like to cook. The point is DO STUFF! Believe me…it helps curb the obsession part. Besides being a student and having the distraction of class and homework another thing that helped me curb the obsession and helped my marriage was setting aside time to talk about our struggle each day. We set aside 30 to 60 min each day to talk about it. We talked about how I was feeling and how he was feeling. Believe it or not there is an emotional aspect for your husband during all of this. You need support from him but don’t forget that he needs support also.

The other thing that makes me step back from these boards is when woman say something like “My best friend is pregnant and having a baby shower and I won’t go because it’s just too painful.” or “I am skipping my families christmas because my sister in law is pregnant.” When I was trying to conceive my sweet pea I found out my cousin was pregnant, then my sister in law and then my step sister. Was I jealous?  FUCK YES I was jealous!! But more than anything else I was happy for them! I kind of feel like woman who separate themselves from others because of a pregnancy are self centered and causing themselves to be isolated. Infertility can be a lonely island and the more people you have on your island (pregnant or not) the better you are able to cope with the hard knocks the come from trying to conceive and dealing with infertility.

I’m not judging just making a note of what I’ve seen. As I said before I completely understand the obsession and I understand the hurt and jealousy. I just think there are better ways to deal with all of this.

Now…onto the exciting part of this post. I called the fertility clinic and started the process. First step was to call. Second step will be to fill out the paper work they send me and send it back. After that there will be a consultation appointment.

So that’s where we stand now. In the mean time I am going to the gym and working out. I am cutting carbs and improving my diet. Sugar is the hard part for me…I crave it so bad. Lucky for me I have the internet and can find low car b recipes like this one here. Any way I can curb the sugar craving is helpful.

I’m also monitoring my blood sugar levels to get an idea of what foods raise my blood sugars. So far I’ve found that anything liquid that is sweet (sweet tea, juice, etc..) has more of an effect than baked goods.

So that is where we stand at the moment.

First post

Two years ago I was waiting to find out if I was pregnant. It was a stressful time because we had been trying for a year and a half, which I recognize that for some who struggle with infertility a year and a half is nothing BUT we were up against the wall in a way.

I have what is called Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome which means that I don’t ovulate due to an imbalance of hormones. As such we had taken clomid for about 6 cycles and tried to get pregnant with just sex. Then we did about 4 more cycles with IUI (Intra uterine insemination)and sex and nothing. Then we realized that we only had $1500.00 left of our benefits and decided to take a break and then change providers. One reason was that our reproductive endocrinologist was creepy as fuck. He would come in the days we had the IUI and say “Let’s make a baby!” with this really odd smile while I am laying on the table with my lady bits exposed. WHO DOES THAT??? The other reason was that they should never have let me take clomid for that long with little results wasting our precious benefits.

You see, medical insurance is not nice for those who struggle with infertility. When I worked my insurance provided $3500.00 lifetime max of infertility benefits. We didn’t understand this at first until I called and asked about providers that were covered. We were thinking about going to the University of Minnesota as I had read that they were extremely successful. When I called the insurance company informed me about the lifetime max. That made our decision for us. We switched.

When we went in we knew that we only had one more cycle to get pregnant or it just wasn’t going to happen. They had me do 45 days of follicle stimulating hormone shots in the stomach and this included twice weekly vaginal ultrasounds to watch the follicles and make sure I wasn’t going to release more than 2 or 3 eggs. Then my husband had to give me a HCG booster shot after the IUI and then the dreaded 2 week wait.

My husband said he already knew I was pregnant for the following reasons:

* First and foremost I love ice cream. So when I was trying I cut back on sweets but I would eat one weight watchers ice cream a day to curb my sweet tooth. One night during the 2 week wait he asked me if I wanted my ice cream and I was like “Um..no thanks!” He walked into the room with this look on his face and asked “Are you ok?”

* Then we were watching America’s Got Talent and there was this dance troop on and I just burst out in tears. The story line wasn’t sad or anything. He looked at me and said “You are definitely pregnant!”

I woke up the morning I was to test and had to pee like the dickens. My husband was still asleep and I ran into the bathroom, opened the test while doing the pee dance and then sat and administered the test. I was completely prepared for it to come back negative as it had every time for the last year and a half. I had been looking on my phone at something while I waited and I happened to look at the test on the counter and it said “pregnant”. I did a double take and then my heart started to pound!

I got up and opened our bedroom door and said “Vinh!” he opened his eyes and lifted his head up. I lifted the test and smiled. He didn’t understand what was going on in his sleepy haze and said “What is it?” to which I replied “I’m pregnant!” I walked into the room and sat down on the bed beside him and showed him the test. His response? “Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!”

The thing is…I didn’t talk much to my family about my struggles or the procedures. I figured that unless you’ve gone through it you don’t understand and don’t really want to hear about it. I remember reading all the posts on the message boards of women pissing and moaning and talking incessantly about what cycle day they are on and cervical mucus and all I could think was “These women are completely obsessed!” They even went so far as to skip friends baby showers and not go to family functions because it hurt to much when they saw pregnant women or were asked when they’d be having kids. I didn’t want to be one of THOSE women!

So when my son was born I found there was some confusion as to if he was biologically MY or my husbands baby. What!? I guess people weren’t clear if we used an egg donor or if we used a sperm donor…which we could not afford either of those options and frankly didn’t really need either of them. There is nothing wrong with my husbands swimmers nor my eggs.

My sweet pea!!

My sweet pea!!

So my husband and I wish to have another child. We’ve started the discussions again and are looking into our options.

I started this blog to document the journey that we are about to embark on. This way there is no confusion as to how hard we worked, what we went through and what procedures we had done to get pregnant. I also think it will be a neat thing for the future baby to see these entries.

So the conversation we’ve had is that we need to finish paying off the U of M so that we can go back there. Turns out our $1500.00 didn’t go very far as we ended up owing them something like $1200.00 in charges that occurred after my max had been exhausted. I guess twice weekly vaginal ultrasounds get pretty expensive!

Since I stopped working at Target our benefits have gone to Vinh’s work and his benefits SUCK!!! At Target we had $3500.00 lifetime max not including medicine which was good because the FSH shots that I took cost $900 each. With Vinh’s benefits we have $2500.00 lifetime max INCLUDING meds. We really only have one shot at this.

In the mean time I’m going to be working out at the gym and trying to curb my sugars.