Reinvigorated

A strange thing has happened: after our most recent loss, and despite its disappointment, Jake has been the one to step up the game of what seemed to be our rapidly-ending TTC sojourn.

Throughout all these years of TTC Jake has, of course, also wanted for us to have a child.  He was a good sport, too: he was game about letting me change his shaving cream, deodorant, shampoo because of scary chemicals; he stopped putting the laptop directly on his lap and thereby causing his swimmers harm; he never gave me a hard time about spending a small fortune replacing every “unhealthy” item in our home with its TTC-friendly counterpart (of which there were many).  He often accompanied me to doctor’s appointments.  He administered all my IVF medications (perk of having a husband who’s also a nurse!).  He was there for me emotionally throughout everything.  Despite all of these things though, I still felt like something was missing on his end.

Throughout our sojourn, I’ve always sensed a slight distance from Jake about TTC stuff.  I don’t mean he was outright disinterested—more like the heavy lifting was up to me.  I didn’t resent him this, but I did feel a bit lonely in my TTC endeavor.  Sometimes I felt as if Jake was just humoring me by going along with my ideas/requests/suggestions (okay, demands) to improve our chances of conception.  Even after our second and third miscarriages, these nagging feelings lingered.  This past year as I’ve begun embarking on the process of accepting childlessness, Jake didn’t resist as much as I’d (secretly) hoped he would.

But now Jake is different.  Our most recent loss seems to have reinvigorated (or just straight up truly invigorated for the first time?) his desire to have a baby.  He has a newfound pep in his step about TTC. Example: the other day, I found him reading my copy of It Starts With The Egg.   He was all excited to add some new supplements to his diet to help with conception (his idea).  He wants us to buy a bigger house so we have room for a child.  Stuff like that.

I’m not complaining!  Not in the least.  I’m happily surprised by his change in perspective—I wasn’t expecting it.  Even though it didn’t last, Jake has been encouraged by the fact that I got pregnant all on my own last month… well, not all on my own ha!  That’s the first time a pregnancy has happened naturally for us since our first loss way back in 2002.  Seventeen years is a very long time to not get pregnant.  Not that we tried all seventeen of them…  But I digress.

Despite my inching toward accepting life as CNBC, Jake’s newfound enthusiasm is rubbing off on me.  I feel sad, yes, that we have experienced another loss, another “no,” another failure.  It hurts and isn’t fair and all that stuff.  And I’m still sticking my toes into the water of accepting life CNBC—that hasn’t magically ended because of a few weeks’ of his attitude change.  At the same time, I don’t feel nearly as alone in TTC as I’ve felt for a long time now.  Having a partner who’s equally (or more so!) invested makes a big difference in my level of determination and outlook.

I’ve made it no secret on this blog that my determination for TTC has been majorly on the decline for awhile now; as in, declining to the point of near-nonexistence.  But now, a glimmer.  A ray of sunlight in the storm.  A reinvigorated approach.  I thank God.

Advertisements

Life Update

nostork

It’s been five months since my last post.  I’ve been meaning to post here but, life.  Today I brushed the dust off this site and realized, “Crap! Almost half a year’s gone by!”  I may have broken a personal (non)blogging record by waiting so long.

Anyway, quickie update. I’m just gonna post the highlights, forget about editing it (I agonize over editing and end up erasing much of what I’d written), and go about my day.


Here’s the highlights:

TTC:  My eight-year foray into TTC Land is drawing to a painfully slow crawl.  For instance, I have become completely unreliable about using my fertility monitor and OPKs—some months I do, other months it feels like an exercise in futility.  I haven’t BBT temped in one year now and have no plans to return, either.

I sought out a new doc earlier this summer about my intermesntrual bleeding, ongoing ovary pain, ongoing infertility, blah blah blah.  As per usual, he was utterly unhelpful.  At the end of the appointment, he said, “I’ll see you next year.  Unless you get pregnant—then call me.”  I wanted to smack him.  I left the appointment feeling all of the usual deflated frustration that accompanies each fruitless medical visit I’ve been to.  I won’t be calling him again.  Ever.

Pregnancy: Today my period is four days late.  Maybe that has something to do with suddenly inspiring me to update here, some subconscious reaction?  Don’t get excited, people: I actually (foolishly?) took a pregnancy test this morning, which is something I never do.  It was just the one line.  I sat there on the toilet seat at 5:00 a.m. holding that single-lined sucker up to the light at every.possible.angle, but still it remained negative.  And the couple of times I fished the used test from the trashcan (because we all do that, no?) it was just as negative as the first time.

Today I’m reminded of why I never take HPTs and hate them so very, very much—I really dislike the feeling associated with negative pregnancy tests.  A lot.  It brings back some bad crap.   At least a period saves me from the feelings that HPTs arouse.

Why is my period four days late?  Who knows!  My cycles are normally predictable and regular to a fault.  Just one of those months, maybe?  Or maybe I’m getting near menopause?  Sometimes I think that might not be all bad…

 

Surgery:  I have decided not to plan any more surgeries for the time being.  I can’t seem to find a doctor worth his or her salt, so all future surgeries are on halt.  Also, I’m tired of having surgeries.  It seems that surgery has never done anything to alleviate my endometriosis symptoms, so why bother having it done?

 

Boobs:  This morning I had my third mammogram and boob ultrasound!  I woke up last Thanksgiving to horrific one-sided breast pain and it never left since.  I’ve had a slew of mammos and u/s since that time, and but all the docs ever find wrong with my mammaries are benign cysts.   Lots and lots and lots of benign cysts—seven at last count just in one boob alone! Two of them look “complex,” so the docs monitor me every six months to keep an eye on them.  The docs tells me that the cysts are most likely inflamed, which probably accounts for the pain.

It goes without saying that I am grateful for this report.  “Only” boob cysts are good(ish) news!  At the same time, it’s also extremely frustrating, because breast cysts are so random and elusive: No one seems to know why they happen, when they happen, why they only happen to some women, why they sometimes hurt and sometimes don’t, why they get inflamed, and whether they will go away and/or come back.

The doc offered to aspirate the cysts at my next follow up, which is basically all they can do for breast cysts.  Aspiration does nothing to prevent the cysts from returning/filling back up with fluid.  I think I’ll pass on that one.

Also, side note: boob smooshing hurts.   So does cyst smooshing.  Being a woman is often a painful endeavor.

Childlessness:  The doozy of all updates!  Jake and I are hanging out in some kind of no-man’s land of fertility.  Most months, we try for a baby; each month, we fail.  But it’s become a kind of “expected” fail.  Don’t get me wrong, the accompanying disappointment of failure is always real each month, but it’s briefer and less intense.

We are moving on in our own way and accepting our life as Childless Not By Choice.  It’s not all bad.  I’ve been reading books on the subject, which definitely help me to feel less alone.


Whelp, that about does it.  This is perhaps one of my most boring posts to date, so kudos to you if you’re still here reading it!  I’ll try not to let another five months slip by before updating again.

Peace.

3-Year Blogoversary Musings

20180326_104513

It feels like just yesterday I was posting about my two-year blogversary on WordPress.  I blinked and another year has passed!  Last year when I lamented about two years of infertility blogging, I really expected things to be different for me within a year.  My fertility status, unfortunately, remains unchanged.

What’s more, is that many bloggers who underwent successful IVFs around the same time as my two IVFs (September 2015 and April 2016) are now busy working on their second babies.  And I’m over here just… here.  Stiiiiiiiiiiiiill trying for my first.  I feel pretty left in the dust, like that kid who keeps getting held back a grade in school, over and over again, and ends up graduating when he’s like 22.  I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others; I’m on my own very unique timeline.

I’ve started every single new cycle since last year full of optimism.  I do it all perfectly, to the ‘T’—all the right supplements, timing sex just right, paying close attention to my ovulation.   Then around cycle day 20ish, I begin deflating: the bleeding starts up; my ovary pain kicks into high gear; my temperature won’t reach optimum heights.  My faith quickly slinks into a downward spiral, and I scratch off yet another month.  I don’t understand why my time hasn’t come yet, and I have to restrain my impatience.  Another full year of infertility wasn’t in my plans.

Despite all of the above, there have been many, many blessings in my life since my two-year blogoversary post; I can’t lose sight of the rays of sunshine amidst these clouds.  Besides, no matter how much it hurts (and it totally does freaking hurt, every day), life is so much more than whether I have a child.  So much more… So I’m believing for a cheerier post for my four-year blogoversary, Lord willing.  A lot can happen in a year.

Peace.

Those Late Periods

images

A couple years ago I stopped taking monthly home pregnancy tests.  Stay at this game long enough and you’ll longer need them.  My BBT alone tells whether I’m pregnant: if my temp starts dropping around 10DPO, then it’s certain I’m out that month.  My last two pregnancies taught me that my temp skyrockets when I’m pregnant, even immediately post-transfer.

This past cycle my period was late.  I rarely have late periods—my body’s great at cycling like it should.  A cautious hope with a type of nervous expectancy for a BFP began to set in.  After all, starting 11DPO I’d been having strange poking pains in my lower right uterus which were so weird because—since I’ve no ovary on that side—it rarely sees any action.  But, my temp began dropping on CD24 and hope remained dangling on the edge of caution.

I fleetingly thought about taking a HPT from my arsenal, but—honestly?—I just couldn’t be bothered.  I couldn’t be bothered to continue tracking my symptoms, either.  I eventually forgot what cycle day I was on.

Ambivalent was the best word for my feelings on the matter.  Ambivalence causes me to think I don’t want this as much as I used to.  It causes me to wonder if I’ve become a resigned, faithless, half-hearted TTC-er.

On the same morning when my period app reminded me that I was three days late, I finally took a HPT.  It was negative.  And I mean negative just like that cutesy “BFN” acronym—a big. fat. negative.  I felt nonplussed by my results.  And as I’ve done many times over the years, after thoroughly scrutinizing for a squinter, I chucked the test in all its stark white one line-ness into the trash and got up to go about my day.  Scratch off another month and move along, I valiantly told myself, intending to go about my day business as usual.

A mere half hour later, where did my so-called valiant “strength” land me?  Why, sobbing to Jake on the sofa while cramps overtook my body and the beginning of my period approached!  Through big ugly tears and out of my desperation, I devised implausible ways to pay for another IVF.  I lamented my fate as permanently childless.  I gave voice to the feelings of failure, the tediousness of endless TTC, and the general hopelessness that is constantly trying to get the better of me.  The battle is real; so is the enemy.

Here I’d been moments before thinking I was so tough and had become ambivalent—also known as hardened—to this years’ long process.  Turns out, I’m still all mushy in the middle.  Most months I don’t allow myself to feel the feelings.  But they’re all still there: faith and hope mixed with failure and tears.  Gratitude mixed with feelings of unfairness.  Impatience mixed with patience.

All this from a late period.  I’m grateful to learn that I still have an emotional connection to this process, to know that I’m not hardened by it as I’d secretly feared.  Sometimes this Tin Man just needs a little oil now and then to know for certain.

images (1)

REPOST: Year in [fertility] Review: 2017

images (2)

**originally posted on December 15, reposting today because, well, 2017’s end is imminently looming. Praise God for a new year!**

Somehow—in a blur of time and events and dates—another year is quickly drawing to an end.  I’m kind of stunned to find myself writing about 2017 ending, and so soon it seems!  And I’m kind of [read: very] disappointed to find myself still blogging about fertility stuff as we move into another year.  Even so, I’m immensely grateful for God’s goodness and protection during this year.  Fertility issues are just one part of the whole of my life.

So for those and myriad other reasons I can’t write here, I’m okay and moving still toward a deeper peace.  I continue to have moments of anger, frustration, and sadness about our inability to conceive.  Some days I can’t sense the light; I can’t see how this infertility will ever resolve; I feel my faith weaken.  But, overall, I am sustained by God’s peace and a strong sense to continue to wait patiently… although I’m notoriously impatient.  Character is being built here.  The process is uncomfortable.

As I look back over the year, here are the highlights of 2017 when it comes to our TTC sojourn, good and bad:

  • SUCCESS: A successful laparoscopy in March that opened my Fallopian tube and cleared away lots of adhesions.
  • SUCCESS: Ovulated 12/12 month this year.
  • SUCCESS: Normal cycle lengths 12/12 months this year, ranging from 24 to 31 days long.
  • SUCCESS: 11/12 luteal phases that were 14+ days.  Goodbye, luteal phase defect of 2016!
  • FAIL: My average 2017 ovulation cycle day was CD12, usually falling on CD 9 or CD10.  Hello, too-short follicular phases.
  • SUCCESS: Diagnosis of mystery bleeding.  Finally!
  • FAIL: Diagnosis, but no cure for mystery bleeding.  Intermenstrual bleeding continues.
  • FAIL: Why, in my mid-30s, do I still have monstrously painful periods?  I thought that period pain decreased with age?  (Actually, when I think back to my teen years and early 20s, my current period pain looks like a walk in the park.)  I still have to take prescription painkillers and spend a day or two in bed each month.  So, this mini-rant counts as a fail.
  • FAIL: Perhaps the biggest fail of them all: still not pregnant.  Yeah…

Our 2018 fertility plans remain open-ended.  Jake and I are in preliminary talks about going another round with IVF.  I’m quasi open to it; he’s much more cautious.  We totally cannot afford IVF and if we do decide to do it, I’ve no idea where the funds will come from. Like I said, it’s preliminary.

I’m in the process of changing my health insurance over to  Jake’s plan.  I found a clinic that—believe this?—SPECIALIZES IN ENDOMETRIOSIS (huzzah!).  And when I say specializes in, I mean that endometriosis is ALL THEY DO, all day.  The entire office is dedicated to patients suffering from endo.  Once my insurance has been squared away, I plan to make an appointment.  I so need a doctor who will actually help me, and I’m hopeful that this place will be the answer.  It’s an hour away and 90% of the drive involves major congested roads but I don’t even [mostly] care.

Even though it’s two-odd weeks til the new year, I’m pleased to see 2017 on its way out.  Never liked the odd numbered years as much for some reason.  I’m ever hopeful that 2018 will usher in new beginnings in our fertility sojourn.

Peace.

The Final Holdout

java

I’ve given up a lot in my efforts to have a baby. Foods like alcohol, sugar, and dairy (really, dairy is cruel anyway so that wasn’t much of a thang) have long gone by the wayside.  I’ve spent a small fortune replacing everything plastic in my kitchen and every personal care product I own for their healthier counterparts.   I’ve thrown away perfectly shower curtains and cleaning products. You name it, I’ve either done it or bid it adieu.

But there’s one final holdout, the thing I love so dearly and view as my sole remaining source of joy, the last reminder of my “before TTC” life that I can still enjoy: coffee.

Does it matter to my fertility that I’d finally switched to organic coffee this year (coffee apparently is laden with pesticides; research is so annoyingly eye-opening)?  Does it matter to my fertility that, even after going organic, I went a step further and began buying organic, Swiss-water-processed decaf?  That I mix the two so my coffee only has half the caffeine as regular coffee?  Alas, it seems not—nary the faintest of BFPs have appeared.

So here and now I’m making a pledge. And I’m posting it so it emboldens me to actually stick to it, which is the real challenge.  If the TWW in which I’m currently in the throes ends in bloody defeat, then I will go caffeine-free.

That’s right: If there’s a CD1 in the coming weeks (though I earnestly pray there won’t be), then I will eschew my cherished java.  The goal is to get through an entire cycle without it.  What happens after that cycle remains to be seen.  One day at a time and all.

I mean, it’s not like I’m absolutely downing pots of the stuff daily. I have 2 or 3 daily half-caffs, which translates to 1 to 1.5 cups of regular coffee, or about 300 milligrams of caffeine. Too much?

The consensus on caffeine/coffee and fertility is muddy. Some studies say that moderate caffeine reduces fertility, others claim it makes no difference. Even other studies say that any caffeine is harmful to fertility. Who to believe?

I get that this post might sound trite.  I mean, it’s just a beverage, right?  Is it really worthy of a blog post?  Perhaps I wasn’t clear: I really LOVE my coffee!  If I could pen my feelings to coffee, It’d go something like this:

Coffee, my beloved friend.  We’ve done so much together you and I, experienced the ups and downs of life side-by-side.  You’ve given me gumption on many a tough morning, helped me stay awake to study before grueling exams, been the medium over which many a good conversation was had.  Through it all, you’ve been there.

I love coffee to the point where I cannot imagine a day without it, let alone an entire cycle.

But what if it’s been the culprit all along?  Like, forget the medical side of infertility. What if caffeine has been preventing our BFP?  What if something so seemingly easily preventable was keeping my body from conceiving?  What if the answer was there in front of me all along?

Update to follow.

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time…

… of the month: ovulation day! ** Obviously. It’s way too soon for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, although the stores don’t seem to know that and are already peddling their holiday wares. Sending a shout out to this all-important monthly milestone and the many accouterments that go along with. There’s a lot of bad in the world these days. Why not celebrate the little things?

Women (i.e., me) with one ovary really do ovulate every month! Like a person with one kidney, as soon as an ovary is removed the remaining ovary takes over the work of both. I’m amazed how God saw to it to design the human body with these capabilities. While it might be overtaxing to my lone ovary to be doing all the egg releasing itself during these last 13 years, I’m just grateful it’s still doing its job.

Here’s what a typical month looks like for me at ovulation, in pictures:

wp-image-790566401

One of my most-used apps. The shooting uterine pains I could’ve done without though.

 

Baby making makes you good at math.
Recently added to my fertility routine. I recommend consuming by disguising them in smoothies (wheatgrass) or stirred into coffee or chai tea (maca), because these supplements taste pretty nasty on their own.
wp-image--1167335812
Fortunately, bromelain and selenium come wrapped up in foods that actually taste good! Here’s my monthly pineapple purchase, accompanied by a handful of Brazil nuts.
wp-image--287771561.
The battalion of my supplement army, lined up and ready for battle
20170910_091139-1
Trust, but verify.

Let another two week wait begin.

Peace. ❤

 

** The most wonderful day of the month actually occurred 4 days ago.  I delayed publishing this because it seemed too trite to post during either the hurricane or on the anniversary of 9/11.