IUI #1

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This morning was my first IUI. It wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t wonderful, it just…. was what it was, I guess. I don’t have any past experience to compare it to, but I get the impression it was pretty unremarkable as far as these procedures go.

I dropped of DH’s specimen around 8:00 a.m., had an u/s and blood work at the office, then was free to go kill two hours. I took myself out for breakfast at some random diner, went to the bank, sat in the car and talked on the phone to DH, and screwed around on my phone, until it was time to head back to Dr. B’s office. I was immediately ushered in to the exam room where I waited on every gal’s favorite place to catch some zzzzzzs:

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And I waited. And waited. Finally, almost a half hour later, Dr. B and the u/s tech came in. Dr. B pulled out the speculum, which to me is the stuff that nightmares are made of (seriously, look at that thing. It probably hasn’t changed one bit since the Middle Ages):

speculum

Then he went to work! He was, however, tinkering around down there for what seemed longer than usual. Once again, Idk what “usual” should be here, so finally after a few minutes, I asked Dr. B what exactly he was doing to my lady bits. He replied that because of my many surgeries, my cervix has been drastically pushed to one side (it should be centered) so he was having difficulty actually getting to it. This went on for about 5 or 6 minutes. Finally he got the catheter into my pesky cervix and inserted/injected/Idk-what DH’s specimen. The whole experience was definitely uncomfortable-bordering-on-painful. I just cringed, kept my eyes shut, and tried to go to my happy place for those seemingly-endless ten minutes.Once it was over i was instructed to lay on the exam table for fifteen minutes before getting dressed to leave.

After the IUI I went to work, where I almost immediately started to not feel well. I began experiencing moderate-to-heavy cramping and, weirdly enough, nausea. Like crazy nausea. Boss sent me home after one hour at work, which was prefaced with the expression, “You look terrible (thanks?)! I don’t want to know what they did to you this morning, but you look really sick. Go home. And good luck, i hope it works out for you.” (AWKWARD!) But who am i to argue with the big Boss? I was actually very relieved, as the prospect of spending 5 hours at work was pretty awful.

Currently chilling at home with my heating pad, remote controls, cranberry juice, and my sweet, sweet Puppy. There’s a bit more to the story which I’ll post about separately; I simply don’t have the oomph right now. I just wanted to get this out there because I know a few other ladies who’re preparing for their first IUI’s this week, and I wanted to share my experience to hopefully help prepare them for their own.

Baby dust to you all!

Ignorance

So this morning Coworker and I were discussing national news, specifically the Duggers scandal, which led to the TLC channel, which led to Kate + 8, and (much to my chagrin), from there, to fertility treatments. Coworker stood in the doorway to my office as she rambled on and on about how people who use IVF, IUI, fertility drugs, etc. are “playing God” and how unethical it is, how people should just accept it if God doesn’t want them to have children, ad nauseum. Mind you, Coworker has six (grown) kids and became pregnant accidently one month after getting married. She has no personal frame of reference for holding these opinions on infertility treatments. Which is whatevs in a way, I mean of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, but a little sensitivity now and then might be in order.

I sat at my desk listening to Coworker’s little soliloquy as I grew more uncomfortable by the minute. It took so much effort to keep my mouth shut. Some people—especially if you know how they tick—aren’t just going to change their uneducated opinions on certain topics because they simply lack what I call the “Getting It” factor. Coworker is one of those people. Unfortunately we are forced to deal with these kinds of people in life, and we must accept and realize that we can’t always change the world. It was especially infuriating to hear Coworker say all these things because she has no idea that the very person she’s spouting off to is currently going through infertility treatment herself!

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The Positive Angle: This conversation got me thinking my own self. How many times have I offered an unsolicited opinion to someone about a topic I knew little about, and that same person may have been going through that issue herself? I’m going to take today’s situation as a wakeup call to how I relate to others, and as an opportunity to be more sensitive to what hurts another person may be dealing with. Discretion is so vital in our relationships with others. It doesn’t even have to matter how close to that person we are. Words can hurt.

In other news, this happened this morning:

+OPK

Every time I see that OPK smiley face I smile too. It makes this journey (especially this month) just a little bit more bearable.

The Pre-IUI Visit

Today was my pre-IUI visit with Dr. B. It was pretty standard , as all office visits consist of waiting room, blood work, waiting room, u/s, waiting room, meet with doctor, check out/scheduling.

I now have THREE follicles (there were two this past Friday, and I was pretty happy about that, so three makes me nearly elated). My OPK hasn’t read an LH surge yet; I’m guessing that will happen tomorrow. My ‘lil follies are measuring at 22.8 mm, 15.8 mm, and 15.1 mm, so the two smaller guys aren’t quite contenders yet, but by Thursday they just may be. Regardless, I’m still looking at an increased chance of conception here, and I’m so thankful the Clomid did what it was supposed to. Medicine is so amazing to me. Like, I just take this pill a few times and extra follicles appear. How cool! How easy it was, too. Hugs to the dude who invented this, major kudos to God for giving him the idea and wisdom to execute the making of this medicine.

Anyway, my IUI is scheduled for this Thursday. I have to drop off DH’s specimen at 8:00 a.m. and return at 10:15 for the procedure. I’m debating on coming into work for the interim period or not. I’m not familiar with the town Dr. B’s office is at enough to go do something to keep myself occupied during the wait.

Can you tell I’m nervous? I’ve no idea what to expect, other than what I’ve read online. When I asked Dr. B to give me a rough estimate of my chances of conceiving with the IUI he replied with a figure of 17%. Not exactly a thrilling number. So UN-thrilling, in fact, that I didn’t even ask what my chances are naturally, for fear of hearing such an abysmal number that it would ruin my entire day. Since a “normal” couple’s chances of conceiving naturally are about 15 – 20%, I’m a bit angry that I’m paying a few hundred bucks to get what most other people get for free. Like, shouldn’t all this that we’re going through yield a higher percentage for our chance than if we hadn’t gone to the trouble?

Sometimes I get so discouraged…. I find myself already discouraged because of our chances and I haven’t even had the procedure yet! It’s moments like this that I really must stop and pray and seek the comfort of the knowledge that GOD’S GOT THIS. I am not in control. There is nothing I can do to increase whatever small amount of control that I think I do have in this situation. Resting in the Lord can be harder than it sounds sometimes. Our human reasoning has this pesky tendency to keep getting in the way.

So ladies, can anyone who’s had IUI give me a breakdown of what it’s like? I mean, I know what they’ll be doing and all, but the cold, clinical procedure is only part of the experience—there’s an emotional, human side as well. Thoughts, opinions, and personal experiences welcome.

IUI target

Follicle Friday

ttcfunThis is gonna be a short post because:

1. There’s not that much news to report;

2. It’s the Friday before Memorial Day (why aren’t you faithful readers out doing something awesome right now instead of reading my lil blog?!); and

3. Because of #2 above ^^ I’m trying to get out of work ASAP!

I had 2 follicles on this morning’s u/s! Which probably sounds meh-ish to you long-term TTC-ers, but since last month—without Clomid—I only had 1 follicle and that sucker just didn’t want to rupture (eventually it did, but whatevs. Still not pregs, so…yeah). Said 2 follicles are still not mature enough, measuring at 13 and 14 mms. Normally I’d go back on Monday to see Dr. B for follow up, but his office is closed (see #2 above ^^), so my appointment is pushed back until Tuesday. Depending on what they see, I’ll either have my IUI on Wednesday or Thursday.

I told Boss that I’d “be out for a few hours on Wednesday/Thursday-ish next week for a medical thing.” He begrudgingly obliged. Really I can’t complain. Boss is being pretty cool about my endless RE appointments, but I get that he doesn’t love how often I come in late and leave early for them. I’m thankful I don’t work for a place that isn’t much stricter.

The 2 follicles has DH over-the-moon excited–he’s CONVINCED it means twins! I patiently explained that 2 follicles doesn’t mean twins, although the possibly of twins is of course higher with the Clomid. Still, he rejects my practicality and insists on living on Cloud 9. To which I’m like “Do you even grasp how huge I’d be?” His response is that we need to “catch up” to everyone else, number-of-kids-wise. I didn’t know this was a contest? Sheesh. Whatever makes him happy I guess–he can live in his bubble, which I apparently cannot burst despite my best efforts.

Why am I being a cruel wife and bursting DH’s bubble of happiness? I’m so glad you asked! The answer is because the u/s tech just kept poking and poking and poking my already achy, on fire, throbbing ovary this morning. I was all but writhing to the top of the exam table to get away from the probe, but she continued her reign of terror. I’m in ridiculous ovary pain right now. I wish there was an easier way to test these things. I burst his bubble because he doesn’t have to really *do* much of anything here.

Fair is fair.

Happy Friday!

I Survived Clomid: A True Tale

I’ve been MIA for a few days because I began my first cycle of Clomid and felt like this: clomood Aside from dizziness, Clomid made kinda crazy. The first day I took it I found myself being really emotional and nostalgic. Like to where I made DH pull out our wedding video from 2003 because I had a sudden, inexplicable urge to watch it, immediately. Then I made DH slow dance with me. In the kitchen. While our dog looked at us like we were nuts. Then I just felt randy for a few days. And moody. Like, I’ll kill you for cutting me off in traffic type-moody, followed by “Let’s Make Love!” Tuesday, praise Jesus, was the last day and my farewell to Clo-mood this cycle (I hope). Tomorrow I will return to my home-away-from home (Dr. B’s office) for an u/s and blood work to make sure “the environment is lush” (his words). From there we go into IUI. Next week. The idea of possibly getting pregnant while DH is off working in a different town 20 miles away is so disconcerting. It seems like he always gets the easy jobs in our IF journey.

In the past two days that I’ve been off the Clomid my ovary has been absolutely on fire! Is this normal? I can only describe it as burning, hot, throbbing, dull, heavy, and stabbing all at once. I have no frame of reference for this, as this is my first Clomid cycle. I know I’m not ovulating yet because my OPK was negative this morning. Stay tuned.

Oh! And Happy Memorial Day, fellow TTC-ers!

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We TTC, She Conceives

Yesterday was tough. For two reasons.

First off, I learned that Dr. B will be closing his practice in late summer due to a health issue he is facing, and us patients will be provided a list of local RE’s he recommends in the interim. He may be closed for a few months. The thought of changing RE’s when I’ve only recently discovered Dr. B and am very happy with him is stressful. Philly is a big town: I may very well end up driving a considerable distance to see a new RE, or even to a different state. Longer even than the 45 minutes it takes me to get to Dr. B’s office now. Transferring physicians is never easy, or fun. I only pray that there’s someone closer to my area who I can see during the time he’s closed. Maybe God has someone even better in store for me that I don’t even know of yet. He is certainly known for doing stuff like that. Which is why He’s so super awesome. I leave this matter in His hands.

Second though, harder than the disappointment of Dr. B’s temporary departure, was when my sister called yesterday evening to tell me that our brother and his wife are expecting. The wind was totally knocked out of my sails. Here DH and I are consumed with TTC (well, I am anyway. I can’t speak for him on the “consumed” part), here I am constantly running to the doctor’s office, getting stabbed with needles and having my insides rudely poked at with transvaginal ultrasound thingy-s, preparing to get started on Clomid and IUI, temping, BBT-ing, timing intercourse, praying furiously, dealing with all the emotional roller coaster issues of IF, enduring the constant physical pain of endometriosis, and she gets pregnant?! But she already has one child, and Brother already has two more children from a previous marriage, together they raise the three. Why her? Why not me??

Man, I took it so hard. And I’m totally torn. Part of me—a big, big part—is so happy and thrilled and excited for Brother and Sister-in-Law (SIL). For all I know, they’ve been trying for some time to get pregnant (or maybe not, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt), and now their efforts have paid off. A new life, a new member of the family, is always something to be celebrated. God choose them to be the parents to this developing human, He has blessed them with this opportunity to care for his handiwork, and I should be rejoicing in that also. And, don’t get me wrong, I am. But at the same time? I’m not. Because, if life were fair, then they’ve already had their turn and now it should be mine, right? Right?! But it is their turn. Again. And again. And again. And still not mine. And I know it’s childish and selfish and just plain ugly of me, but I’m jealous and sad and angry. I had a real ugly cry about this last night, in private, away from even DH, whose attempts at comfort (and a bit of rebuke too) were not welcome to my little pity party. While I won’t allow this soul-ish part of me to utterly consume me and I will not focus solely on my emotions and elevate their status to being more important than our spiritual status, I just need to vent. Here. With other fellow TTC-ers, who’ve probably experienced this or a similar circumstance in their TTC journey.

Because with the advent of this new family member, a spotlight inevitably at some point will be thrown on DH and my lack of children. Family members commenting on how Brother and SIL now have four children and why don’t DH and I have any after 11 years of marriage? What are we waiting for already? Don’t we want kids? Doesn’t niece/nephew-to-be deserve to have a cousin? SIL’s pregnancy only serves to highlight the contrast between us and them. The haves and the have-nots. And I don’t know how/if I can handle the scrutiny, whether real or imagined. Can I politely deal with any of these potential questions—however innocently asked—without breaking down? Can I still show love and kindness to SIL, despite my jealousy and feeling of inferiority as a woman? Is God testing me here to see what I’m made of? Perhaps I’m reading more into this than what’s really there, as I tend to sometimes do, but is that what’s going on here—God highlighting to me what ugly unrenewed parts of me must be laid down?

I truly don’t have answers to these questions yet, and this post is more of a rant/vent/brain dump than anything else. My private rant to anyone on the interwebs who chooses to darken the doorway of my little blog here and be privy to my private thoughts.

Thank you for listening to me vent. Praying for all you lovely TTC ladies (and gents) in our journey through this maze.

unfair TTC

Surviving Another Mother’s Day

I’ll keep this short, since I’ve read so many wonderful, encouraging blog posts from fellow TTC-ers that were such a balm to my heart and far more well-written than what I can come up with on the remaining minutes of my lunch break today. At least The Day is behind us now for another year and we survived.

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For a myriad of reasons that I’ll not take up the next hour detailing, Mother’s Day is seriously, hands down THE HARDEST day of the year for me. I dreaded it as a child being the only kid I knew whose mom died when they were a baby, and I’ve dreaded it as an adult: first after our m/c in 2002 and even more so since beginning TTC.

This year I survived the M-Day by turning off my phone, skipping church, avoiding FB, not going to any restaurants, and treating myself to a large dark chocolate candy bar, all while lying in bed with cramps and spotting like crazy. Fun stuff. And, it mostly worked. (Except for the cashier at the grocery store, but, bless her, she was so sweet about it when she wished me a happy M-Day.) Cause ya know, really—even though I never had the opportunity to meet my baby and even though he never made it far enough to take his first breath —I Am Still A Mother. Us early loss and m/c mamas are still mothers, whether our babies are on earth or waiting in heaven to meet us.

So, WHEW, we made it through another year!

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When a Prayer is Answered

After the scary prospect of LUFS last week and the possibility that I’m not ovulating, DH and I did some real praying about the situation. We prayed that the follicle would rupture and I would ovulate, and that there would be no LUFS. And you know what—it worked! I just love when I get to see God in action and be filled with the reassurance that He does hear our prayers.

During today’s u/s the tech was very happy to see the follicle had ruptured and the egg released. My blood work numbers were good: progesterone was at a 3, and the endometrial lining was a 12. When it came time to sit down with Dr. B, he told me I had ovulated approximately last Thursday or Friday and that everything looked totally normal (as “normal” as someone can look who only has 1 ovary to u/s anyway). What a relief! I’ve been stressed out the past four days waiting to find out whether I had LUFS and it’s been a rough weekend, emotionally.

Now knowing that I did ovulate, I’m totally overcome with guilt that I had a couple of drinks this weekend, the stress-relief kind. I seriously thought I wouldn’t be having a TWW this month and was so bummed that I just said “screw it,” and threw caution to the wind. Now I’m having an “uh-oh” day where I wish I could take those drinks back. Oy ve.

Follow up in one week from today to see whether, as Dr. B put it, I “got pregnant on my own or not.” Well, not really on my own, but ya know….

*happy dance*

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Luteinizing Unruptured Follicle Syndrome

^^ See that big fancy medical term above? ^^ Yeah. That’s me. That’s why I haven’t gotten pregnant.

Dr. B himself performed today’s u/s since the ultrasound tech was out of the office. That 21 mm follicle that I was so happy about on Tuesday? It should’ve ruptured by now, releasing the egg in its tiny grip of follicle-ness so the egg can travel into the fallopian tube to be ready for fertilization (Basically speaking; my medical expertise is pretty rudimentary). Instead, the follicle has grown to 35 mm and counting. 20 – 25 mm is the range they like to see for follicles: more or less than that is worrisome. So,,, there’s no egg being released, meaning all the work DH and I’ve done this week to fertilize the little sucker was for nada. Pretty freakin bummed right about now. It feels too unfair, too extraordinary, too unlikely, but nonetheless real…

Dr. B says LUFS (acronyms are my thing) is extremely uncommon in the general public, but is found in endometriosis patients. I return to his office again this Monday for another u/s and more blood work to definitely determine or rule out LUFS. Dr. B’s been an RE for a very long time, so I think his speculation is probably pretty accurate here. To “solve” LUFS, I need to be monitored again during OV next month, and if LUFS shows up again, then I have to give myself HCG injections to make the follicle rupture. Fun stuff.

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The other major thing from today’s visit is they LOST DH’s sperm sample that I brought in on Tuesday! Like totally forgot all about it! Now it’s un-testable and we’ll need to provide another one. I’m completely floored! I even called ahead to Dr. B’s office on Monday to let them know I’d be bringing it, handed it to reception with DH’s name, DOB, insurance info, and ID—the whole nine yards. Well, the girl in reception simply forgot all about it, nor did she remember to mention that we’d brought it in at all to the doctor. She didn’t apologize for it either; instead, I found out secondhand from another staff member who pulled me to the side and told me, then indicated that she’d take the blame for it. I’m trying very hard to be understanding about this, because accidents truly do happen, but at the same time I can’t help but be somewhat infuriated by total lack of medical professionalism on the reception peoples’ part. As in, IF is already stressful enough, visiting the RE is stressful enough, so having to provide a second sample when I went out of my way to get them the first sample is only stress piled upon stress. Grrrr….

I will make myself get over it though: God’s forgiven me for much worse. Remembering to count my blessings today. They far outweigh the little bit of trouble mentioned above.

Happy Thursday fellow TTC-ers!

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Endo in the Family and Dr. Visit Update

My father was an only child whose parents had him later in life and who both had no living extended family in the area to speak of. My mother died when I was a baby, and her family (consisting of three brothers and one sister) have lived scattered around the world all my life. With all that going on, the only blood female relatives I’ve ever known are my paternal grandmother who passed away in 1998 and a maternal aunt who I met just one time fifteen years ago.

Maternal Aunt recently moved back to the area after living out west for decades. I went to visit Aunt yesterday and to finally meet my cousin—her daughter—who is literally the only blood cousin I have. As we visited, the topic of kids inevitably came up. Aunt said she just assumed that DH and I simply didn’t want any kids. I was very honest with Aunt and Cousin without getting too detailed, telling them the basics about our current journey through IF treatment. In the course of conversation, it turns out Cousin (who has three young children) also has severe stage IV endometriosis, and because of this, achieved two of her pregnancies through IVF. In addition, Cousin is also a cystic fibrosis carrier, so when I told her I was too it solved a big part of the puzzle for them as to whose side of the family CF runs on (even so, not a huge deal because no one’s ever been diagnosed with it in the family history). While I wouldn’t wish IF on my worst enemy, there is some comfort in knowing there’s a family connection and talking with a real person who’s been down the IF treatment road.

What struck me most (and made me laugh to myself) was how us hopefully-mamas-to-be-struggling with IF have absolutely no qualms or discomfort or sense of conversational boundaries when it comes to our IF stories and treatment. I mean, who else in the universe except women who have been through infertility can sit around a restaurant table—barely knowing one another—and feel totally casual and normal discussing semen analysis, follicles, ovaries, ovulation, IUIs, gynecologists, or when they DTD?

Moving on. Today was another Dr. B visit. And it was wonderful! Highlights:

  • DH is not a cystic fibrosis carrier!
  • I have a follicle! OMG! SO AWESOME! ***side note: As much as Dr. B tells me that OPKs are a waste of money and charting is a waste of time, I still continue doing both, and he cannot make me stop hehe. I truly don’t see the problem in either. I believe anything that helps a patient know her body better and gives her a sense of participating in her own treatment is a positive, not a negative.*** I had a smiley face on my OPK when I woke up today, so I was already pretty freakin happy about that. So when the 21 mm follicle showed up on the u/s this morning, even the ultrasound tech woman was marveling over it and congratulated me (which was sorta awkward. Like, I really didn’t do anything here, so how much credit can I take? Hmm.) My uterine lining was 9 mm, which she said was the minimum they like to see. She said OV is imminent in the next 48 hours. DH and I have been preparing for it since Sunday though, cause it’s better to be both late and early than to just be too late.
  • My FSH was a 10. Dr. B said that was on the higher end of normal, but he seemed pretty happy about it nonetheless. I return on Thursday morning for another u/s and even more blood work (yech) to be sure I ovulated.

Update to follow.

headstails IF