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

Is IUI Worth It?

I’ve been mulling over DH and my options this week by reading up on IUI success rates (and the procedure itself, which seems pretty basic). The success rates seem ridiculously small! Although we’re back on the TTC merry-go-round with BD (fertile window begins tomorrow—yay!), I keep thinking in the back of my head though that, if natural means fail and we go forward with assisted reproductive help, what our best options would be.

Dr. B recommended IVF during our very first visit with him. He flat out said that IUI wouldn’t likely work, but if DH and I wanted to try it, we could. He’s the third doctor who’s strongly suggested we do IVF. But man is it expensive! (I cynically think sometimes that docs suggest it more to take your money than because a patient truly needs it. Money makes the world go round, and infertile couples strait up will. pay. anything.) Unfortunately for me, Pennsylvania has such screwy health care laws, and like no one in this state has any portion of IVF covered under insurance, ever, or so I’ve been told. So we’d be looking at thousands of dollars for one IVF cycle, not to mention the injections, the procedure itself, time off work, etc. Not saying I’ve written it off as a possibility in the future, but, for now, IVF is still on the backburner.

Which leaves us with our current path of doing IUI. From what Dr. B says, our 4% chance of conceiving naturally jumps to only 8 – 20% chance using IUI. And it’ll cost around $800. And insurance covers nada. I’m wondering if IUI is worth such small odds? It doesn’t sound terribly effective. Does anyone know someone who’s conceived with IUI? Or have you been down the IUI road and don’t think it’s worth it? I’ve been scouring websites and blogs and haven’t really read anyone’s story who has. Yet.

On a Happy Spring Friday note (it’s 50º in Philly—heat wave!), I leave you with my two fave infertility memes:

favememe endoovercome