Saturday, December 29, 2007

Juno

* Warning: Minor movie spoilers

We went to see the movie, "Juno" the other day. It was really good. It is the story of a teenage girl who gets pregnant and does the heroic thing of placing her baby for adoption. Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman play the adoptive parents. I found myself relating to Jennifer Garner's character so much.

I was reading another blog and she expressed this thought that I totally understood. When Juno meets Vanessa (JG) and Mark (JB), she tells Vanessa how lucky she is to not be pregnant after listing all the "ills" of being pregnant -- having to go to the bathroom all the time, etc. The quick shot to the look on Vanessa's face in return is one that only those who have been touched by infertility probably even noticed. She had a look on her face that I recognized -- a coy smirk, sad, and screaming of "what I wouldn't give," yet merciful too, realizing that like most people, she just didn't understand. It felt so good to identify with JG's character.

Later in the movie, Juno notices that Vanessa has purchased many baby things herself and wonders why she isn't having a baby shower. She'd been disappointed before. She is cautious. I know the feeling. With infertility in general, you just get used to -- and expect to be -- disappointed.

Toward the end of the movie, Juno narrates how she didn't want to see the baby and how the baby never felt like her and Paulie's (the birthfather). "He was always hers," she says. How unbelievably beautiful and unselfish. Well said.

"How do I look?" asks Vanessa to Juno's stepmom upon holding her son for the first time. "Like a new mom...scared sh**less."

And isn't this what THIS is all about anyway? Being a mom? Somehow, when I strip all the emotion and disappointment and doctor's visits and crud of this whole TTC journey away, it really just boils down to the fact that I just want to be someone's mommy. It really helped as we think about our options as we move forward.

In other news, I have to give it to the glucophage for being consistent. Ovulation on cd 17 once again, and a couple positive OPK's to boot. (That's right -- no Ovidrel!)

Go me.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas


Even though it's been the toughest year of my life, I rejoice in the birth of Jesus and that He is still the same...yesterday, today and forever.

You Are Still the Same -- The Clark Brothers

It's a crazy world we live in

There's a lot of sadness, lot of hurting too


But you are still the same God

You won't ever change God

And I don't have to cry a lot

Cause I know you love me

I don't need no diamond rings, fancy cars or shiny things

I just need to know you're near

I know, I know, you're here

Cause you are still the same God

You won't ever change God

And I don't have to cry alot

Cause I know you love me

(Watch this song performed)
http://www.youtube.com/v/MTvSq4OYgtg&rel=1


From our little family to yours...Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

No Stranger

It's cycle day 12 today. I know...how exciting! Not really. I have been enjoying my time in lala-I-don't-care-about-fertility-I'm-taking-a-break-land.

I went in to get the cyst checked on mid-cycle instead of at the beginning of the cycle to see if I happened to be developing a follicle too with the glucophage. You know, kill two birds with one stone, but really it was all about the cyst. It's so funny. They were on a mission to get out of that place. As soon as I opened the door, the receptionist said, "Rebecca is here." I was immediately whisked into the US room upon signing in. Gee, they acted like it was Christmas or something. ;-)

Amazingly, even though I've only been a stranger from the ultrasound magic wand for 6 weeks or so, I found myself in the changing room forgetting what I was supposed to do. You'd think after months and months of weekly and daily monitoring, I'd never forget anything about the process, but not to worry, I eventually remembered. "Empty bladder, undress waste down, wrap paper around body and hold tightly while shimmying to table, assume position, hear tech say "This is going to be cold." Right, I remember. It's just like riding a bike...

I do have two follicles on the right (1.7 and 1.2) and the cyst is gone! The nurse told me to monitor lh and so on -- the regular stuff. I gave them some Christmas cookies and was out of there.

I stopped by my OB/GYN's office on the way out and wished them a Merry Christmas. They are just the best. The receptionist there said they saw my RE the other day and asked him when he was going to get me pregnant. She was also the one who "rescued me" on the horrific Friday I found out about the UU. How sweet of them to still think of me. I haven't talked to them since August!

I got home and went back to work when the nurse called. Strange, I thought. Nothing to discuss and I knew they were trying to high tale it out of there. "B, I just talked to Dr. S and he wants you to use Ovidrel if you don't have an lh surge on your own. " O...kay. I didn't expect for him to want me to do that, so I was caught a bit off guard, but no big deal.

My lining is only 5.6, so I am a little concerned, but what can you do? I hope it will get better as the days go on.

Looking forward to the weekend, relaxing and having a break from work!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Celebrate

"The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal."

I've always loved this quote by C. S. Lewis. I used to think of it in a backward, past tense, but it recently hit me that this can be thought of in a future tense too. The pain that I am experiencing now will be part of the happiness then because when I am finally holding my child, all the pain on the road to get me there will make my joy even deeper. It's all connected. That pain will be part of my happiness. It's strange to think about.

I've been pretty sad lately. Tears are at the surface pretty much all the time. I guess I'm starting to come to terms with everything and that's a very, very hard thing to do. How do you let go yet still hope? It's been a tough couple of years. Hoping and hurting again and again and again. Watching friends and family's dreams come true while letting go of my own.

I had my work Christmas party the other night and they went down the list of people that had gotten married, had babies or are pregnant in 2007 and congratulated them one by one. I sat very still, with this forced, fake smile on my face, blinking back tears knowing that if I moved one muscle on my face I was going to lose it and have to leave the room. I wonder why we don't have a category for those unsung heroes of the year who displayed courage, didn't give up, kept going, knew when to give up, got out of bed each morning despite stifling sadness, faced tremendous disappointment yet kept their faith and somehow managed to pick up the pieces and go on?

This time of year is so hard with so much focus on reflection, celebration and family. I guess I can celebrate the fact that I made it through, yes several thousand dollars poorer and battle scars to prove it, but I made it through stronger. Career still intact. Marriage still strong. Faith still intact.

I had a normal, 31 day cycle this month. Hey... now that's something to celebrate!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

One Nice Feeling

We are back from our vacation to Disney World. We had a wonderful time. We also visited my sister, brother-in-law and nephews. It was a joy spending time with them. There is nothing quite like the feeling of having a just bathed, newborn baby swaddled on your chest while rocking him to sleep, or hearing the sweet little voice of my other nephew calling for his dog, "Shel-she" or Shelby as her name is. :-)

We always have a blast at Disney, but it's always a little sad seeing all the parents with children enjoying the parks. It magnifies the pain. When we'd get our picture taken by the photographers, they'd ask, "Just you two?" "Yes, just us."

I seem to be used to the glucophage now which is good, (I think I actually ovulated on it, in fact) and am still feeling the painful cyst on my right ovary. I hope it goes away soon. I'll go in midcycle next cycle to get it checked on.

Our Christmas tree is up and we are enjoying watching cheesy ABC Family Channel Christmas movies and eating Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark. It doesn't get much better than that, folks. Has anyone seen Mimi Rogers in "The Christmas List"? It's the best!

It's good to be back!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

28




I turned 28 yesterday. I never in a million years would have believed that I would have celebrated my 28th birthday and not be a mother too -- let alone have never been pregnant. In my plan, I was going to have my first at 26 followed by my second at 28. In fact, I started trying right before my 26th birthday. And if I could have looked into a crystal ball and seen me two years later -- right now -- and have seen all that I was going to go through, I wonder what I would have thought. That's why I'm glad I don't have a crystal ball. I think God gives me just enough light and strength to take my next step, because I couldn't have handled knowing what was in store all at once. Alas, I still have the hope inside that maybe, just maybe it'll be different next year.

Despite all this, it's really only a small part of who I am. Infertility is not my identity. I am so thankful for my 28 years and all that I have experienced and who I am today. I live a rich, full life with lots of love and laughter.

So, in light of my 28th birthday, I thought I'd list 28 things I am thankful for!

In no particular order:

1. A job I love
2. Living in the South
3. Autumn
4. My dogs and their unconditional love
5. A husband that loves me
6. A warm home
7. Being able to laugh with friends who "get it"
8. 2 paid for cars
9. Health
10.Hugs
11.That life is characterized by seasons
12.My church
13.Hope
14.A faith that I can cling to
15.My siblings
16.7 years of marriage with no kids
17.The memories I have of traveling with my husband
18.The sunset on Anna Maria Island, FL
19.That there is always tomorrow
20.Friends
21.A comfy bed to lay my head down on each night
22.Laughter
23.Scrapbooks
24.Peace in the midst of storms
25.Going to Disney
26.Josh's mom and dad
27.Prayer
28.More hope

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Peace and Rest


My husband and I raised two orphaned baby squirrels until they were ready to go back out into nature last spring and recently he sent me this picture we took with the message, "This is what I want for you...peace and rest."

This is what I wish for all of us on this journey.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

My period started again on cd 18 of my cycle. That and the pain I had on my right side near my nearly overstimulated right ovary clued me in that I probably had another gigantic cyst. And I do. The best news? I paid for it! Ha! (Another lingering reminder of Follistim -- the gift that just keeps giving.)

Anyway, I had to go in for a cyst check today, and they found one indeed -- 4.5 cm on the right side. I hate that I know my body so well. I hate it. I feel so betrayed by it, yet I'm intensely attuned to it. As I walked out of the ultrasound room, the good old doc was standing there and said, "Hey, B!" Boy, it's sad that he knows my name that well.

He came in the room and was upbeat with my case today (Dr. Jekyll?), I think mainly because we weren't talking about me carrying a baby, but about getting pregnant. Those are two completely different things in his mind I think. I asked him if he had completely ruled out natural conception in my case, and he replied with a resounding "no". He explained there are some that he sees where the prognosis is not good but that he's never felt that way about me -- that it's just a lot tougher to get there. He's said the same thing before -- but only when we're talking conceiving. Whatever. I'll take it.

So, we have to check on the cyst next cycle. Hopefully by that time, I'll also be used to the glucophage. It's made me somewhat sick. "Let's only do glucophage for 6 months. We'll need to try something different if that doesn't work. We don't want to do gonadotrophins on you again though. We know that those are very powerful in you and dangerous too." Ya think?

And now I'll leave you with this...

There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.
I have longed and waited.
I have cried and prayed.
I have endured and planned over and over again.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.

I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes I will be a wonderful mother.

~Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Money's Worth

I didn't receive any new news or shocking revelations yesterday at the appointment with the doctor. He still holds true to wanting me to pursue a gestational carrier and do IVF. He's wanted me to do this since day one.

He pulled out the scary statistics once again (thankfully, he has them secured in my chart so he can conveniently flip to them should I get too hopeful and he feel the need to reign me in) -- a 30% live birth rate from some study in 2005 and then some seven-year-old, outdated study from Finland where they studied a whopping 8 people and only got a 5% live birth rate. To his defense, he didn't put much stock in the Finnish study -- something about low pregnancy rates and them drinking a lot of vodka over there anyway. But I digress.

When we first walked in, we sat down and I pulled out my notebook full of questions and after some small talk, I fired away. One after another after another. Let's just say I got my money's worth. My husband was mortified after about 45 minutes of it, but I was paying him for every minute he sat there, and after everything I've been through, what happened with my last cycle and the money I've spent at that place, I deserved to have every question answered. And I didn't feel one bit bad about it.

My first question? What happened with my last cycle. "You have a hair-trigger ovary. They were slow to respond at first because of the PCOS, so we kept the dosage higher, but then they took off and we couldn't reign them back in. You'll make a lot of eggs for IVF and your ovaries are good, it's the PCOS that makes ovulation induction hard." At that explanation, I was good to move on. It's in the past now.

We talked about the UU at length again. I asked him about why he thought the tube was bad. He said there's no way to tell, but that because the uterus forms from the fallopian tubes and the fact that my uterus is malformed and is a birth defect makes them suspect something is also wrong with the tube.

I decided to go on glucophage to help me ovulate, so we talked about that and then after a while he stopped me and brought me back to the IVF and GC as to what he believed should be my main focus. I thanked him and he gave me a BBT chart and told me how to use it to track ovulation while on glucophage. Yeah, I think I know how to use one of those by now considering I AM AT A FERTILITY CLINIC NOW AND ALL, but thanks. I used those back when TTC was fun.

Aside from all of this, the RE is such a darn nice guy. I must say I appreciate him not wanting me to have a loss and seeming to look out for our best interests. I just don't want to hear it. I admit it. "You're not here for a pregnancy. You are here because you want a baby to hold in your arms at the end of it." I know. But I want both.

After promising to fax my charts to him and come in for an ultrasound with my next period to check on cysts, I gave my nurse a hug and we left.

Immediately after, we went to eat at a very well-known fast food restaurant here in the South and as we were sitting there, I just had the strangest feeling that he was going to walk in there. Guess what? Yeah, he did. He came over and we talked about his addiction to said place's chicken sandwiches. Can you say, awkward? We went from talking about my "birth defect" uterus to chicken sandwiches in under an hour flat.

Good stuff.

Well, that's it. We aren't sure what we are going to do next and don't feel the need to know right now, but taking a break, living life and letting God be God sounds pretty good to me right now. I must admit, I am so relieved.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Respite

Well, tomorrow is our final appointment with the clinic for a while. It's such a strange feeling. I am excited to be through with going there all the time and being poked and prodded. I'm glad I won't be on the constant emotional roller coaster you stay on when in the midst of treatment -- wondering how many follicles I will have or won't have, stressing about them growing or not growing, hoping they are on my "good" side, stressing whether my husband will be in town for the IUI, etc. I'm also looking forward to people not asking all the time about what's going on and knowing the details of my private life. I am looking forward, in that sense, to fading into oblivion again -- just like everyone else. Oh, for one day for someone not to ask about my infertility. Believe it or not, there is more to me than that. Infertility is NOT my identity.

While I'm glad for a respite from all of this for a while, I'm also sad. I have to admit I like knowing what side I'm going to ovulate from and when. I like that my cycle has been monitored so that I know what is going on at any given time. And I love how my cycles have become increasing shorter (21 days this past time) because fertility treatment tends to speed them up for me. Even though I've had all "no's" during treatment, time seemed to go by faster because I always felt that I was doing something. By the time you get your period, it's almost time for cd 3 ultrasound, and then you are taking drugs. By that time you're done with that, it's another ultrasound, then an IUI shortly after and a week after that, a progesterone check. Because you stay busy, it goes by faster. So, I'm sure after all this, one cycle on my own will seem like an eternity, especially because of the PCOS.

I have a ton of questions for the doctor tomorrow. I can't believe I'm walking out of there with no pregnancy after all this. When I started with them back in March, tomorrow was the day that I feared -- a conversation and meeting because it didn't work.

Having IVF out there as a potential next step in the future has given me some hope. I plan to ask about it tomorrow.

My cycle started Wednesday, 3 days after stopping the progesterone, and only lasted 48 hours. I also had no PMS symptoms at all -- not even any cramping. The RE said to expect a heavy period, but instead I got the lightest period I've had in a long time despite the Follistim. Strange.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Starting to Come Out of the Fog

"It is awfully hard to be b-b-brave, when you're only a Very Small Animal."

- Piglet


The last reminders of this past cycle are beginning to fade. I finished my progesterone last night and the lovely Follistim bloat is finally starting to go down. So, I got the side effects of Follistim and none of the potential benefits. The only thing left to officially finish out this cycle is the exclamation mark of a period.

I have been showered with love from so many over the past week or so. Both strangers and friends alike. I am blessed to know eight women off the top of my head who are either walking the infertility road with me right now, or have walked it in the past. I work with most of them, so on any given day, I can walk over to their cubicle and cry if I need to. The day before my cycle got cancelled, one of them offered to walk outside with me and just listened to me. Two of them go to the same doctor I do. I meet with three of them two Mondays a month to talk and pray together. My boss also went through infertility at the same clinic, so I've never had to stress about missing work, which has been one less thing to worry about. She gets it. The day I was going to get the verdict on the cycle (AKA The Doomed Friday), I got a text message from another one. I got cards in the mail. Another fertile friend teared up when I gave her the news. She had been praying for me all week. My sister lost sleep over me. I'm very blessed.

Today, I went over to an old co-worker's home for lunch. She didn't struggle with infertility, but she has walked this road with me and is the most compassionate person I've ever met. She just listened and let me cry. And she hugged me long and hard. It felt so good to be hugged like that and to not have to apologize for any of my tears.

I realized this week how incredibly blessed I am that I don't have to walk through this pain alone. If there is any silver lining to this trial, it's that I was reminded of how God graciously placed these people in my life. He didn't expect me to walk the road alone.

I told my husband last night that something just doesn't feel right about moving -- moving out of this house and moving on with life. And not in the sense that it's not wise financially or anything like that. It just doesn't feel right. I feel like I'm leaving my heart somewhere else and my body is moving on with life.

My husband said we are going to do better if we embrace this and surrender and move on. I agree with him. But while I embrace it, I'm also grieving it, all at the same time.

I know this is not the end. I'm not giving up. IVF is still on our radar possibly one day. I guess I'm just grieving this part of the journey -- that the treatments we've tried thus far didn't work. I have much to be thankful for with nothing else visibly wrong other than PCOS. As confused and upset as I get, I'll never give up hope.

Never.

I think it's the human condition.

Thanks to all those who have commented on my blog too. You guys have encouraged me more than you know.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Still Reeling

I spoke with the nurse yesterday morning. She called me first thing Monday after I left the message on Friday afternoon.

After asking me how it was going and I was silent for a second, she offered, "Are you devastated?" I explained to her that, yes, I was absolutely devastated. In a very polite, honest, real tone, as if talking to a friend, I just explained everything to her. I didn't hold back. I explained to her how this was our last cycle, how frustrated I was to have spent $2400 dollars and not to have even had a chance, how we drained the last of our savings to do it, and how ironic it was that the fertility doctor was telling me to stay away from my husband. I told her that I didn't understand what happened from Thursday to Friday for the doctor to have changed his mind. She explained that she didn't think he thought the smaller follicles were going to grow like they did. After reading him the sizes over the phone she said he was like, "Wait, how many?" and knew by the tone in his voice that he was going to cancel. She said she was thinking, "You're not even going to give her a choice?" and that she told him he was going to have to call me. She didn't want to do it. "I am so, so sorry," she said.

She is a great nurse and I hope I didn't go overboard -- I don't think I did. But I just needed to feel heard and for them to know that beyond that medical chart of numbers and levels and ultrasound pictures, there is a real person who was effected by the news and decisions made and will be reeling from it for a long time. I know they know this, but I wanted her to hear the heartbreak and be reminded of the casualties that they might have become callused to by seeing this and having to do this every day. There was just no way I could put on a happy face and pretend I wasn't effected by it, with a "you win some, you lose some" attitude and talk about the logistics of the progesterone script I needed her to call in. There was no way.

We made a follow-up appointment for a couple of weeks from now where I'm sure I will have 101 questions. The first being, you guessed it, "What the crap happened?"

In other news, the pharmacy graciously agreed to take back my Ovidrel if I promised to keep it refrigerated over the weekend. As I was driving back to the pharmacy, I just cried. It wasn't fair that I was having to do this. It wasn't supposed to be like this. On top of it all, the pharmacy is right near the doctor's office, so all of the events of last week came flooding back over me. Just one week before, I was at this office complex, full of hope and excitement, and just like that, it was all over. Just 10 days prior, I had a phone conversation regarding starting this doomed cycle with the doctor in the parking lot of the same pharmacy as I was walking in to buy Follistim to start my cycle. And now, with returning my Ovidrel, I was officially ending this cycle in the same parking lot. I guess you could say it came full circle.

It's amazing to see what kind of drama you can literally buy yourself in just 10 short days.

I am back to work tomorrow after taking a couple of days off for my mental health and the always delightful sinus allergies.

I promise my posts won't always be this depressing. ;-)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Canceled Cycle, Canceled Dreams

William Parrish: It's hard to let go, isn't it?
Joe Black: Yes it is, Bill.
William Parrish: And that's life... what can I tell you.
(From Meet Joe Black)


I'm just angry today. I'm angry for what happened; I'm angry that I was given so much hope; I'm angry for the way the cancellation was handled and I'm angry that at a time when I've never been more fertile in my life, I can't even try.

I'm angry.

Call it going through the stages of grief or whatever you want, but I'm just ticked off.

Re: Being more fertile than I've ever been, and can't even try. Isn't this ironic? I paid this clinic to help me have a baby, and the fertility doctor tells us to "stay away from each other." Is there something not messed up about that statement? I really wonder how much good they really did for me. It's just ironic to me that the things they have done for me have actually inadvertently caused me to not even have a chance at pregnancy because its caused me to have to go on birth control and have cycles canceled thereby preventing pregnancy.

Another reason this has been so hard to take is that for us, it not only was a canceled cycle, it was the end of the fertility road for us. That phone call changed the direction of our life.

I live almost 40 miles from my job. I spend 3 hours a day in traffic. I wake up at 4:45 a.m. each morning to get a head start on the morning commute. I have done this for 2.5 years with the hope and plan that I was doing it for my baby -- for my children. I have always planned to be a stay-at-home mom once I had children. In order to do this, we needed to stay in this house. I've always been a responsible, type A, first-born planner. I've always done the "right" thing. So, I've stuck it out, praying that something would give and all this sacrifice would pay off. Instead, I just got more pain.

We decided that if this cycle didn't work, that we would have to move closer to my job. It was kind of like a fleece that we put out there. I just can't do it anymore, especially with no child in sight. I love what I do, and can't imagine working anywhere else, so it's the thing to do.

So, the little room in the front of my house that I dreamed I would decorate for my first baby -- the one that I've walked in for the last 2 years daydreaming of what color I'd paint the walls, won't be my nursery after all. And it just sucks.

That's why that quick phone call was so jarring. It was more than just a canceled cycle, an isolated event, to me. It signaled a shift in our life, and one that I don't want to embrace right now.

Because it means I didn't get my baby.

Friday, October 12, 2007

That's all folks

WARNING: Follistim; May cause heartache.

One side effect the manufacturers of Follistim failed to warn its consumers of in the fine print was potential heartache.

My cycle was canceled today. Canceled. Over $2000 dollars in since my period started 10 days ago, and arms and a stomach that resemble some sort of junkie, it's over.

My ovaries responded too well. I had at least 10 mature follicles and 17 on the board total and an estradiol level of over 4200 today. Yes, you read that number correctly.

The past 24 hours have been quite the roller coaster. At 3pm yesterday, I expected him to cancel, so when he made no mention of it and was telling me the risk was minimal and that things were looking great, I was walking on air. This morning, the nurses were so excited for me, "I think you should definitely do it," and on my way out said, "We think you are going to get pregnant this month!"I was so hopeful and had a smile on my face as I headed to the pharmacy for the Ovidrel trigger shot. Needless to say, when 3pm rolled around and I hadn't heard from the clinic on when to be there for the IUI and the final okay to trigger, I was a little concerned, but not exactly mentally prepared for what 3pm today would hold.

At 3pm, I was starting to get nervous and when the "unknown" caller came up on my cell phone, I knew it was the doctor and if it was the doctor, it only meant one thing.

In a very rushed, quick, CYA phone call, he said,"B? This is Dr. S. Well, girl, we're going to have to throw in the towel. It's just too risky. You've got 10 mature follicles and your estradiol is over 4200. You've fought the good fight, and it was valiant effort, but we just can't do it." Gulp. I honestly thought he was joking with me at first -- that he was going to tell me he was kidding and when to be at the clinic because of the quick, flippant manor he told me the news in, especially after he was so upbeat yesterday. I was blindsided.

Stunned, but still coherent, I asked him a few questions. It's all quite a blur and especially what with the two other phone calls he had in the midst of our quick conversation.

"Your ovaries work, we know that. If I were to do this again, I'd start you at a lower dosage..." I explained that we weren't doing THIS again -- that we were done unless we do IVF someday.

"I'll probably advise putting you on birth control through the holidays."

Great. You're a fertility clinic right? You help people get pregnant, right? Then how come most of the things you've done for me have caused me to have to go on birth control which prevents pregnancy or given me too high of dosages of drugs causing me to cancel cycles? I think I might have done better on my own. Thanks.

I told him I was heartbroken, but I understood and didn't want a tragedy, and he replied with some medical babble about it not being about being heartbroken, "but that with elective medicine, we have to be responsible," blah, blah, blah.

I know that, dude, but your quick check-it-off-my-list-I-cancel-cycles-everyday phone call just effectively ended my fertility journey and inadvertently broke my heart. When you get off the phone with me, you'll forget about me and my cycle -- another casualty in the field of infertility. I know it happens every day for you. But not for me. I had all my hopes and dreams wrapped up in this last cycle. I bet the farm, gave up my vacation, and drained my savings on it. You can't just call me and flippantly tell me this and expect me not to be heartbroken -- to just look at it medically.

After telling me to stay away from my husband for a week, and that he was going to have the nurse call me in progesterone to end the cycle and that I needed to start it by Saturday night, he got another call.

"I've got another call. I need to go." Okay.

I said goodbye and just sat stunned in some fixed gaze, reeling from what he had quickly just told me, trying to process it all.

To top it off, the nurse never called, nor did they answer the phone so I guess I won't be starting any progesterone this weekend. I feel so unsettled. I know they cancel cycles every day, but I don't have my cycle canceled everyday, and it hurts.

I have so many things rolling around in my head to write, but I'll save those posts for another day. Right now, I just want to go to bed and pretend this day never happened. I can't stop crying.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Busy Becca"

Right ovary: a bunch
Left ovary: a bunch
E2: Soaring!

Yeah, let's just say the nurse called me "Busy Becca" when she came in this morning to give me my follicle report. I have a ton. Thank you, PCOS.

It has been a very tense couple of days. I knew this process would be intense, but not this intense. I have been in the fertility clinic every morning this week since Monday, and tomorrow will be no exception. When you're on this strong of fertility drugs and when you have PCOS like I do, you have to be monitored very, very closely.

Yesterday, more follicles came on the board and then today, even more. The good news is I have a couple of lead follicles, and the ones that are small and have recently come on board, probably won't mature and release. I was scared to death that we were going to have to cancel because of having so many follicles. I was almost in tears this morning. To have spent this much time, effort and money without being able to complete the cycle would be devastating.

This ovulation induction business is such a game. I go in each morning at 8am for an ultrasound and blood work. In the afternoon, the nurse calls me and tells me what the doctor wants to adjust my dosage to and what my E2 level is. I have done that each day. This morning, however, the nurse said Dr. S would want to talk to me at this point. I walked out of the ultrasound room absolutely thinking they were going to cancel the cycle.

I was catatonic most of the day, staring at my computer screen, trying to get some work done, and keep it together. I was sick to my stomach and emotionally drained, bracing for the worst.

The doctor called me at 3pm and said that he felt the risk was minimal of multiples (what we're afraid of), that things were looking pretty good and to dial the dosage down to 50 IU and come back in the morning for more blood work. The game I was talking of before is trying to get the bigger follicles to still grow and hoping the smaller ones don't catch up.

He told me I was a "very brave little lady" and that "he was proud of me for sticking it out so long." Again, a fabulous, compassionate doctor. I'm very lucky.

Physically, I just feel strange. I know exactly where my ovaries are -- I'll tell you that, and my emotions are all over the place (thank you, Follistim). My E2 level was high, but the doctor said that was the PCOS speaking. And, I think they've run out of places to draw blood from me.

I'll know more tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

CD 7

Right ovary: 1.2 cm, 1.0 cm
Left ovary: 1.1 cm, 1.0 cm
E2: 1222 (Yikes!)

I'm to keep dosage at 100 IU and return tomorrow. Nurse said not to worry about E2 yet.

I feel like a stuck pig. Nurse tried to stick me in left arm and that didn't work, so I got stuck again in the right arm. My arm is bruised and I'm running out of spots to get stuck. Between the shots in the stomach and the blood draws from my arms, I look like a flippin' junkie. I have marks everywhere.

Do people really get pregnant without getting ultrasounds everyday, giving themselves shots and spending thousands of dollars? And to think I used to think OPK's were expensive and inconvenient. Sheesh.

Monday, October 8, 2007

CD 6 of IUI #3

My ultrasound this morning revealed 4 follicles at .9 cm on my left and 1 follicle on my right at 1.o cm and another one at .9 cm. Everything else was small.

The nurse called me a little while ago with my E2 level. It is 766 which she said was a little high for cd 6, so I am to reduce my dosage to 100 iu and go back in the morning.

More tomorrow...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Dial it up, baby! (The Follistim that is)

The nurse called earlier and said my E2 levels were fine and that the cyst appeared to be on its way out. They see these all the time and it will be fine.

I spoke with the doctor this afternoon. I got him right before he leaves for vacation for 2 weeks. I was in the parking lot of the pharmacy when he called getting ready to drop the money for the very expensive Follistim.

I'll tell you, my RE is the nicest, friendliest doctor I have ever met. His bedside manner is second to none. When he called, he said, "Becca? Hi! This is your friendly neighborhood doctor!" We chatted about his upcoming vacation and he later asked me what I was doing this weekend. What a nice guy. The other thing I like about him is he is very honest.

I began the conversation explaining the cyst. Not having my chart in front of him, I figured with hundreds of patients, he would need me to review. But he didn't. The man has an unbelievable memory. I remember one of the nurses telling me one time it was like photographic. Not only did he remember the huge cyst, he remembered the exact size it shrunk down to and that he had put me on the pill last month for it.

He basically told me that he wasn't concerned about the cyst. He told me if the cycle didn't work, he wouldn't attribute it to the cyst -- he would attribute it to a tubal issue. He thinks that the reason nothing has worked so far could be because there is something functionally wrong with the one good tube I have. He's told me this before. Yes, the tube is open and looks good, but it must do more than just be open. It must "squirt stuff" and be able to move the egg down the way to the uterus. It's something that they can't test for, though. There's just no way to be sure. So, it's an educated guess.

He said it was so much money to do an all injections, and said he'd almost tell me to just do IVF and bypass the whole tube mystery. I explained it would be a while before we could do IVF, so he agreed that it was worth a try.

So, we're going to do it. Guns blazing, full force, give-it-everything-I've-got -- here I come. I am determined to have a positive attitude.

I started with Follistim 150iu and will continue through the weekend. Monitoring on Monday morning.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What To Do?

I started my period yesterday (finally!) and had my ultrasound today. Dear old cyst is still there, but dramatically smaller. It went from 5.3 cm to 1.4 cm. Not bad for a months time, I guess.

So, a nurse came in who isn't my normal nurse and took my blood. She couldn't find a good vein, so I offered the other arm. It hurt so badly -- not the initial prick, but as the blood was coming out. Then, she gave me a piece of paper with my cycle instructions on it, and I was like, huh? I told her that this cycle was all out of pocket and I was concerned about the cyst. She told me Dr. S would look at the ultrasound picture and blood work and absolutely give me his opinion on what I should do -- that he wouldn't tell me to do it unless he was really confident about it. She thought it would be fine because it was so small. So, I didn't get to see or talk to the doctor and I left frustrated because I had no answers on what to do.

The nurse called me back at 4:45 p.m. and said Dr. S looked at the ultrasound picture and said, "Boy, this looks a whole lot better than it did." She said he looked at it for a long time and said he absolutely thought I should go ahead and felt very confident that it would be fine. She told him I wanted a "perfect" cycle and he said unless the blood work comes back strange, we should move forward. SO, I was really happy that she called. I'm going to wait to hear on my blood work and then ask that the doctor call me so I can ask him a few questions and be assured of moving forward.

So, if all goes well, I'll start injections Friday. 13 follicles on the left ovary, 11 on the right.

Let the party begin.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Waiting

Well, I finished the birth control Friday and I am still waiting for my favorite friend to show up. Ugh! It's coming, very slowly. I mean very slowly. I'm really anxious to get started with the injections. It's funny how when you want your cycle to start, it stalls. What torture.

I have been taking the Omega Complex for about a month now, so that's good. Kate -- did you end up having good luck with it recently?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Update

Well, I've been enjoying my hiatus from all things fertility. Even though I don't like the idea of being on birth control, it's an incredible feeling not to know what cycle day I'm on and to know I have no chance of getting pregnant at all. It's like I'm on vacation without a care in the world!

I've been spotting for probably 8 days straight now. I suspect dear old cyst might still be hanging around -- but I do hope it isn't and that it's just the bc hormones. Not too much longer and I'll know for sure.

These 2 cycles off have been so good for me to clear my head, really pray and get clarity on things. Without the day to day stress of fertility monitoring and drugs that tends to fog my brain and cloud my judgment sometimes, I've been freed up to really listen to God and what He has to say about all this pain and how to proceed.

As a Christian, I see all things through the lens of God and what I believe to be his sovereignty over my life. Being a Christian doesn't mean that I never sob over my situation, get raging mad at Him for his seemingly lack of care toward me, collapse in disappointment or question Him. What I can tell you though, is that He is my anchor of hope -- the anchor I throw down in the midst of the storm raging around me. I believe He put my body together the way it is and that in the midst of this intense suffering and pain, He has not lost control. I may have, but He never has. His unending love for me and what I believe He did for me on the Cross are what compels me to run back to Him and to trust Him even when it is so very dark --

And still dark.

I have a little piece of canvas at my desk at work that reminds me that God is painting on a canvas far bigger than I can see right now. It reminds me that the season of infertility is just a tiny mosaic on the larger canvas that is my life.

There is no "bow" to my story and I realize there may never be, but what brings me comfort is knowing that I can rest in the assurance that He is there and that I am going to be okay in the end.

Would I take back the infertility and the pain and the anguish and February 16, 2007 when I found out about the UU for what I had planned, even though good has come from it? ABSOLUTELY. I may love and trust God, people, but let's be real -- who says "yes" to pain?

I will tell you one thing, though. I am not the same woman I was 2 years ago. Yes, I get angry at God, and I'll get angry with Him again. And no, I'm not one of those Christians who goes around quoting Romans 8:28 that "all things work together for good..." with a smile on my face after a failed IUI as if having God on my side means I'm invincible from pain.

I cry and I sob and I yell and I get mad and I question how a loving God could allow me so much pain. Hadn't I had enough growing up?

But then, I'm drawn right back to Him because I have no where else to run, no where else to place my hope, but in the One whom I believe is ultimately the creator and giver of life.

Even though I let go, He never lets go.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The one thing

I spent last weekend with a dear friend. I met her on my first night of college, and we've been friends ever since.

She has a two-year old son who is just pure joy. My friend could not believe how he took to me. She told me he had never taken to someone the way he did to me. I played peek-a-boo with him, sat on the floor and twirled him around on his sit and spin and held his little hand as we walked outside. It felt so natural to me. But even though he loved me, I'm was not his mommy. Even though he was having fun with me, when his mommy wasn't in the room, he constantly asked, "Where Mommy?"

Mommy. Yes, daddy's are great, but mommies, well, they're mommy. It's a word that conjures up pictures of children only able to be soothed by the tender touch and comforting voice of their mom, of bedtime stories and babies pulling up on their mommy's legs with arms raised in a plea to be held by the person they view as chief comforter and caregiver.

I recently heard a story about how a woman had just given birth and the baby was inconsolable. The second the baby was placed on her stomach and heard his mother's voice, he instantly calmed down, comforted by the voice he had come to know so well.

I want that.

I want my baby to know my voice. I want my touch to bring comfort, healing and love. I want to get up in the middle of the night for feedings. I want to be exhausted because I've been up all night with a newborn. I want my child to only want to be in my arms and not be able to be soothed or satisfied with anyone else because they don't feel well or are going though "a phase." I want to watch my baby sleep. I want to have to lose my pregnancy weight. I want to have first birthday parties and crave strange things. I want morning sickness and exhaustion.

I want all of these things because it would mean that I would have experienced pregnancy and have become the one thing I desire more than anything in this world -- to be someone's mommy.

Friday, September 7, 2007

They Joys of Birth Control

I forgot what birth control can do to you. I was on it for 5 years, but have been off of it for almost 2. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do on the journey yet -- swallowing that first pill the other night.

I got dizzy last night and feel just generally weird. I was like, yup -- that's the birth control -- I remember now!

I have been not so nice to my husband -- flying off the handle and generally moody. The hormones have me on edge and I don't recognize myself. I don't like this me on birth control.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

That's a Picture Wrap!










Congratulations to my husband, Josh, on completing his first feature film! I love you and am proud of you! It's been a long, fun summer.

Enjoy the pictures! I was even a featured extra. I'm in the red. What can I say? I've got connections with the director!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dang You, Cyst!

**Dear gigantic cyst on my left ovary: Thanks so much for hanging around, but I think you are confused. You aren't going to ovulate and it's time for you to leave and give all the other follicles a chance. Thanks, Becca

I started my period on Sunday -- on cd 21. I think that's a first for me. Needless to say I spotted almost the entire cycle and didn't ovulate. I knew something was going on when I last wrote about calling the nurse.

She thought I was pregnant.

I knew better.

SO...I was not entirely surprised to find out that I have a GIGANTIC cyst on my ovary. Two of the cysts were gone but the third just got bigger. Great. Kind RE said I must now go on birth control to help shrink it. How ironic.

My husband says what was MORE ironic is the fact that the fertility drugs I am taking to help me get pregnant are what caused the cyst which is forcing me to get on birth control which will prevent me from getting pregnant. Yeah.

I mentioned to Kind RE how it seemed to be one obstacle after another, and he gave me a pep talk about how all his patients had obstacles or they wouldn't be there. "You'll appreciate your baby more now, once you get it."

You better believe it, doc.

So, I get a bit more of a vacation for the next three or four weeks while I go on birth control. There's something strangely calming about knowing I have not a chance to conceive this month. It takes a lot of the pressure off.

**Kate --

I haven't heard about the Omega 3-6-9, but I sure will look into it! Where do you get that?

Where are you guys on fertility friend?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hope to carry on

I called the nurse at the fabulous RE's office to inquire about my whacked out cycle this month and to see if it was normal considering the cysts, PCOS, and Follistim from last cycle. I've been having a lot of strangeness going on with my body. So frustrating, but there's nothing I can do about it. I can't control it. I think my poor hormones are very confused.

Anyway, she asked me twice if I was "okay" which is not the norm for a conversation between her and me. Usually, it's all business. She was like, "Other than your cycle, are you okay physically and emotionally?" And then again later in the conversation, "Are you sure you are okay? I am really worried about you. You sound all nervous and shaky." Looking back, I think I probably did sound a little manic. I think I was overdoing it trying to not show my concern over my body acting strange. Obviously it didn't work. I explained to her it had been a tough week.

I had my annual on Monday with the GYN -- what a breeze! Ha! It's never a treat to walk into the GYN's office not pregnant when you desperately want to be. I never dreamed a year ago I'd still be in this situation. I can remember clearly the day I went to the GYN last year for my annual and so Monday was a harsh marker of time being there again with nothing having changed.

So I'm the kind of person that gets embarrassed for other people. I feel badly for people when they feel badly for me. I don't want them to feel awkward or pity me and I usually anticipate that and try to work around it. I knew the girls at the GYN's office would feel badly for me when I walked in as they've always rooted for me. After all, I started out the journey with them. I knew they wouldn't know what to say. The sweet nurse confided in me that it just "pissed her off that women like me who deserve babies can't have them, but that yet she had an 18 year old with no business having a child in there -- that it was like a game to her." Of course that got me going in my head. But I just smiled and faked it.

This journey started out with just an innocent desire to have a baby. I can remember the giddy excitement and anticipation of making the decision to start trying. I remember thinking about the weight of what that would mean and wondering if we were ready -- you know, really ready. It was so innocent and simple, and I'm sad that that part of the experience was taken from us.

But you know what? WHEN I do get my baby, when I look into his or her eyes, I know it's going to all have been worth it. Although every baby is a blessing and a joy and a miracle, this baby of ours will be even more special. It will be a different greater joy than if we'd conceived easily -- because of what we went through to see this dream realized. We will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that precious soul was most definitely meant for us and to be on this Earth.

And that my friends, give me hope to carry on.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Yeah, we're trying!"

I got my hair done today. It's always a treat to get somebody else to blow out my thick hair! Anyway, my male hair stylist asked me, "So, are you going to try and get pregnant soon?" I've gone to him for years, so I guess he's probably thinking it's about time. I just responded with a, "Yeah, maybe." He then went further. "So, you are thinking about it?" I repsonded, "Um, yeah, we'll see." I just didn't want to get into my fertility issues with my 3o something hair guy. I'm usually a pretty open book, but can you imagine? "Yeah, I basically have been trying for two years and found out I have half a uterus and PCOS. Oh, and a thyroid problem. We've spent more than half of our savings getting my husband's swimmers placed in me with a doctor's help and I've had surgery too! So, yeah, I guess you could say we're trying!" I don't think so. I think he might have gotten a little more than he bargained for had I been totally honest. Anyway, my hair looks great. Ha!

Well, I am 13 days into this cycle and no sign of ovulation yet. I thought I was going to early, but no dice. I am praying my dysfunctional ovaries will get with the program and work on their own this month. I secretly kind of like the occasional month of no fertility drugs just to see if those suckers will actually work on their own given my mild case of PCOS. I did ovulate on my own back in Mar/Apr and it was thrilling. Sad, I know, but I practically threw a party. My fellow PCOSers will know what I mean!

I am enjoying my month off of treatment immensely, although I still think about it and what to do next just about every second. I know the day will come when this stuff is a distant memory and I am not in pain, but right now, I am full-fledged in that season.

But, I know it's just a season. It's just a season.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sittin' It Out




I went to the doctor today and had 3 cysts on my ovaries -- I guess from the Follistim. The RE gave me a 20 - 30 % chance that it would be a bad cycle because of this. I was going to do all injectibles and was really geared up to start.

I really want a cycle that is going to be this expensive to be 100% clear at the start of it -- if nothing else, to be able to look back and not have any regrets on doing it.

So, the RE would totally have let me do it and acted like it would probably be "okay" but since we are all out of pocket, I decided to wait it out this cycle.

It was a tough decision, but I've been praying all along for wisdom, clarity and guidance, and with all that we have going on in our lives this month, plus this, it was the wise choice.

Thanks for all the support lately. It means the world! I commented back to you Kate, in the comments section. I'll probably respond to you in that way from now on. :-)

I'll leave you with some pictures of our vacation at the beach and my sweet dog, Georgia. Despite the pain of infertility, I am blessed with a rich, full life!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another failed cycle

I've been MIA for two reasons. One, I've been on vacation, and two I don't know what to say these days.

We had a great time with the family in Myrtle Beach although it was HOT and still is here in Atlanta. I enjoyed doing just about nothing for a week.

Now, I am in the midst of starting and I'm just plain disappointed. I took the Ovidrel trigger shot this time which gave me fake pregnancy symptoms for a good 9 days straight. It's so ironic and unfair.

There are so many woman that I have met who have gotten pregnant with a UU and I just can't understand why it's not working for us. Everything I've read says that a UU shouldn't cause infertility. Even my doctors said previously that they didn't think I would have a problem getting pregnant -- their concern was me carrying full-term. I always have thought it would be the opposite way around. It's so frustrating that I can't even get my foot on the huge mountain I potentially will have to climb. So why on Earth isn't it working?

This journey has been such a tough one. I've cried enough tears to fill up the Atlantic Ocean it seems. It has unfolded in stages and I've just been "so sure" the next thing would be "it". Allow me to share with you the rollercoaster I've been on for the better part of two years:

At first, after 8 months of trying, it was found that I was hypothyroid and wasn't ovulating. Great! It was obvious to everyone now why I wasn't getting pregnant. Correct the thyroid and PRESTO! I should ovulate and get pregnant, right? Wrong. Okay, okay -- still not ovulating even though thyroid is corrected -- I guess I'll take Clomid, even though I don't want to. At least I'll ovulate and get pregnant. I ovulate and hope is restored. Now we just have to give it some time. "Call us when you're pregnant!" After all, Clomid should work within 3 months! No pregnancy after 3 months and I fall apart, realizing that if it was going to happen, statistically, it would have already happened. 2 more months on Clomid. Nothing. Panic ensues. I request the HSG be done. I have a UU. I'm devastated. "No worries, woman with UU's get pregnant all the time, you just might need to have a c-section." Whew! At least now I realize why I haven't gotten pregnant yet! I only have one tube! Hope is restored and I have a new lense to view why the Clomid hasn't worked.

Now onto the RE. He wonders why I didn't get pregnant on Clomid and thinks I have endometriosis. (Now looking back, maybe I should have thought more through that considering we have no male factor, before we tried more treatment.) Okay, well that's probably it. So, I have surgery. No endometriosis! The pelvis is "squeaky clean" Perfect in every way except for the UU. I'll get pregnant with little help from the RE says nice OB/GYN.

But I haven't.

I am now running out of things to explain away why this or that hasn't worked and find myself faced with the harsh reality of everything. We're nearing the end of our options, and I can't believe I'm here.

We will do one more cycle of all injectibles next month. Barring it's a good cycle, that will be the end for us as far as fertility treatment goes. We'll always try, but this madness has to end. My little heart can't take much more -- nor our pocket books for that matter.

God, please let it work. It's time...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I had my ultrasound yesterday which revealed that the follicle on the right developed to 1.2 cm and the follicle on the left was 1.5 cm. I was told to continue the Follistim at 75 iu and give myself the trigger shot tomorrow at noon. They do think that both will release. I'll never know, though. ;-).

Strangely enough, after the doctor was so adamant about me only getting one follicle, he said if we did it again he would do all injectables. I have been doing Femara only, up until mid-cycle this time, when the follicles were so small still.

It's a big decision because it's so much money. Decisions, decisions.

Dr. S did say that my lining was really good and that many women with my anomaly can't make a lining like I did. So, that's good news!

Kate -- There isn't a way to reply back to you directly, so I am going to start replying to your comments in my comment section. :-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mid-Cycle, Round 3

I went in today for my cd 12 ultrasound. I thought something was up (or not up, as it turns out) because I wasn't having the same signs in my body at this time last month. After all, I had an IUI on cd 12 last month!

Anyway, to cut to the chase, I have 2 follicles, one on each side, that only developed to 1.1 centimeter each!! Ugh! Dang you, ovaries! ;-)

So, the doc wants to "juice up" those 2 follicles with Follistim tonight and tomorrow, and then I'll go back on Friday to see what happened. They do think that they will grow. I pray so too.

He was generally negative on my UU condition today. He gave me the grim statistics again, low pregnancy rate, high miscarriage rate and complications later on in pregnancy potentially. He swings all over the place with his opinion it seems.

I WILL NOT give up hope if it kills me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A New Look




I decided to change up the look of my blog a bit and even post some pictures of me and my husband so you could put some faces with our journey. After 6.5 years of marriage, I can truly say he is my best friend. We have a wonderful life together filled with joy, laughter and many trips to Disney World!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again -- Round 3

I had my baseline ultrasound today after FINALLY starting on Saturday. 17 follicles -- 8 on one side, 9 on the other. The doctor will not increase my dosage. Everything will remain the same. When the nurse asked him about increasing the dosage, he said, "No, she only has half a uterus. She can't have more than one baby." I totally am onboard with that thinking, I just think I'm getting antsy. When I'm more clearly thinking and it comes down to it, I don't want to take the risk.

It's kind of crazy to think I have only 3 more of these IUI's and then I'm done. Of course, I'm sure we can continue to do them as long as we want, but I think you probably get to a point of diminishing returns. As the nurse said today (and I already know this) IVF is really my only other option, and we don't feel led in that way right now.

So, that's the update! I'll start medication tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Still sad

Thank you to kj for the sweet comment. I really appreciate it! I always look forward to comments.

Today I am heartsick. The fear of never having biological children escalates with each passing month and each unsuccessful fertility treatment. It never gets easier. And now the stakes are higher, the blow harder, and the emotions stronger because of the humiliation and cost of it all.

When you are TTC on your own, not many people have to know and not much, (other than time and emotion) is spent on it. Now, I feel as if I let a whole lot of people down and the costs all around, physically, emotionally, and financially are much higher.

However, I know I did everything possible I could do, and that's all I could do.

On a funny note, while I was having my meltdown last night, I made my very insecure dog even more insecure. She was very nervous, ears back, and kept licking her lips (a sign of insecurity in dogs). My husband says it was probably because she sees me as Alpha in the pack, and Alpha was insecure, so it made her even more so. How funny.

Welp, my hubby doesn't call me Brave China Doll for nothing!

Congrats to my husband on wrapping his first feature film! I love you and am proud of you!

Monday, July 9, 2007

My heart hurts

It's a no. Again. I'm in total despair. Why won't my body work?

More when I can manage...

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Still Waiting

So, I thought about taking a picture of all the baby shower and first birthday invitations on my refrigerator just for fun, so you could see the irony of it all. But, I've thrown most of them away, so it probably wouldn't have the effect that I was going for.

I am very preplexed as to what to do. I have a really good friend whose shower is next Saturday, who has been sweet though all of this, and I really want to go to support her, but I'm afraid I'll regret it if I go. It's more of an afternoon tea, rather than a full-blown shower at someone's house, so I thought maybe I could handle it better. I don't know yet.

It's so hard because I really do want to support my friends and go to the parties and showers. I really do! I don't want to miss out and miss connecting with them. I just wish things were different on my end, so it wasn't so dang emotional and hard.

No news on my end. I'm starting to get that sinking feeling again. I have no indication whatsoever that it worked. My husband says though, that even when I do eventually get pregnant, I'll be in shock because I never and probably will never allow myself to think that way in order to protect my heart. I think he's right, unfortunately.

But, I choose to trust God that His plan is better than mine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My second IUI

So, I am shocked to report that I had my second IUI today on cd 12! It has been one crazy day. I took an OPK that was expired yesterday, so took another one yesterday afternoon. The line was so close, I couldn't call it. But, my body was showing all of the signs, so I took another one this morning. The lines were the same color. Panic. I called the office and they had me come in. We did any ultrasound and it appeared that I hadn't ovulated yet. Whew.

Right before I went to the doctor again, I tested my urine and the line was now darker than the control line. We had the IUI this afternoon. 49 million swimmers again and one nice follicle on the right side. He said my body was responding well to everything.

The doctor really thinks it going to happen one of these days, and that it's just a matter of time. That made me feel good. He even said while he was doing the IUI that "It's going to happen now or sometime in the future, but it's going to happen."

I asked him what was causing my infertility and he said it was both the PCOS and the UU. He said normally it would take a PCOS person 2 or 3 cycles to become pregnant with no other factors, but of course I have the UU, so it might take me longer.

He also explained to me about the whole left side, right side ovulation thing and said it didn't matter. He also said that an LH surge isn't like a light switch. It is something that surges over a period of time, so there's no way to pinpoint when the actual ovulation takes place. I guess that would explain why the line kept getting darker.

So, that was my fun for today!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's okay to say no

I attended a fabulous baby shower today for a friend who deserves one more than anyone. After years of struggling with infertility, she will adopt a baby girl that will be born in a few weeks. I couldn't be more than thrilled for her.

I live in the South, and a southern baby shower it indeed was. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the way showers and the like are thrown in the South, but they are nothing short of all that is southern charm and hospitality! They pulled out the china, silver, lemonade and even the cake with the baby's monogram on top and all the ladies were dressed to the nines. Very classy.

After the shower, my husband suggested I swing by the hospital to visit a friend of ours who gave birth this morning. "Okay", I said. I started having second thoughts at the shower, but wanted to be a good friend and not look bad, so I sucked it up and went. It was a huge mistake. As I walked into the building, I saw moms being wheeled out with baby and dad helping her into the car. Ouch. Then, once through the doors, pregnant women and once I got to the floor where my friend was, signs of "It's a Boy!" and "It's a Girl!" as far as the eye could see. Gulp. I knocked on the door and walked in to see my friend with her baby boy snuggled at her breast just waking up.

"Who does he look like?" "Would you like to hold him?" she asked. "Sure!" As I rocked him and looked into this brand new baby boy's face -- perfect in every way, I couldn't help but wonder if this would ever be me. Would I ever have a brand new baby snuggled up to my breast as we both softly slept? Would I ever be asking who he/she looked like? Would I be in the hospital and have visitors that came and visited? Would I know the joy of giving birth to my child?

I left after about 20 minutes, but not before passing another newborn being wheeled around in the hospital. I felt really empty leaving there. Out of place. I can't describe it.

I came home and cried. This is the season of my life where I am supposed to be having babies. I feel lost as to what I am supposed to be doing.

I am learning that it's okay to say no to things. I should have never put myself through that today. She has plenty of friends that can come and support her and cheer her on. While I am happy for her, I am not one of those people who can be that for her right now.

I am starting to get the first round of invitations for 1st birthday parties of children of friends whose showers I mustered up the strength to attend last summer along with the SEVEN baby showers I've been invited to this summer. I am learning to say "no" and take care of me sometimes in this journey. If these people only knew that it takes everything in me to attend these showers and parties -- how they wipe me out emotionally and ruin me for days. If they knew, they would know just how much I truly care about them.

Ultrasound Wednesday, IUI probably by the end of the week. Onward forward.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just some thoughts

Okay, my mantra has always been to look up vertically rather than horizontally to avoid a bunch of "why" questions and depression. For me, that means looking up at God and what he is doing specifically in my life and not horizontally at everyone and their sister who is getting pregnant and life is peaches and roses and wondering why it's not happening for me. It keeps things in perspective. I do believe each of us has our cross to bear. And this is mine.

Occasionally, (okay a lot more than occasionally) I veer from that thinking and just downright get jealous and mad. Today is one of those days. I just need to vent about it.

First, I have been invited to 6 baby showers this summer. Second, I am a witness to the largest baby boom in history at my place of employment. I'd say the median age of people I work with is 28. And I work with almost 300 people. As you can imagine, a pregnancy or baby is announced almost weekly if not daily around here. It's very hard not to dwell on the pain when it's in your face everyday. I literally can't go to the bathroom without overhearing someone announce their good news. I am dead serious. It happened.

I walked through the kitchen yesterday and overheard two pregnant women talking about how everyone is having babies. All they go to are baby showers now. Five years ago, it was bridal showers. The other one commented, "Yeah, now all of those people are having babies!" Yeah, not all of us.

Then, yesterday one complained about having to have a vaginal ultrasound. Apparently they couldn't see the baby through the other way. I laughed to myself. I'm not trying to be mean. I mean I would complain too if I had never boarded the train of infertility and been stuck (and continue to be stuck) numerous times with numerous bruises, been probed, poked, operated on, had saline pumped in my uterus, given myself shots, had numerous catheters and liquids inserted that caused pain, had my whole private life out for everyone to see and cried more tears than I can count. It just gives you a different perspective on things. I am being sincere when I say I would have been just like her, complaining about a vaginal ultrasound if I had gotten pregnant right away, because I wouldn't have walked that road. Ignorance is bliss. I just wish I could still be that naive. I wish I didn't know all of the acronyms, the difference between what IUI and IVF is, what an RE does versus an OB/GYN, and the list goes on. But this is my cross to bear, and maybe I can help someone else someday.

One more vent. At lunch today, a woman was talking about a lady we know that got pregnant "accidentally". Can someone PLEASE tell me how that happens? I mean, seriously! She went on to say that it was going to have to happen "accidentally" if it was ever going to happen for this girl, because she kept saying she wasn't ready. It all goes to show, God is in control and it happens when he wants it too. But accidentally? Only those of us who have been through infertility school know that there are no accidents when it comes to conceiving. It is a miracle that anyone ever gets pregnant with all that has to go right.

Okay, I'm done. Whew. I really do love Jesus and know he's working his perfect plan in my life. I just need to vent sometimes. I will give birth to a child in his time. I believe that with all my heart. I'll save that story for another day.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Round 2

I went to the doctor today to start round 2 of IUI's. Everything was fine and they counted 12 follicles on each side. I overheard the nurse talking to the doc on the phone about how to proceed next with me. (He is on vacation.) We will do the same thing as last month, I guess since I responded so well.

I came armed with a list of questions that I intended to leave for him for when he got back, but to my delight, the nurse said they talk to him multiple times a day and she would ask him for me. Nice vacation! Oh well, I guess in this business, you have to be available. It's amazing to me how things are so different the more money that you pay for things -- I would never get that kind of care at my primary doc's office.

So, the nurse called me within a couple of hours with the answers to my questions. She was almost apologetic telling me that Dr. S. would have rather called me himself and would have because he likes to be available to his patients, but he was going to have to go out of town for a family emergency. Would it be okay if she told me the answers and if I wasn't satisfied, he'd talk with me when he returned? Okay, so how nice and RARE is that? On his vacation! I totally heart Dr. S. The nurse said he has like a photographic memory and remembers just about everything about everyone, so I totally felt confident in his answers.

So, for my fellow UUers -- here is what I asked:

1. Should I do more than the traditional 3 IUI's because of the fact I have a tube that goes nowhere that eggs could be going up? Yes, he would recommend 5 before going on to more aggressive treatment.

2. If I ovulate on the left, should we proceed with IUI anyway? Absolutely. The ovaries and tubes sit so close together, that when you ovulate an egg, it doesn't immediately get sucked up into the adjacent tube, rather it floats around in this fluid in a pool and then it goes into a tube. Either could easily pick it up.

I feel a whole lot better today with those nagging questions being answered.

And to Kate, my first commenter -- thanks so much for your sympathy and encouragement! I was trying to figure out a way to reply to you, but didn't succeed. :-)

Friday, June 15, 2007

In the Midst of the Storm

Well, the IUI didn't work. I got my period today. And it sucks. I have no idea how my egg got past 49 million supercharged sperm , but it did. I am so very tired of the rejection each month. It's my 20th one, you know. And to add fuel to the fire, my period decided to show up 2 days later than usual -- an added bonus. So much for a shorter cycle.

I am so, so disappointed and just don't understand why. I don't know how I am going to muster the strength to endure another monthly cycle. It's unbearable to think about. I am so, so, so tired of the roller coaster that is my monthly cycle.

I feel like I let everyone down. I am so tired. I just want a baby. I just want a baby.

When will you relent, God?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My husband left today to make his first feature film. I am so proud of him and thankful to God for the opportunity before him. It has been amazing to watch God open one door after another on their behalf to make this film. It does my heart good to see a dream start to be realized.

I've been going through stuff and updating my scrapbooks today and came across our wedding album. As I opened it up and flipped through the pages, I came across a certain picture and began to cry. It's the picture of us at the altar with joined hands staring into eachother's eyes as we said our vows. The beginning of our union. I cried because there are supposed to be children by now. Children created from that union that took place six and a half years ago. See, I was supposed to be a stay-at-home mom by now. How quickly I learned I am not in control of growing our family.

I guess it's natural (especially for a woman) to "plan" how her life will go, how many kids she will have and when, where she will live, etc. And it works for most people, even for other type A's like me. In fact I work with one. I mean, it's been my heartbeat since I was a little girl. I would play with dolls, barbies, even pretend my baby sister was my baby.

I am so tired of thinking about getting pregnant. It has consumed my thoughts and I desperately want to move on and get on with my life. I don't want to live in this world of monthly cycles of hope, waiting and disappointment forever. I can't. I am tired of wishing away time in order to get to the next step in fertility treatment or in most cases -- the end of it.

I have a few more days of waiting until this insane 2WW is over. Of course I am hoping for the best. I have zero symptoms though. Wouldn't it be nice to be pleasantly surprised? To have the pride of being one of the ones "it worked the first time for"?

Hanging on to hope with everything I've got in me...

BCD

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Waiting...

It's only been 6 days since the IUI and I am going insane. I keep swinging from feelings of extreme hope to extreme negativity. I've even rehearsed in my head how my meltdown will go down. I know that's bad and negative, but it's instinctive to guard my heart.

I just can't even begin to think about anymore rides on the roller coaster. The cycle of hoping, waiting and disappointment over and over and over again can drive one absolutely insane.

I just want this to end.

On the bright side, we've had our best chance yet. Why wouldn't God want to give me the desires of my heart?

Still holding out hope...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

My first IUI

Today was the big day. I had the procedure done at 11am this morning. 49 million swimmers and all went well.

Dr. S came in and proclaimed that everything looked great -- endometrium, follicle, etc. He asked me if I was ready and I replied yes. "Let's get you pregnant," he exclaimed. He gave the swimmers a quick "get to work guys" and within 2 minutes, it was over. I asked him if he thought the uterus would be conducive to implantation and he gave a very non-committal "it's going to do what it's going to do, but I am less concerned because there is only one follicle." I'll take that! He genuinely seemed liked he hoped and wanted this to work for us.

As he and the nurse left, I was told to stay put for 15 minutes. As we listened to the timer ticking away, I felt so humiliated. Had it really come to this? A doctor just artificially did something that was supposed to be private and special. Instead, I was in a medical setting in a very vulnerable situation waiting for a timer to ding. My heart might as well been out on the table too. I must say though it was humiliating, I would have had it no other way. After 18 months of trying on our own unsuccessfully, I am ready to move on and get closure one way or another. This is our reality and the steps God has directed us to.

I am excited and hopeful. I choose to be joyful in hope! Now on with the wait. Boy do I love that word. :-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Big Day

* WARNING: Girl stuff mentioned :-)

"I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13

I was reminded of that verse in the car this morning while listening to my iPod. Tears came to my eyes as I knew that word was just for me. Again and again and again, God reminds me of his faithfulness in this trial. It's the water my soul needs to keep hoping.

I got back from Florida yesterday from my sister's graduation. I got to have some fun in the sun, lie on the beach and watch a magnificent sunset. I grew up in Florida, but had forgotten about the gulf breeze and smell of the ocean. It was so refreshing. I sat out by the canal and took in everything and was reminded that just the week before, I was in the mountains experiencing God's beautiful creation and now I was at the beach watching the sunset. What a blessed girl I am.

So, tomorrow is the big day! My first IUI. I wimped out on giving myself the trigger shot last night and made my husband do it. I am excited for a shorter cycle. It got sped up with the trigger. I am thankful for another step in the process.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Stars

I just got back from the mountains from a work retreat today. While lying on my pull-out bed in the loft trying to drift off to sleep, I was able to see the stars through the skylight above me and through the large windows to my side.

I can see stars at night at home sometimes -- but nothing like this. With no city lights, you can see millions. As I peered through the window I was reminded of the passage in Isaiah:

"Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing." Isaiah 40:26

That evening, at the cabin, a co-worker announced her good news, and of course my heart hurt for a second and was envious for the ease and sheer naivety and privacy of her experience, how simple it was for her -- first time, tired but don't know why, getting to announce to a totally clueless family and friends who don't know every in and out of your reproductive system, and getting to make a baby the old fashioned way. The way I dreamed things would be for us.

So, when I looked up at that big ol' sky and all those stars in it, I meditated on that passage and remembered just how much God loves me ... how utterly powerful and big my God is. I felt a peace in my heart and an assurance that He has not forgotten me. My miracle is coming.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's an investment -- yeah that's it

That is the advice I got from a friend the other day. And it's good advice. It really is. After lamenting to her over forking all that money over with no guarantee in the end, she offered that advice. It did help me put things in perspective, but, nonetheless, somehow, handing over my wallet tomorrow for my first installment of treatment stings like you wouldn't believe.

I liken my monthly journey to a roller coaster ride, Expedition Everest, at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's an intense ride that creeps up slowly at the beginning and has many turns, ups and downs and when you least expect it, changes directions out of nowhere. It's a ride that's fun and exciting for the first few times, but after a few whirls around the track, it's not as exhilirating anymore. You need a break cause your head hurts. I've ridden the coaster 18 times in a row. That's 18 whirls of ups and downs. Couple that with the scary Yetti out of nowhere (or in my analogy, a freaky, scary diagnosis thrown at you from out of nowhere) and it makes for one weary soul. When do I get to ride It's a Small World for a while?

Hey, does that one have a fast pass?

So, all aboard! The roller coaster has careened into the loading dock once again -- (yes, you guessed it) and I am jumping on again.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

"Excuse me, are you a mother?"

After celebrating Mother's Day with the family, we ran by Sam's to pick up a few things. On the way out my husband handed our receipt to the lady that stands at the door so she could check what was in our cart. I was staring off looking at something. As we started our way out the door, I heard these words, "Excuse me, are you a mother?"

"No, I'm not, but thank you." She had a cart full of gifts she was giving out to mothers. But I didn't qualify.

I thought I might escape the annual tradition of getting asked this question this year, but it wasn't to be. Thankfully my husband laughed and said, "That's awesome!" We laughed. Crisis (and tears) avoided. I just wanted to buy some toilet paper...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ah, Mother's Day

Mother's Day has always been a sore subject for me. I used to hurt on that day for the mom I never had, now I hurt for fear of the mom I will never get to be.

My own mother physically abandoned me at 16, although really, emotionally, she abandoned me and my siblings long before that. I never had the kind of mom who delighted in me, hugged and kissed me, signed my permission slips at school, picked out prom dresses, or gushed over me on my wedding day. In fact, I can count how many times she's said she loves me on one hand.

Instead, I had a mother who smeared ice cream cones in my hair, called me curse words and was too wasted to celebrate my 16th birthday with me.

I used to cry on this holiday for the mom I longed for. Why couldn't I have a mom like all the other girls? I was in a constant state of shame and constantly put on a smile and made excuses for her -- because I wanted to appear NORMAL, even though I hurt intensely inside.

To this day, I struggle how to honor her. It stings to even send her a Mother's Day card. But I do, because I try to show her the love of Christ and the forgiveness he extended me. It's really, really hard though to put pen to paper and come up with something to say and spend the stamp to send a woman a card who doesn't deserve it.

As the days and years went on, I had (still do) this overwhelming feeling that I was supposed to change my genetic family tree, you know, make it right. I was going to have my own children, and be the mother I never had. I was going to stop the generational sin that had gone on for so long. This was long before the infertility battle started raging. Through my tears and as a tender teenage girl, I heard God whisper that in my heart. I know I did.

So, therein lies my dilemma. Will I hold on to my faith even admist the silence? I heard God say this to me, but I haven't seen the fulfillment of the promise yet. Will I keep holding on? Absolutely. I see this as a proving grounds for my faith. Will I still love the Lord and trust Him and what he said, even though the fullfillment of the promise is delayed?

So, in the past Mother's Day hurt for different reasons. While the pain is still there over the mom I always wanted, it's lessened over the years. I just began to accept God's sovereignty in the situation and stopped expecting that my mom owed me something. I let it go.

Now, the pain of Mother's Day lies in not being a mother. I cry for different reasons. Didn't I experience enough pain already God? Are you cruel to have given me an awful mother and then not allow me to even have children myself? Can't you just give me this one thing? What about what you told me? I just want to teach them about you. How desperately I would love to have a first-born daughter, as I was, to experience the mother-daughter relationship the way it was meant to be.

So, I am left with a loving God, several promises and delay...

Obviously, He's up to something. I guess I'm in "wait" mode.

Meanwhile, I'll dream about the day Mother's Day is finally a day I can celebrate.

"He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord."
Psalms 113:9

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Something goes right!

So, I ovulated on my own, on day 18 which is no short of a miracle for my PCOS self! In the past, when I have ovulated, I always did so on day 21 or so, so this is huge. I would ovulate on day 18 or so on drugs. Being able to do this drug-free is so encouraging. Because I am a thin PCOS person with only a mild case, it's likely that I can ovulate on my own. So thankful!

Now if I could only get pregnant on my own too. So, with that ovulation having happened, I know I'll start fertility treatment in less than 2 weeks. I am so indifferent about this whole process because it's more invasive and VERY expensive. My insurance doesn't cover these treatments and they hit the pocket book pretty dang hard. It's the next logical step though. I just pray that we don't spend thousands of dollars on these treatments and at the end have nothing to show for it.

So, so long to our summer vacation to Disney World. It just doesn't seem fair. Not only does infertility take over your life, it steals your money too. And we infertiles need a break from reality more than anyone.

Oh well, it's all worth it if it means I can be a mommy. I'd take that over ever being able to take a vacation again.