Monday, December 26, 2011

Cycle 13, CD 16 (4 DPO)

I got a positive OPK on Wednesday night (yipee). However I started to bleed on Thursday night (freakout). Not enough to need a tampon, but more than enough to make me very worried. And this is exactly what happened when we were on vacation last month; if not a tad worse. We thought it was a fluke last time, but apparently it wasn't. I can't help but notice that this has happened exactly 24 hours after each OPK *and* on the only months I've taken Gonal-F. I called  my clinic yesterday because and they told me to start on progesterone every 12 hours. So I did. And... it appears that has worked. Or, at least the bleeding has stopped. Thank god.

Overnight shipping for progesterone because of the holiday and all the pharmacies are closed.  Sweet.

Since I only spoke to the nurse, I emailed Dr. D for some (more explicit) answers- but I've yet to hear back from her. I understand it is the day after Christmas so I kind of don't expected her to answer, but at the same time it's my reproductive success at stake- so I kinda do. I just want her to care as much as I do. I just feel like she is over worked and barely keeping her head above water. Everyone needs rest, and I know she doesn't get any. I'm assuming that since my bleeding is not an emergency, it goes into the "later" pile. Sometimes I feel like a jumble of symptoms and I only get a very vague and hurried pseudo-explainations. I just want to make sure my treatment is best for me. Sometimes I feel like that is impossible.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cycle 13, CD 16 (2 DPO)

I feel compelled to write at this very moment. The stockings are hung, the condo is clean, our bellies are fully and... I am too. I'm full. At least for this moment. I love my husband more than ever, I'm excited Christmas is only a few hours away, I'm proud of the Christmas Eve meal I cooked up tonight and the creative budget-friendly gifts stashed under the tree. We are in love with each other and are focusing on the right-now. That doesn't happen (at least on my part) very often. And it feels good.

Today I am at peace with Christmas. For the most part. There's just been so much buildup. So many regrets and anticipations. This time last year we started trying for a baby. I had very real dreams of being pregnant within the year. I mean, that's not unrealistic to hope for right? Being pregnant within a year of trying? Unless of course, you are infertile. I just never dreamed it would be like this. One year of trying and no baby. A devastating one at that.

There is a considerable amount of mourning that needs to take place for all that lost time. But when it comes down to it, I'm happy at THIS VERY MOMENT  and it's Christmas and I'm here with my husband (who is fast asleep in front of a a movie and spooning our pooch) and thankful for what I have now, and looking forward to tomorrow. This feeling doesn't happen often... if ever... so it's nice to embrace while it's here. Tomorrow is sometimes really hard. Especially during the holidays.

I only wish that I could hold onto this feeling. Because I know how fleeting it is.

P.S. Tried my hand at making onion soup for the first time from scratch tonight. And besides burning the first four rounds of bread under the broiler (what is wrong with me?)- I had total and complete success. Recipe has made the official list.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cycle 13, CD 14

We were supposed fly out to visit my family for Christmas and then stop on the way back to spend New Years with Mike's parents. My reproductive schedule messed that up. So instead of being with family, or friends, or at least in a place where it FEELS like Christmas- we are stuck in a very un-Christmasy feeling location, totally broke (damn infertility medications and treatments), and without a baby that I was so sure that we would have by now.

I told Mike how sad I was about this Christmas. How depressing it was that we were probably just going to sit on the couch and watch TV alone instead of ripping open gifts and sitting down to a big festive meal with family. He's not that big into these kind of celebrations, but I am. So when he said, "Let's just order Dominos and maybe there will be something new on Netflix" I burst into tears. I'd rather sick a fork in my eye.

Then I started thinking that we should have just dealt with it and gone home for Christmas- at least we wouldn't be alone. But then I realized that I'd be forced to sit there with my adorable nephews as a constant reminder of what we don't have. 

It's lose-lose situation.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cycle 13, CD 13

I have two best friends.

The first one, who I've been joined at the hip with since we were in the 7th grade, is 24 weeks pregnant. She wasn't even trying whereas I was already knee deep in negative HPTs for 8 months. I resented her for a while. Which killed me. I avoided her phone calls and convinced myself we were going to drift because... it was just too painful. I was jealous and didn't understand why she got the prize and I didn't. It took me a while to wrap my head around the fact that I could be happy for her AND be sad for me at the same time. Having conflicting feelings like that was uncomfortable. The last two months I've been able to enjoy talking with her about strollers, breast feeding, and delivery plans. I guess I just worry that as it comes time for her baby to be born- I will retreat from her again. I think enough time has gone by that the sting of the announcement has subsided, acceptance has happened, but it's still far enough away to be too anxious and reflective of my own womb. Infertile as it may be.

My second best friend, who I've been extremely close with for the last 5 years, just started TTC with her partner about 3 months ago. We both had our first IUIs within a week of each other. Over the last month, her partner's cycle has synced up with mine- to the point where we were due to test on the exact same day. The entire 2ww I was beside myself with dread. Luckily they got impatient and tested early and I had a few days reprieve. I find myself falling into this routine with them each month- where I obsess over them. Each month I'm absolutely convinced that it will work for them, and it won't for me. They had their 3rd IUI this morning and though I usually call and see how it went- I just couldn't do it today. My stomach is turning and I feel sick. What if this is their cycle? How am I going to deal with their BFP announcement when I've been at this for a year longer than they have? I don't want to be lapped. Again.

And I especially don't want to be that infertile girl with both of her closest friends expecting. That's just pathetic. I desperately need their friendship and support. I love them both from the bottom of my heart. They've both been such a source of release and comfort for me. Yet, how can I keep leaning on them when I know how entirely exhausting this process has been for me, I can't imagine how annoying it is to them. Friend burn-out is bound to happen.

P.S. CD11 u/s showed two size 16mm follicles on each side. The third one is either hiding or it was reabsorbed. Due to ovulate by the end of the week. And so it goes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cycle 13, CD 8

I'm feeling unusually optimistic about this cycle. I don't know why. Maybe it's because my TSH levels are back in check. Or perhaps it's because I don't feel completely and utterly fatigued all the time (a classic symptom of hypothyroidism). I watched a movie with my husband last night... and didn't fall asleep! It's been years since that's happened. Feeling awake and able to participate in life... feels really good.

I'm hoping my positive outlook lasts longer than 30 minutes. Just last night I got a text message from a friend that made the tears spring into action. So, who knows. But it feels good to feel good. I'd like to hold on to this for as long as possible. Here's to lucky number 13. 

I was back for another ultrasound today. Right side has sprung into action and has a 10mm follicle while the 2 on the left are continuing to grow. I think she said they were at 12 and 14mm. So that's really positive as I'm only CD8 and probably won't ovulate until sometime next week. I'll start the OPKs tonight just in case. 

Last month I ovulated later than Dr. D expected. She thought it would happen on Saturday, when in fact, I didn't pop until the following Tuesday or Wednesday. This meant that we had sex for 7 days in a row. I got to thinking that maybe this might reduced Mike's sperm quantity too much. So, my question for the doctor today was: is it ok to have sex daily for many days or I should go with trigger shot so we know precisely the right moment to go for it? She said that yes, it will probably reduce the sample size over that many days, but it was such a minute amount- it wouldn't matter. Sex it is then. Yipee for saving the $130.00 on meds and staying away from that horrible full-ovary feeling it causes. Mike will be happy too :)

My doctor always refers to us as her "sex couple", because she knows that we aren't scared of it. Hell, I'd do it 5 times a day if it meant that it would increase our chances of getting pregnant (lucky for me, it doesn't). She said that the majority of her patients don't have sex at all. And apparently it's not because of fertility stuff (I'm the first to understand how unsexy sex is when TTC) but that they just don't have sex. Like, ever. I found that quite surprising.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cycle 13, CD 6

Today I had an ultrasound to see how things were progressing on the Gonal-F.

I have 2 follicles measuring at 10 and 11mm. My lining looked great. Also, my full thyroid panel came back. T3 and T4 were fine. So, that's the good news.

The bad news? My thyroid antibody results were sky high. Thyroglobulin Ab was 485.0 (normal is < 40) and thryoid Paroxidase Ab was >1030 (normal is < 9). That's the Hashimoto's at work. Apparently this isn't a big deal- unless you become pregnant. Then it puts you at very high risk for miscarriage.

Can there be any more black marks against me?

I've never even been pregnant. Not once. I don't even know if I *can* get pregnant. But if by some miracle I am able to make babies- I will have a very hard time carrying them.

And how is it that I'm supposed to stay positive and not get caught up in the biology of it again?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cycle 13, CD 5

I sadly realized recently that I haven't lived for the last year. I've been too consumed with my fertility (or lack thereof) to enjoy the things I used to. To enjoy life. To remember to have fun and be spontaneous. To make plans. To grow with my husband. No, everything has been on hold because either I'm waiting for my next doctors appointment, waiting for pregnancy symptoms to show, waiting... for that baby that I want so badly.

Last week, my two best friends (one is halfway through her 1st pregnancy and the other has just started trying to conceive with her partner) both told me that they think I need a break. That I'm too consumed with everything and I'm forgetting to take care of myself. I know they are right. My body probably does need a rest. It's been so pumped up on hormones and stress that it needs a vacation in a bad way. But, even though I know their advice came from a place of love and wisdom- I can't make them understand what this is like. How consuming this process is. How life revolves around mourning the past and being anxious about the future.

Living your life on hold is no way to live. But I'm not sure how to do anything else right now.

I read so many blogs and forums where IF girls are so caught up in God's plan. They have so much faith that He will make it right and take care of them. I'm not very religious and I don't think God has a plan for me. Or if he does, and this is it- maybe that's not a God I want to worship. But I am envious of those that have that faith. Something to believe in besides biology and doctors. Maybe that's my missing element. Or could it be acupuncture? Or an all organic diet?  Searching for answers is all consuming.

I don't know how to stop. I wish I did. I wish I could. But every waking minute, is consumed with questions, sadness, anxiety, anger, and a whole lot of being scared.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cycle 13, CD 4

Too much to get into, but after a lot of research and talking to other doctors, it looks like Dr. D isn't the devil or incompetent. Her biggest mistake was missing my clinical signs: fatigue, dry/brittle hair, etc. To her credit though, I didn't tell her that I was having any (because I too thought my TSH was in-check). So for now, my husband and I decided that we're going to wait and see what my new endocrinologist says (appointment next month) and progress as usual until then.

I went to my CD2 appointment on Saturday. The plan was to see what my TSH level was and if it came back between 1 and 2, then we'd do the Gonal-F injections again. And if not, we were going to sit this month out (shoot me now).

And in some weird twisted act of fate, it came back at .9!

Thank goodness for small miracles. What were the chances of it falling perfectly to where we wanted? Especially with something as tricky and specific as thyroid levels.

So for now, I'm trying my best at looking forward and not back. I have been hanging my hopes on 2012 for so long now- wouldn't it be great if it happened right off the bat? I know I shouldn't get my hopes up, but damned if I can help it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cycle 12, CD 31 (15 DPO)

Yeah, it was negative.

I've officially been trying to conceive for a full year now. Be glad you are not at my house right now. It's not a very festive place.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cycle 12, CD 29 (13 DPO)

Someone got busy. I've been traveling a lot this month which is good because at least I've had other things to think about besides my ovaries. I've still been thinking about them a lot though.

I wasn't sure what the new strategy was going into this cycle. When I saw Dr. D on my CD2 ultrasound appointment, she said she saved one sample of Gonal-F for me. It can cost upwards of $300.00 so not only was my new "path" revealed to me but I was exceedingly thankful for my doctor's generosity.

I had to travel for business the next day so quickly had to learn how to inject myself in my stomach. For a girl with a paralyzing fear of needles, I think I did ok. I certainly will never get used to giving myself shots, and thank god it was a thin needle- but I managed. For 11 full days.

Then I went on vacation with my husband for the holiday. I got a positive OPK the night before we left which meant that we were shooting [literally] for an island baby. This would be so symbolic in so many ways. So special. So meant to be. Like my world was coming full circle and there really was someone out there looking over me. I won't know until tomorrow if that is the case, but I'm pretty sure it's not. Which, makes me even more sad.

A bit of illuminating news came about earlier this cycle:

  • 4/7/11- My Ob checked my thyroid levels because I was having breakthrough bleeding & short luteal phase. Results: .94 (perfect) [question if this was a bad lab or it really was that low]
  • 11/7/11- My GP randomly checked my thyroid levels when I went in for my flu shot. They came back at 5.24 (normal is .5 to 5.0 with fertility optimum at 1)

Puzzle pieces started falling into place. I hadn't made the connection earlier because my results had been normal but my symptoms were real: extreme fatigue, frizzy hair, weight gain, inability to concentrate, dry skin, etc. I also knew that this could severely impact fertility. My Synthroid dosage was immediately increased.

A few days later I asked Dr. D if she thought this could be the reason for my infertility issues, she said 'no' [because I ovulate]. But I'd been taking progesterone suppositories for the last 6 months for a short luteal phase, so there was clearly more to it that just ovulation. But I took her word for it and put it out of my head.

After a round table with my family that has a solid background in the medical field and biology- it turns out that I shouldn't have put it out of my head. They are lots of studies that show marked infertility in hypothyroid patients if their levels are above 2 because the oocyte needs specific hormones to be able to be fertilized. Or something.

And add to all this that fertility drugs (Clomid, Gonal-F) have been shown to push thyroid function off due to the increased hormone levels. So why wasn't Dr. D testing my TSH levels every month she prescribed me fertility meds? Why didn't she admit to my thyroid levels very possibly being my problem? Incompetence or covering her ass? Either way, I'm determined to get some answers.. and maybe a new doctor.

Test day tomorrow. I don't know if it's worse testing when you have no hope or some hope. Maybe it's just always a black day.