Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cycle 16 (in limbo)

For the first time in almost a year and a half, I don't know what CD I'm on. Think about that for a second. Any woman struggling through infertility *knows* what CD she's on. It's almost how we identify ourselves. "Hi, my name is Sally and I'm 14 DPO" or "Hi, I'm Bruce, and I'm CD3". Ok, maybe not Bruce, but you know what I mean. Right now, I'm just: "Tutti here, and I don't know WTF is going on".

Which reminds me, I've not updated you on the new plan yet. And that's probably because it makes me break out in hives when I think about it. Big let down: there is no plan. I'm headed back to Dr. D in two weeks for more blood work. Apparently we've got to make sure HCG is down to 0 and see where my TSH is at. Then, I guess, we'll have to wait for my period and a new cycle. Last week the nurse said to "hold off" for this month. I'm not sure if that just meant no meds/appointments, or no-trying-for-baby-the-old-fashioned-way. Not that that would result in anything anyway.

I saw The Guru on Monday for a followup appointment. I think love him. Like, I wish he was my grandfather and I could go hang out at his house after school. As soon as he walked into my little room, he greeted me with a warm hug and told me that he had heard what happened and how sorry he was. I actually felt like he felt sorry too. There is nothing hurried or medical about him. However, I do feel like he is a healer. Is that weird? I'm sad that I won't be able to continue my treatments with him. Once a week at $130 a treatment, well, that's  just not possible. Hopefully, I'll be in good hands with his associate.

Oh! And I'm so, so glad that I went to the RESOLVE meeting last week. It was... exactly what I needed. It's nice to know other women IRL that are going through this. Not that I would wish this on anyone, but you know what I mean.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cycle 15, CD 43 (30 DPIUI)

HCG has dropped to 26. Not much more I can say about that.

I'm ok when I'm distracted. But when alone- it leads to trouble. It leads to trouble because my thoughts get  invasive. They like to ask 'what if' questions. They like to Google things that aren't necessary to know like... due dates. They over think things.

Last Fall when I was going through a particularly hard spell, my mom suggested I look for a support group in my area. I scoffed at the idea because I didn't think I was that far gone. I should have listened to her because I totally was.

I ended up doing an internet search a few months later and found an infertility meetup sponsored by RESOLVE and hosted in the neighborhood next to mine. I contacted them. They meet once a month. I went so far as to schedule the meetings in my calendar. Yet, each month I could never work up enough courage to go. This month I RSVP'd.

The meeting is tonight.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cycle 15, CD 41 (28 DPIUI)

As luck would have it, I already had a therapy appointment scheduled for yesterday. I was sitting on her couch within two hours of receiving Dr. D's phone call. My therapist has a striking resemblance to the famous Zsa Zsa Gabor, so I'll just refer to her as Zsa Zsa from here on out. I recounted my crazy story to her, apparently without using the words: pregnant or miscarriage once. Zsa Zsa called me out on it.

So in an effort to acknowledge what happened, I will say it out loud:

I was 6 week pregnant. I miscarried.

Then I went to the beach. As sad as I was, it's hard not to be introspective at the beach during sunset. By the time I walked home, I was shivering from the cold, relieved to be in my husbands arms, and feeling just a little bit stronger.

I also need to thank you girls. For your comments, and support and words of encouragement, and sympathy. I knew this community was strong when I joined it. I mean, at least that's what I read. But I've felt it now. I'm not sure how else to tell you that it has really meant the world to me without sounding all smooshy. Then again, maybe that's how it should sound.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cycle 15, CD 40 (27 DPIUI)

I was a bursting ball of nerves when I heard my RE's voice on the other end of the line this afternoon. But as soon as she asked me how I was doing, I knew it wasn't the news I was hoping for. I could hear it in her voice.

At that moment, I felt like my chest imploded.

As much as I tried to wear a brave face and be all one-with-Budda, my hopes were high. I kept qualifying everything good and hopeful with, "but I know this isn't really going to happen". I also blame my boobs. Damn things were so sore that I nearly cried in the shower this morning. Stupid sore boobs. We're not on speaking terms anymore. 

So that's it. My HCG has plummeted to 122. My progesterone is crazy low at 4. And my TSH has skyrocketed to 4.75. Moral of the story, the Guru was right- my hormones are jacked (he said it in a much cooler traditional-Chinese-medicine-y way though). 

Right now I'm sad. Not like a face-down-in-my-pillow-sobbing kind of sad, but just like a quiet sad. I feel like if you looked at me, you could see the events of the last few days written all over my face. I'll be ok though. I'll rebound because I still have hope. And I won't stop until I have that baby in my arms. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cycle 15, CD 39 (26 DPIUI)

I can't say that I wasn't a little nervous when the nurse called me back with my beta numbers. I've been trying to remain zen-like in the face of this, but we're in uncharted territory here folks.

My HCG on Friday was 377 and progesterone was 7.16.

What does this mean?

1) I am definitely pregnant, however-
2) 377 is much too low when taking into account when I had my IUI however-
3) Beta numbers are tricky and I need to come in on Monday for a second beta.

The nurse went on to say that there is a very slight chance that I ovulated late- in which case, 377 is a good number. But have any of you ever heard of this? I thought the trigger guaranteed ovulation within 36 hours of taking the injection? I don't get it. Could 1 or 2 follies have popped out and one hung around for a little longer? And then met up with some swimmers from our sexual escapade the night after the IUI? Maybe that is why I had a negative HPT on 13DPIUI, because it was still 'technically' early? I feel like this is a far stretch, so I really don't want to get caught up in it. But it's kinda hard not to.

The bleeding has all but stopped now (thanks to the progesterone) and my boobs are, eh hem, very sore. I'm use to sore boobs, but this is a pretty dramatic change from even a few days ago. When I went in for acupuncture on Thursday, they were only a little sore (and I was warned that the estrogen would cause that) but in the last 2 days, I've gone back to wearing a bra 24-7.

Again, I don't want to go down that rabbit hole because no matter how you look at it, bleeding for 11 days in the first few weeks is... really not good. And the only way to make the numbers "work" is if we make a pretty big exception to the rule. I've always been taught that we are never the exception to the rule.

So I'm in limbo. Mostly thinking that this is not going to end well but trying to keep in mind that regardless, this is a huge step for me. I might be able to get pregnant in the future after all! That idea alone has rocked my world. But then there are these tiny flashes where I allow myself to ask, "what if it works this time?"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cycle 15, CD 38 (25 DPIUI)

When I wrote the other day that there was more to catch you all up on, I had no idea how much more would happen in the following days. And because this could get lengthy, I'm going to do a list of events as they happened. Lists make me feel more in control, and right now think I need that.

  • To remind you: After my last BFN Dr. D put me on a natural cycle with just estrogen to try to stop the mysterious ovulation bleeding, I had a sizable cyst on my left ovary, and she suggested I start acupuncture.
  • The acupuncturist that Dr. D wanted me to see was $500 for just 1 consult and 2 treatments. Not chump change, right? Turns out though, this Dr. is an extraordinarily famous (like world famous) infertility acupuncturist. We'll call him The Guru
  • During this time, I continued to bleed past my regular period and was now on day 6. WTF? I attributed it to my body getting used to the estrogen.  
  • The next few days were full of back and forth arguments with Mike about the cost/benefit value of acupuncture. Mike like facts and he only found a few (good) studies that proved acupuncture worked, and those were for only back pain. He feels pretty strongly that acupuncture may indeed work, but going to the local acupuncture school (for less than 1/4 of the cost) would have the same result as going to The Guru. I didn't agree with him and insisted that if Dr. D really wanted me to go to him, I had to at least give it a try. Besides, we'd invested so much up to this point, didn't we want to explore all available avenues? Finally, my parents stepped in and said that as a combined (very early) birthday and Christmas gift, they'd pay for a few treatments with The Guru. My mom and dad both felt strongly that if I didn't pursue this, I'd regret it. So I called and made an appointment.  
  • I woke up the next day with an UTI. Fuck me, are you serious? (I've been having chronic UTIs for the last 2 years). I go to see my GP and get on some baby-friendly antibiotics because I should be ovulating in a week or so. Maybe the UTI is the cause of all this bleeding?  
  • The the midst of the acupuncture debates, I reached out to an old friend I'd not spoken to in over 10 years. She was a year older than me in High School but we'd always gotten along really well. I'd recently heard through a mutual friend that she'd gone through 7 failed IVF cycles. Let me say that again: Seven. Failed. IVF. Cycles. She still doesn't have a child. I know the gravity of that is not lost on any of you. I wanted to talk to her because I knew she was a huge advocate of acupuncture and I was hoping to find out why and gain some clarity (let me just say for the record, making the decision to do acupuncture or not should never be this difficult, but I am indecisive and toggle endlessly over everything. We ended up talking for a full 2 hours and in that time, I felt like I had 17 "ah-ha" moments. She never lectured me, but she did say, "Tutti, this process is one that you have to experience for yourself so I don't want to tell you what to do or how to act. But after going through all of it for so long, I wish someone had told me certain things so I wouldn't have had to make so many mistakes along the way." It was probably the most amazing conversation I've had since I've started on this journey and I felt like she gave me so much wisdom and the ability to acknowledge my hope again. After hanging up the phone, I felt... lighter. I went to bed and woke up the next morning feeling... renewed. I really hope I can hang on to that. I need to hang on to that. She also ended up asking her acupuncturist if she recommended anyone in my area area (we live in different states). Guess who she referred? The Guru. Huh, that's kind of crazy.
  • The bleeding still hasn't stopped. It had been 8 days at this point. Great, so on top of the crazy ovulation bleeding, it seems as though I just bleed all the time now. Then in dawns on me, maybe I'm bleeding because of that cyst on my left ovary? I decide to give it one or two more days, then I'll call Dr. D. 
  • I have to say, my consult and acupuncture treatment with The Guru was pretty cool (happy bday and Merry Xmas to me!). Long and short of it, he felt that everything was hormone related. I can't say that I don't disagree with him either. He insisted that I shouldn't be bleeding if I'm on estrogen and to call Dr. D the next morning. He went on to say that my body just wasn't handling all hormones very well and he recommended that I do another full natural cycle (as in NEXT cycle). And by natural he meant: no estrogen, no gonal-F, no progesterone, nada. He said my body needed to get back to its baseline. It was tired and confused by all the hormones. He felt my pulse and said it was 'erratic'. I'm still not sure what that means but he had a concerned look on his face when he said it. Then I went in for my acupuncture treatment with him and I quite enjoyed it. Although, I did find it next to impossible to keep my thoughts from racing. He had me do a full hour treatment because he really wanted the bleeding to stop. Then he sent me home with some cRAzY looking herbs and an appointment to see his associate the next week. 
  • The next morning (yesterday) I woke up and was... wait for it...still bleeding. It'd been 10 full days. I followed The Guru's advice and called my clinic. I filled Dr. D in on my symptoms as well as what The Guru said. After listening to everything, she said, "I'm going to follow his lead and have you go off everything right now. What is happening is just not right. I know this is going to sound crazy, but take another pregnancy test just to make sure. Then email me in a few days and let me know if the bleeding has stopped. We'll get to the bottom of this, I promise." 
  • Hours later, I cooked up my herbs and holy hell, this stuff is beyond nasty. I plugged my nose and guzzled two cups which made me have to pee. Then I remembered how Dr. D asked me to take another pregnancy test and scoffed at the idea. But for some reason at the last second decided to indulge her.  
  • It was positive. 
In 35 years, I've never-ever had a positive pregnancy test. I didn't even know if I could get pregnant. I'm still waiting for my beta test results. Understandably, Dr. D said, "don't get too excited". And I can't- I've been bleeding for 10 days and I *know* that's not good. But it does mean that I'm most likely able to get pregnant. At least, I think it does. I'm trying to take all I've learned this week and see the good in this situation. I'm not scared right now, just hopeful. I'm going to keep acknowledging my hope from here on out and embrace it, regardless of what happens. My life changed in many different ways this week. I'm not sure how it's going to read yet, but my story has a new chapter.

P.S. On our way home from the beta test, I turned to my husband and with the biggest smile I said, "See, I told you The Guru is a miracle worker."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cycle 16, CD 8

I hate it when I get behind, and I feel like I've been doing that a lot lately. I have 874 blog posts in my head and only have time to write .75 of one. Blarg.

So let's catch up. After my BFN last week, my RE called from her cell while running out for lunch. I don't know why, but that meant a lot to me. I guess I felt like she was thinking about me, even when she didn't "technically" need to be. Our conversation went as follows:

Dr. D: I'm really sad and frustrated right now. I want this as much as you do.
Me: Yeah, I am too. So WTF?
Dr. D: I have a consult set up with 4 other RE's today to discuss this crazy bleeding issue that's going on. I'm going to do some extensive research when I get home. I'm determined to figure this out.
Me: I really appreciate you putting in the overtime on me.
Dr. D: How could I not? Hopefully we'll have a plan for you when you come in for your CD2. Oh, and I feel pretty strongly that you should start acupuncture. I know there is a cost to it, but I think western medicine has failed you. Let's try eastern. I know a great fertility acupuncturist in your area. It usually takes 3 to 4 months to get into see him, but if you are up for it, I'll pull a few strings and get you in as soon as possible.
Me: I think you might be right, and I appreciate the sting pulling.
Dr. D: Don't worry about it, we're in this together.

So yeah, I think I needed to hear all that from her. I needed the reassurance that she was just as worried about me as I am. And to know that she was consulting with other doctors about me? Huge. I might have even given a little fist-pump after I got off the phone. And I'm not even from Jersey.

On my CD2 appointment, she said that all the doctors she consulted with felt like this bleeding issue was hormonal. The theory is, is everyone's estrogen drops during ovulation, but maybe mine is dropping further and longer than it's supposed to for some reason. This can coincidentally cause unexplained bleeding and breast tenderness (gosh that sounds familiar, no?). Treatment for this month: Estradiol in the form of a pill everyday, and once I get that positive OPK, I'm going to double up on it. The only complicating factor is that I have a big juicy cyst on my left ovary (a lingering reminder of the $1500 we spent last cycle?) so I'm on a lower dosage than she originally wanted me on. Stupid cyst.

The only thing I'm struggling with is that I am forced on, yet another, natural cycle (besides the estrogen & progesterone). I mean, I know it doesn't make logical sense to go forward with Gonal-F and an IUI, because until we figure out this other issue, it's all a waste of money. But emotionally, it's hard. It's hard because I feel like time is slipping away. It's hard because I know that no matter what happens this cycle, the chances of me getting pregnant are less than 1% (sadly, a hard scientific number, not a ficticious-Tutti-being-drama number). So yeah, I'm sad about that. But at the same time, I know it's the only thing that make sense. Going back and forth between my head and my heart is taxing.

There is more to this story though, and I'm kind of excited for tomorrow. More to catch you all up on! There is a little, tiny light at the end of my tunnel.

Ewww. Was that too literal? I meant it figuratively speaking of course.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cycle 16, CD 5

Wow. That was a dark place I'd not been to in a while. It caught me so off guard. And damnit I *knew* it would be negative because of the bleeding issue. I *knew* I had no hope. Hell, my RE confirmed that I should have no hope. But apparently some crept in when I wasn't even looking because I went into the big-bad-pit-of-despair after testing. As my nephew likes to exclaim when he goes to the dentist, "Not fun, not fun". Well said little man. 

But I feel like I'm coming out on the other side of it now. At least somewhat. I had my CD2 appointment, have a plan for this cycle [more on that later], and have manged to crack a smile or two over the last few days. 

 We spent $2497.00 on infertility related b/s just this month. Now, how often do you go out and spend that kinda money and have nothing to show for it afterward? Seriously, I can't even tell you how badly I need a new pair of jeans. I'm not sure if I even own a pair of socks without holes in them. And don't even talk to me about the situation that is my dog and her hair. I've been cutting her coat for the last year on my own in an attempt to save some money. Let's just say, even she is embarrassed to be seen in public anymore.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cycle 15, CD 21 (14 DPIUI)

It was negative. But... of course it was.

On an unrelated topic: I've been noticing lately that TV is getting more and more painful to watch. I can't seem to find any show without hearing people talk about their children: "I do everything for my daughter", "If it weren't for my kids, I wouldn't know what to do", "My children are my world". But what about those of us that want families, but are not able to have them? It makes me feel sub-human.

So now, because of my inability to have a baby, I have had to divorce myself from things most people readily enjoy.

  • I've deactivated my Facebook page because the birth announcements, swollen bellies, & first steps felt like small stab wounds to my eyeballs each time I logged on.
  • I've limited my access to the outside world because I find it amazingly hard to connect with people on any topic unless it relates to: injection techniques to reduce belly bruising, ways to compensate for all the hours missed at work due to doctor appointments, or fun topics to discuss with your RE while laying splayed out with the vag cam.  
  • And now, I can't watch TV because even fictitious people's lives remind me too much of what I don't have.  

Is this normal? Do I continue to protect myself from hurtful situations that bring up painful emotions and reminders of what I don't have or does insulating from the outside world actually make it harder? I'm worried I'm falling down a slippery slope and I'm scared the bottom is filled with sticky-goo and I won't be able to get out.

At the core of it, I'm just absolutely terrified this is never going to happen for me. The word "when" is no longer part of my vocabulary. It's been replaced by "if".

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cycle 15, CD 20 (13 DPIUI)

So I've been hanging out in the cold, icy, arctic conditions of the northern US for the last week. Unfortunately I only brought slip on shoes with me too. What a bitch.

I like traveling because it forces me to be social. Since this TTC thing, I've found myself retreating further and further away from people. I suppose that's not good for me, but it certainly is easier. Traveling also acts as a good distraction from all things fertility. That is, until the woman sitting next to me on the airplane asks me how many kids I have. And when I answer "none" she gets a quizzical look on her face and probes me as to why not. It's a good thing for her that they don't allow sharp objects on planes anymore.

The long and short of it is, I'm going to test tonight. I'm not sure I can deal with many more days of my boobs being this sore. I've actually been wearing my bra to bed at night because it's less painful. Need to keep those girls pinned up tight. I love how evil it is that pregnancy symptoms get all intermingled with progesterone & pre-AF symptoms. But I don't need to tell you guys about that.

Trying to prep myself emotionally for that one, lonely line to appear on the stick. I've never seen two. Ever. I wish I had hope that tonight will be different.