thursday morning i met up with my girlfriend from high school who is married to a woman and they have a child together. it was a completely different angle to hear about IUIs from two people who never had any option but to use medical technology to conceive. first they decided which one of them would carry the child. then they selected their donor sperm, monitored for ovulation and then rushed to the clinic at the optimal time for what my friend calls the “medical penis”. she excitedly told me about how the clinic spun the sperm to weed out the junior varsity/B team players. when only the A team swimmers were left, they injected them in through the cervix. these girls were lucky. they got pregnant on the first shot without any drugs. but they had to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket because insurance companies require proof of a year of infertility before they will dish out any money for these types of procedures. all in all, with the cost of the sperm, they paid about $1,000. they are now going for their second child and so far they’ve had two failed cycles of IUI. Her wife is getting ready to do injectables now as the next step but they are as positive and as excited as ever. it was refreshing to see a couple who embraced medical assistance as a means to conceiving, rather than people like me, who can’t help but feel that going that route is a sign of failure of my own abilities. hooray for medicine!
Archive for November, 2008
i finally told my mother about my conception difficulties today. its been the elephant in the room when we talk on the phone. she didn’t ask and i didn’t tell. my mom and i have never ever talked about sex. so the idea of talking about having children, as stupid as this may sound, was embarassing to me. yes, at the age of 34, still…but it came right out of my mouth. i wasn’t even planning on telling her. it’s definitely on my mind right now because of the busted cycle. but my mother was wonderful. she didn’t say anything special really. she just didn’t make a big deal of it. she just said, “oh well. it just takes some people longer and i’m glad that you are getting checked out by a doctor. it’s good to do that regardless of whether or not you’re trying to have children”. you see, when my mom panics, i panic. and when she makes it seem like something is not a big deal, it makes me feel like maybe it’s not a big deal. and really, that’s all i wanted to feel today…that it wasn’t a big deal and that everything is going to be ok. thank god for mothers. (ironically what’s stressing me out is that i’m trying to be one myself!)
yesterday i got my period and i thought, fuck. ugh. this is so typical. but i casually proceeded on with my day. but this morning was not so hot. waking up with cramps is just another slap in the face that indeed, an egg that may or may not have been fertilized did not implant in your uterus. i was super grumpy when the husband and i walked to breakfast and he said the old, “try not to stress about it” and i flew off the handle. how many times have i heard those words from people? “try not to stress about it” is one of the worst things you can say to a woman who is having problems conceiving. try not to stress about the possibility that something might be fucked up with your body? try not to stress about the fact that everyone else had a baby in 3 months while you have nothing to show for your efforts for the past year? try not to stress that you live your life in 2 week pre-ovulation and 2 week post-ovulation cycles? try not to stress when the only other two women in your office are both pregnant and talk to you about it every day? i’m not attacking my husband because i love him dearly and he is always very supportive and everything he does is because he doesn’t want me to be sad. but please, please, please people. everyone. please stop telling me not to stress about it. i’m managing my stress, but once a month, when my fucking period comes when i don’t want it to, i’m allowed to be sad. i’m allowed to grieve. and you telling me not to stress out IS stressing me out!
Effort #11 has come and gone.
Sigh. It just never gets easier. I haven’t cried yet this time because at this point I’ve trained myself to not get my hopes up anymore. Except this month was actually different. My period was a day late so I had my hopes up just a teeny weeny little bit. I didn’t even let myself test until this morning – where I got a BFN (big fat negative) and subsequently later in the day I got the visit from my little not-so-loved “friend”. Refer back to the picture in this post for my current mood.
The upside to this month is that my LP was the longest it’s ever been! I had a 13 day LP this month (as opposed to the usual 10-11 day LP) which puts me in the 12-16 day “normal” range! HOORAY! I suppose that could mean that my “cut down on exercise” regime is actually helping a little bit.
Monday I will have to go get the CD3 blood test so the docs can examine my estrogen levels and also make sure my thyroid is functioning properly. they will also measure my FSH levels to get a gauge on the health and abundance of my egg supply.
Let the testing begin.
image from Dreamstime.com
i had an appointment with my OB/GYN today. i went in to discuss the tests that she wants me to take before she refers me off to a fertility specialist. here’s what i have to do:
CD 3: blood test for estrogen and FSH levels. FSH levels will give a rough idea of my egg supply. do i have enough that i don’t need to worry too much about time or am i drying up? she also recommended that i have a thyroid analysis done as well.
CD21 or 7dpo: blood test for progesterone levels. if you’re not producing enough progesterone, a fertilized egg has no chance because your uterine lining can’t build up enough for it to implant. progesterone, along with HCG also sustains an implanted egg through the first three months of its life.
ultrasound: get an ultrasound to find out if i have cysts or if there are any signs of endometriosis. my mother has endo so there’s a pretty good chance i have it which is not good.
hysterosalpingogram: that’s a mouthful. this is basically a dye test. they shoot some dye up your hooha through your cervix and xray as the dye come back down through your fallopian tubes. this reveals some information about the shape of your uterus and will show whether you have any cysts or fibroids that are blocking your fallopian tubes.
in addition, she prescribed me some supplemental progesterone (prometrium) to take once i’ve done all my tests. she wants to see if that might help a little bit (just in case i am fertilizing an egg but am unable to sustain an implanted embryo) as my luteal phase is on the shorter side (10-12 days, one time i had an 8 day LP).
currently i’m on day 24 of this cycle and i think its another bust. i have all the typical “pregnancy” symptoms which are also the same as most PMS symptoms and i have the dull cramping that typically precedes my period. these next two days are the roughest days because i’m just anticipating what is inevitable and facing yet another failure.
current mood: depressed, sad and frustrated that i’m now at the point where i am having to take these tests to figure out if something is “wrong” with me. on the bright side of things, if there is something wrong with me, it would be nice to know sooner than later. also, since i’m almost at the end of this cycle, this means i can get started on the tests, probably by the end of the week.
my husband sacked up and went in to get a sperm analysis done. i’ve been waiting for this to get completed for a while. when you’re impatient and a planner like me, you need to start crossing things off your list. the results were pretty good. normal volume, normal morphology but slightly reduced motility. the US range of “normal” is 60% motility. that means 60% of your swimmers are moving around and only 40% are being lazy asses. the GLOBAL range of “normal” is 50%. why the two are different I have no idea. it seems stupid. anyway, my husband’s was somewhere in between at 52.4%. the doc says that she doesn’t want to send him to a urologist yet. she wants to do tests on me first and then maybe do another retest on him. so that’s all scheduled for next week. while it’s nice to cross my husband off the list of reasons why we are not getting pregnant (at least for now), now the pressure is back on me. yes, i know. it could be a combination of both of us. but still. it’s unwelcomed pressure that i’m going to try not to feel.
in the last couple of weeks, as promised, i’ve cut down on the running. i’ve only run 30 min twice per week, and i’ve interspersed that with some off days, yoga and one day of swimming. its hard for me to not exercise but i think i’m starting to put on some weight as my jeans are feeling tight. this shit better work or i’ll be mad that i put on weight for nothing! i’m on CD20 (cycle day 20) today and i’ve been having 26 day cycles lately so i’m due again for my period next week. i’ve stopped temping this month as well (post ovulation) because the stress of monitoring temps every day and freaking out every time it rises and falls is just too much. i’m slowly starting to come to terms with the fact that i’m probably going to need “medical assistance” (whatever that may be) to get pregnant. bleh.
anyway, here’s what’s supposed to happen and is not happening.
being the person that can’t get pregnant is very difficult, especially when it comes to other people you know achieving pregnancy. i’ve read about this particular topic over and over again in other people’s blogs about friends who are insensitive but really, some people are just clueless!
i have a co-worker who is newly pregnant and since we’d been discussing the topic of trying to get pregnant, she decided to tell me her news at 6 weeks. i truly am happy for her, i really am, but her insensitivity towards my situation is driving me nuts. a couple of weeks ago, it was uncharacteristically warm in SF. she sends me an instant message that said: is it hot in here or is it just me being pregnant? ok so that may not seem that bad to some of you but it bugged the shit out me. why do you gotta say it like that? couldn’t you just have asked me if it was hot?
today she told me how she can’t stand how she is sick 24/7. i politely responded and said, well at least you are pregnant – that i would trade shoes with her any day. a very polite response to an insensitive comment. but she didn’t get the hint. she continued on, “yes but i’d like to go back to before“, she says. “i stayed in bed ALL day yesterday because i was so sick“. telling a woman who wants to get pregnant and hasn’t been able to that you would rather not be pregnant anymore is not cool, people!
so what do you do with people like this? well you want to wringe their necks but you can’t do that. so hint very very strongly. and if that doesn’t work, then eventually you’ll just have to sit them down and tell them NO, NO, NO. please don’t talk to me about this stuff. choose your right audience. i am not your audience for complaints about pregnancy. as a last resort, avoid them or hope that they spontaneously go away.