Archive for May 2012

PMS?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I think the only thing that is more annoying than having PMS is being annoyed that I am annoyed about having PMS if that makes any sense.  I 'woke up' sweating and with terrible cramps this morning.  I put the words woke up in quotes because I really never fell asleep last night.  I am in a heinous mood and mostly because I know that my period is about to show up 3-4 days from now.  I am annoyed that I am annoyed because it wasn't my intention to get pregnant this cycle so I am not really sure why I am so upset about not being pregnant.  It was an accident that we had sex during my fertile window so why is this bothering me so much?? 

Honestly, if I hadn't found out yet another person is pregnant it might not be bothering me so much.  I tend to compare myself to others and it really bothers me when I perceive myself as falling behind.  I am getting pregnancy lapped by all of my friends.  They are on their second and I can't even have one.  Yes, I know it is irrational and ridiculous, but this is just how I operate.  I am constantly comparing myself to others: Am I as successful?  Am I as healthy?  Am I as pretty?  Is my house as nice?  Do I have as much money?  All of those things I can control to some extent.  This I can't control no matter how hard I try to convince myself that I can.  I get angrier and angrier each time I fail at this. 

It is times like these that I wish that I had a crystal ball to look into to see where I am 2 years from now.  Maybe I will be stuck right in the same place.  Maybe I will have a child.  Maybe I will have been committed to a mental institution.  It actually kind of scares me to think about the future.  All of the "what ifs" and "maybes" frighten me.

So here I am sitting at my desk.  Ready to snap at anyone that tries to cross me or cry if someone says the wrong thing or asks me what is wrong.  I am not a happy camper today and it shows.  Better to keep your distance.  I hope tomorrow will be a better day for me.  PMS please go away!

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It's official, I'm crazy

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Today I am 8 dpo and I decided that it would be a good idea to take a pregnancy test.  I have a bunch of Wondfo tests that I got in a bundle w/ opks a few months back so I figured that what a better way to use them then when I am only 8 dpo, only had sex on one day out of my fertile period, my temps haven't been great, and have no symptoms.  Nice work on my part.  I'll spare you the suspense and let you know that it is quite negative even though I think that I have twice hallucinated a line and it has only been 10 minutes since I took the test.  Hello crazy.

Where did all this madness start when I have seemingly been doing so well?  I visited a friend this weekend who is just a little over a month away from giving birth to her second child.  She too, has had a rough road and I am so incredibly happy for her that everything in this pregnancy has gone so well.  She has been a tremendous support to me through all of my heartache.  Visiting her made me think that about the fact that I should also be pregnant right now and we should have been sharing stories about being pregnant.  Instead she got to hear me complain about miscarriage and not being pregnant.  These situations are so tough, but I am glad that I went to see her as we had a fabulous time.  I am actually proud of myself because I think I am able to deal with pregnancy situations better and better.

On Sunday, I was quite productive in the morning.  I had succeeded in planting most of my garden when I stepped on a rusty nail with flip-flops on in the backyard.  The nail went right into my foot/heel.  Since I had not had a tetanus shot in over 10 years, I spent most of my Sunday afternoon in the ER waiting for one.  Of course my first concern was, that even at 6 dpo, I could be (a little bit) pregnant so I was concerned about the shot causing issues.  I told the doctor that I could be pregnant and he immediately wanted to know if I wanted him to give me a pregnancy test.  I spilled about my situation, the Femara, miscarriages, etc.  He let me know that his wife used Clomid to conceive their last child and he told me that he never really understood miscarriage and how it was so heartbreaking until they had gone through it.  He offered the test again and I politely refused.  I know that 6 dpo is way too early for a test.  After I got the shot (which they convinced me was safe and routinely given to preggos), he came over and handed me my discharge papers.  He winked and told me that he was crossing his fingers for me.  That was nice.

Last night I had trouble sleeping.  My stomach was bothering me and I started feeling some lower left pelvic pain, sporadically.  I have had this 2 times before.  Once in the cycle following my chemical pregnancy in which I did not end up being pregnant and once 2-3 days before I got my last BFP.  When I woke up this morning I decided that my stomach was bothering me too much so I stayed home.  I got a text from my friend telling me that she is pregnant.  She has had a rougher road than anyone I know and again, I am so incredibly happy for her.  She deserves this more than anyone after all of her heartache and struggles.  I just feel sorry for myself.  Yes, I said it, I feel sorry for myself.  I know it is wrong, but I just feel like I have toiled with this long enough.  I am ready for a baby.  I have done everything possible.  My husband jokes that if this healthy diet/lifestyle that I am living doesn't provide us a better outcome this time, we are going to start smoking crack.  Yeah, he is being sarcastic, but only to a point.  So I'll leave you with a picture of my abysmally negative pregnancy test.  Oh and one more thing, if you want to get pregnant soon, you should become friends with me.  Everyone around me seems to be having good luck getting a BFP.



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Miscarriage induced ADD

Friday, May 25, 2012

I think that any infertile/recurrent miscarrier knows that TTC takes over your life.  It isn't necessarily a conscious thing either.  It sneaks in to all aspects of your day-to-day from when your alarm goes off each morning, to what you do/don't eat/drink, to how you behave around people who sneeze and get pregnant with a healthy baby.  Since my first miscarriage, I have developed serious attention deficit disorder which has started affected my life more than ever before.  I have so much trouble concentrating at work and that amount of work that I get done along with the quality of my output has suffered immensely. 

Here is my typical day:
Alarm goes off at 4:30 AM.
Take temperature.
Do hair/makeup.
Get dressed.
Pack lunch, feed dog/cats, eat breakfast.
Commute to work.
Arrive at work, update Fertility Friend, check message boards, look at my fav TTC blogs, write in my blog.
Talk to my friend who is going through infidelity.
Try to do some work.
Get email notification regarding conversation update on FF, stop to check, get side-tracked and Google something TTC related.
Go to a meeting.
Eat lunch @ desk, chart surf on FF.
Go to meeting.
Try to do some work.
Mind wanders, check FF chart, add stupid data, compare my chart to others.
Try to do some work.
Commute from work.
Get home and check FF.
Work out, shower.
Check FF.
Cook dinner, eat dinner.
Pass out of couch @ 8:30 PM.
Check FF again, look at blogs.
Pass out in bed @ 9:30 PM.

I used to be such a high performer and over-achiever at work and now I feel like I just don't care that much about work right now.  I care about making a sticky baby.  As you can see from above, I have a tough time getting through any part of my day without incorporating some type of TTC activity my mind is constantly wandering off there.  I am unable to stay focused on working and I have a massive project that I am responsible for completing that has high management visibility.  Ugh.  I wish I could find a way to be able to cut all of this out.  I have already given up Facebook and Babycenter in hopes that would help, but I seem to have just found other outlets for my obsessive-compulsive behavior.  I have been debating whether or not to see a counselor for a while.  I am thinking maybe it is almost time to take that road.

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10 days earlier!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thank you, Femara!  Fertility Friend officially gave me cross-hairs this morning.  I was worried that my disturbed sleep right around O (due to the nightly wildlife activity in my backyard) might have made things difficult to calculate, but I don't even have a dotted line!  FF thinks that I ovulated on cd 17, which is the same day that I had a positive opk.  Normally, I get a positive opk and then O 1-3 days later, so this is also a change from the usual. 

I am actually feeling very good about this cycle.  Not that I will get pregnant, but that my body actually behaved.  I am on track to have a 30-32 day cycle, which is in the realm of normal.  To me, that is amazing!  I am so happy that next month we can "go for it again".  I have a good feeling about the future and I have not felt that since before my first miscarriage. 

FF actually gave me a "good" chance of pregnancy this month with my 1 day slip-up(s).  Knowing that, I have decided that I am not going to do anything differently then I am already doing.  I am not going to take progesterone.  I am not going to stop exercising.  I am going to make a conscious decision NOT to get anxious.  I know that my last loss was a chromosomal abnormality and I am fairly confident that my first loss was the same.  The chemical...I am not sure.  I don't think that me doing anything differently is going to help or hinder me. 

So now I am back to the waiting game and the TWW.  So far no symptoms of any kind, but I am only 3 dpo, so I wouldn't really expect any yet.  FF says my test date is June 3.  Since that is a Sunday, I am going to get blood drawn on June 4.  I can't say that I won't POAS before then, but officially I will know what my deal is then.  I already have another 5 pills of Femara waiting in the wings.  It would be nice to not need them, but if my cycles are going to be around 30 days, I am totally fine with it.  Hoping the next 10 days by go fast!

I will leave you with a song from my favorite music group of all time, Keane.  Their most recent album is amazingly incredible.  I would suggest that you check it out if you have not already.  Oh and buy the deluxe edition.  Most of the songs are so relevant to my life right now, which is probably why I love it so much. 


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Life is so fragile

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I know this better than anyone.  I have lost quite a few members of my family in my lifetime.  One of my first experiences with death was losing my Grandpa when I was 7 or 8 years old.  I remember my parents getting a call telling them that something was wrong.  I remember playing in the front yard while my mom and dad went up the street to my grandparents house, thinking that it must be my grandma that was sick.  Apparently my Grandpa had died of a heart attack a few hours earlier while feeding the birds in his backyard.  That was one of his favorite things to do.  Something as simple as that and he died while doing it.  They actually found him with peanuts in his hand on his back patio.

A few years later I lost my Grandma.  She and my Grandpa had always had issues, but she missed him so much and was never the same without him.  After many years of smoking cigarettes, she got lung cancer and had one of her lungs removed.  She was on oxygen 24/7 and had to have a visiting nurse.  Even while on oxygen she still tried to sneak cigarettes and would bribe us kids to sneak them for her.  Then she started losing her memory.  That was terrible.  She didn't remember me or any of my siblings.  One of my last memories of her was having Easter at the hospital where she was.  I have never once in my life smoked a cigarette thanks to her.

In the next few years I started to lose lots of other aunts and uncles.   About seven years ago I lost one of the great Aunts that I had been close with when I was young.  She died suddenly of a suspected brain aneurysm.  I took several days off work to attend the funeral.  I remember how awful the ceremony was.  It was at a funeral home and there weren't very many people or flowers there.  I remember hugging the one grandma that I have left at the cemetary.  It was her sister that had passed.  I remember thinking...this has to be the last person for a while.

Then I got the call from my mom late Friday night telling my that my Dad had died.  Apparently his heart stopped while he was driving home from his soccer game (myocarditis & enlarged heart).  My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I were on our way back from the movie theater.  We had just seen Flight 93.  The events that followed that phone conversation are very fuzzy to me.  I don't remember much from the few weeks that followed.  I remember being at the funeral home and having to hug so many people for so many hours as they streamed through.  I remember trying to hold it together for my little siblings.  I remember seeing my Dad laying there peacefully in the casket.  I remember seeing my Mom, Uncle, and my Grandma completely wrecked.  I didn't know what to do or how to feel.  I just felt numb.

I have lost many other family members in the years that followed.  My husband has been lucky to lose very few.  His Grandma is almost 100.  Having the 3 miscarriages this past year made me realize that life at all stages is so fragile.  I used to associate death with the elderly, but after losing my dad and my babies, I have completely changed my opinion.  Death comes when you are least expecting it and at any age so we need to live each day like it is our last.  You never know when your number is going to come up.  I have to keep reminding myself of that.

Yesterday we received an email at work, saying that one of our co-workers had died of a heart attack on his drive in to work that morning.  I can just imagine he left his family that morning expecting to see them again at the end of the day.  I hope that he at least told his wife that he loved her before he left.

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:-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yup, you guessed it.  Big fat smiley face today!  I confirmed with a Wondfo opk, as well.  Two nice dark lines.  I actually had an almost positive yesterday around 7:30 PM with the Wondfo, so I may O today or tomorrow.  I am currently on cd 17, so even though this isn't the cd 14 smiley that I was hoping for, it is sure a hell of a lot better than a day 25 or 26 smiley.  I'll take it.  So far I am liking Femara.

Predicting my actual ovulation this time might be tricky because last night I did not get a very restful sleep.  This is the worst time of the cycle to not get restful sleep!  My husband and I were awoken by the sounds of screaming animals in our backyard at 2:30 AM (again, we live in the burbs with no rural areas near us).  It was the most horrific blood-curdling noise I may have heard in my life.  It sounded like some animal was getting murdered.  We ran downstairs and turned on the back lights.  Sure enough we saw a fat raccoon running down the tree near our window.  We only saw the one raccoon though, so we are not sure what was maimed or killed.  I am rather scared to go in the backyard now.

Anyways, back to all of this ovulation and TTC talk.  Now I need to make a few decisions:

  • Decide if I just go about my business for the next 2 weeks or if I should start taking progesterone in a few days. 
  • Decide whether I want to tell Dr. Zhang that I slipped up so that he can appropriately tailor my acupuncture (which I am supposed to have today).
This cycle has turned from an uncomplicated pass-through cycle to a regular TTC one in one day!  I think I have an interesting 2ww ahead.

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Oops (Oops)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Just a word of warning...this is a TMI post.  I am letting you know up front so you can choose not to read it if you are prudish or faint of heart.  I won't use any graphic terms or descriptions, but this post is about sex.  Fair warning people!

So my husband and I decided after our last miscarriage to wait 2 cycles until trying again, even though my RE said waiting 1 cycle was fine.  Knowing that my cycles are soooooo long, I decided to go on Femara in hopes of shortening my second cycle because we want to get on with things!  After the 3rd miscarriage, neither of us were very interested in "getting it on".  When we first started trying it was a lot of fun not worrying about getting pregnant, but anyone who has been trying to conceive for a while knows that baby-making-sex gets old pretty fast.  After trying so many times and having it not work, sex is pretty much associated with a negative outcome for both of us.  Plus, although they have a time and a place, neither of us are a big fan of condoms.  When you haven't used them in many years and then all of a sudden go back to them it equals issues of all sorts.  I won't get into detail, but let's just say they are uncomfortable for both of us.

In this second cycle, we have both started feeling a little better about things and have been actually feeling like having sex again.  Even though I asked him if we really needed to use a condom each time we did it, he kept me on track and told me that we should stick to our plan and wait.  I begrudgingly agreed.  Nothing like having protected sex when you so desperately want to get pregnant!

Fast forward to today.  I am not sure if it is the Femara or what, but my fertility instincts definitely kicked in.  Even though I got a negative opk this morning, I still feel like I am close to ovulating.  My husband and I got caught up in the moment and decided not to use protection.  Oops.  :-)  I think part of the fact that we shouldn't be "not using protection" made it that more appealing.

MORE TMI.  If I could say that was the only oops for the day I'd be lying.  Ok so the first time we were like, well there is no way that we'll get pregnant off of one try.  If we do, then it was meant to be.  Well I guess we had no excuse in the second round so it really wasn't an oops at all.  I feel like I am in college again!  We both knew very well that we broke our "2 cycle plan" this time and now we are just asking for it.  I can see Dr. Zhang shaking his head at me right now.  For couples that are struggling to light the fire in the bedroom, have someone tell you that you can't have sex for 2 months and see how that works out for you.

So here we are.  Now I guess I may have something to keep me occupied during the 2ww.  Just waiting patiently for that smiley face.

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Good days/bad days

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lately my life seems to shift back and forth between good days and bad days.  These good and bad days usually have something to do with not being pregnant or not having a baby.  Luckily, the string of good days has gotten longer with just a few bad days sprinkled in here and there.  About a month and a half ago, all of my days were bad.  I guess time is healing me somewhat.

I am still constantly playing games with myself.  For example, some mornings I wake up and think, "Wow.  It isn't really that bad not having a child.  I can get up and get myself ready.  I don't have to worry about anyone other than myself.  I can go to the gym after work."  Then I will pass a pregnant woman or a woman with a newborn on my walk to work and I will have immediately lost my sense of well being and will return to my state of childless depression.

Sometimes I even have good days that turn into bad days...like yesterday.  Yesterday I went for a run.  The temperature was perfect, low humidity, and a nice breeze.  I felt good while running.  I felt at peace with everything.  Then I started to see (I kid you not) throngs and throngs of pregnant women or women with infants/young children.  Most of the women that I saw actually looked like teenage moms.  Many of them with 2 babies along with 2 or 3 other teenage mommies with several babies.  Not even paying attention to the kids and just yaking on their phones or listening to their ipods.  I don't know why, but that aggravates me like crazy.  **WARNING- TIME FOR IRRATIONAL VENT**  Why them and not me??  What am I being punished for?  Being responsible?  Making sure I have a place for a baby to sleep, money to buy food and clothes for the baby, and the desire to actually be a parent??!?  They can be irresponsible and get knocked up by some random Joe (or multiple random Joe's) while they are in high school and I can't seem to stay pregnant after finishing school, getting a good job, getting married, and buying a house!!  WTF?!?!  Not fair!  AHHHHHHH!  **END OF IRRATIONAL VENT**

I guess I am only human and will continue to have these days until I am finally able to hold a healthy baby in my arms.  Until then my life is going to continue to be a string of good days and bad days.  Sigh.  Happy Friday.


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These dreams

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

...go on when I close my eyes.  Every second of the night, I live another life.  

Sorry I just had to throw in a Heart reference.  I am a serious 80s music buff.  Now on to the actual post...

I have had many dreams where I am finding out that I am pregnant, where I am pregnant, and even more when I am giving birth.  I love these dreams because they seem so real and when I wake up I feel happy and hopeful for the future. 

A few months back, my mom told me about a dream where she saw my Dad (he passed away 6 years ago) rocking a baby boy, which she came to find out in the dream was mine.  He told my mom he was fine taking care of the baby and he just sat there on my Grandma's (she has also passed away many years ago, but my cousin lives in her house) back patio just rocking the baby back and forth.  This dream made me happy because I feel like my Dad is up there taking care of my angel babies.  I take some comfort in that.

Last night I did not sleep that well.  I woke up in the middle of the night to coyotes barking and howling somewhere in the neighborhood (and I live in the burbs!) and I had a tough time getting back to sleep.  I told my husband this and he mentioned that he had some really wacky dreams last night, but didn't really have trouble sleeping.  I asked him what they were about and I was almost shocked by what he told me because the man rarely remembers his dreams!  Apparently in his dream I was at the doctor and the doctor told me that I didn't actually miscarry my last 2 pregnancies and that I was still pregnant.  Then right there, even though my husband said that I did not look pregnant, I gave birth to 2 babies.  I asked him if they were twins and he said, no, they were actually 3 months apart.  One boy and one girl.  I asked him if the babies were cute and I expected him to say he didn't really remember, but then he told me that they were the most beautiful babies he had ever seen and he told me that he was so happy when he got to hold them.  Oh my gosh I wanted to start bawling right there in the kitchen while chopping onions.  He totally melted my heart.  How did this man go from adamantly not wanting any kids to this?  It is nothing short of a miracle.

I would love to know if dreams actually had any bearing on reality or the future or if they are just our minds way of trying to make sense of it all.  I guess for now I will pray that these dreams mean that we'll one day have our little family.  

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Happy Birthday to me

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another year older, that's me.  So far today has actually been an ok day... 

I am having a good hair day.
I picked out an outfit that looks good (might even say hot ;-).
A nice looking gentleman held the door for me at the train station and that NEVER happens in the morning.
The forecast is for rain, but it was sunny and warm on my walk to work.
Several cars actually stopped to let me cross at cross-walks on my walk to work and that NEVER happens either.

I guess the universe is throwing me a bone today...thank you universe.  Please keep this coming, if possible.

I haven't updated on the Femara lately, so I will do that now.  I finished with my 5 day course on Sunday.  My only real side effects were slight hair loss, slightly blurred vision, some fatigue, and the fact that I was ever so slightly more emotional than normal.  I had 2 mini-meltdowns last week.  One because I twisted my ankle while trying to go for a run one evening and the other on Mother's Day when I got a very sweet text from my sister, that lives far away, wishing me a Happy Mother's Day even though my babies are not with me.  Now the big question is, is this stuff actually doing anything to help me? 

I am on cd 11 and I had some mild cramping on my left side last night.  I think I usually switch ovulation sides each month so they could be O cramps since I ovulated on my right side last month.  So far I have not had any CM to speak of.  Normally I don't start noticing any until around cd 15-16 of a normal cycle so I would expect to have some now if my O date is deciding to move to a normal O.  I guess it could also be a side effect of the drug to have scant CM.  My temps have looked pretty normal for the follicular phase, also.  In the low 97s upper 96s.  I guess time will tell.  It is taking everything in my power to prevent this month.  I really want to go for it, but my husband is trying to be the voice of reason.  Not trying at all is almost as hard as actually trying.

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30 years

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today is my last day of being 30.  My thirtieth year did NOT go how I planned it.  I am a planner by nature and so, as you can imagine, this has extremely difficult for me to accept.  I SHOULD have a baby by now. 

The year started out well.  My husband and I went on a fabulous trip to Europe to see The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and France.  We traveled by train, saw amazing sights, ate great food, and drank lots of local beers/wines.  We basically lived it up because we were under the impression that this would be our last trip as a twosome.  Once we got back to the US, it was one more month of preventing and then it was baby-making time.

The next 10 months were a blur of excitement, suspense, sadness, anxiety, hopefulness, depression, anger, jealousy, and desperation.  From the excitement of finding out that we were pregnant for the first time, to the suspense of finding out that the baby had a slow heartbeat, to the sadness when we found out that there was no heartbeat.  The anxiety and hopefulness of each subsequent positive pregnancy test to depression upon finding out that my betas were not rising appropriately or that the baby's heart was not beating fast enough.  The anger at God because I could not understand why this was happening to me when I had seemingly done everything right. The jealousy of seeing pregnant friends and the desperation of wanting a family of my own.  The last 10 months have aged me about 10 extra years.

Tomorrow I turn 31 and while I don't like the fact that I am a year older, I can honestly say that I am happy to say goodbye to 30.  It was one of the worst years of my life.  To give myself a little birthday present tomorrow, I have decided to give myself a cheat day from my painstakingly difficult diet.  I am allowing myself something sweet and 1 glass of wine.  I have been so good at following my special diet for over a month now and have endured a terribly rotten 10 months, that I am rewarding myself.  I am sure Dr. Zhang would not be happy, but I'm sorry, sometimes a girl just needs a little sugar and alcohol!

My mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday the other day and I told her "a baby".  I was obviously joking (I wish my mom had some special powers, but I think I would have used them by now), but also slightly serious.  I really don't want anything else right now except to be a mother, myself.  If you are thinking of getting me anything for my birthday this year, just please say some prayers for my husband and me that 31 is a better year.   

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What makes a mother

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I am re-posting this from one of the TTC after loss forums.  Even though it made me cry when I read it, I still thought that it was beautiful.  Happy Mother's Day to ALL mommies out there with babies on the earth or in Heaven.


What Makes a Mother 

I thought of you and closed my eyes.  
And prayed to God today.  
I asked what makes a mother and  
I know I heard him say,  

A mother has a baby.  
This we know is true.  
But God, can you be a mother  
when your baby's not with you?  

Yes, you can, He replied  
with confidence in His voice.  
I give many women babies.  
When they leave is not their choice.  

Some I send for a lifetime  
and others for a day.  
And some I send to fill your womb  
but there's no need to stay.  

I just don't understand this. God,  
I want my baby here.  
He took a breath and cleared His throat  
and then I saw a tear.  

I wish I could show you  
what your child is doing today.  
If you could see your child smile  
with other children and say,  

"We go to earth to learn our lessons  
of life and love and fear.  
My Mommy loved me, Oh so much,  
I got to come straight here.  

I feel so lucky to have a Mom  
who had so much love for me, 
I learned my lesson very quickly. 
My Mommy set me free. 

I miss my Mommy, Oh so much,  
but I visit her each day. 
When she goes to sleep, 
on her pillow's where I lay. 

I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek  
and whisper in her ear, 
'Mommy don't be sad today, 
I'm your baby and I'm here.'" 

So you see, my dear sweet one, 
your children are okay. 
Your babies are here in MY home  
and this is where they'll stay. 

They'll wait for you with ME  
until your lesson is through.  
And on the day that you come home,  
they'll be at the gates for you. 

So now you see what makes a Mother— 
It's the feeling in your heart. 
It's the love you had so much of, 
right from the very start. 

Though some on earth may not realize you are a Mother, 
until their time is done.  
They'll be up here with ME one day,  
and know you're the best one. 

~Jennifer Wasik~

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Fortune cookie

Friday, May 11, 2012

I am not really in the mood to write today, but I thought I would share my fortune:

The harder the fall, the higher the bounce.

I know it is a stupid fortune cookie and it probably means nothing, but it made me smile because it is so relevant right now.  I haven't smiled much this week.  Praying next week is better.

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Feeling abandoned

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Back in December, after my second miscarriage in a row, I decided to seek out the help of Reproductive Endocrinologist.  I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong even though my Ob/Gyn assured me that that I was just having a string of bad luck and that "these things just happen".  I did a lot of research and took recommendations from friends.  I ended up choosing a place that had a recurrent loss program and is also ranked in the top 5 programs in the country.  I ended up choosing a doctor that US News rates as being in the top 1% of doctors in the specialty field of reproductive medicine.

Don't get me wrong, I am overall impressed with the place.  I see many happy pregnant women coming and going.  Normally, seeing pregnant women upsets me, but seeing pregnant women at the RE's office makes me happy and hopeful.  I think my doctor did an excellent job at handling my d&c.  I had a much shorter recovery time that I did after my first d&c and an overall better experience.  Here are a few things that have bothered me, though.  I need to get them out.  Apologies in advance for this rant.

1.  I was nearly scheduled for the wrong procedure during all of my testing.  I was inadvertently scheduled for an HSG when I should have been scheduled for a hysteroscopy.  They also tried to schedule me for the procedure outside of the regular window, which I read that you were supposed to have it done (between cd 5-10).  Luckily I thought something was wrong and called and got everything straightened out. 

2.  I had lots of blood tests taken for various genetic disorders.  It turns out that they forgot to run one of the tests so I had to go back and get more blood taken.  Huge pain in the arse.

3.  After my 3rd miscarriage, they basically told me there was nothing they could do other than IVF w/ PGD and that we should just try again and hopefully at some point the stars will align and we'll have a sticky baby.  I asked about the ovulation induction meds and the RE agreed to try them out on me since my cycles are so long.  They have not looked in to my FSH/AMH to see if it is abnormal since I am not of "advanced maternal age", but I have heard stories of people my age having issues with this causing unhealthy eggs.  They have not suggested testing my husband's sperm to see if there is an issue there.  They basically told me I was having bad luck.  I feel like at a place that is so highly ranked, that they should be able to do a little more.  Right??

4.  I feel like most fertility clinics try to push you towards ART rather than trying other methods.  Since I am not doing IUI/IVF I feel that they do not monitor me closely enough.  I am given this breast cancer drug to hopefully move up my ovulation date and I am left to Google to find out the possible side effects and generally what to expect.  Seems like I am only expected to call if I get pregnant.  I called the office yesterday to ask when they thought I should start taking opks and the nurse told me she wasn't very familiar with the drug I was taking.  I asked her if she thought it would move my ovulation up and she told me she didn't know.  I asked her if I could get blood taken at the end of the 2ww and she said that was probably a good idea.  WTF.  I have to ask for that?  They don't tell me to do it?  What about checking to see if I actually ovulate on this drug?  Ultrasounds/blood work?  I get nothing.  I have been completely abandoned by my doctor's office.  Left to my own devices...my own research. 

I have been feeling rather hopeless the past few days.  I feel like no one can help someone like me.  They can make a woman who does not ovulate, ovulate.  They can make a women with no tubes get pregnant.  They can genetically engineer a baby in a test tube and put it into another women.  But, they can't help someone who has regular, but long cyles/late ovulation and gets pregnant fairly easily only to habitually miscarry right away.  They can't find anything wrong with me so they just give up.  I feel like I should just wear a name tag when I go into the office that says lost cause.  Can you tell I am not having a great week?  Maybe it is the Femara.  I guess I'll Google it to find out.

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T minus 1 day and counting

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I never EVER in my wildest dreams thought that I would be here right now.  I never thought I would be uttering the words, "tomorrow I am starting fertility meds".  Yes, tomorrow is the day that I enter into the world of the assisted and unknown.  Please wish me luck.

I spent most of my younger years trying not to get pregnant.  I was religious about taking my birth control down to the exact time...12 PM every day.  If I ever diverted from that time I would force the use of condoms as well.  If I was on an antibiotic...condoms.  If I was just feeling really fertile...condoms.  I was soooooo worried about getting pregnant.  Man, if I only could have been that lucky as to have an accidental healthy pregnancy.  Never did I think that I'd actually be one of those sad women who can't seem to have a healthy baby.  I get angry just thinking about it.  Why did I waste all of those good fertile years starting my career, buying a house, going out with friends?

I am one of those people that doesn't even like to take Advil for a headache or Tums for heartburn.  I usually ride out the pain...suffer through it.  After my d&cs I did not take any pain meds to prove that point.  I don't like help from others, I'd rather do things on my own.  It was hard for me to admit that I had a problem with pregnancy and needed to seek medical help.  Why would I have any reason to think that I could not have a baby?  I have always prided myself in my healthiness and figured that because I treated my body well, it would treat me well in return.  I guess that things just don't work like that.

I think I had good reason to believe that I wouldn't have any problems having a baby.  My mom is one of the most fertile people on earth.  She had seven children over the span of almost 20 years with almost no issues.  Granted she started much earlier than I (at the ripe old age of 24), but she also gave birth to my youngest sibling in her early 40s.  She only ever had 1 miscarriage in all of those years, but she was in her 40s.  I love my mother to death, but I am seriously jealous of her fertility.  I never thought I would say that either.

But, I digress...

Tomorrow starts the next chapter in my TTC journey.  Hopefully I don't freak out and decide not to take the meds.  I only wish my RE would give me a little more guidance besides writing me the prescription.  I'll have an update tomorrow.



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Femara freakout

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oh Google, why do you let crazy hormonal ladies that are desperate to become pregnant search for fertility drug information?  I have successfully caused myself to freak out about the drug that I am going to start on Wednesday.  Popping that 6-letter word into the text box and clicking search has led me to some terribly scary articles and warning about using Femara as a fertility drug.  Fantastic.

My RE prescribed me Femara instead of Clomid recently to see if that might have an affect on shortening my cycles, moving up my ovulation date, and causing me to produce healthier eggs.  She told me that the drug was much easier to handle than Clomid, handed me a prescription, and saw me out.  Not a whole lot of guidance there.  :-(

Apparently, this drug has been used since around 2001 by fertility doctors to stimulate ovulation in women who don't ovulate or strengthen ovulation in women who already ovulate.  Femara is approved by the FDA to treat breast cancer patients as it inhibits estrogen production.  When used for fertility purposes, this drug is used almost identically as the drug Clomid is used, but has less side effects such as mood swings, decreased cervical mucous, and a thinned uterine lining.  The success rate is almost identical between the two drugs, but Femara is NOT approved by the FDA for fertility usage.

A Canadian study published in 2005 found that women who took Femara as a fertility med had a much higher risk of birth defects than women who were taking Clomid.  This caused the drug's maker, Novartis, to condemn the drug for fertility use.  Other studies have been done since 2005 and none have shown any higher risk of birth defects unless the drug is taken while pregnant.  It is considered a class D medication and should never be taken while pregnant.  Due to the fact that Femara is taken early in the cycle (usually cycle days 3-7 or 5-9) and it has a short half-life, it is not present at the point where pregnancy begins.  I question why REs would prescribe a drug for fertility that they thought had a high liklihood of birth defects?  I hope they have done all their research here.

I have trolled many different sites over the past few days trying to find success stories and I have found many.  I have also found many stories about ladies who it has not worked for or ladies who were cautioning against its usage.  It is enough to make any infertile woman go crazy and second guess an already tough decision that was made to start messing with nature.  Even after all of the tortuous reading, I am still going forward.  I hope I won't regret it.  Gulp.

Here is my protocol for my "prevention" cycle with Femara that I have researched (my RE basically just said take it from cd 5-9 and call us if you get pregnant):

1. Start 1 pill a day regimen on cycle day 5.  Continue 1 pill a day until cycle day 9.
2. Start opks on cycle day 10.
3. Hopefully ovulate between cycle day 14-17.
4. Wait 2 weeks and take a pregnancy test to make sure I am NOT pregnant.
5. Call doctor to get blood test to BE SURE I am NOT pregnant (I am not risking birth defects).
6. Get period, rinse and repeat minus protection.

Here goes nothing...

References:

The pros-
Letrozole (Femara) for Infertility Treatment:  http://www.ivf1.com/letrozole-femara-infertility/
Femara (Letrozole) for Infertility, Ovulation Problems and PCOS Treatment: http://www.advancedfertility.com/femara-letrozole-fertility.htm

The cons-
Femara: Warning Against Use for Infertility: http://www.drugs.com/news/femara-warning-against-infertility-1636.html
The Troubling Femara Infertility Connection: http://www.fertileheart.com/the-troubling-femara-infertility-connection/

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Yay! She's here!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Normally, any women who is TTC does not want to get her period.  Now a woman who has recently had a miscarriage...it is all she thinks about.  When will I get my freaking period?!  Is there something wrong with me?!  Well AF finally came today and I was quite happy to see her.  Her visit means I can finally start moving forward again.

After my first m/c and d&c, I was not yet charting.  I really had no idea when or if I was ovulating and thus no idea when I would get my period.  The wait for my first AF after my first d&c seemed like an eternity.  My Google searches regularly consisted of "how long after a d&c will I get my period", "what is the normal amount of time it takes to get a period after a d&c", "is it normal to not have your period 6 weeks after a d&c".  My search results almost always included several hits regarding Asherman's Syndrome, which totally freaked me out.  From Ashermans.org, "Asherman's syndrome occurs when trauma to the endometrial lining triggers the normal wound-healing process, which causes the damaged areas to fuse together. Most commonly, intrauterine adhesions occur after a dilation and curettage (D&C) that was performed because of a missed or incomplete miscarriage, retained placenta with or without hemorrhage after a delivery, or elective abortion. Pregnancy-related D&Cs have been shown to account for 90% of Asherman's Syndrome cases."  At one point after my first d&c, I had convinced myself that I had Asherman's...then I got my period a few days later.

The cycle following this d&c has been different for 2 reasons.  First of all, I charted this cycle.  That has been the most helpful thing for me.  I knew that I ovulated and I knew that I was going to get AF today.  No surprises and no freaking myself out that I had Asherman's.  Secondly, this chart is starting to somewhat resemble that of a normal female's.  Yes, I still ovulated late, but not as late as usual and my luteal phase was a full 12 days with no spotting!  NORMAL!  I am not sure if it is the b6, the red raspberry leaf tea, the acupuncture, the yoga, or a combination of everything, but something is working.



For anyone who has had a miscarriage and a d&c, I would strongly recommend charting your bbt, taking opks, and checking CM with a tool like Fertility Friend.  That way you won't be guessing what is going on with your body.  Maybe you won't ovulate, but at least you'll know.

My temp took a nosedive this morning and I just knew AF would show up...she did.  My RE's office does not "believe" in charting.  When I called them up once to ask them a question about my chart they snidely replied that they don't believe that works and that temperatures are too variable.  I am glad that I did not listen to them and continued to chart...otherwise my yoga class this morning would have turned tragic.
:-)

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Long cycles and egg quality

Friday, May 4, 2012

I have been beating myself up about this for many months.  I have heard through many an infertility/miscarriage forum that having a longer cycle with late ovulation is a sign of poor or diminished egg quality.  Ever since going off the pill a little over a year ago, my cycles have been anywhere from 35 days (first 2 cycles off the pill) to 41 days (in cycles following miscarriage).  I verbalized my concerns to my RE who tried, unsuccessfully, to put my mind at ease by saying that a late ovulation does not automatically equal poor egg quality.

A few days ago, a girl in one of the miscarriage forums posted an article that she had found that completely refuted the theory of long cycles/late ovulation = bad eggs.  A gentleman by the name of Dr. Thomas Hannam posted an article with the exact opposite theory.  In his article he stated, "Delayed ovulation -day 13 or later- is not a sign of egg quality concerns; in fact, it is more commonly a sign of an excess ovarian reserve, generally a good thing."  Now compare that statement to something that I just found on BabyMed.com, "Delayed ovulation may be a sign of poor egg quality."  Another blurb on StorkNet.com, made by Dr. Sam Thatcher states, "The average cycle length is 28-29 days. The farther one deviates from the norm the greater the likelihood of poor egg quality, lack of ovulation. Delayed ovulation is also associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. The rate of infertility is very high when cycles are over 35 days and I do not even recommend testing for ovulation, just progressing with therapy. At 32-34 days you may be somewhat borderline for normal ovarian function."  Ok really?  Wow.  This doctor doesn't even want to give a longer cycle a chance at having a natural successful pregnancy.  Now I am thoroughly confused.

Back to Dr. Hannam, I read his biography and he seems legit.  He runs a large fertility clinic in Toronto, Canada and looks to be quite successful in his practice, judging by the patient testimonials.  I am wondering where he got his information though and how medical professionals could have such differing opinions on this subject.  I would love to speak with him and pick his brain about this.

A few other major points from his article that intrigued me:

-Earlier ovulation (days 8,9,10) can be a sign of lower egg quality especially if you once had a normal ovulation day and now your ovulation day is consistently earlier. 
-Spotting ahead of your period can be a sign of poor egg quality.  Apparently lower quality follicles are associated with less progesterone production.
-Shortened cycles can be a sign of poor or failing egg quality.

Ok so reading the article by Dr. Hannam, I would not think that my cycle length/ovulation days are an issue.  If you Google late ovulation and poor egg quality you get a million hits.  If you Google late ovulation and good egg quality you get  the Dr. Hannam article along with a bizillion other articles about late ovulation and poor egg quality.  What gives?  Am I doomed or blessed?  I posted a question to his blog about my situation.  I'll report back if I get a response.

References:
How your menstrual cycle reflects your egg quality: http://www.fertility.ca/2008/06/how-your-menstrual-cycle-reflects-your-egg-quality/

Long Cycles and Delayed Ovulation: http://www.babymed.com/menstrual-period/long-cycles-and-delayed-ovulation

Delayed Ovulation: http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/infertility/exst19.htm

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The (actual) cost of miscarriage

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Picture this...you've been through your 3rd miscarriage in 7 months.  You have recovered physically and finally feel like your body is starting to feel "normal" again.  Mentally, you are starting to round the corner from grief, sadness, and despair to the road of acceptance, peace, and hope.  You feel like the bleak days of the past are behind you and you are finally looking forward to the future again.  Then you open the mailbox and find a $500 bill from the hospital for your last D&C (dilation and curettage).  Just like a ton of bricks it hits you...ugh this really did happen.

I am actually quite lucky when it comes to medical bills.  I have great insurance and my company, very generously, reimburses my co-pays, which in this case will be $500.  I can't imagine if I didn't have insurance.  We would have to take out a second mortgage or I would have to start stripping (jk).  Here is the breakdown of the cost:

Pharmacy- $66.85
Other Pharmacy- $1.36
Medical/Surgical Supplies- $332.50
Laboratory Services- $769.00
Operating Room Services- $7,774.00
Recovery Room- $890.00

GRAND TOTAL: $9,833.71

Multiply this by 2...yikes.  Actually my first D&C was at least 2-3 thousand dollars more for some reason.  They were both performed under different doctors and at different hospitals so I guess that there is a lot of variation between them.  I have heard from several people that it costs more money to have a dead baby removed them to give birth to a live baby.  How utterly sad is that?  I pray that the next time I need to go to the hospital, that it is to give birth to a healthy little baby.

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The grass is always greener

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I feel like I have spent the last year of my life wishing I had a baby.  Looking longingly at young families and wishing that I had what they had.  I have hoped for it and prayed for it.  Meanwhile, around me, there seems to be a great baby-boom going on.  I have heard other friends excited pregnancy announcements and then attended their baby showers.  I have gotten their birth announcement cards and visited them while they were on maternity leave.  I have picked out little outfits and fun toys for baby's first birthday party.  The jealousy is strong, but I try not to let it get the best of me.  I put on a happy face even though I am so sad inside.  I want nothing more than to have a child.  I know that my husband and I will be great parents.

One of my dear friends recently told me that their spouse had been unfaithful.  I was shocked and saddened to learn that after over 10 years of marriage, one had decided that they were not completely fulfilled with the other and found someone outside of the relationship to supplement.  Besides my friend feeling the grief, anger, and sadness about the situation, they have several small children in the mix.  When asked for the reason for the infidelity, the unfaithful spouse replied that they wished that they were young, unattached, and childless.  They were tired of being a spouse and parent.  This is after the couple did not have the most smooth road before and during pregnancy.  After the infidelity took place, the unfaithful spouse decided that it (infidelity) wasn't everything it was cracked up to be and stopped.  They are going to try couples counseling, but it is undetermined whether they will be able to repair the damage that was done. 

Hearing my friend's story made me so sad.  My heart hurts.  Could it be that we only want what we don't have?  Why is it that things that we don't have are so much more appealing than the things we do have?  We spend so much of our time wishing it away...a bigger house, a nice vacation, more money, a better job, more fun...  Are we ever really content with what we have right now?

I am totally guilty of this.  I have been wishing my days, weeks, months away, trying to have a baby.  It is all I have thought about for the past year.  Maybe I need to take a step back and look at the things that I do have.  I have a wonderful husband who loves me.  We have so much fun together and there is no one else I would rather spend my time with.  I have a loving family that I am so grateful for.  They listen when I need to talk and never judge me for the choices that I make.  I have great friends who I have fun with but can also vent and cry to when I am feeling low.  My job isn't perfect, but it is stable and pays the bills.  I can even say, that once in a while, I actually enjoy what I am doing.  :-)  I have a nice house in a safe neighborhood and cute and cuddly pets.  I am healthy. 

The moral of the story is, the grass is always greener on the other side.  Sometimes you don't have to look over the fence to see what your neighbor has and can look to what you have and see the fulfillment in that.  My husband and I really want to start a family, but right now we are just happy together.  I think there is real beauty in that...being happy with what you have right now.

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