Archive for July 2012

Decisions

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

After two fairly intense sobbing breakdowns yesterday (one with the psychologist and one with my husband when I got home), I made a few decisions regarding my next cycle.  I am hoping that I can actually stick to this plan because I think it will be good for me (and my husband) in the long run.  I need a break from all of this.

1.  I am not testing until Saturday if AF does not show up, but I expect that she will show up then or possibly before then).  My Wondfos and FRERs will have to sit unused in the closet until a later time.

Not this time old buddies.

2.  I am taking next cycle off.  One thing I know for sure about this off cycle is that it is NOT going to include Femara.  Even though I did refill my last prescription, I am not going to take it.  I don't think another unmonitored cycle is going to do me much good.  I am not sure if my cycle off is going to include temping and opks.  I have not yet decided on that.  I think I will play it by ear, but I will most likely temp at least so I can see how my body reacts to no more estrogen inhibitors.  Can you say late ovulation?

3.  I have an appointment with my RE on 8/24.  I am going to demand a better plan for the future and that plan is going to include monitoring and or more.  No more of this unmonitored Femara bullshit.

4.  I have an appointment with another recurrent loss doctor at a different hospital on 9/10.  I am going to ask for any and all testing that I have not yet received from my RE.  I am also going to state my current diagnosis (bad luck) and see if the new doctor feels differently.

5.  I am going back to running during my "off" cycle.  I will obviously be sucking serious wind, but who cares.  I need some endorphins.

6.  I am going back to yoga.  I was just starting to get really into it and I really miss it.

7.  I will have a glass of wine if I feel like it once or twice a week.  I freaking need it.

8.  I am going to start repeating my positive mantra that I learned last night during our cognitive restructuring exercise at the group therapy session: "I will carry a healthy baby to term".  I'll repeat this to myself when I feel those negative thoughts creeping in. 

All right AF...I dare you to show up.  I have a plan and even you can't wreck it.  So there.

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This is not good

Monday, July 30, 2012

**Before reading this please keep in mind that I have a bad attitude today and this post is going to contain lots of bitching, moaning, & complaining.  If you are having a fabulous and sunny day you may want to skip this one.**

All of these protocols that I am following are supposed to get me pregnant, keep me pregnant, and make my well-being a little bit better.  Pretty much seems to me like all of this "stuff" that I am doing and all of this money that I am throwing away paying isn't helping me out one bit.  I honestly feel as miserable as ever.

I am 9dpo and 99% certain that I am out for this cycle, yet again.  My temp isn't going up and I have ZERO symptoms.  No sore boobs, no twinges, no headaches, no constipation, no bloating, no gas, NOTHING.  The only thing that I do have is wicked PMS.  I am in a wretched mood and I feel for anyone who has to deal with me today.  I even yelled at my poor dog today because he was walking too slowly. 

This afternoon I have a 1-on-1 session with the psychologist, an hour wait, then my group therapy session.  I have zero interest in going tonight to either event and have wished several times this morning that I had not signed up for the thing in the first place.

I feel completely disgusted with myself right now.  I can't run and am now in terrible shape.  I feel fat and gross.  I have zero concentration at work or any desire to actually work on my career at this point in time.  I am not doing the relaxation exercises that I have been given because I just don't feel like doing them.  I honestly don't feel like I am doing anything well right now.  I really do feel like I am failing in all areas of my life.  I am more depressed than I was after finding out that my last pregnancy was a failure.  All I do is complain and bitch and mope around.  This is just not me.

Last night my husband and I had sex and instead of enjoying myself and being with him, I was thinking about how gross and unattractive I felt the whole time.  He is in the most amazing shape of his life right now (doing CrossFit) and I am in the worst shape.  He goes to the gym and out for runs while I sit and sulk on the couch.  How the fuck is this going to help me get pregnant??   

I called my RE this morning and left a rather frantic message about things not working out and wanting some guidance.  I bet you can guess that they have not called me back.  Who knows if they will.  Some days I think that I am going to switch doctors and then some days I say "what's the freaking point".  Still, other days I say I am just quitting all of this and trying things out on my own again.  The medical profession continually fails me, so why am I paying them all of this money?

I have a feeling that I am going to have a meltdown today in the psychologist office.  Stay tuned...

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Living and dying by the chart

Thursday, July 26, 2012

So my temp was way down today at 5 dpo (see off the the right).  I know that it is too early to tell if I am pregnant or not, but I feel like that is a bad sign.  The only preggo chart that I have was from my 3rd miscarriage (see below).  It was triphasic and continued to climb up, up, up.  I was on progesterone at that time so maybe that had something to do with it.  I'm not sure.


I always wonder if all of my pregnancy charts will look like this or if they might all look different.  Will my next pregnancy chart be triphasic also?  I often wonder if I should stop charting during the TWW to give myself a break so that I don't have to think about it or over analyze it.  I also wonder if I should put any stake into comparing my chart to the thousands of preggo charts on FF and seeing that mine never looks like a typical pregnancy chart.

For all you charters out there I have some questions for you...  If you have charted multiple successful cycles, were your charts similar all of the times?  Do you put any stake into triphasic charts?  Do you think that there is any way to tell if you might be "a little bit pregnant" by the way your chart looks at the beginning of your LP?  What about at the end of your LP?  For those of you that have charted while on and off fertility meds, did your charts look much different?  This is only my 6th cycle charting, so I am still trying to figure out the answers to these types of questions.  My RE would tell me to go take a hike...she (and their office) don't "believe" in charting.

Thanks in advance for the advice!

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Serious baby bump envy

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This is one of the first things that I saw this morning as I turned on the TV to watch the morning news...

In case you want to torture yourself with more... click here for source.

What a lovely wake up call for someone who can't seem to stay (or now get) pregnant.

I know this is a crazy infertile rant, but if I can't do that here then where can I do it?  How is it that a stick figure model, who I am sure starves herself regularly, able to pop out kids so freaking easily?!  My psychologist was yelling at me for eating fat free yogurt, drinking fat free milk, and running a modest 15-20 miles a week.  WTF?  Also, how unfair is it that she still has a model figure even while pregnant?  Just that tiny little baby bump.  Doesn't she crave some ice cream, chocolate cake, or chips?  Why couldn't I have gotten her genes instead of mine? 

Ugh.  I am so incredibly ridiculously jealous.  There I said it.   End of rant.  Have a lovely day everyone!

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My favorite part of my cycle is 3dpo

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why, you might ask?  The beginning of my cycle is filled with cramps, blood, and crankiness.  I am always angry that I have yet another failed cycle on my hands and I have another long cycle ahead of me filled with supplements, drugs, blood draws, and pee sticks.  Normally I pick a fight with my husband during this time and then cry.  Come on, it's the crashing hormones.  Very predictable, I am. 

The few weeks before ovulation always seem to take forever.  It is a constant guessing game trying to figure out if the line is dark enough on the opk and if the smiley is real or a fake-out.  Oh and also with the Mucinex I have to drink lots of water, but then deprive myself of water for 4 hours so I can test.  It is enough to drive even the sanest of individuals completely mad.  Are we having enough sex?  Is every other day good or is every day better?  What about 2 times a day?  What if I he is tired?  Plans for this time of the month?  Nope.  My husband and I have a date with our bed and some Pre.Seed. Then once the opk is positive I stress out about my temps.  Are they headed north as they should be?  Will I get cross-hairs or will I be the unlucky recipient of an anovulatory cycle?  Did we have sex enough and at the right times?

The last part of the cycle is probably the worst part.  (Over)analyzing every symptom.  Imagining even more symptoms.  Always feeling implantation even though it was probably just gas.  Feeling bloated and crampy and disgusting with no energy to boot.  Is my chart triphasic?  Was that an implantation dip?  How does my chart compare to preggo charts?  Stocking up on FRERs and trying to decide when to test or if a blood test will be necessary.  Looking at pictures of positive pregnancy tests just to see 2 pink lines.  Seeing a stark white line on the test, but having "experts" tweak it because there maybe, just maybe is a hint of a line.  Oh wait, nope that is just an evap line.  WTF.  Then having AF show up and starting the whole cycle again.  How exhausting it is just writing this.

This is why my favorite time of my cycle is 3dpo.  It is on this day that FF gives me cross-hairs so that I can be proud that my body did something right and ovulated like it was supposed to.  I have the possibility that this cycle just might work out.  The possibility that maybe, by the graces of God, one of his best swimmers met up with my healthy, mature egg and cells started to divide properly and then decided to implant.  The possibility that this might be our son or daughter in he or she's earliest form.  The possibility that we might be able to (finally) start our little family that we have been praying for.  I am always filled with so much hope for the future.  That maybe I might not have to continue with this cycle after cycle routine for a while.  How nice would that be?   One can dream, right?  :-)

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July ICLW

Monday, July 23, 2012

So I realize that I am slightly late to the party this month!  I have lots of catch-up blog reading and catch-up commenting to do today.  This is my second ICLW, but last month I did not really give a proper introduction,so I figured that I would do that this month.  I see lots of ICLW related posts where people give their "numbers".  I am not really sure where this started from, but I figured that it might be a good way to introduce myself (regarding infertility & RPL), so here goes...

1  I have had one chemical pregnancy.  This was back in December of 2011.

2  This represents the number of D&Cs that I have had.  The first one I had was back in September of 2011 and the second one was in March of 2012. 

3  I have had 3 total miscarriages in less than a year.  One was a missed miscarriage in at my 10 week ultrasound.  The baby only measured 8.5 weeks.  The second was the chemical.  The third was a miscarriage at 6 weeks.

4  Number of serious infertility related meltdowns that I have had.

7  I am the oldest of 7 children.  Yes, my mother was a very fertile woman.

8  Our last loss was confirmed as isochromosome 8, a random chromosomal abnormality since my husband and I have both been tested as genetically normal.

10  Years that I was on birth control.

12  Months that we have spent TTC.

20  Pregnancy tests used.  Mostly FRERs and Wondfos.

31  That's how old both my husband and I are right now.

42  Age that my mom gave birth to her last child.

66  Number of blog posts (including this one)  that I have written @ My Life is About the Journey.

101  Approximate number of ovulation tests taken...I used to have long cycles before I went on meds so I would go through almost a full 20 pack a cycle.  I use mostly Clearblue Digitals and Wondfos.

Yuck these numbers are so depressing!  I am hoping to be able to turn it around and provide some happier numbers very shortly.  Thanks to all the newbies who have stopped by and thanks to all my regular bloggie friends for being so wonderful.  Until a few months ago, I never even knew that this community existed, but I am so happy that I found it.  :-)

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Nice and rested...back to work!

I'm baaaack!  I have a lot of catching up to do as I have missed several days of reading my favorite blogs.  That combined with work that I missed last Friday and my training at work this whole week is going to make me quite busy this week. 

The trip was AWESOME.  Just what we needed.  Usually vacations seem to go so fast, but this one actually seemed way longer than just 2 1/2 days.  We spent most of our time just relaxing on the beach and swimming in the warm water.  We walked around quite a bit, too.  The weather was fantastic on both Friday and Saturday. 

While we were these I barely thought about TTC or babies.  I feel like when I am away from my day-to-day life here, I always feel better about things.  I found myself at one point while we were out to dinner actually being ok with where I am.  We were sitting on a deck overlooking the Inter-Coastal Waterway, a light breeze blowing, steel drums playing in the background, and munching on crab legs and conch fritters, just me and my hubby.  Honestly, at that point in time, there was no where else I would have rather been.

Looking out from our hotel room.  I could stare at this picture all day.

While we were away I think that I ovulated.  I am going to say that it was either Saturday or Sunday.  My husband thinks it was Saturday.  This would put me at day cd 17 or 18, which is later than last month.  I am not sure why most people ovulate on day 14 with Femara/Clomid, but I still seem to ovulate later...kind of annoying.  I think we have our bases mostly covered, too.  We skipped having sex on Thursday because we worked all day, then had to take the dog to "pup-pup sleep away camp", and then had to rush to the airport.  I am hoping and praying that this is our month.  We are soooooo ready to be parents!!

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My fear of flying (giving up control)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I try not to let it get the best of me.  I never used to have a fear of flying.  I used to love it and find it relaxing.  I am not sure exactly when the real fear started.  I think it may have been on a flight back from Hawaii in 2005 when my red-eye from LA experienced an air pocket that made the plane drop like crazy and then bounce around like popcorn for over an hour for no apparent reason.  This woke me up from a dead sleep.  Not a fun experience and ever since then I have been a white knuckle flyer.

I haven't let my fear stop me from flying on a semi-regular basis, but I do let it cause me anxiety.  My heart races, my palms sweat, my stomach hurts, and my breathing gets shallow.  Someone once told me that this fear is all related to a deep-seeded control issue that I have.  At first I totally dismissed the comment as untrue, but then I thought about it and realized that I do have incredible control issues.  Obviously when the plane is in the air, I have no control over what happens.  I like having control over things...my hair, my makeup, what I wear, what I listen to, what I eat, how much I weigh, what I do at work, etc.  Going through this RPL/infertility journey has shown me even more how much I like to control everything and it has also shown me that that is not possible.  I have no real control over when I get pregnant.  Yes, I can try to do things to help increase my chances, but I can't make it happen when I want.  I need to accept that.  I need to loosen my control grip.  It's times like this that I wish I had more faith.  I wish I was more religious so that I could give up control to God.  Sometimes I really envy people who are very religious.  Sigh.

I am using my newly learned breathing exercises and meditation to try to calm myself before we hit the friendly skies this evening and hoping I can avoid the serious anxiety and just think about enjoying this trip!  The timing of this trip could be great, too.  I have yet to get a positive opk (cd 15).  I am still having watery CM so I am hoping O is right around the corner.  We have 3 days of vacation to try to make a baby.  Hopefully the opk fairy will wave her magic wand and make my digi stick smile soon.  I just need to relax and imagine that egg being released...positive thoughts.

Picture from carseatblog.com

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The key to getting pregnant?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

***TMI WARNING - THIS POST DEALS WITH SEX***

Fair warning people.  Read no further if talking about sex and org.asms (for the purpose of baby making, of course) makes you uncomfortable or offended!!  I am being totally honest and open here so here goes...

When I was on birth control I had ZERO sex drive (cue the KY).  Ok, there were a few days out of the month (usually right after my period ended) that I would maybe get the desire to have sex, but that wasn't a sure thing.  This frustrated both my husband and I, but we'd make it work.  I could have an org.asm once in a while, but if there was any amount of stress in my life at the time it would be extremely difficult.

Once I went off of birth control I felt like a new woman.  I actually had a sex drive again and something I never even knew existed in that of CM.  AMAZING!  I got my org.asm back with much less of a production and we got pregnant on the first real try after going off the pill.  Even the second and third times we got pregnant were seemingly easy even though my cycles were really long.  This has led me to believe that there may be some truth to the belief that org.asms may help one get pregnant.  Every time that I have gotten pregnant so far has happened with several org.asms during my fertile period.

The last two cycles that I have been on Femara have been good for the fact that they have pushed up my ovulation to a somewhat normal time frame.  The bad news is that I now have had much less of a sex drive on Femara and much less CM than I am used to, most likely due to the decreased estrogen.  Decreased sex drive + little CM = no org.asms = no baby (??).  I have read articles proving and disproving the theory that female org.asms (depending on when they are had) can increase one's chances of conceiving.  I have read in many places that female org.asm up to 1 minute before or 45 minutes after insemination causes increased sperm retention and thus a higher chance of conception (See article: Is Female Org.asm Important to Getting Pregnant?).

Obviously female org.asm doesn't have to occur for a woman to get pregnant.  My group therapy leader was discussing that while she believes that it is helpful because it also means that your body is generally more relaxed and open to conception, she knows that there are circumstances where people become pregnant against their own will (i.e. rape victims).  Also, women get pregnant from IUI so it can't totally make or break a chance at conception.
This cycle has been slightly different than my last two Femara cycles, which never contained any org.asms.  For the last two cycles I have been so stressed out just thinking "This has to work".  This cycle I started taking Mucinex on cd 10 and it is definitely starting to help now.  I noticed a ton of watery CM yesterday (didn't even need to check my cervix to notice that!).  I usually have several days of watery CM before a day or two of EWCM and a positive opk. 

Last night I was determined to "make things work"!  I used the breathing exercises that I learned in my group therapy to calm myself down before we DTD.  I also (secretly) used a little Pre-Seed ahead of time, which, if you haven't tried it, is an amazing invention.  Long story short, all my little tricks paid off last night and I finally got my org.asm back, again.  I think we fell right into the time frame above and things happened pretty simultaneously, too.  I am hoping that this is a good sign that maybe this cycle will work. 

I am curious to any readers who made it this far into the article... What are you thoughts on female org.asm and conception?  If you are pregnant or have gotten pregnant do you remember if you were able to hit the big O around the time that you conceived?  Do you find it harder to org.asm during your fertile time because you are stressing out about getting pregnant?

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Group therapy session #2

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yesterday was a much better day than the previous day.  I went to acupuncture at lunch and felt so incredibly relaxed afterwards.  I guess I should thank my husband for encouraging me to stick with it.  :-)

After work I headed straight to my group therapy session.  I was able to meet my "buddy" for the first time in person, though we had conversed over email already.  She is quite a few years older than me, but still seemed really upbeat about things even though her situation seems much more daunting than mine at this point in time. 

We spent the first part of session "spilling our guts".  A few girls came forward with personal stories about how infertility was constantly affecting their lives (waves hand).  Tissues were passed around.  I didn't speak, but listened today.  I wasn't really in a sharing mood at that point.

After our conversation the leader turned down the lights and we did some guided relaxation.  I was very skeptical at first and my mind kept wandering, but after a few minutes of feeling my breath and relaxing the mentioned parts of my body, I became deeply relaxed.  It was almost as good of a feeling as I get after acupuncture.

Once the relaxation exercise was complete, we split up into groups and did a listening exercise.  Each person would talk for 4 minutes straight without being interrupted.  The one-sided conversation consisted of each of us talking about the relaxation techniques we had used the previous week, but then switched to talking about our cycles and where we were in this "journey".  It was so awesome talking to two girls who totally understood everything I was saying!

As a closing exercise, we did some mini-relaxations.  The group leader encouraged us to try one longer relaxation every day and as many mini-relaxations as we could fit in.  I would encourage everyone to try this!  It only takes a few minutes and makes you feel more relaxed and less anxious immediately.

Try to find a quite place.
Sit down.
Close your eyes.
Put your hand on your stomach.
Take in one full, deep inhalation through your nose.
Take one full, deep exhalation through your mouth.
Focus only on your breath and let thoughts that come into your mind be released.
Count each inhale/exhale as one set and do four sets.
Then count backwards and do four more sets (total of 8 sets of inhalations/exhalations).

In other news, I am on cd 13...waiting to ovulate.  Yesterday I tried to take an ovulation test at work.  I used the Wondfo wrapper as a cup (a little tip someone provided on FF)...what a mess, but it worked.  No positive opk yet for me though.  Hoping for one tonight or tomorrow!!  I think the Mucinex is working though.  I seem to already have more CM than last cycle!

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Beach meltdown prompts impromptu mini-vacation

Monday, July 16, 2012

**WARNING- LONG POST AHEAD**

The weekend was going so well, too... 

On Sunday, my husband and I decided to hit the beach early since the forecast called for showers in the afternoon.  The sun was shining and it was quite warm, but there was a great breeze off the water.  I was set up with the latest edition of Glamour (don't judge) and my husband with his Kind.le, just relaxing by the water's edge.  Then I had to open my big mouth and that is where things started to go bad.

A lovely day at the beach gone bad :-(

Earlier that day, I had decided that I was going to work remotely today so that I could leave a little earlier for tonight's group therapy session.  While I was sitting there peacefully reading my magazine, I remembered that I had rescheduled acupuncture for today at 11:30 AM.  I had already rescheduled this appointment several times and while I was sitting there thinking, it occurred to me that I might be doing too much at this point in time and that it might be time to cut something out.  After all, the point of acupuncture or the therapy group is not to cause more stress, but to alleviate it.  I said (out loud) that I might put acupuncture on hold for a while until my therapy group was completed.  My husband shook his head and uttered the words "you are crazy" with a sarcastic chuckle. 

It was at this point that things started to take a turn for the worst.  Hearing those 3 words put me into a tailspin and I started running my mouth.  We argued about my many (and varying) infertility related endeavors that I have undertaken recently and how they were or were not helping.  Ultimately, the fight ensued because I wanted his support of my temporary cancellation of acupuncture and he gave me the exact opposite response that I was looking for.  He thought I should go because, like many of my other ventures, I started something and did not seen it through to the end.  How could I know that it was helping me or not, he argued.  I hated to admit that he was right. 

At one point in the conversation when I was talking, I noticed he was looking past me.  I turned around to see a woman walking toward us with her humongous breasts literally falling out of her bathing suit.  I lost it and made a comment that since we were having a serious conversation I'd appreciate if he would not stare at that woman's boobs and pay attention to me when I was talking.  I guess that was the straw that broke the camel's back.  He promptly put down his Kind.le and said he was taking a walk so I could cool off.

While he was gone I thought about things.  I thought about how much I have changed in the past year and how miserable and unrecognizable I was to even myself.  By the time he got back I had cooled off enough to start the conversation again.  I apologized for acting crazy and told him that I really didn't like myself right now and so I would understand if he didn't like me either.  As I heard the words come out of my mouth, the honest truth, I started crying.  There I was sobbing in the middle of the crowded beach with who knows how many people staring at me.  What a train wreck.  I couldn't help it.  The tears just kept coming.  I told him having a baby is the ONLY thing that I think about and I would love to stop and just start living my life like I had before.  I told him that I wished we could go back a year when TTC was exciting and new.  I told him I missed running and that I wanted my life back. 

Somehow we approached the topic of next steps with everything because I was was basically dumping my brain of all of the TTC clutter amidst the tears.  I told him that I worried what we would do if the Femara didn't work.  He said he worried that my anxiety about next steps was fueled by the fact that he didn't want to do IVF.  He said he thought that this was what I wanted now, if he would comply.

The truth is, I do worry that if these less invasive treatment methods don't work that we will be that unhappy childless couple.  Do I personally want to do IVF?  No.  I really don't want to put myself through the medications, the shots, the countless blood draws, the ultrasounds, and the doctor's appointments.  If the doctor told me that was our last resort would I do it?  Maybe.  I don't know.  How long will we go on like this though?  How long can I stay on Femara?  Will we try IUI (I don't think he is 100% opposed to that)?  Will we just go off all meds, cross our fingers, and hope for the best?  I mentioned to him that these are the thoughts that are constantly running circles in my brain.

We ended up agreeing to see at least one more Femara cycle (with monitoring from my RE).  After that we are most likely going to take a break from the meds for at least 1 or 2 cycles.  We also agreed that much of our stress is due to the fact that we have not taken a vacation together since Europe last April (before all the TTC madness started).  We decided to be irresponsible (because we still can be) and take Friday off work and head to Florida for a nice little unplanned getaway.  True, I will be missing one of my group therapy sessions, a day of work when I am so busy, and the girls night out with the "band-aid" friend, but I think that we both need this (ok, you got me, I am not sad about missing the girls night).  Just the two of us. 

So now I just have to get through this week.  I decided to come in to work today and attend my acupuncture appointment.  My husband was right, I think I do need to continue this at least for a little while longer.  I think I just got down last month when I thought about the $225 spent on acupuncture treatments that did not end up getting me pregnant.  I am so thankful for my husband, though.  Even though we have arguments that sometimes get rather ugly, we always talk them out and move forward. 

More deep breaths... 

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Friday wrap-up

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Friday everyone!  I am so happy that this week is almost over.  I am sort of in an ADD type of mood and have a short attention span this morning and should be working so I am going to dish out some bullets again with a twist.  I am also categorizing my bullets this time..haha.

My Cycle State

  • I am currently at cd 9 and just finished up my last Femara pill for the cycle.  I am hoping to ovulate around cd 14 this time...come on ovaries, you can do it!
  • I am going to take Mucinex starting tomorrow.  I am not sure if I am going to take it once or twice a day.  Suggestions?
  • I am going to try the SMEP this month since apparently just having sex every day didn't work which is this if you don't already know (from http://www.pregnancyloss.info/):
 "Try" every other night starting Day 8 (I'll start tonight).
 Buy 10 ovulation predictor kit sticks.
 Begin ovulation testing on Day 10.
 When test is positive, "try" that night, plus two additional nights in a row.
 Skip one night, then do one last "try".
 Take a home pregnancy test 15 days after your ovulation test was positive, if your period has not begun.
 If your ovulation test never goes positive, continue "trying" every other night until Day 35, then do a pregnancy test if your period has not begun.
 Statistics coming in from women who write me show that about 40% of post-miscarriage women will get pregnant on the first try if they are faithful to the plan, about double the number of the normal population who are not on the plan.

My Mental State
  • Today I feel good, as I usually do before I ovulate.  I have a positive attitude thanks to my friends who are consistently cheering me on.  I have had an eventful week filled and had lots of different "information" being thrown at me.  Thanks to everyone who commented with advice on all of that.  I sincerely appreciate it all no matter what your opinion.  I am still trying to decide exactly what I am going to do with all of this info...
My Physical State
  • I have been walking the past few days.  4 miles one night, 1.5 miles the next night, and 3 miles last night.  My dog is very happy and even though I feel bored while doing it.  It hasn't been that bad.  I do msis running every time I see a runner though.
  • I have had a small dish of Ben & Jery's Cookie Dough icecream for the past 2 nights in a row and switched to 2% Greek yogurt.  That is about as far as I have gone with the fat thing. 
Other News
  • One of my dear friends just gave birth to her 2nd child today.  She struggled with RPL before giving birth to her first daughter.  I am so incredibly happy for them.  Mommy and baby are doing great!
  • Next Friday I am meeting some of my friends for a "girls night".  This will include my friend that got pregnant by accident, was upset that she was pregnant, and had her "perfect" baby in the late winter.  I have 2 sessions of my group next week so I am hoping I can figure out a coping strategy to avert a potential meltdown.  I need to see her...I haven't since a month or two before she gave birth.  I am finally going to rip off this bandaid. 
  • We are finishing up painting my dining room this weekend!  Next we need to re-do the floors in both the living room and dining room.

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He said, she said...what now?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yesterday I met 1-on-1 with the psychologist that leads up the infertility/loss sessions that I am going to.  I filled out a bunch of paperwork regarding my medical situation as well and my 'mental' situation.  This session with the psychologist was just for her to get a baseline read on where I was in the whole infertility process and have her assess how much I might need to adapt.  We went through things such as how long I have been TTC, my loss history, what doctor I am seeing, what meds/supplements I am on, what I am eating, and how much I am exercising.  In the exercise section, I wrote 4-5 times a week of running/cardio plus some light weights for 45 minutes to an hour plus one, sixty minute, vinyasa yoga session a week.  As soon as we got to the exercise section, I knew there was an issue.  She shook her head and said, "You aren't going to like this, but you will need to cut out the running."

I was pretty shocked because I had asked my RE about running several months back and she told me there was no issue with it at the level that I was currently running.  Also, my acupuncturist said I should continue running at the same levels.   I told the psychologist this and she said that if I want to maximize the results of my current medical treatment and the program, that I need to stop doing any type of activity that causes my heart rate to exceed 110 bpm.  She even told me that vinyasa yoga was considered a no no during this fragile TTC time and switch to hatha (old people's gentle yoga).  Now I can remember my OB telling me to not get my heart rate above 140 when I was pregnant and that makes sense, but under 110 when trying to get pregnant?  Really? 

She could see that I was fairly distressed about this.  Exercise is one of the only things that helps keeps me sane.  I have already cut back on my running immensely.  I asked her why I needed to keep my heart rate so low and she mentioned that it was best to keep my body under the least amount of stress possible (good or bad apparently).  She said it was just temporary and if I wanted the program to help me get pregnant then I should listen.  She also told me to stop eating any fat-free dairy products and move to either low or full fat versions.  More good news.  I hate higher fat versions of anything.

After being diagnosed as an exercise addict and a having a high-fat aversion, the psychologist decided to lay one more on me.  She said she felt that I had low level depression brought about by infertility based on my answers to other items in the questionnaire.  She told me that most of the session participants had at least a low level of depression like myself and that this was normal under the circumstances.  I have never been depressed in my life (except for right after my Dad died). 

When I got home I felt just wonderful about myself.  I called my husband and told him I was going to take the dog for a walk since the psychologist told me to stop running.  I could tell my husband was peeved by this.  He thinks I am crazy for doing all of this stuff: the RE, the acupuncturist, the special diets, the supplements, the therapist, the infertility/loss sessions, and the general obsession with this whole process.  He thinks I should just go back to my normal self.  That normal self was able to get pregnant with no issues.  This hyper-aware and proactive self is having trouble.  What gives? 

So now I am left with walking and whole milk.  How boring and yuck.  Should I listen to this advice or keep on doing my thing?  I am so confused.  Anyone have a happy pill I could take?  Or better yet, a pill that will make me pregnant right now?  Can someone please invent that?!

Me, in my better running days


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Group therapy session #1

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Last night was my first group infertility/loss therapy session.  I left as soon as I got home from work, which left me an hour to get there.  To my dismay, the traffic was horrendous!  I found myself quite stressed out and banging on my steering wheel at some points because of the ridiculousness of it.  No accident, no construction, just idiot drivers constantly switching lanes and slowing the flow of traffic to a slow crawl.  Can you tell my normal commute consists of me sleeping on the train?  It ended up taking me over an hour to get there so of course I was late.  Not a good way to start off the evening.

I walked in to see a group of people, males and females, sitting in a circle.  Apparently I didn't get the memo that husbands were supposed to go last night!  Luckily I wasn't the only one who didn't get that snippet of info, but it made things even more awkward for me.  Sigh.

We spent the first half hour or so learning about the origins of the program and its founder.  The therapist, whom I had spoken with before, talked a little bit about her background with loss and infertility.  We talked about the connection with stress and infertility and how the course would help us learn how to cope.  Included in the program were 2 peer counselors who had been through the program before.  They spoke about their experiences and how much they had been helped as a result of taking the class.  Both of those ladies were currently undergoing IVF.

Next, we went around the circle (there were about 12 ladies total, plus most with their spouses) and gave some information about ourselves including our names, where we lived/were from, one interesting thing about us, and what we hoped to gain from the program.  As we went around the room and participants gave their information, I found that almost every single one of them had similar reasons for being there.  Some were Type A and stressed out.  Some needed help healing with anxiety.  Some had control issues that were being seriously tested.  Some people's intros were very teary and tissues were passed around freely. 

When it came to be my turn to share (I was last), I mentioned that I was the oldest of 7 with my youngest sibling being only 12.  I told them my main goal from the program is to learn better coping skills to deal with my intense jealousy of pregnant women.  I mentioned that I feel like everyone around me is pregnant or just had a baby.  When I said this, literally every girl in the group nodded.  How nice to be in a group where EVERYONE understands what I am going through.  I felt so much more relaxed after sharing.

After that we were assigned a buddy and had 15 minutes to chat with them and get acquainted.  This buddy is someone who we are supposed to check in with regularly through the week during the program and beyond.  Of course my buddy was the only one that was not there!  She was on vacation so I will need to contact here via email this week.  I spent the 15 minutes talking to one of the peer counselors during the buddy time.  She was shocked to learn that I was not currently undergoing IUI or IVF.  I told her that I was taking Femara with TI and she looked at me like I had 6 heads.  At first it seemed like she thought I didn't really "need" to be there.  Then I explained my 3 miscarriages in 1 year and she immediately changed her tone.  I think she almost felt bad for making me have to justify. 

We ended yesterday evening by going over the schedule and doing a relaxing breathing exercise.  We received a binder with all of the course material, a book that was written by the program founder, a relaxation meditation CD and an infertility yoga CD.  Overall I am excited for this.  I think (besides the dreaded drive) it will give me something to look forward to for the next couple of weeks. 

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1 year later

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tomorrow will mark 1 full year of TTC for my husband and I.  This is not an anniversary that I ever thought I would have to endure.  July 9, 2011 marked the beginning of the cycle that I would conceive for the first time.  It has been a little over a year that I saw this beautiful BFP.


I can't believe how much things have changed since then.  I can't believe how much I have changed since then.  Before I had my first miscarriage I didn't take my temperature.  I didn't chart.  I didn't use OPKs.  I had no idea what TTC lingo was.  My husband and I had sex every other day and bang BFP on the first try.  I didn't test often and I didn't test early.  I went to CVS on the day that I was going to test, bladder full from a large iced coffee, to buy my first pregnancy test ever.  I waited until 4 days had passed since I missed my period and then I tested (hence the darker test line than the control line in the pic above).  I didn't know how common miscarriages were because I never thought I would be one of those unfortunate cases.  I didn't know there was such a thing as a missed miscarriage...how cruel of a joke for Mother Nature to play.  Oh how I wish I could go back to a year ago when the future seemed so much brighter.  

I know that some people reading this post have been through much worse.  Many years of infertility. Many more miscarriages than I.  Later miscarriages than I.  Many worse circumstances.  Oftentimes I feel as though I have no right to complain.  My situation has been tough and I have been through a lot of heartache and pain, but I know that others have gone through much worse.  I have internal conflicts with myself, fighting for my right to fully feel what I have been through.  Fighting for the right to complain about how unfair everything is.  Fighting for the right to cry because a year after we started TTC, we have nothing to show for it other than a few positive pregnancy tests shoved in the back of my underwear drawer.  Sometimes I let myself take time to grieve and other times I yell at myself to keep going.   Others have been through worse and have come out on the other end.  Who is to say that I will not be one of those lucky people someday?

A few things that  have learned through this situation are compassion for couples who are going through infertility, be it RPL or straight infertility.  I never understood why couples would turn to ART when they could just adopt.  Now I know why.  I have learned what to say and what not to say to friends who are having trouble conceiving.  I have learned to NEVER ask a couple when they are going to start having kids.  I have learned how to comfort a friend when she faces a lost pregnancy.  I have learned how to help my friends through difficult pregnancies with uncertain outcomes.  I have learned that I am a whole hell of a lot stronger than I ever thought I could be.  Never did I think that I would still be standing, still be trying to conceive, and still be trying to smile one year later.  

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On to the next one

Friday, July 6, 2012

It is official.  Femara cycle #2 was a bust.  Apparently 8 days in a row of having sex while taking meds to help improve ovulation does NOT equal a baby.

I woke up yesterday to a much lower temp.  I had serious cramps and some lower back pain on Wednesday so I knew I was going to get my period, it was just a matter of when.  Last month I had days and days of cramps until AF decided to show up.  This month I had less warning.

We went to the beach with some of the very few single friends that we have left that also don't have kids.  My cramps had subsided and it was only 14 dpo so I figured I had until at least today before I would get my period.  WRONG!  I took a long trek to the bathrooms because, as usual, I had to pee and hate going in the ocean...yuck.  Bang, there she was.  Luckily I caught it before too much bathing suit damage was done.  Only problem was that I didn't have a tampon.  Luckily my husband had made a purchase at the snack bar so I was able to snag a quarter from him to buy one in the ladies room.  Then it was just my luck that as I was coming out of the bathroom stall with proof that we DID NOT MAKE A BABY this month, an 8 month pregnant women ran right into me.  That was seriously the only pregnant woman I saw on the beach yesterday.  WTF?!

Now on to a few things about this failed cycle...

1.  I ovulated one day earlier this cycle, up to 16.  I have now ovulated up to 11 days earlier than in my previous cycles.

2.  I had a 13 day LP this cycle.  I thought that LPs were supposed to remain consistent from cycle to cycle.  Mine have been 11, 12, 15, 13.  Not consistent at all.

3.  This past cycle was 29 days.  This is compared to my longest of 42 days back in October.

4.  This is the longest that I have gone without being pregnant in quite some time.  I have always gotten pregnant on the first try every time for 3 pregnancies.  Now I have gone 3 cycles without getting pregnant.

5.  I am not sure what went wrong this cycle?  Was it being sick right around O?  Was it lack of CM?  Was it the heat?  All of that money towards acupuncture and eating an entire pineapple didn't work.  What gives?

6.  The only silver lining that I see here is that, because I did not get pregnant on this cycle, I can stay enrolled in the group therapy sessions.  Apparently, if you get pregnant while in the program you can stay, but if you were to get pregnant before the start of the program then you were not allowed to join.  I need this program pregnant or not so luckily now I can still go.  Thankfully my first session is Monday.  

I am now on cd 2.  It seems like there are quite a few other ladies in the same boat with me who have just gotten AF.  Ladies, let's hope that this month is successful for us!

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13 dpo - BFN

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I caved and tested this morning.  I wasn't feeling pregnant, but I am just sick of not knowing one way or another.  As I expected, an unquestionable BFN.  Even though I have been expecting this for this cycle due to the fact that I was so sick right around O, it doesn't make it hurt any less.  We did have sex 8 days in a row right around my fertile period.  If I could, I would scream and cry and pound my fists on the floor.  I can't do that though because I don't want my husband to think I am a total psycho.  Instead, I am going to just pretend like it's not that big of a deal and start planning next month around my stupid cycle.

Last night we went to our local fireworks with our dog.  We were literally the only 30 something couple there without children.  I pointed this out to my husband and he proceeded to ask me if I could go one day without bringing up this type of depressing comment.  I pointed out that I didn't make a depressing comment yesterday.  Not the kind of fight I want to get into.

We were supposed to go to a BBQ at a friend's house today, but now I don't feel like going.  One of my friends that got pregnant by accident might be there and I definitely am in no mood to face her and her new perfect baby today.  Instead, I am going to first go to the gym and kick my own ass there.  Next, I am going to take out my aggression on a paint brush and paint my dining room.  Then maybe I'll go to Home Goods and buy some shelves.  Fun times.

I thought this medicine that I was taking was supposed to help me get pregnant.  It seems like it is only hurting me.  I never had trouble getting pregnant before, only had trouble sustaining the pregnancy.  Now I am having trouble getting pregnant.  What gives?  If this next cycle isn't successful, I might just go off the meds completely and contend with my long cycle.  I have totally painted a rain cloud over this day.  Happy 4th of July.


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Sisters

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

When I was little, I didn’t always get along with my sisters.  I am the oldest of 7, but was closest with the other 3 oldest who happened to all be girls.  The next oldest is 17 months younger than me, the one after her is 3.5 years younger than me, and the next is almost 7 years younger than me.  Many times during my childhood, I shared a room with one of them, we shared toys, we shared friends, we played together, and we fought with each other.  I even babysat the youngest of the oldest 4.  There were so many times when I was little that I wished I was an only child.  The only children that I knew got to go on fancy vacations, got the coolest toys, and got lots of attention from their parents.  Oh man was I jealous of them.
I can remember getting into serious fights with my sisters where we would scratch, pinch, punch, and hit each other until we were crying.  My mom’s favorite punishment was to make us hold hands and walk around the neighborhood block.  Oh geeze, that was like a fate worse than death.  As soon as we would get beyond our mom’s sight we would immediately release hands and start fighting again.  Those were the good old days. 
Even though we did fight a lot, we managed to have quite a bit of fun together.  We used to play "school" where we would all be teachers to our millions of stuffed animals and dolls.  We would play “ballet class” where I would be the teacher and choreograph dance recitals for us to put on.  We even put on a whole news broadcast that was taped by my Dad to tell my Uncle and Aunt that my mom was pregnant with her 5th child (who happened to be a boy!).  I was the anchor and my sisters were reporters.  We still watch this home movie when we get together and crack up laughing, it was that funny.
When we started growing up, we grew apart for a while.  When I went away to college and then started dating my now husband, I didn’t have much time for my sisters.  They were busy with their activities and getting into college and I was busy working and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  Then my life slowed down a little once I graduated from school and started working, but my sisters were just starting college so we didn’t see or talk to each other much.  For a while, after my Dad passed away, we started getting closer, but even that didn’t last long.  Someone would be mad at someone else for something.  One of us was usually in a fight and not speaking to another.  This was the cycle of things for some time.   
This past weekend I was able to spend some quality time with both of the next oldest siblings (the youngest of the oldest 4 girls is away in the Peace Corps right now).  I found that I genuinely had a nice time with them.  We each have different points of view, but so much history and therefore lots to talk about.  We have great conversations that range from serious topics, to gross/TMI topics, to funny topics.  They are both very understanding of me and my pregnancy issues and are constantly checking in on me to see how I am doing.  Even though one of my sisters has no idea about fertility charting, she still asks me about my temperature.  J  Neither of them is ready for children yet, so all weekend we joked about them giving me their babies if they were to get knocked up by accident.  You might laugh, but I am so serious! 
My sisters are incredibly lovely and amazing women.  They are strong, courageous, driven, focused, successful, and beautiful.  I am so proud of each of them and their many accomplishments.  Even though I never really appreciated it before, I am so thankful to my Mom for having us all.  She always told us that one day we would really appreciate having each other.  I believe that I now fully understand what she was talking about.  I love you girls.

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Catching up

Monday, July 2, 2012

Whew!  It has been a whirlwind past several days.  I feel like I haven't had time to myself in forever!  I feel like I have been using lots of bullets lately, but I think that it is probably the best way to catch up at this point rather than writing a novella!  :-)

  • It all started on Thursday with the movie shoot.  I had to be on location at 8 AM to sign lots of papers and go through wardrobe.  They told us to wear mom clothes with the essence of Kmart/ JCPenney.  Too bad, I own nothing from either place and am not a mom.  :(  Luckily I own a few things from Ann Taylor that I was able to piece together. I passed through wardrobe without a costume change!  After that I sat.  I sat for hours...until about 7 PM.  Luckily I knew someone there and I made several friends.  Finally they called us to the set around 7 and then it was more sitting as we filmed a dance recital scene at an elementary school.  We were filming for about 4 1/2 hours.  I didn't leave the location until midnight!  The good news is that I think I might be in the movie!!  I was seated right behind the stars of the movie and was in the last group to leave for the night.  All and all it was a good experience.  I think that was the first and last movie that I am going to take part in though!
  • I ended up not going to work on Friday since I got home so late and didn't have any time to pack for my trip.  I had to rush around to get everything ready and then meet my sister to catch the train.  The weekend was really nice, but the 90 plus degree heat every day was a little bit much.  We walked around a lot, enjoyed some good food, and had some good conversation.  We got to meet my sister's boyfriend's parents who were really nice.  I am seeing a ring in her not so distant future!  The ride home yesterday was long due to bad weather.  Our train was about an hour delayed so I got home pretty late and didn't even have time to unpack. 
  • It is nice to say that I really didn't think too much about babies, pregnancy, or lack of pregnancy at all this past weekend.  Cycle-wise, I am pretty sure that I am out, though.  My temps were weird all weekend and kept going down.  They were back up today, but I just have a feel that this is not our month.  I have slightly sore breasts, cramps and PMS.  I am also so tired, but that is probably just because of my busy weekend.  One more thing that I have noticed is a stabbing pain in my lower abdomen.  Fabulous!  I have not tested yet.  I am only at 11 dpo and trying to stay strong.  Friday is supposed to be blood test day, but I am out of the office and since my doctor is near my work, if I get my period before then and take a negative test on my own, I am not going for the blood-work.  I hate waiting for a call that I know is to tell me that I am NOT PREGNANT. 
Now it is time for me to catch up on all the blogs that I missed.  Oh yeah and I should probably try to get some work done!  :o)

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