December 10, 2013

Annual Reminder That My GYN is Also an OB...

Bellies, bellies everywhere, but not a one is me.

"congratulations! See you in a few weeks"

"I'm here for my ultrasound"

"Question 10.) How many times have you been pregnant?"

Stab, stab, stab.

"I saw the note from Dr. B about the next step for you and then a few weeks later they said you were taking a break indefinitely."


I don't have to prove to anyone that I've tried hard enough. That I've earned the right to say stop. I know that. But questions often make me feel like that's exactly what I have to do. I have to sit through another doctor's schpeal about how IVF is definitely an option. Then try to make them understand that I have not made my choice lightly, but no, I'm not going to put myself through that - I don't care what you have to say.

I could have said we've moved on to considering adoption, but I didn't. Don't know why. I guess I didn't think it would help shut down the questions. Or would lead other questions I'm even less prepared to answer.

It doesn't help that last night I dreamed I thought I was pregnant and then remembered that is stupidly impossible because I'm on birth control. Like someone can forget that.

If I can just survive my 30's, after that no one will ask "When are you having kids" and other stupid questions of the like. I won't stick out quite so much. If I can just get through the next decade...

November 27, 2013

God Bless us, Everyone


I miss you :-(

Do you miss me?

Nothing infertile to talk about and honestly, the fallout from my job imploding at the end of August is still the major fodder for my thoughts and writing needs. And I can't really discuss that stuff here because the need to keep details vague makes for a VERY confusing and annoying story. So I'll just not do that to you.

Wanted to leave a quick note saying Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah! I hope where-ever you are and whatever you are doing, you are happy and enjoying the holidays in just the right way.

I promise that after Christmas I'll get back into some kind of blogging habit here. M and I are going to watch the Adoption Academy seminar videos starting in January, so I'm sure I'll have plenty to say about all that.

For now, I am coping very well with closing the door on Bio-children. It just wasn't in the cards, you know? I have a very full life no matter what, though. Whether we choose to pursue adoption or just live child free, I know we will be able to live without regrets.

Hoping you are all healthy and happy - Cheers!

September 06, 2013

The Party's Over

Spotting started early, but was very light. True to my word, I tested Thursday. And as a testament to my emotional detachment from this cycle, I didn't bat an eye. I had actually told M several days before testing that this cycle was over and it was time to get serious about researching adoption.

So that's that.

We may or may not have a WTF meeting with Dr. B, totally up to M. All I know is, I GET TO GO BACK ON BIRTH CONTROL AND SPIRONOLACTONE!!! WOO HOO!!!!

And in and amongst all the usual IF crazy is aaaaaalllllll the crazy about my job: I was threatened, I quit, I came forward to HR about the toxic work environment, some co-workers came forward, then more co-workers, lots of meetings, I requested to rescind my resignation, got my job back, and now it looks as though major changes are taking place in my department.

It has been a positively *weird* couple of weeks, that's for sure.

August 31, 2013

And Now Back to Our Regular Programming

Sorry about the black out. Not sure what that looked like on your end, but I changed my viewers to only me while I waited out a situation. I really don't want to get into it because it is too involved, too bizarre, and not over yet. Maybe someday (in like a year) I can explain myself.

So where were we? Oh - 7 DPIUI. And let me tell you, this 2WW is *flying* by because I have so much more on my mind than symptom spotting. Seriously, quitting your job with little notice does wonders to distract you from IF! I have zero symptoms, but happily am not spotting yet, so I'll take it. I can't tell if I had bad side effects from the trigger shot again because with or without it, I was crying every day this week anyway. Again, long, bizarre story for another time.

I found out my health insurance lasts through the end of September, so that's good news for the parallel universe me who might actually get a BFP out of this cycle. In a perfect world, I won't need to worry about changing insurance companies because I will quickly pick up a new job at the same place. Buuuut, we'll see.

I completely forget what the dosage of my trigger shot was and how long I have to wait to test accurately and not get a false positive. I definitely want to test before next weekend because we're celebrating my mom's birthday. So I think I'll try to hold out until next Friday, but if I start spotting I'll test on Thursday. Very important to get a conciliatory alcoholic beverage on board as soon as possible to avert a total meltdown.

I'll keep y'all posted, but I'm not expecting much.


August 24, 2013

Final IUI

Not to say that I will never, ever go back to medicated cycles, but it is final for a long time if not ever. M's pat went just fine, we got breakfast afterward, and headed back to the hospital for my part. Dr. B (I guess the secretary got confused when she told me it would be the Guru on Saturday?) had some trouble navigating the catheter into my cervix, but eventually got it. M's washed number was 95 million, which was up from that last time. Actually, each time we have done an IUI, M's numbers have gone up - interesting.

I obediently laid there for 6 minutes after the procedure. Then we were up and off. Didn't lay low the rest of the day - we had a full schedule. I am only just now sitting down in my own home again and that's just because I got extremely low blood sugar after being at Ale Fest all afternoon. So cross your fingers and toes for me because in 2 weeks, about the same time I lose my insurance, I will find out if this worked. Thank GOD my husband has insurance that can pick me up.

August 23, 2013

A Very Strange Day

You don't wake up on a random Thursday morning expecting that your entire professional life will come crashing down around you. But that's exactly what happened to me. In 12 hours I went from having a job (but actively seeking other employment), to being threatened with a piece of information off the internet and needing to make a quick decision by the following morning, to putting my 2 week notice in, over the phone, to the man who was trying to destroy my credibility and career. The mind boggles.

Before all that BS went down, I had my u/s. It went very well, my lead follie *did* grow right on schedule :-D I was told to trigger that night and given my Saturday morning IUI appointment times. And so continues my final medicated cycle. It feels...small, in comparison to everything else that has just happened. But that may be a good thing. Keep my head on straight, ya know? Perspective and all that. I'll update tomorrow night. Hoping the TARDIS socks my best friend bought me will bring me luck tomorrow morning in the stirrups!

August 19, 2013

The Long, Dark Tea Time of the Soul

Props to anyone who knows the reference in the title ;-)

This is going to be.... an unholy mess of a post, apologies.

Had my mid-cycle ultrasound today. The front-runner follicle was 14mm. I have no idea what the next closest few were. It doesn't matter. Last cycle at this time a had a 17 and two 16's - as if that did me any good; still not pregnant. They asked that I come in for another ultrasound later in the week. Just in case. They don't want to tell me to trigger and all that when maybe nothing will happen. Oh yeah, cause that would suck - going to *all that trouble* and then nothing happens...

Oh wait - that's every cycle. It doesn't matter if I had gold star follies. Doesn't matter if M's sample had record numbers. NOTHING HAPPENS.

I'm frustrated. To say the least. I find it interesting that I am, and have been, ovulating ever since my surgery, but no dice. And yet, no further testing is suggested. No one has even mentioned male factor since our initial appointment. There are a million different, little things that could be wrong with M's sperm and we would never know because we've just had a basic semen analysis done. But nobody mentions it. The closest thing to a novel idea I have heard was the Guru's revelation to me of other "options" besides IVF.

I'm done, y'all. I'm not saying modern medicine has failed me, but I certainly feel like my doctors are failing me. And they are the best in the area according to "everyone". I'm sick and tired of crying, and blaming myself, and blaming God, and hating my reproductive organs. This is no way to live a life and certainly no way to try to bring new life in. I don't even want to hear their schpeal about modified protocols. It can't possibly raise my chances to a percentage that would make it worth while to me.

I came home from the hospital and cried, like I always do. Because I can lie to myself all I want about how little I care if this works. The truth will out in the ultrasound room. I looked for hope, I scraped about for something happy. I've got nothing left but frustration and heartache towards infertility treatments.

At home, my Portals of Prayer book that has been gathering dust on the hall table fell to the floor when I set my purse down. I flipped through it, looking for guidance. I keep asking God to tell me what He wants me to do - I don't care what it is anymore, just tell me!! I mulled over things for a while, asking myself various questions, reading, thinking. I think - in matters of one's mission in life - sorrow, trials, and soldiering on are expected (from a Christian perspective). But, who ever said that biological procreation was anyone's mission in life - their purpose for being here? "Be fruitful and multiply, sure - but I tried! I tried and tried! I don't think God means for me to be heavy-hearted and sometimes miserable in my pursuit of a family. He has clearly provided other options, which I am not opposed to. I thought on this, and a quiet peacefulness laid on me. I stopped crying.

I've got another post percolating.... I want to write about how much I'm looking forward to being a mom and introducing my kid to all things geek. We're big time geeks, I'm proud to say. I'm a book nerd, M is a gamer geek, and we both enjoy sci-fi and fantasy movies and tv shows (unfortunately we don't often agree on *what* shows and movies). I need to think on it some more though...


August 14, 2013


I live a fairly structured life. I find that I need to if I'm going to keep my head above water with chores and other adult responsibilities. This week, my typical schedule is thrown off because I'm spending two, non-consecutive nights at my sister's house while her husband is out of town. So grocery shopping that should have happened Monday had to wait until Tuesday. And then M had to work late. And we had to go shopping before I could make dinner because there was no food in the house. So we went shopping on empty stomachs with M already in a foul mood from his day.

The grocery store provides its own special forms of torture when you are already in a bad mood: lousy music, beeping scooter carts, and screaming children. M and I tried not to be unpleasant to each other, but his bad mood wore off on me and I stopped trying quite so hard. At one point I said "Can you imagine doing this with a baby?" Cue screaming children one aisle over. "Maybe we shouldn't have kids afterall. Maybe we would just end up at each others' throats all the time and get divorced."

I hate having ample time to consider such thoughts. I'm pretty sure it doesn't do any good. Because who *doesn't* find parenting stressful? But I keep coming back to the idea that I'm being saved from myself by being infertile. Because I'm not cut out to be a working mom. I'm exhausted at the end of the day *now*, without a whole other human being relying on me.

In addition to these cheerful wanderings, I find myself increasingly more disillusioned about work. Not just my current job, but work in general. Were humans really put here on Earth to spend the majority of their day isolated from the people they love? My husband and I work in opposite directions. If a medical emergency happened to either of us, it would take the other one at least an hour to get there. I see my husband, bleary eyed and mumbling, for 15 minutes in the morning. I don't see him again until we are both home in the evening, 10 and a half hours later. And then we go to bed at 9:30. How could I possibly raise a child when I don't even see my husband for more than 5 hours at a time??

Am I seriously going to create some charming portfolio of pictures and stories that paint M and I as fantastic parents-to-be when in reality I would be cramming my parenting skills into one or two hours in the morning and 3 or 4 hours at night? How does anyone anywhere ever do this???

You know what, its the drugs talking, I know it is. Because normal, not drugged me does not sit in her office and strongly consider proposing subsistence farming in the backyard to her husband simply so she can work along side him. But honestly, there are some days when I think the Amish have gotten it right.

August 09, 2013

There are Options?

People really should not attempt to communicate with me in a meaningful way before I've had my coffee, as a general rule. But an early appointment and lack of coffee were unavoidable this morning, so my brain was very hazy as the Guru talked at me after my ultrasound. Ovaries and Uterus are doing fine, behaving themselves while still denying me a baby, whatever. The Guru went over this cycle's protocol with me and reminded me we could do this same thing for another IUI before moving on to something else. I assured him that Dr. B and I have been talking and after Femera+Ovidrel and IUI there's no where else to go really other than IVF, and that's my line in the sand.

I spoke very simply and matter-of-fact-ly about all this. The Guru still gave me a canned speech about success rates with IVF and how its between 80 and 90% when you include one FET after an initial fresh IVF cycle, blah blah blah. I know they think they are being helpful, but seriously - do they think I am making my decision lightly? Without having done tons of reading and discussing and weighing of costs and benefits? It took me 6 *months* to buy a car after mine was unceremoniously totaled. I do not make my choices in life lightly.

So I kind of mentally checked out (more than I already was from the lack of caffeine) while he nattered on about statistics and such. Then he went into a small tangent about some other supposed "options" I had besides IVF. Now, my ears perked a bit, but I just couldn't get the gears in my brain to turn fast enough to *really* follow what he was saying. Something about continuing IUIs but adding other meds on top of Femara and a trigger. Things like sterioids and androgen blockers and honest to God that's all I can remember. But this is the first I am hearing of these "personalized" protocols and I don't know how to feel about it. I'm a little annoyed - why has this never been mentioned before?? I'm a little apathetic - who cares, I made up my mind that this is it a long time ago. I'm a little confused - does this change the plan? Does it change how I feel about giving up on modern medicine for procreation?

And the answer is the same for every emotion and question: I don't know. I don't even want to more deeply consider these thoughts at the moment because the rumination may be pointless in the end. If I have strong emotional reactions to the drugs again, then I know in my bones I will be done after this cycle. I'm tired of my entire world turning into a house of horrors for 30 days at a time. I wish there was a female doctor in the practice because I wonder if she would be more understanding when I say "An 80% success rate at what cost to my mental health?". These men have never *taken* the drugs they prescribe. They observe, but do not personally *know* the way the drugs mess with your head and make it feel like a Dementor straight out of Harry Potter is following you everywhere. I won't spend more years of my life chasing the next cycle, the next protocol.

Anyway, the outline for the month is as follows: Femara CD3-7, trigger around CD14, IUI around CD16, wait 2 weeks, wash, rinse, repeat. Cheers.

August 08, 2013

*click click click click click*

You know that sound roller coasters make when the train is being pulled to the top of the first hill? That metalic ticking sound that somehow increases the anticipation and anxiety the first time you ride any coaster. Your stomach does flip-flops and your heart starts pounding to the beat of those metallic clinks.

*click click click click click*

Welcome to CD 1. The *last* CD 1. The beginning of the end of my fight for biological children. I've ridden this roller coaster 13 times (not counting non-medicated trips), and I still get a flip-flop in my gut when I crest the top of the first hill. Its all anxious anticipation and trying to remain positive because "this time could be it!" and the side effects from the meds haven't quite kicked in yet so you aren't feeling like shit.

One more ride on the 30 day roller coaster and then I can depart the station, get on with whatever is next. I gotta be honest, I'm having a hard time mustering any hope for this cycle. I chose August because nothing important was happening - no holidays or birthdays could be ruined. But then July ended with a bang and I almost quit my job because I was so fed up with how I (and the other secretaries) have been treated over the past 2 years. I'm coming out of two very stressful weeks, still working my job, trying to keep my head up, but actively seeking and applying for new jobs.

Not exactly the mental and emotional state I hoped to be in to launch my final bid for pregnancy. But we do what we must with what we have. So tomorrow morning I'll go in bright and early for an ultrasound, pick up my prescriptions for the crazy pills, and Monday the real fun starts. I'll be sure to document my descent into madness here for all of you. Should know round about Labor Day if it worked or not - oh, the *irony*!

Won't you join me? buckle your seat belts, pull down the lap bar until its snug, and always keep your hands and arms inside the car for your safety (who even listens to that?). And away we go...

*click click click click click click click*

July 28, 2013

From the Mouths of Babes

Yesterday was one of those rare days where you just *know* how blessed you are in every little thing that happens. My mom visited my house for the first time since her spinal cord injury. Dad bought a portable ramp that will work at both my house and my sister's. This was a *big* BIG deal. Mom was so happy, she cried when they pulled into the driveway. I was able to show her my very first veggie garden in the back yard and even more importantly, she got to see her dog Ralph for the first time since she went to the hospital. If she never walks again, Ralph will live out his life at my house, so I'm very happy she can at least visit him now. He was beside himself with squirming happiness at seeing his mommy again.

My sister and her family came down as well. They haven't been to my house since winter either (we live about 40 minutes down the highway from the rest of my family and with the Baby Bear it is difficult to plan a dinner at my house). I was so excited for my older nephew, A, to come back here because the weather was gorgeous and I wanted he and I to spend time together in my ginormous yard.

So after everyone settled in and dinner was prepped, A and I trouped out to my apple trees which have begun littering the grass with under-developed apples. The squirrels and other neighborhood rodents have been having a field day and I'm worried the dog will be stupid enough to eat one and choke because they are very small. I knew A was stoked about the apple trees, so I figured he would have fun helping me gather up the fallen fruit and climbing up the trees looking for a decent specimen to pick and taste.

We spent an awesome half hour rummaging through the grass and chatting about all kinds of things. At one point, he asked me if M and I had names picked out for any kids we have. I told him we definitely have the middle names settled, but first names are still somewhat undecided (but let's be serious, any girl baby I manage to have in whatever way *will* be named Alice Clara Belle). We talked about names for a while and then A suddenly said, "Really, you can name your baby whatever you want, I'll just be so excited to have a cousin!" He went on about how much fun it would be to have a cousin living close enough to see regularly, visiting our house more often, Bradley having someone to play with. You'll be proud to know I did not cry, guys - I didn't even well up, I'm not sure how I managed that. And as if this little scene couldn't get any more break-my-heart-adorable, A said "It would even be great if you and Uncle M adopt! Even if you adopted a kid older than me."

I've been asking God to please guide me and help me to know what my new journey should be. If this isn't some kind of sign or gentle nudge, I don't know what is.

July 26, 2013


I don't want to dream about being pregnant anymore. I don't want to dream about positive pregnancy tests or betas. I don't want to dream about talking to a tiny thing growing in my uterus.

Because I don't want to wake up sad and confused. I don't want to wake up feeling like crying and then wondering why, then piecing together the dream and feeling even worse. Why can I even dream about something that has never and will never happen? It should be like dying. I heard once that you can't really die in a dream because we have no idea what that would be like so our brains can't string together any experiences and images to make a dream of it. That could be total crap. But I wish I couldn't dream about pregnancy.

I don't like being teased by my own brain.

July 19, 2013

Everyone is Pregnant Except You

The statistics are on your side that if you seek medical intervention, and you only have one or two factors against you, as an infertile you will get pregnant. Might not end up with a take home baby, but you will get pregnant at least once.

I have never been pregnant. I have never had the faintest shadow of a second line. I have stared so closely and intensely at a pee stick that I could see the indentation, the chemical imprint where the reaction that creates the second line is. And that is the only thing I've ever seen.

I hate being jealous of fellow infertiles. I HATE it. I feel like slime. Less than slime. Worse than slime! They deserve their BFP - they went through hell, too! Its not like with the Fertiles of the world where you roll your eyes and take a few minutes to bitch about how they have no idea what it is like to TRY for a baby.

Instead, my stomach clenches tight. My heart pounds. A voice in my head says "Not another one...not again..." Which I quickly have to stomp out and replace with "Well, good for her, I'm very happy".

No you're not. You're jealous. You're angry. You're sad. Just plain old fucking sad. Because *another* blogger is pregnant. Eventually, they all get pregnant. I have followed over 20 blogs (I know that's not actually a lot) and everyone got pregnant except 3.

It sucks so much to be a part of the infertile of the world. It sucks even more to be part of the much smaller sub-group that never gets pregnant.

Now excuse me while I go self-flagellate to atone for my horrible, evil, rotten jealousy.

July 15, 2013

The Final Countdown

And now this will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day - you're welcome. (Any Arrested Development viewers in the audience? ...Bueller?)

Well sports fans, we're in the home stretch. This is my last cycle on break and then we try one more IUI. After that I get to crawl into my cocoon for however long I feel like and emerge as a beautiful pursuing-adoption-butterfly or a living-child-free-without-regrets-butterfly. Hmm, that metaphor kind of got away from me...

Anyway - I had AF back on like the 5th or something, so let's call that CD1. That puts me at CD11 today. My non-medicated cycles are always weak and wimpy and therefore peppered with lots of random spotting. Generally, I start spotting after ovulation right up to AF which tapers off into spotting for a few days. So I pretty much spot for 3 weeks in a row and then get a week off. Its *super* fun, lemmetellya. I had *finally* stopped spotting after AF back on the 11th-ish only to find this morning that it has started back up. Weak. Ass. Ovaries. ::sigh::

I am trying very hard to not start the negative thinking about my last medicated cycle. I really do want this to be as smooth and emotionless as possible. This cycle is a means of closure and the opening of all the other possibilities for my life. I can get my body back and start to feel more like ME, not me-with-PCOS-and-IF.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the responses on my last two posts. They have really *really* helped me work through some of the emotional skeletons in my closet. I have a lot of fears and anxieties regarding choosing one of the paths less traveled in life (both adopting and living child-free) and it is a big relief to be able to put those doubts into words in a safe space where I am supported. Most people don't have to think this much about where their life is going or have to deliberately make such HUGE decisions. Infertility has made me so much better at using my critical thinking skills on my own life and making (hopefully) responsible choices.

After August, I don't really know what will happen with this space. I know I will never stop blogging since I have journaled from age 12. And, probably, I will continue to talk about PCOS and IF sometimes - they never really stop having an impact on a person's life. But I think, also, I will blog about my ongoing search for what's next. It might be a year or more before I make a firm decision to move forward into one of the other "rooms" of the Stirrup Queens' blogroll. In the mean time, I'll just be kicking around in the hallway, saying hi to those who pass by. I am praying for peace in my heart with whatever happens from now on. Praying for guidance to where I am meant to go. And praying for the wisdom to recognize the signs that will lead me there.

July 10, 2013

Thoughts on Living Child Free (Not By Choice)

I don't even know where to start with this one.

Obviously living Child-Free is an option and its one I have brought up a could of times here. I'm grateful, I guess, that M and I are the sort of people who *can* see ourselves living a future without children and being okay, even though that's not the way we had envisioned our lives going.

It is an attractive end to this miserable IF road because I know that when I'm not in the thick of pursuing that one thing that I simply cannot have, I'm generally a very happy person. I am able to recognize and be thankful for that which I *can* and do have. I have an amazing husband who loves me for some crazy reason even through the times when *I* don't love me. I have an insane, but loving family who I am close to, including two nephews who are the lights of my life. And I live close enough to them to be a permanent part of their lives. M and I have jobs that pay well, with good benefits, and without children we would be able to afford to travel and engage more fully in charitable endeavors and tons of other cool things.

I have no doe-eyed fantasy about how perfect and delightful parenting is. I know that having children means sleepless nights, fights with your spouse, innumerable compromises, putting other plans and goals on the back burner for several years, etc. And we are all willing to make those sacrifices for the honor of raising up decent little human beings. I also realize that a childless life frees you up from many of those stresses and leaves open many other opportunities for you to pursue. See, look at that - I'm being all "glass half full" and shit.

And then this weird guilty feeling swoops around me and cloaks me in its negativity. I feel like...if I see positive things about living child-free, if the thought of that life doesn't make me sob with loss...there must be something wrong with me. I'm really *not* supposed to be a mother because a woman who is supposed to be a mother would doggedly pursue that goal until she reached it. Not lamely give up because "boo hoo, this is *hard* and if I stop now, I can still afford to visit Europe someday."

Its like that terrible conversation we have all been trapped up in at least once where some "helpful" acquaintance tries to make you feel better about your broken lady-parts by cheerfully encouraging "well, think of it this way: you get to sleep in on weekends and go out alone with your husband whenever you want, or take a last minute trip without having to consider any children!" And you're all like "...yaaay...that totally makes up for all my hopes and dreams being cruelly crushed under the heel of reality month after month...". Aren't I just spouting those same platitudes to myself? Shouldn't it make me angry, not hopeful, about the future? I mean, I can't actually be *that* well adjusted, please! A quick glance at the history of this blog proves I'm relatively unstable. So I judge myself for being comforted by these same ideas that, given by an outsider, would enrage me.

I tell myself I must unfit to be a parent because I can see life another way. And that's kind of sick and twisted to. Its beyond stupid to say "I don't deserve to be a mother because I won't move heaven and earth to achieve it" because MOST WOMEN DON'T HAVE TO. They have the luxury of it just "happening" for them, they didn't make any kind of extraordinary pursuit - it *fell* into their fertile. fucking. uterus. And all of these feelings are cobbled together inside of me, battling it out. Its rather nerve wracking, really.

Also, what if we *do* decide to live child-free and then in ten years I find myself regretting that decision so much that I just want to die?? What if my husband is taken from me by illness or accident and I have *nothing* left for the rest of my life because I don't have kids? Or what if we do live to be old but then there is no one to take care of us? Who takes care of the elderly that don't have children? Is it super depressing? And its not like you can ask someone that - "Hey Aunt Mary, I'm very sorry about Uncle Jim's death. Now that you're all alone, do you wish you had had children who could take care of you?" Oh yeah, that's *real* tactful and sensitive...

You might think, since I have so many worries and concerns, that this is not the right path for me - that it sounds like we should keep trying. Because at least then, if it doesn't work, we would definitively know that not having children was not within our power to change, no matter what. Unfortunately, short of some test coming back and saying "CurlySue, you have no eggs" or "M, you have no sperm and you never will", there will ALWAYS be a *chance*, however small, that we could have a baby. And I'm not going to live the next 8-10 years of my life that way, until advanced maternal age reduces my already small chance into basically nothing. I will NOT do that to myself or my husband. Which leaves me no choice but to create my own cut off point.

Cue continued self-judgement, now about the criteria used to choose the cut off point. I can't win.

July 03, 2013

Thoughts on Open Adoption

I'm slowly gathering resources and contemplating the process of adoption. Its pitfalls, its joys, its unique issues. At the same time, in the back of my head, I keep in mind that living child free is an option. I wish I could know how I would feel about all this in 10 years...

Adoption sure has changed a lot! Ok, who am I kidding - my only experience with adoption up til now has been what TV tells me and I know TV cannot be trusted to give me an accurate portrayal. But there is a persisting social "truth" that adoption continues to be this secret...thing. You aren't supposed to know who your "real" parents are and your adoptive family waits until you are older before they reveal the horrible truth that you are not biologically related to them *gasp!*

Clearly this is a ridiculous caricature. Open adoption seems to be more common than not, now. When you adopt, you not only welcome the child, but as much of the bio family as you can into the child's life (and therefore, very much *your* life). I think it is wonderful that adoption has become a proud and public process where the good of the child is held up above all else. I worry about the flip side of this. Some adoptions are not open. Some are "semi-open". And if a fully open adoption is generally held as the gold standard situation for adopted children, what does that say for children in any other kind of adoption?

I ask this because, due to my family's situation, I cannot do an open adoption. I have an older brother with a high functioning form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome (although I think the new DSM has done away with this distinction). Life with my brother is challenging. The smallest change to his routine can put him in the *foulest* mood for over a week. Break one of his many (and often changing) internal rules and he will let you know in no uncertain terms. He struggles with dysthymia because he is high functioning enough to *know* that he is different, that something is "wrong" with him, but there's absolutely nothing he can do about it. My immediate family is an incredibly tight-knit group of 5 because we have all had to work together to get my brother and ourselves through some crazy low times. We strive to maintain consistency and constancy for my brother in a world that does not understand him, does not care, and assaults his senses with too much and rapidly changing stimuli.

Bringing an adopted baby (and blended-race baby at that) into my family will be complicated enough. I still need to discuss this with my mom and find out if she thinks he would eventually get used to it or if he would forever make incredibly inappropriate comments around the child (in which case it looks like we're child-free because I'm not bringing any child knowingly into that situation). Also, is there a way I can sloooooooooooooowly get him used to the idea so its not such a big, scary, crazy shock when we announce one day we have a baby. Please don't take any of this to mean that my brother is racist or anything else. He has autism, this is how life works with him, for better or worse.

Even if I can introduce an adopted baby into my family there is *no way* in heaven or on earth that I can open our doors wide to the bio-family. That sounds harsh. But it is the unfortunate truth. I got lucky when M and I started dating and eventually got married: his only parent in the area is his mom and his mom was (get this) one of my brother's former teachers. My brother LOVES her. So introducing the "in-laws" into my family was a walk in the park. God was truly looking out for the good of my family as a whole.

I can't introduce a number of perfect strangers into my family, who show up several times a year for birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving... holidays are hard enough without this. (Did I mention my dad also has a mood disorder and becomes The Grinch [a less cute and funny Grinch] from about November through March every year?). I'm not saying I don't want my child to know the woman who gave birth to her, but I am saying we are not all going to skip off together into the sunset as I feel like it is portrayed in many adoption blogs I have creeped on.

Obviously any family will have a rough transitional period where the adopted and bio-families are getting used to eachother, but my family is heavy laden in land mines that I would like to do my best to avoid or at least put minimal pressure on. And spending significant dates (holidays, birthdays, etc.) away from my family in order to be with the bio-family would not be possible except on rare occasions (ask me how many holidays we have not spent with the 5 core members of my family together. I can count them on one hand). That is not a permanent solution.

Ugh, I feel like none of this is coming out right. I feel like anyone who doesn't know me or my family would read this and think "Is this girl for real?" Yes my family is almost unhealthily close. Yes my mom, sister, and I have to work together to keep dad and my brother from hiding in their rooms through every holiday get together. We are functionally dysfunctional, I like to say. Its a delicate balancing act we have learned and I'm not going to screw that up just because my lady parts refuse to give me a biological child.

So, long story short, am I a bad person if I go into adoption looking for only a semi-open relationship with the bio-parents? Obviously as the child gets older, she could get to know those people on her own terms. I don't intend to shut the door completely and they would be honored in our home whether she sees them regularly or not. I just can't move forward with this process and only think about how adopting will impact M and I - it is going to affect our entire family. I have to do right by my brother and take into consideration how bizarre and alien this will seem from his perspective - and then do what I can to minimize the weirdness for him. Otherwise I'm just creating a GIANT problem that will make my whole family (and adopted child) suffer.

Does any of this make sense to any one besides me?

June 10, 2013

When Enough is Enough

I have been debating the end of the line for a long time now (obviously). I think halfway through my cycle in March is when I really started to let go and grieve for the biological child(ren) I will never have. Which is an awkward mental position to be in when you know you intend on doing a couple more medicated cycles. Mental gymnastics is not new to anyone this far down the IF road, though.

The *when* and the *how* of moving on is tricky, unfortunately. I had a sort of self-made road block in the form of stopping before IVF. I didn't always know IVF was too much for me, but I figured it out before it became my only option, which is good. And it felt like that decision made life less chaotic. I knew exactly when I would stop TTC: when IVF became my only real option. However, I didn't consider whether I could make it to that critical point. I guess I didn't think the well of my emotional fortitude would run dry in advance of the so-called "end".

So I've kicked around these thoughts - ruminated on them to see how they taste. And finally, after finding my footing, I brought the issue up with M. He never expresses much of an opinion on the topic of our IF struggle and if/how we will have kids. I don't know if its because he doesn't want me to feel pressured by his opinions or if its because he could be happy no matter what happens - his reasoning is something he discusses even less often than his opinions. I asked him how he would feel if I went back on birth control and all my other pre-TTC meds. He said that he would respect my choice, that medicated cycles are much, much harder on me than on him, but he does not feel ready to quit. I asked how much more was he wanting to do. He would like to finish out the IUIs we had planned on doing this year.

I'm glad he said that, in a way. Just *thinking* about doing 2 IUIs before the end of the year conjured up a million different negative emotions and images for me. I officially have no good or positive feelings left about TTC; at least, not TTC in the way that we have to do it. My mind cannot think or focus on the hopeful, positive outcome - it only dwells on the inevitable and the fact that I sign my happiness away for 30 days. For nothing. For more of the same: B.F.N (emphasis on the F). And I'm sick of all that sadness being the ghost at the party for any special occasions that happen to fall within those 30 days. I could only think of 1 month that would not be an emotional land-mine field if we did a cycle: August. That's it.

I explained all this to M and we came to a compromise. One more IUI, in August of course. He says that last cycle will be enough to give him closure on this phase of our lives and then we can move forward into whatever comes next. For me, that will involve continuing to help my family navigate the new and scary reality of my mom in a wheelchair and slowly researching adoption. I will not make any decisions until I know for absolute certain how M feels about adoption. I think I could be fine no matter what we choose to do after ending TTC. Life is full just as it is, there is no gaping hole for a child to fill, and that's never been why I wanted a child in the first place.

I'm sorry my posts have been very scant recently. There is so much going on in my family and my life and none of it particularly relating to infertility. I try to keep this blog focused on my broken lady parts and hypothetical children. If anyone is still out there, I appreciate you sticking around. I do follow all your stories, just being derelict in my commenting duties. Some day I will get back to business as usual - pinky swear!

May 11, 2013


Its been a long, long month. A lifetime has passed in a few weeks. I wish I could crack a joke, lighten the mood of this sad blog, but I can't. Not that I don't find humor in the situation, but its the kind of cruel, laugh at how fucked up your life is humor. It doesn't usually make sense to other people.

There are no guarantees in life and I think a lot of mental and emotional pain springs from our believing the lie that marketing and advertizing present to us: You can and should have it all - happy life, kids, nice belongings, good job with plenty of free time for friends and family, picture perfect vacations. Lies lies lies. And we don't even realize we have bought into this crap until something unexpected happens. Infertility. Sudden physical disability. Nothing is a guarantee.

But life goes on. Not the way you wanted it to go, but it does go on. And you learn to be fine, to accept the hand you have been dealt, and to pull the wool off your own eyes. There is no perfect life. No one has everything.

My mom is home, which is a triumph in itself. It s still a very big struggle though. Learning to live life in a different way. Problem solving by thinking outside the box. And praying every day that she will walk again. There is truthfully no room left in my brain for thinking about TTC. I don't miss it or worry about it, not even a little.

Eventually things will settle down. We will find our new normal and stop living in crisis mode day after day. At that point, I'm willing to start thinking about the future. Adoption doesn't seem so scary after the month I've had. But I know that I have to complete two more IUI cycles before I can lay to rest the idea of a biological child. If my mother can continue to be thankful and happy in life despite her injury, then I can bear my cross too. 

April 09, 2013


That's the question, isn't it? We all ask it. All the time. About everything that relates to our struggles to conceive.

Why us? Why this? Why didn't that treatment work? Why am I not pregnant? Why why WHY??

And there are rarely answers... Except for this time.

I know why I didn't get pregnant last month, and possibly any of the other months I have tried for the past 2 years. I know why I haven't been blessed and burdened with the responsibility of a tiny human who relies heavily on my time and attention.

Last Monday (April Fools Day in the States, how fitting), my Mom lost the ability to use her legs, maybe forever. She got up for the day, like any other day, and soon after experienced a partial infarction of her spinal cord. A stroke in the spinal cord some doctors say.

There was no reason for this. My mother is not at risk for a stroke of any kind. She is a very healthy 56 year old who's only serious condition is psoriatic arthritis. The doctors (there are so many of them now) stare at her, baffled. It is as though God reach down through the clouds and touched her back.

I can't really describe the past week. It has been at times hopeful, and at times, horrifying. Sometimes it feels like nothing will ever be okay again. And sometimes I believe that miracles are possible, and she may yet walk again. She is alive, that's something. She didn't break anything when her legs gave out, that's something too.

Thank God I'm not pregnant.

There, I said it.

I was able to be fully there for my mom and dad during one of the scariest weeks of their lives. I was in a unique position to drop everything and just be available for anything at any time. That has meant the world to me. My sister can't do it, she has Bear and A to look after. And we all have to pitch in to help my brother adjust because his Asperger's makes events like this 10 times as scary for him. I filled a role that only I could and only because I don't have any kids and I'm not pregnant.

I never thought I would be thankful for NOT being pregnant, but I know better now.

They are still trying to figure out how all this happened. My mom still has a lot of pain and the doctors are attempting to manage it in a way that lets her lead a normal life. And no one knows how much of her functions she will regain. She moved to an inpatient rehab center where she will learn the tricks to living as a paraplegic. We continue to pray that it is God's will she walk again.

Until things settle down, until I know Mom will be okay, until I know if she can live at home or if my parents will have to buy a one story house, I'm taking another treatment break. I was already starting to come to terms with a child-free life, so I haven't given it a second thought. It seemed obvious and natural. The family I *have* will always come before the family that *may be*. There are so many life lessons I am learning from this horrible experience. And I am bemused at the way I have received an answer to my so often sobbed question: Why?

March 28, 2013

Digging Deep

I have read, and I have probably even said, that going through fertility treatments takes great strength. I believe that. And yet, I don't feel strong at all. I feel incredibly weak and broken. If I am whole, I am littered with cracks and chinks - so very fragile.

Today I feel normal, like myself, for the first time in 2 weeks. Last night, while I cried on M's shoulder, I told him he is enough for me. I don't *have* to have children. I *want* to have children. He said that I am all he ever wanted. I said I am willing to do another IUI in May and hope that I won't have the same extreme reaction to the meds. If I don't become a basket case at the end of that cycle, I can go through with the third and final IUI. If I *do* have a very strong reaction to the meds again, I am done. There is no point putting myself through the emotional meat-grinder ad infinitum when this clearly isn't working.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time exploring child free not by choice blogs. The room no one wants to enter on the Stirrup Queens' Blogroll. Every Infertile's worst nightmare. Their blogs are proof to me that there is life after treatment cessation, and it does not have to be full of sorrow over what might have been and crying over daily reminders of what you don't have. I also learned something important from their stories. By the time they finally stopped treatments, most of them were so emotionally exhausted, so completely heartbroken by their struggles, that they could not even consider other avenues of having children. They didn't have it left in them to go through the process of adoption even if they wanted to because of how much infertility treatments had scarred them. Others had kept at treatments into their 40's and were "too old for consideration" by many adoption agencies (public adoptions aren't as strict, but its very hard to adopt an infant that way).

Not that I am judging their (or anyone's) choices, but I don't want to be that. I don't want to keep at this until I am a beaten, bloody pulp, completely unrecognizable even to myself. That's not how I would choose to end it. I think IVF would do that to me. IUI is already practically doing that to me. I want to say enough is enough while I still have years left to grieve my loss, think about pursuing adoption, and enough of my heart and mind still in tact to carry me through the difficult filing process if that's what we choose to do. I'm not willing to let the pursuit of children destroy me and my relationships with other people. I can make peace with my life without having to go that far.

I know that medicated cycling makes me crazy. I also know that when I am *not* cycling, I am normal. I can see babies, mothers, pregnant women, and NOT want to hang myself. Yes it hurts, but it DOES NOT ruin my day. And I can keep in mind all of the wonderful things I *do* have, and the experiences that are possible in a future without children.

So I am digging deep, finding the strength to get back on the hormone roller coaster at least one more time. I can see the exit in the distance, and that definitely helps for now.

March 25, 2013

Standing at the End of the Road with Nothing in My Hands

This cycle failed so spectacularly. More than I was prepared for. I spotted so early. It was so obvious there was no room for even the tiniest hope. And I cried more over this failure than the last several put together. I couldn't tell you why.

I didn't think these last three cycles would be so painful. I thought I had perfected a certain level of emotional detachment. I can't seem to bury my hope and optimism deep enough, they still reach out to hurt me. I am so raw sometimes I wish I was on a deserted island. I want so badly to reach out, to my husband, to my friends, to my family. But what's the point? There are no words that make this better or bearable. I've never tried so hard at something I have sucked *so bad* at in my life.

And a part of me beats myself up for getting so upset over this. This is the *absence* of something - no one has hurt me, nothing has been done to me. Sorrow over something that has never existed is too abstract. There is real pain in the world, pain I will hopefully never know. I beat myself up for every useless tear. Being sad doesn't help anything and I should know better by now. M doesn't know what to do with me. He holds me and tells me he loves me, but he doesn't pretend to understand.

I don't think I'm afraid of living "child free". I'm afraid of living child free in a world that is very judgmental of that life. At a certain age "Are you married?" and "Do you have kids?" become some of the first questions asked upon meeting. And people make immediate assumptions when you say you don't have any kids. Some of those assumptions can be pretty mean. I can't control what other people think, I know that. And I shouldn't let it upset me because whatever they think, they are probably dead wrong. I know that too. But I didn't *choose* this life. It chose me. And that makes me very insecure. There's a big club that 80% of women in the world are a part of, and it is looking like I will be banned.

I honestly don't know if I can do this for another 2 cycles. I'm not stupid - nothing has worked up til now, there isn't any reason why it should the next time. There is no reason I know of why I shouldn't be pregnant, and yet I'm NOT. And my odds don't change based on how many cycles I do. It will always hover around 15%, more or less.  Its not like I'm getting all of my failures out of the way and there is definitely a BFP at the end of this road.

The end of the road...I thought the end was still in my future, but maybe it is my present. I just don't know if I have it in me to face more self-induced heart-ache. I want to live without this millstone around my heart, weighing down everything else in my life until all I can see is what I *don't* have. I don't know how some people manage to keep at this for years on end. Shouldn't I cut my losses and run while my soul is cracked in big enough pieces to still glue back together?

March 22, 2013


The TWW is hard - we all know that. I struggle with the first week because nothing happens that gives me any clues and I just have to reiterate to myself that there is a greater chance it *didn't* work than that it *did*. Then we get to 7DPO (or DPIUI as I am counting this cycle). I can start spotting as early as halfway through my TWW. I always *always* spot before AF arrives, just sometimes sooner and other times later. I had a weird pinch-y cramping yesterday in the area of my uterus. Then later that day, there was a teeny bit of pinkish-red blood when I wiped. My first thought was "Well, that was over fast", followed quickly by "But it could be *implantation* spotting!", remembering the weird cramps. This, however, was followed even more quickly by "Hahaha, God that is so stupid."

I dutifully headed to the lab for my progesterone blood draw this morning. The paperwork for this lab was folded up with optional lab work next week for a beta. As if I will *ever* be using that. When I went to the restroom later in the morning, there was more spotting. Guess its all downhill from here, folks.

In a way, its sort of convenient that my body gives me signals it has failed early. I have time to get used to the idea before the dreaded morning when I have to pee on a stick so I can gulp my conciliatory glass of wine guilt-free. Its not like if I wasn't spotting right now I would be living on hopes and dreams that this cycle worked. I would just be even more vigilant to remind myself that statistics are not on my side.

On the other hand, its very frustrating to be pretty certain you are not pregnant and yet to continue to deny yourself alcohol; especially when a day at work leaves you weighing the odds on homicide vs. developing a drinking problem. ::sigh:: It will be over soon enough I guess.


March 19, 2013

I Should Be Pre-Emptively Caged

I have really...*strong* reactions to fertility drugs. The side effects always seem amplified for me. I've known a couple women IRL who used HCG shots and they didn't have any noticeable side effects. But me? Well, right now its kinda like this:

Add some rage and then sobbing uncontrollably and you'll have a good idea of how my day has gone today. Damn HCG shot. And I'm only 4DPIUI and the shot will probably be in my system for another 3 days or so. Three more days of an un-caged crazy person. Good times for *everybody*!

I'd love to regale you with symptom spotting, hopeful thinking, and random factoids like what my potential due date is, but that's just not me anymore. I think I felt my boob twinge on Sunday or something. I'm out of HPTs and I'm struggling to decide whether to buy a box or just wait for AF. I HATE using pee sticks, I really do. But, AF always takes her sweet time to show up and I depend on alcohol as my crutch through the end of a failed cycle...just can't decide.

I really expected this TWW to fly by because of how insanely busy I am at work, but actually it is dragging *desperately* slow.

March 15, 2013

Lesson: Don't Complain

My IUI was scheduled for 10am. Around 10:50 the doctor was finally in the room.

On a normal day, I would be fine. I get it - shit happens, its people's health we are talking about after all. Besides, both my parents are nurses, I *know* how crazy the schedule can be.

But today I had a lot more going on besides the IUI. In fact, overall, the IUI was a major inconvenience in my day. Today is my mom's last day of work. She was laid off from a job she LOVES and has performed exceptionally at for over 10 years. This is a very hard blow for her and the rest of the family. So yeah, the IUI was really not my focus today. I needed to go buy my mom flowers and take them to my sister's house and then go in to work (which has been insane), but the delay was eating into all my spare time.

So I may have been a little snippy when Dr. B finally came in and I asked if they were really backed up because my appointment time was actually an hour ago. Cue brief story about two women who's lives were basically ruined this morning: one lost her early pregnancy and one might have uterine cancer. And that's why the doctor was late. And I'm the bitch who complained.

Lesson learned: NEVER COMPLAIN.

Anyway, the IUI itself went fine. 45 million washed, wiggly sperm - I told them Bon Voyage. Overall we didn't break the bank on this either: $210 for collection, wash, and analysis, $185 for insemination, $52 for the Ovidrel.

I was also anxious because M was with me, but he had to leave by 11 to go to work and for some reason it is very important to me that he be there for my IUIs. At least then I can say he was definitely present when I got pregnant (oh isn't that *cute*, I made an assumption I will ever be pregnant). It got really close with how delayed everything was, but M was able to stay. Although he left while I was still on the table watching the egg timer tick down.

If I get pregnant, I will know by Easter and, more importantly, M's birthday. But the more likely scenario is that on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday I will start spotting. I will have myself a cry, hate everything for a few hours, and avoid church (which is a lousy thing to do, but Good Friday service is the LAST thing I want to sit through when I'm already feeling so low). Hopefully by Easter I will be ready to smile again and move on.

Cheers, everyone!

March 14, 2013

Quick Update

Did my trigger shot last night around 9:30. Happy birthday to me ;-) IUI is tomorrow morning at 10! Part of me is getting excited and another part of me is hanging back and acting like everything I am doing is part of some ridiculous hobby. "Oh, shooting myself up with hormones? Yeah, its like fishing for me. I probably won't catch anything, but I'm having fun anyway, you know?"

No, it is not fun. But if that kind of mindset keeps me from being depressed, then I'll go with it. At this point, I don't even know what I would do if I got a positive pregnancy test. I've worked SO HARD over the past year to not allow my life to revolve around my IF treatments or planning for any "what if" children that a BFP would probably knock me on my ass and it would take me quite a while to adjust my thinking.

And that's another reason why it is easier to go through a medicated cycle assuming that absolutely nothing will come of it. Because 80% or more of the time, I will be correct.

I like being right, even when its wrong. That's deep.

March 11, 2013

So Happy Together

I take it back. I take back every bad thing I said about Femara. I'm fully converted and ready to skip through a field of daisies with my new best friend!

Why, you may ask? Why the sudden change when only a few days ago I cursed the name Femara?

Well, first of all, I'm extremely hormonal; so its to be expected that my mood will swing from spitting vitriol to hugs and kisses and ponies. Second of all, I had my mid cycle ultrasound this morning, on CD12. The right ovary is doing nothing, just chilling. But the left, Oh The Left!! Three BIG, JUICY (ew) follicles :-D Two 17mm and one 16mm. The nurse said this is an amazing response for Femara because they expect to see only one *maybe* two good follies. But *three*?? Three amazing, stupendous, GINORMOUS (for me, this early in the cycle anyway) follies? Its like a dream come true :-) I wanted to yell a big "Fuck yeah!" right there in the exam room.

So the plan for the rest of the week is trigger Wednesday night (my birthday, so maybe there will be good luck? As opposed to the last two years of cycles on my birthday...) and IUI Friday morning. This is going to be an expensive cycle because we're having M's sample analyzed again for morphology etc. I want to make sure his stats are still good enough that we aren't throwing away money on more medicated cycles. However, thanks to M's job, we have a Flex Spending Account where we've been squirreling away money each paycheck. So there's a few hundred dollars in it to help off-set the costs of the IUI.

My appointment this morning has put me in a great mood. I can even forget about the Hell-on-Earth experience that was my trip this past weekend. I can even forgive the fact I am turning 29 (just gonna keep claiming 28 for a few years more) and my birthday plans are completely jacked. Huzzah!

March 07, 2013

Wherein My Body Likes to Fuck With Me...

"Take Femara", they said. "Its SOO much better than clomid", they said.

Well you know what my body has to say to that?


I'm guessing at this point that my body revels in experiencing side effects out of the pure sadistic pleasure of watching me suffer. Or would that be masochistic...? The hot flashes started two nights ago. Two nights of lousy sleep so far. Also, M has been witness to some pretty amusing mood swings where I have thrown my phone and cursed like a sailor one minute and snuggled lovingly with him the next. He's old hat at the Jekyll and Hyde routine now, so these things don't even phase him.

I think the lynch pin that causes my side effects to go from "annoying" to "RUINING MY LIFE" is the lack of sleep. When I don't sleep well, things get weird *fast* because my thoughts get disjointed and irrational. One of these days M is going to find me frantically circling random letters in the newspaper and stringing a room with yarn making non-existent connections between current events. The aliens *are* coming ladies and gentlemen, please don your aluminum foil hats now:

Does anybody else have such a severe reaction to poor sleep? Anyone? ...Bueller?

Compounding the run-of-the-mill, infertility-medicine-induced crazy is a family trip I'm taking this weekend. My entire family (including my sometimes-belligerantly-grumpy dad and often-Debbie-downer brother) is sojourning North to visit our extended family for a long weekend. Now, I love my immediate family. And I *love* my extended family. But we are some jacked-up people who, 80% of the time, do a good job at pretending we all just waltzed out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The other 20% of the time? I couldn't say, I'm very good at suppressing memories ::crazed grin:: I'm just praying this is a pleasant trip with minimal drama and I can get back to my regularly scheduled level of crazy on Monday.

And Lord, please grant me some decent sleep before I accuse the cat of plotting to kill us. Oh wait... he is!

March 01, 2013

We Are a Go

Alright, kiddies, we're officially back in the swing of things.

In approximately 15 days I'll be back up in those oh-so-familiar stirrups for IUI #2. Aunt Flo had to pick the worst day of the week to arrive (Thursday), of course. The RE's office was booked up for Thursday and Friday so I get to wait until Monday (CD5) to get my baseline u/s out of the way. That is also the day I am supposed to start meds, so I get to PRAY that my pharmacy doesn't randomly run out of Femara because I have no room for error. That also gives me only 10 days to get my trigger shot ordered and shipped. Pretty sure that is the minimal amount of time they need. What could *possibly* go wrong, right?? ::panicked smile::

This schedule also inadvertently ruins my birthday plans because by the time I will have an available weekend to get together with friends (read: drink heavily) I will be halfway through my TWW...FML, while we're throwing acronyms around... Who wants to be 29 anyway.

At least I have advanced warning that Easter and the first week of April are going to be touchy, so I should start digging myself a cave to crawl into in the backyard. You know, to protect the public from my post-negative-pregnancy-test, ray-of-freaking-sunshine self:

 Oh grumpy cat, you know just what to say.

I'll be sure to update you all on the Femara side effects. Crossing my fingers that I won't have to endure those memorably horrific hot flashes... I could use your prayers/good vibes/ happy thoughts this month. I don't think I have it in me to be hopeful or think positive. I can get through this if I am as emotionally detached from the process as possible.

February 27, 2013

So, Is She Better Now?

An interesting, innocent question put to me by a friend this weekend. She was asking about my sister's fertility now that she's had my youngest nephew (let's call him Bear, shall we?).

Is she better now.

Is there such a thing? I can't think of a form of infertility that ever gets permanently "fixed". Endo can always grow back, PCOS only gets worse with age, even male-factor probably doesn't get permanently better after surgery or what have you. This is not the flu. It does not simply get better, go away.

And what if it did? What if there were no such thing as secondary infertility because (for whatever reason) getting pregnant fixed the problem. Would any of us be better? Even if one pregnancy was a cure-all, the emotional and psychological aspects of infertility can't be fixed like that.

Is she better now.

Is she better because now she has two kids instead of one? Because she got a *little* bit closer to that big family of 6 or 7 that she had always dreamed of? Or is she better because its been 3 years since she lost the triplets and maybe an hour slips by that she doesn't think of them and miss them terribly? There is no medicine for that. There is no way to forget the years of heartache and loss. There is no way to fully let go of the fear, even after a positive experience.

When someone cuts your arm off, it does not "get better". It hurts less over time and you learn to adapt to a new way of life. Eventually you can find some humor and some life lessons in the tragedy. But it certainly does not get better; your arm is never coming back.

I know that's not what my friend meant. I know she lives blissfully unaware, in a land where women *plan* to get pregnant, without knowing anything of the intricacies involved in conception, and lo and behold, they do. Two point five kids, evenly spaced out, no more than two years apart. Who *are* these people?

Is she better now.

Is she done trying? Probably not. Will the next attempt be easier because of this last success? Definitely not. But much like losing your arm, the process hurts a little less and she has adapted to this way of life, as we all do, over time. This completely and utterly baffling way of life. I think that's as close to "better" as we can expect to get. What has been done cannot be undone, but the person without his arm soldiers on and so do we.


I heard a song this morning on the radio. If you go to this site, it is the fourth song down. I stood in the bathroom, curling my hair, with tears in my eyes. But I needed to hear that song. I was in the kitchen a few minutes later when it hit me and I *knew*. 

I know it is already planned out, but its time to try again. I have been afraid of what I might go through this year on my last series of cycles. Everything about what might and might not be has made me apprehensive about going down this road again. But now I'm sure, its time. I need to do this, no matter what the result is. I am ready.

February 21, 2013

Counting Down to Crazy

This month has been interesting as far as cycling. I did not have very obvious signs and symptoms like last month, but then, my metformin dosing has been all over the place as I struggle to get back up to my full prescription. Maybe that messed things up. At any rate, I noticed the tell-tale reddish-brown tinged CM yesterday, so AF is on her way (however slowly). I expect I'll be able to call the RE's office in early March to start my first IUI cycle. Here we go again, huh?

Fortunately there should be plenty of projects to keep me busy and distracted (and hopefully sane) this spring. I'm finalizing my initial gardening plans and pricing supplies for when M and I go shopping. I have thought long and hard about placement for my garden bed and the compost beds, so that I won't have to move things around in the years to come (hopefully). I am reading and absorbing all the information I can find on sustainable landscaping with native plants. This is my goal for many reasons and they are not all about social concerns and such. Mostly its because I have no faith in my ability to grow fussy little plants and flowers that need to be tended to like a mewling infant to survive in this climate. Also because I am very VERY lazy and cannot be trusted to remember to water houseplants, let alone a great big yard and flower beds. I would like to exert my daily garden efforts on my veggie garden since that will result in food which is a good return for the work.

I think a sustainable, native landscape is a great match for M and I because we are not formal or particular about things. We will be perfectly happy with a yard full of blowsy swaths of this and that, spilling over their beds or growing wherever. This doesn't mean I want my yard to look like chaos; afterall, I am spending a LOT of time planning things out so we can establish a cohesive whole over several years of planting bit by bit. But I don't need or want a formal English garden by any means. Besides, a nice, naturalistic backyard won't show abuse from a dog as much. Oh yes, I am getting a dog this spring.

That's another thing I am researching and planning for well in advance. I grew up with dogs, so I know the effort required to care for them. We have a cat, but cats are more like teenagers in the level of care and involvement required from the parent. Dogs are more like toddlers, I think. And puppies even moreso. Which is why I think we will not be getting a puppy. M and I both work full time with a 35 minute commute. If I leave home at 7:30am and Matt doesn't get home until 4pm at the earliest, that's 8.5 hours the dog will be home alone. Puppies cannot be left that long (not without messy consequences anyway) and I don't want to end up with an ill-mannered dog simply because he isn't exercised as much as he needs. So we have to be careful about the age and energy level of the dog we adopt. There are a couple of rescue shelters in our area and many more if we are willing to drive to one of the greater metropolitan areas near us, so I'm sure will can find a dog that is a great fit. My dream is to adopt something with Hound in it, but I'm flexible.

There's one more little project I'm starting next week and I'm not sure how its going to turn out. ::deep breath:: I've decided to try a Couch to 5K program... I've seen a lot of people in our community, as well as personal friends on FaceBook, give it a try and it seems to be a good program to encourage the simplest form of exercise in people who have zero love for it. I bought some running shoes, downloaded an app on my iPhone, and until the sun starts rising earlier I'll be running on my lunch breaks at the indoor track by my office. My goal is to run in the morning before work and take my dog with me so we *both* get some exercise. If I don't exercise early, it pretty much does not happen because my hair gets messed up/ I have to shower again/ I'll stink for the rest of the day and on and on it goes. I don't have time for all that fussiness. Run in the morning - before my shower - problem solved. I have no clue what I will do when the weather turns cold again... Any suggestions?

February 12, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

And also a couple of things that I don't like. Just for balance, of course!

Can I tell you how much I love Modcloth? For a pear shaped woman clearly born in the wrong decade (if not the wrong *century*!), Modcloth's vintage influenced dresses are a God send. I window shopped their website for MONTHS before I bought my first item - a belt. That's how nervous I am about buying clothes without the ability to try them on. Well, the belt was amazing, so I decided it was worth the risk to ask my husband for a dress for my birthday. It should arrive any day now and I'm on pins and needles to find out if it fits and flatters. If I really love it, I may post a picture.

The other side of the clothing coin is how obnoxiously difficult it can be to find certain items that I know look good on my body type. Pants in particular, again because of the pear-shaped thing. I can't wear 95% of the pant styles out there, including but not limited to: jeggings, super-skinny, skinny, boyfriend cut, flare, ultra-flare, "curvy", and most boot-cuts. I can rock trouser cut and wide-leg. How difficult is it to find trouser cut or wide-leg pants that were not made for middle-aged and older women? So difficult that I have worn my current khakis TO DEATH and have been searching for replacements for over a year. Usually I find something when it has already gone to clearance and they are out of every size except 2 and 20.

Another thing I am growing to love is homemade beauty care stuff. Since converting to the Curly Girl Method of hair care, I have been much more open to exploring other natural/homemade health and beauty treatments. Currently I am trying out washing my face with oil (I swear I am not crazy) and using apple cider vinegar as a toner.

PCOS symptoms force me to think outside the box and get creative about solutions. The acne doesn't respond to typical cleansers and medicines because the root of the issue is my wacky hormones. No matter how I eat or how much I exercise, I am *always* going to be pear-shaped and I will *never* be my ideal weight. So I have to find clothes that work for my body instead of trying to make my body work with certain clothes.

Something else that is growing on me: Sunrises. I used to be a sunset lover and never really understood the appeal of sunrises. Yeah, I knew they were pretty, but they happened "so early" and sunsets are just as pretty if not moreso and I didn't have to adjust my sleep schedule to enjoy them. But now that I am waking up around 6am (soon to be 5am when my office's hours change and I start exercising in the morning), I look forward to sunrise. Sunsets are still lovely, but they are the sign that the day is ending and soon you'll have to go to bed - just think about all the things you needed to do today that you didn't accomplish and now its too late...

I'm struggling to get back up to my full daily dose of metformin. I like that metformin seems to help my PCOS (a teeny tiny bit), but I am obviously not a fan of its side-effect friends. Still, in making an effort to remember to take it regularly, I also have to remember to eat at certain times and be careful about the things I eat, so I suppose overall it is a good thing. An annoying thing, but a good thing.

Three more weeks or so and I'll be starting my IUI cycle...

February 05, 2013

Zen and the Art of Infertility Maintenance

I had my "what now?" appointment with Dr. B this morning. It was the least stressful appointment I think I have had in the past 2 years. I was completely zen. The only thing that remotely bothered me was when he went on a little tangent about IVF being the best bang for your buck. I told him I have not made up my mind as to whether we would ever pursue IVF and he backed off and said that he's not trying to talk me into it or anything, just making sure that I have all the information for deciding our method of treatment.

I did remember to ask about Femara and Dr. B was totally on board with using it. Yay! Goodbye nasty Clomid side effects! And the nurses told me a generic has been released for Femara in the last year or so, so hopefully the cost isn't too bad. One thing I do like about Dr. B is how laid back he is about my timeline. He reassured me that, in the infertility world, I'm very young still. No rush to get this accomplished nowdammitnow. When I was new to all this, that bothered me. Because I *did* feel very NOWDAMMITNOW about getting pregnant. I'm so glad I have relaxed in recent months.

So, the plan:

For now, we are planning on starting IUI cycles in March, using 5 mg(?) Femara and an Ovidrel shot . At this practice, they typically do 3 months of the same treatment and if you are cycling, but not pregnant, after 3 they re-assess the treatment plan. Apart from increasing or lengthening the dose of Femara, I don't have any more options other than IVF. Dr. B has made it clear he thinks it is too risky and not worth the expense for me to do stimming with IUI and I agree. That leaves IVF and adoption. And I think we all know I have not conclusively made up my mind about either. I worry that IVF would make me a crazy person, but I suppose there is the same risk with pursuing adoption. And I don't exactly know how my husband feels about either of these options because he is mostly mum (but supportive) on all things IF and just lets me take the lead. But IVF and adoption are a REALLY big deal, something that he would need to have a definite opinion on before I'd be willing to move forward.

Besides the emotional and psychological side of considering IVF and adoption, there's the money. Oh, the money. Dr. B says a fresh IVF cycle is $12,000 and a subsequent FET (if necessary and possible) is about $1800. Domestic adoption is roughly $20,000 on the low end if you go through an agency (I guess there are a lot of "cut out the middle man" ways to adopt now, but they come with more risks). But we have benefit support to help pay for adoption. IVF would be almost 100% out of pocket. Either way, its a lot of money. A lot of money just to have the *chance* to have a baby - still no guarantee.

Am I unworthy of being a parent if I say that *all* that effort and *all* that money, just for a chance (even if it is a good chance), is not worth the risk? Does that mean I don't want it enough? I'm not trying hard enough? I don't think so, but I hope I wouldn't have to deal with those questions from other people for the rest of my life if I end up child-free. As though someone would say "Well you *chose* child-free if you didn't pursue these other avenues, so you've no room to be sad or bitter!"

I just want to let the chips fall where they may and not be judged for it, you know? Even within our community there is risk of judgement. There was a prominent blogger who announced she was done with IVF after 2 rounds because she worried the risks were not worth the possible benefit. She got slammed by a lot of fellow IFers. I commented that I wondered if the root of the issue was that they did not feel she had tried hard enough and conversely that they felt she was insinuating other people were trying "too hard". Regardless, I gotta do what's right for me, whatever the limit is. For now, I'm gonna think small and focus on gearing up for more TTC.

January 28, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I'm deep into researching my next step in suburban homesteading: gardening and composting. Does a rotting pile of organic matter excite me? You'd better believe it!

The backyard of my house is *giant* by my standards, just over a half an acre in the backyard alone! never mind the sides and front yard. And right now it is very boring; mostly grass, a blank canvas. I never realized until I heard a woman on TV express this opinion: I like *green*, but not grass. That's exactly how I feel. I feel that grass is a complete waste of space and far too much work. I see the way my dad slaves over his yard in the warm months and how upsetting it is when a drought turns everything brown no matter what you do or a low area is a soggy, muddy bog. That's not for me. You want to know my favorite form of sunlight?

Dappled, coming through the branches and leaves of a tree. Beautiful. 

We have 3 trees in our backyard currently: one evergreen at the back of the lot and two apple trees, only one of which is salvageable. The other is hollowed out in the center from pests or disease. There are another two trees in our side yard and one in the front which is WAY too close to the house, fighting a fungus, and leaning precariously. So, there's a lot of work to be done.

I don't want to bite off more than I can chew (see earlier post about getting overwhelmed), so this year I am limiting my gardening/landscaping plans to one 4x4 raised garden bed, 3 raised compost beds, and removing the front yard tree (hopefully salvaging the wood for a farmhouse dining table).

Eventually, in the years to come, I want to shape my backyard into a low maintenance, sustainable green space for relaxing and gardening. I want little to no grass - currently researching other ground cover options. I want wildflowers and other native plants. Fortunately, I have the freedom to be more creative than someone living in a planned neighborhood. I live at the end of a dead-end road and my yard is only visible to my various neighbors' side and backyards. I don't have to worry about someone driving by and then complaining to the city that my front yard is nothing but a tangle of clover.

In other news, I bit the bullet and called my RE's office to schedule a game plan meeting. Thank you to those who offered advice on getting around the clomid crazies. I will definitely ask Dr. B about Femara - I know his office does use it for some patients. Still not sure when I will feel ready for a medicated cycle, but at least I will have all my ducks in a row for when the time comes. Eventually, I'm sure I'll get sick of spotting 3 weeks a month and the only way to end it is to do medicated cycles. Oh joy :-P

Anybody else a gardener, beginner or otherwise? I love plants, but I have a black thumb, so this spring is going to be...interesting...

January 21, 2013

What to Say

Mid-winter is always a down in the dumps time of year for me. The holidays are over and there's little to look forward to either than far-off Spring.

I still consider myself on a break from cycling, although I think my body is doing its little "impression" of functioning. I was on BC in November and December because I have a lot of break-through bleeding during non-medicated cycles. I went off my Metformin on the instruction of my dermatologist who was trying to figure out what I was allergic to. But the BC made me VERY moody towards M (why does he always have to take the brunt of my hormones?) and my skin reaction cleared up, so I went off BC and on Metformin before New Year's.

I had 2 or 3 blissful weeks without spotting, which was great. Followed by about 4 days of EWCM. Yesterday, everyone around me was complaining about the cold while I walked about without a coat because I was SO HOT. I don't have to temp or waste OPKs. I know this story very well. Today, I started seeing brown tinged CM. I'll spot for 2 weeks, get my period, and spot for another week before it all clears up. Then 2ish weeks off and back into it all over again.

My poor little ovaries. They do try, but they are so very flawed.

Did I mention that a friend *texted* me that his wife is pregnant on New Year's Eve? I can't remember if I did. Men are so stupid - he knows we are trying and having major problems. She came out on Facebook at only 7 weeks. It boggles the mind. I was only a little sore over it and not for very long. Once upon a time, I think I would have raged for weeks over the injustice of it. But now, I just worry about them. Neither has a college degree, she works in a salon and my friend has had several retail and food service jobs in the past 5 years. How are they ever going to afford a baby?

I'm glad I'm past the blind rage of my early infertile time. I don't want to be miserable and hate strangers, none of us do. Everybody has their problems in life. Some die young, some struggle financially all their lives, and some of us are infertile. Maybe accepting infertility is a lot like the stages of grief. Actually, it is probably *exactly* like the stages of grief. For almost 2 years I was grieving the loss of so many things. A "normal" conception and pregnancy, the rights of passage that are unique to women, the pride of providing much wanted grandchildren for my parents and in-laws. There was a lot of self-blame during that time too. I'm very good at blaming myself for things. So, it took a long time to convince myself that I'd done nothing wrong, there was nothing to blame myself for.

But now what? Where do I go from here? Accepting my infertility and managing only a *few* cruel words about fertiles doesn't bring me any closer to a resolution for all this. I don't even know what to talk about any more. I'm not really looking forward to more medicated cycles. I hate how they make me feel. I hate how all the peace I feel just falls away when I'm in the grips of a medicated cycle. In my head, a negative pregnancy test still equates to YOU HAVE FAILED - even if I can shake that feeling pretty quickly. But I can't stay in limbo forever.

January 08, 2013


I think I've been trying to do too much for a while now. Life was very different 6 months ago when M and I lived 5 minutes from work, 10 minutes from church and family, and we had no money to go out and do things most of the time. I spent a lot of time at home doing chores, cooking, crafting, that sort of thing. We went to bed at 10, sometimes 11 at night. We almost never woke up before 7am. We had exactly 800 square feet of living space to take care of and general maintenance was not our problem. We had zero outdoor space to take care of.

Now, we live a minimum of 30 minutes from work and family (and its usually more like 45 minutes). We can afford to go out and be social. It feels like we are *never* home except to sleep. We go to bed at 9, sometimes earlier if it has been a hard day. We wake up by 6am. We have exactly 2200 square feet of living space to take care of and all maintenance issues are our problem. We have almost a full acre of outdoor space to take care of.

Something's got to give. There are not enough hours in a day or days in a week for me to accomplish even the minimum of what needs to be done. I can't spend my entire weekend away from my house where the chores have been piling up for weeks. I can't spend 2 work day evenings a week away from home, not getting in until a half an hour after M has fallen asleep. It is impossible to eat a low carb diet when I don't have enough time to cook and prepare foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. And I can't even *think* about doing an IUI cycle when I am already feeling this much stress and pressure.

I laid in bed last night crying and thinking to myself, "what if I can't handle a baby? I don't feel like I can at all! If I can't manage to keep this house clean, how can I take care of a baby?? Why do I have to make this decision *now* when other women can easily wait into their 30's?" I'm overwhelmed with the burden of so many responsibilities, real and imagined. It would be selfish to stop helping my mom and sister with volunteering at church. It would be rude to not visit with my family as much as I can. I am a bad Christian if I don't prioritize attending bible study. I am killing myself if I don't go back on my strict low-carb diet. If  don't get back into fertility treatments ASAP, then it means I'm not trying hard enough and I don't want it enough. I am not a mature adult if I can't manage to keep my house in order and the chores in check.

I know that sounds ridiculous and I am clearly catastrophizing, but in my head these are very real, very *crushing* demands that must be lived up to or I am a failure. Or I will be a disappointment to people. And I can't handle either label, even if I would be the only person actually labeling me.

So before I go any more coo-coo bananas than I already am, I've decided I need to take a step back from a lot of "extra-curricular activities" and focus on getting the basics in order again now that I have a whole house to manage and less time in which to do the managing. When my physical space is a mess, my brain is a mess - does anyone else ever feel like that? Like at work, I can't think straight if my desk is a disaster area. Doesn't mean I keep it perfectly tidy all the time, but it does mean there are days I have to stop what I'm doing and take a moment to clean up before I can move forward.

I don't want to go back to treatments right now. The second half of winter is always a little difficult for me and I am clearly not in a good place to pile on extra stress, drama, and hormones. Maybe by March, maybe April. It will give us time to save up the funds in our Health Savings Account anyway. I'm going to try to stop being so demanding with myself, but I'm pretty sure its a hard-wired personality trait.

January 03, 2013

New Year and Anniversary

Happy 2013, everyone! Let's hope this year is better than 2012. 2012 was a real bitch for me. It ended on a high note, but the first 6 months were so brutal I will forever associate the year with bad memories.

In other news, it is my 2 year TTC anniversary. Two years ago I tossed out the birth control and prepared myself for battle. Unlike a lot of women who struggle with infertility, I knew it was coming. However, I had no way of knowing just how bad it would be or how long it would take. I remained naively optimistic that I just needed a low dose of clomid and we'd have our first pregnancy in maybe 6 months at the worst. Ha! At the worst indeed... Poor, sweet, simple two-years-ago Me. I have grown a lot as a person since then. I hope I have become more emotionally mature as well as compassionate and empathetic. I think I have learned to stop trying to control the things in my life that I cannot and to keep trying to enjoy life day by day instead of staring longingly into the unknown future.

I used to assume that I would be on the "winning" side of statistics in this battle. That eventually, given enough hard work and faith, I would have a family. I think I know now that any assumption is a bad idea. I am very close to being on the "losing" side of the statistics. How many IFers actually end up accepting a child-free life? Accepting...that doesn't sound like the right word. Resigning? Choosing to move forward with what fate has thrust upon them? Maybe there isn't a verb in the English language that properly captures it.

Whatever the right word or phrase is, it won't be long before I may be living it myself. Three IUIs. That's what 2013 has in store for me. After that, I'm going back on the BC and spironolactone to try to stop hating most aspects of my body. Then I'm taking a break to focus on EVERYTHING ELSE in my life until I'm like 30. At which point I will start researching adoption and prayerfully considering if that is an avenue we want to pursue or if we will just live child-free.

Two years ago I *never* thought I would be faced with these decisions. At least the journey has made me more prepared and more capable to handle the position I am currently in. There are blessings to be found even in the darkest nights and the most unexpected situations.