Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ugh! What a pain

This is a non-infertility related post. Well, mostly.

So, now that the IVF is a go, I realized I REALLY need to get my hair done before we get too far into this cycle. I know it's technically ok to get your hair colored during pregnancy and I did it with not-so-wee-one, but I'd prefer not to get it done during the 1st trimester. (I did with my last pregnancy and it didn't end so well.) So, that means, assuming this IVF works, now is my last chance for 3-4 months! And boy do I need my roots done. I finally remember to call the salon to make my appointment while I'm not in bed trying to sleep or driving in the car . I even get my calendar out and ready and narrow down the best day to get it done. And then I get the bad news. My colorist is no longer at that salon! CRAP! She's friggin' moved to Long Beach, CA! I can't go that far to get my hair colored!

Ok, so if you're a guy reading this, you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about, but most ladies will understand that when you find someone who is really good at coloring your hair that you become very loyal to them and can't imagine going to someone else. You know - the kind of colorist that just 'knows' what will be good for your hair. All I had to do was go in and tell her what I liked from last time, if I wanted to go lighter or darker and she'd go mix colors. She was so good that I could go three months between foils before it was really necessary to get it done again. And considering how much her prices had gone up over the years, that's a significant savings to be able to wait that long.

I feel like I just got dumped on the phone by a long-term boyfriend. And the worst part is that now I have to find someone else. I got married, in part, because I don't ever want to have to be out in the dating world again. (In addition to how much I love my husband, of course.) I was so happy with my colorist and now she has left me. And without as much as a goodbye foil. Sniff, sniff...

Monday, August 28, 2006

The IVF is a go!

After nearly 7 months, 1 failed IUI, 1 surprise pregnancy, 1 crushing miscarriage, and one stubborn cyst - I am doing my IVF cycle!!!

Today was my cd2 (cycle day 2) monitoring. I have 10 antral follicles (beginnings of follicles) which is very good for someone with highFSH. I still have one stubborn cyst, but it's getting smaller and isn't producing estrogen. My E2 (estrogen) level is 40, my FSH is 16.9. The FSH has gone up a bit since it was last measured in January. I guess I have to stop fooling myself that I am somehow NOT in diminished ovarian reserve status. Today's FSH confirms that I am. How weird to be only 33 and running out of eggs.

Anyway, I'm going to focus on my antral count and hope that the bcp (birth control pills) do a good job of shrinking the cyst with out over-suppressing the ovaries. Only time will tell I guess.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"It wasn't meant to be."

I really hate that phrase. I was at acupuncture today and Lee and I were talking about my revelation about my cysts and how they are my body's way of keeping me from a possible IVF failure. She was saying to me that while it's scary, I really need to allow myself to sit with the thought of "what if it doesn't work?". In part of this discussion, she said it. If it doesn't work, then maybe "it wasn't meant to be". To her defense, she even hesitated when she said it, but still. I told her that I really hate that phrase because it makes it sound like my fate is pre-determined by some higher power (God?) and no matter what I do, the outcome is already decided. I'll say it again - I HATE THAT! I'd much rather think about coming to terms with the idea that 'it's just not going to happen' than 'wasn't meant to be'. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I'd like to think that I have a bit of a say in what happens in my life. I do think that everything happens for a reason, but that we still get to help determine our lives. Anyone else get rubbed the wrong way by that phrase?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Yoga momma

I've been doing Iyengar (ee-YEN-gar) style hatha yoga for several years now and it never fails to amaze me how challenging it is, even to this day. There are just some poses that are so tough, and it's different for different people. For example, I've always been able to do shoulder stand - Salamba Sarvangasana but there are some people in my class that are way more advanced than me and they still struggle with this one. That's what I love about yoga, it's not about how good you are, it's about how you are doing and feeling on that day.

Lately, I've been having some breakthroughs in class and it's been just great. I've gotten up into handstand - Adho Mukha Vrksasana for the first time ever and now I can get up by myself. Next step - kick up with the other foot first! Somehow, achieving this pose opened up my perspective of what I can or can't do. Just this week, I was able to do a forearm balance called Pincha Mayurasana and even though I've been able to do a headstand - Salamba Sirsasana for years up against the wall, I was able to take my heels off the wall for a few seconds at a time! What a rush! This is from someone who STILL can't do a cartwheel.

Yoga was very good for me yesterday. We did a lot of backbends Urdhva Dhanurasana, which in the yoga perspective brings a lot of emotions to the forefront. The back is your past, the front is your future, so anything that focuses on the back brings your past towards your future - therefore into your present. It was very cathartic for me to verbalize that my body/I needed to let go of these cysts and that it's my fear of the IVF not working and being officially done TTC that is keeping me from moving on. As long as the IVF is in front of me, I'm still officially TTC. I'm scared of failing and giving up on my dream of another child. God, what if it doesn't work?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tying one on for Infertility

I ran across this blog post and thought I'd share the info.

The Common Thread Project

Pomegranates, a longstanding symbol of fertility, serve as a strong analogy to those suffering through infertility. Though each pomegranate skin is unique in colour and texture, the seeds inside are remarkably similar from fruit to fruit. Though our diagnosis is unique—endometriosis, low sperm count, luteal phase defect, or causes unknown—the emotions, those seeds on the inside, are the same from person to person. Infertility creates frustration, anger, depression, guilt, and loneliness. Compounding these emotions is the shame that drives people suffering from infertility to retreat into silence.

The pomegranate thread holds a two-fold purpose: to identify and create community between those experiencing infertility as well as create a starting point for a conversation. Women pregnant through A.R.T., families created through adoption, or couples trying to conceive during infertility can wear the thread, identifying themselves to others in this silent community. At the same time, the string serves as a gateway to conversations about infertility when people inquire about its purpose. These conversations are imperative if we are ever to remove the social stigma attached to infertility.

Tie on the thread because you’re not alone. Wear to make aware.

Join us in starting this conversation about infertility by purchasing this pomegranate-coloured thread (#814 by DMC) at any craft, knitting, or variety store such as Walmart or Target. Tie it on your right wrist. Notice it on others.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cysts R Us

Last cycle, if you recall, I got stuck w/o an egg and developed a nice big 35mm cyst on my right ovary that we triggered so that my period would start and I could move on to my IVF cycle (the one I didn't do b/c I was pg in March). Well, AF ambushed me too early on vacation and I had to wait another cycle.

Fast forward to this cycle. I'm on cd31 and thought AF was late, I was even getting excited about maybe being pregnant again on my own (HA! I crack myself up!) and at my u/s today we discover yet ANOTHER big ol' cyst on my right ovary. This time it's only 30mm or so - at least we caught it early? This time, my estrogen level is only 41, but they still think the best way to go is to trigger it and wait for the hag to arrive (hopefully early again!!??!!) so I can get my IVF retrieval in before the lab closes in October for a month to ensure quality control.

So, anyone in the market for a cyst? We've got a blue-light special in aisle 9. I surely don't need them anymore.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Where IS that hag?

So, the acupuncturist felt the same 'maybe' pulse on Wednesday. I decided that as much as I didn't want to see a BFN again, the not knowing was harder. If I'm not pregnant, I just want to spend my energy on getting emotionally and mentally geared up for the IVF. So, I took a test, (Accuclear - which gave me the best faint pink line when my beta was only 6 with the last pregnancy) and it was, of course, BFN. Fine, I'm over that part I think. Except for the fact that I was getting excited about the possibility of NOT needing to do the IVF. But, whatever, I'm gearing up for a successful, predictable cycle.

If AF would just freaking show up already!!!

I'm 15dpo today and my 'usual' LP (luteal phase - 2nd half of my cycle) is 14 days, but I've had 15-16 day LPs, usually on the clomid. I tested one more time this morning, just to be sure, and still BFN, so I know the long LP isn't for the right reason. I'm not disparaging it though too much, I know there are lots of women who would love to have a too-long LP. But the thing is, I can't start my IVF until AF gets here. We're leaving for camping tomorrow and if AF shows tomorrow, I'll have to drive 2 hours to get back to the clinic for cd2 monitoring (ultrasound & bloodwork). It's not the worst thing, but still, it's an interruption to the camping weekend and it would be nice if my stupid body would cooperate once in a while.

Anyone hosting the old hag who wants to send her my way ASAP? I'd be really grateful. Man, that's just weird, asking for a visit from the Red-Headed Witch.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

They just don't get it, then again, how could they?

A few months ago, a writer from Glamour magazine posted on one of the message boards I post on asking for women who would be willing to be interviewed for a piece she was writing on infertility and how coverage of celeb pregnancies affects them. I corresponded with Lynn Harris a bit and this week, her article was published.

Well, the comments are starting to come in and one particular comment just couldn't be let go. I just had to respond. You can read all of the comments here.

The comment post that chapped my hide said:

This article got me a little fired up. I understand the difficulty of infertility, but only through the experiences of friends and family members. But this article was absolutey ridiculous. What has our culture come to if women are mad at a pop star for "getting two" babies "when I don't even get one?" Yeah, place the blame on Britany Spears. I'm fortunate to have my son, but the struggles I've faced are just as comparable to the infertile women. I'm a single mom, so I don't go running around blaming celebrities and getting upset that others are married. If Angelina, Britany, and Katie's lives are so worth documenting, then copy them in another way...ADOPT! I'm getting so sick of women acting disabled by not getting pregnant. It doesn't define you, motherhood does. Motherhood can be achieved in other ways. I don't sit here a stew over the fact that I couldn't afford designer maternity clothes or a designer stroller, I was concerned about my child's health and his possibility of having Cerebral Palsey. I still can't believe there was an entire article devoted to celebrity pregnancies. The underlying message of infertility was way more important and should've been addressed in a different way. This seriously just angered me.

What about the percentage of my "type" in our society. The single moms...those who struggle to buy formula, those who haven't seen their friends in weeks, those who haven't slept in weeks, those who think that getting married now can be as hard to obtain as enough money to fly our children all over the world like Angelina. Us single moms don't get these types of articles published where we can vent our frustrations out on others. We all face hard struggles in life, we are all dealt a pretty bad hand at some point. But don't use celebrities and your friends with babies as ammo to fire when you're mad that you can't concieve. Embrace your friends with children and don't buy the magazine with the words "Bump Watch." If anything, look into adopting if Angelina's life seems so fabulous to you.

Here's what I posted in reply:

To the person who posted about how ridiculous this article is, I want to say this. I hope you never have to deal with the struggle of infertility. I am one of the women whom Lynn interviewed for this article and you really just don't get it.

No one said that being pregnant is the ONLY way to become a mother and I know lots of women who have decided to adopt whether or not they ever struggled with infertility. Just because there are children available for adoption doesn't mean that women should be required to choose that path when getting pregnant isn't easy for them.

And no one 'blamed' Britney Spears for having two, they simply expressed their frustration at the fact that she seemingly easily conceived and they did not.

I'm sure your struggles as a single-mom are tough. My sister is a single mother so I've witnessed some of it thru her. I do not pretend to be able to compare my struggles with hers or yours the way you seem to think you can compare your life to that of an infertile woman.
You say you "can't believe there was an entire article devoted to celebrity pregnancies". Have you SEEN the magazines on the newsstands lately? There are practically entire publications devoted to which celebrity is pregnant and who is trying to be. That's the point of this article - that when you are struggling to get pregnant, being constantly reminded about it at the newsstand is hard.

As to the percentage of your type in society, I wouldn't know about that as I haven't experienced it. Perhaps you should send a helpful email to Glamour magazine asking them to feature articles about single mothers? That seems much more fruitful than bashing this article.
My personal opinion is that the most valuable information in this piece is the fact that the focus on celebrity pregnancies gives a false illusion to many women. Younger women who are not yet ready for children look at a lot of celebrity moms and think that they waited into their late 30's and 40's to have a baby and they were able to get pregnant, it's ok for me to wait too. That may be the case, but often those celebrities used donor eggs or other expensive infertility treatments to achieve those pregnancies. The celebrities may not want everyone out there so deep in their business and that's their right, but they could do a real service to others if they chose to talk about it.

If this article spurs one woman to not wait too long and saves her from the struggle of infertility, then I say it was worth every page it was printed on.

Good luck to you and your struggle as a single-mom. I hope that you are able to find support where and when you need it.

So, what do you think?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Summer colds - ACHOO!

So, NSWO (not-so-wee-one) is really getting good at sharing these days. I'm so proud of him, but unfortunately, his sharing has also included a nasty cold virus. Thanks sweetie. I'm so congested right now, but don't want to take anything for it, just in case. You know how that goes right? This happened with my pregnancy with NSWO too. I distinctly remember w/in days of the BFP, I got a nasty cold because I remember commenting to co-workers that now that I couldn't take any of the 'good' cold meds, it was just my luck to get a nasty cold.

On another front, NSWO is doing an amazing job at potty-training. Everyone told me that if you wait until they're truly ready that it will be easy. So far, it appears that's absolutely true in my case. We've only been at this for less than a week, but he hasn't had an accident since Saturday afternoon when he fell asleep in the car on the way to the baseball game. He's even had a dry diaper for the last two mornings!! I'm not counting my chickens yet, but I'm tallying up the eggs.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Waiting sucks - hard

I'm in my 2ww (2 week wait) for my last break cycle before doing IVF. Today is 9dpo (days post ovulation) and my usual luteal phase (2nd half of my cycle) is about 14 days on unmedicated cycles. So, that means I have about a week more before AF should be here or is officially late. By far, the hardest part of the 2ww. You start looking for symptoms of pg or AF's arrival. You check the toilet paper for red. You wonder if it's too early to POAS.

This time it's just a little bit harder. Why? Well, let me step back for a moment and explain a little bit more. I've been seeing an acupuncturist for about 7 months now to help with this whole IF deal. In the TCM (traditional chinese medicine) world, a diagnosis is made partly by feeling the patient's pulses. Not in the western sense, but 3 levels of pulses. The quality of the pulses tells the practioner what is going on with the patient and helps her to understand where the needles need to be placed to bring the patient into a more balanced state. When a patient is pregnant, the pulse takes on a 'slippery' feel to it. When I was pregnant in March, my acupuncturist confirmed that my pulse was "very slippery". In the hellish week between ultrasounds when we were waiting to see if the weak heartbeat we'd seen had improved or was gone (it was gone) she didn't find my pulse to be quite as slippery, although she didn't come right out and say that, bless her.

Ok, fast forward to this week. I went in on Wednesday for my weekly treatment. A few hours before the appointment, I had this thought sort of pop into my head that I should see if she can feel a slippery pulse. No good reason to suspect anything really, but the thought was there, so I honored my 'inner voice' and asked. I think I was wanting her to say that the pulse wasn't slippery so I could relax for the rest of my 2ww, expecting AF and gearing up emotionally for the IVF. What happened was that she felt something, but not clearly slippery. She said it could go either way, but that "something was happening in there". Since the needle placement she was going to do would not be a good idea if I was pg, she tried to see if she could make it more clear by placing a few needles to bring up my Kidney pulse a bit. It was still unclear a bit so to be on the safe side, she opted NOT to do the treatment she had originally planned. We went with a treatment that is good for early pg instead. After the needles had been in for a while, she came back to take them out and check my pulses again to see how I had reacted to the treatment. She commented that things were much stronger, but didn't specifically say the slippery pulse was stronger. BUT, she then asked me if we'd want to know the gender. (In TCM, if the Kidney pulse is stronger on the right, it's a girl, if it's stronger on the left, it's a boy. Not 100% precise, but her stats are more like 85% accuracy - pretty good in my book. And, she was right about the pg in March being a girl, it was confirmed by DNA analysis post D&C.) I said, sure we'll want to know [when I get pg]. Her response was, "if you're pregnant, it's a girl." WHOA! I was fine with the 50/50 chance based on the possible slippery pulse, but this threw me for a loop. How could she think she felt a stronger pulse if there wasn't an embryo in there working on implanting???

See, now my 2ww just got harder because I have to wait another week with this wondering and hoping. I refuse to test early because I never want to see a BFN (big fat NEGATIVE) again, so I want to wait at least until the day AF is due (Thursday/Friday) to test. So, now I wait, and wait, and wait. Waiting sucks - hard.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oh, man! I hope it's contagious!

So, I post on Fertility Friend's message boards (nickiea) and I belong to a few buddy groups on there. I just found out this afternoon that yet another BG pal is PREGNANT!!!!! Yippee skippy! I can't seem to express in words alone how happy I am that my Buds are getting to see 2 lines on a pregnancy test (well, except Shannon, the dork, still won't POAS!). I feel like the only thing that will express my joy is a Mary Murphy scream! (reference to the awesome show, So You Think You Can Dance)

A small handful of us have started up a little group of gals who are doing IVF around the same time and I'm the last in line to get started. 3 out of 5 of us are pregnant and the 4th finds out in a few days. Oh boy, nothing like pressure on us, eh, Gabby? I sure hope neither of us buck this trend.

Let's keep them coming, ok? Someone's leaving the light on for me, right?