OW.

January 29, 2009 at 10:17 am (Uncategorized)

In the last cycle, I experienced for the first time the small amount of pain and surprising amount of bloating that can result from the stimulation and trigger shot. I don’t know why it had never really happened to me before, but in 7 cycles, that was the first time.

It is worse with this cycle. Significantly worse. And I don’t know why, because everything has been pretty much the same this cycle. But I am bloated enough that even though I had actually *lost* several pounds as of two days ago, I am back up several pounds even though my eating has remained the same and, to be frank, my butt is as small as it was before. I look pregnant, and I don’t even get to say I’m pregnant. I am really uncomfortable. Walking, sitting, peeing…everything hurts. Not severely, but enough that it’s hard to think about other stuff. And pants are too tight.

I know we’ve all had to deal with this, but this just makes me so sick of all this hyperstimulation. I can’t wait to just try and get my period on my own. I really hope it works. Or, obviously, that I’m pregnant this time and don’t have to deal with that at all.

My concern now is that this means I’m going to have another big cyst (or more than one) at the end of this cycle. If so, I’m not sure if I can just go right into the acupuncture and herb protocol. And I REALLY don’t want to go back on the pill. I will definitely ask my acupuncture doctor when I see her on Saturday.

My other concern is that, if this is how I feel from this amount of stimulation, what’s going to happen if I do IVF?

I know, whine whine whine.

Tell me, those of you who have experienced this bloating and swollen ovaries thing. What am I supposed to do with this? Drink lots of fluids? If that, then anything else?

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I wanted to write so much sooner

January 25, 2009 at 3:21 pm (Uncategorized)

But I have been trying to do more work at work and less other stuff at work. And by the time I get home, I just don’t want to do anything. Why am I making up excuses? I’m sure you all have better things to do than worry about where I’ve been for a week…

But thanks so much for your comments. I really appreciate knowing what you guys think about all of this, and what you think I should do. Because it’s all sort of weird and surprising to me. But there have been new developments.

Monday I went in for a follicle scan and did not get to see my doctor. I had to see another doctor in their practice of five. Why? Because, I learned, one of the other doctors in the practice (the only woman, in fact), had died THAT VERY MORNING, of pneumonia she had contracted about a month earlier. She was 60 years old, way too young to die of anything, much less pneumonia. I later learned that she is my doctor’s ex-wife and the mother of his kids, and that even though they are divorced, they obviously still worked together and apparently spent every holiday together, even when the kids weren’t around. Yikes. I felt, and still feel, just terrible about it. I had never met her, but the fact that my doctor was so close with her made me feel it more than I probably otherwise would have.

The sub doctor was fine, but a little weird and I didn’t like him quite as much as my doc. We triggered on Wednesday and had an insemination on Friday morning. Then, because I hadn’t ovulated yet when I went in on Friday, the sub doc said we should do another insemination on Saturday morning. We have never done two inseminations before, and in this case I suspected it was a little superfluous because I was probably going to ovulate shortly after the first insemination, but we went along with it.

The good thing was that Saturday’s insemination was done by my real doctor, who agreed it was probably a “bonus round.” This was our first time seeing him since learning the news about his ex, so we gently offered our sympathies and he responded very appropriately, I thought. My husband said, “We are very sorry about what happened. It’s terrible.” And my doctor just said, “Yes…”, but not in an overly sad way or an uncomfortable way or anything. And then we moved on and honestly, it was the best session I think we have ever had with him. He was actually MORE jokey and more willing to laugh at our jokes, and very conversational and helpful. And I finally got a chance to bring up my questions about what the acupuncture doctor had said. Fully expecting him to say, “You can try it if you want to but I doubt it will have much effect,” I launched into my spiel about how she said I didn’t need treatment and she could bring back my period naturally. To my shock, he actually interrupted me and said, “She may be able to.” He said, “But if you want to do that, we like you to do it for 90 days. Well, 60-90 days. They say it takes about 60 days to reach a balance.” He also said, “The good thing about that is that it’s your body choosing the follicles, not the hormones we’re giving you.” And he said that if we didn’t get pregnant that way, we could do IVF but it would work better because my body would be helping the process along…or something like that. But long story short, he gave us the full go-ahead on it, and I am pretty excited about it even though it will likely mean waiting awhile longer before getting pregnant.

But if this woman could make me normal, that would be absolutely amazing. I just wish someone had told me about this before.

A bonus was that my doctor knew the acupuncture doctor well and said she is wonderful.

So that’s that. We’re moving along with this cycle, obviously, and who knows? Maybe it will work. Obviously I want it to, but…well, you know what I’m going to say. I’m not pinning all my hopes on it, and now we have a backup plan.

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Chinese medicine

January 17, 2009 at 3:43 pm (Uncategorized)

I had my acupuncture appointment this morning. Forgive me for not wanting to go through every tiny detail–I’ve already gone through it exhaustively twice today, with my husband and then my mom.

The doctor asked me a lot of questions and we talked for a little while, but long story short, she basically said to me, “You don’t need all these treatments. I will get you pregnant naturally.”

Hmm. Other highlights were: she was very pleased by my age, and she was very displeased by the fact that I went on the pill only two years after starting my period (started period very late when I was 15 1/2). She also looked at my tongue and told me not to have alcohol, chocolate or spicy foods. She might as well have said, “Don’t consume anything you enjoy.” Whatever; fine, it’s worth a shot.

She told me I should obviously continue with this treatment cycle and she would treat me throughout and hopefully it would work, but if not, I should stop the treatment and she would get me to get my periods back and I would get pregnant naturally.

I feel very conflicted about this. I was certainly pleased to hear that she was so confident I could get pregnant, and naturally at that. But of course, this disrupts our plans to do IVF if this cycle doesn’t work. And that’s only a bad thing because how the hell do I know if I should trust this woman? Here is what I know about her: she got a woman I know to get regular periods when she had never had regular periods in her life, and then that woman got pregnant. If she is to be believed, she has been doing this for 40 years. She also seems to get a lot of people pregnant: she pulled out a list of her patients and showed me how many months they all took. She said she only gets patients through referrals. And the women who referred me to her think she is great.

But should I trust her this much? Well, on the one hand, there’s not a whole lot to lose. I could just tell my RE that I want to try this for a few months and see if she can get me to get a regular period and, hopefully, pregnant. It’s so much cheaper and so much less invasive than IVF, and though I’m not getting any younger, my age isn’t really a pressing factor at the moment. My husband basically agrees.

What we’ve decided to do, I think, is to simply discuss it with my doctor. He is fantastic and incredibly experienced and I know he has come into contact with this plenty before. And I even asked him if he thought acupuncture would be a good thing, and he said he did, so I basically went to her on his recommendation. I think he is at the top of his game, and I trust him. If he says he thinks there’s no chance in hell this will work for me and that it’s a waste of time, I’ll probably take his word for it and move on to IVF from here. But if he thinks there’s a chance it might work, I think I really might want to try it. And for some reason, I do trust this woman.

By the way, I did have the acupuncture too. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. It didn’t really hurt and I didn’t really feel any different afterward, but apparently it takes time for that to happen. She also prescribed me some herb pills, which I fretted about a little but have decided to just go with. I took my first dose today. Mostly it’s all just supposed to help with circulation I think. Nothing too crazy.

So that is that. Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Do you think I’m crazy to consider it? Crazy to consider NOT considering it? Tell me, please!!

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I question this logic.

January 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm (Uncategorized)

Here’s my thought, it should be a familiar one to many of you: “M1 is due in May. M2 is due in July. M3 is due in August. L is due in September. Please, just let me be pregnant before all of these babies are born.”

What is ALWAYS the next thought, no matter what? Always?

“Well, of course that means I won’t be.”

What is it? Is it just the defense mechanism of not wanting to get my hopes up? Of trying to expect the worst? Every time I start to feel my hopes bubbling up about this cycle we’re doing now (and after all, how can I not? we’re doing it, and I obviously WANT it to work), I try to crush them, gently enough so that I’m not having a “bad attitude,” but firmly enough so that I won’t get hurt. But mostly so that maybe I won’t…ugh, I’m so disgusted with myself for this…JINX MYSELF.

What the hell? I’m so mature. Seriously, when I was a kid, maybe 11 or 12 or so, I was REALLY superstitious. it had built up over the years. I used to have all sorts of little superstitions, like don’t step on cracks in the sidewalk (or DO!), don’t watch the clock turn from X:59 to (X+1):00, and make sure you touch your nose if you say something at the same time as someone else or else you won’t get married or some bullshit like that. Seriously, I became like an addict with that last one. I had a friend (actually, that friend is M2) with whom I spent so much time that we were ALWAYS saying stuff at the same time. And I think we both became too embarrassed to openly touch our noses, particularly when it was not perfectly clear that we had said something at the same time, but each of us totally wanted to touch our nose just to be safe. So I swear to god, we would try to sneak in a nose touch by pretending we had an itch or something. I felt like Lindsay Lohan sneaking nips from the flask hidden in my boot. If I had known who Lindsay Lohan was at the time. She was probably 5 though, and possibly already sneaking nips from the flask hidden in her boot.

So finally one day, I decided that these superstitions were ruling my life, and that I was done with them. Completely. For good. I stopped all of them–stopped watching for cracks in the sidewalk, stopped avoiding looking at the clock with it was X:59, and stopped touching my nose. I laughed in the face of saying something at the same time as someone else.

And lo and behold…I didn’t die. My life wasn’t ruined. And hey! I got married!

So maybe it’s time for me to let go of these superstitions. The thing that makes that hard, though, is that I haven’t really been doing anything tangible with them. There has been no touching of body parts, no avoiding of cracks or clocks. It’s just the superstitions in my mind. They’re just thoughts. And what can I do with those thoughts? I still find myself not wanting to get my hopes too high, even when I’m sure I want to abandon my superstitions. And when I think about it logically, I definitely still want to keep my hopes low for this cycle. How good can the chances be, given how many times we’ve already done this?

I have been in a relatively good mood, so I’m moving forward with that and the expectation that we will be doing IVF within the next month or so. And with a tiny bit of hope that we won’t have to.

Scan today and not much to report, just going back in for another scan on Monday. Acupuncture tomorrow, which I’m super excited about. I will keep you posted.

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Another something new

January 13, 2009 at 11:13 am (Uncategorized)

I am going to try acupuncture!! With a fertility acupuncture specialist!! I am seriously excited about this. My appointment is on Saturday.

That lady-couple I spoke with last week thought this acupuncturist made a huge difference. One of them has PCOS and had never had regular periods in her life. She said as long as she was having weekly appointments and drinking this tea this acupuncturist lady gave her, she had regular 30-day periods.

This woman also apparently was the one who told them to get fresh sperm rather than using frozen donor sperm, and apparently that worked for them too.

My fertility doctor said he thinks acupuncture is good as long as it doesn’t add to my stress (by taking up more time than I feel I can afford). I was told that I got this acupuncture doctor’s last Saturday opening–I can’t believe my luck.

Maybe I’m pinning too much on this, but I’m just so excited about trying something new.

That is all. Thanks for listening, friends.

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I am a liar.

January 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm (Uncategorized)

First of all, how slowly does time move? Like, seriously, I cannot believe how long everything takes. And yet, of course, time flies by because 2008 was gone in a flash. But still, it seems like ages ago I was at the pharmacy picking up my new set of meds, when actually it was just this morning, and I haven’t even started taking them yet. This day will never end.

As for me being a liar, I’m mostly referring to the fact that this morning I didn’t feel any of the stuff I wrote about yesterday. I have a headache and a sore throat and I felt disappointed after my doctor’s appointment. I don’t know, maybe he was just having an off day. Nothing bad happened–the cysts are gone and we’re starting another cycle–but it just felt like he didn’t want to indulge us and calm our fears today. For instance, he was oddly reluctant to give in and agree when my husband suggested that my ovaries look more like those of a young woman rather than an older one, even though ultimately gave it to us. He just wasn’t enthusiastic about it. And when I asked him whether I should be tested/checked for fragile X syndrome and endometriosis (the two fancy reproductive conditions people got me thinking about during my month off), he was sort of unresponsive, though he discussed them and my options. I just wanted a, “Oh, you don’t have to worry about that,” or a “That might be a good idea.” Instead, he just kind of talked about it briefly and unenthusiastically and then left it up to me. I also asked him if he thought the chances were good enough doing another insemination cycle to bother with one more try. He wants to do one more insemination cycle, but his response didn’t indicate to me it was because he thought my chances were good enough, it was more like he just wanted to have two “good” normal cycles under his belt before moving to IVF. So basically, I don’t feel very compelled to be too excited about this cycle, though I am VERY glad that we’re starting up again in some way, shape or form.

Those great ladies I spoke to last week reminded me that the hormones really do screw with you. They even mentioned the “flat” period before they start “pumping you up with hormones again.” That would have to be during my period, which is the only time when I’m not being administered any hormones during these cycles. And it’s true, I feel flat and sad, and I realized I am actually looking forward to the injections because maybe the resulting estrogen will boost my mood a bit.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I’m a little bit addicted to Menopur.

I’m going to go ahead and believe it was just an off day for the doctor. I’m not going to get my hopes too high for this cycle, and instead just try to consider it another opportunity to gather information. My husband said he’s optimistic, though, which makes me feel good.

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Less pressure

January 11, 2009 at 4:33 pm (Uncategorized)

Today is Cycle Day 2 and we are meeting with the doctor tomorrow morning for a baseline ultrasound and to discuss what we are going to do for this next cycle. It suddenly occurred to me about a week ago that I suppose it’s possible the cysts haven’t gone away yet–I certainly hope they have because I am truly not in the mood to go back on that pill again. I doubt they will still be there, though. I could kind of feel them when they were there and I don’t really any more. Anyway, we’ll find out soon enough.

I have, for the time being, come to peace with a lot of what’s been going on lately. With each friend that has announced her pregnancy, I have spoken to (or emailed) her honestly and just said that I am happy for her, but that it is hard and that it is a reminder of what is wrong with me. In every case, it has made me feel a whole lot better. It is a lot easier for me to stomach their pregnancies now, I’m finding, though it still stings, of course. One sweet friend even pointed out to me that there have been many times in her life when she felt like a freak or left behind too. And it actually made me feel better!

I also spoke to this fantastic couple, two women, one of whom works at my dad’s firm, who tried very hard to get pregnant and had a lot of struggles with it, but they BOTH ended up getting pregnant (not at the same time, I don’t think) with the help of the same clinic I now go to, and they now have three kids under the age of three (!). I realized that even though I keep this blog and communicate over the internet with people who have gone through the same thing, and I talk to friends in real life, I have not yet spoken in real life to anyone who has gone through this, and it was just a huge relief. They stressed that I haven’t even tried IVF yet, I am really just at the beginning of all this, and that it is very likely that this will happen for us. They also encouraged us to enjoy the things we can do now that we won’t be able to do once we get pregnant and have kids, which I admit I sometimes forget to do. But even just things like sleeping 8 hours a night, I’m making a point of trying to enjoy. And I am trying very hard to put less pressure on myself to get pregnant ASAP because, as these lovely women pointed out, it’s not going to happen any sooner than it’s going to happen. Hence the theme of this post.

Anyway, I am feeling good about our chances and this year and everything. I am 29 years old, my lining always looks good, I appear to have plenty of eggs, and my husband’s sperm are in great shape. They may not be able to figure out what’s wrong, but even if we have to go to IVF, I think it will work eventually.

I know the doctor wanted to do one more IUI cycle before moving to IVF. Tomorrow when I see him, I am going to make sure he thinks the chances are good enough of working that it would be worth doing another IUI cycle rather than just starting an IVF cycle now. I am ready to get going on this. Obviously it’s scary to move to the “last” thing, but I don’t care. I am losing confidence in the IUI thing, and I’m pretty much ready for some real results now.

Thanks for sticking with me, guys. It is a thrill to get your comments, no joke.

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Hello, I’m back.

January 6, 2009 at 11:08 am (Uncategorized)

I can’t believe I’m so lucky as to have even just a handful of incredibly sweet blogger friends checking in on me. Thank you so much. It has made me feel very good and special and, well, thanks.

The holidays and this break were fun and emotional and exhausting. I boozed and I ate sushi and all that good stuff, but that’s not really all that interesting and there’s not much to say about that. But I enjoyed it, I really did.

Since I last posted, I learned the following:

1. My very good friend from college, A, got pregnant in her first cycle off the pill. Unfortunately, she miscarried at about 8 weeks. We have been talking a lot since then. Her honesty has been so wonderful–she admitted that she felt guilty that she was able to get pregnant so quickly when I wasn’t, but that she felt she could talk to me after she miscarried because now we were both suffering. It’s so good to have her to talk to, but I know she’s going to get pregnant again very quickly. I just wrote her that in an email, actually. I felt like I needed to prepare myself.

2. My sister-in-law, L, is pregnant again after having tried unsuccessfully after a very early miscarriage this summer. She came to me personally and told me not long after she missed her period. I was touched but it hurt, and later on I pulled her aside and cried to her and hugged her and said I was happy for her but it was very hard. She was wonderfully sweet and said she knew it would happen for me eventually and that she really wanted it for me (“We need cousins!”), and at the very end she said if we ever needed her to, she would carry a baby for us. Wow. Very touching, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about it. Are we really at that point? Probably not–I think she was just trying to show how far she would be willing to go for us.

3. My oldest friend M, going way back to when we were 5 years old, is 12 weeks pregnant. She called me yesterday and told me. As soon as I heard her voice, I knew. We’re not that close any more, but close enough that we have dinner occasionally and she knows what we’ve been going through. In fact, I had already been tipped off because she emailed me during December and I wrote her back and told her everything that had been going on with us, and she responded but did not mention her getting-pregnant status despite the fact that I knew she had been trying since about September or October. It seemed obvious to me at that point. Again, it hurt, and this time it was hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm on the phone, but I was appropriately congratulatory and she understands that it’s painful for me. As a bit of background, we were best friends until we were about 12, so of course we were always competitive growing up. We were both the short, cute brunettes in our class up through sixth grade, but truth be told, I was always smarter, cuter and more talented (umm…in my humble opinion, of course). My mom used to say, “Think how hard it must be for M. You’re better at everything and you’re cuter too.” Yikes. Anyway, given that, M turned out pretty well-adjusted, and now she’s pregnant. Last night I comforted myself by reminding myself that, for the world, I woult not want their baby, and that’s what they’re going to end up with. But I want my baby.

So the thing is, I still can’t really believe that I won’t get pregnant and have a baby, but every time I start thinking about it logically, I get caught up in the details and it all seems impossible. Like, for instance, assuming everything is working the way it’s supposed to, why would IVF work when ovulation induction and IUI won’t? That leads me to start thinking that there is something wrong with my eggs, or something wrong with my uterus, and those things can’t really be fixed. So even though I know tons of people do IVF, and tons of people get pregnant doing it, it’s easy to go down the path of, “but it really might not work for ME.” It seems like the only possibility that would explain the fact that it hasn’t worked so far but that would make IVF the answer in my mind is that my tubes aren’t picking up the eggs, and that just seems so far-fetched. Seriously, both tubes? Really? Unlikely, right? I don’t know. I guess the other option is that my husband’s sperm aren’t penetrating my eggs. And if that’s it, then fine, IVF it is. Of course, we won’t know until we do it.

Thanks for bearing with me through all this. Even though I’ve been on this “break,” I haven’t really stopped thinking about it, obviously. Tonight is my last pill, THANK GOD. I HATE these pills. They have made me alternatingly queasy, fat (seriously I gained four pounds in the first week and a half), bad-skinned, crampy, and for some reason they have made my boobs just as sore as they were at the end of my cycle last time. And lumpy and cysty, I think. I will probably have to drag myself back to the gynecologist for her to check my breasts again, because one of them has this recurring painful lump that I was told was a cyst, but that if it didn’t go away with my period I should come back. What the hell, by the way? Thanks for that.

Ah yes, thanks for listening. Sorry to be such a whiner. I just want to mention that one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Patti, had her baby Jack this past week, and I am so happy for her. He and the family look gorgeous. Congratulations, Patti. And thank you so much for all your support.

Thanks to all of you guys. It is good to be able to come back to this.

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