Infertility · iui · trying to conceive · ttc

On to IUI

On the bright side, at least I didn’t have to wait until February.

I am also trying to be encouraged that my cycle was (again) regular for me and I ovulated right around the time I would have expected.

I just really hoped (at the beginning, anyway) that this last ‘unassisted cycle’ would be the one and that we wouldn’t need to do treatment.

But here we are.

Cycle Day 1.

I was able to get into to see my RE today actually. She did the preliminary ultrasound, which showed about 10 follicles per ovary; and reviewed the plan.

Saturday I start a 5 day course of Clomid.

Next Friday (the 25th) I go back for a follow up ultrasound.

Based on those results, assuming things are where they need to be, she wants to plan for the IUI either Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week. (29th or 30th). This will be preceded by a trigger shot of Ovidrel and sex (hopefully we can still manage to make this one romantic and enjoyable despite the circumstances!).

Then we wait two weeks…and go back for a pregnancy test.

With the exception of today because I’m pouting (and crampy), I’m planning to try to continue my ‘resolutions’ just to keep myself sane/healthy. However I will probably resume cycle tracking just so we are able to utilize every chance we can; and I’m curious to see what my body does on these meds.

appointed time · Infertility · trying to conceive · ttc

On an infertility consult: part 1

Yesterday we had our appointment at the infertility clinic. I’m breaking this into two posts because I want to process the appointment and my general emotions…but then my husband’s response and how that has played out for us needs it’s own space.

The appointment itself was mostly encouraging and helpful. She asked all the expected questions about our history (together and individual) and habits, looked over my color-coded cycle data (and remarked that [a] “you are very organized” and [b] “you guys really have been *trying* for a full year”); and then went on to explain the causes of infertility and her recommended plan for us.

Basically she ordered a bunch of tests (labs for both of us, semen analysis for him, an ultrasound and an HSG study for me. Thankfully I was only on day 4 so all of this was able to be started yesterday and the HSG is scheduled for Wednesday), explained some of the numbers she was looking for with the labs, and then went on to say that assuming everything came back unremarkable/negative the next logical step would be IUI (intrauterine insemination). After a few cycles of that, if still unsuccessful, then we’d move to IVF. Apparently we can plan for the first IUI in January if we want…I’m surprised she didn’t just go ahead schedule my delivery too.

A few things that are very encouraging so far:

  • She looked over my cycle data and believes that I am indeed ovulating; due to my average cycle length and the normalcy of my menstruation. That was a relief
  • She didn’t find anything glaring in either of our histories/habits that seemed to be a red flag that is impairing our fertility
  • My ultrasound showed a normal uterus and two normal ovaries; both with 8-10 developing follicles
  • My FSH and estradiol levels both appear to be in the normal range; along with my TSH. Still waiting on a few other labs.

I am grateful that she is moving so quickly with all the tests. Potentially we could have a fairly thorough analysis of our individual fertility within a few weeks.

I definitely didn’t expect her to lay out the whole course of infertility treatment on day one. I was not ready to be talking about IUI as an almost immediate option…I just wanted to start the process of getting worked up so that if there were any minor issues able to be ‘fixed’ we can get started.

Honestly, at this point, just knowing that everything is fine (if it is) would be a huge relief. I don’t mind (so much) waiting if I know that it is just a matter of it not being the right time. Obviously it always is God’s timing whether by IUI or IVF or none of this, but I also believe that sometimes there are steps we can take to remove some types of obstacles (i.e. a blocked tube, a failure to ovulate regularly, low hormones, poor sperm quality…etc) and that’s not necessarily walking outside of his plan.

More on how all this feels to my husband (and consequently how that has helped adjust my own attitude a little) in a later post.

 

trying to conceive · ttc

A TTC playlist

I’ve been listening to this playlist a lot lately as I continue to try to be patient in the waiting. I may delve more into some of these songs in later posts but I thought it might be helpful to just list the songs that have been encouraging my heart lately with a brief note/lyric that touches me from each.

Miracle (Unspoken)-reminds me to keep waiting for a miracle

  • “Feels like the prayers and the words you’ve spoken/They go unnoticed like drops in the ocean/Just beyond the veil of your vision/Your mountains are moving…/Remember the works his hands have done/Where you once were and how far you’ve come”

Not Even Now (Alisa Turner)-God is never done working, even when it seems like he has left us alone.

God of All My Days (Casting Crowns)-God is enough every day no matter what we are feeling

To Those Who Wait (Bethany Dillon)-God is good to who those who wait.

Worn (Tenth Avenue North)-an honest cry of a a heavy heart

Do I Trust You (Twila Paris)-rhetorical questioning to remind a heart that it does trust God

Make A Way (I Am They)-God brings us to difficult places so he can remind us he is enough

  • Wherever you lead me, I know you won’t leave me/Wherever you call me, You will make a way/Wherever we’re going, I will be holding/To the promise you have made/You will make a way

As Long As It Takes (Meredith Andrews)-another song on waiting and trusting

Always Good (Andrew Peterson)-this one will definitely have it’s own post since there are so many beautiful lines and such a powerful message. But in summary it speaks to the truth of God’s constant goodness and his use of sorrow to shape us and bring us to greater joys

Cast My Cares (Finding Favour)-cast your cares on the one who is your anchor and the one in control

Control [somehow you want me] (Tenth Avenue North)-just the fact that God loves us and pursues us frees us to trust him and surrender control of our lives to Him

Be Still My Soul [In You I Rest] (Kari Jobe)-favorite hymn, lovely additional chorus. Previously posted this hymn with all four verses and highlighted favorite lines

Have Your Way (Andrew Peterson)-a song about submission to God’s plan, no matter how painful that process might be

One Thing (Tenth Avenue North)- Everything – Christ=Nothing. Nothing + Christ=Everything

  • If I’ve got nothing but You/I’ll still have everything I need

Don’t Stop the Madness (Tenth Avenue North)-another reflection on God’s using pain and suffering to draw us closer to his heart

Even If (Mercy Me)-this is another one I may do it’s own post. Reminds me of the story of Shadrach/Meshach/Abednego: Our God is able…but even if he does not…we will not lose faith.

  • I know You’re able and I know You can/Save through the fire with Your mighty hand/But even if You don’t/My hope is You alone/I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt/Would all go away if You’d just say the word/But even if You don’t/My hope is You alone

Braver Still (JJ Heller)-I just appreciate the reference to a miscarriage in verse one and the validation of grieving for that life, as well as trusting God to make something beautiful out of the brokenness

Anchored (Enfield)-an anthem reflecting on God’s power and provision

  • Your steadfast love will lead us through the tempest/Grace and strength are ours/Your faithfulness will see us through the storm/And give us hope to carry on

While I Wait (Lincoln Brewster)-another reminder to keep worshiping and trusting even in a season of waiting.

 

appointed time · Infertility · journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

If the answer is no…

hrajkvnl;areuijgvnzdk;hunnvaiodfhsiknd

Head to keyboard.

I did a dumb thing today. I took a pregnancy test. It’s still technically early (though now I’m questioning if I even ovulated when I thought)…so it’s not necessarily accurate, but I’m only a few days away from my expected period and I used a super sensitive test. I had convinced myself that it was going to be positive (though this was mixed with an equally strong rational awareness that it most likely wouldn’t be).

It was negative.

This happens every time. I tell myself I’m going to wait to test because I can’t stand the disappointment of another negative…and I also tell myself not to symptom spot because it just makes the disappointment greater the more convinced I am that it’s real. Yet every cycle I get to the last few days and I find more and more “pregnancy” symptoms and I manage to talk myself into testing early because it “should show up by now….” And then I have another day of being miserable in addition to the day AF actually shows up because I see that negative and know that my rational side was right all along.

So after church I had another meltdown. Today my husband just let me cry. He let me be angry and sad and frustrated; and told me not to feel guilty for feeling the negative emotions. I had a good cry. Think I may have another later…tears are welling up as I write all this.

I’m honestly struggling with the place I’m in right now.

  • This isn’t fair
  • Why can’t we have a miracle?
  • Is this because I disrespected my parents, rushed into my first marriage, and then got divorced? 
  • Did God give me this ache for motherhood only to dangle it just out of reach while everyone else gets it?
  • Even if I do conceive again, what if it’s not successful either? I can’t cope with another miscarriage.
  • I’m tired of hoping and being disappointed; and tired of this consuming my every thought. 
  • It is only going to get harder to watch my sister and sister-in-law go through their pregnancies with every month that we still aren’t pregnant. I’m not selfless enough to put my hurt aside, and I’m not strong enough to not let it hurt that they have this and I don’t.

For a long time I’ve been able to say that “oh, well, it must just not be the right time,” and for the most part I’ve been okay with that in hindsight. I’ve seen ways in which it wasn’t the right time before and I’m (mostly) grateful for the things that wouldn’t have happened if we had gotten pregnant or already had a baby.

I believe fully that God can bless us with a baby at any time. Nothing we do or don’t will make that happen when it’s not supposed to. I don’t like waiting. But the longer this goes on, the more that deeper fear kicks in. What if the answer is no? What if this is simply not going to happen for us?

I am not okay with that. I don’t know how to be okay with it. And I don’t even think I want to try.

I’m not proud of what that says about the strength of my faith. I also imagine it’s that right there that is part of the reason we are walking through this…to stretch me and teach me to accept an answer that may not fit with my plan.

—————–

Note; I’m going to feel really silly about this post if I end up with a positive pregnancy test in a few days (or weeks if I ovulated later than I thought). 

 

Infertility · trying to conceive · ttc

infertile

I realized on Saturday (just before my sister-in-law announced her pregnancy on social media, by the way. Made Saturday *super* fun) that by standard health definitions, we are officially ‘infertile.’

“Infertility is…characterized by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse.” https://resolve.org/infertility-101/what-is-infertility/

I guess I thought that infertility had be diagnosed after doctor visits and testing and all that jazz. Nope. Turns out we hit that mark back in August.

I know that we still haven’t been trying all that long. Part of me feels guilty even taking on this label when I know there are so many others who have been trying longer than we have or who have gone on to have all the above testing and be presented with the list of options nobody ever wants to have to use or received a hopeless diagnosis.

But the other part of me is grateful to have a title. It allows me to identify with others going through the same struggle, and to empathize a little better with a new group of people. It allows me to validate our journey and say more than just a “it feels like a long time (at month 3…6…9 etc) and I’m frustrated.” Not that I wanted any of that. But there’s a strange sort of relief in a title (even a crappy one), and it opens the doors to begin pursuing help and looking into options if we need to.

(And honestly, trying unsuccessfully for even ‘just’ 3 or 6 months can still feel like an eternity when having a baby is something you want so much. It’s not like the TWW is easier if you’ve done less of them. So I don’t mean to invalidate the struggle of those who aren’t at a year…I was at those points too and they sucked then. You just add in more complex emotions and new fears the longer it goes on and it starts to suck differently.)

So. We are 1 in 8.

Maybe this cycle will be the one that breaks that statistic for us, but given my husband’s level of stress right now I have a feeling his little guys have not been at their healthiest so I’m trying to mentally prepare for Aunt Flo to arrive sometime next week and we’ll start looking into at least talking to a doctor.

 

 

journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

On hope

Hope while TTC is a rather strange thing.

The thing I hear consistently from others who have tried for a long time is “as soon as you give up hope, that’s when it will happen.” I guess in a way that makes sense, because the point at which you give up trying and tracking can be the point at which your body is finally able to do its thing naturally.

But I don’t believe in giving up hope. There’s always hope; God is always able. This journey, this struggle…isn’t too big for God to handle. Giving up hope isn’t something that Christians are supposed to do.

So I don’t lose hope overall. Despite my deeper fears that this isn’t going to happen, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still hope it will.

Yet within each cycle I struggle to maintain the right amount of hope. When AF arrives I’m sad, angry, frustrated, etc; and those fears that it’s never going to happen set in…then that passes with the period and I get hopeful again; I mean, without hope, there’d be no motivation to try. Each new cycle is a new chance, right? Then my body does weird things and I have a hard time determining when (or if) I even ovulated…which leads me to be less hopeful that this will be the month (since if I didn’t ovulate at all there’s no chance, and if I ovulated at a different time than I thought we may have missed our shot by not having sex when I was *actually* fertile). Then that passes and I think; “Well, this is all in God’s hands anyway so if it’s meant to be this month it’ll happen.”

So my “two week wait” turns into a juggling act of wanting to believe that “this could be it, it has to be…just wait a couple weeks and you’ll get that positive” and knowing that the more hopeful I get, the more disappointed I’ll be when the test is negative and AF shows.

The hope comes from my belief that this is in God’s hands…and this is what keeps me sane during the wait but it also sets me up for more sadness. The hopelessness comes from my lack of clear indicators that I even ovulated (and the numbers stacking up against me…months trying, age, etc)…and this makes me depressed during the wait…and ultimately doesn’t make me any less sad when it turns out to be true.

So perhaps that’s the answer right there. Keep hoping. I can’t see what’s happening inside of me. I can’t control what’s happening inside of me. But I believe in a God that is able. So when it’s time, it will happen.

I just need to add in trust and contentment to the mix to make the disappointments less acute.

journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

Reminders and motives

My husband has a knack for saying the right things to help me navigate this journey. He wants to be a dad; but he is able to be strong when I break down and he helps me refocus on the things that are true.

  • He reminds me that God has done something beautiful with our story and that this is just another chapter
  • He reminds me that God has already blessed us both so richly in bringing us to each other after both of us experienced having a spouse who no longer wanted to be married.
  • He reminds me that he is happy for now just being with me and thankful that we have each other.
  • He reminds me that we still have so much ahead of us.

So that alone should be enough to snap me out of my funk. Which it usually does, and that’s why I keep talking to him when I have bad days or weeks.

But the last few times it has come up he has asked me, ‘what is motivating this desire to be so strong and to take so much of your attention?’

My first and most obvious answer is, “I just want to be a mom, I’ve wanted it so long and now it’s finally a possibility.”

Another answer is just that honestly, it’s been a lonely season (and husband being extra busy at work the last few months hasn’t helped)…so having a baby to focus on would distract me from some of that loneliness. And yes, I know that’s a horrible reason; but at least it’s not the only one.

But the other day I verbalized what I think may be the deepest reason of all.

I’m afraid it’s never going to happen for me. 

I’ve always had very irregular cycles, so I’ve expected for most of my adult life that I would have some difficulty conceiving. But as I’ve begun tracking my cycles and monitoring parameters and all that…I worry that my body just doesn’t have the right balance of hormones to produce and sustain a pregnancy (I’ll probably go into all my stats another time).

So I have to keep going back to the reminders at the top. But recognizing and verbalizing this deeper fear…maybe that will help me in the journey.

In the meantime; I realized I can’t not track at all. Not having any idea if I might be ovulating is making the waiting so much harder because I don’t know how long I even have to wait. So I started opks yesterday on cycle day 20. I think it may have been positive. Today it may have been a little lighter. Who knows what that even means. But at least I feel like I have an estimated end date for this cycle and that makes it a little easier to hurry up and wait.  

 

journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

Tired

I’m tired today. Tired of waiting and wanting. Tired of stressing. Tired of overthinking and overanalyzing. Tired of being jealous and sad. Tired of not being able to shake all these feelings and patterns. None of it is helpful; none of it is healthy.

But here I sit. Mid cycle, I think…I’m really irregular and never get any clear ovulation signs. I stopped tracking everything last cycle just to give us a break and to see if ‘not trying’ would work any better.

It’s been helpful in some ways; it means that we can just be intimate when we want to be and my husband doesn’t feel the pressure of performing during my fertile window. But since I am so irregular it means I have no idea when to start looking for my period, when to start getting hopeful. It also means I have even less of an idea if and when I ovulated, and so any missed days of intimacy get me stressed out more than they would if I knew I wasn’t even fertile.

Started Fertil-Aid yesterday. Maybe it will help. Maybe it won’t. I know in my head nothing I do or don’t do will make this happen any sooner but I still can’t help doing something.

I just want this so badly. I want to be content with where I am now, where we are now; but I guess I want this more even with all the meh that comes with it. It’s not worth the ‘meh’ but I can’t move out of this place.

 

how to · journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

On pregnancy announcements

Last month my sister-in-law found out she was pregnant. This week my sister told me she’s pregnant. As with any pregnancy announcement while you’re still trying, each one was a mix of emotions. Joy for them, excitement for the new lives (and future nieces or nephews), but also jealousy and that aching sadness that it still isn’t you. However, I noticed a few differences that has made one so much harder to process.

My sister-in-law and I were on the TTC journey together. They got married two months before we did, they conceived their first month of not preventing (which was a few months after our miscarriage), then they had an early miscarriage and had been trying unsuccessfully ever since. She and I were often in our FW and TWW together, and we shared every OPK and BBT shift and negative HPT.

She texted me within moments of taking that first test (with a barely noticeable line), which is understandable, given our history…but since that moment it is has been all her pregnancy and how she’s feeling. There was not (and still has not been) a single acknowledgement that this might be a little hard for me; especially since I’ve been trying longer. I don’t want to steal the joy out of it for her, and having walked through a miscarriage and month after month of failure as well I am happy that she finally has this. But I lost my TTC buddy and I now get to watch every moment of her pregnancy while still struggling to conceive.

My sister, on the other hand, called me up and spent a good 15-20 minutes letting me talk about how I was doing (she’s known about this struggle for some time) and letting me share my frustrations and emotions. She then chatted for a bit, and as the conversation was coming to a close she broke the news. She immediately followed it with, “I have a strong support network and plenty of people who can provide me what I need emotionally, I don’t need to you to fake that you are only happy for me, I know you are happy and I also know that you don’t want to be unhappy but I’m sure that you are hurting; this has got to be hard for you.” She absolutely and generously gave me the space and freedom to be that person who has to be told gently, because she understood and valued the complexity of emotions I was feeling.

I absolutely hate that I can’t fully rejoice with these dear people in something so beautiful and wonderful. I hate my selfishness that keeps me focused on what I don’t have. It’s something I’m trying to process.

But right now, that’s there. And being given the grace to have those emotions without judgment-and thereby having those emotions (and the TTC struggle) acknowledged-is making the transition to only being happy for them a lot easier.

—–

  • TTC: trying to conceive
  • FW: fertile window
  • TWW: two week wait
  • OPK: ovulation predictor kit
  • BBT: basal body temperature
  • HPT: home pregnancy test