how to · Infertility · iui · journal entry · Resolution update · trying to conceive

On ‘exciting’

Couple updates before the main content of the post.

  • I gave up on the resolutions. I found I didn’t have the motivation anymore once my cycle started; it was supposed to get me through a cycle and it did, and I’m not sure I want to continue it for now. It definitely helped get some better patterns in place though and I have been reminded of the variety of activities I can use to fill time when I am so inclined.
  • Took my last dose of Clomid today. No significant unpleasant side effects thus far; though I guess it maybe hasn’t started working yet. Had hot flashes one night; and the last 2-3 days I’ve been abnormally tired.

I noticed something at the start of this cycle that irked me. I shared with several people that we were beginning a medicated/timed IUI cycle (as my period had arrived)…and two of the responses (from someone who is currently pregnant and someone who had no trouble conceiving at all) were essentially, “Yay, that’s so exciting!!” 

No, it’s really not. It’s not exciting to be disappointed again, it’s not exciting to have to pursue assistance with getting pregnant. It’s not exciting to anticipate going on hormone meds with potentially nasty side effects; to anticipate having to go be inseminated at the doctor’s office just to increase our chances (not even a guarantee!) of conception.

I wanted to respond with, “oh yeah, it’s the best; isn’t it a bummer that you haven’t had the opportunity to do it too?” 

See, getting pregnant is exciting. Hearing the heartbeat is exciting. Getting to start decorating the nursery is exciting. Having a baby is exciting. Starting an IUI cycle? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m so grateful that we have the resources to pursue this option right now. I’m hopeful that it’s just this little boost we need to finally make a baby.  But I’m also sad that we have to, and very afraid that the disappointment if it doesn’t work will be worse than all the ones before it.

As an aside; my mom and my sister responded much better to the initial news. My mom’s text was, “I’m sorry, that’s not what we were hoping for….are you feeling peaceful about this next step?” My sister echoed the apology, asked how I was holding up, and then when I shared the above ‘exciting!’ responses, she says, “yeah, careless choice of words; it’s emotional, heavy, and little (big) glimmer of hope to you.” 

I guess what I (re) learned here is that it is so important not to assume you know what others are feeling. Just ask them. Don’t project your emotions onto a situation; and realize that by doing this you risk simplifying a complicated emotional reaction. And this doesn’t just apply to infertility; though it’s my journey right now so I’m rather focused on that aspect.

 

daily art · Infertility · Resolution update · trying to conceive

Resolutions update week 4

Before I summarize…

1 Wednesday was just one of those bad days. Felt pretty discouraged and depressed and sad. My blog post about sympathy and empathy was definitely on the whiny/pity party side. But husband helped me work through it (again) and I’ve been feeling a little better.

2 Brother got married yesterday; so I didn’t get most of my goals done yesterday (or Friday-helping set up, traveling, etc). (Aside: she is using an IUD for birth control, so let’s just say if she gets pregnant before we do, I’m going to be super annoyed *shrug*

Since 1/4/19 (8 days)

  • Bible reading: every day
  • thankfuls: every day
  • reading: 6 of 8
  • creative: 6 of 8. (photo session with cousins, photo editing, multiple paintings in one day (so that covers my missed days), designed a couple personalized burp cloths, wrote a blog post, and did another watercolor)
  • cleaning; 7 of 8
  • yoga or walking: 5 of 8; missed two in a row over the weekend
  • piano: 3 of 8
  • date/activity with husband: dinner out on Sunday; art night at home on Monday.
  • jigsaw puzzle: no
  • blog update: done

So overall not too bad in light of the above notes (and the bachelorette party on the 5th). I keep missing the jigsaw puzzle (I just don’t have as much down time as I expected) and I’m not keeping up with my ‘every other day’ activities very well. Also drank my quart of water every day, and overall managing to eat very healthily.

TTC update. While I’m not tracking (and trying unsuccessfully not to keep thinking about it, though it is more manageable for the most part); I do think that there’s a good chance I ovulated around the 4th between the few signs that I noticed without even looking for them. If so, I guess that means I should expect AF by the end of this week or the beginning of next…so I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait til February to test (assuming she doesn’t show). We’ll see. 

Infertility · iui · journal entry · trying to conceive

It’s not a competition..

but I’m sorry…it kind of is. At least in the sense of being able to sympathize.

For the purpose of this post:

  • Sympathize: feel sorry for someone because you understand that person’s problems. Requires you to have experienced the same thing.
  • Empathize: choosing to feel the same things the other person is feeling. Does not require you to have experienced what they have.

I know that no matter how long someone tried, anything longer than immediately getting pregnant can feel like ages. I don’t want to invalidate anyone’s journey…I’m not living in their story (see previous post) and I don’t know how hard even just those few or several or eight months were for them.

But for heaven’s sake; if you are talking to someone that you know has struggled to conceive longer than you have/did, acting like you know exactly how they feel because “we tried ____” is just infuriating.

My sister-in-law likes to over-dramatize their struggle to conceive. She also has a tendency to make it longer than it was; technically they started trying February of last year (it takes time to regulate after a miscarriage) and they conceived in late July/early August. By my count, 7-8 months. She talks about how they tried for 9 months and that it was ‘the worst’ and thereby implies that therefore she understands exactly how we feel. I want to say, “No, you don’t.  We’re going on 15-16 months, and looking at pursuing IUI if this cycle isn’t successful. That is not the same as 8 months.” And granted, the fact that she’s pregnant right now doesn’t help the situation, but the attitude is getting under my skin.

It’s one thing to empathize. To say, “Wow, that must be so hard; I know what I felt trying for ____ months and I can only imagine that those feelings are so much greater when you’ve been trying longer; would you want to tell me more about what it’s been like for you.” It’s quite another to attempt to ‘sympathize’ and to equalize your journey (that has ended) with the ongoing and longer journey of someone else.

They are not the same. 

I don’t pretend to know how it feels to try for longer than I already have. I don’t pretend to know how it feels to experience failed IUI treatments, to go through IVF, to miscarry again and again, to be told that there is nothing more that can be done. I can take my current experience and try to understand some degree of that pain, but I wouldn’t ever attempt to equalize my infertility struggle with someone who has gone through some or all of those things.

Maybe in a year I’ll be closer to sympathizing with some of the above. Hopefully not. But if not, I will make every effort to support those walking longer, harder journeys by simply allowing them to hurt and share their stories without attempting to make our journeys the same.

 

 

appointed time · Infertility · journal entry · trying to conceive

On bitterness

I found something out this week that made me feel very bitter. I had to have a long talk with God about it to even start to come to a place where I can be at peace with the situation. In the event that this blog somehow does not remain anonymous I cannot share any more than that. I wish I could, but what I found out is not my story to tell. I’ll touch on that again at the end of the post.

I went through the list of things I know to be true; then proceeded to have it out with God for the ‘unfairness’ of it all (which turned into a general meltdown about being so worn out from this journey of infertility and just crying out that frustration and pain). Then I cycled back to the initial truths and let them ruminate a little, and this is what it boils down to.

1) Blessings from God are not dependent on our behavior. Thank goodness for that; if it was, none of us would have anything good. We’re all pretty broken and rotten…my very bitterness and negativity already merit some degree of punishment. We may not understand why God chooses to give blessings to certain people who have done ______, and we may not understand why God doesn’t give us certain blessings when we have done ______, but at the end of the day; any blessing we are given is God showing his grace to us.

And I of all people should know that to be true. I was ashamed to realize that if it came down to not deserving something because of a previous action or decision…I should not be married right now. I rushed into my first marriage, disregarded my parent’s wisdom, and ended up getting divorced. Yet I got a second chance, I was given so much grace…and have been blissfully married for 17 months to a man who is everything I could have ever imagined. But some people, especially those who may still be waiting on their first love, may look at my story and think, “seriously? She gets that? Look what she did!”

2) I am only living in my story. I don’t get to know all the details of everyone else’s. I kept thinking of something Aslan says to Shasta in the Chronicles of Narnia…in fact, it’s so succinct and appropriate that I probably won’t even say much else. Shasta wants to know why Aslan wounded Aravis earlier in the story, this is the response. I imagine he says this very gently and kindly, but also in a no-nonsense, firm tone.

“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

And honestly, we won’t even get to know all of our story until it’s done. How silly am I to think that I would ever be given the inside scoop on someone else’s. I can’t know what’s going on inside their heads or hearts; and I am not privy to what God is choosing to work on in their lives. If I truly believe that his timing is perfect, that doesn’t just apply to my story.

So I’m trying to let the bitterness go. I’m trying to rest in how God showered blessings on me when I didn’t deserve them, and letting him gently but firmly remind me that he doesn’t tell me any story but mine.

Infertility · iui · journal entry · trying to conceive

3 months

Pregnancy test at the fertility clinic today was negative. I was so hopeful, and once again bitterly disappointed. I know I’m not out til AF shows…and as someone on one of my apps pointed out, my temps indicate I may have ovulated even later than I thought which means I could only be 6 dpo instead of 12. Guess we’ll see.

Regardless, I came home tearful. Husband actually came home encouraged; I should have been too but I got distracted by the one negative (that wasn’t even what we went for!). The doctor went over all our results, and as we originally thought…there’s nothing glaringly wrong. She wasn’t concerned by my high AMH (as I have very few other indicators that PCOS is a likely diagnosis), and while she wasn’t thrilled by all of husband’s numbers, she didn’t indicate that anything needed to be done about them (yet).

She outlined the plan for starting a timed/medicated IUI cycle…which we can do as early as my first period that starts in the new year. Due to my current cycle status, if AF shows in a day or two they can’t start with the upcoming cycle as that would put the actual IUI procedure right around Christmas.

I’m still a bit hopeful that this cycle was it…also hopeful that in light of all the good numbers and having had the HSG in November that maybe the next cycle will be successful…but if not, I guess we move forward with some assistance. And since IUI boosts our chances quite a bit…husband is feeling sure that we’ll be pregnant within 3 months.

So he let me have my meltdown tonight, and then essentially promised that if we aren’t pregnant within 3 months (after a round of IUI if necessary), we’ll go away for a weekend and have a meltdown together.

Oddly enough, that helped me feel a little better. For my own sanity, it’s not that long to be ‘strong’ if we get a couple more negatives. And it makes me feel less alone to know that he’s seeing a point in time at which he might also be broken by this for his own sake and not just mine. Not that I want him to be broken by this…but there’s a strange comfort and strength in being broken together.

 

appointed time · baby dancing · Infertility · trying to conceive

And then the opk was positive

Yesterday the OPK was absolutely, 1000% positive. Blazing. Jumping off the test. No doubt about it. I saved the image of said positive test and edited it to read “THIS is a positive” in case I forget again and think other tests are positive when clearly they are not.

And as luck would have it, we haven’t had sex since Sunday. We got a session in last night after the positive, and we plan to go for the next several days…but my temperature is already starting to rise so I probably ovulated last night.

I flipped out. I’ve continued to test just because I feel better once the negatives actually look negative…and the lack of temperature rise made me question if ovulation had occurred…but to confirm that it hadn’t yet occurred did not make me happy (especially given our unintentional 3 day break).

I was mad. I was discouraged. I was disappointed. I still am. I’m not handling this very well. I was so excited to possibly get to test on my birthday…so hopeful that this cycle would be it after the HSG and the great timing we had around in what I thought was my window…and now, if we’re lucky we may have gone once in my window and most of the semen leaked out afterwards since I had to get up for worship practice (TMI, sorry). And my two week wait just started over.

I know that God can make anything happen regardless of the number of times we BD’d in my fertile window. Perhaps this will still be our cycle and this will be his way of making it completely obvious to both of us (well, me) that this was absolutely nothing that we did.

Because if I ovulated last night…scientifically the odds are very much against us getting pregnant this cycle. But if this is God’s appointed timing, then science doesn’t matter. I guess that’s the lesson I need to rest in during the next two weeks.

appointed time · baby dancing · Infertility · journal entry · trying to conceive

Mid-cycle woes and post-Thanksgiving musings

I don’t have anything profound to share. I’m just sitting here mid-cycle again….and trying fairly unsuccessfully to not obsess over every unclear OPK and erratic temperature reading and lack of fertility signs…

I had two days of positive OPKs immediately following my HSG, which was earlier than I’d ever seen but we got busy. Then I had two days of negatives, what looked like a temp shift (!!!)….and then two more days of positive OPKs. For the past seven days the OPKs have been negative, but a lot of them are borderline. The LH has not dropped off like I imagine it would if ovulation had happened.

  • Fertility Friend put in an ovulation date based on the first OPKs on CD11/12 and initial temp shift…but then with the additional positives and a subsequent temp drop…it took it away. It has yet to identify a clear temp shift or possible ovulation date since.
  • Glow is sticking to an ovulation date consistent with the second set of OPKs; and that’s the one I think is most accurate given that I had watery mucus those days, an acne breakout, and one of those days after we BD’d the semen didn’t leak out so my cervix must have been open (no, I don’t believe I had an orgasm).
  • AVA is saying I ovulated on Sunday, though I have found her to be pretty wrong sometimes, and given that she will proclaim that I have entered my fertile window before even analyzing my data from the night before…I take her with a grain of salt (Yes, I have personified my fertility monitor). Also I have had no clear fertility indicators since last week. But none of my parameters are doing what they should if I did ovulate last week…they aren’t even doing what they should if I ovulated on Sunday.

I was planning to wait to test until my birthday (December 8th) assuming AF hadn’t shown by then….and given the first couple possible ovulation dates, I’d be 18-22 dpo. If I was pregnant, there’s no way a test wouldn’t pick it up. However, if I ovulated Sunday, I’ll be 13 dpo…so higher chances of a false negative. And if I haven’t even ovulated…well…my birthday won’t even be at point where I could legitimately test anyway. So that’s a bummer.

We have a follow-up appointment with the fertility clinic December 13th. I’m still hopeful we don’t have to use it. But if my extra-irregular data this month does indeed indicate that I may not be ovulating after all and AF arrives in early December…we just went back to square one and I lost one of my three ‘extra fertile’ months following the HSG.

So here I sit. At least the uncertainty about whether I’ve even entered my TWW or not is keeping me from symptom spotting. Small blessings I guess. I’m still hoping for a really great birthday present and trying not to stress about it…but it gets harder every month. People who haven’t dealt with this don’t seem to understand that simply saying “just don’t track or think about it” is not as easy or relaxing as it sounds. Nothing about this is relaxing, nothing about this is easy.

At least I wasn’t on my period over the weekend when my sister and brother-in-law had their gender reveal party. It’s a little easier to deal with the pregnancy and baby related things when I’m at a point in my cycle where I’m still hopeful I have a chance to join those ranks.

And as a random aside…I got to watch my husband interact with our four month old niece over the weekend as well, and he is so sweet and good with her. I just want to give him babies and make him a dad already.

 

baby dancing · Infertility · journal entry · trying to conceive

Selfish intimacy

Potential TMI/sensitive content to follow.

I like sex. I didn’t realize how much I liked it until this marriage. I always felt that something was wrong with the infrequency of intimacy in my first marriage (as in, months in between was normal), but I assumed that was just because I knew theoretically that a healthy sex life was important to a healthy marriage. With my husband now, who actually has a normal male sex drive…I have discovered that I also have a high sex drive and I just really, really like having sex. And I think we are pretty good at it. We have fun, and we are definitely not afraid to try different things. No more needs to be said there.

But not only is sex fun and satisfying…it is one of the primary ways that we connect with each other. So we are very regular, regardless of where I’m at in my cycle. If we go too many days, we both feel the disconnect.

However, during what I assume is my fertile window (which is hard to pinpoint due to my lack of fertility indicators…making it longer in perception than it actually is), the only reason I am interested in sex is to make a baby. The only reason I try to get him aroused or put on lingerie is because ‘ovulation could be just around the corner.’ It is no longer about the intimacy, about serving my husband, about enjoying him and this aspect of our relationship.

  • The nights we have sex I’m thinking; “could this be it?” and “thank goodness we hit another night in the window” and already calculating due dates and odds of success.
  • The nights we don’t have sex I’m thinking, “if I don’t get a positive this month, is it because we missed tonight?” and “how can I get him to be interested in having sex without telling him why I want it?”

I struggle with wanting to tell him that I’m possibly fertile so that he prioritizes intimacy even more than he normally would…and not wanting to tell him because I want him to be able to enjoy the intimacy without feeling the pressure to finish (and because I’m not supposed to be tracking as much as I am….)

So there it is. When I am mid cycle, I’m an extremely selfish (and dishonest) wife. Sex becomes about making a baby, not about expressing love to my husband or seeking to be intimate with him for the sake of our marriage.

I don’t know what to do with that. I mean, I know I need to ask God for forgiveness and I probably should also be honest with my husband (and ask his forgiveness). But I don’t know how to adjust my attitude so that this doesn’t keep happening…other than going back to not tracking at all but that has brought it’s own set of problems.