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.

 

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advent · appointed time

Reflections on Advent

I’m going to leave this post to the words of others wiser and more eloquent than I. But the first excerpt is from a blog post I read yesterday that really touched my heart and it made me think about the season of Advent in an entirely new way as we navigate this journey of infertility and a season of waiting. So here’s to remembering to wait joyfully, to wait trustfully, and to allow God to act in his appointed time even if it isn’t mine.

——

“Advent is about longing. It’s a time we prepare to celebrate His birth and acknowledge that we are still waiting for His second coming, when broken will be made new and every tear will be wiped from our eyes. It’s such a beautiful season in our faith because it takes intentional time to pause and focus on the waiting. Advent is tender, hopeful, and builds on anticipation. You see, from the end of the Old Testament until the start of the New Testament, there was 400 years of silence. Every year I share that and it never gets old, because I cannot fathom the anticipation, wondering, silence, and waiting the occurred in those FOUR HUNDRED years…

And then, the anguish of waiting was over. When the time was right, the answer came. The advent season gives us time to prepare for that celebration. To focus on the upcoming arrival. To sit in the wait.”

Chelsea; https://trialsbringjoy.com/2018/12/01/the-weary-world-rejoices/

—–

“Advent accepts the tension of the already and the not yet. It welcomes waiting. It is merriment and melancholy together, beauty so sublime that, like the best art, it simultaneously comforts and rocks us to the core.”

Barry Corey; Biola University Advent Project

—–

  1. WAITING REMINDS US THAT WE ARE NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE.
  2. WAITING REMINDS US THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL.
  3. WAITING REMINDS US THAT LIFE IS A GIFT.
  4. WAITING REMINDS US THAT THE PRESENT MATTERS.
  5. WAITING REMINDS US THAT THE FUTURE IS BIGGER THAN WE THINK.

Marc Cortez; https://www.westernseminary.edu/transformedblog/2012/12/17/forced-to-wait-an-advent-reflection/

—–

“Advent is about more than waiting for Christmas. The word “advent” means “coming.” During Advent, we not only remember that Jesus came to earth as a man; we prepare our hearts for his second coming. When we sing, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” we are not role-playing what the ancient Israelites must have prayed before the coming of the Messiah. No, we are praying that Emmanuel would return and make right all that is wrong with the world

If your heart is heavier than you’d like this Advent season, take hope that the joys of Christmas aren’t ultimately what you wait for…Let the fact that your heart aches point you beyond Christmas to the better celebration still to come. Join with the voices of Christians around the world, who together pray, “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”

Betsy Howard; https://www.crossway.org/articles/how-advent-teaches-us-to-wait-well/

—–

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn”
John S Dwight; O Holy Night
—–
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.

 

appointed time · Infertility · trying to conceive

HSG

I had my HSG test yesterday.

Yowza. It did not hurt as much as I expected at the beginning, and my first thoughts as they kept telling me I’d feel cramping were ‘if this is it, I’m totally fine!’. Then the dye went in and as they started taking pictures that was when it definitely got intense. Like, calling out “ow ow ow” and hyperventilating intense. After it was done and I was lying on the table trying to recover my breath…I had another thought. “If this is any sort of a hint as to how intense labor contractions are…I’m going to need some heavy meds.”

I don’t usually get bad period cramps. Occasionally some months they are more noticeable, but the worst it ever gets is a dull aching pain in my lower abdomen. This cramping as the dye made it’s way through was sharp and defined, and more central. I definitely was wishing my husband was there so I could have squeezed his hand. (Though if he had been there and seen it was a male radiologist performing the test, that might not have gone so well.) Thankfully once the severity of those cramps were finished and the test was done, I felt pretty okay. A little bit of aching cramps on the way home, gone by the evening.

Anyway. Enough about that. Just figured I should be honest; it’s helpful to know what to expect going in. And I’m really glad I did it; even with the pain. It’s worth it to have more questions answered.

Thankfully, everything seemed okay. In my initial pain haze post-procedure I’m pretty sure they said both tubes were clear, though I don’t remember seeing a cloud of dye out the right side like I did on the left. I also think the tech said they did have a little trouble getting the dye through the right initially and that’s why it hurt more, but she followed that with saying that if they weren’t able to get the dye to pass through it would have been obvious. Also my uterus was off to the right; which I’m not sure if that means it’s a “tilted uterus” or just a leaning situation. Guess we wait to follow up with the infertility doctor again.

But I’m still feeling relatively hopeful. Supposedly female fertility is enhanced for a few months after this procedure, even if there’s no blockage just ‘cleaning out the plumbing’ can make it easier for conception to occur. And I took an OPK today just to see where I’m at and it’s positive; which is unusually early for me but I’ll just keep testing and temping and see what happens. We’re about to get busy regardless of my ‘fertile window’; especially since we had to wait until after the test was done and that was unpleasant.

On another note; semen analysis came back as well. Most of the numbers were good, a few were a little on the low side (motility and morphology) but the sample was delayed in being read so that affected the motility…and if the overall sperm count is high enough, even a low percentage of normal shaped ones is still a decent number overall. From my research, the potential issues shown in this analysis are probably pretty easily addressed (as opposed to there being a complete lack of sperm, for example); and I know the last few months my husband has been super stressed and not in the gym regularly; which definitely affects the health of said sperm.

Maybe this will finally be our month (I know, the more hopeful I get the more disappointed I’ll be…but I can’t help it!) and I’ll get a really wonderful birthday present this year.

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Always Good

Do you remember how Mary was grieving?
How you wept and she fell at your feet?
If it’s true that you know what I’m feeling
Could it be that you’re weeping with me?
Arise, O Lord, and save me
There’s nowhere else to go

You’re always good, always good
Somehow this sorrow is shaping my heart like it should
And You’re always good, always good

It’s so hard to know what you’re doing
So why won’t you tell it all plain?
But you said you’d come back on the third day
And Peter missed it again and again
So maybe the answer surrounds us
And we don’t have eyes to see

You’re always good, always good
This heartache is moving me closer than joy ever could
And You’re always good

My God, my God, be near me
There’s nowhere else to go
And Lord, if you can hear me
Please help your child to know

That you’re always good, always good
As we try to believe what is not meant to be understood
Will you help us to trust your intentions for us are still good?
‘Cause you laid down your life and you suffered like I never could

And you’re always good, always good
you’re always good, always good

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 · trying to conceive

Easing into no

I had a conversation last night with my pastor. I didn’t like the realization that I wouldn’t be okay with the answer being no so I just wanted to share that with somebody.

His most helpful insight during our conversation (after reassuring me that he didn’t believe that the answer is necessarily going to be no…but of course, everyone will say that) was essentially this:

Getting to a point where no is obviously the answer isn’t necessarily going to happen overnight. God doesn’t just take us to the edge and drop us like that if the request/desire is something so deeply important. He works in us over time and prepares our hearts for the no…and most likely brings into the picture beforehand other things that we wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

God eases us into no. That’s what a good shepherd does.


TTC update: AF showed Monday morning. So it was a real negative. At least I’d already had my meltdown; if the negative and the start of AF had been a few days apart I’d probably have had another good cry. Small blessings.

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.