Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

It’s not looking too promising

I made the mistake of testing out my trigger shot. I knew it would probably be a bad idea and didn’t plan to do it,  but once my box of cheap tests arrived I almost couldn’t help myself.

Sunday afternoon (8 dpo, 10 dpt) there was the faintest line. I knew that was absolutely the trigger. Monday morning (9 dpo, 11 dpt) it was about the same. Given how faint it was on Sunday I got hopeful that the line I was seeing was the beginning of real hcg and not the remnant of trigger; though I didn’t use morning urine for the first test so I’m sure that was a factor.

Yesterday morning (10 dpo) the test was completely negative. Not even a hint of a possibility of a line.

I know 10 dpo is pretty early to get a positive, especially with the cheap tests…and if I had a later implantation it’s going to take a few more days for anything to show up. But my positive last time came at 12 dpo and it was enough of a line even on the cheap tests that it seems that the hcg had probably been around for a day or two prior.

So I’m trying not to lose hope since it’s still early, and I’m not out until AF arrives…but my sense of optimism all but disappeared with the trigger lines and I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the negative I anticipate on Friday while still knowing that even if I prepare for the disappointment it’s still going to be really difficult to have it be true.

Note to future self: just don’t test out the trigger shot. The possibility of knowing just a day or two earlier is not worth the emotional roller coaster that comes with it.

after miscarriage · grief and loss · Infertility · journal entry · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss

Because I can’t reply in real life…

The ongoing saga with my sister-in-law continues.

I love her, I really do. She’s been a blessing to me, a friend and a sister from the beginning. She’s rejoiced in our highs and grieved in our lows. She’s fun and sweet and caring.

But as we’ve navigated this fertility and pregnancy loss journey she’s had her share of moments that make me want to just tell her what I think. It’s just not worth losing the relationship or burning bridges with my husband’s family so common sense tells me to keep my mouth shut and my fingers still.

[As a brief refresher…we started our TTC journey somewhat similarly and within a few months of each other. Initial unexpected (but still wanted!) pregnancies, early loss (mine chemical, hers a little later but baby stopped developing around 5 weeks)…and then within 8 months she was pregnant again and is due with her “rainbow baby” at the end of May. We tried for 15 months, did an IUI cycle, and after seeing a heartbeat, our baby died just past 7 weeks.]

I realized last week or so that the reason her pregnancy has bothered me so much (and especially now) is just that it is a stark reminder of how unfair this is. I don’t understand why they get their rainbow, their reminder of God’s faithfulness and grace…and we tried for months longer than they had to and then lost another baby. It just hurts. And she tries to act like she understands but as I explored in a previous post…you can’t be sympathetic if you haven’t experienced the same thing. So her attempts at encouragement and comfort often just rub me the wrong way.

Today she sent me a long text telling me about how she was hanging up clothes in her daughter’s nursery, bawling while listening to a song about God’s faithfulness and remembering how hopeless she felt in the 8 months that they tried and how grateful she is to be doing something so simple as organizing baby things…and how she is completely confident that this will happen for us too.

I have multiple responses I want to send. None of which I will, so this blog post gets to be my venting space.

  • “Oh, you know? Just like you KNEW that everything was 100% fine with this pregnancy?”
  • “Yes, the hopelessness of trying for 8 months after a miscarriage and then having a successful rainbow pregnancy is the same as trying for 15 months and losing what should have been our rainbow baby. I’m so grateful you know exactly how I feel.”
  • “I’m glad God is faithful to you; but it’s really hard right now to see his faithfulness to us at this moment after infertility and recurrent losses. And thanks for reminding me of that *and* all the happy baby related things you get to do while I’m still actively grieving the loss of mine and the further postponement of getting to do all those things myself.”
  • “Oh please, tell me more about how blessed you are to be bawling in your baby’s nursery. I’m sure that will make me forget that I’m once again not pregnant.”

Yeah, I know. I’m sarcastic and bitter.

Loss and infertility will do that to you sometimes.

Looking forward to a day when these well-meaning comments don’t make me want to crawl into a hole and die.

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.

 

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 · Resolution update · trying to conceive

Resolutions update post 2

First off; a couple emotions/thoughts from the Christmas week related to TTC.

  • Got a bit emotional after Christmas morning with husband’s family. Sister-in-law is so dramatic about her pregnancy (this is the one that was also TTC and ever since getting pregnant has basically forgotten about our journey)…plus I just miss her and I miss having that friendship but I just don’t even want to talk to her right now and I don’t like that I don’t want to talk to her and being around her without talking to her is just hard. And I also couldn’t help but remember that fact that this is now the second Christmas in a row that she’s been blissfully pregnant (granted, they found out two days after Christmas last year that the baby hadn’t developed…but still) and I’m over here waiting.
  • -I really don’t mind sharing our journey with friends or family. I’m happy to tell people where we’re at and what’s going on when people who know we are struggling ask. But I felt the sting today of being judged and given unsolicited advice….I was telling one of my cousins that we are going to be moving forward with a medicated IUI cycle if nothing happens this month and her response was “you really should consider seeing a naturopathic doctor, they usually test for things that a regular doctor won’t and maybe they could get you on some vitamins or supplements that would help.” This is coming from someone who was TTC for a year and a half. I’m sorry. She should know better how annoying it is to be told all the ways in which you clearly aren’t doing enough.

As for resolutions. It’s been a bit tricky this week with the holiday and going away for a couple scattered overnights; I had very little down time…but I did the best I could.

  • Read the Bible every day
  • Read something every day except Wednesday when I was out of town: Anne of Ingleside mostly
  • Creative: struggled a bit. Edited my short story, took more photos, and then I got a mixed media art set for Christmas so yesterday and today I did some watercolor experimentation
  • Thankfuls: every day.
  • Cleaning/home maintenance: fudged this a few days (counted taking a shower one of the days as ‘cleaning myself’), and used ‘clean up clutter’ several times
  • Yoga/walking: eek. One out of seven days.
  • Piano: Two out of seven days.
  • Dates/activities: Do all the Christmas festivities count?
  • Puzzle: worked on one the other night with mom/sister

Now things are back to normal (we don’t do much for New Year’s Eve) so I will get back on track with all this; and back to eating healthy again starting tomorrow. But I did drink my full quart of water every day this week as well.

how to · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

Resolved

Aunt Flo arrived today in all her unwelcome glory. I knew she was coming between the negative test at 12 dpo and a temp drop when I woke up. So I spent the morning between my hospice visits fighting back tears of disappointment and frustration and anger and longing and aching.

Then, somehow, it abated. Just like every cycle, hope begins to rebirth. I allow the grief to do it’s thing, then in his grace God reminds me that he is still faithful. I couldn’t even explain what did it this time. I didn’t even recognize it when it happened. Just, suddenly, I wasn’t overwhelmed by sadness.

I’ve (almost) decided that this upcoming cycle…our last one before we pursue assisted reproductive methods (IUI)…should be one without the pressure of tracking. I was initially so desperate to catch our fertile window, so hung up on knowing when I ovulated to know when I could test. I didn’t do well before with not tracking. But I think I can do it one more time. I think, for the health of my marriage and my own spiritual growth I need to let it all go and just be. We will do life, be intimate, enjoy each other…and if I haven’t started my period by February 1st, I’ll take a test. If I have, then we’ll proceed with IUI. Simple.

And to keep myself distracted, to productively fill the time, and to recognize what it can look like to enjoy my life in this child-free time…here are my “resolves” for the next 7 weeks. This blog space will be my accountability. I’ll try to check in at least once a week with updates on how well I’m doing. The list is long but some of the things could take as little as 5 minutes so it’s not really all that much. I’m even going to put the list on my refrigerator.

  • read my Bible: every day
  • read at least a chapter from a book: every day. (maybe I’ll resume my ‘alphabetical by author progression through my book collection. I’m somewhere in the D’s)
  • yoga or walk: at least every other day
  • something creative (drawing or other art, coloring, photography, scrapbooking, writing): every day
  • play the piano: at least every other day
  • clean something: every day. (will probably make a schedule for this)
  • intentional date night or memory-making activity with husband: at least once a week
  • do a jigsaw puzzle: at least once a week
  • list 5 things I’m thankful for: every day

Here’s to making this cycle the best one yet.

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 · Infertility · trying to conceive

Waiting

Two weeks ago I was convinced that tomorrow (assuming AF hadn’t arrived) I’d get up in the morning and get the best birthday present ever.

With the delays in ovulation (again) I’m likely only 6-7 dpo, so testing tomorrow is not the best idea. I’m planning to wait until the end of next week. Granted, we follow up with the fertility clinic on Thursday so I imagine they’ll run a standard test anyway if I haven’t already started a new cycle.

But I found something out yesterday that freaked me out a little (honestly, a lot) and I don’t want to even wait to go back to the fertility clinic…or rather, I do want to wait because I don’t want to know what I think I know.

My AMH level is 9.927. This hormone measures egg reserve and can indicate how much longer you may be fertile. Our doctor told us she wanted to see something above 2, anything below 1.5 is concerning. I was initially excited to see such a high number then thought; ‘wait, if 1.5-2 is considered low normal…what would cause it to be as high as 9?”

Turns out, the primary reason is PCOS. It’s actually one of the main ways they diagnose PCOS in the absence of other clear indicators, from the little research I did. When the number is high, usually it’s because there are high numbers of eggs in the ovaries that have started to develop but didn’t finish.

So that was a great discovery. I know I’m not the fertility doctor, and by scouring the internet and self-diagnosing I’m doing the very thing that bugs every health professional…but I’m a little freaked.

I’ve thought it was a possibility before given my irregular cycles, but I’ve always convinced myself I didn’t have it because my cycles are still within a fairly normal range (usually not more that 45-50 days, and that long only happening every 3-4 cycles), I usually confirm ovulation with opks and a temp shift, and I don’t have any of the other obvious symptoms associated with PCOS except for excessive chin hair, but that’s partly due to the fact that I pluck anything that looks slightly dark like it’s going out of style and hair tends to grow back in darker once shaved/plucked.

But it might explain why my OPKs do such weird things…like almost being positive for days in a row, or having several sets of positives interspersed with negatives. And slow/irregular temperature rises. And 16 months of infertility.

So I guess now we wait. My favorite thing ever.

I’m still hopeful that we still get a positive and go on to have a healthy pregnancy. Even if I do have PCOS I know pregnancy isn’t impossible…and as I have to keep reminding myself, even with PCOS God can bless us with this in his perfect timing.

 

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.