appointed time · baby dancing · iui · trying to conceive

IUI #4

So IUI #3 didn’t work. I really didn’t expect it to between the one egg and husband and I having a fight that evening (and not BD’ing per MD’s instructions); but it still sucked seeing that negative pregnancy test. And then my period was 3 days late again; so it only prolonged the disappointment as each day without AF made me a sliver hopeful that I’d just tested too early. I hadn’t.

We jumped right back in to round 4; I figured if we waited a cycle we’d be starting to get closer to the holidays and wasn’t sure that was a good plan.

Doctor put me on follistim this time. Yowza, that price tag hurt. Going from $17.50 clomid per cycle to $924 for 900 IU of follistim was not enjoyable. Thankfully the medication itself wasn’t too bad; stung a little with injections but minimal (to no?) side effects. And it stimulated a huge follicle on the right with another coming along nicely behind it. Nothing on the left; odd since last month it was the right ovary with the follice…I thought they alternated.

Had the IUI this morning. For some reason, husband’s sperm count was *way* lower this time; doctor estimated between 2-3 million motile sperm in the sample. We were at 10 million(ish) last time. He hasn’t had any significant life changes in the last month, so I don’t know what’s going on.

When I texted him to update him (he’d already left the clinic to head to work); he sent back a simple “Judges 7:2 my love.” I looked it up…

“The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ ”

So here’s hoping that our tiny army of 2-3 million sperm is just what God plans to use to make our baby so that we can tell him/her and the world that it was nothing we did.

Here’s to another two week wait.

family · hope chest · how to · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

IUIs and hope chests

I’ve been busy with moving and settling in to our new home; and I started an Instagram account to document our infertility journey (@baby_hope_chest) so that’s been more my focus than this blog…but here’s a quick update.

We had our third IUI on Tuesday; I only produced one follicle in response to the clomid this time around so I’m not feeling quite as hopeful (given that #2 failed and there’s one less egg) but I guess it’s better to keep my expectations low so I’m not as disappointed if it didn’t work. My doctor said if this round doesn’t work, we can continue with IUIs but she will switch me to injectable meds since I seem to be developing resistance to the clomid.

I’ve been eating a thick slice of pineapple every morning since Tuesday; and I didn’t stop taking the estrogen this time. So maybe. Obviously none of that will help the egg actually get fertilized/develop; but if it does I want the lining thick enough to support it.

I started my hope chest. It’s really been so helpful; my mom was afraid it would be more harmful but it really is keeping my focus more on what I hope to have (and waiting well) than on what I don’t have right now. Plus the idea of having things purchased/made for our baby before he/she even exists is just really neat.

I purchased three items for the three failed cycles since the miscarriage; newborn onesies, matching socks, and a set of swaddles. I also put several of my stuffed animals in there and books I remember from when I was really little. I’m also working on a quilt and have been writing letters to the baby. My mother-in-law gave me the two blankets she made; and my mom is working on a white baby outfit with embroidered olive branches on it.

This baby (whenever/if they come to be…) is so very loved and I think that knowledge is helping me wait a little better too.

grief and loss · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

Grieving a baby that never existed

It’s weird to grieve a baby that never existed. But we were so very hopeful this time around; given that it worked before, there were two eggs and a good sperm count, and everything seemed to be lining up so perfectly (again).

So when yesterday brought another negative test, I found myself in a very emotional place. I knew it would be hard if we weren’t successful, I didn’t expect the grief to feel so intense.

I grieve the loss of a life that never even was, the continued emptiness of my womb, the loss of all the plans of a pregnancy over Christmas and a baby or two in the spring. I re-grieve the miscarriage and I grieve in advance for the upcoming due date that will not have the joy of a healthy pregnancy to offset it.

I am sad. I am angry. I am disappointed. I am frustrated. I am empty.

And I’m going to feel very silly posting this if I simply tested too early with a cheap test and things come out positive tomorrow (the official 14 day mark) or AF never shows; but I really don’t have much hope for that at this point.

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.

appointed time · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

Another IUI, another two week wait

We had our second IUI on Saturday the 13th.

It went really well. I triggered on Thursday evening, felt a decent amount of right sided cramping Friday afternoon through Saturday morning, and a little bit of left cramping Saturday morning.

We were the only ones there in the morning so hopefully my husband felt a little less awkward doing his job (though I think it still bothers him quite a bit to have to do that and to have people know that’s what he’s doing); and we had a scheduled procedure time which was also such a nice change from before (a first come first served sort of situation).

The doctor actually did an ultrasound prior to the procedure; my lining had thickened up nicely on estrogen and she could see from the existing (smaller) follicles that an egg had already been released on each side (with a third follicle that could still release) that morning. Husband’s sperm counts were good (I think); so we are both really hopeful between that, the first one having been successful, and the knowledge that there’s at least two eggs that could potentially be fertilized. And maybe both will be?!?

I wasn’t even uncomfortable afterwards. I cramped most of the day after the first one and was really grateful to have the day to rest; so I expected the same here. I was pleasantly surprised!

So now we’re back in the two week wait. Essentially halfway done; I can probably test in a week and have the results be pretty accurate as the trigger shot should be out and pregnancy hormones should be detectable if they are present.

It’s different this time; there’s this sense of confidence that it definitely worked and it’s just a matter of waiting to confirm it, but I’m also trying to be realistic and not get my hopes too high in case it didn’t work. Plus I’ve been insanely busy (for me) with work; and we close escrow in a week so I’ve had plenty to keep me occupied without even having to try.

Here’s hoping I’ve got a couple little ones growing and that we get to start filling our new home next spring.

 

appointed time · home · Infertility · iui

Brief update

Things have been busy around here; I haven’t even really had time to think about posting. But for the purposes of this blog/journal space…here’s a quick summary.

1-Currently in IUI cycle 2. My period started Friday, got in to the clinic that afternoon; and apparently everything was clear to go. So I have one more day of Clomid and a monitoring appointment Monday; but given that the maturation process for me even on Clomid was still on the slow side, I don’t anticipate much growth. But regardless, assuming all goes well, we could know by the end of the month if we are pregnant again. I told the doctor we were ordering twins this time; she laughed. (No significant side effects from Clomid noted this time around; maybe some sleep disruption? I’m usually able to fall asleep quickly, especially after a certain point in the night…last few nights it’s been really hard to go to sleep. Small price to pay I guess, there could be worse things!)

2-We are in escrow on our first home (no more apartment life)!!! We are due to close at the end of this month as well…so it’s going to be a busy few weeks. (On the bright side, it will keep me distracted during the wait for the IUI and the wait after the IUI). We are so….everything. Excited and still in a bit of shock (it happened very quickly), feeling the stress of taking on such a big financial burden (and a substantial increase to our monthly expenses), nervous about the responsibilities of maintaining a home, and just relishing the moments of planning what everything should look like and getting to imagine our life in our new home. It’s a three bedroom house; and everything really lined up so beautifully that it really seems that this is exactly where God wants us (I’ll write another post on this whole thing later even though it’s not fertility related)….so maybe this is his way of showing us that we just need to trust in him and that he does have children in store for us. I so desperately want that to be the case.

 

Infertility · iui

A miscellany

After a whole headache’s worth of phone calls on Wednesday between our medical group, our insurance provider, and the clinic…finally got all the authorizations we needed. Unfortunately we still have to pay 50% of everything, and insurance won’t cover the actual IUI procedure, but it’s better than 100% of everything.

It was probably the fastest “initial consult” of all time. Since I’m new to this clinic, I had to schedule an initial consult with the doctor. But she already knows me and knows our history…so it was basically a “well, the protocol we did last time worked well, so I’d like to just try that exact same thing again…call on the first day of your cycle and we’ll get started!” We chatted a bit about what could have gone wrong before (she still thinks it was most likely a chromosome issue, but assured me if it happens again that she’ll do a workup on me), but I was in there no more than 5-10 minute. She was happy to see me, it was very sweet and that made me feel encouraged.

Also just grateful to know that we can jump back in right away. I’m expecting AF sometime the end of this week or anytime next week…so assuming there’s no problems (cysts etc), we could maybe be pregnant again by the end of July? I guess in the grand scheme of things that’s really not that far away.

*********

Still just feeling super blah and disinterested overall. I was keeping a thankfulness and productivity log and after a stressful couple of work days last week I sorta got out of the habit. Maybe I’ll try to start again on Monday, it definitely keeps me more accountable. I’m keeping up with my chore chart and trying to occupy some of my time with productive activities but I just don’t see the point in any of it and I’m really struggling with a lack of purpose. Tried bringing that up in my most recent spiritual care meetings but it didn’t seem to get heard.

********

Definitely had a very memorable highlight this week; my favorite artist was in the area (ish) and was going to be performing at a convention. He *never* comes to the West Coast, so I had made note of the event some time ago. I had forgotten to follow up on the dates of the convention or look into tickets or anything until Thursday…and as of Thursday afternoon I realized that his concert was *that night* and that I had no way to find out if there were even still tickets available; so I didn’t think it was worth it to make the two hour plus drive in the chance that we couldn’t even get in. I was so bummed out that I’d missed an opportunity to finally see him perform.

My husband is basically the greatest; he gave up his evening with no advance warning and drove us out there anyway. He has heard a song or two by this guy, but doesn’t really know his music so had no real interest in going other than to make me happy. We made it to the convention center (barely!); had no problem getting tickets and were able to get seats surprisingly close to the front.

So I got to see Andrew Peterson perform. It was so good. I especially enjoyed getting to hear him talk about some of the stories behind the songs that he played; it really gives them another layer of meaning.

And then at the end we were able to go through the book signing line and meet him. It’s one of those awkward “I have so many things I want to say but I have to try to condense it into a short couple sentences for the sake of everyone else in line; and chances are he’s heard this ten thousand times so I’m just another face saying the same things but I still want him to know his music has meant something to me.” So I managed something, he signed the book we purchased, husband snapped a photo of him signing with me on the other side of the table, and we headed back home.

 

appointed time · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

Keeping busy

9dpiui. Blood draw is Friday. Less than 4 days…84 something hours. I’ll probably take a home urine test Friday morning before I go to the lab assuming AF hasn’t shown up. If she has, I really won’t want to go get my blood drawn, but apparently it’s protocol to verify that there really isn’t a pregnancy.

I’ve been doing pretty okay so far. I’ve spent most of my time that I’m not working or hanging with husband working on a cross-stitch project with TV on in the background. It’s relaxing and enjoyable. I try and throw some art/creativity in there every so often, but once I get into the zone of cross-stitching it’s hard to break away and do anything else. At least it’s keeping me occupied.

I feel so hopeful. But I’m also trying to gear up for the more likely disappointment. The IUI was not a guarantee; it just raised our odds. I know that in my head; my heart just keeps telling me that this one had to have been it, that had to have been just the boost we needed between the two eggs and the sticking of the sperm closer to their target.

Even if it is positive, given our previous miscarriage (and the trigger shot/meds I’ve been on), I think I’m going to have a hard time getting too excited until a follow up blood test shows an increase in hcg

Who am I kidding? I’m going to be ecstatic if I see a positive. Granted, I’ll also equally terrified; but such is the inevitable when trying for that rainbow.

I did find it somewhat encouraging that I saw a rainbow both the day of our IUI and the day after. Maybe it’s a sign.

Please, God, let this be it.

83.5 hours. But who’s counting?

 

appointed time · baby dancing · family · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

And now we wait

It is done. Somewhere around 10 million sperm are now inside my uterus; hopefully my ovaries have cooperated with the trigger shot and have released (or will shortly) an egg (or two)…hopefully the aforementioned sperm will find the aforementioned egg(s); and hopefully my uterus has a thick enough lining to receive the aforementioned fertilized egg(s).

So many things out of my control. So much potential for even this ‘boost’ to not be successful. If it’s not, it seems like it’s God indicating that it is simply still not the right time for us. And I have to try to be content with that. We probably won’t pursue any further IUI cycles for a while; so many things about this next year are up in the air (potential job changes, hopefully purchasing a home near wherever he ends up finding work).

I still feel hopeful. Realistic (trying), but hopeful. I know I can’t symptom spot (from all the hormones I’m on) and I can’t test early; so I’m going to probably resort back to the activities I was trying to do regularly to keep sane during the last cycle. Art, crafts, reading, yoga/exercise, cleaning…etc.

As far as the day itself (note: some potentially TMI to follow)

  • Got up super early (husband was *not* thrilled about this part); drove to the RE office. Checked in, had to wait about an hour before husband could give his sperm. Poor guy. He hated having to do the deed for the semen analysis a few months ago; I can only imagine it was especially unpleasant today since he was so tired, up earlier than normal, and having to walk across the waiting room in front of a bunch of people (instead of at home like before).
  • Then we went back to the car to wait (and sleep); I headed back in after about an hour. Got called to the procedure room about an hour and half after the specimen had been collected; actually had to call husband like six times to make sure he saw that he needed to come back in from the car. He made it in time, thankfully. It may be silly, but he had to be there. If these are the sperm that make our baby; I wanted to at least be physically connected to him while it was happening. (I held his hand the whole time)
  • Doctor explained what to expect after, then got started. It was definitely more uncomfortable than the ultrasounds; similar to a PAP smear between the speculum and the swabs. Once the catheter was in place there was some cramping; she asked me to tell her when it eased and that must have been when she injected the sperm because a minute later she was done.
  • They told me to lie there for 10 minutes, then we could go. I waited about 15; partly because at that point exhaustion hit and the cramps hadn’t abated.
  • Have been crampy all day; mostly on the left side-which makes me think maybe ovulation is happening? I’ve just never felt distinct ovulation pain before and I don’t imagine it lasts for an entire afternoon. I’m trying to think of this as a good thing; if my uterus is cramping it’s probably sending the sperm further up my tubes to where they need to be. Hopefully the discomfort subsides enough for us to do some baby dancing a little later this evening.

So many people are praying for us; it’s been really encouraging to have my family’s support and blessings…I know that whenever we do finally get a baby it is going to be so loved and cherished (and not just by husband and me).

And now we wait.

 

appointed time · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

We are scheduled!

On Friday I had a follow-up ultrasound to assess my progress. I should have expected to not be ready given that my cycles are already on the longer side; but I guess I thought the clomid might have worked so well that I would have been ready to trigger Sunday or Monday for an IUI yesterday or today.

Unsurprisingly, my ovaries had other ideas and they have just been plugging along at their own speed. I had about 6 follicles close to 10 mm but nothing larger. So the NP scheduled my next ultrasound, and we talked about how to prevent multiples (aka cancelling the cycle if too many follicles matured).

So I spent the weekend stressing about both the lack of maturity (on CD 9) and the potential for too many to mature and having wasted time and money on everything so far.

Yesterday I went back for another ultrasound. And hallelujah; one 15.2 mm follicle on one side, one 14.8 follicle on the other, and one additional follicle that’s right around 10 (she did not seem concerned about that).

She did a few more calculations on expected growth; and I have instructions to take the trigger shot tomorrow night at 10 pm and then we go in for the IUI first thing Saturday morning!!

Also was started on vaginal estrogen for thin uterine lining; apparently the clomid has had that unwanted effect. Hopefully the estrogen bulks things up enough to support any egg(s) that might get fertilized over the weekend.

So I’m relieved, and hopeful, and ready. It’s still not “exciting” in the normal sense, but in another (given the previous uncertainty), I am a little excited. Just to have a green light and to move forward with this step.