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.

 

after miscarriage · baby EL · grief and loss · missed miscarriage · pregnancy loss · trying to conceive

When AF arrived

Spotting started Wednesday night, full AF the next day.

I’m actually kinda amazed that it didn’t cause another emotional setback; in fact it did the opposite.

I think by my body physically telling me that it has moved past the pregnancy and is ready to try again…it somehow triggered my heart and mind to do the same.

I can’t forget what happened. It will always be a sad thing, I will always wonder about this child and grieve for the loss and for what could have been. March 6th (heartbeat), 21st (miscarriage discovered), 29th (birthday) and October 27th (due date) will always be days I remember.

But I don’t need to stay in the darkness. It’s time to move forward, it’s time to try again and hope again (scary as that is). And for the first time in 8 weeks, I feel like that’s actually possible and attainable; and it’s lasted more than part of a day so it seems that’s really where I’m at.

So while my uterus empties itself and prepares to rebuild; my heart and mind are doing the same.

I’m ready to live life again.

 

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.

 

family · Infertility

On family

I ordered a book a few weeks ago that finally arrived the other day and I’ve basically just been inhaling it; it’s got short chapters so it’s hard to not just go on to the next and the next even though I should probably let each one ruminate for a while. The downside of being a fast reader *shrug*.

Anyway, the book is “Empty Womb, Aching Heart,” and it has stories and reflections from multiple women (or couples) who have struggled with infertility. Once I finish my first read I’ll probably go back and take each chapter a bit slower and write down the takeaway/lesson/attitude adjustment technique in each one…future blog post, perhaps?

One of the chapters especially jumped out to me yesterday. The writer was reflecting on how hard it is to be childless in a church community that is centered around the “family,” family ministry/resources/events were all geared towards the typical parents/children structure.

She went on to share that she taught a Sunday school lesson on the 6th day of creation; and the children drew pictures of animals and then Adam and Eve on a large piece of butcher paper. She told them that this was the point at which God said it was “very good,” and then rested. One of the little girls pointed out that there weren’t any children in the drawing.

“No children, not yet…and still God called it very good. Not….’good-but-it-would-be-better-if…’ After he made man and woman, he proclaimed his work finished. It was complete. They were complete.” 

She comes to realize that a family is not formed once children arrive. The family of two is just as valuable, just as complete.

And she closes the chapter with her new response to those prying “when are you going to start a family” questions. Her answer is essentially this:

“We already have. We’re just waiting to see if God chooses to add to it or not.” (my edit)

-quotes and paraphrases taken from Empty Womb, Aching Heart (chapter 10); book compiled by Marlo Schalesky

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.