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Crabby, Cranky, and Crampy…. not a good look!

Okay, so the good news is that everything seems to be falling into place!  I do my trigger shot tonight at 10:45.  Im really nervous.  Im afraid I will yell at dear husband because of the pain that I am expecting to come with it.  Then we have to egg retrieval on Thursday and the transfer on Saturday.  I’ve been having an internal debate about the 2 day transfer versus the 5 day blastocyst transfer.  Well, too late now.  2 day transfer it is!  Im trying not to get myself all worked up over it though.

Im seriously having some major stress reaction that has resulted in hives or some sort of breakout.  This is all so exciting its painful!  Plus, I will be starting a new job on Monday, so Im very thankful for the promotion.

Im so freaking bloated right now.  Ugh.  Hopefully I dont snap my hubby’s head off.  He keeps taking pictures of me saying how I look “more than 4 months pregnant”.  Ugh.  Just what I want to hear.  But I know it’s for a good cause.  So I am more than excited about that!  AND, Im really cramping.  It’s so uncomfortable to walk, bend, and breathe.  My estradiol levels are 4000, so they are worried about possible OHHS – over hyperstimulation.  So I have to now take 81 mg of asprin daily for the next 2-3 weeks.

I’ve been stalking others’ post about how to survive the egg retrieval.  Sounds like it’s gonna be brutal.  Hopefully the valium will work wonders….  I did get a ton of movies from the library to watch while I lay in bed for the next 5 days, so that should keep me somewhat occupied.  I will surely keep you guys posted and try to keep posting to keep myself busy during the 2WW.

Tootles

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Im so stressed …

Im so stressed out.  My hubby and I are trying to move to a new city, therefore, we’re looking for new jobs, and hoping to buy a house.  It’s been a crazy month!  My life has been so chaotic!  I feel like I’ve had to put my life on hold because my life is surrounded by syringes, gonal-F and Menopur.  I feel like a junkie with all these needles all over the place!

So today was my second ultrasound.  Fun stuff.  (sense the sarcasm?)  Let me back it up since I havent been blogging in quite some time.  I started my cycle on 2/14/12 (freaking 33 day cycle – that never happens).  So I’ve been shooting up every night.  Which, I am proud to say that Im doing it on my own.  But it doesnt help that I have my very loving, yet very critical husband over my shoulder telling me that I have air bubbles in the needle.  Grrrr….. 

So we had our first ultrasound on Saturday and I was a bit disappointed.  They found 8 follies on the right and 2 on the left.  So they upped my dose of meds to 375 IU.  and still only .5 IU of lupron.  I was hopeful to have more, but it was still early.  (oh, mind you, Im a bit bitter because insurance does NOT cover the ultrasounds or blood work) – yup, $230 each time, and I’ll likely have to have a total of 4-5.  Geez Louise!  So we had another ultrasound today and this time I wanted to cry.  I feel really sad.  But it could be all the meds Im on.  Who knows?  So today there were 18 follies, but they had only grown to 8, when they should ideally be around 20.  Why is my body being so stubborn?  What happens if they never mature?  This is really upsetting to me.  We have our 3rd ultrasound on Friday.  Hopefully they will be doing better.  But it already sounds like the proceedure will need to be postponed.  We were initially hoping for next week egg retrieval on Tuesday and then a 2 day transfer.  *sigh*  I will surely keep you guys posted.

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The first step

     So I’m long overdue and should have been posting more often, my apologies.  This whole process has been so stressful that I don’t take the time to vent by blogging like I should.  I had a freak out moment last Monday.  I was really upset, posted on the blog, and then deleted it!  (I know, shame on me).  But now that Im in a better place, I can rewind and tell you guys what happened.

     Initially, I was supposed to have a mock transfer on Monday the 9th.  Apparently the dates got mixed up, I got there and the office was closed.  Turns out, my appointment was on the 17th!  So anyway, I had lab work last week to test my FSH.  I think I read somewhere that number should be less than 12, and I was really worried because I come to the conclusion that Im not ovulating.  Actually, it was not my own diagnosis that Im anovulatory; the testing and ultrasound indicates that Im not ovulating every month.  That’s nothing a few fertility medications won’t fix though!    

     So back to the appointment.  I had the mock embryo transfer on Tuesday.  I was there for over 2 hours, but the appointment was actually really fast.  They were just running behind.  I met with the nurse who gave me all the information I needed to know about IVF (which was very overwhelming.)  But my FSH level was 8!  Which was very good news!  The mock transfer was quick and painless.  It just felt like a pap smear – just a little uncomfortable.  They do the mock so that they can have a better idea of where my uterus is and what equipment would be best used to do the transfer.  Turns out, my uterus is a little smaller than average, and slightly to the left.  Hrmmm… I guess it is a good thing he did the mock!

     Today is cycle day 8, and I start the Lupron on CD 21. (February 1st)  This should be exciting.  The nurse said I may experience side effects including, mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, headaches, (similar to going through menopause).  Okay, so anybody who knows me, knows that Im already anxious and moody… so this should be REALLY interesting!  (My poor, poor husband & coworkers)… LOL

     There are 4 steps of IVF.  I am on the first step.  The first step is the use of fertility medications to develop eggs.  Follicles are fluid filled sacs located on the ovaries. The egg is attached to the inner wall of the follicle. As the egg becomes more mature, the follicle become larger. To assist with follicle growth, I will start medications (in form of injections) to stimulate egg development. 

     After starting these medications, my follicle growth will be monitored by ultrasounds and blood tests.  This may require 8-14 days of treatment, with several ultrasounds and blood tests. When the follicles are mature, I will receive an injection of human chronic gonadotropin (hCG, ) to begin the final maturation of the eggs. They are then retrieved via surgical procedure about 36 hours after the HCG shot is given. 

     So Im really excited!  This is a big step to start this journey!

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Infertility Etiquette (from Resolve)

Infertility Etiquette

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn’t coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:

  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don’t know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don’t Tell Them to Relax

Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she “relaxed.” Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of “relaxing” are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as “infertile” until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren’t infertile but just need to “relax.” Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as “just relax” or “try going on a cruise” create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, “If you just relaxed on a cruise . . .” Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don’t Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone’s life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, “Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.,” do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn’t tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father’s Day or Mother’s Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn’t even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don’t Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Along the same lines, don’t tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the “worst” thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the “worst” thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the “worst” thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the “worst” thing that could happen.

People wouldn’t dream of telling someone whose parent just died, “It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead.” Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don’t tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don’t Say They Aren’t Meant to Be Parents

One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, “Maybe God doesn’t intend for you to be a mother.” How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don’t you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn’t he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren’t religious, the “maybe it’s not meant to be” comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don’t Ask Why They Aren’t Trying IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man’s sperm in a petri dish. This is the method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, “Why don’t you just try IVF?” in the same casual tone they would use to ask, “Why don’t you try shopping at another store?”

Don’t Be Crude

It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don’t make crude jokes about your friend’s vulnerable position. Crude comments like “I’ll donate the sperm” or “Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination” are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don’t Complain About Your Pregnancy

This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don’t put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, “I’d gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby.” When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, “I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes.”

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends’ new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend’s emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can’t bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn’t rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don’t Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant

For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don’t follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn’t ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let’s face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to “dream” about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don’t Gossip About Your Friend’s Condition

Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband’s sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend’s privacy, and don’t share any information that your friend hasn’t authorized.

Don’t Push Adoption (Yet)

Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a “stranger’s baby,” they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy’s eyes and Mommy’s nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, “Why do you want to adopt a baby?” Instead, the question was, “Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?” Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn’t her “own,” then adoption isn’t the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, “Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.”) However, “pushing” the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say “I am giving you this baby,” there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn’t your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lesson the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care

The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren’t going through this alone.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don’t encourage them to try again, and don’t discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don’t try to open that chapter again.

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Infertility: hypertension and pregnancy

What an emotional roller coaster!  Today I feel great, confident and hopeful.  As promised, I have to provide all the updates since our first appointment with our fertility doctor.  In September, I had to go to his office to have an hysterosalpingography, (HSG).  This step is necessary to determine by x-ray if my tubes are blocked.  I arrived at the appointment very afraid and discouraged.  They said it would be some cramping, but that would be an understatement.  It was VERY painful!  The process was similar to having a pap, but they injected dye so that they could get a clear picture of my uterus and fallopian tubes.  Oddly enough, just like the dream I had the night prior, my tubes were blocked.  Complete devastation.  I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much.  I went right away to the bathroom to get dressed and cried for about 10 minutes.  Believe me, no one wants to see me cry, but cause I’m an ugly crier!  So I came out, eyes blood-shot and could only look at my loving husband and apologize.  I felt like I had not only disappointed him, but myself as well.  He held me and comforted me and then we drove the long hour drive home.  I’m not really sure what happened during that ride home, but I do know that I was in a complete state of shock.

So after weeks of grieving this process, I was told by the doctor’s office that there is still hope.  They could perform a laparoscopy.  Because in some cases, the uterus spasms due to the cramping.  This then results in tubes that only appear blocked.  That was scheduled to happen in October.  I went to my pre-op appointment and my blood pressure was dangerously high.  So much so that my doctor said that he would not operate on me until it was under control.  Well, for those of you that may know anything about hypertension and pregnancy, it’s a serious issue.  And not all medications are safe to take while pregnant or trying to conceive.  So 4 weeks later, my blood pressure is under control (with a change of medication of course) and I can finally schedule my laparoscopy.

During a laparoscopy, they make 2 incisions to get inside to get a closer look at the tubes with attempts to repair them if possible.  Well, as it turns out, my tubes are blocked and unable to be repaired.  This now leads us to 2 more options: tubal recanalization  or in vitro fertilization.  In the tubal recanalization, he will open the tubes, however, there is only a 50% success rate, and he can not guarantee how long they will remain open.  In addition, we’re not sure that it’s covered by our insurance.  IVF is where they will take the eggs from my body, mix it with sperm (outside of the body), and after it fertilizes, the embryo with be transferred into my uterus.  There is about a 60% success rate.  (Take home baby rate) as my doctor likes to call it!  This is not covered by insurance either, but we were somewhat expecting to have to go this route anyway, so we’ve been saving for it.

Until next time,

The fertility Goddess 2012

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Infertility: “Harboring a deep secret”

Hello,  and thank you for choosing to read and follow my blog.  I’m new to this, and I’ve wanted to start a blog for a quite some time now.  However, I’ve always thought my life was way too boring. Or that I had no exciting interests or anything that I was so passionate about that I had to write!  Then I recently realized that I have been harboring a deep secret about my life that seems to be so taboo in society.  What’s even more interesting is that I am a very private person. I don’t often share much of my life with my closest friends or even my family members.  For my family and friends that are reading this, you’ll get to know me a little bit better!

Please allow me to tell you a little bit about myself!  I am a 31 year old woman.  I have a wonderful husband and we’ve been married for nearly a year and a half now.  I am a professional with a master’s degree in social work.  My mother means the world to me, and my 2 sisters are also my closest friends.  I have friends that I know would do anything for me and I love them all to death!  And of course, I’d do anything for them as well!  So I’m 31, married, and you’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned my children yet…

I’m infertile.  There, I said it!  I am unable to conceive a baby the natural and fun way.  My husband and I have been trying since January 2011.  “They” say try for a year before thinking that you’re infertile.  Well, it’s been a year.  We have been seeing a fertility specialist since approximately July.  And yes, I do have an official diagnosis of “unexplained” infertility.  I am unable to have a baby without medical intervention.  I have finally come to terms with the fact that I can’t conceive like “everyone else”.  I have realized that I am still able to have a baby; it will just take a lot of time, medication (hormones), patience, and support from my husband, family, and friends.  Oh, and a lot of money!  Infertility treatment is expensive!

I plan to share my experiences with you every step of the way.  And I do have to catch you up on what’s been happening since I’ve started seeing the fertility specialist.  I am hopeful that I can provide insight, education and my personal experiences on my journey towards becoming a mother.

The Fertility Goddess

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