Special Torture (or how to grin and bear it)

The little womb that could?

December 11, 2012 | health, life, pregnancy? | Permalink

we'll see.

we’ll see.

Somehow I just don’t believe it. After 15 plus failures it’s hard to consider the alternative. I’ll take another test with another brand tomorrow and then I suppose I’ll talk to my doc. Will update soon.

And Another Thing

December 5, 2012 | health, infertility, life | Permalink

I almost forgot the other thing.

I don’t take pregnancy tests. My cycle is so predictable that I have never once, durring this entire process, been late. In fact, as my luteal phase has grown shorter and shorter over the past year and change, I have only ever been early. So I just have never really had to take the test. Now, I do.

This time around, my period wont begin until I stop taking the progesterone, so on day 14 of that process (what will actually be day 34 of my cycle (!!)), I will have to take a pregnancy test. If I am not pregnant, I’ll stop taking the drug, my period will happen, and I will begin again after I ovulate next month.

So that seems simple enough and it is, but there is yet another way this drug makes everything different. Suddenly, I have to take pregnancy tests. Suddenly, I have to go through that 5 minutes of torture in addition to everything else. I guess I am really just lucky that I have escaped this until now.

Also on the bright side, I get like 5 pregnancy tests each time I order the 30 something LH predictor tests from Amazon, so I have a backlog of around 20 pregnancy tests. At least I don’t have to pay more money for this particular indignity.

Small blessings.

Seems Different This Time.

December 3, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

And not necessarily in a good way. So, I am taking the progesterone and so far so good. No massive migraines. No maudlin mood swings. For this, I am enormously thankful, but approaching my attempts to conceive this way, with this medication specifically, it’s throwing me for a loop. See, everything I have done up to now, was trying to increase the chances of sperm meeting egg, of fertilization, but this – taking this drug – assumes that that has already happened. It assumes that I am pregnant. Um. And that’s fucked up! I have absolutely no reason to believe that this is the case and yet, I just spent $125 on medication that only does something if it is. I feel like I have jumped the gun. Skipped 3 steps. Or am just engaging in an expensive fool’s errand.

Now, I get that this really was the next step, the most logical thing to try before adding even more medication, but it just seems all out of order. And even as I warn myself over and over again that it’s not likely to have occurred, that I am probably not pregnant, just admitting that I have had to make this wild assumption so I can just pretend this course of action has any chance of being successful, predisposes me to Hope. Oh dastardly Hope.

Bats in my Belly

November 27, 2012 | health, infertility, life | Permalink

An update. My most recent round of blood work has revealed, you guessed it, nothing. So my infertility is still, after a year and half, techicnally unexplained. Welp, at least there was an upside to my most recent trip to the reproductive endocrinologist – Dr K was the first of my docs to show the slightest, and I really do mean slightest, interest in my monthly charting and she agrees that my luteal phase is too short. As a result, I’ll start taking progesterone in two days. The idea being that the length of time between ovulation and my period (and the natural progesterone drop) is too short to allow proper implanation. Taking progesterone will extend my luteal phase and well… maybe allow me to get pregnant. Or not. This only helps if implantation is my only problem and that just seems so unlikely to me at this point. But I am of course curious to see if this theory holds any water. I know I sure will be once I am on the progesterone…

So it’s official. In two days time, I will start taking my first “fertility drug”. OK, OK, progesterone is not technically a fertility drug in the follicle stimulating sort of way, but it is a pretty heavy hitting steroid hormone with a nasty, scary list of side effects. OH and it does not come in pill form. Only in bio-adhesive (ew) vaginal suppositories (ugh). This is gonna be gross.

And a little nerve wracking. I have bats in my belly (the serious, big brother to butterflies in one’s stomach). Every time I try something new, my emotions go so haywire. Each time, the first two-week-wait is just torture (special torture!) and the period that follows is just so rough. And while I see this as being something of a reprieve, I mean from not having to take actual fertility drugs (ie clomid), I am still deeply concerned about the effects this will have on my body. In short, I am scared.

Wish me luck.

Oh PS : I say I am going to be on progesterone in two days time, but I still don’t know how much this is going to cost me. I was warned that this drug treatment is “prohibitively expensive”. My insurance says they cover it, but at a brand co-pay. When I asked my pharmacy if they could tell me how much it would be, they told me, I had to wait until the prescription was submitted. Um so, I will know tomorrow if I can afford to go on fancy-pants, bio-adhesive hormone gel. Probably I can’t. I guess that’s what credit cards are for… sigh.

PPS : Nov 28 update. It’s $125.00 for a two week supply of the progesterone. That’s not awful, but it’s not great either. It wont break the bank if I only have to take it once a month for two weeks while I am trying to conceive, but there if gonna be a problem if I get pregnant and they want me to STAY on the drug for an unspecified length of time. I have been warned this is a possibly. Hm. Well, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Thanksgiving

November 21, 2012 | life | Permalink

It was my habit for a while to go to Meeting on Sunday and silently catalog all the things I am grateful for. Sadly, I have fallen out of that habit. No one reason. Some weeks I just had other shit to do. There was a hangover or two that kept me in bed. Definitely a migraine or three. Some mornings, I was up, but it just felt too good to have coffee and breakfast with my honey and I could not bring myself to leave the Nest. End result is that I have not been down to the Meeting House in over three months.

But with tomorrow being Thanksgiving and all, I’ve been reminded of that hour long mental exercise. My list is not all that remarkable. It’s not poetic or even all that well thought out. In fact, it’s just a self-centered grocery list of things that make my life better. But that’s OK because I need it. I need to be reminded of the good, wonderful things I actually have when so much of my life is focused on this one big thing I don’t. I am thankful for the reminder.

The Good and the Bad.

November 13, 2012 | exercise, health, infertility, life, pain | Permalink

Lots has happened recently.

First, I have been remiss in not mentioning that my back pain is, for the first time in almost two years, completely under control. I have been having more pain free days then not. This is HUGE. And yet… I think I expected this to have more of an impact on my general state of well-being then it has. Yes, I am doing more, sleeping less, taking fewer mind numbing pain killers (migraines still in effect here, people), and all of that, but really, I am just still… bleh. See, I expected that when the back pain went away, I would wake up suddenly feeling this awesome sense or relief and joy and triumph. No such luck. I pretty much feel the same. Exhausted, feeble, and demoralized. It seems I was happily using the pain as a convenient excuse for the depression that is really just primarily related to my infertility. I am still broken and childless and now that a huge percentage of my physical pain is gone, I have to stare my emotional pain a bit more squarely in the face. Great. I was so looking forward to that.

But there have been small gains that made me feel deep, needed joy. My first 13 minute mile. A return to Yoga. Oh man, yoga. I went to my first class in months this past Sunday and it felt so good. I did it all. I did not modify a single pose. Forward folds and everything. I got home from that class feeling flush and high. My beau told me I looked radient. THAT was nice.

As for the hard stuff, one of my friends had her baby. A little girl. And while that is tremendously joyous news, it hit me so hard. So many of my friends have become parents recently, but this is one of the few actually living close by. And while I have had to deal with FaceBook updates from so many of these folks, I have had very few actual babies in my world. This new one is one I will have to reckon with. I will have to meet her, hold her eventually, watch her mother nurse her, and pretend that it does not kill me. That I am not wracked with jealousy and heartache. And it’s just a warning of what is to come. As more of my closer friends (and by ‘closer’ I mean both in proximity and friendship) get pregnant and have their babies, I will have to face this over and over. I know every infertile woman before me has had to deal with this, but I truly find it baffling – how are you supposed to look your friends in the eye when they have the only thing you can’t? Knowing that they are moms and you never will be. How are you supposed to feel kind or generous when you see their children? When all you want in the world is to feel the love that those two humans share. How can I handle it as each new baby in turn calls each friend ‘mama’, when I know no one will ever call me that? The hole in my heart could fit an iceberg.

And this is not the time to remind me that I can adopt. Really, it’s not.

This month also brings to a close my third attempt to conceive post recanalization. So much for that. I’ve made the appointment to go see Dr. K. It’s time to talk fertility drugs and good god, that terrifies me. Can I afford them? Will they make my headaches worse? Will they make me gain 30 pounds? Will I be dealing with the the emotional upheaval of my last few attempts to have a child in a hormone-induced insanity? These are all good questions. But the most important one – will I take them? Yes, of course. Will they help? My guts tells me probably not.

But I have to try.

I Voted Today

November 6, 2012 | life | Permalink

I voted for Barack Obama today for a lot of reasons, but these are the big 5 :

1) Because I stand for Obamacare (I have multiple preexisting conditions. Most members of my family do.)

2) Because I stand for Marriage Equality (so my eldest sister and my LGBT friends can marry the people they love!)

3) Because I stand for Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (so all women can receive far and equal pay.)

4) Because I stand for a Woman’s Right to Choose and for Planned Parenthood (so women continue to receive healthcare and the reproductive services they require AND because my older sister is employed by PP and I do not want her to lose her job!)

5) And I stand for PBS (because if I ever do manage to have a kid, I want them to have Sesame Street too).

God, I hope I wake up tomorrow in world where all of this is possible.

Hope Hurts.

October 14, 2012 | infertility, life | Permalink

It just does.

As I mentioned in my last post, I managed to get excited about the possibility. Maybe THIS month would be THE month. Maybe THIS blood is implantation bleeding. Maybe THESE cramps are implantation cramps. Get over it, lady. It’s day 27 of my cycle and while I suppose it’s not impossible that I am pregnant, I think it’s very very unlikely. This is just my period a day early, not implantation so late. And yet, I am still hanging on to this hope. The bleeding is light and I never get cramps. Maybe! But no. Just stop.

In my defense, several subtle and not so subtle things occurred this month. I have not gotten a migraine since I ovulated. This is unheard of. I looked back over all of my charts. In the 15 plus months I have been recording, that has never occurred. Next, my sense of taste and smell shifted lightly. Overnight, I went from craving grapefruit juice to finding it near undrinkable. The smell of the cabbage and potatoes in the slow cooker was almost nauseating. Apparently, my horoscope even suggested this would be the month. And this IS the month that would give me a due date in June, close to my own birthday. Sigh. I wanted that. A June baby.

So I let myself hope. And stupidly, sickeningly, there is still hope. Lets be honest, that hope wont be dashed for another few hours or half a day when my period finally gets heavy and my morning temperature plummets.

I hate this. I hate hope.

Watching and Waiting

October 11, 2012 | infertility, life | Permalink

5 friends/acquaintances of mine have had babies in the past month. Another is due by the end of this month and a second just revealed she is pregnant. Thank you, FaceBook, thank you. And meanwhile, it’s my second month after the recanalization and I accidentally got myself thinking that *gasp* maybe it will be this month! 4 more days and I should know. I hate this wait. Hate it.

Late

October 4, 2012 | life | Permalink

I was walking through the cemetery this morning and I came upon a single monarch butterfly. It was flying about 15 feet above my head and in a perfectly straight line. It was flying south. No kidding. Contrasted with the cloudy sky, the orange of that thing nearly knocked me off my feet.

I remembered a friend telling me about the monarch migration he witnessed last week, one state south of us. “Hurry up,” I said out loud, “you have to catch up” and then I burst into tears. First, because I realized there was a very good chance that butterfly would not make it and then because I realized I feel like that poor, late insect almost all of the time.

Well Received News

October 3, 2012 | infertility, life | Permalink

I found out last night that one of the founders of my Resolve support group is finally pregnant. After 3 years and 11 assisted attempts. After almost completely giving up. She spoke often about how she was so close to being done with the whole process. That THIS IVF would be her last. And I guess it really was.

Interestingly, I did not react to this news as I have so many times before, with tears and a dull, horrible ache in my heart. I gasped and then found myself flushed with genuine excitement and joy. That was a nice, welcome feeling, cause I seriously do not have enough joy in my life right now.

So, does this signify a shift? Am I done being miserable about all the pregnancies around me or more likely and I simply OK with this one because it’s not really around me at all. It’s not like I am going to be seeing this woman at the support group. I guess the true test will be when I learn of the next pregnancy in my group of close friends and OH, I am sure it is a’comin.

Speaking of such things. Steady diet of Grapefruit juice – check. LH surge – check. Ovulation in 3… 2…

20 years

September 28, 2012 | infertility, life | Permalink

My 20 year high school reunion is coming up. Got the email invite from an old friend. He hoped I would want to go. Not in a million years. I mean, yes, I want to go. I want to see those amazing wierdos so bad, but no. Just no. I can’t imagine how whincingly, gut wrenchingly terrible it would be to have to sit there and answer questions about my life and hear the stories and see the photos of everyone else’s [children] lives. At least I can’t imagine doing it without consuming dangerous, dangerous amounts of alcohol. And of course, that would without fail lead to the public humiliation of bursting into tears after the 10th old girlfriend told me about her 5th set of twins. So for my mental health and for the benefit of all of my old pals who do not need to know how beleaguered and desperate I have become, I am not going.

But you know, as impending 20 year reunions are want to do, this has really gotten me thinking. About all sorts of stuff. Of course, I am doing the fruitless, perdictive comparisons – My job VS their jobs. My tiny two bedroom apartment VS their house in the suburbs. All that nonsense, but more, I have just been coming back to the reality of that length of time. 20. god. damn. years. A life time.

After two decades, I don’t have a degree or a career. Don’t own a house. I am not married and I don’t even have a driver’s licence. I have about $175 dollars in my savings account. So by a lot of standards, I am a pretty pitiful adult, but the fact that I have spent the last 20 years without all that does’t bother me all to much. I have a lovely home. I’ve the good fortune to be surrounded by the most staggeringly brilliant friends a girl could hope for. I managed to land a sweet, talented, inhumanly patient boyfriend. One who has generously offered to father my offspring AND gives me frequent back rubs. Oh and for a brief few years in my mid 30s, I was genuinely and terrifically happy. That ruled. Mostly, I have been pretty lucky.

So generally speaking, I don’t regret all of the choices, failures, and small successes that got me were I am today. I don’t even truly regret not having started to try to have a family any sooner. I am not ready now. I sure as shit was not ready in my 20s or early 30s. So why am I so unsettled by the fact that 20 years has passed? Yeah, I am getting older, but so is everyone else. What can’t I put my finger on? It’s definitely related to womanhood and age and this crazy journey I have been on these past 15 months…

I guess it just boggles my mind that I had, that any human woman has, more then 20 years to procreate. My jaw wants to drop every time I think about that. What a long lived species we are! I could have had 10 kids by now or one that was old enough to drink. In some insane, but plausible alternative reality, I could be a grandmother by now. 20 years is a long time… And it went by in the blink of an eye. It feels really off that I am so close to the end of the reproductive stage of my life, yet I still feel so fucking young, so inexperienced, but also so expectant. I have barely gotten started being an adult and yet my chances of becoming a biological parent are almost gone. So when was my adult life supposed to start? I guess deep down, I thought it would start when I became a mom. Oops.

Also, am I middled aged yet? When does that happen?

Ok. Enough random rambling. I am not going to my reunion.

Now this is funny

September 27, 2012 | Uncategorized | Permalink

Googling “what medications affect cervical mucus?” yields this in the top three results. Wow, yes, ‘Drugs Which Affect the Cervical Mucus’ brought to you by The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Why, thank you Sirs!

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PS : Did I just use ‘Googling’ as a gerund? I am actually not sure. Grammar is confusing to me.

At least you have….

September 27, 2012 | health, infertility, life, pain | Permalink

…Your Health…

The sundry adults in my life must have used that phrase a lot when I was a kid, because whenever things are all fucked up and can’t seem to get much worse, my brain stupidly and automatically says to me, “Well, at least you have your health”. Seriously. I say that to myself like once a week. It makes me want to punch myself in the face.

Now I readily admit that I don’t have it anywhere near as bad as I could. But for the love of Pete! At last count (though I am sure I am forgetting someone) I have under my belt nine different types of doctors.* I have pain everyday. More money leaves my bank account for health related things then for rent. I am infertile and clinically depressed. I can tell the difference between four types of headache**. No make that five types*** AND -this is fun- I can have more than one type of headache at the same time. Impressive, no?

I have a lot of things, but what I do not have is my health.

So I need to change this up. I need to alter this silly, automatic response to reflect something that I do truly have. Something positive, reliable, and that has only ever brought goodness into my life. And I know exactly what that is. So next time my brain needs to use a simple turn of phrase to try to make itself feel better, let it offer this up –

At least I have my Interventional Radiologist! THAT at least is true.

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*My GP, Neurologist, Pulmonologist, Rheumatologist, Dermatologist, Gastroenterologist, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Interventional Radiologist, and a Perinatologist (yup! that’s a real thing!)

**Migraine, sinus, tension, and good old fashioned hangover.

***Post-dural-puncture headache. shudder.