Sunday, December 30, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I am finally back at home and in my own space. I have done absolutely nothing today and it has been fantastic. SH is watching football and I am catching up on tv shows that he won't watch with me. There is no food in the house so we ordered enough Thai to get us through lunch and dinner and had it delivered. I'll venture back out into the world again tomorrow, but today I am hiding away in my apartment.

Despite my doom and gloom heading into it, my trip to Denver was actually very nice. I enjoyed being able to help bake the christmas cookies and I even helped with christmas dinner this time. The best part about helping to cook is you aren't expected to help clean. I'll take that any day. I really hate washing dishes. My sister-in-law (let's call her J) and I got facials. We took our niece, R, to see a Pompeii exhibit at the museum. R turned 16 while we were there and she was excited to drive us around (thankfully she is actually a good driver).  I played with J and R's puppy a lot. SH and I went to a Broncos game. It snowed on christmas eve so I woke up to a beautiful, white christmas morning. The trip ended on a sad note, however. J and R's cat had really bad asthma and took a turn for the worse on our last day there. They took her to the vet and decided to put her down so she wasn't suffering anymore. This made me especially sad since my cat was just diagnosed with asthma a few months ago. I saw her future and it's not going to be easy (on her or us).

We did get some unintentionally insensitive comments this time. I'll start by saying that I have been pretty lucky in this regard. I read the lists of "things to never say to an infertile" and am horrified at the things people say and feel very fortunate that I really haven't encountered much of that. I don't know if it's because we haven't told many people or because the people that we have told don't seem to know what to say so end up avoiding the subject altogether. My mother-in law pulled out "maybe it's not meant to be" and then said we can at least move on knowing we tried everything. I told her knowing we tried everything is not going to make me feel better if I never get pregnant. She also implied a different position would help, that when she didn't get pregnant right away her doctor suggested position number 52 (or some number. I don't want to know. I really don't want to know) and it worked. SH's brother, M, and his pregnant wife, K, are usually the most likely to say something hurtful while thinking they are being supportive. There is just so much pity in their voices when they talk to us. They dealt with infertility and are now pregnant with their 2nd child who was conceived through IVF. When we first told them we were doing IVF their words of support were that they never used the word infertile and their nurse told them as long as you have a uterus you can get pregnant. WTF?!? What nurse would say that? During this trip they were respectful and didn't talk about their pregnancy with us which I appreciated. I do feel terrible that I can't be excited for them right now. As I was saying goodbye, K and M promised to come visit us soon. Then K says they'll come in April (when she's due) and drop off a little bundle of joy and then they'll be on their way. It was basically the "you can't have kids? take mine" response. It doesn't sound so bad now, but the way she said it combined with other comments she made about having this baby just really got to me. She doesn't seem to want to actually have another kid so I can't quite figure out why she went to so much trouble and expense to get pregnant. "Dreading" having a 2nd kid may be cute to fertiles, but know your audience.

I did manage to break away from the family for a couple hours and have lunch with a friend who recently moved to Denver. She mentioned in passing that she and her fiancee had been trying to have a baby for a few years but she didn't think it was going to happen. I wasn't happy to hear that, but I was sort of excited that I may have a real life friend who could understand. I told her we were struggling and had 2 failed IVF's. She basically said she stopped taking birth control a few years ago and she hasn't really used opk's because she was confused by them or she would forget when she was supposed to use them. She also didn't want sex to become scheduled and mechanical.  They haven't been to an RE to see if there are any problems. She says they are planning on it, but she doesn't seem in any rush. I got the feeling they would like to have a kid if it happens but won't be devastated if it doesn't. Neither one of them wanted kids before they met. I sort of told her if kids aren't actually that important to her then she may not want to venture into fertility treatments. It's not for the faint of heart. Then she said if it doesn't happen soon she wants her fiancee to get a vasectomy because she doesn't want to be that woman who accidentally gets pregnant at 42 after giving up TTC.  I certainly hopes it happens sooner than that for me, but at this point I would be ecstatic to accidentally get pregnant at 42. Oh well. I guess I don't have a real life infertile friend after all. Well, now she knows I have been through it so if she decides to pursue anything she can always talk to me.

Overall, the holidays were relatively painless, but I am happy they are over. I am happy to be back at home sleeping in my own bed. I am trying to be happy about this upcoming IVF cycle. It's coming up fast so I better get ready.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my new blog friends. I wish we hadn't met under such crappy circumstances, but I am glad to have you along for the journey and to be here as support for you, as well. I look forward to getting to know all of you as we try to find our way out of this infertility madness. The support out there in this community is amazing and I'm so glad I finally decided to jump in and be a part of it.

Hope you all have a wonderful, stress-free holiday.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cookies!

I'm excited! This is my first ICLW and I'm looking forward to making some new bloggy friends. Welcome to my very new little blog.  This post gives a brief summary of where we are right now in our IF adventures. We are only a couple weeks away from our next round of IVF and just trying to enjoy the holidays in the meantime.

In other news, I have been busy making cookies and other holiday deliciousness with my mother-in-law. She has been making the same cookies at christmas since SH was little. It's not really christmas for him without his mom's cookies and he really wants me to learn how to make them so I can carry on the tradition one day (although, I have been told that even though I am learning how to make them, he doesn't want me to make them myself until his mom is gone). So this year we came to visit early enough that I was able to help make the cookies instead of just sit around and eat them.  It's a good thing I really like baking. Baking has actually been a huge distraction for me over this year of fertility treatments. Not very good for my waistline, but it's been great for my sanity.

Here is what we have made so far:


I think we still have one more batch of cookies and a grasshopper pie left to make. Keep in mind there are only 7 of us here to eat them. If anyone needs me, I will be the one in the corner passed out in a sugar coma.



Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Well, I am here in the Mile High city. The altitude is not kicking my ass as much as usual, but I still get winded walking up a flight of stairs. Oh, sea level, how I miss you and your ample amounts of oxygen. Here are few thoughts on my trip so far.

The Good:  It snowed yesterday! I woke up to a lovely winter wonderland. It was only about an inch so it will probably be melted by the weekend but at least I got my snow. Also, my niece (who is turning 16 next week and drove me around yesterday. Gah!) just got a new puppy. Lucky for me I am staying with her and my sister-in-law this visit. So, I get to spend the next 10 days with the most adorable 9 week old black lab. I might just die of cuteness overload.

The Bad: Seeing my pregnant sister-in-law is harder than I anticipated. (This is a different sister-in-law than the one I am staying with) SH's brother and his wife are expecting their 2nd child. Both were conceived with IVF so it should actually be an easier pregnancy for me to handle. But, this is the worst I have felt around a pregnancy. (I have been trying to follow my acupuncturist's advice and not drink but that went out the window on the first day. Wine is the only way I will get through this) I think the main reason is she did her IVF cycle a few weeks after me this summer so had mine worked I would be a few weeks ahead of her in my pregnancy. I think seeing her belly is just a constant reminder of where I had hoped to be right now. I have many other reasons for feeling a little bitter about her, in particular, having another child. I think that deserves a post all it's own, though.

The Ugly: I am ovulating. As we speak. While it's not likely we are going to get pregnant the old fashioned way, it also isn't impossible. So we keep trying. Only this time we had to sneak away from relatives to have awkward baby-making sex and hoping no one came looking for us. Not sexy time at all. Sigh. This also means that in about 2 weeks, barring a christmas baby miracle, I should be starting stims for IVF #3. Yay?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dreaming of a white christmas

This year we are heading to Denver to spend christmas with SH's family. I am really, really hoping it snows because I really, really love a white christmas but based on recent weather reports it seems all I should expect is sun and cold. Like really cold. That's no fun. If I am forced to be in cold weather it better come with fluffy, white snow. I live in Los Angeles, I get enough sun thankyouverymuch.

While I am excited at the prospect of weather and a much needed change of scenery, I am not so excited about the fact that we are staying for 11 days. Eleven. Days. Don't get me wrong, I love my in-laws. They are lovely people. But even in the best of circumstances, I do not like spending 11 days at someone else's house. I am shy and rather introverted so I need alone time to decompress after lots of socializing. I need my own space and can't really relax when I don't have it. My mother-in-law very much wants me to be comfortable and happy while I am staying with her but she ends up fussing over me. If I manage to steal away to watch tv or read by myself, she finds me and asks me if I need anything or brings me a plate of cookies or cheese and crackers and overall just doesn't understand that I am trying to be alone. Wow, that feels like a terrible thing to be complaining about. It's all very nice but somehow her efforts to make me feel more comfortable can end up having the opposite effect.


On top of that, right now my emotions are raw. SH pointed out I have moved on from a short fuse to no fuse. I snap at everything.  I cry at the most random things. It probably isn't helping that I am not really drinking right now in an attempt to have better eggs for this next IVF cycle so I can't just have a glass of wine to help me relax. I am a little worried of how I am going to be over these 11 days because I am the worst at hiding my emotions. I have a really hard time just smiling and pretending everything is ok. That is most definitely a skill I need to work on. I would probably be better at life if I could do that. 

As far as celebrating christmas this year? I think I am actually sort of neutral on the whole thing. At first, I was dreading the holidays and just wanted to crawl into a hole and come out in 2013. Then I managed to send some christmas cards and go to a couple of holiday parties.  I put up a few decorations, but didn't go so far as to get a tree. Yesterday, I went to the Gay Men's Chorus Holiday Spectacular and aside from the song about christmas being meant for children (way to rub it in, Gay Men's Chorus!), I had a lot of fun and enjoyed some christmas cheer with friends. Now I am feeling much less "Bah Humbug."  I am not exactly full of jingle bells and holly, but at least I won't need to be dragged kicking and screaming through the holidays. It also helps that SH has a pretty small family so christmas is a very low key event involving a delicious dinner and more cookies and fudge than anyone should ever eat. 

On that note, perhaps it's time for me to dig up some winter clothes and get packing.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Field Trip


Yesterday SH and I decided to go on a field trip and went to the California Science Center to see the space shuttle.  A little backstory...SH is an identical twin and his brother wants to be an astronaut.  Most of his education and career have been in the hopes of eventually being an astronaut. He applies every time N.A.SA opens up the application process. In college, he even put a satellite into space that, I think, is still orbiting. Yup, I am related to an actual rocket scientist. So, for their birthday a few years ago, SH managed to get tickets to a shuttle launch in Florida. With all his love of space, SH's brother had never seen a launch. We were all really excited to go and booked the hotel and plane tickets. Then the launch got pushed due to some sort of mechanical problem. So we changed our hotel and plane tickets. The launch got pushed again. Indefinitely. By this point it was getting too hard to schedule time off work (and too expensive to keep paying airline change fees) so we had to bail on the whole thing. The shuttle did eventually launch but we weren't there. The shuttle program was retired right after that.

So SH and I were really excited when we learned that Ende.eavor would be on display in Los Angeles and that it would be doing a flyover of the city before making it's way to the museum.  The day of the flyover we hiked up to the Grif.fith Park Observatory and waited for it. For hours. On a super hot, sunny day with no shade in sight. It was pretty cool to watch it fly right over us and over the H'wood sign and totally worth the crowds and the waiting. Here it is flying over the observatory:

Yesterday, we finally made it to the Science Center to check it out up close. It really is quite amazing.



While we were there, we decided to check out some of the other exhibits (I did find the human reproduction exhibit. It was not very helpful) when I stumbled across some really cute chicks and eggs. I thought the eggs were just for display purposes until they started moving and suddenly this happened:

I made SH stand there for a good half hour waiting for those chicks to make their way out. It was amazing and crazy to watch but I may never crack another egg open. Ever. I am currently a little terrified that a chicken will fall out of my organic, brown eggs.

So, overall a nice day of distractions (even if the place was swarming with screaming kids on school field trips). Plus, it was a nice excuse to write a blog post about something other than sadness and infertility.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Magical thinking

Earlier this year I started volunteering for Planned Parenthood. Mostly because I really believe in what they do and since I have the time (being childless and all) I decided to give back a little and volunteer my time.  It's not all selflessness and altruism, though. I was also hoping to build up some good karma points. Then I realized, while stuffing condom packs for a health fair, that it goes even deeper than just wanting good karma. I had this thought that since I am helping, even in my own small way, to prevent unwanted pregnancies, that I am owed that pregnancy - as if there are a limited amount of pregnancies available in the world and other people are just getting them before I can. It's crazy, I know. But infertility has made me irrational and superstitious.

Here is just a sampling of some of the random thoughts that run through my mind:

  • I was in New Orleans last year and visited a voodoo shop. Of course I bought the fertility voodoo doll. Now I can't find it and I don't even have a memory of packing it and bringing it home with me. So, of course, I am now worried about what kind of bad luck comes from losing a voodoo doll.
  • I really, really want this adorable Tigger onsie from Disneyland. I see it there every time I go. But I won't buy it unless I am pregnant. Solidly, visibly, past all danger pregnant. I am afraid I'll jinx it. Like buying baby clothes now would be just a little too confident and the universe might want to knock me down a little.
  • SH likes to buy lottery tickets. He realizes it's a long shot but says you can't win if you don't play. My worry is that we WILL win and all our luck will be used up. And we need all of our luck for our next IVF. As a couple, we really seem to have a very limited supply of good luck these days and we can't spare  any on the lottery. Only I could twist winning the lottery into a bad thing.
(I could go on, but it's a bit early in our relationship to expose you to all the truly crazy thoughts swirling around in my head.)
I am a huge believer in luck. I think even the smartest, most educated and talented people need a little luck in order to be successful. I also think luck is the thing keeping us from getting pregnant. We are doing everything possible with both eastern and western medicine and I believe it will finally work if we just get a little luck.  Maybe luck comes from attitude and I definitely am not full of unicorns and rainbows. I am working on changing that and want to have a better attitude but it's really hard when life keeps handing you a big bowl of suck. Maybe that will be my new year's resolution - to try harder to find the positives in life. Maybe it will turn my luck around.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My name is Jen and I am infertile

We started TTC in October of 2008 - about 6 months after we got married. Obviously, we never anticipated having any problems.  It took me a long time to admit we were dealing with infertility and might need some help.  SH and I both have jobs that sometimes require us to work out of town for months at a time. In the early days of TTC, I convinced myself we just weren't timing it right. All we needed was to be in the same city for a few months and we would be pregnant in no time. I ovulate every month and my cycles are really regular. I charted for a little while, then moved on to OPK's and it just wasn't happening. I tried supplements and fertility yoga dvd's and it still wasn't happening.  I laid in bed with my hips raised for an hour after having sex and it still wasn't happening.

I was terrified of going to see an RE. Terrified. I didn't want to hear that we had an un-fixable problem and wouldn't be able to have children so I decided to live in blissful ignorance for nearly 2 years.  As long as I didn't know what the problem was, there was still hope every month. About a year and a half into TTC, I started seeing an acupuncturist who specializes in infertility. She is the one who finally convinced me to see an RE.  She even gave me recommendations for RE's she works with.

We went to see RE #1 and did all the testing. Aside from some uterine polyps that I needed to have removed, she said I was fine. The SA was not so fine, however. Low motility and low morphology. RE #1 said if SH's numbers didn't improve with a 2nd test then IVF was our only chance of getting pregnant. Well, we were not prepared for IVF. Couldn't we ease into fertility treatment? SH did not like that she didn't give us any other options. Also, SH had been working 6 days a week, 14 hour days and eating like crap for about 6 months so we figured he just needed to get healthy. We put off any sort of fertility treatment and doctors for months to see if we could improve his sperm with healthier living.

After a 6 month break due to me working out of the country and another 9 months or so of trying on our own without any success, we decided it was time to head back to the RE. We decided to go to a different RE and get a 2nd opinion this time. The results we basically the same. Healthy living had not made SH's sperm any better and I had more polyps that needed to be removed. Only this time I was told I have Diminished Ovarian Reserve. Fantastic. Now I get to have the feeling that every egg I drop is my last good egg. I am 38 so I already feel the clock ticking. This did not help.

We jumped into IVF immediately. It was terrifying. Did I mention I have a TERRIBLE needle phobia? I passed out when I got my ears pierced. This was my worst nightmare. Thankfully SH had worked as an EMT back in college and had no problems doing the injections for me. In fact, he was better at doing the injections than the nurse at our clinic. We figured out a system to get me through 8 days of injections without passing out. I have to lie down flat and ice the injection site while he preps everything. I can't even look at the needle. Aside from the first injection the nurse did where I nearly passed out, it wasn't too bad. I definitely got used to the shots but I still have to lie down and I can't imagine ever being able to do them myself, but at least I don't get light-headed anymore.

Little did I know my worst nightmare would get worse. IVF #1 did not work. I was a poor responder and we ended up with one embryo. Not only did I need IVF, but I needed multiple rounds of IVF. Awesome. We took a month off and started IVF #2 right away. During the month off I started taking supplements and chinese herbs that were supposed to help with egg quality and, hopefully, quantity. IVF#2 was better - we had 5 embryos. Unfortunately, it still didn't work and we weren't able to freeze any. So here we are getting ready for IVF #3, hopefully in January. We took about 4 months off this time. Our second failure hit me really hard and I just needed some time. I have continued with the supplements and herbs since they seemed to help. SH even started taking supplements and chinese herbs and is going to acupuncture with me. Hopefully, we'll get some really strong embryos next time. Third times the charm, right??






Saturday, December 8, 2012

Super Husband

I just asked my husband what he would like to be called for this blog. Without any hesitation he said "SH. For Super Husband."

I guess I can't argue with that. He is pretty super. So from now on he will be known as SH.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Popping my blog cherry

I have been thinking about starting this blog for awhile but didn't really think the world needed another infertility blog. But I need an outlet for the crazy emotional roller coaster I am on so here I am writing my first blog post and wondering how I am going to get people to read it. I am hoping this will be a good place to vent and connect with others who are also living in infertility hell. I don't really share my infertility struggles with most people in real life. The people who do know about it are supportive and want to help, but they just don't understand and don't know what to say.  I am excited to step into this community that will "get" me and what I am dealing with.

I am not really a writer and I am incredibly shy so this will certainly be an interesting experiment if nothing else.  Here goes nothing...