Monday, January 31, 2011

The dreaded "M" word


The worst word a woman can hear if they are pregnant. I can't really express my emotions at this point because, well, there are so many of them and I'm still in a bit of disbelief and shock. All I know is it feels like being punched in the gut and having your heart ripped from your chest. All I know right now is I've never been this relieved to have to sit in a dark room for hours. I'm not sure how, but at some point today, I will have to leave the dark, comforting solitude of the microscope room and actually interact with people without falling to pieces. I can't imagine how much harder this would have been if I didn't secretly prepare myself for this before?

Edit: I'm an emotional wreck. I though the Xanax and wine would at least help in numbing the anguish, but alas, no luck there. I'm just thrilled to know that my RE is glad that this is a step in the right direction and shows that at least we are able to conceive. That completely helps ease the heartache of knowing that the life that was growing inside me for 6 short days will soon be expelled from my body like a bad memory. I know eventually I'll heal and be ready to move on, but right now I'm mourning. Mourning the loss of a life that will never be, but meant the world to me.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The worry has fully set in.

I'm just about to head in for the night. It's not even 10pm here, and I'm exhausted even though I woke up at 8:30a and had a 2.5hr nap at 2pm. I have my 2nd beta blood draw tomorrow and I'm very worried and anxious about those numbers!

You see, I fell into the POAS trap. Pee on a Stick. I took my last FRER test this morning. Waited and waited, but only the control line came up. I hold my pee for the next 3hrs, with great effort, I might add, and take my last preg test in the house, that ClearBlue digital. And I wait and wait and wait. It said NOT pregnant. At this point, I'm freaking out and thinking that I've had a chemical pregnancy and will miscarry at any moment. I'm almost hysterical and sending emails and posting comments and going through tissues. Thing is that all my symptoms are still here, still very, very present. I've had ZERO bleeding or spotting, and hardly any CM since last Wednesday.

Thankfully, I talked to the Boy and he tells me to just try not worry, I'm probably blowing things out of proportions and there are so many other explanations for the tests' lack of acknowledgment of my pregnancy this morning. I'm going to try and be as positive and hopeful as I can through out tomorrow, but it will probably be one of the longest days of my life, waiting from 8am until that fateful call in the afternoon. Somehow, I have to be focused at work during this. Somehow, I have to not be so anxious and spastic tomorrow while waiting. Somehow, I will have to find a way to contain either my utter distress and heartbreak or my absolute joy and excitement as I'm trying not to tell people yet.

Please say a few prayers or send good, positive vibes my way that my hCG has at least reached 100. If it is higher than that and everything looks good, I'll be sending out the biggest, bestest internet hugs you've ever pretended you had!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Guess this is a Pregnancy blog now?

When I started this blog, I would have sworn I'd be writing for months and months and months about our struggles and disappointment in trying to get pregnant. It never once crossed my mind that in a few short weeks, I'd be posting about my + tests, nor symptoms or any of that. I had thought this would be an Infertility blog for a long, long time. Yet, here I am, 4w3d pregnant (really only 16d post-conception).

One could say that my battle with infertility are over, and could very well be right. However, I'm not sure I will ever feel carefree about my pregnancy. I am so very aware that any day now we could be thrust back into the world of BBT, CM, supplements, medications and tests. The Boy is still taking his Male fertility and motility vitamins, and I still have my prescription bottles around. I don't want to take the chance that (knock on wood) something happens to this little embryo I'm housing and we are left up the creek and without our paddles.

I'm trying my hardest not to worry about every twinge and if this or that is a good sign or a bad sign or completely unrelated. That is probably difficult for any woman who just realized that they are going to be a mom for the 1st time. I, unfortunately, know too many women that reached this point, went over the moon, and then came crashing down to Earth as they miscarried. Maybe I'm over-analyzing everything and worrying too much, just like I always do. However, I'd rather do so, preparing myself for the worst, and be surprised when the best happens.

I'm content at the moment to just hang out here in the middle stratosphere on Cloud Nine. I'm staying aware of all that my body does and frantically googling anything that seems to be abnormal according the books, sites, and everything else I've read. I'm going to keep peeing on preg tests to see that line or the word "pregnant" pop up (shhhh... I took a digital last night), probably even after I get my levels back from the blood work on Monday. Until there is a heartbeat, movement, something that can clue me in that every thing is A-OK in Fetus Land, I'm going to keep worrying. Because until this small, poppyseed-sized baby inside me is born, I'm still fighting to be fertile.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is a line a line, truly a line?

Warning: This post may contain incoherent ramblings.

I slept like crud last night. Between the anxiety and the physical discomfort I was feeling, I was awake about as much as I was asleep. My joints are achy and  my boobs were very uncomfortable when laying on my sides. Laying on my back or stomach was out of the question as that made the queasy/nauseous feeling worse. Come 6:30am, I couldn't stay asleep.

I had been debating testing since Tuesday. Was that bleeding on Monday possibly implantation? Were these "symptoms" I was having real or just all in my head and I was just hoping they were real? Yesterday, the queasy feeling at the back of my throat was still there as was the dizziness/headache. I had a bit more bleeding, and could swear I was minutes away from starting thanks to the bubbly, crampy feeling in my belly. It too was just an isolated incident and I haven't seen anymore since. Last night, I started having a heavy feeling in my upper chest, just above my bra. The girls were not comfortable. I hymned and hawed about testing or just waiting until my blood draw on Friday morning. I want to know so badly if I'm pregnant or just plain nuts.

So 6:30am, and I'm up today. Just out of curiosity, I temp. 98.7. Way above my coverline of 97.9. I go and use the bathroom. I collect a bit of pee in my Testing cup (c). You know, just in case. And then I pace. Should I? Should I test? Should I wait? Should I stop talking to myself? And then I just go for it. I take 1 of my 3 First Response Early Response (FRER in TTC lingo) tests and I dunk it for the required 5 seconds. I cap it, set it down, and resume pacing. My mind is racing. The tension in our small bath is nail-biting, and I was too.

At the 3min mark (in my head), I pick the test up. I squint. I panic. I squint and tilt the test some more. My heart is about to pound out of my chest. And this is why:

There is a hint of a line. A faint pink 2nd line. I've never ever seen one of these of my own. Usually, they are pure white, as white as snow. Nothing has ever shown up in that testing zone, no shadow, no evaporation line, nothing. My hands are trembling as I hold the test in disbelief. I start to choke up. Dumbfounded, I turn and walk back to the bed. I sit down beside the husband I adore more than anything else. I nudge him a wake. Then, I hand him the test, the stick with my pee on it, as if it was normal, hands still shaking.  "Turn on your light."  "What? Ok. What's this?"  "I took a test."  "There's a dark line and a faint line. What does that mean?"

I just grin like a psychotic lunatic. And I start crying and I'm covering my mouth for some crazy reason. All I can think is Oh. My. God. ohmygodohmygodohmygod! I'm pregnant. I... I am pregnant. And I'm sitting there, spazzing out on my husband. Hugging him. Kissing him. Trembling and tearing up. A complete freaking basket case. For almost 10min.

I've called an rescheduled my blood draw for today. At 10am, to be exact. By this afternoon, I'll know for sure whether or not I'm pregnant, what my hCG levels are, as well as my progesterone levels to see if the supps are helping and what the plan will be for the next several weeks. Looks like we went to Vegas, rolled the dice, and hit the jackpot. Our "minimal chance" may just have happened...

UPDATE: I was impatiently being forced to wait for the call about my results between 1-4pm, that was 2-5 hrs after getting home I had to watch the clock and check my phone and try not to totally lose it! So I attempted to nap at noon and eventually conked out, my phone tightly nestled against my chest. Wake up at 2:15p. While it did help the time magically go by, still no call and I had almost 2 more hrs I could be waiting, clutching my phone like it was the last piece of bread on Earth.

3:23pm. My phone rings. It's them! It's the RE's office! I scramble to answer the phone, hurriedly saying hello, only to hear someone being cut off as my phone drops the call! Utter dispair! I spend the next minute praying and whispering "Please call back, please, please call back." 3:25pm. My phone rings again. It's them! I start blathering on about how my phone dropped the call and such. Then the nurse gets down to business. "Well, I just wanted to let you know that your levels came back. They are positive for pregnancy at 24mIU/ml. Your progesterone is at 16mIU/ml." Thankfully, I wrote those down like an absent-minded robot, because I got stuck on the positive for pregnancy part.

While those numbers may seem kinda low to most people, I'm thrilled. I actually have some hCG in my system and  my progesterone is greater than 10! I have to keep taking the supplements but I don't care if that's all it takes. I realize I haven't peed at all today since that 1st test this morning. So 6hrs later, I use my Testing cup (c) and a 2nd FRER. The 2nd line is still faint, but a bit darker than before. Hot Diggity! I'm Pregnant. The month I gave up and didn't even think it was a possibility, the month I was totally unprepared for a positive was the month I got it. Go figure!

While I'm beyond excited and happy, I know not to take it for granted. There is so much that can happen between now and that 1st ultrasound, now and the 2nd trimester, and between now and my Due date (which is Oct 6th, by the way). I'm giving myself this day to act like a doofus and be a giggly, giddy little girl. Just today because tomorrow the worry sets in and I don't see it leaving anytime in the next 18yrs or so.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No one tells you that you'll lose your mind when TTC

So I think I'm officially crazy. Well, at least my body is. Late Monday morning I started bleeding, I assumed this was my period so I acted as such. When I changed it in the afternoon, I was surprised at how little blood was on it, but used another one. Nothing on it that night; nothing on the next one come morning. WTH, body?

On top of that, yesterday I started having the waves of a headache w/ a bit of dizziness and would feel quite flushed. This is the part were I think I might have gone off the deep end as well. I noticed that I would feel hungry, but eating didn't help. Drinking water didn't help. And the kicker was the catch at the back of my throat, the pressure and sensation that I have when I know that I'm about to revisit a meal. But the reunion of lunch never happened. My mind starts racing! Would it, could it even be possible that the gush on Monday was just implantation bleeding?! Could I actually, possibly, even remotely finally be pregnant?!?

I hym and haw between just waiting it out and calling the RE. I call and leave a message on the nurses line that I know probably sounds like I'm a nut job. "Um hi. I'm 12d post Ov. I had bleeding yesterday that I thought was my period, but none since. What is the earliest that I may have some hCG in my system after implantation that would show up on a blood test or a home test? Thanks, bye." The whole time my voice was trembling. Hearing that message, you'd never know that I've researched the living daylights out of fertility and pregnancy and already new all about the hormones of it all! I was just as dumb sounding when the nurse called back. Stuttering over my words, couldn't even remember the date that I ovulated or able to do the math well to figure it out. The 25th is 12dpo, so.... 25 - 12, no that isn't 16; that was the cycle day I O'd. Doh. The 13th!

In the end, I have an appt on Friday morning to have my 1st beta done. The 1st test in about 6mo now that I think might actually come up positive. I feel like a nervous wreck. My anxiety is bouncing off the walls. What if I am not? What if I AM? I won't even bother to take a home pee test until at least Thursday at the absolute earliest. It seems my test anxiety that I had in elementary and middle school has resurfaced. Except this time, it's not so much about my performance as it is the results. I think that is the real reason that I won't pee on that stick just yet. I'm just a ball of excitement, of anxiety, or dread and hope, joy and fear. I have no idea how I'm going to even remote appear sane let alone keep any scrap of my sanity until Friday when I hear the results.

I'm not overly religious. I'm not sure what I believe. But right now, what ever higher power there may be, please, please, please, 1000 times please. Let this test, this life changing test, let it come out with a +.

Monday, January 24, 2011

How Low can I go?

Haha! See what I did there?! Yup, kept with the limbo theme. Plus, my period does bring me to a bit of a low. Nice play on words, huh?

CD1 again. I was pretty much sure that it was coming, just wasn't sure when. I discovered a new pre-menstrual symptom though. Sore, achy joints. Yesterday, my hips, knees, shoulders and elbows were uncomfortable and just bothersome. Then there was the softening and slight raising of the cervix, and the fact that it went wide open today. The 1st couple of days of "Aunt Flo's" visit are always suck-tastic, physically and emotionally uncomfortable.

But I can drink! Drink my delicious adult beverages without the slightest bit of guilt that I may be damaging a developing pregnancy. The glasses of wine and cocktails that I "celebrate" the start of each new cycle boosts my spirit 2 fold. 1 - I love that I can drink and enjoy it without that previously mentioned guilt; savor the yummy flavors and smells. 2 - The buzz and all that comes with drinking makes be both happy and dulls my discomforts and aches. Plus, I don't have to deal with the pretty yucky progesterone supps for at least another 3 weeks!

Of course, there are far more negative things to focus on at this point in my cycle. Lack of baby. Another month of trying. The bleeding. Dealing with pads and tampons for the next 3-6d. The crazy crap my body goes through with the crash of hormones. I could just keep going on and on about the suck factor of a period. However, if I did that all the time, each time I'm back at square one/day one, how the heck could I even bear continuing trying? My soul would be long crushed by now under the oppressing negativity and despair that would generate.

I know this road is going to be a long one now, much longer than I anticipated or even dreamed it would be. Luckily, I've been able to to make stops along the way and pick up things that keep me going and moving forward. Words of wisdom and advice. The occasional drink and comfort/junk food, I'm not going to lie. But really there are just a couple of things that have really made this trip so much more bearable. The support and understanding of friends - mostly of the cyber variety, but true encouraging and caring friends none the less. Friends and the knowledge that I've made it this far. If I turn back now, that's just a lot more unnecessary walking, especially if that magical cycle we make our baby is just around the bend.

So CD1, and I'm prepping my travel pack for this cycle. Loaded it with those friends, another pair of shoes, feminine products, alcohol, my ovulation stimulation meds, prenatals, and all that other crap. Tied it all up in a cute little bundle, stuck it on the end of that limbo pole, and plan to toss it over my shoulder as I make my way on into February. And this time, I haven't even cried once yet!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

TTC Limbo

CD26 and 10d post Ov. I feel like I'm in limbo. I have no symptoms to lead me to think that either a + preg test or my period is in my near future. Nothing. This could be a good thing. It could equally be driving me nuts! I hate the waiting, the not knowing, the flip-flopping between hope and defeat. I would probably feel better if I was having signs that my monthly visitor was about to come calling. Anything is better than the uncertainty. Especially if you are as much of a Type A planner with anxiety issues like myself.

I have pretty much resigned myself to continuing on this long, winding road that is trying to conceive (TTC) on into next month, and most likely the following several months as well. I am under no illusions that my TTC journey is coming to a close anytime soon. This is my 8th cycle off the IUD. 7th month. I'm already thinking ahead about what we may do when we reach that 12m mark. Do we keep investing in the meds and vitamins and supplements? The follow-up appointments with the RE? Should we just come to terms that maybe conception is out of our reach and call it quits for now? Maybe start saving up for IVF (yikes!).

At 10dpo, most TTC women are just chomping at the bit to pee on a preg test. I had 1 internet cheapy test left. This little sliver of a stick that I have to dip into to "collected urine". Eh, I hadn't peed all day really, so why not. I wasn't expecting anything on it so I sorta waited for the majority of the dye to pass over the testing/control field. Negative. Oh well, no surprise and into the trash with the last test in the house. Sure, I had hoped that a 2nd line might have snuck in there and blown my mind, but I didn't expecting and wasn't really entertaining it as an actual possibility.

With each passing cycle, I feel like I'm getting more and more jaded and cynical about our chances. When my period comes in the next few days (see, right there. When not If.), I'm thinking that I might not even temp for the small window of O confirmation that I had this time around. I'm not sure if even want to take the Letrozole meds or continue the progesterone supps. I'm just so tired of it all. My life is being controlled by CDs and meds it seems. I long for the days that back when TTC was new and exciting. Every day held the possibility of being pregnant. Where I had hope that even though each test I took was negative, that maybe tomorrows would have that line. Where I thought that maybe I'd be one of those women that still had their periods while pregnant, validating taking another test after my period. You know, just in case.

But those days are long gone. That twinkle of optimism has long been extinguished; only sparking back up for a few days around ovulation and fizzling back out under the weight of the dreaded 2 wk wait. And some days, like today, I have to question myself and really think hard about it all. Is all this money, hormone manipulation, the ups and downs, the boxes of tampons and pads and pregnancy tests; is it all worth it? Last summer, I wouldn't have had any hesitation in screaming out a resounding YES. Now? All I can muster up is a "It will be if we ever get to hold a child of our own." I can say that my moods have become much more stable since removing any and all forms of birth control from my system. Well, with the exception of that lovely time of the month where my emotions are just as out of whack as my hormones.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Priorities- The Newest, Most Exclusive club

Work? Sorry. Cleaning? No way, back of the line. Bills? Maybe. Pups and kitties? Alright. Hubby? Head back to the Champagne room! Anything else that isn't involved in baby making, go home!

That is pretty much how things have been working in my head lately. The only things I'm putting any real energy into are TTC, the pets, my husband, and TTC. Yes, I intentionally repeated it. Where I use to peruse the internet for interesting things and entertaining sites, I now fill with TTC and fertility forums, temperature charts, fertility supplements, and the usual obsessive email checking.

The only things that easily come to mind and I remember have to deal with my meds, my cycle day, and various fertility signs. My house is a mess, my fridge and pantry are getting bare. I'm starting to view my job as a "in at 9, out by 6" deal when it is really a "in around 9, out when things get done". I don't start things if I know they'll keep me there too late, and I don't feel the drive to get everything done ASAP like I use too. My overachieving in all areas of my life has gone lax. The only thing I really want to achieve right now is getting pregnant.

I feel horrible admitting this. It makes me feel like a bad employee, a bad home-maker, and sometimes a bad wife and pet owner. At times though, I just don't care. I do worry about paying the bills late (which I have been doing more frequently lately), but as they are only a day or 2 late, I'm not mortified. Sure, we don't need to be paying the late fees, but they just slip my mind! I forget to pull something out for dinner; we can scrounge something up or heat up a pizza or pop in a meal-in-a-box. I either don't invite people over or do a quicky clean/hide the crap before they arrive to save myself the embarrassment of the current state of the house.

Almost all I can think about lately is a baby. Our baby. How everyone else is having babies, getting pregnant, or already has 1 or 2 or 3. Friends and family that got knocked up on accident. Oops! Women that got preggo before I could even toast an Eggo. They are all around me. Rubbing my face in their fertility. I'm not spiteful about it, just envious. I want to be one of them. I want a baby bump and prenatal appts and ultrasounds. I want the stress of pregnancy symptoms planning a nursery, and worrying about labor and if I'll be a good mom.

I want to re-prioritize my life so it doesn't feel like everything not baby-related is suffering. Maybe it's just a phase I'm stuck in at this moment? Maybe I'll snap out of it when the weather warms and I can actually be outside for more than 10min without loosing feeling in my extremities? Maybe all I really need the possibility of maybe a baby?

It's that time again!

** Initially written 01/15/11**

Since July, there has always been one special time each month, where I get so excited and am beyond optimistic that this is it, this is the month. Ovulation. The big O. I'm not sure if it is the crazy surges of LH or estrogen or endorphins from the accompanying physical activities that occur at this time, but I'm just bursting with hope and possibility each time it comes around. The weeks loom before me. Which will it be? Will I see red or will I see that glint of pink on that white background? So much hope, so much anticipation over the slightest of lines on a strip of paper, a piece of paper that I pee on.

So here I am again. Ovulation. Except this time, I don't even know when it was exactly. There is a 3 day range where my fertility signs all point to fertile and possible O, but not my temps. You see, I've been horrible about temping this cycle. I've decided to stop temping after I'm confident that I've ovulated so I can start taking my progesterone supplements, as well as during my period b/c they are usually all over the place until I start to approach O. Well, on top of being a bit out of practice, I've been sleeping horribly. Tossing and turning all night. Alternating between hot and cold. This makes my temperature not remotely accurate. I've also been extremely fatigued and out of it when I wake up in the morning, sometimes to the point of sleeping through my alarm even. This makes my temps not reliable b/c of time discrepancies.

The one time I decide to be lax with temping and not to bother with any ovulation prediction tests is the one time in the past 8 cycles that it would really make any difference. Surprisingly, as frustrating as that all is, I'm not wholly concerned about it. Sure, I need to know that I have actually ovulated for the progesterone bit, but a day early or a day late won't have any grave impacts. We got busy when we felt like it rather than because I was fertile and we didn't want to "waste the opportunity." This is usually more frequent around my fertile time anyways, thanks to the libido boosting powers of estrogen. Regardless of when O was, our "bases" are covered, so now it is onto the "dreaded" 2 week wait (which is actually more like 10-12d for me thanks so much to the med regimen I'm on).

On top of the mystery of my egg's release date, weird things have been occurring physically as well. No ovulation pains to signal the ovum's escape from its follicle. No crazy acne outbreak (yet). Unusual cramping, bubbly sensations inside my right hip bone has been entertaining me as well as super *fun* tenderness in my twins. One day they felt like they were on fire. The next, you'd think I was locked in a meat locker and sporting 2 temperature buttons. And now, they are just a bit sensitive. Sensitive to hot, cold, pressure, and touch. It's not painful, just annoying.

If I had to sum up the last week with regards to my body in one single word, baffling is at the top of my list. Make that 2, no 3 words- baffling, optimistic, and hopeful. Hopeful that even though I have no clue what the heck my body is thinking right now, I'm optimistic enough to hold out on the possibility that in less that 2 wks, I too may be joining the ranks of women who have peed on a stick and seen that glorious faint hint of a 2nd line.

Ready, set, wait?

** Initially written 01/10/11**

5 years. We've been married for 5 years now, 5 and a 1/2 almost. After the 1st 4 yrs, our families have stopped asking us "When?". In that time, all 3 of his brothers have married, 2 of them already have kids (1 of those 2 has 2 little girls). His 3rd and younger brother is expecting his 1st with his wife; she's due mid-May. As for my family, my oldest sister has had her 3rd kid, who is on his way to 4yrs. My younger sister has a 2yr old. Thankfully, my youngest sister is finishing school and all that.

By coincidence, when they stopped asking us was when we were ready to start. "When you're good and ready" was when we were finally ready. Boy, were we ready. My "biological clock" started ticking like a gong. I started "aww"ing at babies and little kids, at least to myself if not out loud. The thought of my belly swelling with our child almost brought tears to my eyes, and at this point it does. Our minds jumped miles down the road to picking out names, planning to redoing the guest room into a nursery, and more. In no time, we'll be expecting our 1st sweet child.

But as I said before, how wrong were we! The 1st cycle I wasn't really paying attention, but the 2nd, and 3rd, and 4th... 7d LP? Really? All my studies and classes about fertility and reproduction, how was I not prepared for this? But at least I knew something wasn't right. Off to the Ob/Gyn I go. I know how lucky I am that my Dr listens to me and treats me as an equal partner in my health and care. My blood work showed my TSH or thyroid level was just over 3 (normal is 0.5 to 4 or 5), everything else was clear, except my prolactin level. That's right, the hormone that promotes lactation was elevated and I've never been pregnant or breastfeeding. 29. Normal is less than 25, but ideally under 16. I could have a pituitary tumor or cyst. Or all my hormones could just be screwed up thanks to 10 years of various forms of birth control.

I get a referral to see a Reproductive Endocrinology specialist. After 3 months of TTC, we were seeing an RE. Something most couples with issues have to wait a year to do. I would say we are lucky, but no couple dealing with fertility issues is lucky. Quick little consultation and I have Rx for Letrozole if I choose to take it, orders for a semen analysis for Chris, and more blood work requested. I officially have a luteal phase defect. LPD. An insufficient amount of progesterone, the main hormone I spent 2 yrs studying, and I don't have enough of it to to have a normal cycle let alone sustain a pregnancy. Also, my thyroid levels are higher than their office likes to see in women that are TTC. I'm over 3 and they like them under 2.5. Hypothyroidism. My body is making extra TSH to try and signal my thyroid to get its act together. I've had several of those symptoms for months, almost a year, but my levels were always in "normal range". So I'm not technically hypothyroid, I'm sub-clinical hypothyroid. Not really much different in symptoms or treatments.

The 1st cycle on Letrozole/Femara was a bust. Still just 7d long. Next LP, I request a "CD21" work up. That involves an internal ultrasound to visualize the ovaries and corpus luteum (what release the progesterone) and blood work to check my hormone levels. My uterus and right ovary confirm that I did ovulate, like I have each month, but the ultrasound can't say if it was a good, strong ovulation. That is what the progesterone blood work does. Good ovulation registers over 10, medicated cycles are generally over 15. Mine was 8.9. Add in progesterone supplements to the meds I am taking to get pregnant.

So for the next handful of cycles, I'm continuing to take my Letrozole cd4-8, wait for ovulation, start taking my progesterone supplements after confirming ovulation, and wait to see if I either am pregnant or start my period. Wait to wait to wait to try again and wait. What other choice do we have?

The XYZs to Me

** Initially written 01/08/11**

Now that you are up to speed on all the fertility problems we are facing, I think it's probably appropriate to fill you in on some more details of who I actually AM.

I am the 2nd of 4 girls in my family, my older sister was from my mom's 1st marriage, and I was pretty unassuming growing up. I had great grades all through out school and was shy to a fault. I slowly came out of my shell, but only really comfortable with close friends and family. Except for a few of my pre-school years, I was and still am a tomboy. I loved being outdoors and knee deep in it. Dirt, bugs, birds, animals, plants- I loved it all. I still do. While I got A in all my classes in school, my favorite courses were math, science, and art (I am by no means an artist!) I loved all the equations and intricacies that made up the subjects.

So off I go to college. 1st semester in I decided to be a Biology major, but was still enthralled by chemistry, psychology, and physics. My coursework was general requirements and then packed full of science. Heck, even my electives were things like "Abnormal psychology", "Drugs and the Brain", and "Comparative Vertebrate Zoology". Science Nerd? Oh yes, I was. I teetered back and forth between focusing on genetics or conservational/behavioral biology. In the end, I just did them both, and minored in Chemisty and Psychology while I was at it. Starting my sophomore year, I also did undergraduate research in various labs. By my senior year, I knew I wanted to continue on in my science education and do more research.

Through out this whole time, I was seeing/dating/ with my now-husband-then-boyfriend. We meet online my freshman year, before internet dating was even cool. We were long distance until the end of my sophomore year, at which time he was experiencing a medical condition that kept him from working. That motivated him to move up to be with me, and that Fall we got our 1st apartment together. I'm not going to say "and things were great" because that is unrealistic and they weren't. It was hard going from being long distance to suddenly living together, seeing each other for a few days a month to 24/7. Relationships are hard, but you work on them if they are important to you, and ours was. He proposed on my 21st birthday, the end of my junior year.

My Senior year was then spent taking classes, doing undergrad research, working 30hrs, applying to grad schools and planning a wedding. Overachiever, yes I know. I didn't get into the research program that I really wanted, but happened to just fall into a different but similar one. In a 3month span, I graduated, got married, moved and started grad school.

Here's where things all start connecting to TTC. My grad program was Animal Science and my project was looking at fertility in dairy cows. I learned the ins and outs of the reproductive system of various animals (and people) and all about the play of hormones that make us all tick and tock. If it had to do with making babies, I knew it in about 5 different species. None of my learning was getting any use in my personal life yet as we were no where near ready to have kids. We barely had time for our pets, 2 cats at the time. That didn't stop the questions of "when will ya'll start having kids" and "thinking about starting a family yet?". We were the 1st on both sides to get married; we should be the 1st to have kids, right? At that time, we had no clue how wrong that would be.

The last 10 months, part 2

**Initially written 1/06/11**

December 2010 - The follow up..-I had hopes of being pregnant by this point! We discuss how things have been and where things may go. He was very open to me just continuing on with the Femara and progesterone post-Ov. We decided to do more blood work on me to see how things were responding thyroid-wise; still high at 3.35, so my dosage has been double and levels will be rechecked in a while. He suggested a repeat on the semen analysis in hopes that the changes we've done have made any improvements in his swimmers, most importantly on their motility. If not, he prepared me for the likelihood that we wouldn't have much chance of conceiving naturally on our own. If the sperm aren't moving well, they aren't going to make it all the way to the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg. Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) wouldn't even be an option because they still have to swim a great distance.

So we discussed the possibility of In vitro fertilization (IVF). This is something that we are 100% sure we aren't prepared to do just yet, if at all. 1st off, it is the farthest thing from natural. Hormone injections to promote follicle growth, shots to prevent ovulation, trigger shots to induce ovulation, egg retrieval surgery, sperm collection, washing, and then injection directly into the eggs, bake the eggs for a few days then insemination. 2nd, man is it expensive! Tens of thousands of dollars for the chance of maybe getting pregnant. We can't afford that. Not now and not in the foreseeable future. Our only real option at this point is to just keep trying and hoping that we can get things working soon.

I've done the ovulation prediction tests, I've taken pregnancy tests while waiting to see if my period would start, I've taken extra vitamins, fertility "supplements", taking my temperature religiously every morning, tried just about all the TTC suggestions available. I've ordered Motility boosting supplements hoping they have dramatic impacts on the "boys" before the re-test at the end of this month. I've laid still post-coital, even elevated my bum. What more can we do?

I've reached the point now that I know my body probably better than a sane person should. I've backed off most of my TTC "arsenal". I'm just taking my prescribed meds and vitamins. I'm only temping a few days before and after ovulation just for personal confirmation when I'm ovulating, so I can accurately gauge my LP length and start my progesterone supplements. I'm not peeing on any sticks, not taking extras or avoiding certain things. If I need to take meds for something, I'm not questioning if I can take them at this cycle point. If I want a drink, I have one. Heck, I'm not even trying to get it on for a *good* schedule in the hopes of it bettering my chances of conceiving. We'll do it when we want, regardless of whether I'm fertile or not, no feeling pressured to get as many times in before ovulation.

For 7 cycles, I've tried to many things, and nothing has worked. Maybe just letting things happen will make it actually happen. So here's to enjoying each day as best I can and not waiting for the next cycle marker, appreciating my husband and this time we have left with just the 2 of us, and here's to hoping that even though so many things are stacked against us, we luck out that 1 time and can have our little "slim to none" miracle child.

The last 10 months, part 1

**Initially written 1/06/11**

I guess the best place to start this blog is at the beginning of it all.

Spring 2010- We start discussing trying for a baby. Previously, these conversations were all one sided- The Boy saying he's ready to go and wants to start our family, and me saying I'm not ready yet. That's how it had been for the past 2 years. The 1st 2yrs, babies were completely off both our radars. Then in April, my brain apparently activated its baby trigger switch. I had been spending a decent amount of time with my year old niece, who is just adorable, found out a few friends of mine were pregnant, and started to see little babies and kids in whole new light. So I started to track my cycles. I still had my Mirena IUD in place, but it didn't prevent my body from ovulating and menstruating. I had great 27/28 day cycles!

At my yearly check up in at the end of June, I discussed trying to conceive (TTC) with my Ob/Gyn. She offered to remove the IUD that appt and told us to wait a full cycle before actively trying and start taking prenatals. I started temping and tracking my fertility signs as well so I could see exactly what my body was doing and where I was in my cycle. Well, I started getting obvious signs of impending ovulation mid-July, and we decided not to "try" but not prevent that month. Nothing.

By the end of our 1st actively TTC cycle in Late July/August, I had noticed my luteal phase (LP, the time after ovulation/before period) was only 7d, and I was ovulating later than the normal 14days, around cycle day19-21. Spoke with my Ob/Gyn again. Blood work. Thyroid normal at 3, but Prolactin was 29. She eventually referred me to a Reproductive Endocrinology specialist (RE), who luckily was just across the street from their office.

So another cycle bites the dust before my appt with the RE. Late ovulation, short LP. We meet and discuss my cycles. I was probably experiencing poor ovulation as it took longer to get my dominant follicle big enough to ovulate and formed a weak corpus luteum that produced little progesterone. He wrote me a prescription for Femara/Letrozole that should help boost my egg development and had more blood work done to double check my hormone levels. Well when my period came a few days later, I agonized over whether or not to fill the script. We had wanted to do this as naturally as possible and just see what was in store for us. Do we deviate from that plan and just do whatever it takes to get pregnant?

We decided baby steps, and I started taking the meds on cd3-7 each morning. Only side effect I experienced was night sweats, but they weren't horrible. The RE wanted a semen analysis done on Boy to go ahead and make sure things were ok with him and we only had to focus on fixing my issues. Unfortunately, his results were not so good. Low count and very low motility, "bare minimum that would result in conception" according to the clinic. Add in new vitamins for him.

That cycle, I still only had a 7d LP, which I mentioned to the clinic. His nurse gave me my levels from my previous blood work- Prolactin was down to 19 (good) but thyroid was still above 3, and they prefer levels to be below 2.5 in women that are TTC. Add in Synthroid for me as I was classified as sub-clinical Hypothyroid.

The next cycle was 28d, O on cd18, 10d LP (2 days longer than I've had since TTC). I went in to have a CD21 work up (on cd25, but 7d post ovulation). Ovulated on the right side, progesterone draw. Only 8.9 when medicated cycles should be over 12. Add in Progesterone supplements for me for the next 4 nights until my period came. The following cycle was also 28d. Letrozole cd3-7, O was the earliest at cd16. Oh and a 12d LP! 3rd cycle on Letrozole, and my script was out. Scheduled a follow up with the RE.