For Sale: One Magic 8 Ball

The two of us were on the couch huddled around my iPhone’s speaker yesterday afternoon at 4 o’clock when I heard our nurse say, “…the beta was negative. I’m sorry.”

This one hit me hard. Much harder than our previous tries. I barely even opened my eyes this morning before I started crying again. I made it to work, but I’m not sure how long I’m going to last if I can’t keep the tears at bay. I can’t walk around here like a sad zombie all day.

There’s some other life stress right now, too. I can’t elaborate yet, but suffice it to say that Tuesday is going to be another really rough day. I know what’s coming, and I am dreading it. I seem to have crossed a line from “I can handle this” to “I can’t do this.” Hello, breaking point.

My beautiful wife is trying so hard. She’s devastated too, and she’s trying to keep both of our heads above water. As usual, I’d be lost without her.

I don’t know yet where we’re going to go from here other than that they are insisting on the HSG and are researching where I can get it done that is equipped to handle an iodine allergy and the potential repercussions. I think we’ll just wait to see what the test shows and maybe try again in July.

I’ve been peeing on sticks for over a year, now.  Things weren’t going so well this time last year either.  That’s the (never ending) cycle that kicked off my PCOS diagnosis, as I recall.  It’s hard to accept that one way or another–however this all turns out–our lives will never be the same again.  For all of the taking that TTC does–time, energy, money, enthusiasm, hope–the only thing it’s given me so far (other than a broken heart) is a smaller waistline.  Am I supposed to be grateful?

Predictions

The blood has been drawn, and now we wait.

(Side note: I am always so impressed with the nurses in the RE’s office who draw blood. Every time I got to an actual lab for blood work, I end up with a gigantic bruise because my skin is so fair and sensitive. These ladies barely even leave a mark, and certainly nothing even remotely bruise-like.)

I didn’t have the heart to take a home pregnancy test this morning. I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle another BFN (like yesterday), and I decided it just wasn’t worth it. The blood test will tell soon enough. They usually call around 4 pm, and I asked them to leave the results on my voice mail, so a) Catch and I can listen together, and b) I won’t get the news while I’m driving home from work. Tears + rush hour traffic do not mix.

As I sat here procrastinating this morning, I couldn’t resist my Magic 8 Ball.

Am I pregnant? Signs point to yes.

Did it really work this time? You may rely on it.

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(My 8 Ball is a happy meal toy I’ve had on my desk for years.  Not totally the real deal, but close enough.)

Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go…

…I wanna be sedated.  (Really–can we make that happen?)

Blood test tomorrow. In about 24 hours, we’ll have an answer. I am terrified. It’s worse this time because a) I was SO positive about this cycle from the very beginning (not the case with previous cycles), and b) I have no idea what we’re going to do next if this doesn’t work.

Our plan with the RE only extended for two cycles. After that, we’re to re-evaluate. I know she’ll want me to have the HSG, which is fine. We’ll just have to find a radiologist who can handle my iodine allergy. We’ll likely have to sit out the HSG cycle, since I doubt the RE will want to give me another round of clomid in the event that the HSG finds something wonky. Plus, I’ve been told I’ll need to take steroids to deal with the allergy issue, and I’m not sure that’s going to mix well with TTC. AND, if they don’t control the allergy as well as they hope, I’ll probably have inflammation and I doubt that will be conducive to TTC, either.

Really though, I have no clue about anything.

We’re also at a crossroads with our savings account. We’re down to about half of what we had when we started, which happens to be about half of what we’d need to do IVF. I’m hesitant to spend more money on IUI because if it fails, we’re really hurting our financial odds of being able to make IVF happen. These double insemination cycles with the RE have been costing over $3,000 a cycle—mostly because of the cost of the sperm, which works out to about $1700 a cycle.  

It’s a gamble, either way. We could do two more rounds of these double IUIs and have no luck and nothing left for IVF. Or, we could do a round of IVF and have nothing left for anything further period. I feel like my odds would be better in a Vegas casino. Wheel of Fortune slots , anyone?

What would you do? Suck it up for another cycle or two of IUI, or break out the IVF big guns while you still can?

In the Garden

One of my most beloved distractions while we TTC has been my garden.

Carrots in a half wine barrel

Carrots in a half wine barrel

We don’t have a ton of planter space in our back yard, but we do have a paved, uncovered patio at the end of the yard that we don’t really use because we have another patio that’s covered and is much more practical. Every spring, that area becomes the space for my container garden.

Photo May 16, 6 38 10 PM

Lemon Cucumber

This year, I’m growing carrots, 8 varieties of tomato, kale, jalapenos plus two other types of heirloom peppers, green onion, lemon cucumber, and some herbs—oregano, thyme, basil, lemon basil and chives.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Kale

Kale

Jalapenos

Jalapenos

It’s a total hodgepodge of pots and wire tomato cages back there. Maybe it’s not the most attractive looking thing, but I love it so much.

Photo May 16, 6 38 19 PM

The Hodgepodge

There’s something about the quiet time I get to spend out there watering. I water in the evening just before dusk when the hummingbirds are still flitting about. It’s very Zen, and I always feel so much more calm when I’m finished.

More tomatoes (and a hound hiding in the background)

More tomatoes (and a hound hiding in the background)

I’m looking forward to some time out there tomorrow morning. Everything needs to be fed, which means hands in the dirt—even better!

6 more days of this impossible waiting.  Part of me wishes it would last forever because I’d rather have this hope to hold onto.

The Fog – 5 DPIUI

First off, welcome to my new spot on the internet. I like my little WordPress blog so far, but I’m still working on getting my stupid gravatar thingy to link to the right blog. I have an old WordPress blog that I haven’t used in years and it wants to keep linking to that. (I think I finally figured it out.)

Today is day 5 of the progesterone supplements, and the hormonal fog has definitely settled in. I don’t feel like the same person I was on Sunday, which is a bit defeating. I’m not generally one who suffers from side effects of anything, so this is frustrating to me. Fortunately, we can see pretty clearly that it’s the supplement, and I know I’m not just going crazy. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m going to watch it get closer every day.

Our blood test date with the RE is on Thursday the 29th. I’m a little freaked out about it though, because it will only be 12 days since our IUIs. The nurse scheduled it for 2 weeks from the trigger rather than 2 weeks from ovulation/insemination. I don’t really get it, but my RE wasn’t concerned when I mentioned it. So the TWW is a bit abbreviated, I suppose. Maybe that’s a good thing? I have no idea.

I’m still working on staying positive, but it’s been harder with the fog. I’ve also been having stressful awful dreams at night and sleep has been very restless as a result.

I’m ready for a vacation. A nice long relaxing getaway where I can have as many bread sticks and glasses of wine as I want. Unless this cycle works, in which case I am PERFECTLY happy to continue to be gluten and alcohol free and I won’t even complain about it anymore. Pinkie swear.

3 DPIUI

On Saturday night, my 20-something cousin fell from the 3rd story of a parking structure at Universal Studios onto concrete.  Amazingly, she survived, but she has a long road ahead of her.  She’s already had surgery twice, with another scheduled for Thursday and more in the future. 

I’m not the praying type, but if you have some good thoughts to spare, she could sure use them.

Meanwhile, the days continue to trickle by.  Today is my third day of progesterone, and I’m trying not to slip into the same progesterone fog as last cycle.  I have way too much on my plate right now to add hormonal insanity to the mix. 

I’ve been trying my hardest to avoid gluten this cycle because I’ve read that gluten and PCOS do not play nicely together.  I totally spaced about it over the weekend and had some pita bread with lunch on Friday and Saturday, and yesterday I caved and had half of a breadstick at dinner.  I’m feeling incredibly guilty about all of it—like if this cycle fails, it will be the fault of that damn breadstick.  It’s ridiculous, because in my heart I know that if gluten was truly going to hinder our attempts at pregnancy, my RE would have given us that warning along with wit her requests that I avoid hot tubs and running.

Distraction has been my best friend, lately.  We started watching Orange is the New Black last weekend, and we’re both hooked.  We only have two episodes left, and I’m going to be totally sad when we’re done—although the new season starts on June 6th, and we might end up re-starting our Netflix membership JUST for this ridiculous show. We’ll see.

I’m ashamed to admit that my other best distraction at the moment is video bingo on my iPad.  Really.  Because I am a 75 year old woman trapped in the body of a 32 year old.

Please let this work.

Here is Why I’m a Nervous Wreck (1 DPIUI)

Our IUIs on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning were uneventful enough.  Although I suppose it’s spectacularly crazy to describe having 47 million sperm shoved through your cervix as uneventful.  I should say instead that it was without complication.

Our thawed sperm count on Saturday morning was 34 million, which is the highest we’ve seen so far.  Our previous samples have been in the range of 14-18 million (Friday was 17), so Saturday pretty much blew them all out of the water.  
 
As Catch and I were sitting at breakfast on Saturday after the procedure, I mentioned that it’s totally surreal to think that there are 34 million little somethings floating around inside my body and that I cannot feel them at all.  I mean, I suppose straight women deal with this all the time—and in larger numbers than 34 million, but still—how do you not feel 34 million things that are moving around inside of you?  (Rhetorical question—I understand the science, I just find it bizarre nonetheless.)
 
This round of IUIs was our first with our actual doctor, and it was a very different experience.  First off, I had significant cramping for about 6-8 hours after all of our previous IUIs until this round.  This time, there was some slight cramping during the procedure, but when she was finished I felt absolutely nothing. No pain at all.  I also had MUCH less spotting afterward than I have on all of our previous attempts.
 
She did the IUIs differently than the others.  She really took her time and was very precise.  She got the catheter in so it was just through my cervix, and then she used the ultrasound wand so she could watch exactly where she was placing the sperm in my uterus.  It was amazing to be able to watch them floating around on the screen.  That was a whole new experience for us.  (Also a new experience for my poor lady parts—a speculum, a catheter AND the dildocam simultaneously. Wow.)
 
I’m assuming that the reason for the lack of cramping afterward was just how careful she was with that catheter once she was inside my uterus.  It was so reassuring to experience the difference between her level of expertise (and caution) and that of the previous nurse practitioners.
 
Anyway, I am still excited about this cycle, but the doubts have started creeping in.  I’m finding every possible reason to be paranoid.  The prime anxiety is timing.  Generally, I have some pain around ovulation time, and this time I had no pain until late yesterday afternoon—about 8 hours after our IUI.  The pain (isolated on my right side, which is where our mature follicles were) continued this morning for a while, too.  I’m just afraid that we missed our window.  I’m afraid our inseminations were too early.  I’m afraid I ovulated either too close to the end of the life of our sperm or beyond it.  
 
I promised Catch that I’d be positive this time around, so I’m really trying hard.  Every time I start to feel the anxiety settle in, I try to change up what I’m doing.  It’s why I’m sitting here writing about it.  I’m hoping that if I get it out, I can let go of it for a while.  
 
Catch likes to take pictures when we’re in the room for the inseminations, so here I am with my knees up waiting for the little sperm timer to let us know that I can put my pants back on. I printed out that little picture for us to bring into the room this time.  It’s my mantra this cycle.
 
Photo
 
Please, let this work.
 

Beginnings

In all my dreams about what marriage would be like, I never imagined that one day—after some cuddling on the couch over a couple of episodes of Orange is the New Black—I would lift up my skirt, hand my wife a syringe, and ask her to plunge a needle into my ass.

All joking aside, we are both so excited for today.  Nervous too, but I’m fighting really hard to keep the nerves at bay. 

I got a text message from my dad a while ago telling me that my nana has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  She’s been in the hospital since Monday, and it’s been one thing after the next since she was admitted.  I was dealing with it all pretty well until my aunt sent me a video of nana thanking me for the Mother’s Day card a little while ago.  Now I just want to cry.  Part of me wants to head straight to the hospital to see her, but the hospital is a good 45 minutes away, and I have to be at the RE in 2 hours. 

It’s a weird place to be in.  I feel like I’m caught between happiness at the thought that we could actually be starting our family today, and sadness at the thought that I could also be losing my nana.  My only remaining grandparent. 

Hang in there, Nana.  There’s another great grandbaby somewhere in your future, and I need the two of you to know each other. 

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My eyes are closed tight and my fingers are crossed–please let today be a day for beginnings.  There's no room in my life for any endings right now.

The Unexpected

Photo 2

Hello, dildocam!  Lovely to see you this morning.

Today is CD 10, and I was back at the RE to see what the Clomid was up to.  I expected to see several 14-ish mm follicles and for her to send me on my way with instructions to either come back on Monday for another check, or to do the trigger shot on Monday night. 

Turns out, I have one follicle at 23mm, another at 18, and a couple more at 16, so she wants me to do the HCG trigger tonight at 8:45.  Then we inseminate tomorrow afternoon (18 hours post trigger) and Saturday morning (36 hours post trigger.)

I am freaking out a little bit.  Or a lot bit.  I feel like it’s too early.  Trigger on CD 10?  I wasn’t prepared for this.  I know that sounds ridiculous, and that we NEVER have any real control over this process, but I’m totally thrown off.  When I do manage to ovulate (whether on clomid or off) it’s always around CD 17, so it never occurred to me that we’d be here already.  HOWEVER, this is my first clomid cycle since losing 45 pounds, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s a bit different this time.  (Also, have I mentioned that I’ve lost 45 POUNDS?!)

This puts a wrench in my whole plan where this 3rd cycle spans our 33rd birthdays (and yay, 3!), because my pregnancy test is now scheduled for May 29th, which means that we’ll have our answer before my birthday on June 2nd. So I will either spend my 33rd birthday pregnant and ecstatic, or shit faced and bleeding.

On the other hand, I really didn’t think I’d have another chance to take a pregnancy test before my birthday.  I thought last cycle was my last chance to fulfill my wish to be pregnant before I turn 33.  Turns out that’s not so much the case. 

Also, tomorrow after our insemination, Catch is chaperoning her school’s prom.  I think it would be absolutely hilarious if I managed to get knocked up on prom night. 

I am so nervous right now, it’s ridiculous.  Fingers crossed.  Bring on that trigger shot.

Back at it

I had the pleasure of a visit with the dildocam yesterday morning.  Actually, I can’t even be sarcastic about that little bugger, because it was kind to me for a change—revealing a fantastic view of a cyst-free left ovary.  We are back in business.

I’m about to take my 2nd 100 mg dose of clomid.  As I was walking away after paying for it at Target yesterday, the pharmacist called out, “Good luck!”  I hadn’t even spoken with her other than to say good morning, hand over the prescription and swipe my debit card.  It made me feel really good.

Catch and I seem to be on the same page this cycle.  We both have a good feeling.  I’m almost afraid to write that lest I jinx it, but something just feels different this time. 

You know my thing about the number three, and I can’t overlook that this will be our third cycle.  It also happens to span our 33rd birthdays.  BOTH of them.  Catch is next week, and mine is June 2nd.  It seems like the odds of all of those threes coinciding are pretty slim—maybe as slim as the odds of getting pregnant on any given cycle—and yet here they are.

I go back for a follow up scan on Thursday.  We’re going to do an HCG trigger again this cycle, and I imagine our inseminations will be sometime around the 21st.

So that’s where we stand.  I’m trying to keep my chin up and stay positive.  I promised Catch that I’d mind my karma this cycle and refrain from rolling my eyes or painting imaginary targets on pregnant women. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…