Two Years and Counting

Closing in on IUI #5
October 31, 2008, 8:38 am
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Even though I haven’t had an LH surge, I went in to the doctor this morning for an ultrasound to see if ovulation is close and to see when the IUI will be. I did OPKs for the last couple of nights but didn’t have a surge, which is fairly normal for me. They like you to come in if you haven’t had a surge by a certain day, to make sure you don’t miss it. I tend to ovulate late, so even though I didn’t get that smiley face last night (day 15) I wasn’t too worried. And the ultrasound confirmed that I haven’t ovulated, but it’s close. The follicle was at 1.72 mm and they like it to be at 1.8 before they do the trigger. So I’ll go in tomorrow morning at 7:45 for another ultrasound and the trigger shot, as long as everything is at the proper measurement. Most likely the IUI will be Sunday morning.

It’s kind of nice to feel less stressed about this IUI. Back when I was doing them at the beginning of the year, I felt pretty stressed about getting the day right, trying on our own the few nights before, but not trying too much so we don’t deplete any “resources,” constantly counting days, hours, etc. Not much fun. Going into this one though, I kind of feel like if it happens, it happens. I guess I don’t have much expectation that it will work, and that helps. Maybe it’s a self-preservation thing!

And Stephanie, oh my gosh, have you had the nurse practitioner Kathy? Really short hair, kind of curly? She’s my absolute favorite. She’s so kind and encouraging and calm. If I ever get pregnant, I think I’ll bring her some cookies. 


Question about FSH/Clomid
October 28, 2008, 7:54 am
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I have a question for anyone who has done injectable drugs or Clomid. My doctor says I’m not a candidate for Clomid because I ovulate regularly each month on my own. Clomid makes you produce more eggs (right?) and I produce an egg, so don’t need it. I get that. Like I said in an earlier post, my doctor has now suggested injectable FSH (after we see what happens in the next couple of cycles.) Am I correct in thinking that the injectable FSH causes you to produce more eggs? If so, how is that different from Clomid, and why would she consider me a candidate for the FSH, but not the Clomid? I should have asked her this in my post-op meeting when she brought it up, but I wasn’t expecting her to bring up the FSH, and it kind of threw me off. 

M and I are thinking about what steps we may want to take come January, and I’d like to have some correct thoughts in my head about this FSH step before I talk to the doctor again. She seems to think we should try that before we try in vitro, seeing as how ivf is more expensive, invasive, and emotionally trying. Makes sense, but from what I’ve heard, it increases your chance of having multiples…and I still don’t get why I’d need it if I don’t need Clomid.

Any insight into this would be appreciated!

God’s Humor
October 23, 2008, 12:36 pm
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It strikes me as kind of funny that in the middle of our infertility, just when I was feeling pretty low after the surgery, my mother-in-law asked me to write a devotional for her churches women’s retreat…and the theme is JOY! My thoughts have been along the lines of, “Great, I’m the perfect person to be writing about joy at this point in my life!”

It’s not that I feel depressed or down in the dumps or sad all the time. Mostly, I try to not think about the whole not-getting-pregnant situation. Obviously it’s in the back of my mind, and it comes to the forefront at certain times during the month, but for the most part, I try to keep it buried under other, happier things in my mind and life. I’ve always been a fairly happy person (except for that underlying sadness or longing, which C.S. L.ewis so perfectly put words to in his essay The W.eight of Glory*) but this year, there has been a definite hampering to my happiness. While I wholeheartedly enjoy life simple things and times spent with my family and friends, the sadness is more acute at times, and the longing more desperate. And I’m learning that although I do feel a longing for children, it’s also a longing for completion, acceptance, recognition, and perfect peace that can’t be found in this life. I long for what I was made for, which is heaven and eternity with Jesus. Children is a longing that will never go away, but even having children won’t completely fulfill me. This is an important lesson to learn.

(*Caveat: I learned a lot of this through reading the Lewis essay—if you’ve never read it, it’s eye-opening, and it truly gave voice to a feeling I’ve always had, but didn’t know other people had as well.)

So anyway, the devotional I’m supposed to write. I was telling a friend about it the other day (this friend is also walking the infertility road). We agreed that maybe God put me in a place to be writing this devotional because I need to hear the words as much as the women at the retreat do. I’ve been thinking that I need to write something that will bless them and help them, when maybe it’s me who needs to be blessed and helped. Maybe that’s why God has me writing it. So far, I haven’t come up with anything that’s earth shattering or revolutionary. I still have a couple of weeks to work on it, and I just hope it’s something that blesses these women, and maybe me too.

On the doctor front, we’re still planning to try these next 2-3 cycles, then re-evaluate and decide what steps to take next, if I’m not pregnant by the end of the year. We did decide to go ahead with an IUI this month (and probably next month too). We figure we might as well boost our chances as much as we can. I confess I don’t have much hope in IUIs since we have four failed ones under our belt, but maybe, just maybe, since the few spots of endo I had are gone, the IUI will give us the boost we need. Who knows, it’s worth a shot.

I hope you all are having as nice weather as we’re having. I’m enjoying the cooler weather even though I mourn the loss of summer!

October 7, 2008, 2:25 pm
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Thanks to everyone for your encouraging comments after my down day on Monday. I am feeling better about things now. Not better as in I’m totally ok with it all, but I am better. Today I read a great thing over at I Believe in Miracles. She quoted a devotional that said that infertility is just a season in life. It will not last forever. That’s a really good thing to remember. God has allowed this struggle for me and M. I can’t fathom the reason, but I have to trust that one day, it’ll all be worth it. God’s plan is infinitely better than I can plan myself. 

I’ve been taking the progesterone, and it’s not too bad. The main side effect I’m realizing today is drowsiness. I get tired in the afternoons sometimes, but today, it’s really getting to me. I almost fell asleep at my desk a little while ago! So I turned to trusty Dr Google and found that many people find drowsiness to be a side effect of the progesterone. At least I’m not alone in my tiredness.

I have a pregnancy test scheduled for Monday, which I’m not excited about. I’ve made it a point in my IF journey to NOT do pregnancy tests unless my period is markedly late. It really stinks to take a test only to see it be negative. At least that’s how it is for me. I think I’ve only taken 2 pregnancy tests in the whole 20 or whatever months this has gone on. But Dr H said she wants me to have an actual test to know if I can stop taking the prog. They don’t want you to stop it until you know you’re not pregnant. They said they even want me to come in if my period comes this weekend. Not sure why that is, and I’d be willing to bet that if my period comes this weekend, I won’t be trotting in on Monday for a test!

Post-Op Appt and Lack of Hope
October 2, 2008, 11:03 am
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I had my post-op appointment today. I went in rather breezily, expecting Dr H to say, “We cleaned out your endo, now go forth and reproduce.” But I’m sad to say I left the appt almost in tears, feeling the air leaking out of my hope. She didn’t say anything especially hope-crushing, but I left feeling like all the hope and possibility that had built up in me (even if it was subconsciously) has been battered down.

Her tune was a bit different from what Matt relayed to me immediately after the surgery was over when she talked to him. He said that she told him there’s no way to tell if what she found was the culprit, so we just try and see what happens. Or maybe that’s what he just wanted to hear—or maybe it’s what he thought I needed to hear. In actuality, while there’s no way to tell 100% if the *mild* endo and *mild* pelvic adhesions were our culprit, she doesn’t seem convinced it was, and she suggested that it’s time to “move on to our next step.” Even her saying that shocked me because I was pretty confident our “next step” was to just try on our own at least through the end of 2008 to see if the lap cleared up our problem. I wasn’t prepared to talk about other steps.

She didn’t mention IVF like I thought—maybe it’s because she can tell I’m still not ready to go there, or maybe it’s because she remembered that my insurance said they won’t cover IVF because I haven’t tried any kind of fertility drugs. At any rate, she suggested FSH shots to induce the creation of more eggs—a situation that kind of terrifies me since that’s the way that most multiples come. And it terrifies me to think of having multiples. She said I still don’t need Clomid since I ovulate 1 egg each month on my own. The FSH would make me produce more than one egg, with the idea being that instead of the sperm just having just one egg to get to, they’ll have more than one egg to try for—increasing the odds that one of them might fertilize—although the chance is only 20%. 23% if we do an IUI with the FSH, instead of just on our own.

I asked her if she thinks the problem could be at the point of fertilization. After all, we tried 4 IUIs. It seems if there was a problem with cervical fluid or lackluster sperm or other obstacles, putting the sperm way up high, right next to the egg would solve the problem—all the sperm would have to do is fertilize, instead of the whole swimming north thing. Yet, nothing fertilized. She said that could be the problem, but there’s no way to tell that until you do IVF. (Which, by the way, she said gives you a 50% pregnancy odds. But even though the rate is much higher, I still can’t bring myself to that point.)

So that’s what we have to think about. She did say we can try natural cycles for the next 3 cycles just to see if having the endo cleared out does the trick. I brought up the fact that I’ve never had a luteal phase longer than 11 days—something that’s been in my mind for a while, but every time I mention it, they bring up the fact that my mid-cycle progesterone levels were fine when they checked. This time Dr H said she was fine with me going with progesterone support—the dreaded progesterone suppositories I’ve heard some of you mention. I’ll start taking it 8 days after ovulation and continue it until the pregnancy test that they’ll schedule. It sounds totally gross and not fun at all. I asked her if this is just a shot in the dark, or if she thinks it’s really worth trying. She said she’s ok with it. I don’t know what that means, but I suppose I’ll try it.

I just can’t shake the fear that it’s not going to happen for me. I don’t feel like I have much hope anymore. Hope for pregnancy, that is, not hope in general. The last time I said that to Matt, a few days after the surgery, he said he still has hope and that he has enough for both of us. I can’t fathom why this is part of God’s plan for me. I know it’s not our place to question him or his plan, but I’m just mad. And sad. And I feel sort of bottomed out. It was a really hard month for me and I was hoping for something good to come, but I’m just not expecting it. On the elevator this morning on the way to my appt, I was thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe I’d been going to that clinic since January and I’m still not any closer to pregnancy than I was 10 months ago. Hard to believe.  I don’t mean to be a downer, but this is a hard day.