I’ll Probably Get My Period After Posting This

I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.

I’m 11 dpo today. My LP is usually 9 days. All tests have been negative.

I don’t really have any good reason to think we could be pregnant on our own after everything…. Still, here I am, obsessively testing and getting my hopes up. It’s early to be testing, I know, even though I’m technically two days late.

I’m driving myself crazy, willing negative pregnancy tests to JUST. BE. FUCKING. POSITIVE. Or for AF to show her ugly face sooner rather than later, if that’s the end game.

I hate the fucking mind games that come with TTC. But I can’t not try. I’m not ready to be done yet.

UPDATE: The witch showed up bright and early the morning after I wrote this. #toldyouso

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Getting Duped By Hope

I know this was only my first full cycle after my loss. I know we didn’t really try to get pregnant. I know it takes time to for one’s cycle to return to “normal” after a loss.

Still, I was devastated to get my period today.

I decided at the start of my cycle to use OPKs to have at least a general idea of what my body was doing or trying to do. I didn’t get a positive until CD 26, and we didn’t have sex until the day after that. Not avoiding trying to get pregnant, but certainly not making a valiant effort. Assuming I ovulated the day after that positive OPK (probably, since I also had fertile cervical fluid at that time), good old Aunt Flow’s arrival today means my luteal phase was a whopping 7 days. Or I didn’t ovulate at all, I suppose. Either way, it’s shit.

I had no right to hope for anything better than that, to be honest. I mean, back when we were TTC the old fashioned way, I always ovulated late-ish, around CD 20. And my LP was only 10 or 11 days long. So, not too far off from this cycle. Expecting my cycle to magically morph into that of a normal fertile person is simply ridiculous. Yet, I think subconsciously maybe I did expect it. Or at least I had hoped for it. You read so many stories about previously infertile women spontaneously conceiving, especially after a loss. Why couldn’t I be one of them? Didn’t I deserve to be one of them? Damn hope, once again reeling me in.

I don’t know where to go next. Maybe I would be happier not testing or tracking my cycle until we decide to really try to get pregnant (as unlikely as it may be). In fact, I know that’s what I should do. I should shut it down and not give it another thought until after the holidays. I should just enjoy Christmas with my family and work on healing my mind and body. Should….

Heavy Heart

heavyheartI’m struggling today. My own grief over our recent loss combined with the grief and fear over the presidential election results are just too much. My heart is just too heavy.

I’ll admit, I haven’t been doing the grief work that I know I need to do in order to heal and move forward. My therapist and I talked about the importance of acknowledging the loss in some way, like a service or ceremony, or some sort of physical memorial, like a tree (or the tattoo I’m planning). She asked if the baby had a name, and I told her no. It’s true – we hadn’t officially decided on anything, though I had pretty much settled on one before we learned of her condition. I hadn’t told my husband, because I was afraid I might change my mind before she was born. I still haven’t told him, but now I think I probably should. I think I would like for her to have a name. And, as much as it hurts, I would like to talk about her more, and giving her a name would help with that.

We haven’t talked about trying again. I’m afraid to open that door, because I have a feeling he will want to slam it closed and weld it shut for good. I keep telling people that we’re not sure if we want to try again, but the truth is that I do want to try. I want to try with our embryos until we don’t have any left. If we don’t, I may grow to resent it. I worry, though, about the strain it may cause. My husband is already working like a maniac to support us. We’re far from poor, but paying for even one more FET would be a stretch. Not to mention the emotional strain. At this moment in time, however, my desire to have another baby is greater than my drive to avoid conflict or discomfort, greater than my fear of having another baby with a neural tube defect.

I used to think people who claimed fear or grief after an election were just being dramatic. I mean, I wasn’t happy when George W. was elected, but I was far from scared or depressed. But this year, I’m among those scared and despondent. Chief among the many reasons for feeling that way is what this means for reproductive rights. It was hard enough for me to get an abortion for medical reasons, I’m legitimately afraid of how much worse things could get not only for people in a similar position, but also for those seeking abortion for any reason. Not only that, I’m dismayed by how many of my loved ones support a president and other elected officials who would take away my right to choose to end my pregnancy. It makes me sick to think that people I love, who are supposed to love me, would force me to carry to term a baby with no chance of living. It hurts. Deeply.

I’m not dealing with all of this emotional turmoil very well. Writing this blog post is the healthiest thing I’ve done in a while. Mostly, I’ve just been eating my feelings, and then feeling terrible for it, and  then eating THOSE feelings. A vicious cycle.

Moving Forward With FET

Butterflies in my stomach! Our upcoming FET is so much more real now. Last week, I spoke to my RE, who was just lovely and very positive about this FET working for us. We talked about breast feeding, and how I will need to completely stop before starting the estrogen, as the hormone is transmitted through breast milk. We haven’t had our calendar visit with the clinic yet, so I don’t have an exact date, but it won’t be until at least March or April. That gives me a little more time for C to self-wean, but I have serious doubts that it will happen that way.

I’ll have to repeat the saline sonogram (which hurt like a motherfucker the last time), and have some basic blood work done. The protocol is simple: Birth control for a few weeks to time it to the schedule, estrogen to plump my lining, then progesterone (Crinone).

We have 3 embryos in storage. They will thaw one at a time, because we’re doing a single transfer this time. Last time, we were okay with the idea of twins, but this time… not so much. For one, I can hardly imagine what it would be like with ONE newborn and a toddler. In addition, I’m pushing 40, and I just don’t want a risky(er) pregnancy. I realize it’s possible that I could end up with twins from transferring one embryo – if that happens, we’ll deal with it – but I’m just not interested in tempting the fates. Considering the fact that both embryos implanted the last time… well…

The hardest part will be the cost. Our infertility benefits were exhausted with our fresh IVF cycle, so we have to pay 100% out of pocket this time. We’ve been saving for it, so it won’t be a huge burden. But if it fails the first time, I’m not sure how we will pay for another try. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but I can’t help but think that we used up all of our luck getting pregnant on our first fresh cycle. Is it possible to get that lucky a second a time?

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Trying, Not Trying

I’ve mentioned before our plan to start trying for #2 when C turns a year old. Well, that time is here. I still find it rather comical that we’re going to try on our own first, but M thinks it’s a good idea. I don’t disagree that we might as well give it a try, no matter how remote the chance of conceiving on our own. It doesn’t cost anything (except perhaps my sanity), and – as everyone likes to tell me – you never know. I’m all for saving a few thousand dollars.

If   When I don’t get pregnant au naturale, we will do a FET, most likely next spring. That gives us about 6-7 months of trying on our own. The last time we TTC without help, I charted hardcore and used OPKs. I’m not sure I want to do all that again, so it may be that rather than try try, we’ll simply not prevent. I think I can handle that.

Of course, I have to get my cycle back first, and that means putting an end to breastfeeding. That will not be an easy task. C doesn’t nurse very often any more, but it’s a central part of her sleep routine, so I’m hesitant to take it away from her before she’s ready. And she isn’t showing any signs of being ready. Lots of women get pregnant while breastfeeding, but it seems I’m not even going to get my period until we stop. And even then, who knows? Part of me is tempted to just keep doing what we’re doing, and not worry about weaning until FET time. In other words, throw TTC on our own out the door.

So many emotions and thoughts…. Are we ready for this? Am I ready for this? This morning, as I was getting dressed, I looked down at my ankles and remembered how swollen they were at the end of my pregnancy. I thought about how difficult it was to carry around all that weight, and how utterly exhausted I was. How can I possible handle that again, this time with a toddler to take care of? I already feel like I’m missing a huge chunk of C’s life by working a full time job. I’ll miss even more when I’m too tired to play with her, and later when I’m caring for a newborn. I know people do it all the time, but that knowledge doesn’t seem to help with the guilt.

Not to mention the fear. Fear of miscarriage and stillbirth and premature birth. Fear that I won’t get pregnant at all. The optimist in me wrote the above paragraph, but the realist in me knows there’s a very good chance C will be our only child. As of this moment, I think I’m okay with that, but I know that trying and failing to get pregnant will take its toll on me.

6 Months & Making Plans

First, a baby update: C turned 6 months old yesterday. Six whole months! It’s unbelievable to me.

Likes

  • Squealing at the top of her lungs, especially when I match her squeal for squeal. It’s quite a fun game!
  • Jumping in her ExerSaucer
  • Grabbing ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME
  • Putting all the things she grabs immediately into her mouth
  • Tugging on dad’s beard
  • Reading books
  • Crinkly toys

Dislikes

  • Getting dressed
  • Being strapped into her car seat
  • Sitting up
  • Not being able to put my iPhone into her mouth
  • Strangers

She hasn’t had her 6 month check up yet, so I don’t know exactly how big she is, but I would estimate about 16-17 pounds and maybe 25 inches long (that’s a total guess).

Food

I’m still breastfeeding, and pumping while at work. It’s kind of a pain, especially when I travel, but I know it won’t be forever. In fact, I plan to wean at 12 months, if she hasn’t weaned herself before then. We have introduced solids. Our original plan was to do baby-lead weaning, but C doesn’t have much patience for learning to feed herself. She actually prefers that we put food directly into her mouth (which goes against baby-lead weaning). Instead, we’re doing a sort of hybrid. We give her whole foods from our meals, along with baby cereal and purees. Her favorites are strips of cooked red bell pepper, baked sweet potato fries, oatmeal, and peaches.

Sleep

The first thing everyone asks us is, “How is she sleeping?” The answer always varies, because sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s not so great. But it’s mostly pretty good. Between teething, growth spurts, learning new skills, and eating new foods, it’s a wonder she doesn’t have more bad nights.

Milestones

So far, I think she’s hit all the milestones we would expect. She rolls over both ways easily, and can sit up for short periods unassisted. She doesn’t crawl or scoot yet, but she has learned how to rotate on her stomach. She can stand with help, but she’d rather be jumping. She LOVES to “talk,” especially when I pick her up from daycare.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you. In a nutshell, C is awesome and things are going as well as I could hope!


The Best Laid Plans

It may be premature to talk about this, but M and I made a big decision recently. We decided we would try for baby #2 starting in August (when C will be a year old). We will try naturally (I can barely type that without laughing) until the spring of 2016, when we will attempt FET with our frozen embryos. Even though it’s a whole six months away, just thinking about trying naturally brings up a whole host of emotions, most of which make me want to vomit. I think I will have to force myself to not think of it as trying at all, but it won’t be easy.

IVF, Here We Come!

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that the IUI was a bust.

The morning before I tested, I had a series of dreams (4 or 5) in which I tested and got a positive. In most of them, M and I were so happy, we cried big, body-shaking sobs of pure joy. Needless to say, I was especially devastated when the cold reality of a stark white negative test was staring me in the face.

How? How could I not be pregnant when I had two eggs ready to go and M’s super-sperm got that huge assist from the medical staff? I know there are a million other things that have to line up just so in order for pregnancy to happen, but I’m still frustrated and angry that this didn’t work. I’m now worried that my egg quality is too low, but there’s no way to know for sure until we try IVF.

We are scheduled to take an IVF orientation class next week, the first step of the process for our clinic. After the class, one of the nurses will put us on the schedule and put together my calendar of medications and monitoring appointments. At this clinic, they do egg retrieval and transfers just one week a month, so there are a limited number of slots each month. We may have to wait until December or even January for our turn. I’m usually a fairly patient person, but this will be a challenge.

Since this is new territory for us, I plan to bury myself in research to learn as much as I can about the process and what I can to do optimize our chances. One of my first goals is to meet with a dietician to get myself on a more healthy track and to lose some weight quickly (but safely). Fortunately, my clinic does not have a weight requirement, but I know our chances are better if I drop more than a few pounds. I’m also curious about supplements to (maybe) improve egg quality. I’ve already contact my clinic about that.

So, even while I’m still upset that the IUI didn’t work, I’m actually looking forward to this next step. I’m scared that we’ll find out my eggs just aren’t good enough, but mostly I’m pretty hopeful that IVF will be our golden ticket to finally having a baby. I haven’t felt authentic hope in quite some time. That alone is a little scary.