Thursday, October 31, 2013

Exciting stuff, or, the Riveting Mama enters another kind of 2WW....

Well, not as exciting as a BFP WILL be, but, let's see...AF stayed 6 days and, um, made her presence known.  It's now CD 13; mucus mucus, pinches in my ovaries, that solitary zit popped out on my chin this evening, and let's just say, my body is telling me that locking a man in my bedroom for about 36 hours would be a VERY good thing.  (Good thing I'm working through Monday lol).  Two natural cycles in a row?!?!  Could it be?!?!?  Guess I'll let you all know after a different kind of 2WW has run its course.

Speaking of work, The Riveting Mama sold out and got herself a respectable day job.  It's doing care management, staffing, and HR like I did up until a year ago, but private sector.  It's not the job I thought I'd be doing if I left my current job, but I'll still save lives on the weekends; maybe go patch up drunks in exchange for free concert tickets or something-haha!  It's salaried with benefits; and has a regular Monday through Friday schedule.  It's offering me stability, which, after some soul searching, is really what I've determined I need right now.  I've talked it over with my family, and they agree I should give it a go.  I haven't quit my current job.  I've learned the hard way that in terms of employment, it's not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket in this day and age.   So, we shall see what happens there.  Wish me luck!

In other news, my next TTC cycle date is still undetermined.  I ended up having to deal with some legal issues (civil, not criminal; don't worry).  So, that means I have to come up with $800 for a retainer.  My lawyer is a good guy, but shit, is he ever expensive!  Well, there goes a couple of visits, U/Ss, and labs.  I'll keep plugging along though; I've got my storage paid up for another three months yet.  Really, this is an opportunity for me to keep getting in shape, building up my vitamin and mineral stores, etc.  I read that getting one's magnesium level up in the months leading up to pregnancy can seriously help with morning sickness.  I'm still in the game folks, just taking a little time out.  As always, thanks for all your support, love, and encouragement.  I'll be in touch!  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cold weather ramblings....

Good chilly evening to you all!  We did get a dusting of snow in the Twin Cities this weekend, but didn't get hit nearly as hard as they did up north.  I've been keeping A in my thoughts on a daily basis as she awaits the arrival of her little girl.  Apparently, this little lady didn't keep with the tradition of arriving in a snow storm! 

On that note, the community is flooded with good news.  I have read about 4 pregnancies that are progressing beautifully.  H just found out she is having a little boy.  Welcome to the world little Ruckus; we can't wait to meet you!  The other 3 were hard-won after long battles with infertility.  M and K both underwent around 10 IUIs, 1 IVF then FET, and both suffered losses along the way. J's surrogate made it to the second trimester this week.  After multiple pregnancies and losses, she turned to using a surrogate to carry her own embryos.  The first attempt didn't work, but this embie turned out to be the trooper.  J has never seen week 12 before, and I couldn't be happier for her.  These women have inspired me as I keep moving down this journey.  If they can triumph, then so can I.

Speaking of losses, October 15th was national pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.  It was kind of bittersweet for me.  Years ago, I met some amazing women on an online support group.  I am still in contact with some of them.  We reached out to each other as usual.  This year, it seems that social media campaigns are doing what they do.  It was wonderful to see so many women I know speaking out about being "1 in 4."  Actually, I didn't even know that some of them had been through this.  So, I have developed a little comradery with them.  I am very thankful for the kind messages I got that day.  But the interesting thing is:  nothing from my family.  At all.  Not publicly or privately.  It didn't have to be a big thing.  My message for the day encouraged people to give mothers who have experienced a loss a hug, because it's nice to have the occasional reminder that people haven't forgotten.  Not a lot of fuss required at all.  I'm not incredibly upset over it, and didn't even mention it to any of them.  It's just interesting that a group of people who has been so supportive of my being a mother would be silent on this one thing.

Remember how I always say that support comes when you least expect it?  Well, a friend of mine who has outright criticized my decision to the point of saying he thought anyone would be crazy to do what I am doing (and he didn't mean that in a humorous way) just sent me the following message yesterday:  "You my dear will be an amazing mother and I am sure of it."  It made me smile.  

I do have some exciting news to report though: I have both ovulated and come into the presence of AF on my own and within 30 days!  Yes, these things are exciting to SMCs in the making.  I did a little happy dance on Saturday morning.  I feel no shame in admitting it. :) I mentioned it to Dad yesterday while we were discussing canning and baking recipes.  He laughed and said, "I knew you had it in you."  Now, don't get to excited.  Unmedicated IUIs are NOT in my future.  I appreciate good omens though:  five healthy babies on the way and a natural cycle for me has me in good spirits at least.  So good that I believe I will celebrate with a nice glass of Riesling while I still can.

Stay warm everyone and keep the updates coming!  


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Serious changes?

Hi everyone!  These past few weeks have been interesting to say the least.  I was on a much needed break from TTC.  Yes, a break.  As expected, my beta was negative.  I didn't even cry when I heard the news.  I knew it was coming.  

I decided that this cycle I needed to work on me.  I half succeeded.  I've been working a lot, and not being nearly as active as I was up to TTC.  I have been watching what I eat, but I have to admit to writing a rant on Facebook about the Republicans coming to the door and coming between me and my syrup and butter-laden pancakes.  Oops.  My total weight loss to date got up to 55 pounds, but I gained 3 of them back.  Oh well.   I think a lot of women go into a "break" with the intention of getting in better shape or changing their diets during that time, and it doesn't quite work out all the time.  Hey, I'm happy, and that's what matters.

I have been doing some serious thinking.  I'm debating what to do for my next cycle.  I definitely think that the Gonal-F is the way to go.  I'll get better eggs and more of them.  But, I'm also concerned about the progesterone levels.  I'm toying with the idea of another Femara cycle to see if the PIO injections can get the level high enough for comfort.  This may or may not be a reasonable train of thought, but should I waste the Gonal-F on a cycle that has less chance of working out because my levels aren't high enough to support my little bean sticking?  Hmmm.....

In other news, your favorite wannabee MN mama went on a date last Friday.  I maintained a period of no-contact with the Ironman, and the only contact I did have with him after involved me wishing him a happy birthday and telling him about a trip I plan to take.  I told him I wasn't mad so much as "inquisitively disappointed" in him (this is in reference to the information I learned from E).  My therapist was supportive of this and has done a beautiful job of being there for me during the past  couple of months.

My therapist also encouraged me to go on a date or two if I felt I was ready.  Since making my decision to become an SMC, and even when I was still thinking about it, I haven't actively sought out new men to date.  The ones I was attracted to kind of fell in my lap.  And B was a part of my life before.  Well, I had been talking to A, a guy I went to high school with, via Facebook.  We knew who the other was, but never really hung out, although we did have friends in common.  We hadn't seen each other in almost 11 years.  We have some things in common and found it easy to converse with each other.  The conversations would get flirty occasionally, but not out of hand.  I could sense he was interested in me, but he never made a move.  So, one day, I just said, "If you want to get together with me sometime, just ask me."  He did immediately.

Anyways, he's been divorced for about 5 years, owns his own home in our hometown, and has primary custody of his 6-year old daughter.   He does computer programing and seems to enjoy it, although I admit I only understand about half of what he says sometimes.  He seems to have his life together somewhat, so I figured why not?

We met up for dinner and then went to a Halloween maze, where we were promptly rained on like no one's business.  It was fun though.  No lapses in conversation, and we both have a similar sense of humor so we were able to joke and keep it interesting.  We left early because of the rain, and got stuck in horrible traffic due to construction.  We had left his car at his house and gone in mine; Shakopee is a ways away after all.  I had to work in the morning, so I didn't stay long.  I got a tour of the house (his daughter was at her mom's house for the weekend), and checked out his gaming laptop.  I've given you plenty of reasons to laugh at me over the past year or so, so what's one more?  Ready?  When we were hugging good-bye, I got a good whiff of him.  I'm somewhat unusual in that I associate memory with the way things smell.  My olfactory sense is part of what determines my level of attraction to someone.  If it's the right person, it sort of shakes something up deep inside of me.  It's kind of hard to explain.  It's more than just pheromones.  Normally, I keep this quiet.  But that night?  I found myself whispering, "You smell good."  He looked at me with a bit of curiosity, and hugged me again.  He leaned his forehead against mine and said, "I'll see you soon."  We kissed a few times, and I left.

So, we shall see.  He did say that he's not sure about having more children, but then said, "Well, I suppose it's all right as long as the kids don't out-number the parents," and smiled at me.  (He had been engaged to a woman up until about a year ago who had 3 kids.)  I haven't told him about my TTC plans, but I will if I keep seeing him.  I will most definitely keep him in the loop more than I did with B.  B was always aware of it, but I never got a clear answer of how he felt about it.  I was so afraid of his reaction that I didn't tell him when I had my first IUI.  I did try though; I really did.  And after, well, you all know what happened....

We shall see how things continue to play out.  My plan right now is to save up for three ultrasounds (ouch) and continue on with life.  Let the cards fall where they may...good night!!!               


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Wannabee SMC: The Riveting Mama Bangs Her Head Against a Wall.

Well, we are 13dpo/iui.  Took a cheapie test this morning: negative.  Damn.  I'm headed in to Diamond this afternoon for a beta, and I'll have the final verdict tomorrow afternoon.  I'm not holding my breath.  I'll write more about this tomorrow, but I will say that I am a) taking a cycle off to regroup, and b) will be making some serious changes next time. 

Till tomorrow...... 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Day In The Life of a Wannabee SMC: I am the Official Owner of a Luteal Phase Defect (?).

Yesterday, I dropped by Diamond to get my fasting progesterone drawn before I went to work.  Forgot my progesterone, had to go home and get it.  Ended up being late, but Heidi fit me in anyways.  Went to work hoping for the best. 

I found out this morning that the level is only 6.8.  They would like to see it above 15, as this is a medicated cycle.  This is after being on 50mg of progesterone for 5 days (I started the evening after my IUI; the level was checked 6dpiui).  Either the blood level isn't high enough because the progesterone is being absorbed "locally,"  or I'm just not responding to it.  My dose has been doubled, but they won't even check the level with my beta this month.  They'll only check it if I get pregnant, and then if it isn't high enough, they will stick me on progesterone in oil (PIO) shots.  Otherwise, they want me to continue on the 100mg twice a day for my next cycle, then only switch to PIO if the 7dop level is still too low.

Honestly, I am very irritated right now.  I'm feeling like a science experiment test subject, except this "study" is severely playing with my finances and more importantly, my heart.  This could have been checked out last cycle, but they "didn't think it was necessary."  And now, they want to play it conservatively, because the injections "are a pain."

I'm going back and forth with the "plan."  I understand that I may indeed be getting enough progesterone, and it just isn't showing up.  But either way, at least with PIO shots, the level can be checked more accurately.  I probably wouldn't be thinking this way if the level had been borderline, but this is WAY under what should be seen with even an un-medicated cycle.  My insurance will cover the injections.  Yes, they are painful, and yes, I may be kicking myself in the arse after a few weeks of daily IM shots, but in the end, I want to be successful.  I will do anything I have to to help ensure I get pregnant, stay pregnant, and have a healthy baby.  If that means a lumpy sore rear end, so be it.  I've got ice packs.

I'm even more determined to do it this way, since I am looking at an injectable cycle if this one is not successful.  If I am going to spend the money on the extra U/S and E2 levels, then I should be able to have the post-IUI support that makes me the most comfortable right?  There have been so many things about this process that I have no power over, but THIS is one thing I can control, and with relative simplicity to boot.   

Speaking of which, I am almost as intrigued to hear this as I am irritated by it.  Could this be the answer I have been looking for all these years?  Was this the reason I miscarried before?  Did I just not make enough natural progesterone to support the pregnancy?  If so, this could be corrected.  It also upsets me in other ways.  Why wasn't my progesterone level checked at my first prenatal appointment?   I remember the nurse stopping when I told her about my mother's history of miscarriages.  They drew just about every other lab they could; so what's one more vial of blood?  Maybe if they had, I would have brought my child to her first day of second grade last week.  Also, when I looked for answers, I was just told to "come back when you are ready to have more kids" and slapped on birth control.  I was told this for years.  I know that there are so many other factors that may have caused this, and that this may not even be an issue.  It's just hard to stop my mind from going there.  I hope it's understandable.

 I would love to hear all of your thoughts.  What were your levels at 6-8 dpo?  What was your course of treatment?  Do you think I am correct in my thinking, or am I reaching?  M also brought up an interesting thought:  is it possible that I am getting enough progesterone, but my corpus luteum isn't producing enough to make up the difference due to poor egg quality?  My numbers were great, and I am young(er), but is that something I should be asking about as well?

I'm sorry for all the rambling and questions, but's so frustrating to be told you can get pregnant with "a little help," but then have all these other things come to the surface that may or may not even be happening.  I know I over-think a lot of this.  But when you want something so badly, that's something that tends to happen; or at least it does in my case.  It's just that throughout this entire process I have had doctors and other medical professionals telling me I am incorrect and that the things I want to explore "really aren't necessary."  According to them, I didn't need Provera to induce my period, I didn't need male hormone and insulin levels checked, I wasn't losing weight because I didn't eat right and didn't exercise like I said I did, and I certainly didn't have PCOS.  But when I insist on these things being explored, it turns out that I was correct to do so.  I did have insulin resistance, I do have PCOS "or something like it," and once I started on the metformin in addition to doing everything I was already doing, almost 50 pounds fell off in a matter of months.  It's frustrating, and I keep reading about this kind of thing on other people's blogs and the boards too!

And...what can I expect to go through if I end up needing to be more aggressive with treatment than I am already?  Yikes! least I have a day off tomorrow and a night at the movies with the girls to look forward to.  And hey, maybe I am pregnant after all.  It could happen....  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Wannabee SMC: The f@#%&* Two Week Wait Commences!

All right my lovely's out in cyber-land.  We are officially 3dpo/iui, or 3 days post ovulation and intra-uterine insemination.  The Riveting Mama is in the dreaded 2WW, or two week wait.  Strangely, I feel much calmer this time around.  I'll admit I did a lot of obsessive googling last time.  What does this twinge, this nausea, this being thirsty and having to pee all the time mean?  The reality is:  all those symptoms can mean a woman is pregnant . . . or they can just be the progesterone having fun at her expense.  I knew that going in, and yet it didn't stop me from wondering.  This time, I'm just trying to stay calm, practice good self-care as much as I can, and hope for the best.  So far, I have a little bloating in my abdomen, maybe a little twinge here and there, but that's about it.  I'm quite glad I saved a pair of my old jeans from when I was heavier (48 pounds lost as of a week and a half ago!).  Those jeans don't put any pressure on my abdomen, which seems to happen even though my pants in my new size fit comfortably the day of my IUI.      

Speaking of progesterone.  Every woman undergoing fertility treatments knows what I mean when I say EWWWWW!  Yes, we are prescribed high doses of natural progesterone, which is supposed to help support the pregnancy should it occur.  Progesterone is normally produced in sufficient amounts by the corpus luteum, which is what forms in an empty follicle's place once ovulation occurs.  Some women don't produce enough, and will miscarry as a result.  Although many women do produce enough, it is very common for doctors to prescribe it "just in case."  Extra progesterone won't hurt anything, and it will help everything, so to speak.  I know I mentioned this before, but Dr. W. did say mine was lower than he would expect it to be after 14 days on supplementation.  The only way to check is to have the level drawn after 7 days.  Unfortunately, it could already be too late to save the pregnancy if there isn't enough and my little one has already implanted.  This conception game certainly rolls you like you were dice, to reference an 80s hit.

Oh yes, and the progesterone is often more effective if absorbed, um, locally, so...well, to put it plainly, you stick it you-know-where twice a day (or more).  The progesterone is mixed in an oily medium, so you get to deal with greasy underwear.  Of course, I could wear a pad all the time, and I go back and forth with this.  I am a long-time Diva Cup user, and the couple of pads I do have are cloth.  It is better for the environment, and ultimately, better for me (i.e. no chemicals from tampons). Plus, I don't see my period as something dirty or unclean.  Washing the cup or the pads isn't gross to me.  So, why is the grease from the medication so disgusting to me?  I have no idea.  I could wear cloth pads, but really, that is the same as not wearing them, and I only have a couple (I don't leak when I use the cup).  Ah; first world problems, am I right?  And really, it isn't that bad I guess.  The alternative is a shot in the derriere every day, which would probably get old fast, seeing as though I will continue progesterone until week 12 WHEN I get my BFP (big fat positive).  The only way it could really be a problem is if I actually had a sex life, which, as you probably know, I don't anymore.  
So basically, I get to wait.  A lot.  I go in Tuesday morning to get my progesterone level checked.  If it's too low, I will have to have my dose increased, or "switch types," whatever that means.  And honestly, I will do whatever I have to to give this try a fighting chance.  As I said before, I will shoot myself up 5 times a day if need be, lumpy booty be dammed! 

Interestingly enough, if I am pregnant this time, my due date will be May 28th, 2014.  ANOTHER May baby in the family.  Actually all three nieces have birthdays in May within two weeks of each other.  Mine would be in that mix too.  That would be too funny!  Maybe September is our lucky month!  Also, just for fun, I played with a Chinese gender predictor.  Just like last month, I'm predicted to have a girl, which would also be ironic, given what I just told you all.  May would get to be expensive for us all, but we could sure plan some fun birthday parties with all of us putting our heads together and contributing! 

And finally, I'm not too proud to admit to starting an Amazon baby wishlist.  I haven't turned it into a registry, but I will do so when I know what gender the baby is.  Actually, I don't have a lot on it yet.  Mostly things I've always known I wanted.  Breast pump, accessories for pumping on the go, glass bottles that become sippy cups (I will EBF as long as I can, but I will also have to return to work eventually!).  I think I added some teether toys too.  I was thinking of adding cloth diapers and supplies, but there are sooo many choices out there.  I think I'll wait until SMC A gives me her review of what's working for her.  I know it seems silly to do this, but it keeps me in a positive mindset.  It's not IF I get my BFP, it's WHEN I get my BFP, ya know? 

In other news, I saw that K had another excellent beta!  I'm really happy for her; she has earned it for sure!  M is getting ready for her frozen transfer (I have my fingers crossed for you hon.  I know you're worried about your embie quality, but you're a fighter, and any frost baby of yours will put up a hell of a fight too).  H just had a perfect NT scan showing a healthy little guy or gal playing around, as they tend to do.  B is doing a great job practicing self care for her and her infant son.  A is getting ready to deliver her little girl next month.  These women's stories give me hope and courage.  They are strong, independent, and they are (or will be) amazing mothers who love their children very much.  As am I and as will I.           

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Day in The Life of a Wannabee SMC: The Big Show, or, "Good morning. I'm here to procure a hasty knock-up."

And . .  . IUI #2 is in the bag.  I woke up at work early this morning, wanting to leave on time.  My co-worker C, who did my hair the morning of my first IUI, was with me this morning too.  We wrapped up our business, and she helped do a lot to get ready for change of shift so I could be sure to leave on time.  I had to go pick up my juice and get to Diamond within an hour.  Seriously, today I am grateful for the people that support me, even in little ways, like C did. 

Here's the weird thing about the pick-up.  You go around to the back of the building, where there's an unlabeled door with a buzzer (although, this month, there was a "patient pick-up" sign pointing to the right driveway, lol).  You ring the bell, but you don't ever hear anything.  You just see the security camera light blinking, and wait for a youngling in scrubs to open the door to let you in.  There's a line of tanks going down the hall.  The girl takes your ID, and grabs your tank.  Then, she explains that the tank will keep your "specimen" frozen for 7 days, you have 10 to return the tank, blah blah blah, and sends you on your way.  Oh yeah, and the drive way is only wide enough for one car, so if another one comes while you are backing out onto Lexington Ave, you are in a bit of a conundrum.

So, I drove quickly, but not INCREDIBLY crazily to Diamond.  This time, I had the sense to keep the tank on the floor of the front seat, so I knew it wouldn't tip over.  I arrived with 5 minutes to spare; Jami happened to be standing by the desk when I walked in.  She whisked the tank away, while the receptionist (not the one I usually see) said very professionally, "You must be here for an insemination procedure."  In true form and without really thinking, I replied, "Yes, I am here to procure a hasty knock-up."  Nothing, not even a smile.  Awww...c'mon hon; infertile women live for humor.  The least you could do is help lighten the mood.  C'est la vie.....

Jami came back and led me to the exam room; the same exam room where a defeated Riveting Mama cried in front of Dr. W last week.  She started to say, "Everything off from the..." then stopped herself, finishing by saying, "Well, you know what do do by now."  She came back, catheter and syringe in hand.  I looked at it this time, surprised to see that it was mixed in a yellow medium. This was surprising to me.  I've heard of pink and blue, but not yellow.  Hmm...

(I should call this: "I hauled a gigantic tank across town and all I got was this tiny stinkin' vial"). 

Jami said that the sample looked great, with 45% motility, which is almost what you would expect in a normal fresh sample.  She also said the volume was greater than she would have expected, but didn't give me a number.  My OCD-in-terms-of-fertility self didn't think to ask.  She showed me the vial, and asked me to confirm my donor number before laying back.  I asked to keep the vial this time.  Some people don't want to; some people do.  I thought it would be a nice momento.  I never said I was normal, heh.

This IUI was a lot easier than the last one.  The last one wasn't difficult, but I had a lot of cramping.  This time, I didn't feel much.  Jami said my cervix was open and that my cervical mucus looked "great."  It was over even quicker than the last one, but true to her tradition, Jami wished the swimmers luck, saying, "Ok little guys, go and do your thing."  She turned the lights off this time (I didn't ask her to; I think she just kind of knew I'd appreciate it) and told me to lay there "as long as you like."  I reflected, I meditated.  I thought about how everything in my life has brought me to this place in time, right here; right now.  I praised myself for the good work I had done to get here, for being strong enough to go through this alone.  I'm not sure if I believe everything I told myself, but I'm proud that I was able to say those things nonetheless.  After 20 minutes, I got up, dressed, grabbed my now-empty tank, plunked down my MasterCard again, and left.

As I sit typing this up in a hipster coffee shop (yup, I'm ok with a little caffeine-don't judge me), I am merely thinking about being in the present.  I have two days off work, and I'm going to do my best to rest up, and devote some time to myself.  People at work will survive until Friday.  The Ironman can go do whatever he wants to do (we have not talked since last week).  My family and friends will be all right.  I'm going to therapy, to acupuncture, and to bed.  And that is the end of it.            

 (Insemisocks: necessarily clothing for a cold table and a warm heart).