Thursday, November 29, 2012

"I'll just say it's a contract...."

I haven't had a chance to post this week; I spent the weekend at my parents' house, then had a bunch of work to catch up on.  But, here I am at last.....I went to the UPS store earlier today to overnight my finalized contact with the cryobank along with a money order for one years' storage.  I'm most definitely NOT storing my entire supply for a whole year, because I hope to be good and pregnant a year from now.  I can get the pro-rated difference back if I end up using all six vials of juice while TTC'ing and I still get the first three months free.  It feels good to know that no matter what, I don't have to think about storage for the next 15 months.  When they asked me to declare what was in the package, I told them it was a contract.  They asked me what it was for.  I replied storage.  They asked what type of storage, and you should have seen the look on the sales associates' faces when I told them.  The gentlemanly guy looks down at the keyboard, and says, "Yeah, I'll just type that it's a contract."  I'm glad I got some amusement out of it. 

On that note, you should see my night stand.  In addition to the mess of pre-natals, cod liver oil, and acupuncture herbs, I have now added moon cycle tea, red raspberry leaf tea, and fertility blend vitamins.  AF still hasn't shown up.  This is the height of my frustrations.  It's like my body is saying, "I know you're ready to rock and roll on the baby making, but I feel like f*cking with you a bit, so I'm going to throw you completely out of wack.  Oh, and here's two and a half weeks of PMS symptoms just to f*ck with you some more."  So, what am I doing about it?  Let's see...I already posted about the acupuncture.  I've been to the gym every day this week.  I'm trying to de-stress as much as I can (not easy).  I even broke down and called a couple of transgendered friends of mine to see if they had any progesterone.  No luck; they are both on estrogen only.  Interestingly enough, one of them said that she would pay me to take the progesterone off of her hands if she had it, because it made her turn into a violent psychopath.  Good to know what I might be like if I end up going that route.  I know the midwife wanted me to wait a couple of months, but I am seriously contemplating calling her tomorrow and telling her,  "I give up, shoot me full of hormones."  It's CD 60; the longest I've had yet, and I'm tired of waiting.  Ugh...          

Friday, November 23, 2012

Come out, come out, period come out!!!!

As I write this, I am curled up in bed under the electric blanket.  We had our first snowstorm of the season yesterday, which of course hit while I was driving home from my cousin's house.  The last week has been quite eventful.  I was at my regular job all last weekend, then I was working at my family's business this week.   More about Turkey Day later....

On Tuesday, I had an appointment with the midwife.  I went into it with some apprehension, because I had felt that she hadn't been very attentive to my calls/questions over the last few weeks.  I had called the clinic with questions about and ultrasound and some blood work that I would like to have done before my first IUI.  I left a voice mail and never got a call back.  So I called the office and spoke to one of the doulas who works as a clinic assistant.  But still never got a call back.  This made me quite upset, because I was trying to have my "juice" transferred to a bank location that is closer to me so that I don't have to pay shipping every time I need to get one of the vials out.  I needed some paperwork filled out by the midwife in order to make this happen.  After much talking to friends/family and posting on the SMC chat boards (you ladies are AWESOME, by the way!!!), I called back the next day.  I spoke to the same assistant, who explained that the practice was very busy and they were in the process of expanding.  They had just hired a new medical director and another midwife.  What I appreciated was that she said that everyone's needs are important and apologized to me without my having to point this out.  I then explained that this is a process where I need to be working with people who are going to be supportive in every way, and she said that she knew that A (the midwife) was on board, and that the occurrences in the past couple of weeks were a matter of timing.  That day, the paperwork was done, and I had another appointment to discuss my labs, scans, and other concerns I was having.  I decided to wait until then to discuss this with A in person.  She had been very good right up until this point, and I could very well have been "lost in the shuffle" recently.

So, I went there on Tuesday.  The nice thing about this practice is that it is operated out of a freestanding birth center.  It's a house that has been converted to suit these needs right down from where I used to live when I was in college.  It has exam rooms and a chiropractic practice upstairs, as well as large open room where they have classes and yoga.  In the back past the reception desk, there are two birthing suites with queen sized beds, whirlpools, heated floors, etc.  A mom was laboring when I arrived, so the back was closed off this time, but when I saw it before, I knew that it was the type of place I wanted to give birth at.  It's also located about a mile away from a hospital with a level 1 NICU if the need for that arises.  When I found out that they had a fertility practice and could help me conceive as well, I knew that it was the place for me.  I was surprised to find an alternative environment that could provide all of this.  I had checked out other practices, but I when I asked if they had done inseminations, they all replied with, "at your age, we suggest you and your partner/husband try for at least six months, maybe up to a year, before we would refer you to a specialist."  Ouch...assumptions much?!?  Plus, every single person I talked to admitted they had never helped a single woman get pregnant.  So, I was pleasantly surprised that when I told A I was going to be a choice mom, she not only knew what that meant, but she was willing to work with me.  She even gave me the names of sperm banks she had worked with in the past.  During our first 1.5 hour visit, she did my annual exam and developed a step-by-step plan to get me ready to TTC.  So, I was kind of surprised when things seemed to be going south.

Anyways, when I arrived, we talked about my concerns, and A assured me she was on board and "very excited" to be a part of this journey with me.  I feel ok with where things are at right now, so I have decided to wait and see.  We went over all of my recent progress.  I told her about the length of my cycles and the increasing PMS/luteal moodiness.   She wants my cycles to ideally be 25-35 days or so before my first IUI.  So, we are changing the supplements I am taking, as well as making more changes to my diet and upping my exercise to try and level out my hormones.  We're pretty sure I am ovulating regularly,  and my periods aren't overly long, but they are more intense than when I was still on BC.  A is hoping that these changes will help regulate my cycles, but if not, she is willing to add a small dose of progesterone to the mix.  (Ugh, last time I got knocked up, it wasn't this hard.  Hell, I wasn't even trying!) 

So, when I went to the acupuncturist after my appointment, she had me pull my skirt down so she could put some needles in my abdomen.  I laughed so hard when she told me that her primary professor when she was in school used to call one of those points the "come out, come out, period come out" one.  Too funny!

So that is where I am at.  Waiting for my period to start so the magic white box can continue to try and pinpoint what exactly is happening when.  "COME OUT, COME OUT, PERIOD COME OUT!!!!"  Of course, it hasn't yet.....          

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My arsenal...


So, I’m sitting at work during a call weekend about to embark on my first cycle of what I am calling “full-on charting.”  Meaning, I am going to be doing a multitude of  tests/observations in attempt to determine the following:



The above picture represents the question that has been hanging in the back of my mind for the past seven years or so since I was unfortunate to have the experience of finding out I was indeed expecting, only to lose the pregnancy.  Can I get pregnant and can I STAY pregnant?  Although I admit to still occasionally having “what-ifs” running through my mind (i.e. what would it be like to be a mother of a child in first grade?), I am thankful for the time in many ways.  First, the time has given me a chance to grieve and reflect.  Second, I have been able to, frankly, grow up a bit.  Although I wasn’t a teenager, at 21, I was still fairly young.  I feel better equipped emotionally at this point in my life, and I have the resources and the wherewithal to establish a better support system for myself.  I also have the maturity to realize that an unhealthy relationship is not worth trying to maintain for the sake of a child, born or unborn.  Finally, I have been able to research what may have gone wrong so I can prevent myself from having this experience again (another post perhaps?).   

Which brings me to the collage of items pictured below: 

 

Oh my God right?!?  Who’d have thought that it took this much equipment to do something that people have been doing for thousands of years?  Here’s a rundown of my current conception kit:

First Response FSH test kit:  Tests for an accurate level of follicle stimulating hormone.  FSH is what your ovaries ask the brain for when they need a little help ripening eggs.  The less amount of FSH your ovaries need, the higher your ovarian reserve is and the more likely your chances of achieving pregnancy are.  You use the test just like a pregnancy test on cycle day 3.  It’s little ambiguous because it is read similar to a standard pregnancy test.  You look for lines and how dark they are.  Hint: one dark line is good, two dark lines, not so good.   After the $2 off coupon available on the website, it’ll run you about $20.  If you need actual numbers, which you will eventually, you have to get them run at a lab, but it gives you a good idea of what you are working with.  For me, the peace of mind is worth it.    

Clear blue ovulation predictor kit (OPK):  This is the white box that controls my life.  See previous post for a full description :).

Clear Blue test strips:  The white box is very particular and has high end taste.  Amazon is my best friend at this point.

Clear Blue digital pregnancy tests:  Came as part of the “Clear Blue Fertility Starter Package” I bought on Amazon.  They are expensive though, so I’m saving them for when I know for sure what they are going to say.  (Yeah, I know :).

And finally, I recently bought this (TMI ALERT):

 

Yes, you can buy them online.  I got mine here. But why in the hell would you want to, you ask?  If you’re trying to conceive (TTC), getting to know your cervix is very essential.  I was totally against it because it CREEPED ME THE F*CK OUT!  I thought I’d stick with the OPKs and labs until I learned how much the lab draws can cost and how they only tell you half of the story.  Your cervix changes a lot throughout your cycle and the hole in the center (the os) also dilates during times when you ovulate, then closes up again when your fertile window has closed.   By getting to know what these changes look like, you can get an idea of when you will be ready for action.  It can also give you an indication of when you are pregnant.  For in-depth details on this and how you can examine yourself, you can go www.beautifulcervix.com.  If you would like info on how to determine what size you need, I'd be happy to tell you.  I don't mind at all; the woman who said having babies makes your pride go down the toilet was SPOT ON.  

That's all I have in my bag of tricks....for now.  Here's to a blissfully short work week!   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It takes a woman to do a man's job....

So, years of consideration/hemming/hawing, and months of serious planning and preparation, I am ready to take the plunge.  I have decided to become a single mother by choice.  This is the type of thing that you don't just wake up and decide to do.  Unlike what you see on movies and TV on a regular basis, this process isn't as easy as walking into a sperm bank, plunking down some plastic, leaving with a vial of sperm, and getting pregnant immediately.  (I keep thinking of a certain Family Guy episode, but that is another post altogether).  Until you go through this yourself or know someone who does, you have no idea what you are getting into.  I admit it, I knew this would be hard, but I had no idea either.    

My first visit to the doctor for "pre-conception counseling,"  aka, "getting your ass in gear so your body cooperates with you" was this July.  I left that appointment with two pages of what is, "the first layer" of the plan of action to get me ready to try to conceive.  First up was getting a head to toe once over, the kind that only a woman can truly experience if you know what I mean.  Next, I had to go through a string of doctor's appointments.  After that, I had to undergo a lot of tests.  Then, I had to wean myself off of medications I was taking which were contraindicated in pregnancy.  Then, I went through health insurance crisis (still fighting that one out).   Finally, I entered into an indentured servitude under the control of a magic white box.  This box now dictates what I do every day.  I have a window of time in which to get up and receive my instructions for the day.  Because visits from my monthly friend are not coming as scheduled, I have to deposit my first liquid bodily excretions of the day on a miniscule magical white stick.  I have quickly learned to keep a disposable cup readily at hand to collect said deposit, since the white box is occasionally unhappy with my chosen magic stick and demands another.  Of course, only the best quality sample will do, and I only get one shot per day at producing it. 

Long story long, it's now mid-November and I am off to the midwife next week to discuss "the next layer."  And, although I have what I have currently decided to call "juice" on ice at an overpriced laboratory ten miles from my house ready and waiting, I still have no idea when I will get the green light to buy a ticket to what I am affectionately referring to as the "big show."  (It had better be by my birthday in Febuary or I will flip a lid...just sayin').

You're probably thinking, "But in that one movie Jennifer Lopez got preggers the first time she tried, and she didn't have to do all this."  Yeah, I've come to realize something.  Hollywood movies are made by men.  Men who portray things as a means to an end in the way they would like to see them happen.  I.e, when it comes down to it, when men make babies, their participation comes down to grunting, depositing, and rolling over to let the boys do the work.  (Male factor infertility issues not included in here; again, another post).  Ergo, men make the act of entering choice motherhood just as easy.  The beyond attractive woman lays on a table in stirrups while the MALE doctor does his thing in about 30 seconds.  She wistfully stares off into oblivion while internally chastising herself for not getting a pedicure before the appointment.  She lets the doctor "finish" quickly, then is magically pregnant two weeks later.  Then, prince charming walks into her life, and she lives happily ever after.  Moral of the story:  don't believe everything you see on the screen.  If you're read this and want to take away anything at all let it be the following statement:  It truly takes a woman to do a man's job.