Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rough week

On Saturday, I went out to lunch with a friend. Had a great lunch! We ate at this cool Crepe place which was really tasty. BUT as we wrapped up our lunch, I got a text from my husband saying he needed to go to the ER, so I rushed home, and took him to the hospital with chest pains, shortness of breath & fever/chills. They thought he was having a heart attack, so they did all sorts of testing, admitted him, did an angiogram, etc. It was NOT a heart attack, so they kept him in the hospital until today (Wednesday) poking and prodding him to try and figure out what's wrong. He had a bad EKG which made them think something was wrong with his heart.

I live in the midwest, and we've only been here a couple years. I don't make close friends quickly. It's also never my first instinct to ask for help. Ever. Stupid independent streak! On Saturday, I sat in the waiting room for the cath lab, waiting to find out if my husband had a heart attack. This was after watching them do emergency EKGs and chest Xrays in the ER while putting nitroglycering under his tongue. I felt stoic, even strong... but at the same time really worried. And really alone. There weren't even any other people in the waiting room. Just me.

I should have called my mom. Or my sister. Or my close friends who live in other cities. Or even one of the friends we've made here so far. I do have friends here, it just takes me a really long time to feel close to people. And I have trouble even asking family and super close friends for help - so for newer friends, forget it.

Instead of calling someone, I read about the health care bill in Time magazine until the doctor came in. When he told me my husband's heart was fine - clean and clear arteries, good blood flow - I let out the breath I didn't even know I'd been holding. OK, what's next?

They admitted him, scheduled him for more tests on Sunday, and then I watched as he suffered, laying flat on his back, in severe pain, for about 10 hours. You see, they put a stent in his leg for the angiogram. And until they took it out he had to lie flat. As it turns out, the two things wrong with him (which we found out over the next few days) cause chest pain that is much worse when you lay down flat.

The nurses kept telling me they ordered pain meds, but it took 3 or 4 hours before any arrived. And then they didn't help. Not until he got Vicaden at around hour 7 did the pain subside even a tiny bit. And of course, because it was just THAT kind of day, his blood pressure dropped ... and they couldn't take out the stent until it came back up. Fabulous.

At 11pm, I walked to the nurses station, and begged them to take the stent out though a choked up voice and leaking eyes. That finally got them to take the damn thing out. His blood pressure had been back to normal for 2 hours by that time.

I did eventually call my husband's mom and my parents to let them know what was going on. And on Sunday, it occurred to me that I should email my church prayer group to ask them to send a few prayers up to the big guy... and as a result, one of my church Friends came over to take me to dinner. And she came back the next day to take me to lunch. It was nice to have someone here to lean on a little. She even got me to realize that getting a private room is as easy as asking for one (well, that and being willing to pay a little extra). And I must say, the private room is well worth the $25 extra bucks per night they charged us.

The first night we had a double room, and I slept on three stiff chairs lined up in a row. They weren't even supposed to let me stay, but I wasn't going to leave until I knew he was doing better. I finally did leave at 3am to run home for a couple hours and to pick up a few thing for Mr. Vitamin C (henceforth, VC, my hubby).

The next night they had a pull-out chair in the private room, which felt like heaven.

Until I started spotting again.
And then bleeding a real flow.

On Monday, between the bleeding and the unknown surrounding VC's health I thought I would split in two. While he was out for various test, I curled up on the pull out chair and cried. And cried. And cried. I was pretty sure the pregnancy was over, but I didn't know how to process those feelings along with the feelings about the unknown surrounding VC's health. I lost all patience. I even snapped at VC a few times. What a nice wife, right? Poor thing is in the hospital and his wife becomes an emotional freak.

By Monday night we had the official diagnosis of esophogitis/GERD to answer part of the mystery, but that didn't explain his too fast heart rate and the elevated ST levels on his EKG. Our hope was that we'd find out an answer from the echocardiograph... which eventually did solve the mystery. Pericarditis - inflamation of the sack around his heart, caused by some sort of mysterious infection we never noticed. And do you know what the treatment is? Advil. A lot of Advil, but just Advil.

Today VC was finally discharged at 1:00pm. At 1:45 we walked into the fertility clinic for an ultrasound... and found out that my uterus is now, indeed, empty.

Goodbye little cashew.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Roller Coaster continues

Thank you for the congratulations - we are SO excited. :) That excitement was tempered yesterday, though, with spotting. So frustrating!

I finally allowed myself to get excited on Monday, called my family, shared the news - and got on quite the high. Then, yesterday, red spotting. Aaargggghhhhh! By last night the spotting had subsided mostly, with only a few brownish leftover spots. And so far, this morning I'm still at light brown spotting only. I think that's good, but am not sure any more.

Then, I took a pregnancy test this morning, and while it was positive, the line was a little lighter than last time. What the heck does that mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. That seems to be the answer I get for everything these days. Even from the RE - when I called yesterday they said, "It could be normal. Don't worry until it turns into a full period flow or until you have cramping that gets increasingly worse and painful."

So, I'm left with praying. God and I are getting pretty tight. Me and Mary too. We talk quite often these days as I plead and hope for this to be real and sticky. And if it's not, for strength to keep on chugging along.

I'd also like to do a quick introduction. Meet my husband: Crazy Pills for Her, Vitamin C for Me He started a blog about a month ago, talking about his perspective on this crazy infertility thing.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Will post more later, but... HCG is up to 179! :) Which means... it doubled 3.5 times since Thursday. Woohoo! :)

I think I'm officially pregnant.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Her name is Trixie

Who, you may be asking, is Trixie? She's my lovely Aunt Flo.

I'm not sure what to think anymore, so I'm giving up all control, and just going with the flow. Hehe.. flow. Like Aunt Flow. But I digress.

So, IUI #2 was supposed to start Thursday, but I read the instructions on the Clomid and started second guessing myself about my short period. "Do not take this medicine if you could be pregnant," it said. Hmmm... I wonder... I should double check, just to be sure.

As a result, on Thursday morning, I pee on a stick. And lo and behold... a VERY faint line. Now I'm totally confused. What the heck is this all about? Could the meds still be in my system after 17 days? It had been almost 24 hours since I spoke to my RE's office, and I'm sure they miss talking to me, so I call again. I knew they probably would think I was insane... but I wanted to be sure.

So, I leave a message. And I drive to work.

It's 9:00am. As I wheel my red laptop bag through the maze of cars on my way into my office, my phone rings. I explain, "I was supposed to start my clomid today, but I took a pregnancy test this AM to verify it was OK to start and there was a faint line - what do I do?" "Well," she says, "maybe it would be a good idea for you to come in for a blood test." We set up an appointment for 10:00am. My RE office is 30 minutes away, so I rush inside, posptone my 10:00 meeting, let another person know I will not attend their meeting, and rush back out the door by 9:35. As I sprint through the parking lot with my keys, I think how crazy this all is.

I make it by 10:02. Not too bad. The blood draw takes all of 2 minutes. It is obvious that they do a LOT of these. There is a little bench built directly into the wall with shelves on either side loaded with needles and swabs and tubes. I sit down, roll up my sleeve, turn my head away, close my eyes, and it's over. "If they don't call you by 4pm, call the office for your results." "OK," I say, and jump back in my car for the 30 minute drive north.

Luckily, I have lunch with a friend scheduled and a busy afternoon of back to back meetings, which helps keep my mind off the test. At 3:30, during a meeting with my Associate Director (of course), my phone rings. It's my RE's office. I excuse myself (not too gracefully I might add, thanking God the area of the building I happen to be in has cell phone service at that particular moment), and step into the hall, talking in hushed tones in the far fetched hope to keep this call private.

The nurse tells me the test came back positive (holy crap!?!?), but that my HCG level is really low (only a 13), so not to get my hopes up. "Chances are it's a chemical pregnancy" she says, "but it's a good thing you called us this morning before starting your clomid."

She reiterates multiple times not to get my hopes up, and tells me to wait for the real bleed to start before starting round 2. "Point taken," I think, "but the egg fertilized!!" The sperm got in there on it's own! This particular point is a BIG DEAL! Even if this ends as a chemical pregnancy, I feel better knowing fertilization can happen for us.

I step back into my meeting in an excellent mood, waiting on pins and needles to call Mr. Peapod. I finally get to break away, find a semi-quiet corner near the lobby and share the news with him. Trying to find privacy in our open office environment is kind of a rediculous task due to two factors: open cubes, and spotty cell service. But it was as private as it was going to get, and I didn't want to wait.

He had been so down in the dumps about my period coming, and I knew he was feeling like it was all his sperm's fault. I hadn't seen him happy in days... but when I shared the news with him, I heard his face light up! And my heart smiled. I know this will likely NOT end in a baby this time... but it's progress. It's getting to the next step. And it lets me see my husband feel good again. That's pretty darn good in my book.

Now, it's Saturday. Every time I go to the bathroom, I expect to see blood. Every time there is no blood, my hopes rise just a bit. Mr. P and I have started saying "no whammies!no whammies! no whammies!" each time I go, which I then confirm with another "no whammies!" when I have a successful non-blood pee.

Both our hopes keep going up. But we're trying to temper them and keep the hope reigned in. I go back on Monday morning for another blood test. We'll see what those HCG numbers do then.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dusting myself off for Round 2

I have come to the conclusion that fertility medicines are the devil. They tempt, they confuse, they throw corkscrews at me daily. I will keep this in mind EVERY DAY next round. And I will not trust any feeling I have. My gut is broken.

My last few days were filled with wackiness.

Saturday: Brown spotting. Never seen this before. Is this that mystical implantation bleeding everyone speaks so much about?

Sunday: More brown spotting. Feeling good.

Monday: Wake up at 4am for my flight home, brown is becoming reddish. Shit. But it's still light. Flight lands and I stand up - whoosh! Double shit. Feels like a flow. Yep, getting redder. It's only day 12 past IUI. They said Aunt Flo wouldn't come until day 14. Confused, call doc's office. They ask, "is it bright red like your normal flow?" "No, but it's getting more red than brown now." "Call us back if your real flow starts." "OK" I say, while wondering what the hell a "real flow" looks like in this new world. By evening - totally bright red. This cycle's cooked.

Tuesday: Seem to have a normal period flow. Call doc's office, tell them my flow is real & ask what's up with this day 12 bleeding crap. Shouldn't it be 14 days past IUI? "It's not uncommon," they say. That would have been nice to know. Set up next cycle's ultrasound for April 30. Start to accept and move on - stop for Chic-fil-a ice cream with blueberry topping and chicken nuggets on the way home to soften the impact.

Wednesday: Wake up - period's gone. WTF? Was that really my period? Could I be pregnant? That didn't seem long enough to be considered real. It has been almost 24 hours since I talked to the doc's office, I guess we're supposed to chat every day this week. "Clomid can shorten your flow," they say. Fabulous.

So, on my way home I stopped by the pharmacy. I'm all stocked up with Clomid and my Ovidrel injection is patiently waiting in my fridge. Tomorrow, round 2 begins.

This weekend, I'm going to lose myself in yard work. We're working to set up two 6x4 square foot gardens in our back yard. I'm kind of excited about it. I grew tomatoes last year, and they turned out awesome. But this year, we're expanding to all sorts of different veggies. As a bonus, maybe it will help me work off that Chic-fil-a. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stupid F*ing Hormones!

I'm not feeling very chatty. Just pissed.

I felt everything that pointed to pregnancy. EVERYTHING! Even the freakin' brown implantation bleeding which I've never seen before, ever.

And now my stupid period appears to be here.

I was so hopeful. There were 35 million sperm! 35 million! 3x better than we've ever had.

I don't want to go back to cynical. I want to be able to stay hopeful. But right now I'm just really sad. Sad for me, and sad for Mr. P. He puts this all on himself, and I just hate that. I just hate this whole damn thing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boobs & twinges

I've gained 5 pounds in the past two weeks, and I think 90% of it went to my boobs! My nipples hurt, but not enough to distract during normal daily activities. Not like these mounds spilling out of my bra. It's crazy. Mr. Peapod thinks this development is a happy little side affect of HCG. :)

My body is warmer. I don't feel warmer. But my body feels warmer to the touch. My hands are usually cold. Since IUI, every time Mr. P grabs my hand he mentions how much warmer it feels. He cuddles up to me at night and calls me his little heater.

I notice every twinge. Every pang. Every grumble of my tummy wondering... hoping...

This morning I found female reproductive diagrams online, attempting to identify whether the twinges and pangs could possible be located inside my uterus. Because where, exactly, is my uterus? How wide is it? If I feel something in my lower right abdomen, is that it? I think that's too low. But then again, can I really pinpoint exactly where the pain in coming from?

I just started day 7 past IUI. I feel pregnant. At least what I think pregnant would feel like. But I know it's the HCG. At least I'm pretty sure. Right?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

IUI #1 - Complete

IUI #1 seemed to go well, but I'm totally bloated, pants are tight, feeling all crampy and lots of pressure in my lower abdomen. My friend Google has told me this is normal for some people, but it's making it seriously difficult to concentrate at work.

Good news - best semen ever! 35 Million! 40% motility! Don't know morphology, but other signs seem good. Go Mr. Peapod! Maybe that vitamin C is working...

Still trying not to get my hopes too high. Dr. A said it's rare for the first cycle to work... but I'd lie if I said I wasn't hopeful. Because I am. Fingers crossed. And toes.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My husband shot me up!

Yesterday I colored eggs. Today, I set them free with hCG. What can I say, it's an egg-ie kind of week!

On Good Friday, we saw my follicles on a TV screen. Dr. A said they look beautiful. That gives me hope. Probably too much hope. I keep reminding myself we only have ~8% chance with IUI... but hope feels so good I want to grasp on with both hands.

I forgot to ask how many were maturing. I also forgot to take a picture. Ah well. They looked like a cluster of grapes, and he said we were on track for trigger shot today (Monday), and IUI Wednesday.

Spring - The green is like a happy little slap across the face. One day it was cold and stark. The next - explosion! Green! Flowers! Blue sky! A little miracle that happens every year.

Over Easter weekend, my thoughts got deep. (watch out)

I was thinking about spring. It comes on so fast. All of the sudden, there is no winter. Is that what it will be like when I have a baby? Will the infertility struggles melt away like a movie scene fade-out? Will it be that simple? Will it be that easy?

And then my thoughts turned to the meaning of Easter.

Isn't it interesting how the renewal we celebrate at Easter is very much like the renewal we see in springtime? It really does come at the perfect time of year.

I moved to the Midwest about two years ago after Mr. Peapod and I got fancy degrees and cool new jobs. Before then I lived in Florida, and it was green all year. No real winter, and therefore no real spring.

I had no idea what I was missing. Spring is by far, my FAVORITE time of year. It's filled with so much hope, that I can't help but smile more and walk with a bounce in my step.

But back to Easter...

On Good Friday I did the stations of the cross instead of going to Good Friday mass. I've never been a fan of doing stations, but a friend gave me a book the night before which illustrates them through Mary's eyes which I thought was a neat concept. So I did 'em.

Maybe it's because infertility is the most poignant suffering I've had in my life. Or maybe it's because being a mother is something I think about a lot lately. But it's the first time I connected the dots and understood how to connect the stations of the cross to my own life. It was kinda neat.

Enough of my deep thoughts for today. Please think happy little IUI thoughts on Wednesday at 10:00. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stupid Facebook

The "post this in your status if you love your kid" thing is grating on me.

1.I dislike it on principal. Do we really have to turn facebook statuses into email forwards? Really? Come on.

2. I get it. You love your child. But, do I have to be surrounded by "Before I knew you I loved you. Before I held you in my arms I adored you... blah blah blah"? I know people mean well. I know people love their children. But this syrupy cheesy statement makes me feel bad. It's like they are bragging that they have children in their arms. And I don't.

Then again, I'm taking crazy pills. So maybe I'm a little oversensitive.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Follicular Stimulation with Serophene and IUI, take 1

As expected, the phantom pangs were just that. Phantom. So, we're starting our first round of IUI. Am I prepared? I think so...

Follicular Stimulation with Serophene - Check!
Started last night on cycle day 3.

Ultrasound scheduled - Check!
It will happen on cycle day 9 (Good Friday) since my last cycle only lasted 23 days, and the originally recommended day 12 may be too late.

Trigger shot - Check!
In my fridge, waiting for it's moment of glory.

Now it's just my wackadoodle self and Mr. Peapod, hoping we make it through the 5 days of Serophene in one piece. He's being extra nice to me, and I'm trying not to be too much of a freak.

Dr. S recommended taking it at night to help stave off the mood swings and hot flashes. *Fingers crossed* that I can make it through the week without losing my mind. I get whacked out on just plain birth control... so I'm hoping this is less bad than I'm imagining it will be.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tricky fallopians

Dear stupid twinge-like pangs in my lower right abdomen,

You are gas, right? Or constipation? Or maybe a gall stone or early stage appendicitis?

I didn't eat as many vegetables this weekend as I normally do, is that your problem? Or is it that I ate dessert on both weekend days?

I know the liklihood of you signalling something great, like say, implantation, is low... so can you please clarify your purpose?

Google has informed me that he has provided all available relevant information, so now it's up to you.

Sincerely Yours,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Randomly emotional and nonsensical

I'm a nut-bag.

End of last week was better. Felt like I had a slightly better handle on work. Then... we went a 1 year old's birthday party, and my emotional teeter totter went into overdrive.

On to better topics: Funny story

At our fertility appointment on Monday, we saw a sonogram of the egg that will drop this cycle. The doc exclaimed, "This one's developing quickly! Have sex Wednesday, Friday & Sunday this cycle."

(1) We got an "Rx" for sex
(2) Now that we've seen the little guy on TV Mr. Peapod wants SO BAD to get pregnant this cycle so we can tell our child that we knew him/her since he/she was just a egg.


Monday, March 8, 2010

My lining looks fabulous!

First fertility doctor appointment - done!

And, as has been the case thus far, I feel better AFTER leaving the appointment. I think this is likely due to me expecting the worst, but regardless it feels good.

We "officially" have two options. One great. One so-so.

Option 1 (good): IVF with ICSI
This is exactly as we expected. And if we proceed, they feel that we have a 40-50% chance of achieving pregnancy per IVF cycle.

Option 2 (so-so): Clomid with IUI
I did not expect Dr. S to suggest this. At all. The chance of success is low (only 7-8%), but he feels it's worth trying for 2-3 cycles since we have not had any treatment thus far. And it's MUCH cheaper.

Because it's only a delay of 2-3 months, we are going to try the IUI option first, then go on to IVF. It feels right. Gives us a little more time to save up some funds and get financing in order.

And... Dr.S did a sonogram of my uterus (I took a picture with my iPhone because yes, I'm that geeky).

My lining looks fabulous!
My ovaries are easy to reach!
On day 6 of my cycle, I already have a nice large egg maturing!

Next month: IUI #1

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Felt the chasm

I've read on other blogs about the fertile/infertile gap. The separation those of us feel from fertile myrtle families where kids were not hard to come by. I felt that acutely last night.

We had dinner with friends for Mr. Peapod's birthday. One couple had to cancel at the last minute due to their child being sick, and the wife of another couple had to say home because of their little boy's ear infection. The final couple left their little one at home with a non-family babysitter for the first time. We were the only ones without kids. And I realized during dinner that at 35, I was the oldest one at the table.

I may have imagined it, but a question seemed to linger. Out there. In the open air. Whispering... "When are you going to have kids? When are you going to join our club?"

They know we want children soon. We've talked about it. They also saw me have a glass of wine, so it's clear I'm not pregnant now.

I want to be part of that club, but the door is jammed and it's taking me longer to get in than I thought it would.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Blended, not Stirred

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be blended? Spinning and spinning, then it stops and you look around in a daze, get stirred, then.. whiplash! Back to the spinning.

That was my week. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically.

As expected, I am not pregnant.

Aunt Flo played mini mind tricks on me, and then came out to say hello. Blah.

Work was ridiculous.

I am still new to my current role. This week I realized that what I do actually know is DWARFED by what I do NOT. And...
  • My manager was across the globe in an opposite time zone
  • I'm piloting new work that no one completely understands (not even the supplier who is helping us)
  • Upper management is very interested in this work
  • It is behind schedule
  • It's one of the busiest times of year for everyone, so no one has time to help
  • I had fully scheduled evenings every night. So... working extra to figure out said work meant staying up until the wee hours
  • I was much more emotional than usual, not to mention overtired

Highlighted Freak-out Episode
Tuesday (a.k.a. cry-fest). I had a 7am conference call, but didn't remember until 7:55am as I was about to blow-dry my hair.

Panic! Run into the living room, towel perched precariously on my head. Open my laptop and hope hope hope the 7am is Wednesday, not Tuesday. Wrong.

Furiously email my manager & associate director (meeting was with them). Rush to open and finish updating something I was supposed to bring to the meeting. Computer crashes. I scream. Start crying. Hands are shaking. Endorphins rage as I wait for the computer to reboot, tapping my foot and fingers the whole time. It starts, but I can no longer access the drive where the file was saved. Crap. Try to fix it. Can't. Sobbing now. Call Mr. Peapod, saying a little prayer he picks up. He does (thank God!). Tells me (in a nice and calming way) that one meeting won't ruin my whole career. Finally we get it fixed. I access the file. Update it. Send it out. Work the rest of the morning from home to stop myself from crumbling into a weepy freaky heap in front of co-workers.

And to make things worse, my hair was weird and flat all day because it spent too much time in that dang towel.

Is it Aunt Flo? Is it the IVF appointment Monday? Or have I just lost my mind?
My cry-fest continued all week.

Wednesday: Cried because Mr. Peapod gave me the wonderful gift of postponing his birthday celebration until today. I wasn't ready. He said he "saw the look in my eyes I get when I'm about to do something crazy." And he didn't want me to run around to all sorts of stores and get no sleep just to be able to celebrate the day of.

Thursday: Cried about work during dinner.

Friday: Came close to crying at work at least 5 times. Usually during conversations with my associate director about that big crazy project. Luckily I held it together enough to hold off the tears until she walked away.

I'm an insane person.

I haven't even started getting shot up with hormones yet! If I am having trouble controlling my emotions now, what in heck-fire will I do once IVF starts?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mind games

Evil trickery. That's what it is. Evil trickery!

Why is it that the signs of pregnancy are the same as the signs of a period coming?

On one hand, I am nearly 100% certain I am not pregnant. Dr. B (Urologist) told us it would take a miracle.

On the other hand, my hopeful side wants to believe in that miracle.

Is it stupid to take a pregnancy test just to remind myself it didn't happen?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Time to Tighten the Belt

Tonight we reviewed finances. Not in terrible shape, but we need to make changes if we plan to survive the costs of fertility treatments and possibly adoption down the line.

For the last few years I haven't worried much about money. Do I want sushi from Whole Foods? Go buy it! Do I want to buy my vegetables at Fresh Market because it's more convenient, even though it's a lot more expensive? Why not? I don't do it that often.

All that is about to end.

Not that I spend money like a fool. I don't. I agonize over any large purchase. I don't like to splurge on fancy meals except on rare occasion. I buy clothes on sale or clearance most of the time, and even check out Good Will on occasion. And I'm not someone who typically shops for shopping's sake.

BUT, when it comes to day to day things (like groceries, grabbing a hot drink from Starbucks, picking up food for dinner rather than cooking in, etc.), we're doing well enough that I haven't had to pay attention. And that has been really nice.

It will be different. But if it means we get to have children, I'm all in.

It may even bring some good:
  • Less stores to shop if I stick to Kroger
  • Hubby and I will likely cook and eat more together rather than having so many late dinners of Chipotle bowls or Whole Foods grab-n-go meals
  • Cooking more will make it easier to stick to our diets
So, there you go. Not all bad. :)

This weekend we plan.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rub salt in my wounds, why don't you?

Somewhere along the line, as my husband neared his third semen analysis in late January, I became convinced adoption was our only hope. I think it was mental self-defense, and the profound grief surprised me.

During this time, a pregnant friend posted an article on Facebook called "Normal is a scary word." It was all about how breastfeeding is "normal" and about what happens to babies that are not breastfed. Such as... babies that are NOT breastfed tend to have poorer vision, lower IQ, more cancer, more diabetes, more emotional problems, a less developed immune system, etc, etc, etc. And that women who do not breastfeed have higher anxiety, lower self-esteem, less pleasure in early parenting, etc.

This article PISSED ME OFF! It's only purpose is to make people who either can't or don't breastfeed feel like dirt.

AND, the writer does not back up any of these "facts" with specific data. What exactly does "tend to" and "a little bit shorter life span" mean? Was the difference even significant? And could she link to at least one of these 13,000 studies she referenced so ambiguously? No. No details. Just scare tactics.

While I hate to admit it, years ago I may have thought this article was OK. I mean, why wouldn't someone want to breastfeed their baby? Why wouldn't someone want to feel that closeness to their child?

But that was before I had friends who mentally or physically couldn't breastfeed. Before I saw the emotional struggle women go through when trying to balance work with breastfeeding. And before I knew what it was like to have that option taken away from me.

When I thought adoption was our only option, my grief was driven by two things: (1) that I would never get the chance to carry my own child and bring him or her into this world, and (2) that I would never get to experience the closeness of breastfeeding.

This article stabbed me right in the heart.

It made me think of everyone who has adopted. And everyone who has used a surrogate. And everyone who for some reason or another does not have breastfeeding as an option. The woman who wrote this was not thinking of them. She was not thinking of us.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Becoming More Real, Morality Thoughts Swirling

We have an appointment on March 8th to move forward with IVF with ICSI. On Wednesday we received our pre-work packet which makes this feel a lot more real than it did last week.

If we pay in cash... $7200 for IVF, $1400 for ICSI, not including drugs. We can stretch to meet these costs, but will be more in debt as a result. We have the option to submit to insurance, which I think will cover up to $2500, but then the clinic may charge more. Or less. Our whacked out health care system at work. The fact that medical procedures have variable costs whether you pay or your insurance pays is incomprehensible.

Is it worth it? I think so... but I sometimes wonder if my reasons are too selfish, and if I'm defying natural order by going down this path.

I'm Catholic, and the church's official position is that IVF is immoral. In a statement made by the US Council of Catholic Bishops, they reason it is immoral because
"The new life is not engendered through an act of love between husband and wife, but by a laboratory procedure performed by doctors or technicians."

On one hand, I can take a step back and see their technical point.

HOWEVER, they have not gone through infertility, nor have they felt how severely it tests your love and your relationship. I am more apt to argue that going through IVF requires a disproportionate act of love between a husband and wife. Without love for my husband, would I be willing to subject myself to invasive procedures, drugs and injections that will undoubtedly make me a hormonal freak? Without love for me, would my husband be able to summon the strength to go through this?

Maybe I am naive, but I think that while it requires a laboratory procedure performed by doctors, that the lives created are sometimes more respected than those conceived through traditional lovemaking because they are so precious to those involved. When I think of the embryos that will be created for me, it reminds me of the first time I drove with my baby nephew in the car. I was overly careful. Didn't go over 30 miles an hour. Kept glancing back at him to make sure he was secure. My hope is that the doctors & technicians treat me and mine with a similar level of care and respect.

And doesn't God still play a part? The embryos have to implant. A lot has to happen after the doctors put them inside of me. Couldn't God interject if he thought it was a bad idea?

Maybe I'm justifying this so I feel better. Maybe it really is OK.

On Thursday, during a discussion with a friend who works with women placing children for adoption, she said, "My hope is that whatever decision the women come to, that when it is done, they can wake up in the morning and feel it was the best decision they could have made." Thats all I want for myself.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A little background

I find it helpful on others' blogs to know specific details, so I will shine a spotlight on our baby-making complications for a moment.

October 2008 kicked off our efforts. A year went by with no luck, so we met with my OBGYN and had some tests done (FSH & TSH levels and hysterosalpingogram-HSG on me, and a semen analysis on my husband). We had good news until the semen analysis (SA) came back, which showed low count and 0% normal morphology.

When our OBGYN office called to give us the first SA results, we received very few details other than "you would benefit from assisted reproduction." I called back and pushed for specifics, but it was frustrating and confusing. They referred us to a fertility clinic, who then referred us to a Urologist. Emotional ping pong!

I couldn't stop googling morphology and wrapped myself up in a hopeless swirl of recommendations from online non-doctors. What I've learned since then is this:
  • Never trust a single semen analysis (SA) - Morphology changes over time and is impacted by many factors, including both physical (varicocele, fever, etc.) and environmental (toxic chemicals, cleaners, etc.)
  • Morphology is an inexact scientific measurement based on a lab tech's judgement of the shape and size of the sperm
  • Defects can be to the head, midpoint or tail
  • SA tells you where the defects are (head in our case), but nothing more specific. Contrary to my hopes, they do not let you see pictures of your husband's sperm.
  • Abnormal morphology may impact the sperm's ability to fertilize the egg
  • Interesting post on Morphology

Our Urlologist, Dr. B, is wonderful - a very peaceful, calming presence when we met with him in November 2009. He gave us enough information to calm us down, and scheduled two more SA tests to verify results. These subsequent tests continued to show low counts, BUT the third test resulted in 2% normal morphology! While 2% is still low, it gives us a wee bit o' hope knowing there are a few perfectly shaped and sized sperm swimming.

Our current options are:
  • IVF with ICSI
  • Adopt
  • Donor sperm
  • Hope and pray we "win the lottery" and get pregnant on our own
We are leaning toward IVF with ICSI. We have investigated adoption in depth and are very open to it, but since I am already 35 we feel the push to try IVF now since it will only get harder as I get older. Adoption may be in our future as well. We'll see how things progress.

Roads & Mountains

With the exception of a brief period in high school when I realized women tear "down there" and that fear overruled rational thought, I've been sure of one thing. I want kids. A big clan of a family like the one I grew up in.

So here we are. My guy and I. Strolling our way down the kids path. Turns out it's a crooked and winding road, and we may have to scale a few mountains before we get there.

There's a lot I'm not sure of, and at times I can't clearly see our destination... but I am bound and determined to enjoy the journey. Otherwise, what's the point?