Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Something to be Thankful for

IvoryBoy and I decided to put the science experiment on hold until the spring, after much deliberation. It's a very difficult decision, but one that I think will be best in the long run. This has been a very difficult year, between work stress, the economy, family, and of course, TTC. So I wanted to talk about things that are good right now. So first, I'm grateful that my marriage doesn't seem to be suffering, rather it seems even stronger. We're leaning on each other for strength, and holding each other up.
I'm grateful for the fact that we're in a good, stable place financially.
I'm grateful that both IvoryBoy and I both have our jobs.
I'm grateful for the support of good friends through all of this.
But most of all, I'm grateful for the break from all the meds.

So Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and try to find something to be grateful for!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stranger in a Strange land

Finding myself without my regular "poke-n-prod" appointments has been... well, odd. But relaxing too.

It's been so strange to find myself thinking about normal things. About the world beyond my uterus. When you're infertile, and TTC, you lose some of yourself. And I'm not just talking about vials of blood, or your sense of modesty. There's always the shadow of your fertility struggle looming over every thought, and action. You end up feeling like your own evil twin, or a "reasonable hand-drawn facsimilie." You try to think about the greater world, but the stress, anxiety and sadness pushes you back into the hormone-clouded bubble. You forget what life felt like before you became so hypersensitive.

But... without the drugs in my system, I'm starting to feel almost human again. I can sleep through the night without waking up drenched in sweat. I can concentrate on my work... well, at least as much as I ever could. I can be intimate with my husband without worrying about laying perfectly still afterward, or praying that it will work this time. We can be intimate when we feel like it, and we do feel like it. I never realized how different making love and making a baby were.

Without the drugs in my system, I feel like I'm learning how to be myself again. It feels strange, but good. I'm glad I'm taking this time for myself, to recover from how hard these last couple of years have been, and to prepare myself for the next part of the fight.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Time Off

Aunt Flow showed up again. Nice of her to stop by. IvoryBoy and I had literally just decided the day before to take at least one more month off from the science experiment, so her timing, as always, was impeccable.

The decision to take more time off was not easy - although I am VERY much looking forward to being Clomid-free for another month or more. We have one shot at the Clomid left before we move to IVF, and I really want to give us the best possible shot at it working. So in my mind, that means I need to lose some more weight, and eat better, and exercise. I can't help thinking that if I were in better shape, we'd have better luck... Which all feeds back into my guilt about the whole situation - as in "If only my Ovaries weren't defective, we'd have a baby by now."

And of course, I was hoping that it worked anyway, even without all of the poking and prodding...

Thursday, October 29, 2009


A very long time ago, it was thought that "hysteria" (only in women, of course) was caused by the womb travelling around the body, looking for a baby, and disrupting the function of the other organs. This is also when they believed that the "Humours" were responsible for one's demeanor (Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy.) At points through this journey, I've thought about that. Imagining my uterus peeking behind pancreas, kidney, lung, calling "Yoo-hoo! Any babies in here?" It makes me giggle a bit. And then I just get mad that they always blame women's behavior on hormones... But that's a whole other story!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Romantic Getaway

IvoryBoy and I spent our third anniversary in Boston this year. We had a really nice day wandering around Cambridge, checking out shops, then checking out the Back Bay (near our hotel) and doing a little shopping.

The next day, we went to the Science Museum, which was very interesting, but definitely geared toward kids. It was a little rough at some points, seeing all of these little kids with their classes from school, or their parents. Saturday was filled with more kids with their parents everywhere. IvoryBoy and I said to each other a few times that this would be a great trip to take with kids.

Not to say I spent the whole trip comparing us with the happy families everywhere. But I was hoping to think about it a lot less than I did. It's just amazing sometimes, how quickly that black fog comes up and distracts you from living a normal life. Something as simple as a child's mitten lost, and left behind on a potted plant in a mall, or a tiny souvenir t-shirt can make your heart break. And of course I kept thinking, maybe it will work while we're away and relaxed and happy. But there's always that fog lurking to pull me down.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Time Out

Taking another month off. Seems like a very good idea. We'll be away, celebrating our anniversary on the days that we'd need to do our final shot at IUI for our final clomid cycle, so the RE recommended waiting and doing the IUI, rather than trying the old fashioned way. I'm on day 7 or something like that (see how nice, I don't have to remember) and I feel not quite like my old self, but definitely calmer and (dare I say it?) happier? No hot flashes, that's a nice change of pace.

I was talking to my buddy, NewsGirl, and she was quite supportive, and reminded me of another good reason to not be all drugged up - actually being able to enjoy my anniversary, and by "anniversary" I mean, sex with my husband that isn't scheduled.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Effing Aunt Flow

She came back. I hate her.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Waiting... Again

It's day 28 today, and if Aunt Flow doesn't show up by Friday, I go for a pregnancy test.

I'm trying really hard not to feel too negative, or get my hopes up too high. This is my 7th Clomid cycle, 5th with Ovidrel, 3rd with IUI. We get one more shot at a Clomid cycle after this, and then we move to IVF. I was saying to IvoryBoy, as we drove the 6 hours to my MIL's for a long weekend, that I want to take a few months off between Clomid and IVF. He was disappointed, but agreed that whatever I want to do is what we'll do. He's a few years older than I am, and feels the pressure of age more acutely than I do in our science experiment. He's afraid he'll be taking Ivory Jr to college using a walker and wearing Depends.

I'm just feeling very discouraged, and trying not to interpret every cramp or twinge.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Survived Yom Kippur

Without incident, I might add.

I was all set to fast when NewsGirl said to me that technically, until proven otherwise, my body is trying to be pregnant, and fasting might not be a good idea. So I didn't. And it was weird. I still felt hungry, even though I ate (modestly).

So I went for a progesterone check today, and they didn't call, which means I'm good to go. I go back on 10/9 to check my blood if Aunt Flow doesn't arrive before then. I hope she doesn't.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's a Long Way Down

As I prepare for my 3rd IUI, I'm sitting here, not feeling excited or nervous, optimistic or encouraged, but miserable. Just plain miserable. I'm feeling rather down in the dumps lately, in general. Starting this 7th round of Clomid, I've felt the effects to be more intense, more acute, more difficult for others to be around me. I just feel so discouraged by the process. I wonder how much of this has to do with coming up on the 2nd anniversary of my 2nd miscarriage? I cried during Rosh Hashanah services, when they read the Story of Hannah, wife of Elkanah, mother of Samuel. It's like picking a scab. You think it's healed over, and then it starts bleeding as if it just happened.

It may not seem like it today, but I'm really trying not to let this get me down. I am wallowing in a rather viscous lake of self-pity which is making me particularly horrible to my friends, family and co-workers. I feel as if this self-pity, almost self-loathing, is a stinking slime seeping from my pores. I am so far from the person I was before I miscarried. Before I began this difficult journey of infertility treatments. The drugs make me feel like I'm watching someone else, maybe my evil twin, bark at people, and rant and rave, thinking "Oh that's horrible, why can't she just take a breath and look at this objectively?" She doesn't have an objective view-point to see things from. Perception is reality, after all. This ShadowGirl version of myself is angry and jealous, mostly angry, and can't get past her fear and pain about having to go through this to remember why we're doing this.

Friday, September 18, 2009

You Have to Find the Funny...

Yesterday, I was emailing with my good friend, NewsGirl, talking about our respective weeks. I mentioned that I was taking the day off work to take care of some things, and wrote this:

poke & prod at 7am. and then i head up to mom's to wait for my ovidrel and the oven repairman.

She replied, "can we please take a moment to dissect that sentence? Because it's [eff]ing hysterical."

Then I went back and read it. And it was.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Started Clomid last night. At 9:30 this morning, IvoryBoy calls to tell me that he's got to go out of town for work again for a week, starting on Day 12. So we're looking into our options, but it looks like we're going to go the spermsicle route, and do an IUI whenever they think I'm ready. So he won't even be in the same state as me when I'm being inseminated.

That would make a much better answer to "Where do babies come from?"


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It'll be just like Starting Over

IvoryBoy and I went for a consultation today with the reproductive endocrinologist. He feels that we're on the right track and should do at least two more Clomid cycles before considering IVF. He feels that with my PCOS, and the fact that I am responding to the Clomid favorably, that injectibles would pose too high a risk of multiples. I'm ok with the idea of twins, but I don't want my own reality show, thankyouverymuch. And I don't really want to be in a position where I have to figure out how I feel about selective reduction. I appreciate that they're concerned with avoiding quadruplets or more. Makes me wonder how Kate Gosselin or Octomom talked their doctors into allowing them to risk carrying whole litters of babies.

So I started my next round of clomid tonight, (Lucky everyone around me, getting to see mood-swinging-hot-flashing-IvoryGirl after a short hiatus) and then we'll do an IUI in about 10-12 days. I'm feeling pretty well rested from having that time off from our previous attempts. Hopefully that will help me to stay positive through this cycle. That and my sweet IvoryBoy, who keeps reminding me how much he loves me, and showing his support through it all. Even with all of this, I'm a very lucky girl.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The IvoryGirl & Ina Project?

Just saw Julie & Julia with IvoryBoy - he's a good husband, allowing himself to be dragged along to a theater full of middle-aged women. I'd read some of the reviews, which weren't so favorable for the Julie parts, and now I understand why. The parts with Julia and Paul Child were so full of life, that by comparison, the tiny snippets of Julie Powell's life don't give you a sense of who she is or why she started the project. I'm glad I read the book first, I'll say that.

So it gave me an idea that maybe I could do my own food blog. I do love to cook. What do you think of The IvoryGirl & Ina Project? Or maybe I could think of a different approach? I've been working on losing weight (lost 50lbs so far), maybe it could be about IvoryBoy and I eating healthy and exercising? I could even take pictures of the food we make and eat... And of our exercise bike, which I've used exactly once now. :)

Well, I'll keep thinking.

So IvoryBoy is back home sweet home, and I'm very glad to have him. I think I managed quite well without him for the last 2 weeks, and could manage again. I did miss him, but I wasn't as lonely as I thought I'd be. I think it was good for both of us to have some time to ourselves. These last 2 years have been quite stressful on us both, and circumstances like this can either push you closer or apart. Infertility... not a 2-week business trip, I mean :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Want A New Drug

I'm starting to research other ovulation-stimulating drugs. If anyone out there in the web-iverse knows about Serophene, or Femara, and has used them personally, I'd love to hear your experiences with them. I've heard from a few friends who've used them, but I'm hoping for more information. I just like to be well-informed when I go in for a consult with the RE.
Thanks to anyone who can assist!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lonely little 15

I was freaking out over the cyst, so I went to the RE to have them check on it, make sure it hadn't grown to the size of a ping pong ball. Mercifully, it had shrunk to about half it's former size. While they were in there, they checked my other ovary and found a 15. The Doc instructed me to go home and "try it" for a few days. Great idea, except IvoryBoy is away for the next 2 weeks, and I can't "try it" alone...

Also can't seem to sleep alone. (Do you hear violins?)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Derailed, Depressed, Delovely

Life's a b*tch, and so is Aunt Flow.

Not only did I get my period on Thursday, but the science experiment is on hold. On Friday, I went for my day 2 ultrasound and blood-work, and the Doctor found a cyst large enough to scrub this cycle. IvoryBoy and I will hopefully be able to get an appointment next week to go talk to our RE about what this means, do we need to do anything about it, and if the meds need to be adjusted.

From what I've found on message boards and other helpful websites, cysts are common. I just hope it doesn't get more painful. Right now it's just uncomfortable, and I can handle that. Not looking forward to anything more painful than that though.

Also - I wanted to welcome Shayna to my followers! Sorry for the crabby-pants entry today, I hope you'll stick around and comment anyway!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Waiting is the Hardest Part

If I don't get my period before Friday, I'll be going for a pregnancy blood test. As I've said before, that's sort of feeling scary right now. I keep feeling cramps, and soreness in my boobs, and slight nausea, just like I've felt every month that we've been doing this. I keep thinking "Maybe this time it's working." It's so hard to concentrate at work, or even at home on anything. I've been reading, trying to keep my brain too busy to think about it. I just have to get through 4 days (well, 3 1/2 now...)
And why does time seem to go by so much slower when you're waiting for something really important like this?

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I go for my first post-IUI blood work tomorrow. They'll be checking to see if I ovulated - although I don't know what they'll do if I didn't... And then if Aunt Flow doesn't show up by 8/6, I go for a pregnancy test. That's actually feeling sort of scary right now. I'm so used to the disappointment of it not working, I don't know what I'd do if it did work... But I've been feeling pretty optimistic this cycle. The IUI itself was uncomfortable, not painful. We were able to try again the old-fashioned way because I wasn't in pain, so I feel like we reinforced things. I rubbed my fertility totem over my belly a few times for luck.

So now it's just a waiting game for the next 2 weeks.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Crossed Fingers

Today was IUI day. It started bright and early with IvoryBoy's alarm clock going off around 6am, when he jumped up and took the cup out of the fridge. We snuggled for a little bit, and then we got up - I went to go shower and he left the bedroom, closing the door behind him. I had to run after him and remind him that he had to keep the cup under his arm after he completed his portion of the science experiment.

Now - let me explain - we both feel sort of awkward about this. Last time, I tried to help, and it was nearly disastrous, and IvoryBoy ended up asking me to leave the room. So we agreed that he was on his own for this one. I showered and dressed and was nearly ready to leave when he sheepishly brought me the cup. I tucked it under my arm and headed out. Gotta keep the boys warm.

IvoryBoy went to work shortly after I got home, and then came back for me a few hours later. I remember from last time, that the speculum hurt, the catheter hurt, the transfer hurt, and then there were cramps. I was wincing and digging my nails into IB's arm, and he whispered that he was sorry he complained about what he'd had to do. So, considering how painful the first IUI was, I was quite nervous about this morning. I asked IB to drive me in case I was too miserable to do it myself. In the car, we talked about how much we hope it works, and I tried to concentrate on being a happy, hospitable environment for a little zygote to grow. I feared the worst, but it was amazingly less painful. Don't get me wrong, it was still uncomfortable, and I had cramps all day, but much less traumatic than last time. From what I've read on various message boards, if the timing isn't quite right, it hurts, so I'm feeling quite optimistic about today's treatment.

I also wanted to share something that made me feel all warm and squishy. This morning while we waited to be called in, a man came in carrying a gift bag, and spoke quickly to the nurse that "they" were hoping to see "her" before the procedure. The nurse called someone and asked him to sit down and wait. He was so nervous I wanted to go hug him and tell him not to worry. Then his partner came in, and the nurse brought them across the hall. A few minutes later they came back. From what I'd overheard, they were there for their surrogate's procedure, to conceive their child. Sometimes I forget that it's not only heterosexual couples having trouble conceiving sitting in the waiting room with me, but it's usually just the women you see. It made me feel encouraged that this couple was able to find a way to have their own child, so we can too.

I am a really lucky girl, to have IvoryBoy. I've known for a long time that this wasn't going to be easy, and if it weren't for his encouragement, I might've given up on having my own child. We had to wait a bit in the exam room today, while the Doctor was called into the surgical suite, and he was making me laugh and keeping my mood light and happy. He held my hand through the whole procedure, and kissed me and told me how much he loves me. It may not be romantic to conceive a child this way, but it is intimate in a different way. IB's now seen me with my feet up in stirrups, a pink paper drape across my lap, and in a weird way, it's made us love each other more. I've heard stories of men not being able to see their wives in a sexual way after having seen them give birth, etc. I know that won't happen for us.

So now we just have to keep our fingers crossed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Last dose of Clomid

That's right - I just had my last dose of Clomid for this cycle. Now we wait. On Friday, I go for my next round of blood work and sonogram. They'll let me know when to inject the Ovadrel either Friday or Monday, depending on the progress of the follicles. Which reminds me that I didn't mention what happened on my Day 2 appointment. The Doctor doing the sonogram paused mid ovary-whap, said "Hmmm." clicked the mouse to measure some black circle on the screen (ovarian cyst??) and proceeded to remove and wipe off the wand. He said they'd call if there was a problem, but otherwise I was to start the Clomid that night. Ok. I was trying to remember that, and he left me to dress. When I left the room, he was nowhere in sight to ask about this mysterious circle. I called the office once I got to my office, and asked "Ok, what was that?"
It was an Ovarian cyst, but because my hormone levels were fine, they weren't concerned about it. So I started the Clomid, and as I mentioned up there, I finished taking that already.
It's probably being back on Clomid that's making me feel a bit nutty, but I was all sorts of freaked out about the cyst. How will that affect this cycle? How do the "black pearls" that I have affect my ability to release an egg? Do the "black pearls" heal?
SO I have a lot of questions for my doctor, obviously, but if anyone out there is reading this and has gone through this - do you know the answers?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Here it goes, Here it goes, Here it goes again...

I'll be heading back to the Reproductive Endocrinologist this week to start the next cycle. I called my health insurance provider this week to see how much money we had left in the lifetime allotment for infertility treatments, and I was pleasantly surprised. So far, none of the treatments that we've done have decremented from our total. We won't start using that up until or unless we progress to IVF and beyond. So now our only limitations for IUI is just what we can emotionally and physically handle.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Wand (or "You're putting that WHERE?")

When I was first diagnosed with PCOS, I hadn't gotten a period in nearly 9 months. As a sexually inactive college senior, I chalked it up to stress, but finally went to the clinic to get checked out, just in case. The doctor at the clinic drew some blood, and examined me, and prescribed Provera to bring on my errant period. I was also sent for a sonogram to check my ovaries. They asked me to drink 24 oz of water prior to the test, and hold my urine. I have a walnut sized bladder, so this was quite daunting. As the technician pressed on my abdomen with the songram thing, I whimpered and squeezed my PC muscles, praying for it to end so that I could go tinkle. Finally she stopped, and I nearly peed on the table. I ran down the hall, my open-in-the-back gown flapping, panties tucked under my arm, and nearly cried I was so relieved to... well, relieve myself.

After the doctor reviewed my test results, she determined that I did in fact have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. So I did some research, and at the time, there wasn't much out there. I saw a lot of miscarriage rate statistics, and infertility statistics, and not too much about treatment. Fortunately, I had a great Ob/Gyn who prescribed metformin and BCP's, and got me regulated.

I hadn't known until I got my diagnosis that my depression and 100lb weight gain was part of PCOS too. I experienced a lot of the side effects, and gradually started feeling better.

When I moved, I needed to find a new doctor, and found a Reproductive Endocrinologist in my insurance company's catalog. I went for my initial exam, and they told me that I'd be having a sonogram, so I expected the same thing, the pressing on the belly until you pee kind of sonogram. Well. In the 10 years since, technology had developed a little something called THE WAND. This was a rather intimidating device, that examined the inside. They didn't warn me that they were using that one, and SURPRISE - they didn't buy me dinner first, either.

So at this point in our relationship, IvoryBoy and I were planning our wedding, and talking about going off the BCP's after the honeymoon. The RE was talking about putting me on Clomid right away. I thought to myself "We're not even married yet, lady!" but instead I told them we'd come back when we were ready.

To be continued...

Monday, June 29, 2009

In the Beginning...

Someday this whole science experiment (we often refer to our Baby-making adventure as "The Science Experiment") will be behind us, and we'll have a healthy and happy baby, who will grow up into a healthy and happy, curious child, who will someday ask "Where do babies come from?"
On that day, I will not flinch, I will not falter, and I will bravely say "When two people really love each other and want to have a baby, they go to a Doctor, and go into separate rooms..."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back to the Grind

I would say my vacation was a success, as far as avoiding thinking about my uterus. I mean, I did think about it a few times, but I wasn't depressed about it. And IvoryBoy and I were able to relax and enjoy ourselves.

Apparently my mom thought about my uterus though and bought me a fertility totem on her vacation... I can't wait to see it - she says that salmon is a symbol of fertility and that I should eat more of it. Too bad I only like lox...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And now for something Completely Different

I was horrified to hear about today's events at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. So much so, that the first thing I spoke about in therapy tonight was that.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the security guard. May his memory be a blessing. I know that's not much comfort to the family in their grief, but his bravery will always be remembered.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Taking a Month Off?

I've now gone through 5 cycles of Clomid therapy to try to conceive. We went through our first IUI procedure this month, (Intrauterine Insemination) hoping that it would be more effective. This afternoon, I found conclusive evidence that this cycle did not work. When I came out of the bathroom with tears in my eyes, IvoryBoy took me in his arms and said "It's ok, we'll try again."
I know it's not unusual for couples treating infertility to go through years of therapies before conceiving (or eventually choosing adoption to add to their families) so I'm not surprised that it didn't work yet. Just disappointed.
For the last few days I've felt this coming, and have been trying to adjust.
As IvoryBoy and I started discussing logistics for the next cycle, we realized that we'll be on vacation the week we'd need to do the next IUI. Pending a conversation with the Reproductive Endocrinologist, we'll skip this month and try again in July. So our vacation will be a week of relaxation, and spending time together without trying so hard. Which is actually probably a really good thing. And it'll be a month off from all of the medications, so maybe I'll feel a little calmer...
And then I got an email from a friend saying that Michelle Duggar was pregnant with Triplets. And I thought to myself - why does she get to have 20 babies and we haven't gotten one?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just a Little Background

For anyone out there actually reading this, many women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) will have challenges when trying to conceive. When I was originally diagnosed, after not having a period for almost my entire Senior year of college, I was told that I might never be able to have babies. At that point I convinced myself (or tried to) that I didn't want children, and my life would be too busy and full to make time for a child. I know now it was a self-defense mechanism, but at the time, I thought I was just adapting to my circumstances. Suddenly babies were everywhere, and they were all adorable. They would smile at me, as if to say "Are you sure you don't want a baby? We're really cute!" I started teaching a children's music class - Mommy & Me style for kids from 8 months to 5 years old, and all of the babies loved me. They would smile and hug me, and make me feel very warm and squishy inside. (My biological clock is ticking like this.. *stomp stomp*) So as suddenly as I had come to my previous decision, I changed my mind. I wanted a baby of my own. I wanted to bring a child into the Universe to love and care for, and raise to be a good person. I can't put that feeling into words. It was just something I needed to do. One tiny problem - no man in my life at that time.

When I met IvoryBoy, we were friends for over a year before we started dating. He knew something of my health issues going into our relationship, and has been incredibly supportive through all of the different medication adjustments (read: MOOD SWINGING CRAZINESS.)

Now, nearly 10 years after my diagnosis, my husband (IvoryBoy) and I are trying to have a baby. We went through two miscarriages, and now we're trying fertility therapy. I'm taking a medication called Clomid, which stimulates the ovaries to produce. In PCOS patients, I think the eggs that you produce aren't fully mature, and this helps make good eggs, not scrambled ones. The side effects are not really very much fun though. Hot flashes, moodiness, headaches, sleeplessness, just to mention a few - hardly the sort of things that make one interested in actually making babies... :)

I'm trying to be optimistic. I'm trying to keep realistic too. Everyone keeps telling me that it'll happen, that I'll get pregnant. Sometimes that makes me feel better, sometimes it makes me feel resentful. I know I'm not the only woman to have trouble conceiving. And I know so far I've been pretty lucky - no surgeries, not too many injections in the derierre... But sometimes the self-pity takes over. I keep trying to keep it at bay. Chocolate helps... :)