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God has blessed me tremendously with an amazing husband, Doug, and two gorgeous little boys, Gavin and Joey. It has always been a dream of mine to have a large family but God may have other plans. I had a series of 6 consecutive early miscarriages when trying for baby #2. We are currently trying for baby #3 after our 7th miscarriage. I am faithful that God's plan is perfect, even when I am not happy about it. I love comments and meeting new followers so please don't be shy!

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scary Follicles and Confessions of a Pee Stick Addict

Last cycle I posted about how disappointed I was to learn that my uterine lining was super duper thin.  I was reassured that it was okay because I had really "good structure" and that was more important.  When that cycle was a big fat bust, I asked the doctor what we could do to improve that.  Actually, all I said was, "Last cycle my lining was a measly 5.something..." and her expression was as if I told her I ran over a puppy on my way to the appointment.  Before I could even finish my question, she told me that she was going to switch me to Femara instead of Clomid.  She explained that Clomid can cause the lining to be too thin and Femara would help to thicken it.

Today I went for my Day 12 ultrasound.  For those of you who aren't personally involved with the infertility world, the primary purpose it so see if/how well medications worked by monitoring your follicles (eggs) and their maturity (size).  They also take a look at the uterine lining.  She quickly announced that I had a 24mm follicle and a 20mm follicle.  I was super happy with that but still nervous to learn what my lining would be.  When she told me that it was 10.9 I nearly jumped off the table and hugged her!  I couldn't have been happier!  My lining doubled on Femara! 

Then, the nurse came in to give me my trigger shot.  She looked at my numbers and she was grinning ear to ear as she read them off to me again.  She looked hopeful too.  Then she looked up at a calendar hanging on the cabinet and told me not to test until the 16th of November.  Yes, folks, the 16th.  Apparently there isn't a check box on my chart for pee stick addict. 

I smiled at her and said, "I can't promise you anything.  I will test out my trigger so I will know if it is a real positive, but to not test until the 16th is crazy talk!"

"Oh My!  Don't do that!  You are just wasting money by testing like that!" she pleaded.

"Apparently you haven't met my friend called The Internet Cheapie?" I poked back.  "They are less than a dollar and I can pee on those bad boys all cycle long for less than a box of expensive tests!"

Her eyes began to look worried as she cautioned, "Please don't!  We have had bad experiences with those cheap tests!"

"I'm a professional TTCer.  I know what I'm peeing on."  I decided at that point that I if I started throwing terms like "evaps" and the relaying the precise sensitivity of every test on the market, I might have found my file placed in a "special pile" so I stopped.

So aside from confessing to my pee stick addiction, the appointment went fantastically! 

Well, there was one other little problem.  I joked that since my appointment was on Halloween that I would dress up as my right ovary.  My RE, and former classmate, joked that she would dress like the left one and we could walk next to each other in the hallway.  I didn't wear a costume and the secretary called me out on it.  I explained that my ovary costume developed OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome- a result of responding too well to fertility meds) and had to stay home. 

Happy Halloween and I hope my scary awesome follicles cook up a set of adorable little pirates... or flowers... or dinosaurs... or MnMs... or anything squishy.  I will also be thrilled with one pirate, flower, dinosaur or a single solitary MnM!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Formerly Unwritten Rules of Pregnancy and the Facebook-o-sphere

The moment you have been waiting for is finally upon you!  You held in your hand a stick.  You peed on that stick.  While your urine absorbed into that fortune telling wick, you began dreaming of nursery themes and itty bitty argyle socks.  Then, as if your pee could talk, the words, "I'm pregnant!" echoed in your head.  With that news literally in your hand, you shook like a kid on Christmas morning.  You jumped a few times then worried it might hurt the baby.  You may have even twirled while holding your pee stick, small child, or pet under 40 pounds.  You, my dear, are pregnant!

Now what?  Do you scurry to thumb type a pregnancy announcement on your smart phone before the pee stick even dries?  Do you pick up the phone and call all relevant family and friends?  Do you feel guilty because your mom, best friend and your online TTC support group knew before your dear sweet husband?

Once the cat is out of the bag and you make it "facebook official," you may encounter one little hurdle that you weren't anticipating.  While you are glowing and giddy at the realization that there is a teeny human growing inside of you, the rest of the world doesn't really care nearly as much as you do.  I mean, it is cool.  It is facinating!  It is a miracle!  But rumor has it, you aren't the first woman in the world to be pregnant and you won't be the last either. So now what?  How do you share all of the wonderous things happening in your body without making 225 of your former classmates, work pals, and random people you have friended over the last 10 years, completely insane?  Here are a few ideas:

1. Start a blog.  This is an excellent option since you can write as much or as little as you want.  Then, you can post a link to your blog post on your facebook page.  Talk about your girly bits, or other sensitive information?  Give Uncle Al a heads up.  Blogging gives people the option of reading the play by play.

2. Start a facebook group.  Using this approach, you can select your friends and family who you would like to be privy to your uterine status (i.e., leave Uncle Al out of this).  You can make posts as frequently as you want and group members can participate to whatever extent they are comfortable.  They can type a frowny face when you share that you lost your lunch again, they can squeal along with you as you pass your 3 hour glucose tolerance test, or they can read your posts when they choose to without being bombarded with baby updates in their news feed.

3. Join a buddy group of pregnant women.  You are sure to find others who are currently on a similar path that would be happy to trade pregnancy war stories, milestones, and OB appointment updates.  Not only with this save Bob, that guy that you still aren't sure how (or if) you know him, from reading about how gassy you have become.

4. Use common sense.  If the previous options aren't quite your style, then here's another option.  When you post a status on facebook, ask yourself a few things before you click on the post button.

Question: Does anyone really want/need to know this?  
Example#1: I totally sneezed and peed myself 3 times today. 
Example#2: Anyone have any fast remedies for constipation?  I've been in the crapper for 47 minutes and this shit won't budge.
Example#3: It feels like someone is knocking on my vagina.  Is this normal?

Still unclear?  Ask yourself what you would think if your mother posted this.  If you shudder, cringe, or throw up a little, backspace and walk away.  

Question: Does your status make pregnancy sound like a dreaded disease?
Example#1: I am so miserable I could scream.  But, I would have to take a nap to muster the strength for screaming.  Someone save me.  
Example#2: I wish I could eat like a normal person but everything makes me barf my brains out. If I lose anymore weight I don't know how I will keep these maternity jeans up. 

1 in 6 couples is infertile.  They read these posts and long for those aches and pains of pregnancy.  Along similar lines, 1 in 4 women will suffer the loss of a baby.  To talk about pregnancy like it is torture, isn't going to be well received by what is likely to be a silent group of fellow facebookers.  So try to skip the bitching whenever possible.     

Question: Would I post this if I wasn't pregnant?

 Example#1: I only woke up to pee twice last night.  It was a personal best!  
Example#2: I swear that if I have buy yet another bra in a larger size, I might have to buy a strapless dress even if it is just to show off my girls!
Example#3: I have only gained 20 pounds in the last 4 months!

If you wouldn't, then don't. This will help weed out the useless nonsense and pregnancy over-sharing.

Bottom line, my soon-to-be rotund friend, is that people are happy for you.  They truly are!  That is why when you post your announcement you will get a bajillion likes and comments.  You can expect another outpouring of love when you disclose the gender, if you are so inclined.  Then finally, on the day when your baby makes his or her debut, you will feel the love and support from all around the facebook-o-sphere.    Anything you post in the interim of those milestones will likely be received with an eye roll or an obligatory emoticon response.  Feel free to post whatever you want though.  It is your slice of facebook pie!  Mmmmm... I just said pie.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!!  Enjoy every single second even if you are sucking on lemon candy, puking up what used to be your favorite dinner, and unable to sleep because of that life growing in your expanding belly.  It is an amazing experience!  Just not one that we, the facebook world, need to experience along with you. 


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cycle Day 1 and Why I am Infertile... Maybe

Yep.  I said it.  My period showed up.  This cycle was a bust. 

A few days ago I was a wreck.  My hormones, synthetic ones and the real ones, were going crazy.  Between the acne of a teenager, the emotional stability of a toddler, and the patience of a gnat, I was a real pleasant person to be around.  When I finally stopped having phantom symptoms and inconclusive pregnancy tests, I felt moderately better.  I graciously invited my family back into the house in exchange for pumpkin bread and large amounts of Starbucks.  See?  I can be nice.     

I do plan on asking my doctor about what we can do to improve my lining.  I do not want to do another IUI unless my lining is significantly better.  I did my share of research and found plenty of studies that showed that the structure of the lining was actually more important (triple stripe pattern), but I also found countless sites and personal accounts where their doctor wouldn't even do an IUI unless the lining was at least 8 mm.  So, my pathetic 5 just isn't going to cut it. 

Who's ready for my latest theory?

Why I am Infertile: Theory #974,672 
 When I was trying for our first baby, my periods were probably 4 days long and I had what I always considered to be a normal amount of bleeding.  Then after Gavin showed up on the scene, I was happy to note that Ol' Aunt Flo started packing lighter and didn't stay as long.  I should celebrate right?!

Maybe not.  Having a shorter, lighter period can mean that my lining is too thin and that there isn't enough there for a fertilized egg to implant or implant well.  My theory is that having a thin lining may very well have been the primary cause of my early losses, all 8 of them.  Now that I am on cycle 30 of TTC baby #3, I can't help but wonder if I need to find a way to get Aunt Flo to stay a little longer.  Perhaps I need to offer her a glass of red wine?  Maybe buy her a nice pair of white pants?  Should I ask her to linger by planning a vacation where I plan to flaunt my not quite bikini ready body (by "not quite," I mean "not even close")?  How about I set up a buffet of deep fried cheese and chocolate fondue?  I'm completely open to suggestions. 

I don't know if the RE might suggest estrogen supplementation or if he might have another plan but I promise you, I am all ears. 

Until then, please pass the pumpkin bread and throw some ice cream on it, please.  Coffee?  Don't mind if I do. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Pal Progesterone

I really tried hard to not obsess this cycle.  I had plenty of distractions.

Like this: 

I, the queen of charting, even kicked the temping habit to the curb.  Well, sorta. I didn't take my temperature a single morning for a whole 17 days.  I may just be rationalizing my falling off the wagon, but I really wanted to see what my temperature would look like in the later part of my cycle.  I have noticed that for the last several cycles that my temps were trailing off starting at about 6 days past ovulation.  It seems that the progesterone is doing it's job because my temp is still nice and high. 

I don't know if I ever told you how much I detest Progesterone supplementation.  I do.  I hate it so much.  The pseudo pregnancy symptoms that every TTCer feels is multiplied.  There is no way to know whether it is the progesterone or a pregnancy causing the extra trips to the bathroom, the cramping, the fatigue, the sore boobs, the... well you know... the everything. 

So to say that all of these unusual feelings have been casually ignored would be a huge fat lie.  Dr. Google has been my right hand man and all he tells me is, "It might be pregnancy!!! Or it might be the progesterone."  Thanks for that Doc.

I am only 8 days past ovulation and have been testing out my trigger.  I used and Answer test today for the specific reason that they aren't as sensitive as the Wondfo pink tests.  My theory (I always have a theory) is that with a less sensitive test, it will be easier to know if the line is coming or going.  Today's answer test was a super ghost squinter (see below).  I am hoping that tomorrow's test is either darker or completely negative.  If it is negative then I will know that if a line shows on an Answer test then I can be cautiously happy.  If it is darker, I can be cautiously hopeful that the line will continue to get darker each day. 
Either way, I will post an update sometime before the end of the week.  Thanks again for all of your prayers and support.  I am so blessed to have you all!  Your emails, messages, and words of encouragement never go unnoticed!  Also a very special shout out to the girls at ttccommunity for being such a wonderful group! 
Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sperm of the Moment Conversation

When I told the story of what took place at the doctor's office on Saturday morning, I left out one very funny detail.  We decided that we would enjoy a Saturday morning drive as a family.  After all, it is autumn and our favorite month of the year.  As we piled into the car, Gavin began questioning where we were going. 

When Gavin asks a question, we are always honest with out answers.  Doug is always the more honest of the two of us.  I am honest but try to keep my answers short and sweet.  Doug, on the other hand, will explain things to him as if he is an adult.  The majority of the time, Gavin really seems to understand the answers so there isn't any reason to "dumb it down," I just don't particularly enjoy the follow up questions that I usually answer with, "Let's google that!"  So when he asked where we were going on Saturday morning, I simply stated that I was going to the doctor.  Doug, on the other hand, went further and explained that they were going to use a special camera to look inside my belly to see how many eggs I had. He also went on to explain that eggs might turn into babies.  To say I was relieved when Gavin didn't prod further, would be an understatement.  We made it the rest of the trip without any other questions.   

Fast forward an hour and a half.

I climb back into the car appologizing profusely and begging for forgiveness.  The boys were contently coloring in the back seat and Doug was actually really calm about the fact he had been sitting with two kids under 5 in a vehicle for over an hour. 

Doug asked how things went and I shared with him that I had three follicles and that I had the trigger shot.  Gavin overheard and said, "So that means you will have three more babies."  He was perfectly okay with that number.  A few minutes later as we were making the return trip, Gavin interrupted to show me his drawing.

"Look, Mom!  I drew a picture of your three eggs!" I turned to see that he had three squiggly pen drawn figures.   

Before I could comment he continued,"So, Dad?  When the sperm swim up to them and accidentally bump into them, is that when they hatch?"

My mouth hung open. 

Doug explained that Gavin asked, and he... well... answered.

That night, the boys spent the night at my parent's house.  On Sunday morning my mother shared that Gavin explained in great detail how sperm find the eggs and "accidentally bump into them."  So he is apparently spreading the word.  Did I mention that I am dreading when his memory is piqued and he shares this information with his classmates and teachers?  I know it will happen.  It is just a matter of when.

Then, on a slighly less entertaining note but closely related, today at lunch Gavin tells me, "Mom, I just know that one of those three eggs you have in there is going to be a baby girl."

"How do you know that?"

"Well, because I am going to grow up to be a daddy.  Joey is sometimes pretending to be a mommy, but when he grows up he will be a daddy too.  We have to have someone that will be a mommy like you."

So that is the fertility forecast coming to you live from Gavin, a 4 year old destined to embarass me with his understanding of sperm.
Monday, October 8, 2012

Football and The Sperm Lady

It might be hard to realize how those two things might be connected, but I promise you they are!

Saturday is date night.  There are few better things than getting to spend a quiet evening alone with my husband.  We intermittently exchanging high fives as we cheered our very own Ohio State Buckeyes on to a win.  The game started at 8:00pm and Doug and I, being the wild and crazy kids that we are, stayed up through the whole 3rd quarter.

Meanwhile, about 20 miles away from us a similar situation played out.  One significant difference was that only the wife decided to call it a night at the end of the third quarter.  She decided to sleep in a different room so that her husband could watch the remainder of the game. That room, while very comfortable, lacked one very important tool.  An alarm clock. 

Sunday morning, our alarm woke us long before the sun could.  It was 5:50 am.  We had both showered and had everything ready to go the night before so that we could essentially jump in the truck and make our 45 minute journey to the RE's office for our first (and hopefully our last) IUI.  We had been given the option of bringing "the goods" with us as long as we could get it there within an hour of it's "arrival."  Since that made me nervous and really didn't want to feel like we were racing against the clock, we decided that Doug would do his part when we got there.

We drove though darkness making a quick stop at Starbucks since I read once that sperm can actually benefit from a high octane jolt of caffeine prior to being called to action.  Then, we arrived at the office and walked in.  Again, I was slightly shocked at the number of people I saw sitting in the room.  At least 10 people were sitting in the waiting area.  It was 7:00 am on a Sunday!?  I walked up to the receptionist, smiled and said our names.

She looked up, with very sleepy and perplexed eyes and replied, "I don't know where P is.  She was supposed to be here and I have no idea what to tell you.  Go ahead and have a seat."  P is who I fondly refer to as "The Sperm Lady."  She apparently was no where to be found.

We took a seat and then I surveyed the room again.  There were women rolling their eyes, tapping their feet, and nervously scrolling up and down on their smart phones.  The guys seemed to be more involved in their issue of Popular Mechanics and Sports Illustrated.  After a few minutes passed the receptionist calls out to the waiting area that P overslept and would be there in 20 minutes.  The women who had been already toe tapping and eye rolling, looked as if, had it been socially appropriate, they would have flopped on the floor and screamed.  Then it dawned on me... They had their time sensitive goods probably stowed in their clothing watching that minute hand tick tick tick.  I was so thankful that we decided to deal with the awkwardness of taking care of that on site. 

The Sperm Lady showed up exactly 21 minutes later and then it felt like we were transported to the floor of the NYSE.  People were bidding on who got to go next and making their move toward the Sperm Lady's door.  We, on the other hand, just sat.  Then, one woman from the other end of the room explained that they had been there since 6:30!  We were happy to wait until last. 

We were told to be back in one hour.  We grabbed some breakfast and came back and waited for our turn.  This time, we didn't have to wait very long before being called back, but we were close to being the last people in the waiting area.

We walked into the room and the nurse showed me a vial and asked me to verify that it was my husband's information on the label.  I saw his name and gave her the okay.  The doctor came in a few moments later and after exchanging some pleasantries,  he began reading of Doug's SS#.  Doug was nodding along until he read the last number.  The doctor said 7 and it should have been a 9.  We all kind of smiled awkwardly and giggled recognizing that it was just a typo, but on the very short list of the worst places to have a typo.  So we all agreed that the Sperm Lady must have misread Doug's handwriting.  Then he read off Doug's birthday.  Doug and I both nodded as he read the month and day of his birth but when he read the year, it was off by a decade.  I honestly thought that the doctor must have been making a joke considering the issue with the SS#, but when we corrected him he let a F-bomb fly and threw down some paperwork.  All a little too dramatic for a joke.

So, to wrap up this story that I had no intention of being this long, I may have been inseminated with some guy sperm who's first and last name was the same, has the same SS# with one digit different, and who is exactly 10 years younger!  I just hope this guy is half as wonderful as my husband is. 

But seriously, the doctor did give us the option of cancelling and rescheduling but assured us that he was the only doctor in today and that there had been no other confusion on any other samples.  Considering that we were basically the last of the people to be seen that day, we really are confident that it was just two very bad typos. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thin Uterine Lining

Would it be too much to ask to have everything go smoothly?  Of course it would. 

Today I went to the RE to have a quick ultrasound to look at the follicles (eggs) and make usre they were mature and ready to ovulate.  Since I thought it would be a quick in-out visit, the whole family went for a drive this morning.  My appointment was at 8:30 and we arrived at about 8:25.  Doug dropped me off at the front door and waited in the truck with the boys while I "ran in for my quick scan."

When I walked through the door I saw about 20 people sitting in the waiting area.  My heart sank.  I plopped into a chair and started my clandestined game of angry birds while making sure to cock my head occasionally so it would appear as if I was reading a scholarly article or something very adult like.  Then, after about 25 minutes, they called a name.  Yep.  A name.  One.  Only 19 to go. 

Finally after an hour, they called me back.  I got the hurried, "undress from the waist down and the doctor will be right in."  I was relieved.  I thought that the doctor being "right in" meant he was essentially waiting in the hallway for me to drop my drawers.  I sat on the paper lined crinkly table and anticipated the whoosh of the door opening.  I anticipated that for another 20 minutes. 

I started to panic.  I had a car load of less than patient guys in the truck and a soccer game to get to.  I was starting to consider wrapping that paper sheet around my waist like a bath towel and marching into the hallway and demanding to know when the doctor would be in.  Then I heard a sound in the hallway.  It was the sound of a clicky pen clicking repeatedly.  I was a millisecond from calling out, "I know you are out there, Doctor.  Get your butt in here STAT!" when the door opened.  I think I exhaled for the first time in 20 minutes. 

He did the scan and took all the measurements of my follicles.  He told me that we would trigger today and IUI tomorrow.  Then, because I have a hard time not asking questions, I wanted to know what my lining measurement was.  You see, I have this other doctor that I call Dr. Google.  That doctor gave me a long list of statistics of successes based on these measurements.  My lining was a measly 5.something.  That, my friends, is not good.  Most doctors think 8 is a minimum measurement.  He did say that the structure of my lining was really good and had a three stripe pattern (which apparently is good).  He thinks that adding Baby Aspirin and Progesterone will be enough.  Needless to say, I called for an emergency appointment with Dr. Google and he has not been very reassuring. 

I did have three mature follicles so I am happy about that.  Tomorrow, at the crack of dawn, we will be going in for our IUI.  I ask that you say a prayer tonight that God's will be done.  We cannot thwart His plan so if it is meant to be, my lining doesn't really matter.

Thank you everyone for the support!  I'll try to update early next week. 
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hello 100!

Well... not 100 exactly but my weight, as of today, starts with a 1.  I can't remember the last time that was the case.  It certainly was before I had babies and maybe even before I was married!  Either way, I am excited!  Down a total of 27 pounds since June. 

A lot of people have asked me how I am losing weight so fast and I am going to tell you exactly what I am doing. 

1. I keep track of my calories.  Until June, I never paid any attention to calories or my portions.  I probably ate and drank enough for two people without even knowing it!   I found My Fitness Pal and learned that tracking my calories was actually easy.  I started reading labels of the crap I had been eating and started making better choices.  I am not eating cardboard and plain lettuce!  I eat normal food and I have eaten fast food at least once a week.  It is just a game of numbers!  I like to win so I watch those numbers!  If I eat a cheeseburger, then I have to be vigilant about what I eat the rest of the day.

2. I sweat.  Daily.   When I first decided to lose weight, I googled what the best exercise was to lose weight.  I found some stellar advice.  Turns out, the best exercise is the exercise you will do.  So, I bought a treadmill.  I had done other kinds of exercise over the years but I would always slack off when I thought that I might be pregnant for fear of causing some sort of complication or miscarriage.  So I decided that walking is something that I will do now and will keep doing through a pregnancy (perhaps less vigorous).  Everyday I walk for about 90 minutes.  The amount of calories I burn varies but it is usually around 750. 

3. I found motivation.  Most people would think that wanting to lose weight is motivation enough.  Thinking about being slim and looking good in fashionable clothes is really easy to do while watching TV and eating Doritos.  I used TV to motivate me.  I don't get much time to watch adult situation TV dramas and I figured out that I could do that using ear buds and either my phone or my husband's Kindle without young impressionable ears having any clue that I wasn't watching Blue's Clues.  I found a TV series that caught my attention and only was allowed to watch it while on the treadmill.  I loved how every episode would end with a bit of a cliff hanger so I would really look forward to my next workout.  I am now watching Lost and already getting concerned about what to watch next!  This might be tough to top!  I am completely open to any suggestions! 

That is really it!  I work hard for every pound I lose.  I would love to one day get to my goal weight of 150, but for now, I'll take it one cycle at a time.   For those that remember this post, I am getting closer to this!!! 

If you have any questions, ask me in the comments and I'll spill it.  I'm an open book! 

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