Monday, January 30, 2012

The Verdict is In...

And apparently Little Thirteen is doing her (his? its?) thing! My numbers went from 60something on Thursday to 140something today! Dr. D wants me to come in tomorrow for trigger and Wednesday for IUI.

I am cautiously optimistic. I find this hard to believe because I've been doing OPKs every day and I never got a positive (although I did go from moderately dark on Saturday to surprisingly light/non-existent Sunday and today). Conversely, my temperature soared today, so I am worried that maybe I already did ovulate (Yes, I've managed the conundrum of being simultaneously convinced I am not close to ovulating to believing I have already ovulated...).

Oh well, I am going to try my best to put it out of my mind for tonight (with the help of my dear friend the DVR for whom I am eternally grateful), and I guess we'll see tomorrow!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ovulation Watch 2012: The Wait Continues

Clearly, not a lot has been happening here. Well, at least not a lot that can develop into a life. I have, however, broken Dr. D a little and made him give me real answers instead of vague phrases.

It all began on Monday. I went for bloodwork again. It was CD 17. I got a call in the afternoon, that, not surprisingly at this point, said nothing was happening with my estrogen. Keep waiting. Keep testing. (note: this might be the exact length and detail of the original message).

I almost cried with frustration. And worry. By CD17 every other cycle, Dr. D has seen something worth calling me in for. And now nothing? And how nothing was it? Since I never get any information from him, I was left wondering whether ovulation was likely to happen next week, or if Democrats and Republicans would be holding hands and singing Kumbaya together before it ever happened. So, I did what I never do. I called back, I asked questions, and I got forceful. And you know what? It kind of worked. I got an appointment for Wednesday.

So on Wednesday into Dr. D I went. Ever the optimist, I brought along my Lupron trigger thinking just in case. And while I did not get to use it, I did get some answers. For ease of my looking back (and ease of your skimming if you don't want to know everysingledetail about me) I am going to break it into categories.

The Good: I have an egg! We think. It was measuring at a measly 13mm on Day 19, but it seems to be an egg. Dr. D said we would follow my bloodwork and if I tested on Thursday with estrogen levels in the 100s, we would be ready to trigger this Saturday! Of course, that lead me to ask him what my estrogen levels currently were which leads to...

The Bad: Apparently the average ovulating woman, Jane Doe off the street, has estrogen numbers in the 40s before she ovulates. Not right before - then they go up to the 100s. But at like CD2, they just hang out in the 40s. Me - My first estrogen number from last week was a 17, which he likened to a pre-menopausal woman. Great. Feeling super fertile. I then snail climbed to a 25 and on Monday leaped up to a 46. So - not much going on. Jumping to the 100s on Thursday seemed pretty unlikely to me. Which, of course, they didn't. But they did go up to a 66. So, he says the growth is good. He just added ( using my least favorite word in the entire dictionary at the point, only beat possibly by the word relax) "wait until next week. Get blood work again on Monday and we will see where we can go from there."

The Ugly: I have a cyst on my left ovary. It appears to be about 28mm. It really could be the subject of its own post, but let's just say that thanks to some Nancy Drew detective work on my part, we've put together that I have probably had this cyst ever since I first saw him back in September. According to Dr. D, if it is still there after my period comes this month, then next month we will likely have to aspirate it. I have no idea what this means in terms of having a chance this month or how much of a delay we would have to take after the surgery. I am really hoping it is an ABC cyst and it will "C it's way out of here" (you know, cause I still like to use snide middle school put-downs. Ha - Take that Cyst).

So, it was a mixed bag kind of week. I am glad I got some answers from Dr. D. At one point he literally grabbed my chart and tried to leave the room to see other patients and I had to call out, "wait one more question..." (good thing he stopped since he conducted this entire conversation with me while I had my paper sheet on and running after him would have been more than slightly awkward. Maybe he though that would keep my questions to a minimum, but at this point my impatience knows no shame). And I am hopeful that Monday's blood work will show that my little egg (i've dubbed her "13") is doing her thing and growing. But I am worried about what this cyst might mean. And to be totally honest, I find it more than a tad disheartening that the Dr. is already talking about "when you get your period this month..." When your RE stops pretending that you might get pregnant, that can never be good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Are We There Yet? And other questions I ask my ovaries during the follicular phase.

The follicular phase (the period of time before you ovulate) has got to be the worst part of the TTC process. I know most people would say the Two Week Wait is torturous. And I don't disagree with that. There's the stress of wondering. The larger stress of not drinking. The symptom spotting and the inevitable (if you are me) white pregnancy tests. But I would take all that over the follicular phase. Because at least then you are doing something as opposed to this nothingness of waiting.

All of this to say, my monitoring blood work came back yesterday and Dr. D tells me my eggs are "doing nothing" (lazy bastards). So I wait - impatiently. Even though it is CD11, and most people ovulate around day 14, I am still "early in my cycle" (another gem from Dr. D). Unfortunately for me, I usually ovulate around day 21. And despite knowing this for an absolute fact, every month I am convinced this is the month I will ovulate earlier.

So what's a girl to do with an extra week of the follicular phase? Well here are my tried and true ways to pass this intolerable time:

1. Take OPKs. Even when it is way too soon to logically need them. Based on my track record, I clearly think I can spur things along based on the number of OPKs I take. Surely that is why I pee on several a day.
2. Check your chart. When not peeing on sticks, I pass the time looking at my chart. This is much less fun since dips and spikes mean nothing in this phase, but you can probably still trick yourself into analyzing the nothingness. Fertility Friend helps with this by having chart overlays and comparisons you can do if you spring for the VIP membership.
3. Plot out your sex life. Do it every day? Every other day? A combination of the two? Surely there is a perfect configuration that I have just not stumbled upon yet, and I work like a M.I.T engineer trying to figure it out.

Sigh, they should make ovulation advent calendars. I might not mind the wait so much if I got a piece of chocolate every day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hating the Hater in Me

Total honesty? This post was pretty hard for me to write. No one likes to admit to being less-than-perfect and I guess I am wondering why I feel the need to do so to a worldwide web full of people. Maybe if it has to do with my Catholic roots and the desire for confession? Who knows....

I am usually a nice, happy-go-lucky kind of girl. More than one person has accused me of being a Pollyanna. In fact, my very best friend so kindly admitted to me once that she hated me the first few weeks of college because I was such a goody-two-shoes and, horror of all horrors, perky. However, with this whole trying for a baby thing, I feel I have turned into something of a (bitter) witch.

For starters, I can't stand pregnancy announcements. I hate writing that out and I want to add a million caveats, but if I boil it down to the truth, that statement has to stand on its own. Before family events, I grill D on whether he thinks so-and-so will be pregnant. When I see on facebook that someone is pregnant, I have a fierce five second urge to delete them as a friend. And I was having palpitations before attending my best friend's birthday party because I was convinced another girl there was going to be pregnant. She wasn't. In fact, she is struggling too and about to start her first IUI. And you know what I felt? Relieved. Relieved that I was not alone and relieved that I was not sitting next to her burgeoning belly.

Now before you start throwing tomatoes at me through the screen, my relief was quickly followed by shame (at myself) and then empathy for the girl. I wound up talking to her about various steps she could take and cheering her on with the procedure. But I can't deny that my very first emotion, however fleeting, was relief. And I also can't deny that if she had been pregnant, there is a very good chance I would have been snippy with D all night and drank myself into a near coma.

And I hate that. I don't want to resent people something so wonderful. I don't want to feel relief that someone else who is trying too is still unsuccessful. Struggling is not something I would wish on anyone. And when I really think about it, I don't think what I feel is so much ill-will towards others, but more a pity-party and resentment of myself and this situation. Regardless, it is ugly and not who I want to be.

To answer my earlier question of myself, I think I write this because I have to believe others have felt this way too. That we have this desire to be happy for others, to still feel that a victory for one is a victory for all, but deep down it is hard when you are feeling like the world's biggest piece of crap for not being pregnant yet. And unless you've been there yourself it is hard to understand. But I am trying my best to pull myself out this funk. I worked hard to be a Pollyanna for most my life - I refuse to let trying-to-conceive turn me into a Brenda Walsh.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Like a Kid on Christmas Morning

That's right - I just compared getting my period to being a kid on Christmas morning. But I have two sound (or is that sad?) reasons for doing so...

Reason #1:
You know how during Christmas, the build-up is better than the actual day? At least for me it always was as a kid. I would get to a near frenzied height of excitement and anticipation leading up to the day of Christmas. I imagined how wonderful and perfect it would all be, and how mountainous my pile of gifts, and then it never quite lived up to my expectations (or maybe I was just a spoiled brat). Well, that's what my phone call to Dr. D was like yesterday. I think I built it up to be this epic call: we were moving forward! Big plans would be happening! Yet, it was all kind of anti-climatic.

First of all, I never got to talk to Dr. D. I just talked to N at the front desk. I told her how we needed a different trigger shot and she talked to the Dr. and he suggested Lupron. Then she scheduled me for a CD12 ultrasound with possible trigger. I tried to bring up the progesterone, but she said it could vary at all different points and I'd have to bring it up with the doctor. And that was it. She hung up. Call done.

And all my Christmas-letdowness let loose. I hated the idea of the Lupron shot (why? I had never even heard of itm so there was 100% no reason to be warranted for not liking it). I was angry about the CD12 ultrasound (waaay too early for me since I never ovulate before CD17. However, my Dr.'s office always says better early rather than miss it. Logically, I totally understand why they do and would definitely prefer being too early than too late). I pouted. I googled. And eventually, I calmed down.

Turns out, Lupron is a non-hcg trigger. I actually found a case of someone using it who also did not respond to the hcg shot. And, um, my dr.'s office called back today and offered, when I suggested monitoring through blood work, to move my ultrasound/trigger to CD15. Oh. Humble pie, this is what you taste like? I remember you well from Christmas' past.

Reason for being like a kid on Christmas Morning #2:
I actually did not sleep well last night I was so excited to start temping again. I kept waking up and sneaking peeks at my clock like a kid anticipating the arrival of Santa (although a temp of 97.18 is not quite as good a gift as a Red-Ryder-BB gun, I think it just might be when it finally shows me that blessed shift indicating I ovulated).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Moving On. Period.

That's right - my period came! Woot Woot (this will hopefully be the first and last time I have such glee at getting this awful beast). Roll on Monday morning. I will be calling Dr. D and setting things in motion. D and I have decided to try a different brand trigger shot (which scares me immensely) and I am going to SPEAK UP to Dr. D. and ask if my progesterone needs to be monitored / supplemented in anyway. I think this "break" was the time off I needed to recharge.

2012 - let's go make a baby!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Don't Want to be a Cheater

So lately, I've been thinking about cheating...on my doctor.

The thing is, I am a loyal kind of girl. And I really like Dr. D, but I am starting to have doubts.

Let me start off with some background. Like most crushes, I started out IN LOVE (all capitals) with Dr. D. Back in 2009 I was having some serious issues with my "downstairs neighbor". By this point I had seen many many doctors about the pain I was having. And the advice varied from inane to insulting. But mostly it was just dismissive, stating that the pain was in my head. Well, after years of "one night stands" with these doctors where they cast me (and my problems) aside, I had had enough. I googled specialists, found Dr. D and, amazingly, he did something none of the others ever did. He listened. And then he had ideas.

Ultimately, he decided to treat my endometriosis. He performed a laproscopic surgery, found all kinds of goodies, and then shipped me off to a "regular OB" since my problems were fixed. But, as he bid me goodbye, he said to me if I had problems getting pregnant, he would be glad to help.

And that was it. I did get better. The pain went away. And since we were actively preventing pregnancy, I spent the next year or so happily apart from Dr. D, but always thinking of him fondly. So, when after 5 months of trying we had been unsuccessful, I did not even contemplate other options. I knew Dr. D was who I wanted to see.

At first, that old magic was there. He sat with me for close to an hour discussing options and listening to my story. And best of all, he was proactive. He was willing to do an IUI that very first month, which he said was a good option because we would get a "free sperm analysis" at the same time. I was so excited that he was not telling me to "just wait". My love for him blossomed.

Only, lately, some doubts have started creeping in.

I would say my doubts first started after my HSG. From what I understand of this test, they shoot water in you to see if your fallopian tubes are blocked. I jokingly refer to this test as the vagina-water-torture test. I had had one in 2009, and he had said everything was fine afterwards.

Well, after my second round, he again put the film on the light screen and explained to me that everything looked a.o.k. He said the only thing of note was the slight downturn of my uterus, but that we had fixed that at the surgery. This made me pause. I remember him telling me about that after my surgery, but he had never mentioned it was downturn from the first HSG. Shouldn't he have been able to see that from the first HSG if now he could see it and it was less. Hmm...but then I got even MORE concerned when the nurse came in and started discussing it with the doctor. At first I was not paying attention because they were bantering back and forth, so there is a chance I missed something important in this conversation. But basically, she said another doctor looked at the film while passing through and said it was abnormal. But Dr. D countered, "no, its normal" and I was too meek to butt in and ask for clarification.

So, I started to doubt, but it was also not strong evidence. I mean, I was not fully listening. They might have been talking about someone else's film (unlikely since Dr. D showed up at the facility after I did and left when I did, but still theoretically possible).

But still, no big deal, I thought. Maybe he meant it was normal for me. Yes, slightly downturned for some Jane Doe off the street, but compared to what mine had been, this was normal.

Doubt #2 - He gave me flat-out wrong information. Because I am a researcher (read: neurotic), everything I do, I google, read about, and find baby boards regarding. I just feel better knowing as much about a subject as possible. So, when researching the trigger shot, I learned all kinds of information. Most importantly this: do not take a pregnancy or opk test after the shot, because the HCG in the trigger will give you false positives. Well, after my first trigger, Dr. D never even mentioned this to me. Which I think is HUGE. If I had not researched, I would have tested with a pregnancy test and thought I was knocked up. I can't even imagine how devastating that would be. But that is not my biggest concern. After this last trigger shot, I showed up the next day for my IUI. He asked if I ever got a positive OPK. He had seen me the day before when he gave the shot, so I knew he meant since then. I said I did, however, I knew it did not count because I had been given the shot. He said, "oh no, the shot will only give you a positive pregnancy test, not a positive OPK. It's two different hormones." He did have a long rationale for this, and it sounded scientific, so I started to doubt myself and my research. Maybe I was wrong. But, when I went home and re-researched, I found much to contradict that. Including my own body. Because I continued to test positive for NINE days - something that would not happen naturally!

Finally, Doubt #3 and I think possibly my biggest one... but I doubt in our fit together. Dr. D is all about being relaxed and laid back. He jokes (which I love) and is super personable (which I also love). But he does not share data. When I go on Fertility Friend or other baby boards where women are struggling, they always know what their husband's sperm count is, what their own FSH levels are and exactly what their progesterone or beta is. Dr. D does not deal in specifics like this. When I had blood work done, where 12 vials of blood were taken and they tested everything under the sun, I was expecting a comprehensive report. HERE would be my data. But, instead I was told everything looked "good". And when D gives his deposit, we are always told his sperm count is "great" or "wonderful" (Using my powers of inference, I am assuming that means I am averagely ok, but D is a fertility king). As I mentioned before, I am a person who loves researching and obsessing. Truly, I find it comforting. But I find my ability to do that is seriously lacking without the information I covet.

On that same note, I feel lately, during his joking conversations, he has definitely implied (flat out stated) a preference for the more laid back type client. Once we were talking about what to do next and he said, "Well, it depends on what type you are. If you are the New Yorker, aggressive type, you want to do medicated IUI or IVF, but the more laid-back, natural types usually like to do surgery next." Gee...I wonder which road Dr. D prefers? The next time we went, we got a near similar allegory - this time a tale of a young, seemingly fertile chemist who was so neurotic she did not get pregnant from IVF and a plucky 40 year old full of hope who only had one good egg (can you see where this is going?) and was able to get pregnant off the first IVF. Message received doc: keep my neurosis to myself. So when most recently he recommended keeping with the IUIs instead of going more aggressive, I bit my tongue and agreed that was the best path.

So those are my reasons. However, part of me wonders how much of this is emotional. I mean, all these things could be true, but if he had gotten me pregnant already, would any have bothered me really? Probably not. Is there something another dr. is going to do that is better? I don't know.

At this point, my main gripe is that I want to do something besides unmedicated IUIs. We've had 3 and I feel like continuing to do them seems like batting my head against the wall. I want to be more aggressive, and Dr. D wants to continue down this slow and steady path. Maybe the answer isn't changing doctors, but changing myself. If I want something more, I need to speak up. Because when it comes down to it, I want to be a mother. And, as others have said before me, the time to start advocating for my child is now.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Waiting Game...Provera Edition

Took my last Provera on Wednesday. Now begins the waiting game. According to my doctor you should get your period five days after your last pill. Monday. I can't wait. In fact, I think I feel back pain today, so I am secretly hoping my period might come early. But this back pain could be the equivalent of convincing myself I feel nauseous so I must be pregnant. AKA The Trying Girl's delusions.

So, I sit here, drinking my TCM (traditional Chinese medicine for those of you new to the game. And truly not known for its tastiness. I *may* be holding my breath as I drink it) and waiting for my period to come. You would think Aunt Flo would be excited to visit; she's never been so welcomed!