Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm an Idiot

Good Sunday morning. I'm a fucking moron. Somehow I thought I was supposed to take my first clomid pills on day 1 of my period, but I was wrong. Had a sneaking suspicion this morning that I had taken the pills on the wrong day. Sure enough I read over the paperwork today and it says clearly "take on days 5-9"- ugh! So I made a frantic call to fertility nurse who is of course out for the weekend, explaining my error, rambling on about what an idiot I am and asking for instructions. "Did I totally blow it for this cycle? Do I get more pills? What do I do?!"

I'm sure it had nothing to do with the wine I drank last night, or the general sense of constant chaos and emotional upheaval. I swear the nurse told me to take them on day 1, regardless it's my fault for not paying attention to the stupid prescription label !!!!

No wonder we haven't conceived, it's God's way of preventing me from spawning and spreading my idiocy.

UPDATE: The weekend fertility nurse called me back Sunday. She was very nice and said that while she had never heard of anyone taking clomid the first day of their period, she was sure the regular nurse (Luanna) would have. She told me to not take anymore, to call Luanna on Tuesday morning and she would most likely just have me get one more dose of pills and have me take them as planned, on days 5-9. I was relieved, though still embarrassed and worried I messed up this month. Clearly, I need to calm down and focus on what I'm doing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Late Start

This week stinks. I’ve never been more full of hope that we were pregnant than this week. This was of course dashed to bits when I took a pregnancy test the evening of the first day I should have started my period. I am rarely a later starter. The following day I was in the waiting room of the fertility clinic waiting for my appointment to sign the consent form for the first IUI session. And so it begins…

My appointment was scheduled for 4:15 pm, I arrived in the waiting room after checking in at 4:11. Surrounded by pregnant women and their uncommunicative husbands/boyfriends/partners, I flipped through the news on my cell phone, pretending to read articles about Libya and Russia trying to negotiate Ghaddafi’s departure, while I secretly was resenting those rotund women and their damn luck at conceiving. Sizing then up from the corner of my eye, judging their lives, their hair, their outfits. I wondered if the husbands/boyfriends/partners wanted babies or if they were dragged along, surprised or forced into having one. I prefer that. I don’t want to think of anyone but us being excited to have a baby.

Meantime, I had checked my email and finally received a response from the doctor regarding the pelvic ultrasound I had two weeks ago. I had to send two emails to receie a response, and even then it took her four days to respond the second email. The doctor reported that only two fingertip sized fibroids appeared on the ultrasound, and they were too small to impede conception. This is good news, except here we are again, learning that nothing is wrong with us, it’s just not happening. Mixed bag emotionally. She stated the next step it a hysterosalpingogram to find out if my tubes are blocked, or just start right in with the IUIs. Since I was already sitting in the waiting room waiting to sign a consent form for the IUI, a hysterosalpingogram was not going to be the next step.

I waited for 45 minutes as those pregnant women disappeared into the doctor’s office, then left the clinic. Patience is not something I excel at, but I didn’t want to be rude, these people have our fertility in their hands. Finally I stepped into the nurse’s station and explained that I had an appointment nearly an hour ago and was wondering if I’d be seen. The one nurse clearly didn’t listen to me, instructed me to go sit in the waiting room and wait to be called. Exasperated, one short breath away from turning into The Hulk,  I addressed the other nurse and said again, that my appointment was at 4:15, it was now 5:00. That nurse acknowledged me, asked who my appointment was with and then informed the fertility nurse I was still waiting to be seen. I heard that fertility nurse exclaim “Oh! I totally forgot about her! Oh no!” Yep. Of course she forgot about me. Fucking bitch. I’m just out here dying to get started on treatment so I CAN HAVE A BABY…no rush, nothing important going on out here.

She was nice and I forgave her immediately. I know she was busy and at least she didn’t make me come back later. The first time I sat in her office I broke down sobbing, this time I was calm and full of questions. We discussed the process for the IUI and when to start taking Clomid-which would make me ovulate double time, therefore improving the chances of conceiving during the IUI process. She told me I start taking the pills on the first day of my period. I asked what happens if I don’t actually have a period this month since I was already 1-3 days later than normal? She proceeded to explain to me what the first day of a period is, I listened, irritated, wanting to slap her to make her actually listen to my question. “Yes, Luanna, I know what the first day of a period is, but I’m late this month, and I’m asking you what do I do if all I have is spotting?” Again, she explained to me that the first day of a period is when there is red blood flow, not spotting. “Luanna, I know about periods. I’m asking you what do I do if I don’t have a period this month?” This went round and round three times before she finally listened and answered my question with “It will happen. You will have flow.” Sigh.

So here is the process for IUI:
I start taking two Clomid pills per day on the first day of my period, and do so for five days. On day 11 of my cycle I begin taking OPK. When I get the smiley face on the OPK indicating Lh surge, I call the fertility pager to set up a time that very day to have Husband’s semen inserted into my uterus. After the appointment is set, Husband has to produce semen into a cup which I will take with me to the appointment. I’m to carry it in a bag, close to my body (under a jacket zipped up) to keep the swimmers warm, but not too hot. The lab tech will then take the swimmers, “clean them,” spin them, do their magic to make them ready to attack my eggs, I will lay down and someone will use a long, thin tube inserted into my uterus to “inject” the swimmers. Now the swimmers will be closer to my eggs, bypassing what is apparently a highly toxic vaginal/cervical environment, and hopefully we will conceive.

The best part of the week was starting my period three days later than normal. Today is day 30 of my cycle, and I didn’t start my period until this afternoon. Sad on one hand not to be pregnant, happy to know that I can start taking Clomid and in 11-17 days we will go in for the IUI and hopefully be pregnant a few days after that. If not, I will be crushed. 

Another great part of this week is being with Husband's family which is wonderful, because Brat and Wife aren't here. But they may be coming over tomorrow. Just what I want the day after I start my fertility treatment, Clomid is a hormone afterall, sit there and listen to her complain about how tired she is, how she hates gaining weight (Easter was all about how glad she was she hadn't gained weight....can you hear the tick, tick, tick of my rage bomb?), and talk about baby names. My strategy is to not drink too much to prevent puking my absolutely hatred on the, but just enough to keep me from being miserable and crying. Poor Husband. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Rule of Three

I was chatting online today with a coworker about upcoming plans to go out of town for a wedding next week. As I typed out the sentence "This will be wedding one of three for the year. These things usually happen in threes: weddings, babies, divorces,"I suddenly went into panic mode. There are already three babies for this year! If there are already three, then that means we won't have one!

After several minutes of barely maintaining, and managing to keep my short breaths just long enough to not quite qualify as hyperventilating-one does not want to alarm others in the office of their absurd emotional issues after all-I realized this is okay. You see last year, there were only two babies, which meant there is an extra one which could be used this year. Phew! Then I remembered that another friend is due in September. Shit. That makes four babies in this year, using the remaining one from the previous year.

Seriously, I am a reasonably intelligent woman. I can cook a meal, count to 100, pay my bills on time, drive without crashing into others, but this stupid thought took hold of me. I really felt, well, that's it, then. Nothing is going to happen this year. F that. No more OPKs, no more tracking my cycle and when we have intercourse. Yes, sex has officially become intercourse. It's too scheduled and expected to be love making or sex. Sigh.

Just as I began writing this post, it dawned on me that we wouldn't give birth this year, anyway. It's too late, but that doesn't mean we won't get pregnant. Oh, wait! That's right! So it is still a possibility...yes, Anastasia, there could still be a stork in the near future for you!

I sit here and count out the months on my fingers, if we got pregnant in May, we could have the baby in February or March. That would be lovely, a baby born the same month as Husband, or my older sister whom I love dearly. The fantasies of planning the birth, the nursery, how big I would be in September at my friend's wedding which I am a bridesmaid in...all these wonderful and fun images pop into my head. It's hard not to entertain them, they are too enticing. There is trouble in allowing these fantasies to play out too long though. I tend to hold onto them, redirecting every little step in each one, the joy is nearly tangible, re-imagining nursery colors, what it will be like to tell everyone we're pregnant, to finally know we aren't TTC (trying to conceive) anymore, but have actually achieved conception! These thoughts become chains when it's clear each month that I am in fact not pregnant again.

Two days until I'm supposed to start my period. I don't feel any different than I do every month, but I'm hoping this time we're pregnant. I'd love for Husband and I to have one of the three babies for next year.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Just Maybe

I got the smiley face on the OPK test this morning. For the first time since last fall I've ovulated two months in a row. I wasn't even going to take an OPK today because I was feeling so low about everything, and it is two days past the typical day I get the Lh surge. Yesterday was a hard day emotionally, for no particular reason. Coming out of the restroom at work yesterday I experienced something strange. Impulsively, I almost reached out to touch the pregnant belly of a woman in the hope it would bring me good luck. In a flash, a nearly involuntary muscle spasm nearly forced my arm to reach out toward her. Thank goodness I was able to restrain myself, I'm sure she would have thought I was attacking her. 

I continue to wonder if our trouble conceiving is the punishment for some choices I've made in my life, things I've done that have hurt others. I always thought it would come in the form of never finding love, never being married to the "right man," or of being diagnosed with cancer and either having my spouse leave, or of dying young. It never occurred to me it may manifest in the form of infertility. This fear has increased since the test results showed that Husband's swimmers were healthy. It's one thing to feel that you are being appropriately punished as a single person, but when you are experiencing a hardship that effects someone you love, then it's cruel. Perhaps that's what make it punishment. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wonderful Infertility Blog

I just came across this blog tonight, "Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed." The "What If" video made me bawl my eyes out, I still haven't finished it. The author, Keiko Zoll, writes a poignant, smart and humorous blog. Please check out the video if nothing else.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ship It Up Your Ass

I hate Brat. He just texted Husband to ask if he can have baby items shipped to our house instead of theirs to save on sales tax. REALLY?!

Now, I admit that Brat was never part of the conversations I had with his wife regarding trying to have a baby, so I cannot really blame him for his selfishness and insensitivity. I assumed that like I often do with Husband, Wife would share the conversations, and Brat would know how hard things have been. Clearly, she did not. This is something I am somewhat grateful for though-it means that either she was too drunk to remember or didn't pay attention because it didn't involve her. That means she doesn't remember me expressing my fears and frustrations about trying unsuccessfully to conceive.

This is happening on the tail end of a terrible week/end that resulted in me having an utter breakdown and Husband and I having the worst fight of our entire relationship. Last week I had a crisis of career, of life, of marriage, of reality. Wednesday morning we had a huge fight which stemmed oddly enough from bin Laden's death followed by the fact that Brat and Wife announced they are having a girl. Bin Laden's death reinforced the fact that I am not working my "dream" job-intelligence. Not that I would have been involved in the bin Laden situation, but it was a reminder that the job I'm doing now will never lead to a result as powerful or important as that. It re-ignited my career discontent, which then made me very angry. Then of course came the news of Baby Girl which was fitting. That was the final tip on my sanity scale and I went off the deep-end.

I don't remember what set off the argument Wednesday morning but it was full of resentment and anger. Husband did eventually make a good point, which was that I need to accept where I am. He was right. So I tried acceptance on for the day, and it made me both lighter and sadder. While at work I wrote the following:
Acceptance feels like defeat. Facing the truth and giving in hurts worse than the disappointment and anger I'm used to. So I accept defeat. Accept that my life is NOTHING that I wanted, and every decision has led to a worse situation. Accept nothing I wanted has happened as I wanted or imagined, and may in fact never happen at all. Now I have to figure out how to kill the resentment that threatens daily to undo it all. That crowds my mind and tightens around my throat. 
It's dramatic, I know, but it's how I was feeling. The rest of the week at work was great and I managed to stay positive.

Home life hasn't been great lately, and it's mostly my fault. Husband and I have been back home for almost one full year, and we're still struggling with all the same shit, except I have a job. The longer we're here and things are not improving (we're not pregnant, he's not working, I have no friends locally who even remotely understand what we're going through, etc.), the harder it is for me to not freak out. Disappointment, frustration, depression, anguish continue to build and I just don't know what to do anymore.

All week we tried to schedule Mother's Day activities with our mothers. My mother-in-law said that Husband had to work it out with Brat. Husband texted and called several times, but Brat never responded. Finally, Saturday afternoon Husband's dad said Brat and Wife would be going over there for breakfast. Husband said great, we'll come by in the evening for dinner then. We both aren't ready to see them after their very exciting news, that and because Brat couldn't be bothered to respond to Husband's calls and texts. I was so relieved we wouldn't have to spend the day with them.

Sunday we spent the afternoon with Husband's mother and father. We had a great time until the end. I had too much to drink and finally said something to my mother-in-law about Baby Girl. She was conspicuously not mentioned with the exception that the in-laws wanted the back room cleaned out to turn it into a nursery. The back room has served as storage for both Brat and Husband. As we were leaving I grabbed the last load of our items from that back-room-nursery-to-be and said to my mother-in-law "At least you can be happy you're having a granddaughter" and her response was strange, "Yes, I will keep it close to my heart." For some reason, that upset me. She's still not showing her true joy about it, and that is insulting. I don't want to hear about Baby Girl every second of the day, but c'mon, this is their first grandchild and they aren't even talking about it. Why is she holding back? It makes me very uncomfortable, it's almost worse that she doesn't talk about it.

Husband's family knows nothing about us seeing a fertility specialist. Mother-in-law only knows that we had been trying to conceive, but I have shared nothing with her in detail, and haven't even mentioned it in months.

Anyway, blame it on the wine, or on me slipping off my constant tightrope walk of sanity, her response set me off. I unloaded on Husband. Hours later when the fight was over, and we were both completely exhausted, with nothing resolved, we agreed that we have to start focusing on us and stop being so bitter and resentful of others.

It's been all of 15 hours since we came to that conclusion and I'm back to being bitter and resentful of Brat. That text he sent Husband wanting to ship baby stuff here was all it took. I already ran through a list of things I'd like to do when that baby stuff arrives here- beat it to hell and claim that's how it was delivered, burn it, give it away to someone in need and tell Brat that it never arrived. Those fantasies give me a little thrill, so does wanting to tell him to ship those items up his tight ass.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Insert This Camera Like a Tampon

Yesterday we had a pelvic ultrasound. This is one step in the process leading up to intra-uterine insemination (IUI). I was told to arrive with a full bladder, which I did. The very nice and funny ultrasound technician, Kim, informed me that first she would do a regular ultrasound, I would pull my pants down just a bit for her to have access to my tummy, after that, she would leave the room, let me undress from the waist down and we would do an internal ultrasound. I laughed thinking of course this will be more invasive than I thought. She smiled and said "They never tell women about that part, can't figure out why."

It was cool to see my uterus and ovaries up on the television screen as she performed the regular ultrasound. She explained what everything was, even though it didn't always help us really identify what she was talking about. Kim pointed out my uterus, which looks nothing like the drawings they show you, it was just a black oval which was dwarfed by my ever-growing bladder, and then my ovaries which were more dark ovals. She was even able to see the lining of my uterus, though it looked like everything else on the screen to both Husband and I. She made her measurements of all my lady parts and then explained that I needed to empty my bladder and when I returned, she would step out of the room and allow me to undress and get settled on the bed, with my bottom on top of a pelvis-tilting pillow which would allow for maximum visual access to my ovaries. Gratefully, I used the restroom and returned to find the pelvis-tilting pillow in place, and a sheet waiting to cover my lower half.

When Kim returned, she showed us the internal camera she would be using, covered in what was essentially a condom, and the tip was slathered with lubricant.  She handed it to me and instructed me to "insert the camera like you would a tampon." Now after all of the annual exams and cervical pre-cancer procedures I've had done over the years, I was not concerned with inserting a camera in the shape of a 16 inch long penis. It was more strange that Kim would be moving it around once I inserted it. Guess it's obvious here that I haven't used many dildos in my time-otherwise I would be perfectly comfortable with someone else directing a large phallic item, with their hand, that was inserted into my vagina.

It was painless initially. She found the right ovary (now my favorite of the two), it was easy to spot and there were 29 follicles, that was great to see. Then she had to dig around for a good shot of the left ovary, and that was increasingly uncomfortable. That damn ovary was hiding behind my uterus, I guess it's "shy." That ovary only had 15 follicles and she didn't have much to say about it. She finished up by measuring the blood flow and listening to the blood flow in each ovary.

Sadly she is not a physician and was therefore not allowed to discuss any findings. A physician would look at it, confer with my doctor, and then I will find out the results. Of course my doctor is on vacation for the next week (how dare she?!) so I will have to wait forever to find out if there is anything wrong. Hopefully not. Husband and I were just relieved to see that 1. I had two ovaries, 2. I had a uterus, and 3. there were no monsters hiding in my uterus which had been snatching up his very capable swimmers and preventing them from inseminating my eggs.

They should do this ultrasound for all women at a younger age so everyone can be educated on what our bodies look like. It seems that the world of medicine does not want women to be empowered with that knowledge.

Today is day 10 of my cycle and I took my first OPK for the month. It was negative, but that's alright. Hopefully I will ovulate this month and we will conceive. In the meantime, I'm going to have another mimosa.