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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Infertility Does Not Go Away

Yes I a pregnant. Yes, I am having twins. Yes I have heard both heartbeats. No, I will never forget what it took to get here, nor will I forget that it can all be taken away in less than a heartbeat. I still have my days where I am sad. I always will. I will never get over the loss of my previous babies.

Most people do not understand that. Often people say to me, "Well, you are pregnant now, so why are you not ecstatic?" Seriously? Why? I will tell you why! I lost two babies. I went through a year of infertility treatments with no positive outcome. And then I had to sell my soul to go through the horrible road of IVF.

Yes IVF did work on the first try and I am so thankful. But until you have walked in my shoes, do not ask me why I am not jumping up and down! When I hold my twins in my arms, you bet, I will jump!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I am MIA

I have been captured by the porcelain gods and expect to be in their care for a few more weeks. I will say that I was able to hear both babies heartbeats last Friday. It was the most amazing sound I have ever heard. I will be back, once I can keep my head up for more than 15 minutes without being summoned by the gods once again.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Week 6

I am six weeks and 2 days pregnant. I have spent the last five days in bed with severe stomach pain. I was able to go to work today. I went to the Dr. yesterday for a u/s and everything is fine, they are not sure why I am having so much pain. What a scary few days. Yesterday before my appointment I had a meltdown. I was in the kitchen and my sister was visiting. I started sobbing uncontrollably.

This u/s was to see if there was a heartbeat. Normally a woman would be excited. I was terrified. What if there is no heartbeat? After two years of pain and loss what if we end up losing again? I always new that there were no promises but it was really starting to feel unfair.

The appointment went well, and we are having twins! One sac is a bit smaller than the other 5mm to 4.7mm. The Dr. said that it is possible to loose the smaller one, but they both had heartbeats so everything looks good for now. I am worried for the little one. I want everything to be ok. I am frustrated that nothing can be easy. Cant I just have a normal pregnancy and have both babies be healthy? Is that too much to ask for?

So, we wait and I rest and take are of myself and try to manage going to work feeling so bad. I will keep you all posted. Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I am here, I did not forget you all

Hi bloggers! I have been gone awhile. Not because I have forgotten my friends, just because I have been so tired and sick lately! I hope you all are doing well. Things have been okay around here. Besides all day sickness, which I am thrilled about! And there is the constant exhaustion yay! I really could not be happier about my horrible symptoms!

Of course I am just as scared as excited. I still do the blood watch every bathroom visit. I am not sure if I will ever feel safe in pregnancy. I am hoping by week 13 or 14 I will feel better. I find out next week how many babes are in there. I feel like there are two because I am sicker this time around, and I just have a feeling. I know being sicker could just mean a healthier baby, but I hope there are two.

I know it sounds greedy, but I want to be done. I do not want to do IVF again, I want to move on and live my life and build my family. Even though I am pregnant, not a day goes by that I do not think or feel the pain of the journey to get here. I always had a hard time with women how went through infertility and when the got pregnant they just disappeared. I realize you are thrilled and busy with a new baby, but what about all those other women who supported you while you were going through the horrible times?

I vow never to become one who disappears and no longer is there to support other women. The pain of miscarriage and this whole process never goes away. It may get better once you have a baby, but it will always be a part of me. I may be on and off blogger over the next few months, just because I am feeling so sick! But I am always thinking of you, and pray that you are doing well and things are going your way. I appreciate all of your support.

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's Official

I am pregnant! I got my second beta today and it jumped from 41.7 on Friday to 157 today! Could not be happier! I am still very nervous as we know that I have not carried past 10 weeks, but I feel good about this one. I go back in two weeks for my ultrasound and hopefully there are two little heart beats flickering away!

Saturday I started getting sick. Today the exhaustion as hit in. I am four weeks along. I think with each milestone I will feel safer. Then again, do you ever feel safe after miscarriage? Time will tell. I want to thank all of you who have supported me along the way. I am not leaving, and just because I am pregnant does not mean I am infertile and I will not stop fighting for this issue.

I know from personal experience that it is hard to see fellow infertiles become pregnant. Even though we are happy for one another when we become pregnant, it still hurts if we are not. I understand that, so do not be afraid to be angry at me or feel like you need to distance yourself. I understand.

I will continue to blog on infertility as well as keep you all posted on my pregnancy. I have also been accepted to write for the Chicago Examiner, which is an online newspaper. Once my page is set up I will share it with you all.

Thank You!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Last Day of National Infertiity Week and my clinic did WHAT?

I have to admit, I was feeling a bit guilty for not doing more for this special week. As you all now, I had two embryos transplanted a week ago, so that has kept my mind preoccupied. I did make sure to continually update my facebook status to spread the message, but I did not really act. Well, until today!

I have a confession. On Tuesday, I started POAS (peeing on a stick). I did this on Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning and evening, and Thursday morning. I knew it was way too early, but for infertiles it is one of those things. I was okay with the negatives, as I knew it was early. I came home on Thursday evening and had one more test left. I thought "What the heck?" It was positive. I was shocked! Again, I realize it is early. But, in 12 hours from getting a third negative, a positive.

Hubby and I decided we should get more tests just to make sure more are showing positive so it was not some weird fluke. I took two more last night and one this morning and they were all positive. The one this morning popped up with in 30 seconds. I will be four weeks on Tuesday.

Because of this news, I started to freak a bit. I have a blood clotting disorder that I did not know about with my last pregnancy and lost the baby. Once I saw that positive, the first thing I thought was I have to call the Dr. and get on Luvenox, which is a blood thinner that the Dr. was going to put me on after my first positive beta.

I called my clinic and asked to speak to a nurse. Instead of a nurse they gave my call to one of the medical assistants (no offense to anyone is an MA). I have dealt with this MA before and her name is Tracy. I had told the receptionist why I was calling and she told Tracy. The first thing she said was "Jenifer, you know you are not to test. There are reasons for this. A urine test is telling you nothing. I am not even going to tell the Dr. that you called." I lost it! This bitch! I started getting upset and said, "You cannot understand what it is like to loose two babies and now have an understanding of why. I will do anything and everything to keep these babies safe. I will not loose another one because I am not being heard." I livid! I explained to her again, I have a blood clotting disorder; I have taken three negative tests but now have four positives. I just want the luvenox. I even explained that I understand that it could be a strange false positive, but what is the harm of giving me a blood thinner to ease my mind? My original beta is on Tuesday, just four days away.

Again, I understand that it is ridiculously early. But, I just knew I was pregnant and I WILL do whatever I have to do keep these babies safe. Yes I keep saying babies, I think its twins. SO, I told Tracy thanks anyway, I will be calling my OB because she will actually listen to me. Then I hung up!

I was actually driving to work during this call and because I was hysterical I called my mom. I was able to calm myself down, I did pull over. Ten minutes later, Tracy called me back. She told me I can come in for an early beta but I must understand it could be negative. I said that is fine. I just want to be safe. So off I went. I was still pretty ticked off. One of the other medical assistants took me back and drew my blood. I asked to speak with her privately to voice my concerns.

I explained to her that all Tracy would have to of said to me was that waiting four days is not going to cause a blood clot. Instead, she was callous, abrupt, and rude. All I want is to protect my babies. Why is that so hard to understand? Lorita, the MA I was talking with, understood and said she would have handled it differently and who cares if you need to come in for an early beta to ease your nerves? She said that she would want to start the medication immediately as well.

With that conversation, I felt a bit of hope. This is not the first time I have had a negative experience with this office. If my Dr. were not the best of the best, I would have left along time ago. The staff that works in my clinic has never experienced infertility or miscarriage in their own lives. I know this because I ask. I truly feel that if you have not been through it, and you cannot be empathetic, and then get out! How dare you not listen to my concerns? How dare you treat me like a child? Who do you think you are, as a MA, to decide that my concerns to not warrant alerting the Dr?

So I fought today. And I won! I got my beta, and it was positive. That positive was such a great piece of "I TOLD YOU SO!!!" Medicine and science can never make up for a mothers intuition. And the fact that this is National Infertility Awareness Week and my clinic did not even know. They did not treat me with respect, they did not allow me my rights to my Dr. Instead, they shut me down, made me feel stupid and irrational, and reminded me once again how even in the reproductive medicine world, they too are insensitive and just plain do not get it. I fought for myself, and I feel like I fought for all of you. We deserve answers; we deserve to be listened to. Our fears are real and should NEVER be made minuscule.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Blood Watch

My fellows If’ers know what I am talking about. Every time I go to the bathroom, I am looking for blood. I am constantly worried whenever I pee, expecting that horrible red devil on the toilet paper after every wipe. It really is ironic how we spend the majority of our teens and young adult lives praying for the red devil to appear. We beg god to prevent pregnancy until we are ready and now I am begging him to make me pregnant. Sometimes I wonder if this is my repentance. “You will have miscarriages and bleed because I gave you the red devil when did the selfish deed.” That was god speaking by the way. Maybe it is just my guilt.

I realize I am supposed to be calm and Zen during this wait. How do you become Zen when you have lost two babies, gone through four IUI’s and just completed your first fresh cycle of IVF? I try to be calm, and most of the day I am. However, I go through spurts throughout the day that I am anxious. Then it is time to pee, yet again, and continue with Blood Watch 2010.

With every twinge my ovaries take

With every cramp my uterus makes

I pray everyday for their sake

A good mother I think I will be

I cannot wait to have them with me

-Jhope2010 Copyright All Rights Reserved

How crazy is it that just four days ago I had embryos placed inside of my uterus and I am already three weeks and three days pregnant. !

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Today was amazing on so many levels.   The night before, or morning, I did not fall asleep until 5 am.  My alarm went of at 6 am.  My husband was already in the shower.  Usually he showers in his own full bathroom downstairs but we had some work done in that room.  Once he got out, I got into a freezing, madening cold shower!  I was not a happy girl!  Needless to say I had some choice words for hubby.

Right before we left, I broke down and apologized.  Progesterone has made me into a monster these days!  Let alone the massive mounds of sore muscle on my butt joined with several scabs from all the injections.  I just want this to be over.  I thought I would be elated before hand.  Excited that this was the final step in the IVF process.  Maybe I was just exhausted and being the progesterone monster, but I was not excited.

I know some women are very elated on transfer day.  But for me it was a reminder of all the things my husband and I cannot do on our own.  You would think after two years of infertility treatments you would get use to that, but you never do.  Everything in the IF world is purely scientific.  It is not romantic.  There is no foreplay.  Well, unless you count foreplay as the doctor entering the speculum with jelly.  There is no post coital bliss.

Once we were at the office and the embryologist came in to introduce us to our babies, everything changed.  It was so cool to see those embies!  Not many women get to see what it looks like when you and hubby make a life together until the baby shows up on ultrasound.  It was a beautiful moment.  The embryologist said our embryos were perfect for transfer.  She said the two that were going back in could not be more perfect.  There were two that did not make it, but four others  are waitng to be cultured and frozen.

We were then walked back to the OR and recovery area.  I did the disrobing and lovely gown, booties, and surgical cap application.   I kissed hubby good bye and went to lay back onto the table, also known as the monster! Of course my bladder is completlty full in order to use ultra sound to guide the Dr.  They tilt the bed almost entirely upside down.  The procedure itself lasted about three minutes. The lab, which opens the middle part of a door by my feet, peeks in and asks me to state my name.  Then they give the syringe with the embryos to the Dr.  The Dr. inserts a catheter into my uterus and then uses the syringe to insert the embryos.  Once that is done, I am left to lay upside down for 20 minutes.

While I was laying there, I started to realize what just happened.  My body is now the home of two perfect little embryos hoping to bury into my thick warm uterine lining, to eventually become our children.  Wow.  It is strange, scary, unnatural, wondrous, exciting all in one.   Once I was released from my bat like state I was allowed to pee!  I have never been so excited to pee!  I was reunited with my husband and given our discharge instructions.  Bed rest for the rest of the weekend. 

I thought I would have cried at some point during the procedure.  I actually felt numb during the actual insertion of the embies.  Your not allowed to talk or move.  So I made sure I followed those instructions.  Once we got home I texted our parents a picture of their grand babies. 

Now the wait begins.  We know there is no guarentee.  The Dr. feels optomistic and says we have a good chance.  But what is a chance, really?  Life is chance, literally. With my first pregnancy I lost the baby because I had PCOS and was undiagnosed.  After one round of clomid and IUI and metformin I got pregnant and lost at 10 weeks because I had undiagnosed thrombophilia and a blood clot caused the miscarriage.  I am being treated for all of the above.  My fear is, what is the third issue? 

I find out on May 4th if I remain pregnant.  I will be excited, but not outwardly so as I have to wait until 12 weeks before I feel calm about these babies.  I pray that they both make it.  I am using biofeedback to work on getting them to bury in and growig into a fetus.  I am wishing on every star.  I am doing anything and everything in my power to stay pregnant.  Or as many fellow IVFers say PUPO.  Pregnant until proven otherwise.  So, I will go and rest, and enjoy being pregnant for the next 10 days.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Retrival

Was yesterday.  It went very well.  The night before, I got little sleep.  Partly because I was visualizing and meditating.  After that I just could not stop thinking about everything.  I have to say, I am proud of myself.  I did well up until the day of the retrival. 

Throughout this process (IVF) I have worked hard to remain calm and positive.  I only had a couple of days where I had a melt down or felt really scared.  Retrival day was a bit harder.  I was excited, scared, and at times, numb.  I never thought we would have to do IVF, let alone finally get to our retrival day.  The worst part was that my surgery was scheduled at 1:50 pm, meaning I did not get to eat until last night!  Of course because I could not eat, I wanted to eat that much more.

I held it together right up until I was getting ready to walk into the surgery room.  I started to panic.  Tears streaming down my face, hubby's hand in mine.  I am not comletely sure as to why I was so upset.  Maybe because we have been working for two years to get to this point?  Maybe because this is a reality check that part of my womanhood is gone because I cannot have a child naturally with my husband.

I kissed hubby good bye and entered the room with the contraption.  The bed, slash chair, slash monster that you have to be in for this procedure is almost comical!  This is not your ordinary exam bed with stir-ups.  The monster is shorter, stir-ups are farther apart and way higher!

There were about six people in the room.  A couple of nurses, the nurse anesthetist, the doctor, and someone who was shadowing one of the nurses.  It was a small room, so it felt a bit overwhelming.  After I got into the chair and was draped in the appropriate places, this big, thick elaborate door opens up at my feet.  On the other side is the lab.  My nurse did a special knock that meant I was in place.  Then the lab did a knock back letting them know they are going to open the door.  They asked me to state my full name to verify I was who was providing eggs for them during this procedure.  Then the door was closed and I fell asleep.

I do not remember leaving the surgery room or how I got into my recovery bed.  I was in some pain.  It was not the worst pain I have been in, but it was pretty uncomfortable.  My ovaries felt like they had been in a vice and squeezed empty.  I guess they felt that way because they were emptied!  Hubby said I asked him the same question over and over again, which is normal as anesthia puts you in a state of short term memory loss.

After I woke up a bit, ate some animal crackers and sipped 7UP, they told us they got all follicles out and 9 eggs.  I was rather pleased with that number.  So was the doctor!  I was released about two hours after I had arrived with a script for Tylenol with codeine.  We came home and I feel asleep until the in laws came to babysit me while hubby went to a meeting.

I remember the evening going fairly well, a little bleeding and a lot of bloat and ovarian pain.  This morning the nurse called to go over my symptoms and how my eggs were doing.  Out of the 9, 8 fertilized with ICSI, normally.  This is a great number!  I feel very blessed to have this many embryos fighting for the chance to nuzzle into my warm thick lining and grow to be our child.

For now, we just have the twice daily PIO (progesterone in oil) injections and of course my daily meds, but no other injections!  We will find out on Friday what time our transfer is for Saturday.   All in all, myself and hubby feel great about the procedure and the outcome.  We are excited and hopefull for our transfer on Saturday!

On a side note I am upset about something.  I know there will always be a debate on when a baby becomes a life.  I believe conception is when life begins.  I do not want this blog to become a nasty debate, but simply want to share something with you.  I was on the phone with my mother in law (mil).  We were talking about how many eggs fertilazed  I said "we have eight babies growing in the incubater."  MIL said, "They are NOT babies!"   The one thing I regret is not saying anything in response to this.

I am so angry that even mil would say something like that.  If a person who has gone through two years of inferitlity, two miscarriages, just did IVF says she has babies incubating, you do NOT say to that person that they are not babies.  You just DONT!  Yes, she has the right to her own views, but she does not have the right to push them on me, and say it in an inappropriate manner.

I do have eight babies in the incubater.  I also have two daughters in heaven.  No one can tell me differently.    Another thing that bothers me is what my mother said.   I told her what mil said and she was a bit put off by that.  She said "I am octo grandma!"  I thought it was funny, but was grateful she understood that to me, those are my babies.  Then she said "But you are not attached to them yet."  Excuse me?  Do not tell me how I feel about my embryos.  They came out of me and my husbands sperm was injected into them.  Yes, I am attached to them .  Each little baby is growing, multiplying, just as it would if it were inside of me right now.  If it were inside of me, no one would question being attached to it.  Well, yes they would .  There are people who feel you do not get to count a miscarriage if it happens under 12 weeks.  But, you get my point.

People need to learn to shut up!  You do not get to tell me my babies are not real, that I am not attached, that IVF is not natural.  You know nothing until you have walked in my shoes.

Oh... and on Saturday, when they transfer two of those babies to the inside of my uterus, I will be pregnant.  They may not make it, but those babies will be inside of me, trying to grow.  If it happened naturally, no one would fight me on this!

*I do not write this blog to hurt my family members or anyone else.  I write it to cope and to prepare for my book.  My purpose in life is to help raise awareness of miscarriage and infertility and the psychology behind it all.  My family consist of "those" who do not understand.  I love them still, and do not have ill will towards them.*

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

24 Follies!

No wonder I have felt like there is a grape fruit on either side of my uterus the past couple of days!  I have also had the WORST migraine the last two days.  I stayed home from work again today.  Just going to my Dr. appointment really took it out of me.  I am forcing myself to go to work tomorrow.

Dr. R has changed my meds a bit.  I lower my follistem to 75 iu and add one vial of menapur each night.  I am really starting to want this over with.  The wait is killing me!  I know once it is over I have the ttw but at least we will get to that point.

I am trying very hard to take it one day at a time.  For those who know me personally, you know I am an anxious person normally.  So going through this is rough, but suprisingly, I have stayed calm until these last few days.  I go back to the Dr. on Thursday for another monitoring appointment.  I am hoping he tells me we are ready to go.  I am exicted to be stim and lupron free!  Not so excited for the PIO shots though!

Monday, April 12, 2010

What mile is this?

Ugh, I have no idea.   I have lost count on what mile we are on.  I have given myself three follistem injections and I am sick!  I have a headache, my ovaries hurt, and I want to puke!  I am good if I am laying down but once I sit up or walk around, I get a bit dizzy at times as well.  I have cut my lupron dose down to half.

I know all of these side effects are normal, but because I have PCOS, my change of getting OHSS is higher.  I go to the doctor tomorrow to see how the eggies are doing and see what the next step is.  It will probably be to continue on for a couple more days and then get checked again.  My ovaries are typically slower on the meds than other woman.  It takes me  a few more days to get where I should be.  I am hoping that due to the way I feel, the meds are working.

It becomes more real everyday.  I mean, hubby and I know what we are doing, but it does not seem real until you actually go through the steps.  The what if's are starting to come up.  What if I do get OHSS and my transfer is canceled.  What if it does not work...that is the one that hurts the most.  How will I react if it does not work?  How will I find the strength to do this again?  I realize that not all women have a baby after one round of IVF.  But, some do.  You never know where you will fall into place.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Anyone out there?

I seem to have a lull in comments lately, and wanted to know if my story is getting boring?  Or maybe my writing skills have declined while I am on these crazy injections.  Or maybe it is all in my head because the injections make me loose my mind?  Or maybe I offended someone with my beliefs or opinions.  Or maybe it is because it is starting to get nice out and people are not blogging as much?

Whatever it is, I never meant to offend anyone, what I write is my opinion and my take on research and what not.  So I hope you keep reading, and keep commenting, because getting your opinions and advice are very important to me! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mile 15 On Our First IVF Cycle

I am so tired of always having to choose to have a job or to have a child.  I had a meeting with HR today, which went really well and everything is fine.  But, before the meeting, I was nervous and it made me angry.  Why do women have to choose one or the other?  I cannot help that I have PCOS, and infertility.  I cannot help that the medciations make me ill at times.  I cannot help that due to my disease, I have to be monitored every week and sometimes multiple times a week.

I love my husband more than anything on this earth and would do anything for him as well.  However, he does not have to choose work or a baby either .  I have no ill will towards him, my ill will is towards society.  When will this country value family?  If I got pregnant the "natural" way and carried to term, no one would even notice.  But because I cannot and I have to go through serious medical treatment, I am put into jeopardy between choosing to have a baby or choosing my job.

My choice will always be to have a baby.  My husband knows that, and my employer knows that.  Thank god my current employer is not  making this an issue.  I am truly blessed with that, even though I hate my job!  But my previous employer and other women have gone through similar issues with employers.  If I had cancer and had to have treatment, no one would think twice.  But infertility is not viewed as a medical condition.  The need to have a child is not just desire, it is NEED!  It is a biological neccessity.   Yes, there are some woman who do not have that maternal instinct, but I do.

I am so frustrated and angry at this countries values! I will finish my book and get this  message across.  Society needs a big change on this issue!  My insurance covers part of my treatment, does'nt that make it a medical issue?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mile 14 On Our First IVF Cycle

Today was rough, just because it was the first day back from work, and it was a 10 hr day.  I also got a little scare.  Most of you know that I was "fired" for having my second miscarriage when I worked for a community mental health center, working as a therapist and case manager.

Today I received an email from HR stating that I have a scheduled meeting to talk about my absences.  When I first took this job, I spoke with my manager and told her about my infertility and said bluntly that if they were not willing to work with me on the time I will be away, that I would have to find other employment.  My manager at the time was wonderful and told me that she believes that she was put on this earth to be a mother and would do anything to do so.  She told me not to worry, I will not get fired for missing work for medical reasons.

That boss is now the director of my department.  The email I received from HR sent be back to the way I was treated at my previous employer.  You can read my previous blogs about the treatment I received when I first got pregnant and thereafter.    I emailed my former boss, now director and asked her what was going on.  I stated that she had told me everything was ok and I was not in danger of losing my job.  She told me she spoke with my now manager who was the assistant.  I went and saw him and he said it is just a formality and they want some documentation about my treatment, but I am in no danger of being fired.

I can understand needing documentation, and have no problem with that. However, I always provide my manager with this.  My manager stated that HR legally has to do this when someone has dock time but cannot fire me due to medical reasons.  So, I have the meeting tomorrow, and I am a little nervous, but know that I am ok.

No matter what happens, my husband and I talked this out before I started this job and agreed that these treatments were more important than anything else and it is worth the risk.   But I still have to put food on the table.  I am trying not to be stressed about this, and am no longer freaking out, but it did take the wind out of me for a bit!

As for the side effects, I have started my period, which the DR. said may happen.  And of course it is a bad one!  Cramps, bloat, tired, sore everywhere!  But I can handle it.  Nothing I have not done before.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Back from Florida

We are now on mile 13 of our first IVF cycle.  Hubby and I had a wonderful time in Cocoa Beach, FL.  It was just what we needed.  I will say that a vacation while on lupron injections is interesting!  I did have some side effects, but I did not let those get in our way.  I had moderate stomach pains on and off, bruising on my abdomen, hot flashes, breast tenderness, joint pain, and insomnia. 

I have been getting really good at giving myself injections in strange places!  For three days we went to Disney, the other three days we spent on the beach.  While at The Magic Kingdom, we were waiting for the fireworks to start.  There I sat in a crowd of strangers and shot time came around.  Hubby used his cell phone light so I could prepare the shot and myself.  I lifted up my shirt, exposing my belly and plugged away.  I really do not think anyone noticed.  But, it hit me that we truly will do anything to have a baby!

I have suprisingly been calm during this two weeks of lupron.  I start my stimulation injections later this week, while lowering my lupron dose to half.  We are about two to three weeks away from the first surgery, depending on my ovaries.  I am hopeful some days, and other days I am just in plain denial.

Work tomorrow.  Ugh!  A Monday after vacation is going to be rough!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mile 5 of Our First IVF Cycle

Day five was not too bad.  I was extremley exhausted and had the morning headache, but made it through the work day. I bought some shoes after work and got a pedicure.  I am getting a massage tomorrow morning before our flight to Florida. 

The injeciton this evening was the first time it hurt!  Not sure what I did, maybe the angle was off, but Ouchie!  The tears come and go for no reason and the irritability is here.  So far I have been able to keep it somewhat on the down low.  I am sad because I have to leave my pooch with grandma and grandpa while we are gone and I am sickly attached to him.

But, I am very thrilled to get away for a week with the love of my life.  Lets hope the sunshine, relaxation, ocean, and mickey mouse can help us get pregnant!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mile 4 of Our First IVF Cycle

Some may wonder why I have been referring to this as a run.  Well, the first day after I took this medication, I felt like I had ran several miles and was going to fall over!  Today was another rough day.  I did make it through work, although I went in an hour and a half late.  It was very difficult.  I could barely keep my head up long enough to look at my computer.  Looking at the words on the screen make me dizzy.  Around 5 p.m. it seems to get better.  I wonder if this is because the meds are wearing off and it is closer to my injection time?

Whatever it is, I am thankful for the respite.  I have not been sleeping well.  I will fall asleep and wake up every couple of hours.  And then it is really hard to fall back asleep because my husband is a snorer.  I wanted to go back to the pool this evening, but I had a therapy client so I did not have time.  I will try to go tomorrow, although we do have packing and errands to run before we fly to Florida on Saturday.

I want to say a little prayer for a fellow blogger and IFV sister.  Hillary has just completed her first mini IVF cycle and tested this evening at home.  The test was negative and she goes in for her beta tomorrow.  I will be praying for her and her husband as I know how hard and hurtful this can be.  So please say a prayer for them.

Mid Mile 4

Lord help me, I am fading.  I made it to work at 11:30 am.  I can barely think.  My head is in a vice.  I am so spacey and feel like I am floating.  I can barely make it through typing a sentance before my mind wanders.  I think this is normal on lupron.  I have read similar stories.  This is hell.  I keep trying to think of that little pink baby holding my pinky to get through this.  I really just want to go home and go to bed.  The tears are continuing, for no reason. I just feel sick.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mile 3 of Our First IVF Cycle

Holy train wreck batman!  I woke up this morning feeling is though I was the train wreck.  I could barely lift my head off of the pillow.  My eyes were swollen and I had a hard time lifting my lids.  My neck hurts, oh my head.  My poor poor head.  This is only day three!  I have read that some felt like this in the early days of Lupron and then it got better.  It needs to get better so I do not loose my job for killing someone or not being able to go in because I cannot keep my head up!

The injections are nothing.  Except for afterwards, your skin burns and itches for about ten minutes, then it goes away.  I do not even bleed.  It amazes me that such a little amount of liquid can cause so much trouble!  Two more days till Florida.  I just want to escape with my hubby and forget all of this.
I had dreams of babies last night.  I had a dream I was nursing my own baby.  It was a sweet moment and I woke up feeling strange.  Of course that could be from the Lupron hangover.  I also watched a baby story on TLC.  The couple was from Chicago, where I am.  They had their first round if IVF and ended up with triplets.  Three beautiful little girls.

I use to think that I would only want one at a time.  To give each child the love and time they deserve.  Now, after going through what he have, I will take three!  I wont be greedy and will be very happy with what we get, but if we were to have twins or triplets, we could be done and just enjoy our family.

Here's hoping!

Ugh.  I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mile 2 of Our First Run to IVF

I took my second lupron injection tonight.  It no longer bothers me to stick myself.  I started having headaches last night and off and on through out the day.  I also started getting some minor cramping that felt like my ovaries were being squeezed.  I have mild breast tenderness, but that happens to me frequently, being as I am big busted. 

All in all, not too bad.  I was a bit nervous today, thinking of all the side effects yet to come.  I am working on letting that go.  I have made the choice to do this, I have to deal with the consequences and I cannot control them.  I went for a long swim at the gym tonight and that helped.  Oh, and did I mention the exhaustion hit me at about 5 pm. 

Onto Mile 3!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The race has begun!

I took my first injection of Lupron this evening.  The first injection I have given myself.  Surprisingly, I barely felt it!  I am not worried about the injections, until we get to the PIO or progesterone in oil shots.  Ouch!  I was pretty calm today, even though I knew I would start the meds.  I am praying for minimal side effects.  Hoping God remembers what I went through on the Clomid, and gives me a break.  I hope to do some acupuncture during this.  My chiropractor has also prescribed me weekly massages, so they are covered my insurance!  That will help.

I am actually feeling excited.  I know there is no guarentee and this may not work, but we are finally doing something different.  Our sucess rate is so much higher than when we were doing just IUI's.  I will keep everyone posted as we go along. 

We are going to Florida on Saturday for ten days!  We will be staying in Cocoa Beach and will be spending a few days at Disney.  I never went as a kid, so this will be fun!  Expecially since hubby and I never got a honeymoon.  Vacation here we come!  Lupron evils, stay away so we can enjoy our trip! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

F to the O to the double L....


We had our IVF consult today.  Everything is almost set to go.   We were truly blessed today.  Our Dr. office gave us three boxes of follistem.  This is a three thousand dollar expense!  It should be all we need for this cycle.  We just have to wait for the other four meds to come and those are costing around $760. 

I start taking lupron on Monday.  I am very nervous about this, as I have read so many scary stories about the side effects.  My nurse did tell me today that because I am only on it for two weeks, I should not have too many problems.  She also confirmed with me that those who take lupron depot, the injection that lasts one month, are the ones who have the most issues.  Phew!  And with the encouragement of a fellow blogger and IVF'er  I am going to try accupuncture to help with the stres and side effects from this cyle in hopes of increasing our chanees.  Thanks Bella!

It was a very strange process.  My hubby and I had to sign over who would get the embryo's if one of us died, or if one if we got divorced.  I get them if we divorce, which will never happen.  I know everyone says that.  But anyway, if one of us dies, then the other gets the rigths to the embryo's.  It was very surreal to discuss this!

I am also concerned about OHSS.  Ovarian hyperstimulation synderome for all you non IFers.  Because I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) I am at the highest risk for OHSS on the stims (stimulation drugs).  It is rare to have the life threatening reaction, but possible.  I know other women who have had this happen to them, on different levels of seriousness. 

A few more needle free days, then it is 6 weeks of daily, sometimes twice daily injections!

Thank you Dr. R. and Nurse R. for giving us that wonderully generous gift.  Because of this, we can freeze our extrta bambino-cysts.  Yes, I just made up that word! :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

We thought it was over!

Last week was rough to say the least! On Monday, I called my insurance company to get the information we needed to start IVF. I knew it was going to be quite expensive, but I also knew that my insurance covers four rounds. I was optimistic until they hit me with the reality. They do cover four rounds of IVF; however, they only cover up to $10,000 per lifetime for any infertility treatments. We have already used $3200 of this. I had no idea. My IVF cycle will cost $14,000. Insurance will only pay about $6800. Medications are going to cost anywhere between $3, 000 and $4,000. This does not include the cost of anesthesia. Therefore, we would be looking at paying out of pocket $12,200. There is no way we can do that.

We have had such a rough couple of years. I was terminated from a job because I had a second miscarriage, even though I only missed two days. Therefore, we had to make up for that income for the two months I was unemployed by using credit cards. The day before I was to start my new job, our pride and joy, Casey aka, our dog, broke his back. We rushed him to emergency care and they had to do surgery right then and there. Now, I know many people would have put their animal down, but that was not an option for us. Casey is our first-born. He as saved my life in many ways. There is no way I was about to put him down when I knew he was only three years old and was going to be able to recover. It may take a year or more, but he would recover, and he is doing much better.

After spending two days sobbing and starting the process of grieving the fact that we will never have children, I call the receptionist at my RE's office. She tells me that amount does not sound correct. She asks that I give her one day to verify this. I told her ok, but if it is correct, I need a copy of my file ASAP! She said she understood and told me to call back the next day.

I called back the next day and got the surprise of a lifetime! She told me that my insurance covers about $7200 for the procedure. The Dr. then requires us to pay 20% of the balance, and he takes a hit for the rest! Therefore, the procedure plus the anesthetic will cost around $1900. However, that still does not cover the medications. When I mentioned this to the receptionist, she got quiet and said, "You did not hear this from me. When you go in for your nurse consult, ask them about donated meds." She said that was all she could tell me. I had read on the web that there are clinics that do take meds from couples that did not have to use them for whatever reason, and will give them to couples who cannot afford them. However, it is illegal in some states. I have no idea what the rule is in the state I live in, nor do I care.

I have learned that at this point in our journey of TTC, I will do whatever I have to do succeed. If that means using donated meds illegally, so be it! Some may gasp at this, but those who do have never felt the desperation of not being able to have a child. Some who have gone through infertility would probably gasp as well. If you are one of those people, you have the right to your opinion, but I do not care. We want a child more than anything and we will do whatever it takes short of doing something that will put us in prison.

That being said, we still have to find a way to come up with the rest of the funds. My mom has graciously offered to help us as much as she can and my mother-in- law said she would help as well. However, that does leave us short. I start my Lupron injections on 3-23 and have to have all of the money by that date. I have done some research because a interesting thought came to mind. I thought why not ask for donations? I would never have thought this would be something I would do. At first, I felt selfish. Perhaps god does not want me to have children. I do not feel that is the case. People ask for donations for many different issues. Cancer patients, medical bills, fancy vacations. Why not IVF? I know there is one documented couple that received the rights of being the "First" to fundraise for IVF. They received thousands of dollars from total strangers just by sharing their storey. Some may feel this is manipulating the system, some may think it is unethical. If you will give money to a basketball fundraiser, why not give money to us so we can have a little basket ball player?

We will be setting up a pay pal account on our website (We have currently taken it off the web to update it) We will share our story and let people know that they are welcome to donate to our cause. If this works for us, I am planning on setting up a non-profit to help other couples fund their infertility treatment. We donate for cancer, HIV, clean water the list goes on and on. Infertility is a disease, which encompasses many other diseases with it. We deserve the treatment and we deserve to be able to afford it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Wait is Over....For Now....

So long IUI, hello IVF.  Got my period tonight.  Now I am officially part of the IVF club.  Never thought it would come to this.  I want to cry but I am in denial.  I was looking at my potential IVF schedule.  Not going to be a good time!  I do not really have words to express myself tonight.  Just totally bummed and scared.  Now, instead of the waiting game, we have the anticipation game.  I am use to taking infertility drugs and use to the at home injections, but not quite to this extent.  Almost daily injections for 4 or more weeks.  I am going to be a black and blue pin cusion. 

Welcome to the IVF Ride.  Here goes nothing.

It is Monday

And I have the blues.  Not just because it is Monday though. I am in the final stretch of the three week wait.  Most women have a two week wait, but my RE makes me wait three, due to the booster HCG shot I take one week after IUI's.  Everytime I go to the bathroom, I am expecting blood.  I mean, after all these rounds, that is what happens, right?  The last two IUI's I got my period two weeks to the day of the IUI.  Well, that would be tomorrow.  I think I will probably be in shock if I do not get my period tomorrow.

I know I surrendered to god last week, and I still plan on doing so.  I guess I did not realize that you cant just surrender once, it is a daily surrendering process.  The pain never goes away and the questions do not disappear.  I have become neurotic about the bathroom.  I dislike the bathroom, it is evil.  it is where I always find out I am not pregnant.  It is where I delivered my 2nd baby. It is where I prepare my injections, where I test for pregnancy. The bathroom use to be my place of relaxation.  Jump in the tub, well, okay, lower myself into the hot tub, grab a book and escape my reality for a bit.  I still do that, but it is not the same. Does not work as well as there are too many memories in there.

I know I need to breath and relax.  I know I have no control over what is.  I am already either pregnant or not pregnant, nothing I do can change that.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The First Step Is Admitting You Have A Problem!

So, I have a problem.  I am an addict.  No, not to food, drugs, or alcohol.  I am addicted to pregnancy tests.  There.  I said it.  I know, I am ashamed of myself, but I just cannot stop it.  I have done better this cycle, I have only bought one box of tests that contained two sticks.  Most cycles I take about 6 pee tests.

After going through so many rounds of IUI and clomid treatment, I know the ropes and know when I am not suppose to test and when I should.  Three days before an IUI, I take a trigger shot of HCG, which tells my ovaries to release an egg, or two.  Seventy-two hours later, I have the IUI.  A week after that, I take a booster shot of the HCG. 

HCG is what is produced once the embryo implants itself into your uterine lining and starts to develop the placenta, which is what showes up on the pregnancy pee sticks.  As you can imagine, if you are taking injections of HCG, it can show up on a pregnancy test and give you a false positive.  I have had false negatives and false positives both due to the HCG shots.

Research shows that for 10, 000 units, or 1 mg of HCG, it takes 1 day per unit to get out of your system.  The booster shot is only 5,000 units or 1/2 mg.  This stays in your system for 5 days or so.  That is why the Dr, makes me wait three weeks after the IUI to come in for a blood test.

I know the rules, but I also get swept away by hope and "magical" thinking.  It is almost like a game.  I know that if I test three days after the first HCG injection, I will test positive, and have.  A week later, I get my period, no baby.  I have also waited until 3 days afer the booster shot and gotten a positive and a negative.  It is this weird psychosis that I fall into about 1 week after the IUI.

My husband hates that I do this.  Once, on a walgreen trip, the parking lot was full so my husband let me out to grab what we needed.  While I was in the store I grabbed a box of tests.  I thought I was in the clear.  Then all of the sudden, I turn  around and see my husband walkking toward me.  He says, "Honey, I found a spot."  I shove the box behind my back knowing he has already seen it. 
He walks me back to the family planning aisle and makes me put the test back on the shelf.  I know he is right, I am torturing myself, which addes stress, which does not help getting pregnant. 

On Tuesday, I had an appointment with my OB.  Yea, I know, a bit presumptious.  However, I was there to get my yearly pap and to get some other tests done to prepare of a possible IVF cycle if I am not pregnant.  I love my OB.  She is amazing.  She has held my hand and wiped away my tears after both miscarriges.  She is uptlifting and very motivational.  I always feel better when I leave her office.

She asked me how I was feeling about this cycle.  I told her I really do not feel this cycle.  I am kind of just feeling like "whatever" because no matter how I feel it has nothing to do with the outcome.  I learned that lesson the hard way.

She said "Sounds like you are finally letting go and giving to god."  I thought about that for a few minutes, unsure if I was ready to let go of the control, or lack there of, that I have over this situation.  As I was driving out of the parking lot, the sun came out.  The last several days have been very gray, cloudy, and snowy.  It was as if God was telling me to let go and give to him.  I surrendered.  It felt amazing.  I  have been angry with God for some time now.  I thought I had passed his tests with flying colors, but he keeps sending me more.  A friend said to me "God has not been ready to give you a living soul, but I think he knows you are ready for it now." 

Perhaps all of this "testing" is happening to prepare me for motherhood.  For all the obstacles that may come with it.  Maybe we will have multiples and this is giving me strength to get through that.  I do not know what God's plan is, but I feel he knows that one of my purposes on this earth is to be a mother.

Whatever the case, no more pregnancy tests.  I have let go and given to god.  It is in his hands now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good Bye IUI

On Tuesday, I had my last IUI.  It feels bitter sweet.  I am thouroghly exicted to never have to take clomid ever again.  But, I am also sad and nervous that this IUI will not take and we will have to move on to IVF.  The doc agreed that this is the last IUI ( I refused to do another round of clomid no matter what) and he feels if this round does not work, we need to start IVF. I know IVF has the highest success rate, especially with women my age.  But, it is a lot of work, medication, and two surgical procedures and there is no gaurentee. 

It amazes me what women will do to their bodies to achieve the goal of having a child.  I am amazed at myself when I look back and realize all that I have had to endure physically and emotionally and still do not have that bundle of joy in my arms.  I am not ready to give up the fight.  I will go on to IVF.  But what if that does not work?  What then?  We are not wanting to adopt.  I praise those who do adopt children, but it just is not the right choice for us.  So, I guess that means if it does not work, then we have to put this all behind us and walk away.  If only it were that easy. 

It truly feels like we are closing one chapter and opening up a new one.  As you can probably tell, I am not hopeful that this IUI is going to work.  I have learned that being hopefull does not make a difference and not having hope has the same results as having hope, so whats the point.  I reserve the right to be miserable through this two week wait.  I know I will get my period two weeks from Tuesday which is what always happens.  I know I will have to go through another round of grieving yet another loss.  But, I will pick myself up and I will walk toward IVF and I will do whatever it takes, whatever I can, no matter what.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

OOOHHHH, Thats Why!

Well, this is one reason why.  I had been trying to figure out why I was loosing control.  Last Wednesday, while laying in bed talking to my husband, it hit me.  It was the one year anniversary of the loss of our baby Jordan.  I seem to supress these anniversaries but eventually they hit me. 

To my sweet baby Jordan,

Daddy and mommy love you very much.  A day never passes that we do not think of you and your older sister Taylor.  In our back yard, because you cannot be there playing, we have planted a tree for you and your sister, in memorial.  We know you are looking down on us and praying with us to bring a live baby into this world. You will never be forgotten.

Love Always,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where are they?

Tears, where are the tears?  This week has been hell.  I am filled with rage and exhaustion.  There have been many occasions where I thought, "This is it, I am going to loose control today!"  I was afraid I was going to punch  a co worker, or scream obcentities at them.  But I cannot cry.  I want to cry so badly but the tears will not come. 

I am on cycle day 10.  I had an ultra sound on Tuesday and have one lead follicle on each side, both measured at 10.  For those of you who do not know what that means, they are measuring at 10 millimeters.  They need to be closer to 20 in order to be viable.  My ovaries have always been slow.  I usually take a few more days than other women for my eggs to grow.  I go back on Saturday for another ultra sound and with luck, a fourth IUI on Monday. 

I hate my full time job.  I have three jobs, but the one I spend my most time on sucks.  I hate being micromanaged.  I hate not using my brain.  I hate doing the same thing over and over again.  I hate it.  I do not know how much longer I can stand it before I do loose control and assault a co worker or scream obscenities at them and get fired.  I need the money, I like my house and do not want to loose it.  But I cannot stand this job for much longer.

I want to cry, but the tears will not come.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Research can make me scared!

I went to the Dr. yesterday.  I did not see him, I saw his nurse.  This was fine because I was just having a baseline ultrasound.  I confirmed with her that I NEVER want the other Dr. in the office with in 5 ft. of me.  She said she understood and they will respect that. 

She was a bit confused though.  The last time I spoke with R I told her I was not sure I could handle another round of clomid.  She agreed that I was not responding as I should and with my vision issues, I should probably not continue.  I spoke with the doctor a few days after speaking with R and he said, we can stop if you like, but I am not totally comfortable moving on to more invasive treatments yet. 

So, back to yesterday.  I thought long and hard, did some soul searching and decided I will do this round.  This, I think will be my last round of clomid.  I started doing more research on the vision affects.  I need to stop doing that!  I have read many conflicting stories.  Some reports say that it is serious side effect mot MOSTLY goes away after treatment.  There are those rare cases where the vision damage is permanent and one woman had to have retinal surgery.

If you know me, you know I am obsessed with side effects.  I have been on some serious medication, besides ferility meds.  I have been on Rifampin as I was exposed to TB.  I was on that for several months and it was not a fun drug.  I read the warnings on everything.   Now I am paranoid about continuing with clomid.  I took my first dose for this round last night.  I woke up this morning with the usual clomid migraine.  My vision is a bit blurry and I know it is just going to get worse.

Before I took the pills last night, I stared at them for a good 20 minutes.  I think what I am conteplating is the side effects of the medication as well as the loss of another dead end round.  I am truly struggling right now.  Part of me does not want to take my next dose.  But if I do not, then I for sure will not get pregnant this month.  All of this is really starting to wear me down.  I am starting to become numb to everything else that is going on in my life.  I still feel hurt, oh how I feel the hurt.  But I cannot seem to get out of this clomid bubble.

I want out. But I want my babies with me.  I have really been missing them lately.  Why did they have to be taken away from me?  Our first would be turning one year old in a few weeks.  Maybe that is what is triggering all of this now.  Even if I do get pregnant, there are no gaurentee's that I will carry the baby to term. 

Some days I feel like I should end this dream.  Move on.  I know it has only been a year and a half of treatments.  But it has felt like so much longer.  Maybe if I give up, it will not hurt anymore.  If I stop, will the desire to have a child disappear?

Monday, February 1, 2010

How do I stop? How do I continue?

Well, this round is a bust.  I feel like a broken record.  It seems like every month I am saying that this round did not work.  When is it going to end?  Am I just too stupid to give up?  I had told my husband about a week ago that if this round did not work, I was done. Then it did not work.  I just cannot keep hurting myself like this.   I sat and thought for a very long time.  I actually started bleeding at work, which then made me sob for a good half hour.  I thought that if I did not expect it to work this time, it would not hurt as much when it did no workt, or maybe it would work.  Well, fuck.  It still hurts like hell and it did not work.

  So now what? People often say to me, why dont you take a break cycle.  Well, I would, but my doctor says if I do then I would basically be starting all over again since I am on the highest dose of clomid right now.  Stoping means working to get my levels up all over again.  I do not know what to do.  My husband is wonderful and supports whatever I decide to do as I have to go through all the physical pain and grueling side effects.  I go to the Dr. tomorrow for a baseline ultrasound, then start clomid again tomorrow night.  I have not really decided what I want to do, I am just flying by the seat of my pants.  I will say that this has hit me really hard today.  I feel like I am falling deepr and deeper into a dark abyss and someone stole the ladder.  I know my husband is always there to come in and get me out, but I keep falling back in.

I want a baby more than I want to be able to breathe.  I want to be able to give my husband a child, his own child.  I want to be pregnant again and actually carry my baby full term.  I never knew that what that wanting this would be so hard and unobtainable.  How far do you go?  I have two more rounds on clomid.  If it does not work, then it is off to injectibles.  I am so deeply sad and so lost.

How do I stop?  How do I continue?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Everything is timed with infertility treatments.  So timed that it is down the the half hour, even minutes.  Unfortunatly, this cycle's schedule does not work with my Dr.'s schedule.  So,  the other Dr. in the office is going to do this IUI.  I am not too worried.  She use to head the Mayo Clinic's infertility center, among other prestigous titles.  She has also done ultra sounds on me before, including my HSG test.  This is a test where they shoot saline or dye into your uterus and fallopian tubes to make sure everything is okay.  That test is somewhat painful but it was managable.  So, I thought having this Dr. do the IUI would be ok.  She does this everyday.

Um.  OUCH!  Remember when I said that I never feel anything during my IUI's when my Dr. does them? This Dr. sexually assaulted me with the speculum.  Now, she has been doing this for probably 30 years or more.  Is she just old?  It was as if she did not know how to use the instruments.  She kept shoveing the speculum into my cervix.  One time, I can understand, two maybe.  You know, this Dr. is not use to my body like Dr. is.  But for a whole 10 minutes?  It is my vagina.  Not a pile of dirt you are trying to shovel into a  fucking wheel barrel.  I am so angry.  I made my pain known and she did not seem to care.  I am pissed.  You would think a women would be more gentle.  I miss my doctor.  I want my doctor!!!!!

She inserts the catheder to put my husbands sperm inside my uterus.  It makes this really strange noise.  There was never any noise with the past two IUI's MY Dr. did.  Is something wrong?  Is she doing this right?  Oh god, if this does not work and she just assaulted me, I will kill her.

I stumble out to the waiting room to my husband who helps me into the car.  I go home and rest.  I cannot stand up straight for two days.  This cannot be normal.

Round Three

October 2009.

We start again.   Due to my diagnosis this summer of Thrombophilia, I can no longer take birth control pills to start my cycle.  So, I get to take progesterone pills.  Bring on the moodiness, sore boobies, hunger pains, headaches.  I hate progesterone.  Probably not as much as I hate clomid, but still.  So, I take the pills, get my period, and go in for my baseline ultrasound.  Cyst.  You may think to yourself "well, you do have poly cystic ovarian syndrome."  Yes, I do, however, I have never had cysts you can see before.  It is hard to explain. But,  because of the cyst, this cycle is down the drain.

November 2009.

I know the routine.  I take the progesterone, get a period, go in for a baseline ultrasound.  Everything looks good.  So, I start 150mg of clomid, the evil drug.  clomid stimulates your ovaries to produce multiple follicles at once.  It also tricks your body into thinking it is in menopause.  So, you probably have an idea of how it makes you feel.  Take PMS to another level.  And the hunger!  It is a bottomless pit.  But, it is manage.  On the 150 mg dose that is.  So, I take it.  I go in for my first monitoring ultrasound.  I have a few follicles, but they are not even at a 10 yet.  They need to be at least 18 in order for IUI (intrauterine insemination) to take place.  I was a bit worried.  I remember the last time this worked, I did have to come back twice as my ovaries are a little slow.  The doctor tells me it is not over, come back in two days.

Two days later.  They are not at 15.   This cycle is over.  The Dr. says "Your disease is getting worse."  What am I suppose to do with that? We try again on 150.  So, we start over with the progesterone, the clomid, and the ultra sounds.  I am getting tired of this.

December 2009.
When I go in for my monitoring ultrasound, I have great news! One follicle is already 20 mm!  We are set for IUI three.  I take an HCG injection two days later, have intercourse, then bring in my husbands sperm three days after my last appointment.  The procedure goes well.  I have a great Dr. I never feel much until afterward, and then it is just mild cramping for a couple of days.  Makes sense, since they are inserting a very long catheter through your cervix and into your uterus.  Now, the three week wait begins.  I say three because if you are taking HCG injections, which is what is detected for pregnancy, you have to wait after your booster shot.  A bout a week after my IUI's I take a booster HCG shot, which is a half dose.  So, two weeks after that, we test for pregnancy with a blood test.

Why oh why does this always happen over the holidays?  Thank god we decided to spend it alone.  We had a wonderful holiday, just the three of us.  My hubby, me and the dog.  It was all great, until the day after Christmas.  I start bleeding.  This round is over.

I go into the Dr.'s office and they say it did not work because my progesterone level was not high enough.  Okay.  So how do we fix this?  Doc says, higher dose of clomid.  WHAT!?!  That means I would be on the highest dose.  Did I forget to mention OHSS?  Over hyper-stimulation syndrome?  This is not a good thing. The higher you go, the worse the side effects, including the chances of OHSS which can be deadly.  I take a step back.  I begin to feel the hole in my heart, the loneliness, the impending black world we live in right now.  Okay, I sigh.  I agree.

 January 2010
Holy blurred vision batman!  After day four on the clomid, I start seeing spots.  I remember seeing spots on the clomid before, so I do not worry.  The day progresses, and so do the spots.  Then they turn into waves.  By day five I have blurred vision.  Now, I know this is a side effect, however, all the research says if you have vision side effects, contact your Dr. immediately.  Well, I have one more does to take, so I just keep on going.

The day my first monitoring ultra sound is scheduled, there is a massive snow storm.   We still make it to the appointment, but the Dr. did not.  His nurse does the ultra sound and does not have good news.  I am not responding to the clomid. I have two follicles, but they are only at 10 and 12.  I tell the nurse about my vision issues. She said that probably means no more clomid.  It means possibly injectables or IVF.  I was a bit shocked.  I do not know why, but I always thought I would never be one of "those".  I would not have to go that far.  My disease was not that bad.  I was devastated, but somewhat relieved,

I am so tired of the emotional and physical toll this all takes on my body.  It has given me some very low moments.  Moments I do not want to look back on.  So, on one had, not having to take the clomid is appetizing.  I go home and tell my husband and we prepare ourselves for the worst yet again.

I still have to go to my second monitoring ultra sound to be safe.  This time, my Dr. is there to perfom. it.  Surprise!  You have two follicles ready.  Wait, what?  But the nurse said it was over, said we were on to IVF.  The nurse was wrong!  We are doing an IUI.  Shock.  Excitment.  Fear.  Okay, so we do one more IUI and then IVF.  Doc says no.  If my progesterone level is where it should, I potentially have two more chances on clomid.  Fuck.  Or, great?  I dunno.  I hate clomid.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Lonliest Trauma

Miscarriage is different than "regular" grief. I am not down sizing grief in anyway. Simply just saying it is different. When a family member or friend dies or is killed, of course you grieve. But most people see pictures of the person you lost. You have other family members and friends feeling the same emotions you are. You can understand one another.

Miscarriage is very intimate. It happens to a woman. Yes, of course it happens to the partner as well. My husband is amazing. He has been with me every step of the way. He has been devastated by our losses. But he can only go with me so far. He did not carry the babies. So one aspect of miscarriage is that I struggle alone, at least with part of the grief.

You can never understand or respect what a woman is going through during and after miscarriage unless you have experienced it. And even then, everyone experiences it differently. My experiences have lead me to do something about awareness. I have heard so many horrible statements after my miscarriages. Some of you may not think they are that bad, but you are not on the other side. You are not a member of the dark and dreary miscarriage and infertility club. Many will say "It was meant to be" Really? Oh, okay, then I will just stop grieving and get over it. Others have said "You need to move on." You have got to be kidding me!

On Mother's Day, which also fell on my birthday this past year, I told my mother in law that I wanted to spend the day at home with my husband. I was very sad as this was suppose to be my first Mother's Day and I really did not want to spend my Birthday celebrating the fact that I was not a "mother" . I now realize that I am a mother but at that point in time it was not something I saw myself as. My mother in law responded by saying "You should not be sad, kids just disappoint you anyway." Wow. She has no clue.

My mother often said to me " Honey, your baby died for a reason. Something was wrong with it. It is best that it died so that it was not born with defects." She does not get it either. After my second miscarriage, my boss emailed me to see how I was doing. I really believe she was trying to figure out when to fire me. She said that getting back to work would make it better. How does she know? She has never been pregnant, never experienced this. I had missed two days. TWO DAYS for losing my baby! Below is a list of things I have had people say to me, or statements others have told women who I have interviewed for my book. Book? Yes, book. My experiences have angered me so much, that I must do something with that anger. I am writing a book about my experiences with miscarriage and society and the medical fields response to miscarriage. If I can change one persons perception, I have succeeded.

Don’t worry you can still have babies
You will have another one it is not a big deal
It was god’s will
Something was wrong with the baby, you didn’t want a disabled child anyway
It happens to a lot of women
It is so common
Oh well, next time
It was meant to be this way
It was just a chemical pregnancy
You were not that far a long
You can always adopt
You are still young
You have plenty of time
It’s just a period

Okay. Breathe! I know you may need to recover. Or maybe not since you may not have experienced a miscarriage. But all of the above statemens are inappropriate. They each take away meaning of our grief. They each take away from what a woman may be feeling when she is going through such a terrifying loss. Miscarriage is the worst pain. You feel it deep inside you. You feel it in your gut, your heart, your soul. You feel as if you are completely alone because you carried that baby inside of you and now you are empty. It is the worst hurt there ever was.

Friday, January 15, 2010

And to think this was enough.

My second miscarriage happened on a Tuesday night. I missed work Wednesday and Thursday. I was back to work on Friday. Monday was a paid holiday. On Tuesday, I was fired for having a second miscarriage. I know, I know, that has to be illegal. And it is.

I immediately set up an appointment with the equal employment opportunity commission in Chicago. They told me that had this happen two years ago(before little Bush ruined this country) when they still had the man power and funds, they would have taken on my case. They did give me the legal right to sue, but I cannot afford that.

I should probably give you background information. I was working as a therapist at a community mental health center in a north shore suburb of Chicago. I had been there for over a year when I first got pregnant. When I told my boss I was pregnant her exact words were "Couldn't you have used a fucking condom? Why are you doing this to me?" I actually found myself apologizing to her. I now know that should never have happened. I should never EVER apologize to anyone for being pregnant. I was shocked.

A couple of weeks later, during a staff meeting that I was not at, my boss took it upon herself to tell everyone that I was pregnant. I was not at the meeting because I was at a Dr. appointment. When I got into work, a bunch of people kept saying congrats. I finally asked and they told me what had happened. I was livid! I was only 6 weeks along. I had told a few people there, but did not want the whole center to know. Then low and behold less than a week later, I was having a D and C because I lost the baby.

Since that time, I was treated differently by my boss and some of my co-workers. Complaints started coming up about my paper work or calls that were said to not have been returned, when I never got the message. I know I was doing my work, I was keeping track of it for this very reason. My boss, who was once very inappropriately intimate with me in the details she shared with me about her life, started to become rude towards me. I did my best to let it all pass. I kept telling myself, I only have a while longer here. I was staying there because I needed my boss to sign off on my hours to I could get my second therapy license. Luckily I had her sign off on them just before I was fired and did end up getting my license during the two months I was unemployed.

I was told I was being let go due to the economy. It was a small non profit organization and the state had cut back part of the funds they give to the center. But I knew what was going on. This happened three days after I return from having a second miscarriage. My boss was nasty to me since I was pregnant the first time...the math was easy. I later found an add for my job that was posted the day after my miscarriage. Economy my ass!

It was a huge blessing in disguise. I was able to study for my exam and I passed it with flying colors. And I no longer worked for a corrupt organization that I really was not happy with anyways.

We took some time off of ttc (trying to conceive). My OB had told my RE what happend and we scheduled a follow up appointment. We did not get great news. The RE wanted to do alot of testing. We thought, okay, sure. We have good insurrance. The catch? They only used a lab that was experimental and not covered by insurance. Oh, shit. Trevor is a 5th grade teacher, and I am a therapist. Put the two together and you do not add up to much. The tests were going to cost around 6k. We bought our house a year before and with my job loss we were hurting. I was heartbroken once again. I thought to myself, this may never happen, We may never have a child.

We did alot of thinking and talking to our family. We decided to go ahead with the tests. Whats one more credit card ay? So this past summer the tests were done. The results came back in August. We found out that I have thrombophilia, a blood clotting disorder. The baby died because a blood clot cut off the oxegyn to the baby. The treatment for this is baby asprin, Vitamin B6, and prescription strengh folic acid. Once you are pregnant, you then have to inject yourself daily in the stomach with lovenox which is a blood thinner.

I was not happy with all of this. I felt my PCOS was enough to handle, but now this. And to think, I was on birth control pills for years and could have had a very bad clot. Thank god I seem to only get microscopic sized clots...or mayby not since it did kill our baby. So, we move forward.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

8 Weeks Pregnant

January 2008. I am at this point, definitely feeling pregnant. I am nauseous morning, noon, and night. My boobs are so sore they make me cry. My mood is very unpredictable and most should just stay away! The bottomless pit of hunger controls my life and I am up at least twice a night to pee! I could not be happier!

At week 8 we go back to the RE's office for an ultrasound. Trevor and I were absolutely crazed with nervousness. We see on the screen this pulsating figure. The doctor explains that this is the pregnancy and the heartbeat is great! I made him tripple check for more than one! One of Clomids side effects is multiples. Kate, from John and Kate was on clomid and we know what happend there! But he confirms there is just one and we are released from his care and now into the care of my OB.

Week 10 is here. I have my first OB appointment for this pregnancy. It was Tuesday morning. The doctor does her thing and tells me everything looks fine. She then tries to hear the heartbeat, but warns me that it is still early and we may not hear it yet. She searched and searched, closing her eyes with concentration. But, no luck. The Dr. again assured me this is normal and I am healthy and the baby is doing well. She has me schedule an ultrasound for Friday and sends me on my way.

I go to work for the reminder of the day, feeling great. I get home and have a nice evening with my husband. We are so excited we stay up a bit later talking about the baby. Everything finally seems to be falling into place. But if you know us, you know that would not happen. Our luck is not that great.
**Disclaimer** The next portion is gory, disgusting, and heartbreaking**

At 2 am I woke up to pee. I felt fine. Nothing out of the ordinary. Once I sit on the toilet the blood gushes out of me. I looked down and instantly knew that I was loosing this baby. I screamed for Trevor and kept saying "not again, not again, this cannot be happening again." I cannot go through this again. Trevor immediately calls the Dr. She calls us back in less than one minute. I have now moved from the toilet to the bath tub because the blood just keeps coming. Including big, thick blood clots and tissue. I kept thinking, maybe its just from the exam today. I feel no pain, I have no cramps, this should not be happening. Then, while my husband is on the phone with my doctor, I delivered our baby in the bathtub.

That baby had a head, little arms and legs, a heart. I saw it in the sac, I held it in my hands. My heart disappeared. I knew at that moment it was over. My life was over. I have failed myself and my husband again. I lost this baby. Afer the doctor calmed me down and gave me instructions and told me if I am bleeding through more than one pad per hour, I need to rush to the ER. If not, I see her in the am. I was hysterical. I was crying so hard I was hyperventilating. The only thing that calmed me was my doctor telling me that if I do not calm down and I cannot breath, I have to go to the hospital. I kept asking her, is there still a chance? Even though I knew I was holding my baby in my hand. I hand the baby over to my husband and I to this day do not know what happend with baby Jordan. I could not handle it, he had to take care of it.

As soon as I cleaned myself up and got back into bed, I physically felt empty, my uterus was completly empty. I could feel that the baby was no longer inside of me. I knew it was over. I knew I would never heal from this. I knew this was going to push me over the edge.

The next morning, the ultra sound confirmed there was nothing left in my Uterus. I had infact delivered our baby in the bathtub at 10 weeks gestation. There are no words to describe this pain.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Round Two

November 2009. We meet with Dr. Rinehart, our RE or reproductive endocrinologist. He is a brilliant man! He has his MD, PH.d, and JD. And yet, he is still so down to earth and talks to us in layman's terms, but does not make us feel small.

He confirms that I do have PCOS. We go over our treatment options and it is decided that I will start Birth Control Pills to get a period, as well as go on Metformin that treats the PCOS, and a Low Glycemic Diet, and then I will start Clomid which stimulates the ovaries to produce follicles. If you have never taken clomid, you have no idea! Clomid puts your body into menopause. It gives you hot flashes, mood swings, hunger pains, sleepless nights, cramping, bloating, and very sore breasts.

We were given a lot of information and all of this is very debilitation. You often feel that your body is failing you. You do not get to have a child the "normal" or "natural" way. Instead, my doctor gets me pregnant. Yep, I said it! Not only do you have to deal with the horrible intense pain of loss from a miscarriage, deal with a new disease which causes a lot of other health issue, you have to deal with not being able to conceive a child on your own, with your husband. My doctor knocks me up! It makes me feel like I am not a true woman, I cannot pro create on my own. It is hard to describe exactly what that feels like. I imagine it is a similar pain and lost feeling that women who have masectomy's must feel. You feel like your womanhood is being taken away from you. You feel like every woman who knows that you are infertile looks at you diferently. I take that back, it is not a feeling, it is a fact.

No matter how nice people try to be, society does not know how to handle this issue. They comment by saying stupid things like; "it was not meant to be" or "you will have another one" or " you are young" or "it happend for a reason". But you get these looks from people and you might think it is just in our heads but it is not. Whether people like to admit it or not, infertility is about sex and people think that couples who deal with infertility are doing something wrong. They are not part of the in crowd. They are failures. We already feel that way, we do not need your help in that!

My poor husband has to deal with me while I am on these drugs. This first round, I am on 100 mg. After taking the medicaiton for five days, you go into the RE's office for an internal ultrasound. Yes, ladies and gents, internal. With the lovely wand. It is painful as your ovaries are stimulated and very sore from the clomid. I remenber the first ultra sound. I had had them before for other tests, but not when I was on clomid. The medicaiton was working, but my follicles were not quite big enough. They need to be around 18 to 20 mm. So, the doctor tells me to come back in a few days.

Three days later, I am back and having another ultrasound. This time my eggs are ready! Yay ovaries! So, you go home and in two days I take an injection of HCG which tells my ovaries to ovulate. My husband was so nervous with that first injection. I felt bad for him. He did not want to hurt me. But, he was very brave and was able to pull through. He did a great job! 36 hours later I go back to the Dr. and have an IUI or artificial insemnation. Remember when I said you feel like failure...this is one of those moments. It is a very strange ordeal. We bring in my husbands sperm, they "wash" it and insert it into a special cathader. The nurse takes you into a small room with the exam table and the ultra sound machine. My husband was not even allowed in the room with me. Then they insert the catheder into my uterus and "ta da" you hope for a baby.

After the procedure, I go home and rest for the day. Then the wonderful 2WW begines They say it is two weeks, but it really is three. This wait is for the HCG shot to be out of my system so we can test for pregnancy. Oh, and you have to give yourself another HCG shot about three days after the IUI as a booster, to increase the chance of pregnancy.

On Christmas Eve, about three days after the IUI, I start to feel different. I felt flutters in my belly. I started to feel really tired. I was very emotional. I was hungry, smells were bothering me. I got into a fight with my 19 year old sister, with whom I am always close with and NEVER fight with due to all of the emotions. The hardest part of this is to not get your hopes up because the medication can make you feel this way. It can make you feel as if you are pregant, when you are not. So, you just ride with it and hope and pray for the best.

I am not a patient person. You would think I was, beign that I am a therapist and work with kids. But with this kind of thing, I am awful. You are not suppose to test for pregancy before the doctor does becuase you can get a false positive due to the HCG in your system from the shots. A week after the IUI, I begin to test. The first test there is a slight positive. My husband, being the patient and realistic man he is, told me to not get my hopes up and wanted me to stop testing. But something powerful comes over you and it becomes an obsession I tested every other day until I went to the doctor. I knew I was pregnant. I could just feel it.

So, on the big test day, I was excited and nervous. I went in in the morning for the blood draw and had to wait until after 3 for the results. That wait is the worst! I was crawling out of my skin waiting for the results. At about 3:20, when I could no longer wait, I called the office and asked for the results. They were postive!!! A wonderful BFP!!! Of course you have to go for a blood draw the next day to make sure your levels are doubling. Success! They were more than doubled the next day. We have won this round, or so we thought!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The begining of our Struggle

June 17, 2008. Our 2nd wedding anniversary. My sweet, handsome, amazing husband and I went out to eat at the restaurant we went to the day we got engaged. I was feeling kind of "funny"and I said to my husband "I think we need to buy a test on the way home". My husband said, okay, fine, but you are not pregnant.

I do not get a period, unless I am on birth control, or the doctor makes me. A couple of months prior, around April, I was seeing a new OB/GYN. She took me off the pill because she thought I had high blood pressure. No matter how hard I tried to convince her I did not (I have white coat syndrome, always have, always will) she refused. So, I had been taking a pregnancy test one a month, just in case, even though we knew I would probably have difficulty getting pregnant. We never new how difficult it would be.

Once we were home, I took the pregnancy test, never expecting anything to happen. It immediately turned positive! We were both totally freaked! We were not planning, we were not ready, we were really scared. It took us about a day to come to realize what was really happening, and we started to get very happy. We made a baby! We were going to be parents. Our love made something, another human being.

So, we told our parents and I went to the doctor(a different OB, one that would listen to me). She thought I was around 8 weeks along, based on when I stopped the pill. Everything looked good! So we scheduled an ultra sound. The U/S showed that I was only about 4-5 weeks along. So, they said come back in a week.

We did, and found out that there was no heartbeat, no living baby in my uterus. I remember just looking at my husband, with such uncertainty. I told the tech, "it looks bigger than last week, it is different." She said, "well, I am not a doctor, but your baby is dead." I hated her and demanded to speak to a doctor. She would not let me, said no one was available.

So Trevor (my husband) and I had to wait a whole weekend before we could see my doctor. I was sent to take a blood test to check my levels, and it was confirmed. On the following Monday my doctor confirmed that I was miscarrying. She held me while I cried, and was just there. She was amazing. She took the time to answer all of our questions in real terms. Made sure we understood. We decided to schedule a D and C because my body was not taking care of things on its own.

D and C day is what I call Dooms Day. It was awful. They gave us a paper to sign. We had to decide if we wanted a funeral or if we wanted the hospital to handle the remains. I was so confused, I did not want to see our baby like that. So , I choose to have the hospital take care of it. The surgery went well, and I was back to work the next day.

The doctor gave us a referral to a brilliant Reproductive Endocrinologist because thought I had PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. But we needed time, we needed to heal, so we did what we could to move on with our lives.