Infertility Bites

Infertile, Trying to Conceive, and Forty-One Years Old – Ain't THAT a Bummer!?!

Aunt Flo, stay away!! February 28, 2008

Filed under: pregnant hopes and dreams — vamplita @ 10:32 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Okay, so we did the IUI on the 21st, and it went off without a hitch.  My duty these days is to think Good Thoughts, not stress, and remain calm while I wait.  Easier to say than do, naturally. 

 Take, for example, the fact that two weeks ago, I received an email from the Assistant Principal who is responsible for evaluating my teaching skills.  She stated in the email to my department that she would be performing 45-minute observations for all of us within a two-week period, and that the observation would be at an unannounced (random) time.  So, as a teacher, you try to make sure that you bring your “A-game” during these days, on the chance that the AP shows.  We drag out all the dog and pony stuff then…all the bells and whistles, so to speak.  Tomorrow’s the last day of the two-week period, and no AP so far.  Fun, eh?

Oh yeah; I had to take the GRE today.  Bleah.  The good news is that I managed to get a decent enough combined score to ensure that my graduate program won’t be kicking me out for that reason.  Now, I may not be able to pay, and get kicked out for that, but never for my GRE scores.  🙂 

 Now, if y’all know me, you know that I was probably very close to full panic mode right before the GRE test.  I’ll admit that I’m a person who experiences serious test anxiety when it comes to entrance exams or certification exams.  After all, it’s only my future and career that are on the line, right?  As I told my mom, “Yeah, having to pass a test with math that I haven’t even looked at for over 20 years scares me, but the thing that really strikes fear into my heart about these things is the fear of the unknown.” 

Same thing about waiting to see if we’re pregnant.  It’s the fear of the unknown that makes me crazy.  Each day, I pray that I don’t see red.  So far, so good in that department.  Of course, next week’s when (God forbid!) I’m supposed to start (dear Lord, please don’t let it happen) if (God forbid) I do (please God no) start, according to the schedule of meds I’ve been taking.

My imagination is wayyyy too fertile, when it comes to psychosomatic pregnancy symptoms, y’all.  It’s ironic that I have a very fertile imagination, but a not-so-fertile reproductive system.  That hardly seems fair, does it??  Anyway, I’ve been feeling crampy and nauseous this week.  It’s difficult to figure out if it’s the Real Deal or if it’s actually just my brain and body playing tricks on me like last time.

 

Take 2 – this time, with feeling! February 8, 2008

Ok, so I’m not pregnant this month.  As I said, no shock there.  I started my period the morning I was to go to the doctor.  I may not be surprised, but I am a bit bummed that it didn’t work.Dr. S met with us this past Wednesday, and we discussed our options.  I lobbied for Clomid + IUI this month.  Dr. S agreed, as did F.  Starting my Clomid tonight.  This time, I’m to take 3 pills each night (as opposed to two) during (Cycle Day 3 – Cycle Day 7) CD3-CD7.  She’s hoping this will cause more eggs to mature this cycle, instead of just the one like last month. She told me to start using the OPK on day 10, which is this Friday.  That’s also the day I go in for my ultrasound to see how many follicles have matured.  (Have I mentioned to you that these ultrasounds are $195 a pop, and that insurance is covering nada on those little gems?)  If I don’t ovulate over the weekend, I’m to inject myself with some stuff called Ovidrel that will cause me to ovulate within a certain time period following the injection.  On that Monday (or possibly Tuesday), F will have to go in and do his part by donating some swimmers into a cup.  Then I go in a couple hours later to have the procedure completed.  Please, God, please let this take.  Please let me get pregnant this month.  Please have one of F’s swimmers meet with a ready and willing egg. 

We’re also encouraged to go home following the IUI and have intercourse too, as kind of a plan to keep as many swimmers in the vicinity of the egg(s) as possible.  Call it hedging our bets, if you will.  F will probably be ready to have sex, since he can’t ejaculate for 3-5 days before donating his sample for the IUI.  If all goes well, I could conceivably be with child as early as 2-13-08.  Again, keep those fingers crossed and say a tiny prayer or two! 

I just read about another procedure called fallopian tube sperm perfusion (FSP).  That’s IUI, plus injecting about 20-30% of the washed sperm even further, into the fallopian tube as well, with a balloon inflated after insertion to ensure none of the sperm injected there swim south, back into the womb.  The patient leaves office with the balloon inflated within her for a while, then can deflate it all by herself later.  From what I’ve seen of the research, FSP seems to have a significantly higher rate of pregnancy than just IUI and shouldn’t be that much more expensive, relatively speaking.  I’ll ask Dr. S when next I see her whether or not this clinic does FSP, and if so, how much more is it cost-wise than IUI? 

IUI costs $350, unless it’s done on a weekend.  If IUI has to be done on a weekend, that’ll be an additional $50, thankyouverymuch.  I forgot to mention that previously.  F and I would definitely prefer that my OPK doesn’t show positive on a Saturday!    

 

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow… February 5, 2008

is it.  Pregnancy Test Day.  My current raison d’etre.  I know that I really ought not put too much emphasis on this time around, considering our poor showing during ovulation.  And yet… the tiniest glimmer of hope is there, whispering into my ear with the faintest voice.  It tells me that it is possible that I’m pregnant.  Stranger things have happened, right?? 

From a strictly scientific perspective, it’s fascinating to witness what’s happening to me ever since I (probably) ovulated.  For the past two or three days, my stomach’s been feeling weird, and my breasts have been tender/borderline sore.  It could be happening because I’m pregnant, or it could also be purely psychosomatic because I know what the early symptoms of pregnancy are. 

I haven’t told anyone, because I don’t want to give anyone false hopes if I’m not preggers.  If I told F that I’ve been feeling these symptoms, he might think it’s actually happened, and it would be such a disappointment to him, knowing that I’d been having symptoms.  I want he and I to find out together tomorrow.  He’s going to the appointment with me. 

It’s a follow-up with my doctor, Dr. S.  If we find out that I’m pregnant, then we embark upon that aspect of this journey with a song in our hearts, and our fingers crossed.  If we’re not pregnant, we discuss our game plan for the next month.  Personally, if we’re not with child this time around, I want us to try IUI (interuterine insemination) next month, along with the Clomid. 

Granted, it’s more expensive when your bloody insurance won’t cover it, but it’s also got a higher percentage rate of success when compared to using Clomid and relying on intercourse.  What would happen is this:  I’d start my cycle, either naturally, or with the help of prometrium.  Sometime during the first 3 days of my cycle, I’d go in for an ultrasound, which would be used as a baseline for that month’s egg developmental progress.  On days 3-7, I’d take the Clomid.  Next, I’d start monitoring my luteal phase with an over-the-counter Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK).  If I don’t ovulate by day 15, I’d have to take an injection of Ovidrel to stimulate my egg follicles to mature and drop.  

As soon as I’d get a positive when using the OPK, I’d have to call the doctor’s office that morning, so they could make an appointment for me that day.  Then, F would have to contribute his swimmers, either in person, or at home and take his sample in within one hour of its release.  It would be “washed”, assuring that the best of the best swimmers were concentrated into a sample for insertion into my uterus. 

When my appointment came around, the techs would use ultrasound to insert a long, thin catheter into my uterus, and then inject F’s washed (and New and Improved!) concentrate into the catheter.  Once the procedure would be complete, I’d have to remain horizontal for a little while, hoping everyone knows which way they ought to be going. 

The reason they use this technique is to help the little swimmers along by shortening their route dramatically.  They get to avoid the sometimes harsh environment of the vagina, and they’re put into the express lane, bypassing the vagina to go straight into the uterine cavity.  Now, the techs still can’t control which way the sperm swim once they’re into the uterus, but at least more of them have an increased chance to at least be in the running in the Race to the Egg.  Little Ms. Ova and any mature sisters she may have, ought to have dropped from the ovaries, and begin heading through the fallopian tubes, toward the uterine cavity.  In the meantime, F’s swimmers will start (hopefully) moving through the womb and into the fallopian tube(s) to meet any eligible bachelorette eggs in their path.  The first swimmer to meet this egg wins – no one else is allowed to fertilize that egg once it’s fertilized by the sperm who got there first.  

 

Ugh – it’s official, folks February 4, 2008

Yup, it’s definitely official…vamplita saw her shadow on February 2nd.  I’m now forty years old.  Too old to become pregnant and give birth if you’ve read any of the pregnancy literature written before 2000.  Still, because our society is waiting longer and longer to try to have children, so people began to reconsider whether or not having a baby was something a woman could do later in life. 

Technology is constantly finding new medical breakthroughs, so I felt much better when my RE told me that I shouldn’t have any problems having a child if I do become pregnant.  She said that I would probably have to watch what I eat, and that I would probably be considered a high-risk pregnancy because of my age.  Of course, that’s if I get pregnant at all.  Sigh…only a few more days before I find out if this month’s efforts episode was successful. 

Although I ought to be able to carry a baby to full term, there’s still the stigma of having a child after the age of 35 to contend with.  People look at me as if I’m trying to grow a third eye in the middle of my forehead when I tell them I’m trying to get pregnant at this age.  “Why would you possibly want a child now?”  Gee, I dunno…maybe because I couldn’t have one sooner, not that we haven’t been trying…  “Aren’t you a little old to try to have kids now?”  Well, schmartypants, my doctor doesn’t seem to think so, thankyouverymuch.  “You know, if you just lost some weight, you’d probably get pregnant.”  Again, thanks for the oh-so-sage words of advice.  I’ve gained and lost and gained and lost countless times during my marriage, recently losing 70 pounds.  Still no baby.  I really appreciate you bringing up something that I’m more than aware about, though.  It’s not like I don’t wake up with myself every frickin’ morning, and go to bed with myself every frickin’ night.  I believe I’ve noticed that I’m overweight, but thanks again for mentioning it to me, Ms. Obvious.  That really means a lot.     

At least this last time F and I went to visit his family for Christmas I didn’t get the snide comments and hurtful remarks like in the past.  Every other Christmas, all of his immediate family gets together to spend the holidays together.  We’ve traveled to North Carolina, Washington state, New Jersey, and Florida for past holidays.  This year, we went back to North Carolina, to a lovely beachhouse on Ocean Isle Beach. 

Apparently, someone told his family to take it easy on me this year.  Until this past Christmas, every year since we’ve been married, every conversation I had with his family ended with the question of when we were going to have children.  “I’m not sure,” I’d answer, “whenever the good Lord blesses us, I suppose.” 

Then, F’s youngest brother and his wife decided that we were having a Baby Race.  F and I have lost miserably, at least three times over.  They’re the proud parents of a son and two little daughters.  We’re still waiting for one of either flavor.  As long as it’s healthy, I wouldn’t really care what it was.  Hell’s bells, this particular sister-in-law stole my potential baby name for a girl, Lindsay.  She named her first daughter Lindsay Len…ugh.  Nah.  I wasn’t pissed, nor am I now… yeah, right. 

Each time we talk to them, we get the same song and dance from the sister-in-law, “You just don’t know how hard I have it, with three kids.  I’m tired all the time.  You guys have it easy.”  Insensitive, much?? 

At least her husband is more understanding, sorta.  It’s kind of funny; when he was getting ready to go have a vasectomy, he had the nerve to ask his own brother if he wanted some of his sperm, in case F’s swimmers were the issue.  Wow.  I was floored.  We politely refused his generous (?!?) offer.   

After each Christmas, names are drawn within F’s family for the following year’s gift giving.  There are two lists; each adult provides a gift for the adult whose name was chosen for them, and each child does the same for another child.  Five Christmases ago, our unborn, unconceived child was put on the list of children for the next year, thanks to that same insensitive sister-in-law, and a couple of nieces.  Geez, that made me feel great – no pressure there!!  Needless to say, no child of ours existed when the next Christmas rolled around.  You know, the crappy thing is that they probably forgot all about it after bringing it up that day – I haven’t, and probably never will. 

Small wonder I had some degree of trepidation when it came to going to North Carolina for the holidays this past Christmas.  I just didn’t think I could take another comment from my mother-in-law, wanting more grandchildren, and especially wondering when we were going to make her a grandmother again.  I was dreading the “woe is me” attitude from the youngest sister-in-law, stating that we had no idea how hard it was to be a parent. 

F was the last of his siblings to get married, and he’s the last of his siblings to have children.  Don’t think that we don’t hear about it, either.  Or at least we’d heard about it during holidays past.  Not this time around!  I’m not sure who sent out the memo, but not a word was spoken about it this past time.  Perhaps it was because I’d started going to an RE, and they knew it.  Maybe it was because I wound up in the hospital due to female problems and they wrote off the chance that we’d ever have children of our own after that.  Frankly, I don’t know, and don’t bloody care.  I was just grateful for the reprieve.          

 

the tiniest bit of hope February 3, 2008

Filed under: pregnant hopes and dreams — vamplita @ 11:41 pm
Tags: , , ,

Felt just the tiniest bit nauseous last night after going to bed.  It’s wayyyy too early to think that could be anything definitive.  This morning, my stomach still feels weird, and I give myself permission to be hopeful and dream of pregnancy.  However, I’ll only allow myself one minute to speculate that far ahead.