Friday, August 30, 2013

Finding the Center

I woke up this morning and couldn't find the energy to get out of bed. Luckily, I didn't have to being this is the last week of summer vacation. So I laid in bed wallowing in self pity. John took responsibility for the dogs, and I texted with my Local Dreamers through our Facebook Chat. I love those ladies so much.

Finally, I made the decision that I didn't want to feel down in the dumps like that for the rest of the day. It was time to get up and put myself together. So I got out of bed, made some breakfast, and made a journal entry to my fabulous pen pal.

My journal entry to my awesome pen pal, Say1009 :)

It was so therapeutic to write out the events of yesterday in the old fashioned way with pen and paper. I only skimmed the surface with yesterday's blog post (Well Shit.) so I was able to go a little deeper with the entry. My emotions are so complicated and jumbled up... it always takes me so long to sift through and figure out what I'm feeling inside.

After my journal entry, I did an hour of Fertility Yoga. Let me tell you... this DVD is amazing. It may not actually "increase blood flow to the reproductive organs thereby increasing fertility" but it does clear my mind and help me get centered. I feel like the stress and sadness has been lifted outside of my body. It is still there; but now it's hanging over my head rather than festering within my body, mind and soul.

I felt so good yesterday when John & I made our Plan B decision. I felt like it was final, and maybe I could rest easier (and sleep at night) knowing that we have a good plan. But that was before we got the call from the doctor to cancel IUI#4. I wonder if we're jumping the gun going to IVF so soon. But at the same time, I feel like all signs are and have been pointing us in this direction all along. 

I don't know how much longer my fragile spirit can endure failure... I firmly believe that we will have a baby. But when? Will I break before then? When it finally happens, will I have lost myself so much that I won't come back? I like the person I was before all of this started... going back to our horrible house hunting "adventure" in March 2011... 

Listing our condo; finally getting a realistic offer in October 2011; bidding on a house and getting to a week before closing before it fell through in January 2012; deciding to go forward with the sale of our condo and frantically moving into an apartment while we house hunted all over again; days turning into weeks into months with nothing out there; looking at over 100 houses and only finding disappointment; bidding on two houses where we couldn't make a deal because the sellers were going through a bitter divorce and couldn't agree on accepting our offer; finally finding our house in April 2012 and making a deal; feeling like at any moment we would get a call telling us it had fallen through; holding our breath while going through the motions again of attorney review and inspections; finding out one week before our closing date that there was a problem that would delay the process; finally getting the keys to our house on June 18, 2012. 

Selling and buying a home was stressful and horrible and rolled right into this even more stressful and horrible journey with TTC. I feel like I haven't been myself since January 2012 when the shit hit the fan and our deal fell through. Those were some dark days... with a little ray of sunshine when we finally bought our house in June 2012... which was quickly dissolved back into darkness in October 2012 when I realized that we had been off the pill for over a year and actively TTC for half a year without any success.

Do you think after you get through such a long and deep personal crisis that you could ever be the same again? And more importantly, do you think it'll be possible to be happy, positive, and hopeful again? 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Well Shit.

IUI#4 is canceled. I went to my monitoring appointment this morning. I had 11 measurable follies and more that weren't worth measuring because they were too small.

We made a trip down to my parents' house. Poor Coda got car sick almost instantly. John and I had a serious and honest conversation about our next plan. We decided that if insurance would allow it we do IVF. After we finished discussing that, John asked me if I was having a good or bad IF day. I said I was ok, and he asked if he could share news. I said, "Is someone pregnant? What is their relationship to us?" He tells me yes and there is no relationship. Ok, I figure I could handle it, so I told him to lay it on me. His best friend's wife is pregnant. WTF, Johnny?! You made it sound like I didn't even know this person. We arrive at my parents' house. Ten seconds before opening the car door, Coda pukes in the car. Greaaaaaaat. Then the icing on the cake: I get the call from my doctor. We are canceled. I'm instructed to take the Ovidrel tonight and do TI every night through Saturday. All of the above occurred within an hour of each other. 

I am mad. Sad. Disappointed. Deflated. Defeated.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Surprise! Surprise!

Don't get too excited. It's not THAT surprise (dammit, I wish). There's actually no surprise here whatsoever. Of course I over responded to the (too high) dosage of Follistim. I don't know why my doctor started me out with two nights of 150iu especially after my crazy high response to all three clomid cycles.

I got a call from the nurse on CD5 after my blood work to decrease my dosage to 100iu then 75iu the next two nights. I asked what my E2 levels were... at baseline on CD2 it was 36 and on CD5 after only two doses of Follistim it was 290. Yeesh! Ok, so lower dose and an ultrasound with more blood work in two days. 

That brings us to today, CD7. My ultrasound showed SEVEN measurable follies. One on my left side (13mm) and six on my right side (13, 12, 14, 14, 10 and ??mm). Krikey!!

The doctor told me that he'd call me after he looked at my blood work, but there was a chance that we might have to cancel my IUI. If all seven follies matured and released eggs... well, I'd rather not be an incubator for seven fetuses for nine months (let alone sell my soul to be able to afford seven children). But of course I felt defeated at the thought that we might get canceled. 

The good news was that my E2 was only up to 570. My doctor explained that he likes to see that number stay under 1,000. So he feels we still have some room to work with. He prescribed me to take the Cetrotide to slow things down and 50iu of Follistim this evening. Tomorrow I go back for another ultrasound and blood work. 

There's still a chance that we may get canceled (like if I have more than 3-4 mature follies or my E2 level goes over 1,000) but my doctor seems to think we will be good to go for our IUI on either Saturday or Sunday. That means that if this cycle is a bust (please no!!) then it will be the shortest cycle in my whole life. The IUI will be on CD10 or 11, plus an 11 day LP... I hope we make it beyond CD21 (as in, pleeeease let me get KU from this!!!). 

Wish me luck that we don't get canceled!!

Monday, August 26, 2013


As you may know from reading my blog, I've been having an internal struggle with the upcoming NYC Marathon. In 2012, I spent the whole year earning a spot into the race through their 9+1 program (run nine NYRR races, volunteer at one). Back in May, I registered for the spot because I didn't want to lose it, and over the course of the past several months it has become an enormous source of stress.

I do not believe that I can adequately prepare to run a marathon on November 3, 2013 while dealing with infertility at the same time. I've already overtrained and injured my ankles because I've been trying to force long runs back into my routine after a three month hiatus. With ten weeks to go until race day, I must throw in the towel. I want to cry because I feel like I'm giving up.

I have two options at this point. 1) I can defer the spot to 2014. I will not get a refund for this year's race fee ($227) and I will have to pay again next year to keep my spot. 2) I can give my bib to a friend and be done with it. NYRR does not do bib transfers, so I'd have to do this under the table.

Option 1 makes me uneasy because what if I'm pregnant or newly postpartum at the time of the 2014 race? Also, it makes me mad about wasting money. Option 2 also makes me uneasy because I'm a rule follower... I don't like being shady. No matter what way you look at it, I'm in a lose-lose situation.

In the end, I have decided that I am not running the 2013 New York City Marathon. I have a friend who is willing to take my bib, and she said she'd even be willing to take it at the last minute. If I'm pregnant by November, then I will defer the spot and use the 2014 marathon as my comeback race. If I'm not pregnant by the November, then I will give my bib to my friend and cheer her on from the sidelines. At least the spot will go to good use.

This decision breaks my heart and liberates my spirit at the same time. I am not a quitter. I do not give up. And I am NOT quitting. I am NOT giving up. I will run more marathons than I can count when I finally make it to the other side of the rainbow. It will be challenging to keep up my training while being a mother, but I will persevere. Infertility does not win. Infertility sucks and I hate it, but infertility is a loser.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Watching the Clock

I feel like I'm just watching the time tick by. Everything about TTC is so slow. I'm still confused about what to do for the next cycle if this one fails (I hope it won't!). Injects + IUI or IVF... what would you do??

I'm getting ready to do my second injection of this cycle. Follistim 150iu. I'm going to line up all my lucky charms, play my lucky song, and stick it at 7:37pm (two lucky numbers!). I am literally watching the clock... And if I'm not watching the clock, I'm checking my cycle calendar... Sigh.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Injects in da House

Today goes down in the history books as the most expensive day of the 2013 Team Zazza Summer. I am so thankful for the outstanding insurance coverage that we have, but the prescription plan is a complete PITA. I have to pay 100% OOP for all medications, and get reimbursed for the covered amount at a later date. I am still waiting for the reimbursement check from May, June & July's Ovidrel...

Anyway, I went directly to the pharmacy to pick up my order, and was so moved to see the quote they have as a wall decal above the door.
Everyday holds a possibility of a miracle
I am also wayyy too excited about the nifty little case that comes with the Follistim pen. The first injection starts tonight. I plan to stick it at 7:37pm because those are my lucky numbers. I also plan to make a smiley face around my belly button over the course of the week and a half with all these injections.

***The above paragraph goes to show how much of a dork I really am.

I hope this works! Think good thoughts tonight at 7:37pm!


Yesterday was a tough day. I went in for my baseline appointment to get an ultrasound and blood work first thing in the morning. Then I picked up the dog and we made the trip to go to work at my brother's camp.

Coda had a very rough car ride. He got sick twice, so I pulled over and held a bag for him. I almost caught it all, and just felt so awful for him. When we got to camp, Coda was extremely scared. I tied him out next to the field, but every time I walked away he barked and whined. It broke my heart, so I took him to the cabin and set up his crate. He didn't want to leave the crate all day.

While I was "working" on the field, I couldn't help but to be totally distracted. I felt like I was torn in two. My body was present, but everything else was far, far away.

I was waiting on the pharmacy to call me back and let me know when my meds were ready to pick up. I was also bracing myself for the final cost. I knew it would be expensive, and while I am tremendously grateful for my insurance, my prescription plan is a complete PITA (I have to pay 100% OOP and then get reimbursed 80% later. I am still waiting to be reimbursed for the Ovidrel from May 4th).

I got the call from the pharmacy and, gulp, the final bill for the Follistim, Cetrotide and Ovidrel comes to over $3,000. The shock is still setting in. My pregnant SIL was at the rehearsal when I got off the phone with the pharmacy, so I told her what was going on. Her jaw dropped when I told her how much the meds cost. She asked, "Is it really necessary to use the medication? What happens if you don't do it?" I told her about our piddly 2% chance of success if we tried naturally. No medical intervention is not an option.

I tried to focus on my work for the rest of the day, and the rest of the staff I'm sure knew something was going on. I haven't told them, but they've all been very respectful of my distance. I already feel sad, guilty and left out because I am not continuing with the rest of the season.

When it was finally time to go home, I packed up the car and buckled Coda in. His expression made me feel terrible. He hates the car, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I'd have to pull over and hold a bag for him.

We made it home, and I unpacked the car. I dinged the side of my car with Coda's crate. When I went to assess the damage, that's when I lost it. I came completely unraveled, and spent the rest of the night ugly crying my eyes out. My stress level was so high, I needed to take something off my plate.

I called my brother and told him that I wouldn't be coming back to camp. He understood immediately and told me to take care of myself. I'm certain that my emotional phone call made him uncomfortable, and all he wanted to do was fix the problem as quickly as possible. He let me off the hook without a second thought.

I spent the rest of the night talking to some of my fellow Dreamers. I would be lost without them. Then John got home from his long day of work. It felt so good to snuggle up to him and talk everything out. I love him so much.

I didn't even see this meltdown coming. I guess I have been putting up a facade for so long that I was starting to think I really was ok.

I think I feel unsettled because we don't have a solid back-up plan if this cycle doesn't work. I hope and pray that it does, but after all of the failures we have faced I can't even imagine what life will be like after we get to the other side. I feel lost and confused. I don't recognize myself anymore. I wonder if I'll ever come back when all of this is over.

I thought writing all of this out would make me feel better... but scrolling up and seeing all of that text without a conclusion makes me feel even more lost.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back in the Game!

Today is CD1 which means we're off the bench and back in the game! Thank goodness it also means that PMS is out of my system. I finally feel sane again!

We went to the RE yesterday to look over the results from my laparoscopy and hysteroscopy and to finalize the plan for the next cycle. It was pretty cool to see the pictures from surgery, and the doctor even gave us a copy (which, I joked, would make an excellent Christmas card this year).

Up next, we are going to do injects with IUI. My insurance requires at least two inject cycles before they'll approve IVF, so I suspected this would be the way we go. My doctor said that if we wanted him to, that he could appeal to our insurance company to waive the mandate. I didn't know that this would be presented as an option for right now, so my head was spinning all day long.

We decided to go forward with the injects and IUI this cycle. My doctor said that he believes this could work for us; our chances are double what they were with the clomid; and, at the very least, this will give him the chance to see how I respond to injects so that he could give us a better quality IVF cycle if we get there.

I am going in for my baseline appointment tomorrow and will start Follistim on Saturday. I'll go back for monitoring on Monday, and when the time is right I will be instructed to take Cetrotide (to prevent premature ovulation) and Ovidrel (to trigger ovulation).

I hope this works. I feel excited to try again. But I'm wondering how many cycles of injects + IUI should we do before moving onto IVF? The doctor said he doesn't recommend any more than three cycles, our insurance requires two, but we could probably skip to it after this one. I don't know... and I hope we don't have to figure it out! Here's hoping that THIS cycle is finally our cycle!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Do not engage

I hate hormones. I hate infertility. I hate PMS. I hate everything right now. But mostly, I hate my piss-poor mood. I know it's PMS. There is a logical reason for this. But I hate it. I have tried so many things to lift out of it. And sometimes, I get a breath of fresh air. I get my head above the crazy fog. But then something stupid happens. And I get pulled back under.

I feel like a monster. My husband is completely lost; I feel so bad for him. I am trying to curb my emotions, and I think he is trying to help. But anytime he tries, he inevitably says something that sets me off and I turn into a psycho. Ugh. Then I feel guilty for bitching at him. It's a downward spiral. 

I know this is the PMS taking over. But I wonder... will this ever get better? I keep saying that I can't wait to have my babies so I can go back on the pill. The low dose of hormones over the 11 years on the pill kept me a lot more mellow... and minimized acne... and controlled the cramping of AF while eliminating O pains. I wonder if when I finally get back on it, if I'll be able to go back to my normal self....

Just a few more days until this PMS is in the past. I expect AF on Thursday. Just five more days of fighting the inner-psycho from unleashing. I hate this. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting to the Start Line always the hardest part. So many things can go wrong leading up to race day that can derail perfectly laid plans.

This analogy rings true in regards to infertility too. In this case, I'm talking about my ability to adjust my outlook on the upcoming cycle. I'm really struggling over here...

I'd say we're within a week of starting the next cycle. (AF, you cruel bitch, don't make me sorry for saying that out loud!) I'm genuinely looking forward to the chance to try again. Yet I keep finding myself trying to convince my mind to be positive about September's cycle. I want to believe that our chances for success are improved enough to make the difference. I want to believe that the lap did the trick. Or that the injects are the piece of the puzzle that has been missing. But I keep falling short.

I can't override the thought that my "few spots of minimal endometriosis" probably aren't the reason why we haven't gotten pregnant yet. I can't shut out the thought that we responded "beautifully" to the clomid, so how will injects really give us an edge? I'm sure these two factors do make a difference, but I suppose that I'm not convinced that they'll make the difference. I suspect that these inject cycles with IUI will result in the same BFNs of the past...

But I haven't abandoned all hope. I'm still fighting to believe. (::singing: Don't stop believing! Hold on to that feeEEEeeeling!!::) And on top of it all, even if I'm "right" about this too... it won't be long before we can move onto a plan that I believe in my heart WILL work for us.

So, back to the grind. Time to pound the pavement, and fight to get to my start line. I know I will be a mom. I hope very soon.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Easy Does It

I am making every attempt to find a balance between living my "normal" life while dealing head on with IF. It is such a challenge! Here's my new training schedule which I expect will only change about 50 billion times ;)
Coda & I went out for our run this afternoon. I wasn't sure how I'd do being just five days post-surgery, so we stayed very close to the house. I figured his C25K 1.3 workout would be a good way to ease in for the both of us. If at any point I felt like things didn't feel right, we could always turn around and walk home in just a few steps.

I felt ok, but Coda pooped out right before our last run interval. He had such a hard weekend (two long car rides which is still a very stressful experience for him) and I don't want to make him hate running, so we cut the workout short. Close enough! I anticipate the next run will be much better. Both dogs are exhausted and knocked out at the moment (so sweet!!). I might just join them for a little nap :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Comfy & Cozy

I had my laparoscopy, chromotubation, and hysteroscopy on Wednesday. Surgery went smoothly, and the results are all good. Here's a quick run down:

Laparoscopy: revealed a few spots of minimal endometriosis on my right side under my uterus. I was surprised to hear that there was only a little, but my doctor explained that the amount of endometriosis does not necessarily correlate to the amount of pain it causes. He said that this could very well explain the cause of my painful periods. He was also able to clean it all out. Hooray!

Chromotubation: no surprises here. Just like my HSG, both tubes were squeaky clean. Good to know!

Hysteroscopy: the doctor was able to easily resect part or all of my septum in order to open up the volume inside of my uterus. He said that he has some pictures to show me at my next appointment. My uterus was not a "primary concern" to my doctor before, but now he says it is of "no concern." This makes me want to jump up and down with joy (though I won't because I'm really sore)!

Recovery: I am recovering well from surgery, though I have to say, it's not very much fun (but who said it would be?!). The anesthesia made me really nauseous... I would rather deal with any other kind of pain aside from nausea. The nurse was able to give me some anti-nausea medication through my IV so I could make it home to my bed. We got home from the hospital around 7:30pm, I went on my FB group to update the Dreamers, sent a few messages to my friends and family, and then went to sleep.

Sleep was not easy that night. I never really fell into a deep sleep, and woke up several times to use the bathroom and get a sip of water. By the time morning came, I got out of bed and took a shower. John has been so wonderful about taking care of me. My brother, sister-in-law and nephew/godson came over to look after me while John made a trip to work for a few hours. I spent the entire day on the couch feeling sore (throat from the breathing tube, abdomen from the incision, and shoulders from the gas).

Today, I woke up feeling a lot less sore, though my digestive system is all outta whack. Holy hell, I couldn't feel more constipated :( I feel like I have a load of marbles up my booty. I took a stool softener this morning and have been sticking to a liquid diet, and hope to be regular again very soon.

Surgery Prep: the pre-surgery experience was a first for me. I have never had a "real" surgery before. I had my wisdom teeth extracted when I was a teenager, but I absolutely refused to let them put the IV in my arm. The doctors thought I was a wackadoodle, but I insisted on having it done "my way" (which was to use laughing gas and numbing needles while I dozed off listening to my walkman). Ironic, huh?

So getting an IV was a little terrifying for me. The nurse did an excellent job of getting it in without creating any additional fuss. John did an amazing job of distracting me and calming me down once it was in me. Then they wheeled me to the surgical floor, I observed these pretty little blue lights, and next thing I knew, I was out.

What's Next: our next appointment with the RE is scheduled for August 21st (my grandfather's birthday!). We will look over all the results from surgery, and get further instructions for the next cycle. We plan to do injects with IUI. My doctor wants us to give this protocol three tries before moving onto IVF. I believe my insurance only requires two... I'm hoping the first round works so that we don't have to think ahead to the possibility of IVF.

What an adventure to go through just to make sure I have the perfect little home for my future babies. I hope my uterus is comfy and cozy, and for crying out loud, can we please get a baby or two in there in September?! ;)

Lots of couch time = lots of progress on my Wish Stitch

Monday, August 5, 2013

Crazy Fog

Anyone else feel like they're constantly walking around in a fog of crazy? No? Just me?

I'm getting so tired of the emotional roller coaster that goes along with IF. I wonder if it'll ever even out. If I'll ever be able to get off this ride. It's bumpy and makes me sick. I did not sign up for this!

I'm on a break cycle, but I guess there's no such thing as a break from infertility. It's a diagnosis and experience that will scar you for life. I wonder if I'll ever be "the same" after the hard part eventually blows over.

But maybe the whole purpose of this journey is that you're not supposed to go back to being the same person you were before. My marriage will never be what it was prior to all of this madness. But I've never felt so connected and in sync with my husband as I do now. The truth is, this journey does make us stronger.

Every ache and pain of IF is like a stab to the heart. It stings, it shatters, it breaks you. But then you start to heal. A scab forms and new tissue grows back. You toughen up, and you come back stronger. Until the next time when IF takes you lower than you thought was even possible... but the lower you go... the stronger you come back. It has to work like that. I must believe that's the way it goes. There's no other way to persevere through this unless the above is true.

What do you think? What is the purpose of this journey? I believe everything happens for a reason and there's a lesson in everything if you slow down enough to take it in... I can't wrap my head around it quite yet, but one day... this will all make sense.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

True & Good

My subconscious keeps leading me to think about what makes a true and good friend. According to Facebook, I have over 400 friends. But for a long time, I've felt so isolated on Facebook. Every time I would sign onto my newsfeed, it wrecked my day. So I made some changes, hid quite a few people, and did what I had to do to reclaim my newsfeed. Of course, that came along with an unhealthy dose of guilt. I love my friends, but what it came down to was that I need to guard my emotions. I shake off the guilt by reminding myself that when I become pregnant, I'll see them all again. And for now, I can stalk the walls of the people who really matter to me on the days when I'm feeling extra strong.

In real life, I have an extremely short list of true and good friends. I love them all and would do anything for them. I am lucky to have my husband in the number one spot. And my two adorable doggies <3

It hurts my heart to know that my journey through IF has compromised some of my most dear friendships. When I think of it, I feel angry. And sad. And abandoned. But then I try to remind myself that it's no one's fault. It is simply a matter that I've gone down a path and cannot be followed. I hope and pray that when this is over that a few of the important relationships to me can be repaired. But I don't know... and the thought makes me cry.

I feel extraordinarily lucky to have joined a community of Dreamers. I haven't met most of them in real life, but they are there for me on a daily basis. I don't know what I would do without this group. I'm looking forward to meeting two Dreamers in at the CMR in September and another at the RW Half in October. And I can't wait to see the Local Dreamers at our Melting Pot gathering in just a few weeks.

I'm going to shake off this thought right here and right now. Because I can see that if I keep following this stream of consciousness, that I'll ruin a perfectly good day. So, deep breath, dark chocolate, and now it's time to resume painting my kitchen :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

August = One Step Closer

Me and my ridiculous gut feelings. Ha. I hate that I've been right about every single one of them over the past few years.

August is here and it's the month of my laparoscopy & hysteroscopy cycle. This is the first time in a year and a half that I'm not obsessing over when I'll ovulate. Because of my surgery, we cannot TTC, so we are forced to take a break this cycle. It has been wonderful so far. Exactly what I've needed.

My surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday. That means that it's just four days away. I am doing everything I can to keep my nerves at bay. If I think about the actual procedure, the anesthesia, the IV, the breathing tube, then I freak out. So I stop myself as soon as I catch my mind wandering, and replace the thoughts with something more productive and positive. For example, I focus on the results or distract myself with running or my home improvement projects.

I wonder what my doctor will find in there? I've been (lovingly) referring to my uterus as my "busted uterus" ever since my first ultrasound in January. I really, truly think my uterus is the root of the problem. I will be absolutely flabbergasted if my RE doesn't find endometriosis. It's not that I'm wishing myself ill... I just have a gut feeling, ya know?

Regardless, we will know very soon. Hopefully this will give us all the answers we need to proceed with confidence and finally bring us those two little pink lines. My hopes are so high for September, even without knowing what our protocol will be. I wonder if it'll be injects + IUI or if we'll get fast tracked to IVF. We shall see.

The distractions that I have been keeping busy with are doing a great job during the day. But once the night comes, that's when I can't overcome the chatter in my mind. I haven't been sleeping very well. I guess I'm more nervous about this surgery than I'm letting on. Big breath. I know I can do this. I am a fighter. I have run ten marathons, and crossed countless finish lines where the odds were stacked against me. I am no stranger to perseverance and determination. I am stronger than I think!!!

Yeesh, the things I say and do to get through this journey. It's insane. Five years from now, I'm going to look back on this whole mess and say, "What a nightmare!" But I know it'll all be ok because my babies are coming soon. I have a gut feeling.