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Monthly Archives: October 2014

On to number 6

Alright, folks – Em and Kate’s TTC #6 is on like Donkey Kong.

Today was my day 3/baseline ultrasound to kick off the cycle. No cysts, so everything is a-go for starting Clomid tonight, and continuing for 5 days. My RE increased my dose from 50mg to 100mg. The plan is to start ultrasound monitoring (ugh $$$$) on day 10 (so next Thursday) to see how things go on 100mg. I have heard enough stories of bodies reacting wildly differently between cycles on Clomid, so I’m on board with starting the monitoring super early again (even though we didn’t see any movement until CD17 last cycle), but I’m not thrilled at the prospect of another $1,000 worth of ultrasounds next cycle. Oh well.

I inquired about the HSG. I spoke to two nurses about it (one new nurse, and my fav/usual nurse Tracy), and Tracy talked to my RE. I also spoke to the billing lady about it. Basically, it will not be covered by insurance (because they don’t have a diagnosis under which to bill it – it isn’t a treatment/diagnostic test for PCOS or any of the other diagnoses I have, and they can’t diagnose me as “infertile” until I do 12 medically supervised cycles) and it costs about $1000. I got the opinion of my RE, who said she “doesn’t believe it is medically necessary” because I don’t have a history of appendix issues, fibroids, or abdominal surgery. Of course there is still a slight chance that they are blocked, but at this point we decided to continue to risk it.

Same protocol as last cycle – Clomid, ultrasound monitoring, Ovidrel trigger, IUI 36 hours later, Crinone in the vag every day until test day (and hopefully thereafter, God willing).

Here’s the bigger issue: we ran out of sperm. Oh man, straight ladies – you don’t know what you have. So we’re about to drop the big bucks (all of our hard earned cash basically) on some more sperm. Donor #1 was our fav, and apparently was everyone else’s too because he’s sold out. So it’s back to the drawing board. Remember way back when, when we were choosing sperm the first time around?? Was totally hoping I wouldn’t have to do it again, but here we are. In the end, I just want sperm that swims fast and hard and doesn’t come with egregious genetic woes. Here’s hoping we can find that without too much heartache. Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.44.12 PM

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Origami

(Code word for nope)

This wasn’t our cycle for a BFP. I’m pretty disappointed – I was really hoping that Clomid + ultrasound monitoring + trigger + progesterone was my golden ticket. I just really felt in my heart that I would be pregnant within 5 well-timed IUIs. Of course, we all think that, right? I can be done wallowing in self pity now I think.

The plan is to now stop taking my Crinone (thank the Lord), wait for my period to show up, and start over. I didn’t actually get to talk to the nurse on the phone today because I was doing an evaluation when she called. So I listened to the message and could just tell from her tone of voice that it wasn’t good news. I do wish I had a chance to talk with my nurse and get an idea about what the protocol for this next cycle will be. I am going to push for an increased dose of Clomid (which I assume they will suggest anyway), since it seems like my body didn’t really react much this cycle. I am also considering pushing for an HSG. I don’t want to keep dumping money into this if the sperm isn’t even making it up there (and the eggs aren’t even making it down) due to blocked tubes. I really want to minimize the amount of money we have to pay for ultrasounds as well. I guess we’ll see what the options are.

Here’s my silver lining though – I was getting kind of bummed that if this one took, I wouldn’t be able to have kids who are full biological siblings. Em and I are hoping to buy 8-10 vials of a new donor (yet to be chosen), so that we (hopefully) have enough to try for a biological sibling. 10 vials is going to run us a whopping $8,000 so we’ll see what we are able to do. But if we go for 10 we can get free storage for 4 years I think, which would save us some money down the road. We said from the beginning that if this donor didn’t work after 5 vials that we would switch donors (back when we naively thought there may still be vials left after we used 5!), so maybe a new donor will bring us some better luck. That said, I’m going to miss this guy. We nicknamed him Brody (one of his celeb look-alikes was Damian Lewis), and had quite a few conversations/pep talks with “him.” It’s bittersweet to move on to someone else, and leave behind not only our dreams of getting pregnant easily, but also of having those kids.

On to new dreams, and bigger and better things, right?

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is test day for IUI #5. I’ve tried to stay away from any symptom BINGO and Googling because I’m on progesterone and know it will throw me for a loop if I let it. No home pregnancy tests this month either. Why spend the money when they want me in for a blood test anyway? And it’s always nice to have an extra day (or few hours) of hope.

Em decided we should have a code word for when I call her to report the results of the blood test tomorrow, so that I don’t have to say “it was negative” or “I’m not pregnant,” and she won’t have to hear it. The code word is origami. I’m hoping there is no mention of paper folding of any kind tomorrow. Everything is crossed. I’m off to sleep now, but send vibes/prayers/baby dust my way if you have it in you, blog world.

IUI #5 happened

I forgot to post about it.

On Monday, I went in for my 5th IUI at 11:00am. I had given myself the Ovidrel trigger shot (I gave myself a SHOT!) on Saturday night at 11pm, so the IUI was exactly 36 hours later. I (of course) did a lot of Google research, and it seems that folks tend to ovulate somewhere between 24 and 42 hours after the shot, so I feel good about our timing. Also, my temperature rose appropriately the day after the IUI (and that was before I started the progesterone), so I’m not obsessing over timing. I think we may have gotten at least that part right this time.

Since Monday was a holiday (for you folks outside the US – Columbus Day slash Indigenous Peoples Day), we had to go to a different clinic and didn’t have our typical people. The midwife who did the IUI was a total whack-a-doodle. She kind of talked to herself about how vaginas are different lengths for a couple of minutes before getting in position to inseminate me. She also came into our room before our “15 minute wait” was up and said “Nguyen? Nguyen?” … She was clearly in the wrong room and it was very strange.

Sperm donor’s numbers were pretty good again – I think his count was 55 million per mL? And the motility was 47%. I’ll take it.

I was instructed to start Crinone (progesterone gel) the next day, so I’ve been on progesterone support since Tuesday. Therefore I can’t rely on my temperatures to tell me anything real about ovulation, but for some unknown reason I am still taking my temperature every morning. I guess it’s good to stay in the habit. I have noticed that my temp has raised a lot higher on progesterone than it has naturally in my past cycles, so that seems like maybe a good thing.

Can we talk about how gross Crinone is for a second though? It is really really gross. I want to say it is even grosser than yeast infection suppositories – and you only have to take those for a day or two! No one even told me when to stop with the Crinone. I’m guessing if I get a positive test I keep going for a while? And if I get a negative test I can just stop then?

3 days into the two week wait! Here goes nothing. I’m still in the “sane” phase, so I’ll have to check back in somewhere around 9 dpo, which is when I usually start going cuckoo banana crackers. Oh, one other fun tidbit: my cousin is getting married 2 days before my “official test date,” so I’m probably going to have to pretend to get wasted at the wedding. In my family, not drinking is a serious giveaway, and people love to gossip. I’d rather not having them gossiping about nothing, so I’ll come up with some creative ways to fake it 🙂

Closets are for Clothes

As I am sure many of you already know, today is National Coming Out Day. Every year when October 11th rolls around, I start the day by wondering why we need to have it. In truth, that thought is wishful thinking. Em and I live in the “Boston Bubble,” where our rights are really equal and almost no one bats an eye. I have to remind myself that that is not what it is like everywhere else – and that’s when I remember why National Coming Out Day (and coming out in general) is important. The attitude in the US toward marriage equality is so rapidly changing for the better, which is so so fantastic.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

The domino game of states with marriage equality is the most amazing thing to witness, and makes me feel so validated and happy. And it is BECAUSE people keep coming out. When we come out, our friends and family and neighbors can put a face to the acronym. Coming out is totally necessary, and every single brave person who comes out – and every person they come out to – is a part of the movement toward equality.

Coming out is not a one-time thing. It’s not even a three- or four-time thing. I have to make decisions every week, sometimes every day, on whether to come out – to clients at work, while I’m getting my nails done, at the store … and I’m not always brave enough. I’m ashamed to say I often choose the easy way out. When the woman doing my nails compliments my ring and says something like “your husband has great taste!” – I often choose to respond, “I know he does!” And every time it feels inauthentic and a get a sinking feeling in my stomach. Like the truth isn’t comfortable or good enough for the moment.

So, for today, I’m going to share with all of you my coming out story (because, I mean, you already all know that I’m queer). Well, I’m going to share with you the beginning of my coming out story – because that story hasn’t ended (and probably won’t).

I came out to myself just after my 19th birthday. I was a freshman in college and I had spent the first semester harboring a serious crush on a girl who lived in my dorm. College was the first time I had met any queer women. Actually, that’s not true. One of my friends in high school came out as bi, but never acted on it and later “took it back.” She also used to say that she liked girls but she would “never have sex with a girl because vaginas are gross.”  (I am in no way discounting her experience – more commenting that it didn’t have the same impact on me as meeting queer women who dated and slept with and were in relationships with other women). ANYWAY I spent a semester hanging out with this girl who I had a crush on every night, telling myself that it was a totally normal friendship to want to just lie in bed together for hours playing with each others’ hair, not even talking. And then I went home for winter break, and spent some time with an older friend (ha – she was probably 25 at the time?), who came out to me as bi. After validating her feelings and saying the things good friends say, I went down to my car and just sat there for probably 10 minutes. I just sat and thought and felt this big, life-altering thing bubble inside me. I thought to myself about how I had never really ever had a crush on a boy, and how I made excuses for that (there are just no cute boys in my little town!). I thought about how I often thought of girls in sexual ways, and that my constant attempts to tell myself that “that’s normal, a lot of teenagers think about people of the same sex without being gay” were just a big load of denial. I thought about my intense female friendships, and all of the feelings that I had squashed over the past few years. And I thought about that feeling that always crept in from the back of my mind. That feeling that I might be different. That feeling that I always pushed away so quickly that I never really thought it through. And when I was done thinking about those things, I texted the friend who had just come out to me, “me too. OK? now you know.” And that was it. I couldn’t take it back. I pressed send.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course. I was raised in a big Irish Catholic family, and we went to church every week. I had learned that it was “okay to be gay, but not okay to act on your feelings.” So luckily it wasn’t the hellfire and damnation viewpoint that gays will go to hell etc etc, but I certainly was raised to really really really not want to be gay. Now that I’m looking back, I can see all of the clues I missed. As one example (because this post is getting kind of long and I have to get up the courage to give myself a trigger shot in like a half hour), I recall going to my check up at the doctor when I was 12. I must have been 12, because I believe that that is the age when your medical information officially becomes not your parents’ business unless you want it to be – and my doctor gave me a survey to fill out with the assurance that only she would see it. It was mostly questions like Have you ever tried drugs? Have your friends tried drugs or alcohol? Do you feel safe at home? etc. But there was a prompt on the 3rd page or so that really stumped me. I am attracted to … __ boys __ girls __  both __ I don’t know. I remember so clearly sitting there and staring at the question. And I remember skipping it, filling out the rest of the packet, and then going back. I also remember being terrified because I didn’t even know why it was tripping me up so much. I am pretty sure I ended up checking off “both” or “I don’t know,” and then erasing it and checking of “boys” instead.

After sending that text and acknowledging, in print, that I wasn’t straight, I am pretty sure I cried for a good chunk of the drive home. But by the next morning I felt like a huge weight had lifted. Like, okay, that’s what that feeling is. I’ve mentioned before that I have OCD – my symptoms were very significant for the last 2 years of high school. I was having panic attacks multiple times each week. Once I sent that text, my anxiety significantly decreased. As a freshman at a fairly artsy college in Boston, I used to “do art” on the weekends with friends (sometimes under the influence), and often found myself drawing X’s over my mouth, which I never could explain – but it totally stopped after I sent that text. I went back to school and systematically came out to everyone who meant something to me. I was extraordinarily nervous every single time, but I didn’t experience one negative reaction. Most people were entirely nonchalant. It was actually kind of jarring that people were so blase about something that was so emotional and HUGE for me. Either way, I can’t complain. And after a couple of weeks, once everyone knew, it became just another thing about me and I was able to move onward and upward. It was so freeing and exhilarating.

I didn’t come out to my parents for another year and a quarter after that. I didn’t know where to begin, I was worried about how they’d react, and I had this irrational fear that they would send me to a conversion camp (they really would never ever do that – I don’t know why I fixated on that fear). On top of all of that, though, I didn’t know what to say. Back then, I really didn’t identify as a “lesbian.” I had come out as “bi” to most people, but that word didn’t sit right with me either. I knew I liked girls more, but wasn’t closing any doors. I kept telling people that I didn’t like labels, but that “love is tender and knows no gender.” On advice from some friends at my very first National Coming Out Day (October 11, 2006), I decided that the best way to do it would be to come out as in a relationship with someone, rather than with a label. So that was the plan. When I started seeing my first girlfriend (I wouldn’t even call her a girlfriend – just a girl who I dated), I thought about it and procrastinated. Then, like a month later (ha) when she broke up with me by starting to see some guy and calling me to ask advice about him, I was devastated and decided to call my mom and tell her all about it so she could comfort me. It took me 2 phone calls but I finally got it out. I managed to talk about this girl without using any pronouns at all for a full 5 minutes, and finally at the end said something like, “and it was a girl.” My mom cried because I was crying, but she told me that she and my dad loved me no matter what and just wanted me to be happy. It was just what I needed to hear, though I could tell in her voice that it was really hard for her to come to terms with. My parents have come a really long way and are nothing but supportive of me now, but it was something that didn’t really get talked much about after that phone call. I brought it up again a few months into my relationship with Em (probably 3 months after the initial phone call), and my mom said “it’s a girl again, isn’t it?” Like I said, they’ve come a long way since then.

Coming out was freeing, painful, terrifying, exhilarating, and the single best, bravest thing I’ve ever done. And it continues to be all of those things. It is so many things – and one of them is important.

“Gay brothers and sisters,…You must come out. Come out… to your parents… I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives… come out to your friends… if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors… to your fellow workers… to the people who work where you eat and shop… come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake.” -Harvey Milk

So, that’s my story. If you made it this far, I am sincerely impressed. Thank you for reading it.

21

Well, my ovary has decided that it is ready to cooperate. On today’s CD22 scan, my single dominant follicle was a whopping 21mm! I saw whopping because it grew from 15 to 21 in the span of 2 days.

I asked the tech whether it looked like it was about to ovulate on its own, and she said that she didn’t see any free fluid around it so probably not. Phew. I’m waiting for a call from the nurse this afternoon, but the plan will be to trigger tonight (around 10 or 11pm I think) and schedule an IUI for Monday morning. The timing will be great for me – I took off work for the morning, and Em is off all day for the holiday, so she can come and return the tank after. Also we won’t have to do another tank swap!

The tech said my lining looks “beautiful.” Nice and thick at 14.7mm. I’m ready to get this show on the road.

F.I.N.A.L.L.Y.

Just a quick post to update on my (5th) follicle scan yesterday. Finally, on CD 20, I have some growth.

To recap:

  • CD3 – baseline scan (no cysts! yay!)
  • CD11 – follicle scan shows: 3 follicles on the left (2 at 10mm, 1 at 11mm), 1 on the right (10mm)
  • CD14 – SAME SHIT DIFFERENT DAY
  • CD17 – still nothing bigger than 11mm, but now there are 2 at 11mm (one on each side), and a couple at 10mm on each side as well
  • CD20 – Ovaries are FINALLY getting their shit together. Nothing on the right anymore, 1 follicle at 15mm on the left (and a couple of others at 10 and 11)

So I finally have a dominant follicle, which is fantastic because if Friday’s ultrasound showed no difference again, this cycle would have been canceled. I did the math – that would be an epic waste of $850 (the total amount we paid for ultrasounds, Clomid, the “tank retrieval” fee, and the tank swap fee).

Now the plan is to go in for another scan tomorrow morning (CD22). My nurse assumes that the dominant follicle will be at least at 17mm. If it is at 17mm, we are triggering on Sunday night (CD23) for ovulation and IUI on Tuesday (CD25). If it is bigger than 17mm tomorrow, we will trigger tomorrow night for ovulation and IUI on Monday (CD24). I am hoping to do the IUI on Monday for 2 selfish reasons: 1) If we have to wait until Tuesday we will have to pay $30 for another tank swap to stay inside the cryobank’s 5 day guarantee – plus spend time driving to Cambridge and back to actually do the swap. And 2) I cancelled my Monday morning patient proactively, so it’d be great if things could actually work out for my schedule for once.

Time will tell! I’ll update again tomorrow with the results from my CD22 ultrasound. Here’s hoping that follicle just keeps getting juicier!

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