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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Hellish Sticky Goop? My HSG experience

That’s what HSG stands for, right? If you hadn’t already figured it out, I had an HSG (which actually stands for HysteroSalpingoGram – test to determine whether the fallopian tubes are open and to look for any abnormalities in your uterus) yesterday. I’m not sure where I left off, but this all came about because I asked my RE’s office if they could please look into submitting for prior authorization for future fertility treatments now that I have had 6 failed IUI cycles.

Skip this paragraph if you don’t care about insurance mumbo-jumbo …
I live in Massachusetts, and fertility coverage is required here. Which is amazing. But I am also a lesbian. My particular insurance carrier (Blue Cross Blue Shield MA) requires that lesbians (well, they call it “those whose infertility is due to lack of exposure to sperm”) have 12 physician-monitored IUI cycles that don’t result in a live birth before they will allow the “infertility” label (and therefore insurance coverage) to be applied. Literally all of the other insurance carriers in the area require 6 cycles. So that’s a bummer for me. I have done 6 cycles, but I also have PCOS which comes with anovulatory cycles and prolonged periods of amenorrhea. Long story short, my RE’s office was able to get the prior authorization for funding for my future treatments (IUI and then IVF if necessary) based on anovulation without meds and 6 ovulatory cycles in the past year – which is just amazing.

I had inquired about an HSG 2 cycles ago, but was told it wouldn’t be funded for me and that it would cost around $1000. Since my RE didn’t think I was at risk, I didn’t go for it. Now that I can hopefully move forward with insurance funding, my insurance requires the HSG, so it was scheduled. I went in yesterday after reading terrifying but also not-so-terrifying stories online. I was trying to be prepared for the worst and was so so nervous. I did everything they said (started an antibiotic on Wednesdays, took pain killers about an hour before my procedure), and headed in with Em to get it over with. I wish I had known that she wouldn’t be allowed in! The doctor used a speculum and cleaned my cervix with antiseptic (not comfortable) before inserting the catheter through my cervix and into my uterus. This portion of the HSG essentially felt like an IUI. Once the catheter was in, she removed the speculum and had me lie down/positioned me for the x-ray. The nurse had said they would let me know when the dye was about to go in but they totally did not which I didn’t appreciate. Then I suddenly felt cold liquid gushing down my leg and heard the doctor wondering aloud whether the catheter had moved. It obviously had, so in came the speculum again – hooray. Apparently the second placement was successful, because once they got me repositioned I suddenly felt the sensation of liquid going into my uterus, and then pain akin to severe menstrual cramps (the kind that have you curled in a ball on the floor) which got more and more painful as the dye was pushed in. The pain was rough, but not unbearable. I was almost at the point where I would yell out in pain, but not quite there. It lasted about 2 minutes. Afterward I had quite a bit more dye on me than the average HSG-er would because of the initial catheter issue. That stuff is sticky and gross. I had some mild-moderate cramping and a bit of nausea immediately after the procedure and for about 2 hours, but then felt better. I had a little bit of bleeding/dye/discharge yesterday and even less (more like spotting) today.

The result? My uterus has a “nice triangular shape” and they didn’t see any abnormalities. My right fallopian tube was open and they saw spillage right away. My left tube didn’t show spillage right away, so they pushed dye again and then they were able to see it. In the end, both tubes are open and my uterus looks good! I only know the info about the left tube from overhearing them during the procedure (she didn’t report it with my results), so it is my assumption that there was a bit of gunk there that was cleared out by the test. I’m hopeful that my newly clean lady parts are ready for action this month!

All in all, the HSG was not comfortable but I’m sure doesn’t hold a candle to childbirth, and I’m grateful that I had it done. Here’s hoping that I’m one of the post-HSG pregnancy success stories 🙂

Quick update on this month’s TTC plans: I took Letrozole days 3-7 and my first monitoring appointment is on Sunday (CD11). I am hopeful and excited about this cycle, and ready for IUI #7 next week.

Sorry for the boring/tl;dr post. Note to self: this is what happens when you wait too long to blog. Anyone out there with a post-HSG IUI success story?

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Try, try again

If you haven’t already ascertained from the title, today’s end to the two week wait brought a BFN with it.

I’m letting myself feel disappointed and dejected for a little bit, but already back on the self-talk bandwagon. “No big deal, we’ll just try again next cycle. Only 2-3 more weeks until we can try again – that’s not that long. Hey, at least I ovulated this time,” etc.

I was basically silent (but still lurking) on here for this two week wait. I think that this one is more disappointing to me than prior BFNs. I mean, it gets more disappointing each time. But in particular, I really got my hopes up yesterday. Usually my temperature slowly rises until about 7 or 8 dpo, then dances around until 12 dpo, when it starts to drop. Yesterday, at 13 dpo, I had a giant temp spike. I have been really good about getting up at 6-6:30 every morning to temp, so I know it wasn’t a time-related outlier. When I say spike, I mean it leapt from my normal “high temps” (around 97.9) at least .5 degrees to 98.4. I know that I should try to disregard temps while I’m on the Progesterone suppositories, but it really seemed notable.

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Anyway, it seemed notable enough that, paired with my nausea and lack of appetite, I was feeling really good about a BFP this month. So good that my wife and I decided I would test a day early (not something I usually do – I usually just test at 14 dpo so that I’m prepared for my blood test results when they call). Of course, as you now know, it was negative. I was so disappointed, but I also was able to talk myself (and my wife) into the possibility that it was the test. I had used an internet cheapie that a friend gifted to me, and it had some reviews online that pregnant women were saying their tests showed up negative even at like 6 weeks pregnant. All I needed was a little fuel to the fire and I was back on the hopeful bandwagon. Today’s temp was down again, but still way above the cover line, so my hope was up once again this morning when I peed in a cup and used one of my precious digital tests. I hopped in the shower hoping that when I poked my head out I would see “Pregnant 1-2 weeks” on the display. Nope. Man, those words “Not Pregnant” really cut through me this time.

Okay … onward and upward again! I talked to the clinic this afternoon when they called to tell me that I’m not pregnant twice (yes, they called twice. Like, one nurse called and told me, and then maybe didn’t mark my name off the list so another nurse called and told me again), and our plan moving forward is to jump right into another Femara cycle. I am waiting for a call back on 2 other things: 1) I asked the clinic to please try to submit for prior authorization for insurance to start covering. Because ultrasounds are damn expensive and someone told me like a year ago that the “12 documented IUIs” rule can be “6 document IUIs” if you have anovulatory cycles, which I do. So let’s see if that will happen. If it does not, there’s a chance I might try to skip the ultrasounds and trigger this time around. But if we’re being honest, I probably won’t. I really like the comfort of having the timing pinned down. Maybe I can avoid unnecessary early ultrasounds though. We shall see.

So that’s that. We’ll just keep on keeping on over here In the Baby Closet, and hope that one of these tries will take.

IUI #6

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IUI #6 was yesterday morning! I feel like it went well, all in all. I decided to take a half day off of work (I usually go in in the morning, leave for the IUI, and then go back – yesterday I didn’t go in until after the IUI), which was really lovely. Em and I were able to drive to the Cryobank together to pick up the sperm and drop it off at the clinic, and then we went to breakfast together at a sweet little creperie that I love. And I wore my lucky socks. Okay, well, I wore some new socks that I like and dubbed them my “pregnant socks.” I think they’re going to do the trick for me.

We showed up early for my IUI appointment – like, an hour early – because the scheduling lady told me that they could likely take me early if I was there. Of course, they couldn’t, so that was a bit stressful (no one likes sitting in waiting rooms). In my mind, though, it was worth the wait because my favorite nurse was doing the IUIs that morning. Silly me for thinking things would work out so perfectly. I ended up getting the NEW nurse, who is lovely, but oh so NEW. I had never met her in person, but spoken to her on the phone. She also had a more experienced nurse with her to supervise. I was definitely more than a little bit nervous, but happy that at least there was a supervisor there to make sure nothing went wrong.

Here’s my assessment of the newbie:

  • It was the most comfortable speculum insertion ever. I was very impressed.
  • She got the catheter in there and maybe had trouble aiming it? I don’t know. It was NOT comfortable at all, and then she asked for help.
  • I was happy she asked for help
  • Whatever she scraped did make me spot for the rest of the day
  • The supervisor nurse told her she did in fact have it in the right place, but she did the insertion anyway.

I understanding learning. I work at a teaching hospital, and I have graduate students who I supervise and allow to treat patients under my supervision. And I know that would never let them stray off course in a way that would negatively affect the patients. That experience definitely helped me be okay with having someone so green handling my very expensive sperm. Em, on the other hand, was mouthing to me that she wanted to ask her how many of these she had done before (because that would certainly inspire the confidence she needs to impregnate me, amiright?!) That said, it was definitely the least physically comfortable of my IUIs so far. But I still feel confident about this one. Regardless of the outcome, I feel good about the follicles I had, I feel good about the trigger and IUI timing, I felt myself ovulating yesterday morning, and it gave me a real confidence boost that this was well timed. It’s notable because I think it’s the first time I’ve felt good about (read: not spazzed out about) the timing.

Oh! Also our new ginger baby daddy juice was stellar! 75% motility, guys! On frozen sperm, post thaw! That’s fantastic. All of my awkward, icky feelings about having super young sperm are out the window – young guys make resilient little swimmers! And there were 52 million of them! I really hope that these awesome numbers and the great timing are not making me overly confident about this try (hint: they totally are).

Final random tidbit – I haven’t been to acupuncture in over 2 months (since the last cycle went bust). It was relaxing, but I felt like I was in a rut and needed to get out of it. I had been going weekly since May. And I actually feel somewhat less stressed now that I don’t have to worry about one more weekly appointment. So that’s one more difference this cycle. I don’t feel like that’s what is going to make the difference, but it is difference, and I figure it’s worthy of note (lezbehonest, every last one of my thoughts is “worthy of note” on this blog).

So here we go … 1dpo/1dpiui and just 13 more to go! I hope that I get a little shot of patience sometime in the next two weeks, because I am certainly not feeling it now. January 20th, just get here already! Here’s hoping that new drugs, new sperm, lucky pregnant socks, and positive attitude result in a BFP in a couple of weeks.

All Systems Go

Knock on wood, but it seems like Femara/Letrozole has done the trick for me this month! I went in for another monitoring ultrasound yesterday (Sunday), as a follow up to my CD13 ultrasound (Friday). On Friday, I had 2 lead follicles on my left ovary, at 15mm and 13mm. As of yesterday, one had grown to 21mm, and the other to almost 16mm. I got the go ahead to give myself the Ovidrel shot to trigger ovulation last night around 10:30, and scheduled an IUI for tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 11:00.

The only hiccup so far is that my dear wife prematurely disposed of our sharps container that we got with my first Ovidrel shot without asking me, so I didn’t have anywhere to put the needle after giving myself the Ovidrel last night. I work at a hospital, so I can probably bring it in to work and find somewhere to dispose of it.

I’m excited. I feel confident about that 21mm follicle, and think that there is even a possibility that the 16mm follicle may have grown enough to ovulate as well. More eggs = higher chances? I don’t even know but it gives me more confidence.

Something weird tends to happen to me around ovulation time, that I have always attributed to hormone shifts – my teeth start to hurt. Does this happen to anyone else? I have actually recorded it in Fertility Friend and it happens about 50% of the time around ovulation time. That’s what I’m dealing with today – annoying tooth pain. I took some Tylenol this morning but really don’t want to take anything else due to my irrational fear that it will interfere with ovulation.

Sperm pick up is scheduled for first thing tomorrow, and the IUI is set to happen late morning. I canceled my patient for tomorrow morning and am all ready to take the morning off to have the IUI. I’m relieved and happy that everything seems to be falling into place. Here’s hoping we got the timing right! I’m also looking forward to hearing how our new donor measures up. I have a lot of hope but also a lot of uncertainty about this cycle, both because of the new protocol. New donor, new fertility meds, new year … hopefully that all measures up to a successful IUI and a BFP in 2 weeks! Any baby dust y’all have left to send my way would be much appreciated 🙂

Getting Closer?

Today is CD 13 and I had another follicle scan to see how things are going during this letrozole cycle.

The follicles on my right ovary (previously 10mm and 11mm) are falling away. I had just 1 at 10mm on the right today.

My left ovary is taking charge – I had 1 at 12mm and 1 at 15mm today. Hopefully things are ramping up. I haven’t gotten a call back from the nurse, so I don’t know when they’ll have me back in. I suspect it’ll be Sunday or Monday though, and am hoping for an IUI early next week.

I’m also very aware that at this point in my last cycle (Clomid cycle #2) I got excited only to find out my lead follicle decided to shrink, and I ended up with a 54 day anovulatory cycle. So I guess I’m cautiously optimistic.

In other news, I’m getting far to comfortable with the way my commute has been this week. I have to keep telling myself that all the traffic will be back on Monday … if only …

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