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Anyone Still Out There?

Oh my goodness where have I been? Well … at any rate, I’m back. Anyone still out there reading?

I took some time off from blogging for a few reasons. The first being my first ever experience with depression. I don’t think it was entirely TTC-related (though I’m sure it contributed), but it was not a fun time for me. Or for the wife of course, though she was wonderfully supportive. I believe I’ve talked about my OCD on here before, but if not I will now. After the depression lifted (it took maybe a month or two?) my OCD kicked in full force. Lots of anxiety and compulsions … all fun stuff.

Reason number 2? Things weren’t going well in TTC land and I didn’t want to think about it any more than I had to. So I stopped writing (and reading) and tried to focus on other things in my life. I also chose that time to become completely obsessed with reading lesbian fiction, which I’m not at all ashamed of (okay, maybe a little). But seriously lesbifriends, there’s some great romance out there for us. Also, reading quick, guaranteed-happy-ending, romance novels is a great way to escape and get the happy feels going.

The last reason I haven’t been back for a while is that I opened up to a few friends about TTC and suddenly had some more people to talk to about it. It’s been nice to have that outlet, but (as you all know I’m sure), people who aren’t going through all this fertility razzamatazz don’t really get it.

SO that’s what brings me back, and I’m so ready to be back here now. I hope I can reconnect with you guys as I try to catch up on everyone else’s journeys – and of course get you caught up on mine.

I last checked in back in February when I had just had BFN #7. If you really want the facts of what’s happened since, I updated my timeline page. The short version? Insurance denied me coverage twice so I paid out of pocket for 5 more IUIs, all (obviously) BFNs. Now, with 12 failed IUIs under my belt, I’m headed into IVF land. I’m actually going to write another post about my IVF plans and protocol specifics so I’ll leave you with that. I’ve missed you, cyberfriends, and I am happy to be back 🙂

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You know what sucks?

Not being pregnant. Again.

To start, I had an “IUI #7” post that got lost somewhere in the WordPress Bermuda triangle. So, ya know, I had another IUI 2 weeks ago, and it didn’t work. Now we’re all up to speed.

I feel like I have been a super positive Polly about TTC in general since we got started. I mean, I’ve had the expected ups and downs with each cycle, but have generally maintained a certain level of hope and excitement about being pregnant in the near future, at the right time, blah blah blah.

Today? Not so much. I’m feeling, for the first time, really let down, sad, and hopeless. I know that this feeling will probably only last for a day or two because the progesterone will slip away and my estrogen will increase and my brain will feel happier. But right now – right now I feel super super bummed out.

I remember perusing lesbian TTC blogs forever ago (in grad school maybe?) … back when it was very not real … and reading through some people’s timelines and totally freaking out. I remember thinking, “wow, they tried like 5 times before it worked?!” And here I am, almost a year later, with nothing to show for it. I feel like my worst fears are coming true. And on top of that, at least 3 different doctors/nurses/medical-types have mentioned IVF in the past few weeks. Actually, my nurse (my favorite nurse) mentioned that we might want to consider it literally right after the IUI. I would’ve loved at least a day or two of pretending that this one was going to work.

Honestly, I am totally comfortable with the idea of IVF. I’m not scared of it, and I have accepted that it is a thing that I might have to do. And I know how lucky I am that it will be covered by insurance, and that cost doesn’t factor in too much anymore. But right now, it just makes me so sad that I am inching ever closer to IVF. That I am inching closer to the Hail Mary option. The option that doesn’t have any more options after it. The option that takes longer than just a couple of weeks.

I know that the best thing for me to do is to focus on the next steps and the plan moving forward. So after I am done wallowing today, I’ll try to do that. What are the next steps? I scheduled an appointment to check in with my RE regarding the plan. Her next available was March 11th, and her next available Thursday appointment (my day off) was March 26th. For now, I’m scheduled on the 26th. I’m certain we’ll talk about IVF. I told the nurse on the phone that I wanted to go ahead with at least one more IUI cycle. Of course, I consulted Dr. Google today (will I never learn?) and found out that the success rates for IUI drop after 4 or 5 unsuccessful cycles. Great. Onto IUI cycle number 8 then …

I’ll happily accept any words of encouragement/hope/etc from y’all. I sincerely dislike feeling like such a downer. Hey – at least it’s the weekend, right?

Go, body, go!

I had my CD 13 monitoring ultrasound yesterday (Wednesday). My lead follicle (on the right) grew from 12.5 mm to … Wait for it … 20mm! In 2 days! I’ve never had that much growth that fast. There’s usually at least one u/s in between where I get to 15 or so.

Trigger was last night and IUI #7 is scheduled for 11am tomorrow. Hard to believe I’m ovulating (triggered or no) on day 15. How normal of me. I’m excited (well, excited and scared). Think happy thoughts for me tomorrow. Sorry for the boring-ass blog post. You get what ya get and you don’t get upset.

Stay tuned for some complaining-about-progesterone-suppositories posts.

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 🙂

New Year New Beginnings

Phew. Well, I just spent my work day catching up on all of y’all’s blogs. I took a much needed break from everything (work, home, blogs, life) for the holidays, and it was really wonderful. I’m back now though, with updates and plans and new hope!

So I am now on day 10 of a brand new cycle. My last cycle was 54 fucking days, and I’m convinced I’d still be waiting were it not for the progesterone. I ended up getting my period exactly a week after my last pill (so 6 days after I finished the 5-day course of progesterone). In case you’ve forgotten – this last cycle I took 100mg Clomid days 3-7 and showed a dominant follicle which then started to shrink somewhere around days 14-17 and resulted in an anovulatory cycle. My RE declared me Clomid resistant, and told me to wait for my period. Her theory was that the shrinking follicle(s) indicated a drop in estrogen, which would eventually result in a period at the normal time anyway. Wrong. So I took a 5-day course of Provera and eventually got my period. Overshare warning: it was like 2 periods in one. I bled for 6 days and spotted one more. And at Christmas, too!

That period may have been terrible, but I m so pumped to now be starting a new cycle after an unplanned 2 month break! I’ll admit that it was nice to not (really) worry about fertility stuff during the holidays (like, all of the holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas …). I’ll also admit that it is nice to be worrying about it again now!

Given that I had a birthday (I’m 28 – cue the “geez you’re young” thoughts) and it is almost New Years, I’ve been thinking a lot about how different I thought this time of year would feel for me. When I went to my first consultation with my RE in January 2014, I really thought that I’d be pregnant by Christmas. I had planned to be pregnant while I was 27. Of course, even then, I knew that I would likely have some trouble and that there was certainly a chance I wouldn’t meet those expectations. Still, it feels like this month represented a crossed threshold. I’m entering uncharted territory, and it feels like a new start. So even though I’m disappointed that I’m not pregnant yet, passing all of these mile markers (my 28th birthday, Christmas, and 2014 in general) gives me a blank slate.

So here’s what’s up with my blank slate:

  • As I feared would happen, I got my period while I was out of town (Em and I hit the road on Friday 12/19 to head to Philly to see her family, and then Cleveland to see mine). Luckily (really, we are so lucky), Em’s dad is a doctor and was able to get us in for a baseline ultrasound at his clinic and coordinate with our doctor to get the order through and the results sent back quickly and efficiently. It was such a relief! I had been so anxious about having the “baseline window” (days 2-5) happen while we were away – a) because I was worried my RE would want to skip another cycle, and b) because even if she was fine with it I had no idea how to go about getting an ultrasound in a random place.
  • My baseline was all clear and I got the go-ahead to start taking my Letrozole/Femara.
  • This is my first cycle taking Letrozole/Femara. I took 5mg days 3-7, and am really hoping that I respond this time around and actually ovulate.
  • Speaking of the drugs – I forgot to pick up the prescription (which I had already had filled) on our way out of town, so an additional anxiety was getting it transferred to Philly so that I could actually take it. There was an almost-glitch that it had already been filled and was ready for pick up, but apparently they were still able to transfer it. Phew!
  • This morning I had my day 10 monitoring ultrasound to see what’s going on in there. Apparently I have 3 measurable follicles on the left (10mm, 11mm, and 12mm) and 2 on the right (10mm and 11mm). Sounds like a good start to me (famous last words). The ultrasound tech did her concerned voice and freaked me out, but apparently she had the wrong dates and thought I was already on day 17. Phew again.
  • One other thing related to this blank slate that I’m pumped about – 2 of my good friends are just starting TTC. One of them I doubt will have any trouble (and has the benefit of being straight – AKA free access to the goods). The other is a lebi-friend who is trying for her first/their second. Both have been trying for about a month. I know that I’m setting myself up for disappointment here – but it would be so much fun to be pregnant with / have kids at the same time as them.

So, onward and upward as they say!

I know this post is getting all long and ramble-y, but a few non TTC tidbits to share:

As I said, Em and I (and the pup) road tripped it from Boston (where we live) to Philly to be with her family for a few days, and then on to Cleveland to be with mine. And, of course/inevitably, back again. The “back again” part involved 11 hours in the car, but otherwise the trip was a really nice respite!

We walked around Longwood Gardens’ christmas display, which was beautiful (and you can’t discount the excitement of seeing green things growing in the dead of winter when you live in New England).

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Time with my family was spent hitting all of our holiday traditions, including decorating Christmas cookies in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve.

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And I got to have some mother/daughter bonding time with my mom while my wife, dad, and siblings went to see a movie. We made placemats! I’ve been on a major crafting (sewing/crocheting) kick. It was a lot of fun :). I wish I got to see my family more. Maybe that’s on my resolution list for 2015.

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So, that’s the skinny. I promise that I’ll be back more often now that I’m finally out of limbo land. I know some of y’all have done Letrozole – what was your dose? How did it compare to Clomid if you did both? I’m hoping for faster growing follicles, and ideally more than 1 dominant follicle. Here’s hoping!

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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