Sunday, December 29, 2013

Resolutions

The only resolution I've ever kept - or made - in the past ten years is to not make New Year's resolutions. I hate the idea of them, can't stand the incessant discussion of them during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day and I really hate when people think you want to know what theirs are. Yet I don't think there's anything wrong with resolving to do something at any time during the year and trying your best to stick with it. It's just that no one in your office - or on Facebook or Twitter - wants to know that you're going "gluten free" this year. I'm sorry, not sorry.

All of that being said, I can't seem to avoid the theme and have been working on bettering myself recently and thought I'd share with you what I've been doing to improve myself (yes, I realize I'm a huge hypocrite but since I've been doing these for a few weeks, it doesn't truly count). 

In no particular order

- Meditating or taking a beat to breathe when I feel ready to snap at someone or when something beyond my control is annoying me. 

- Relinquishing control. Hoo hoo, this is a tough one but I have to learn when things are beyond my control and when to just let go. 

- Yoga. I never knew how much yoga coulda make me sore and make me feel amazingly relaxed at the same time! I've been wasting so much time cardio-ing and lifting in the gym; who knew? 

- Keeping my mouth shut when I have nothing nice to say or nothing to positive to contribute to the conversation. I spent most of my teens and early twenties teaching myself to assert myself and speak up for what I think is right, now it's all about tailoring that trait to know when it's worth it and when it is all for not (spoiler alert for the passive, it's usually not worth it unless you need to speak up to family or your coworkers). 

- Stop allowing the actions of others to effect me so. I realize this goes along with "relinquishing control" but I feel it bears repeating this specifically. 

- Stop comparing myself to others. The inner monologue in my head would make Perez Hilton cringe, I swear. 

- Do a perfect winged liner on every try. 


What are your resolutions or ways you feel you can better yourself or your infertility situation/outlook?



How To Survive the Holidays

The holidays can be particularly hard on IFers with reminders everywhere of the life we wish we had. This year I tried my hardest to grin and bear it and observe the times I felt ok versus the times I just wanted to crawl under the covers until at least January 2nd. What I learned is that really the best bet would've been to book a Carribbean trip from the 24th through my birthday for just my husband and myself on some adults only resort where the drinks are all inclusive. Of course that's usually Not feasible and I've since found out that my FET will, in fact, be on January 2nd hence making the trip even less possible in theory. So what can we do during the holidays when the pain of what is not yet to be gets unbearable? 

1) Try to focus on making the holidays as wonderful as possible on your significant other or family members. I really foud joy in trying to find the perfect presents for everyone and watching them open them.

2) Do as much online shopping as possible. You do not want to be in one of those "negative beta" type moods and bump into someone you know waiting inline for Santa with her newborn. Or anyone with a newborn for that matter. 

3) if you can afford it, Treat Yo Self here and there whilst shopping for friends and family. Chances are non of your ungrateful siblings are going to get you anything you actually want anyway, why not have something under the tree from you to you? 

4) Know that it's ok to say "no". You can sit out events that you don't feel like going to: no one wants a Debbie Downer at their holiday party anyway so if you know that you just can't grin and bear it for a few hours, give yourself the okay to skip it, send a bottle of wine with your significant other or send flowers or a note the next day. It's not as much about you as you think and people will have a great time with or without you, no matter how awesome you are.

5) If you must attend an event that you're not feeling up to, suck it up and tell yourself that it won't be as bad as you thnk. It most likely won't and if you're really worried about it, practice a "worse case scenario" scene in your head on the car ride over there: imagining that your hair lights on fire or that every single person in the party is pregnant except you is never going to happen but if you imagine it will, it will make you feel better about whatever does occur and ensure that you will survive. 

6) Do something for others. Donate time, money or used items to a shelter - animal or homeless! It will open your perspective greatly. 

7) DON'T get caught up in what you don't have. It's hard, I know, trust me but when you start thinkng about how you wish you could leave cookies out for Santa or obsessing about what you wish you could buy your nonexistent kids or looking at those darn  Pinterest pins that make holidays look so perfect that really no real busy mom does anyway, you're not doing yourself any favors and you're not allowing yourself to live in the moment and therefore missing out on the potentially beautiful things that are happening around you. 

8) Start a tradition with your significant other and/or other child free friends. Naked Christmas Eve? Yes please. Drunken hot tubbing on New Year's Eve? Why not? Live it up now before you have to worry abut babysitters and feedings and such. 

9) BREATHE. It will be over before you know it and in no time this entire period will be just a memory while you're celebrating with your own sweet little family. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Life Today

I had monitoring for my first Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) on Saturday. It will be far less invasive and less time consuming however it is much less likely to work and I am not even expecting that the two embryos we have left will even survive the thaw, but it is something instead of nothing. Christmas is now a week and a half away and I have been finding myself internally angry a lot of the time. It's not that I'm taking anger out on a single soul - or at least, I hope I am not - but inside my head, there are angry, awful thoughts and mean words for almost every situation I find myself in and almost every person I come across. I know this is not healthy and I also recognize that it is me who is the problem (if it smells like shit everywhere you go, check under your own shoe, and all that).

Being aware of the anger and having an idea of where it stems from is all well and good, but how to let go? For some reason, I thought perhaps the teachings of Buddha would help me. I have no idea what brought this on or why I knew to turn to Buddhism, but I did and for the time being, I feel slightly at peace, although I know that I have a very long way to go and will need many, many reminders along the way. I thought I'd share something I read before bed last night from "Buddha In Blue Jeans" by the poet and Zen priest, Tai Sheridan:

Pain Is Natural
Pain is a natural part of life, 
Learn to accept it, 
Learn to take care of it
as best you can. 

Decrease the complaining. 
Decrease the self-centeredness around it.
Everybody has pain. 

Breathe and relax
into the pain 
as best you can. 

Please accept natural pain. 

Because that's what the anger is about, isn't it, in the end? It's due to the pain and suffering that consumes us and makes us forget that we are not alone and that our pain is not the only pain. I've been trying to remind myself this year that I can choose to say, "No one has any idea what I'm going through," or, I can say, "I have no idea what anyone else is going through." It's very hard, much harder than self-pity but it does help. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bah Humbug


                                     


That's pretty much all. I have gone shopping and gotten some gifts for people but mostly ended up with more stuff for me (because I'm buying my happiness right now until I have a child). I was also ordering some stuff from Amazon and making my Christmas wish list and I found my old Amazon Wish list that I made so long ago with Patriots maternity shirts and little Patriots onesies and some ornaments that I would've used to announce my pregnant to my parents, if the timing ever lined up. Delete. Oh to be that fucking optimistic again.

Now the idea of a Christmas at my parents house with no kids, the first year without our family dog and with no good news to share, and with no husband as usual as he has to work holidays; it's enough to make me want to crawl under the covers and not come out until January. Although early January brings my 31st birthday and another depressing milestone without kids.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer and venting, I've actually been feeling pretty great and having a great time just not being consumed with IF/IVF for a bit but when it comes to the holiday season, I can't. And don't even get me started on the excessive family holiday posting on Facebook that has started already. How much can you honestly be enjoying taking your kid to see Santa if you're spending the whole time Facebooking about it? Like I said, Bah freaking Humbug.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Five Stages of Negative Beta Grief




As I'm sure you can infer from the title, I received word on Thursday afternoon that I am not pregnant. It is now Saturday and I'm just starting to feel that I can type this out without coming completely undone.

As I lay on the floor crying before Husband came home, I thought about how I would be able to get over the grief and move on in time to see anyone outside of the two of us. Being "in the closet" has plenty of advantages for us, but when grieving over the loss of something that wasn't actually yours or even real yet, it's hard to explain to anyone why or what you're grieving over. No one sends flowers or cards, there is no obituary, nothing to eulogize, and nothing to mourn for except for the loss of what you thought was meant to be.

The stages of grieving over a failed cycle have been different for me than the well known Kubler- Ross model*; it's really hard to "Deny" when a doctor tells you that you're not pregnant based on bloodwork done that morning. For me, the initial reaction was, "try to be strong until I get off the phone. Then I can cry," yet I hardly heard a word the nurse said because all I could feel was Devastation.


Does anger come next? I cannot speak for others but it's hard to be angry at anyone but myself, and yet anger did not come after Devastation.. For me, I was more angry as I was waiting and waiting for hours longer than they should have made me wait to take the call. I took my blood test at 6:10am and did not hear back from them until nearly 3pm, but once the phone rang there was no possible way anger could beat the anxiety that was then replaced by devastation. It's difficult for me to be angry when you're grieving something that never was. Anguish describes this time best.

It's impossible to bargain a negative beta. I suppose the argument can be made that it is also not reasonable to do so after a death, but I felt that I had done all of my infertility bargaining previous to the test results, "if I do this, I will be pregnant", "God, please please let me be pregnant, I'll never swear again." What can I offer up now? The test is done and nothing that I gave over in my bargains was accepted. No, anguish does not turn into bargaining, it turns into something much worse and uglier: Blame. 
On myself, on my RE, on my dogs for touching my stomach, on the random lady who bumped into me at the store, I'm extremely ashamed to concede that I felt tiny flashes of blame towards Husband but mostly I blame myself. I blame myself for the stress I put myself under, for taking the two weeks off of work, for going too fast up the stairs one day, for what I ate and didn't eat and for what I've done or haven't done in my life to cause karma to take her vicious vendetta against me now. 



Depression is a reoccurring theme throughout infertility. I'm not clinically depressed by any standard, but I do get down about all things babies and infertility. Disappointment is what I have been dealing with. Disappointment sounds like such a tame word compared with "devastation" or "anguish" but when you're thinking in terms of not being able to share happy news with loved ones, or with spending another holiday season without a baby in your belly, disappointment is a powerful stab that leaves it's mark. 

If we were mourning the death of a loved one, we would undoubtedly come to Accept our loss. Usually after the services and the body has been buried or ashes spread into the ocean, many people describe feeling a release or a calming acceptance that they've said goodbye and that their family or friend is laid to rest. Yet, to task me to accept that I am not pregnant? No. There is no acceptance that I can't have a baby after all my husband and I have put ourselves through for years and for this cycle alone. Crackheads and murderers have children; I cannot and will not accept that I cannot have a baby. Yes, this cycle failed, but I won't accept that, either. I want answers and I want a solution. There is also no "final " stage of mourning a failed cycle until the next cycle comes along and brings some hope. Until then, all things infertility and fertility related will make me Apathetic. Many women in the infertility world have said that it is extremely difficult to get excited when they are about to start a new cycle. The feeling of apathy comes from the grief that we've become so familiar with and have learned to brace ourselves for. Yes, hope will reappear and push me into another cycle, however, - call it self-preservation - with each negative test, a little piece of me breaks off and a fraction of the amount of hope I had last cycle is now taken over by apathy. 


* Otherwise known as the 5 stages of grief

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Two Week Wait



Those who have not been through the hell of a 2 week wait (aka "2WW in the infertility and TTC world) will not understand the agony of a woman waiting to take a pregnancy test (either by peeing on a stick or by blood test known as a "beta"). I'd heard the ladies on the infertility boards clucking about the wait but usually was so jealous that they even had gotten that far, I tended to ignore them completely. "Weak!" I thought. "Those girls are ridiculous! With their symptom spotting and their neurosis." Ahh to be blissfully ignorant once more.

Here is an insider tip for anyone just beginning to navigate the world of infertility: the "2WW" will turn you; it will change you into someone indiscernible from your current self, someone your current self may actually loathe. Having the two weeks off of work has not helped the situation at all. During the week it is just me, alone with my thoughts and with an endless ocean of internet knowledge and myth at my fingertips. Lucky for me, this week I am even without car because, wouldn't it fit for my husband's truck to break down this week? Not that I'd be going out much anyway, as going out in public has proven nerve wracking enough after a particular-run in with the masses of Red Sox fans fighting for World Series Championship gear last Wednesday (in all seriousness though, when you're in a crowded store and you're talking on your cell phone and bumping into people because of said-cell phone conversation, you're a fucking asshole).

A few other "anxieties" I've accrued over the past 8 days:

  • Sneezing/Coughing (can't I pop the embryos out? I mean, I know it's not supposedly possibly but what if it happened to me?)
  • Peeing too hard
  • Doing #2
  • Having strangers bump into me
  • Having strangers anywhere near me (why are people so dirty? What kind of animal sneezes into her hand in the year 2013? Use your damn elbow)
  • Having my dogs run/walk/sleep on my belly. All 10lbs combined of them cannot be good for development, right? 

The Embryo Transfer Experience

Only 2 great embryos available on the day of transfer (last Monday). There were a few that the RE said the lab would watch for one more day but he wasn't hopeful for any of them to make it to freeze. With no time to dwell on those and a ridiculously full bladder, I laid back and got ready for the 2 "great" embryos to become property of my uterus.

When we got to the clinic, I had downed a 23 oz of water. I always have to pee and think that my bladder must be abnormally small so I wasn't at all concerned. Well, joke was on me; the ultrasound tech took one look at the insides of my belly and said, "you're not full at all, you must be dehydrated." What? I am drinking water and peeing nonstop normally, but I assumed it was because I had just weaned myself off of the post- Egg Retrieval Gatorade and I'm sorry, I know it's good for you but there's just only so much of that stuff you can force down. So the US tech grabbed me a big gulp of water and left, taking the US machine with her.

Trying not to think about where the water came from, I gulped it down and husband and I had almost an hour of me, sitting on the table with my crotch up in the air and naked from the waste down. There was a *lot* of laughing in that hour, which was comforting because occasionally my husband can be a real pain in that ass when he's nervous but thankfully, today was not the day for that. Finally I had to make him stop making me laugh before I peed the table and we had to sit there another hour while my bladder re-filled. I sent him to alert everyone I was ready and within minutes the US tech, the RE and a nurse were in the room, standing around me with my feet in stirrups and everyone looking at or inside my most intimate parts.

Then came the fun part with the catheter: the first one was "too flimsy": repeat nightmare of HSG, thanks to my tilted uterus. Now, there was not much pain for me at all to feel the tiny catheter trying to make its way in, but when your bladder is so full it could burst at any second, and when you've anticipated this moment for years, it's going to cause some amount of pain. Commence new, stronger, catheter. It took a bit more wrestling, but finally made it in and we all watched with baited breath as the RE pushed the two embryos through (not that you can see the tiny things, but the flush of them looks like a shooting star across the US monitor). The RE made a joke about sending my husband to Home Depot if that catheter hadn't worked and I let out a nervous laugh. Then everyone left us for our ten minutes of me laying there and husband making me laugh. Just when I thought I couldn't take the pressure of the full bladder anymore, a timer sounded outside the door and the nurse came in to release me.

Husband was in rare form and told me to "not push any pee out". I was in too much pain at that point to even try to pee, but it came and I felt infinitely better but I was extremely sore and crampy for the rest of the day, which I had not expected at all (I'm still assuming it's from the poking of the catheter). Once we got home, Husband was extremely attentive, almost too much so, to the point where he got upset that I picked up our 4.8lb chihuahua when I walked in the door. The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I know that I ate a roast beef sandwich and tried to sleep but was extremely uncomfortable and that night felt extremely light-headed to the point that it brought me to tears (although I'm sure a lot of the tears were a result of stress and hormones). I also felt some rolling contraction-like cramps right before falling asleep that night but woke up feeling infinitely better.

That was all one week ago, yesterday. I will break up the "2 week wait horrors" into another post for fear of sending anyone who has yet to experience the transfer into an anxious tailspin.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Egg Retrieval

           


Fourteen eggs retrieved yesterday! On top of that we have our 18 frozen. Husband has been extremely nervous; I've never seen him this way- the anesthesiologist even commented on how nervous he seemed before I went in. Having been through the process not too long before plus the lower doses of stims, recovery so far has been night and day from last time; I been went to work today, I was tired but not too painful. 

It was all made worth it when I received word that 19 eggs fertilized!! Eight fresh and 11 frozen. I can't even believe it. The embryologist had had to come back and get another sample from husband again yesterday, saying there was zero motility. We do have some frozen sperm but not much and we don't know how his second sample panned out or how much fresh vs frozen sperm they used but I can't begin to obsess about those details. I need to use all of my energy on sending positive thoughts to the embryos in the lab: grow babies grow. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Shots Shots Shots


I am pretty worn out and every time I've tried to write this, it is just complete garbage but I want to keep a record of my cycle so I've got it in a log form. 

Dear Diary, 

Sat
     - 6:30am baseline bloodwork and ultrasound
     - Started week 2 Couch to 5k (C25k) program
     - Start Gonal F injections, stick the bad boy in there like a champ (Gonal F has no sting and the needle is tiny there usually is no mark and no pain

Sun
    - Big fucking last second drive win by the Pats, big fucking walk off hit win for the Sox; late fucking night
    - Gonal F

Mon
- Walk into 8am sick kids 

Tues
- 630 bloodwork
- Hear the baby of three I watch waking up with nasty cough and breathing; it's croup. Scary shit. 
- Add Menopur

Wed
- Getting sick of taking care of sick kids
-Add Ganirelix 

Thurs
-Day off but had to go in for monitoring 

Sat
-Monotoring

Sun
- Monitoring and word that I don't have to come in until my Retrieval on Wednesday!!

Monday
- Hcg Trigger 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Here We Go Stimming, Here We Go (Clap Clap)

                     


After what felt like a painfully long 30 days, my period came on Friday morning, right on time. I tried to high five myself in the bathroom, called the clinic on my way to work, and by lunchtime I'd been instructed to show up for my baseline bloodwork and ultrasound the following day. At the clinic, I ran into an old friend of my husband's and mine, who was waiting for his wife who is in the middle of her first round. After getting over the initial schock - what I've known to be quite inevitable - we got caught up a bit and I think he and his wife were releived to know that they aren't alone and we parted promising to get together in the upcoming weeks. 

The rest of my time there was textbook and, on my drive home, I even got to watch an absolutely breathtaking sunrise over the autumn New England leaves. Then the waiting and checking my phone every twenty* minutes for notification and instructions from my RE (a very big part of me was concerned that my OHSS was still a problem, because well, my luck). Husband and I went to the gym to keep me distracted - hey did I tell you all I'm doing the couch to 5k program? - but still no email by the time we got out. The longer the email took, the more I was convinced that I'd be getting one of those "concerned nurse/RE" calls and I tried to busy myself but man, the anxiety was not cool. 

Alas, finally, finally, at the eleventh hour, the email to start Gonal F came! Woohoo. Never been so psyched to get a shot in my life. So last night it began and it was like riding a bicycle; husband had fallen asleep on the couch and I didn't even need to wake him; just set up the pen and went. Tuesday will be my first monitoring appointment, so here we go!

*Who am I kidding? It was definitely more like every five to ten minutes.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My IF Playlist (Sad version, A-L)

Music is such a huge part of me: I still remember dancing to my parents' records and looking through all of the amazing artwork on the album covers that my dad kept in giant crates in the den closet; dancing to Diamond Life, Thriller, Rubber Soul, - to name a mere few- was a regular weekend occurrence. I've always felt the power in certain songs: the way a sad song can describe so perfectly the way you're feeling that, despite feeling the melancholy the artist is describing, the song lifts you up as you realize that this emotion can pass by the time the song ends and a power song comes on. 

This playlist is not just for those sad times that infertility brings on; they're here to comfort you and let you know it's okay to allow yourself to be sad for a bit but that it will eventually get better. Please feel free to comment any songs that you feel are missing, I'm sure I'm missing some genres. I'll try to get M-Z out soon and just so no one goes to the tub with a toaster and some razors, I've got an "Empowering List" coming asap. 

**Disclaimer** Those who know me will expect these to Rick Roll you. I promise they don't. Click the link, just see how good it feels. 


Anna Begins - Counting Crows


Blackbird  - Beatles version (technically I linked Paul only) or Evan Rachel Wood Version or These Guys

Brick - Ben Folds Five (and yes, I know what this song is about, it's beautiful no matter what your choices are so don't get all butthurt and send me mean messages)

Bring Him Home - Les Mis, any live version, probably not the movie I love This Instrumental Too  I just cry for all of them (probably not the movie, if you're a real Les Mis fan, it was torturous)

Constant Craving - Kd Lang or Glee version is actually pretty good

How To Save A Life - The Fray (hey Grey's anatomy! 2006 called....)

I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders (anyone else remember how huge this video was?)

In My Life - The Beatles (so I have a slight obsession) and slight factoid, I've been to the dock, wharf thingy place in Liverpool the beginning of the video 

Killing the Blues - Robert Plant and Alison Krause (Scale of 1 to Pervy Creep, how weird is it that I still find RP sexy?)

Let Her Cry- Hootie and the Blowfish (is this a middle school dance?!)

Let It Be - You know who but I also enjoy the Across the Universe edition, very melancholic 

Life Is Beautiful - Vega4 (wasn't sure if I should put this here or Empowering so here it is anyway)

The Lonely - Christina Perri  (this is just my latest Cut me With a Freaking Knife song, play it five times in a row and cry in my car song)


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Got My Meds Part Deuce

Here they are, in all their glory. I now need two containers for all of the meds from both cycles and sharps but this is strictly this week's arrival. Is this really happening again?

Bonus: caught in the middle of fall decorating. My house is a shitshow but it smells like Witches Brew candles sooooo

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ready To Initiate Phase 2

Since I'm a glutton for punishment, I spent a good portion of my afternoon perusing my ex boyfriend's wife's Facebook albums (their kid just had a birthday). Don't get me wrong: I know I dodged a major bullet by not having a kid with that loser, but as I'm sitting on my couch with my dogs being a lazy slob all weekend, although there's nowhere else I'd rather be, the feeling of emptiness is palpable. I want to be throwing birthday parties for my own kids and teaching my own kids all sorts of stuff and watching them develop, the way I have for the countless kids I've nannied.

I've been asked multiple times if I'm "excited" to start IVF number two and everytime I try to answer the query, all I can think about is wanting to skip ahead to pregnancy. Gone is the joy I get from sleeping in on the weekends - as I wake up and quietly drink my coffee, I long for a crying baby to soothe or for eager toddlers waiting to get a move on a fun family activity (Apple picking anyone?). There are so many activities I miss out on because the idea of going ice skating, to the fair, to an amusement park, etc feels so depressing without a child. No longer do I get a smug satisfaction out of seeing our bank account grow; "we'd never have money to go to Foxboro for a game if we had a kid!" I'd tell myself, in the past, to pacify the emptiness. Today I'd gladly spend that money on diapers or after school activities or planning our first family trip to Foxboro.

The emptiness us infertiles feel is impossible to describe to the "lucky ones"; what else is there on the planet that you can know you want more than anything, without ever actually having had it to begin with? What else would you put your body through the shots, the hormones, and the appointments for?  I know that eventually all that the IVF cycles entail will bring me on to the next phase and I cannot even imagine how amazing it is going to feel to eventually fill the void, I just can't stand the thought of waiting another second for my destiny to arrive. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Intro

I've never written an intro for this blog because I've had some sort of brain block but below I want you all to see my work in progress and hopefully chime in with some tips.

I met my husband in 2005; he was about to be 30 and I was 22 and trying to finish school. It was instant attraction although not an instant romance, I believe what really glued us together was our shared love of family and children and our desire to build a family of our own. 

We were married in the spring of 2009 and although we decided to give it a year of marriage before "trying" to conceive, I still pulled the goalie immediately and never refilled the birth control script after the honeymoon. 

Even though we were not aggressively trying until about 2012, I always had the thought that something wasn't quite right. We also had to contend with my family history of the genetic condition SCA1 which is autosomal dominant (meaning you cannot simply be a carrier; if you have it you have and will have a 50% chance of passing it on to your children). My mom has SCA1, as well as 2 out of her 4 siblings and various cousins of hers. She came to us with the idea of possibly using IVF to negate the possibility of passing it on, if I were positive. I spent a long, long time debating whether I even wanted to know - onset is usually not until at least middle age - and if I was positive, I struggled with the idea of "playing God" and whether I would've been ok knowing that someone could have made the same choice about me. 

By mid 2012, I had yet to become pregnant and my periods had never seemed to even out after stopping birth control; with cycles ranging from 14 to 60+ days, it was impossible to track anything. I finally went to my OBGYN with all of this information: the "not trying but not trying not to", the weird cycles, plus the family history. His immediate reaction was that we were dealing with infertility and that I should meet with a reproductive endocrinologist(RE) specializing in genetics immediately. 

My OBGYN and RE both convinced me that I had to get genetic testing immediately; the biggest impact was when my OBGYN said "you may think it's fine to deal with SCA1, but what if you have a child who can't?" Done. I met with one of the oldest geneticists in the country and four weeks later he called me with the best news I could have heard - negative. With the fright of passing SCA1 thankfully behind us, it was time to move along and get to the bottom of not being pregnant after almost 4 years. It was decided fairly quickly that we'd do IVF with ICSI since our main concern ended up being Male Factor Infertility(MFI)  This blog is my Infertility journey from that point on. 

Infertility is painful; it is in no way glamorous - as some reality shows may lead you to believe -, it is lonely, and there are many, many obstacles and disappointments. The emptiness infertility leaves upon a couple is impossible to describe to anyone who has not dealt with it first hand. I hope to convey the journey to those who are lucky enough to avoid it and to offer a place for those who are dealing with infertility to feel less alone and to hopefully laugh at as much as we can along the way. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Long and Winding Road

Husband had his semen analysis yesterday and I was able to have a good long chat with our RE. The sperm numbers are up but the motility is non existent; as in not even one sperm doing a little jiggle trying to move. So, it's not looking like the quality is ever going to really improve - and now I know not to waste my freaking time after sex and I can just get up and pee already!- so we can finally move forward with the next protocol.

Timing, Mother Nature, and whatever powers their may be out there being the motherfuckers that they are, yesterday s also the day my period decided to show up. I told my RE that I was going to sweet talk him into letting me start the cycle today and he laughed and said that it's unfortunately up to the insurance company; we still need approval for round two which of course has been on hold. Soooo, if it were up to my RE we would've started with monitoring today and gone straight to five days progesterone in a week or so and then straight forward to the transfer. Lovely, easy, all the work up to my husband this time around, right? Big fucking negative, Ghost Writer. 

We are one of TWO of his patients ever to have insurance say that egg thawing is still an "experimental science" and won't cover it (ahhh, a loophole. I know, I should not complain because we do get so much covered). Therefore, I get to do an entire round of IVF drugs again starting next cycle. Tell the folks what she's won: this will be a smaller round since my awesome RE is going to give the finger to the insurance company and thaw my eggs anyway on my retrieval day, so I'll get to skip Lupron all together, thank you baby Jesus. 

There's a lot to worry about, per usual and I'm completely jaded from my last retrieval experience but I've got about a month to get it out of my system and then I'll be riding the hormone crazy train again. Woowoooo. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

I'm a Moron

For two reasons. One, I wrote an alphabet out today for the kids I watch:
Yaaa, I blame it on being Monday and having to sing the alphabet song after I wrote out each letter then prompt them for the next letter..so it's definitely the 2 year olds' faults.

 I also blame above moronic moment on being distracted by reason nĂºmero dos: sometime between last night and this morning, I absolutely convinced myself that I am pregnant. I haven't been that convinced since the one time I actually was pregnant and "just knew".  When I went to CVS after work tonight - to pick up my antibiotic for yet another UTI - I just went for it with the pregnancy test. I also convinced myself that I needed to buy the expensive EPT, because that's what I used the time an entire decade ago when I was pregnant. Totally logical. I just took the test and stared down the lines for the full two minutes, as if the vertical line was just going to magically appear over the horizontal to make a plus sign. The time I was pregnant, the plus sign was there before I even took the damn stick out of the pee. Oh to go back in time and slap the girl who took that test! When pregnancy felt like the worst possible thing that could've happened to me at the time. Now the negative has the exact same effect on me. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Game Time

                   
      


It's kickoff day for the Pats, my husband and I are rabid football fans and will spend 1pm-4 yelling for our team and then the remainder of the day going back and forth from computer to TV and back, keeping an eye on our fantasy teams (this is the first year we're in the same league - lookout marriage!). Excitement and bliss aside, today is also the day my period is due. Wah wah wah. And while the past few cycles have been like clockwork but with no PMS symptoms, this cycle is already a few hours late and with no symptoms. Commence troll brain. 

I totally stood in the evil section of CVS yesterday for far too long, gazing at the pregnancy tests and ovulation kits, debating spending the money. "I'll just buy the store brand one," is how I justified the idea of buying one before my period is even due. I ended up talking sense into myself before I wasted money on a test (I spent it on makeup instead weeee because I always need more and there was PINK mascara and glitter eyeliner, you guys). 

On my way to checkout, I walked straight into a lady with her arms chock full of prenatal vitamins. Fuck. It. I convinced myself that she was in the TTC stage and maybe even she is like me and her RE told her to start them along with her hormones. It kind of helped me have compassion in place of seething jealousy. 

So I'll be simultaneously cheering on my team while cheering on my period to just get here already because really, we had sex three times this cycle, and according to my RE, we don't want any part in the sperm he was producing last semen analysis (I think those sperm were probably slow moving Jets fans- barf!).

Monday, September 2, 2013

Retrospect

How time flies when you are not obsessing over infertility appointments and deadlines! Makes me wish we all had an "off" button somewhere internally for the days when we're tormenting ourselves waiting for our periods or for "the call" or the beta test, ultrasound, blood work, followup, FET, ER, ET.....phew, it truly is a wonder how we don't all end up committed at some point throughout this affair. As difficult as it is to see when you're in the depths of the process, a break can really be a good thing and I strongly recommend one to anyone who is able to do so.

The past week I've been in a toss up of "clouds". Clouds are what I call it when I retreat into my brain and allow my thoughts to wander and escape so much that I'm having conversations and scenarios play out internally without even really noticing so. Our dear friend was finally memorialized on Monday at a beautiful location in my hometown, with many beautiful people who represent the epitome of my childhood, and beautiful stories about the beautiful woman who chose to create her own fate and destiny, right up to the very end. I sat flanked by my parents, in a row with my childhood best friends' parents, watching through the windows as sailboats passed and seagulls flew effortlessly on the breeze. I could not help but think of how many times I'd been in this exact position as a child, with those very characters in that very town and how much of an absence there was and will always be from now on. 

The numerous stories of our dear friend were touching and there was much laughter and even more tears. When it was over, in place of the relief that one often feels at the end of such a memorial, I felt an emptiness and sadness that has lingered with me ever since. Thinking of the tales of such a strong woman who made such a seemingly weak decision in the end and how many lives she touched! Oh the people she influenced in her life and from such an early age! And I've been sitting around feeling desperate for a child, doing nothing but planning and thinking about becoming a mother for years. What stories would anyone have to tell of me were I to die? 

One could get lost in the cloud of life and death but there's been another cloud nagging at my brain as our deadline to return to the RE for a semen analysis quickly approaches. The deadline itself has me thinking of the deadlines we've set for ourselves; the idea that - despite it only being the second day of September - that I could possibly have to survive yet another Christmas without bearing a child. Deadlines that our dear friend may have set for herself; watching the game clock wind down 4...3...2...are you happy yet? What will you do if you are not so by the time the whistle blows? How will you sit through another holiday feeling so empty, so useless? What will happen if this month off break has been all for not in terms of the ceaseless search for sperm? 


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Errands

No matter how great you're feeling, it will always be shitty if your Trader Joe's is directly next to a Babies R Us.

                           
   

Saturday, August 17, 2013

For the First Time In the History of Infertility, No News Is Good News,

A much as I've wanted to write and keep the blog updated this past week or so, I haven't really had much to say and for once, I'm okay with not having any news to share. 

Husband and I spent the remainder of my vacation week sleeping in, eating out, and taking a weekend trip up to Vermont to visit my beautiful grandmother who turned 90 last month! We spent plenty of time with family, including my cousin and his wife who have been married for over twenty years and live very happily child-free. It was refreshing to learn that his wife had, at one point, wanted children but had decided she would be fine without them (although, when you're married at the age of 21, you there's still a possibility of having kids after twenty years of marriage, isn't there? I suppose I'm not afforded the same situation but I know I would not be able to concede to a child-free life). 

The weather in Burlington was as beautiful as the company and Husband and I were able to come home recharged and relaxed which was very much needed after the past few months. I even got my period on the Saturday we were away and I was able to be happy about it- for the first time in forever - because it was exactly on time and if it's going to come, I'd much rather it comes on time and not play those mind games that us infertility women are so susceptible to. 

So I've been able to block the pain of infertility and not moving forward out of my brain for now. Do I want to be pregnant any less? Not even remotely, but I've realized that if there is not one thing I can do about it, it is only going to ruin me mentally and what is the point in dwelling? My goals for the remainder of the summer are to enjoy everything to the fullest because hopefully this time next year I'll have my hands full with a newborn. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"The Next Time I See You, You Better Be Fat!"

                            My Enjoy Life, Put ICSI On Hold Morning 



Today is day one of "enjoy life" and put ICSI on hold (although it's probably more like day 1.7 but whatever). I spent the morning enjoying a walk around a local park and enjoying the salty air, then my phone chimed. "APPOINTMENT REMINDER"...shit. I swiped the screen and realized what I'd forgotten before I even read the screen: "pap smear". Fanfuckingtastic. 

Again, what would a week without a doctor's appointment be? So I went and saw my good old OBGYN, which was pretty refreshing considering the last time we met -last July- he gave me the name of my current RE and urged me to meet with him by the time I turned 30. So we spent some time catching up and then got down to business. The speculum never bothers me but today there was some slight discomfort, "hmm, does it feel like you need to pee?" he asked from "down there". "Ohh, I forgot I had OHSS after the retrieval was awful." He grinned and took his gloves off and I formed me that my ovaries are still quite swollen, asking me when the last ultrasound I'd had was. Shit, nonono, not fucking fair to put me through another ultrasound. Luckily he let it slide when I told him I'd had one post- retrieval and informed me that it can take pretty long for the ovaries to get back to normal. Who knew? 

We chatted a bit more on all sorts of things and on his way out he turned and told me he hopes to see me nice and fat next year. Me too, doc, me too. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cryobank Trip #3

Husband went to the cryobank this afternoon. I'm on vacation and this is - finally, finally, finally! - his last week of being out injured, so he tried to get out of the appointment under the guise of taking me shopping. I almost fell for the ruse, but last minute I told him "just go, you never know, today could be the day." Not that I have any expectations any more, but I have let go of the anxiety completely so I was able to put the notions of excitement or failure completely out of mind. 

Shortly after he returned, Husband got the phone call from the clinic, I had a feeling of excitement wash over me that I pushed down* and when I saw my husband do a fist pump, I sort of allowed myself to feel a bit of relief. His numbers were significantly higher than last week but still fairly low (1.8million today; roughly four vials to freeze) and the motility looks great, which is the really exciting news. I still can't allow myself to feel too excited until I actually have a baby in my arms but I will indulge the feelings of relief for now (and I will definitely let Husband take me on the shopping trip we skipped today).

*I know that no one will believe me but I do have a strong sense of intuition related to a few things. It's like ESPN or something. 

**Update- scratch all of the above. RE just called and is not that impressed by the motility or the numbers. Husband now instructed to come in every 4-6 weeks for normal semen analyses until numbers are back up to "March numbers" (where he was for his first SA). Fuck. My. Life. Oh and did I mention we've spend $750 to freeze so far?**


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Our Trip To the Urologist

Gas:      $20
Parking: $7
Copay:  $20

Having a professional sit and lecture your husband on anabolic steroids for thirty minutes: fucking priceless. 

I know the old MasterCard commercial was so cliche even back when I was in high school but, honestly, that's all I've got to say about tha-at (Forrest Gump voice). He did some bloodwork to check hormones to see if his suspicions are correct - Husband would have to be a sociopathic psychopath for those tests to come back positive, or I'm just a completely gullible asshole - but other than that, he did not even entertain any other factors or help us move forward in anyway. 

So I'm going to try to enjoy my vacation this week and just chill the fuck out. Figures I got a reminder that my yearly pap smear is this week, but I think I would feel off center if I didn't have some sort of doctor's appointment to go to. Hey, who knows, maybe every idiot on the planet is right and I'll get pregnant while I'm "just relaxing", you don't even have to have sex according to that rule, right?

A Sick Joke

I went to the dermatologist a few weeks back for a skin scan. I spent so many summers lifeguarding and swimming that I don't know how I came away without melanoma before the age of 21. I have some hyperpigmentation I've been self conscious about and asked my derm about it. He looked quietly with that freaky light saber scanner and said "Pregnancy Mask". 

"Uhh, what?" I replied. 

"Are you currently on birth control?" He asked. 

"No actually, I stopped years ago but I did just finish a round of hormones for IVF"

We then discussed my journey a bit and he told me that "pregnancy mask" can occur in pregnant women or women who are taking pregnancy hormones such as birth control or IVF meds (shout out to the PCP who first prescribed me BC way back when and to my clinic nurses, all of whom never once warned me to be extra super careful about sun exposure while on any of these drugs). He said he'd call in a cream that can fix it but it being summer and with my continuing to take the IVF meds prepping for transfer, it would take a while to see a difference. 

Lucky me, shortly after I got word I wouldn't be having an FET this summer at all so at least my skin has started to show vast improvement. I just had to laugh at the odds of everything that could have happened to my skin, I walk away with "Pregnancy Mask"; pretty sure that this is what irony is. 

PSA: wear sunscreen 365. Trust. Me. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We Have Movement



It's been over one month since my egg retrieval. Our RE wants my husband to go to a renowned urologist in Boston to figure out just what the f caused a significant drop in his production. We managed to get an appointment for this week, RE warned us that the urologist can be a bit of an aspy case; I'm totally looking forward to either winning him over with my charms or at least having some great stories for you all. 

My husband also went back yesterday -for a second time post-retrieval - to try to produce something for the cryobank. He called me on his way home, saying he'd waited for the lab tech to give it a look under the scope, and that the guy said that this time there was "movement" - something they hadn't seen for the previous three. I tend to be cautiously optimistic during this entire process: I hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Of course, at the time my husband called me, the semen had not been fully analyzed so I just went about my day; it's hard to allow many emotions in at this point regarding the IVF process. On my drive home, RE called to say they did find "very little" sperm and that they are moving slowly, not sure how they'll survive the thaw, etc (insert many analogies that doctors seem to use when they assume that you're an idiot) but that they would freeze what they have and for Hub to come back in later this week and give another shot but keep the appointment with the urologist. 

At the end of the conversation RE revealed that there are two sperm (sperms?!) to freeze. It costs $250 for each cryobank sample. Husband claims he'll pay thousands of dollars to give as much of a chance as we can.  I think I'll keep him around for now. Someone light a candle or say a prayer to Buddha, or whomever to help us find some sperm please for the love. 



Thursday, July 25, 2013

You're Young!

The two women outside of my marriage who know about our struggles and IVF have both said to me this week "well, at least you're young still" as a response to my ordeals with my husband's lack of sperm and my anxiety about not moving forward and desire to not waste any more time. Both of said women have had successful IVF pregnancies so what the actual fuck? 

I'm 30, that is not that young, particularly when you've been TTC for FOUR years already (I swear to baby Jesus this shit puts the aging process into double time). Both women were older when they got pregnant so is this just another case of "infertility pain Olympics"? A little it of condescension for my woes as a "fuck you" because I didn't wait even longer to try for a baby? If we're going to get out a pad and paper and tally shit up, I've been trying much longer than both of them did before they had successful pregnancies. 

I know deep down that neither person caused malice. I've heard "you're young" over and over from my RE and his colleagues but they have to say reassuring bullshit. Why can't, just for once, it be ok for someone to say "you're having a real shit time, I'm sorry"?

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Gave Myself A UTI

Remember that time when I had sex and, despite knowing damn well that you must get up and pee after sex, I laid in bed and convinced myself that I had a chance of getting pregnant if I just lay for a bit? Then I fell asleep and woke up with burning, stinking, urine. 

Let's go over the facts: 

-I was only on day 7 or 8 of my cycle, so even if my husband was not shooting blanks, I'm not really sure why I was telling myself that that fertility meds were going to make me super fertile this month (don't you love when the emotional overrules the logical part of you brain?). 

-My husband already had low numbers, motility, morphology, the whole MFI deal. Then we have the last three times he tried to give sperm for my eggs and the sperm was a big fat goose egg every time. Including one cryobank trip only a week before said UTI fiasco. 

-We tried to conceive for FOUR YEARS this way with no dice. We've been told we will never get pregnant without ICSI.

I'm now drinking cranberry juice and hoping that I can flush it out before the inevitable trip to my PCP. Because what would one week this year be without a trip to a doctor's office? I think our insurance cards should get those fun stamp squares like they have at coffee and ice cream shops only instead of a free doctor visit after 10, you get an ice cream. And not a cheap small soft serve cone, I'm talking like three toppings or a brownie sundae. 


Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Dog, A Friend, and Some Hope

All of the above are items that have died in my life since I had my egg retrieval. It only took a couple of days for me to start building up hope again after feeling the disappointment of hearing I would not be having a fresh transfer. My retrieval was on a Friday and by Sunday, I was feeling mentally back to normal and hopeful about our future options. 

On Monday my mother called to tell me our family dog was to be put down. Something I knew was coming but still not a blow you can really ever be properly prepared for. This was also during the height of my discomfort from the retrieval, so I simply hung up in tears but went back to sleep and I don't believe the reality hit me until much later in the week: I never really got to say goodbye. 

The week went on and I went back to work, still feeling uncomfortable but welcoming the distraction of busy days. I scheduled an appointment for Husband to go to the cryobank, certain that the day of retrieval was a fluke and anxious to do something to feel as though we were still working towards our goal.  It was not a fluke. The cryobank called the minute Husband walked in the door with the bad news: no sperm again; I did not even get a few hours to think positively or convince myself that things would work out. The hit was hard to take, I cannot lie. I held in my tears until Husband was out, but once they came it felt as though a darkness washed over me. What makes it even more difficult is knowing that he must be feeling disappointment as well and I cannot be there for him if he does not show his emotions and when I myself feel as though I'm barely hanging on. 

The cryobank was on Thursday, and on Friday, I picked myself up and off to my job, again ready to welcome the distraction. While I'm working, it's nearly impossible to even get a moment to go the ladies room, let alone wallow in self pity, which is what I love about my job. Halfway through the day, however, my mother sent a text saying a good friend of the family had unexpectedly passed in her sleep. Not having any extended family living closer than a 4 hour drive away, my parents had built a family out of close, local friends whom they had known long before the idea of us kids. We spent holidays and birthdays and every reason in the book to party with these people, so it is akin to losing an aunt or other close family member.

I have always despised those who count their losses and cry "why?" during times of distress but it is hard for me to take these punches and continue to say that they will make me stronger. It is true that this is life, and getting through the tough stuff is what makes the beautiful stuff so, well, beautiful. It is just incredibly difficult to see sunshine through the rain right now. 

                                          January 3, 2000 - July 1, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Day In the Life

I went to see THE Sir Paul McCartney last night at Fenway. Amazing. One of the best nights of my life. Took my dad as Father's Day gift but definitely gift for me too. I was an absolute check mark on the bucket list, since I was born I can remember being a Beatles fan; I still hear the way my parents' Rubber Soul album was scratched on a line of "Michelle" and "In My Life", and the day my dad bought me my first Beatles tape*. 


                                      
                                      I'm honestly still reeling from being in HIS presence

I didn't have to worry about getting my progesterone shot done somehow or sneaking the needle into Fenway or wether or not standing and dancing and ROCKING for three straight hours might upset the transferred embryo.  Despite having some residual ovarian pain and swelling, I was able to have an fantastic night. 


*Sargent Peppers, I was in the fourth grade and we were visiting my grandfather for the last time before he lost his battle with colon cancer. And yes, I said tape. 


**Title disclaimer: I know most of A Day In the Life was written by John but it fit the best so, suck it. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

That's It


It appears to be official that every woman I've been saying "as long as I get pregnant before her" about is pregnant. Everyone who got married after me - I was the first of pretty much all of my friends and everyone my age, for that matter, except for the extreme religious girls who got married and knocked up by the time the rest of us were collecting our college diplomas - is either expecting or already on her first or second child at least. 

I don't know why I bother to go on Facebook; I know it's the catalyst for all bad infertility feelings, but I just can't help it.  Particularly since I've been out of commission this week, it's as though I've become obsessed with keeping on top of all of the people I don't even care about. Today the one woman I secretly expected to see in my clinic waiting room one of these days posted a photo of an extremely pregnant belly, stating that she's expecting twins any day now. Did not see that coming.

 I would describe the feeling as a gut punch, for those who don't comprehend the desperate feeling of seeing people so easily achieve what you cannot. Yet a gut punch would be a welcome sensation compared to the physical and emotional reaction that washes over me each time I'm disappointed with my inability to conceive and the jealousy of those who can. I do not begrudge a single person for a situation so beyond human control, but it's impossible for me to be happy for these women or to even be able to see them at all. 

So that's it. Aside from the child-free crowd and the single & fabulous woman, it's just me. Even the lesbians I graduated with got knocked up during their closet days and now happily raise their children together. I am it. The cheese stands alone. 

                        
                             Figured since this is a downer post it could use this.
                                


Friday, July 5, 2013

One Week Post Retrieval

You can read about my retrieval experience  Here and   here.

It has been exactly a week and, while my mentality and outlook on the situation have done a 180,  I thought I would share my physical recovery experience that they just did not warn me about prior to the retrieval*.


                                      
                                          You'll want a heating pad for you recovery. Bonus if you have dogs that like to act as heating pads on top of heating pads. Mine have been rotating turns on the belly all week. **beware of jumping dogs**

  • If they end up retrieving eggs from you, you're probably going to develop OHSS and it's going to be uncomfortable. During an ultrasound I ended up having yesterday - more on that later - the tech informed me that my "ovaries are kissing!" Sounds wayyy cuter than it is. 
  • The follicles that you've been watching grow for the past week and a half will not start to shrink, rather they will fill with water and which will cause you to look like you're either already in your second trimester, or a giant boozebag. 
  • You will not be pooping any time soon. 
  • You will want to lie down, this will make it oh so much worse. Try to recline only, at all times, including during sleep. 
  • You'll be hungry at first and happy that you're being encouraged to indulge in high-sodium French fries and saltines. Then you'll realize that you aren't pooping any time soon and the novelty of eating altogether will wear off. I particularly enjoyed the nausea on top of the bloating that I experienced. 
  • The bloating is not going down in 2-3 days like they promised. Try more like 2-3 weeks. 
  • The novelty of having big boobs also wears off quickly. They're sore, you feel every small movement in them, and they just look gross when your body isn't meant for them and neither are any of your bras.
I really like to think that I have a high tolerance for pain, I'm a tough bitch, and it's not that my recovery has been painful past the first few days, it's just been uncomfortable to the max. The idea that I wasn't getting a transfer when I had planned also added to the annoyance of the pain: I can't say for sure, but I have the feeling I would've accepted the recovery process much more had I known that it was with the goal of getting a sweet, sweet, embryo into me on day 5. C'est la vie, though, and as 
 I'm sure I'll learn many other valuable lessons throughout this process, I wanted to share my experience for anyone else wondering what you might expect. 


*Bearing in mind that all experiences are different and that, because of the absence of the transfer-preparation hormones, my body is slightly out of whack and trying to produce extra progesterone, etc. 




Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trigger Happy

This title is super duper fitting in light of the Aaron Hernandez arrest. 

The past nine days have included:

-6 days of blood work

-5 ultrasounds (the dildo camera kind)

-23 stim shots

-6 mornings of up and out the door by 6 (which means all of the days are like that now. Thanks, scumbag inner clock).

And last night was 10000 units hcg and we have triggered!

                                    
                 The needle that went in my ass last night. Looks worse than it feels

My abs and back got a bit sore the past two days, but only in that "I just had a great ab workout and it hurts when I laugh" way. I'm actually shocked that I even remember what that feels like- I've absolutely gained a few pounds and have been doing no working out other than my normal daily movement (arguably more than most people's daily activity*). Bonus: my boobs look fantastic, despite being so sore that I have to grab them when I go down the stairs. 

Now my stomach felt a little crampy this morning, but here's hoping that is just the feeling of plentiful eggs growing in there!

So tomorrow is the big egg retrieval. I know some people get weird about procedures and stuff but I'm sweating the "no makeup, nail polish, or contacts" rule. I don't want my eggs to be retrieved out of a hideous creature.

*By "most people" I just mean those morbidly obese people at Walmart who use the motorized carriages. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Stim-sons

You guys have NO idea how much I wish I had a more clever "Stim" title. And I thought about it a lot. I do have the Simpsons theme song stuck in my head though.

Tonight will be night 6 of doing Gonal F injections. It's kind of like a cool little spy gadget pen mixed with a bee sting (I'm still doing my own injections- it's a bit empowering to do them all myself). It only stings a bit during the injection process and occasionally leaves a bruise and I sometimes feel really full (which could be the reality due to amount of food I'm consuming) and I feel like I look bloated but, again, the eating could be the cause. Other than that, I haven't noticed much of any side effects. I've been a bit weepy, which means I've teared up a couple of times in the car when I let myself think about our family dog who needs to be put down or when I hear 'I Will Wait' by Mumford & Sons - thanks a lot to whomever put it in my head to relate that song to my desire to have a baby. 
                      
Thursday night I added Menopur to the mix, which brings me up to three subcutaneous injections (in my stomach) per day. The Menopur is mostly just a pain in the ass because it has to be mixed every time but it kind of makes me feel like a mad scientist. Thursday was also the first time I received any empathy from Husband during this entire process, because he saw the welt from the Gonal while he helped me prep the Menopur for the first time and he kind of went "wait, what's the mark?" upon realization of the amount of shit I'm putting myself through - although yes, I did tell him multiple times that day how many injections I'd be doing* - he looked shocked and told me he "felt really bad" don't think that I won't try and milk that for as long as possible. 

The Menopur stings during injection but again, haven't felt much. I'm starting to think maybe something isn't going right because other women complain of ovary pain and swelling and being emotional and I just kind of feel like I'm too full (which could totally just be the case as I've been eating as if I already am eating for two...or three. 

I've done the math and today was my seventh blood test since this began, and my third this week. I've had two ultrasounds this week and I can't even do the math for the injections I've been doing over the past two weeks. It's all going to be worth it. 

*Are we surprised he didn't hear me? Do they just all suffer from partial hearing loss?

                                           Day 5 on Gonal
                    My obsessive "am I bloated?" photos- bonus dog. 


                           
                                                        Day 6 
                                     A couple of barely there bruises