Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Testing....My Willpower

I am currently 8 days past my second IUI and happily I can report that I'm a LOT less paranoid this time around.  I have a ton of doubts about this cycle - for reasons I still haven't blogged about - but I've realized there's literally nothing I can do to make it work or not work so I'm going to save myself the stress.

Or at least I'm going to try.

Last time around I thought it would be really fun to pee on a stick even though I had an hcg trigger shot.  I tested positive on the day of the trigger, seven days after the trigger, and ten days past the trigger.  On the eleventh day I went out of town for what should have been a fun, even romantic distraction from the two week window.  Alas, I brought my pee sticks with me and continued to test positive up until the twelfth day after the trigger shot!  From my research it looked like most women test out their triggers by the 10th day so I was very excited.

Later that same night, however, I wiped and found bright red bleeding and lost my ever loving mind.  A test taken in a bathroom at a bar near Times Square showed my first negative and it was followed by another negative the next morning.  Some vacation, huh?

Now that I know, however, that I metabolize the hcg shot very slowly I have resolved to not pee on a stick until at least 13 days after the trigger shot, which isn't until Sunday.  That will only be 12 days after my IUI so it may still be too early to get a positive but at least my chances of a false negative are greatly reduced.

That's the plan anyway.  Here's hoping I can stay sane until then.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

So, About That Sperm Problem

We don't have one?  Wait, what?

Yesterday I finally owned up to my fears about the quality of my husband's sperm.  Even with the first sample he gave which was mostly "normal" I worried the motility of 38% while still only 2% from my clinic's parameters for "normal" was actually 12% below what the World Health Organization deems "normal."

And the sample he gave on Tuesday at our IUI had only 3.5 million sperm per mililiter and a "normal" sample is supposed to have 20 million!  What gives?

When I brought up my fears with the R.E. yesterday he said he wasn't too concerned with our sperm numbers.  I guess once you produce a "normal" sample it means you really don't have a problem and your bad sample(s) is/are probably a fluke.  All my obsessive googling was for naught.  And even if the sample stays where it is there's no reason to believe that we won't be successful with an IUI.  Sure, maybe statistically our odds are a little bit lower, but nothing to cry in my Cheerios about.

On the one hand, I'm relieved to hear the problem isn't as bad as we feared, but on the other hand I wonder if there's more we can do to help the sperm improve.  To that end I finally ordered Fertility Blend for Men.  I wanted to order it months ago but my husband was worried about side effects.  That's so cute.  I'm the one getting wanded and giving blood three times a week and taking drugs that make me want to crush puppies but you're worried you may have an upset stomach?  My husband will take the new vitamin, plus CoQ10 plus the L-Argingine cocktail until our next IUI which won't be until mid-July.

You know, in case I don't get pregnant before then.

We talked about a few other pertinent things at the meeting which deserve an entry of their own.  Stay tuned!

*Chart appropriated from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Accepting Our Dual Diagnosis

Way back in March I posted that my husband was going in for a sperm analysis and if it came back bad, I wasn't sure I would be able to handle it.  For some reason (maybe because I say the word "sperm) it is my most viewed page on this blog.  And then I never updated after that because I'm a lazy whore.  No, just kidding, I never updated because I wasn't sure what to say.  So, let me tell the story chronologically of what has been happening in the sperm department since that day.

March - get back our sperm analysis and it looks good.  Yay!  Here is what we got and based on our clinic's parameters it looks totally normal:

Volume - 4.0 mL (clinic says 1.5-5 mL is normal)
Concentration - 22 million/mL (clinic says 15 million/mL is normal)
Motility - 38% (clinic says 40% is normal)
Morphology - 15% (clinic says 4% is normal)

So, based on what we were told, this looks totally fine, maybe just a hair shy of normal in the motility department but my husband had just returned from a guy's trip and I chalked that up to travel and hard living.  Just to be safe, however, I had him start taking some of my L-Arginine, which I read can improve motility.

Fast forward a little bit to my first IUI in early April and we were told that my husband's sample was 3.5 mL (good!) but with only 12.5 million sperm per mL (bad!) and 19% motility (real bad!).  Thanks to the high volume and the sperm washing machine we were able to get 6.5 million motile sperm for the IUI.  So of course during my two week window I looked towards Dr. Google and found that many R.E.'s won't even do an IUI with less than 10 million motile sperm. I was confused and disappointed.  My husband was too, but thought that maybe he was sick 72 days ago (the amount of time that it takes to grow sperm) and that explains the discrepancy between the two samples.

Two weeks later we found out that IUI#1 was a BFN.  At this point I guess we should have asked the R.E. what he thought of the sperm situation we had brewing but we figured there was nothing we could do about it before my next ovulation since sperm takes so long to grow so we jumped into another treatment cycle.  I also ordered and began my husband on coQ10 which an actual study by a doctor says should help sperm motility.

Finally, we had our second IUI yesterday and got even worse news.  My husband's sample had a volume of 6.0 mL (good!) but there was only 3.5 million sperm per mL (very bad!) with only 29% motility (really bad!).  Thanks to the large volume and the magic of sperm washing we were able to get 4.5 million motile sperm for the IUI.

To be continued because I actually have a meeting in 45 minutes to talk to my RE about all this.....

Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcome May ICLWers!

Hello everyone visiting from May's ICLW.  I'm The Pussy Parent, mom to two wonderful boy cats who keep me company when my husband travels.  We have been trying to get pregnant for a little less than a year, a fact which makes me feel insecure sometimes in the ALI world.  I'm 32 years old and have anovulatory PCOS and my husband is 31, at least for a few more weeks, with mild MFI (lowish count, low motility).  I suffer from anxiety which has been raring its ugly head due to various fertility medications and just the life of a person dealing with sub-fertility.  Just last week I had a spectacular metldown, which I blogged about in real time.

After waiting and waiting for my follicles to mature on this, my second medicated cycle, I am happy to announce that my second IUI will be tomorrow morning!  I have a few reservations about it which I'll blog about hopefully tomorrow.

As an avid reader, I started this blog in order to compile a list of fiction books about trying to get pregnant and have posted some reviews for far.  I also started reading some fertility autobiographies and made a list of those too.  I have a bunch more reviews to post but I've been busy lately with my own story.

My older sister is pregnant with her second child, a fact which I'm not proud to say distresses me quite a bit.

I may be moving to Boston!  And I'm taking a vacation to Montreal in July to celebrate my second wedding anniversary.

Welcome and I look forward to getting to know you,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Who Needs Follicles Anyway?

My follicles did not listen.  We gave them time but they refused to grow up.  I'm disappointed because last time the Clomid gave me two good follicles.  This time it just made me go insane.

So the new plan is to start me on 5 mg of Femara which I've heard anecdotally may even work better for women with PCOS.  Five days of that and then I go back in on Monday to get wanded again.

I have plenty of stuff going on to keep me busy in the meantime, including 90 minutes of The Bachelorette to watch, Insurgent to finish reading, and maybe I will even do a little shopping.  You may have won this round, Follies, but you have not won the fight yet.  The cycle shall continue!

Cycle 6, Day 19.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Stop The Crazy Train, I'm Getting Off

So yesterday was the worst day I've had in quite a while.  I was pretty much a mess and cried all afternoon in my little cubicle with the thankfully high walls.  I attempted to eat lunch but ended up throwing it away.  Thankfully, blog commenter Returntogobaby pointed out that perhaps my blood sugar was low.  And that made a lot of sense.  I had just started the Metformin a week earlier and it can apparently it can cause a decrease in blood sugar.  So combined with the Clomid which is still in my system, an empty stomach, plus the insensitive comments of my mother, I had a total sobbing breakdown.

I should note here that I was not crying softly the entire time.  At certain intervals I was full on ugly crying, but I'm grateful that none of my coworkers tried to assist me.  We're not close by any means other than the location of our desks and I really didn't need to try to regain my composure if someone had interrupted me.  Luckily they are all women on my floor.  I managed to get all of my work done and shuffled home where I went directly to bed.

By the time my husband came home he, too, thought I was suffering from low blood sugar.  I was prescribed juice and semisweet chocolates we had lurking in our cabinet.  Together we rode out the storm, including another bed time panic attack complete with dry heaving. I survived and today I felt much better.

I told the nurse all that had happened and it was decided that Clomid is not the drug for me.  My GAD has been amplified and I've become a walking ball of hormones.  As for the Metformin, I'm going to keep taking it but will be careful to watch my blood sugar and not skip meals.  I also decided to not double my dose next week like I was originally instructed to do.  Everything I read about Metformin indicates that you should increase the dosage slowly and I don't want to temp the gods any further.

Thanks to all that commented yesterday when I was in the throes of my meltdown.  I really appreciate it.  The good news is I have two follicles measuring around 9 mm.  I go back on Tuesday and will hopefully trigger and have IUI#2 on Wednesday.

Today is CD15.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Interwebz I need you help.  I have been crying at my desk for two solid hours.

It started when my mother told me I should burn the dress that I wore to Easter.  I hung up on her and have been crying ever since.  My coworkers probably think I'm insane.  I couldn't go to lunch because my face is too red.  I don't know what to do.

Could this be from the Clomid?  The Metformin?  Just general female hormones?  I cannot handle this.

I called my RE's office and no one answered.  My husband told me to call back but that would require leaving my desk again and I can't do that.  He also told me to call my pyschiatrist but I can't do that either because I don't want to change my meds.  Common sense says to leave work early but I only have 80 minutes left.


Why am I crying?  When will it go away?

To refresh, I am on CD14.  Took Clomid on CDs4-9.  Started taking Metformin this week.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Taking a Vacation From Your Problems

"A vacation from my problems! You bet I will!" - What About Bob (1991), a must see film starring Richard Dreyfus and Bill Murray about a man who follows his therapist on vacation and immerses himself into his family's life.

I have been trying to plan a vacation for a while now.  It seems that because of stuff going on at my husband's job, and because he doesn't have oodles of vacation time like I do, that it was hard to nail down a time and a place.  Of course, there there was the other big complication of where would I want to go if I was potentially pregnant.  Probably not on a cruise or someplace with a rocking nightlife.  We have a time share over the holidays in December but that seems so far away and I am still hoping to be in my third trimester of potential pregnancy by then. 

But it just came down to the fact that I NEEDED to plan something fun for us because I'm sick of waiting to see where we will be in a month, six months, etc.  So I did it.  We're going to Montreal.  We're staying at a beautiful hotel in Old Montreal.  I've never been there before.  I'm excited to check out the sites and the food and maybe see Cirque de Soleil. Anyone have any Montreal reccomendations?  We're only going for a long weekend but we're active vacationers.

And even though this vacation is meant, in part, as a fun distraction from our journey to pregnancy, it will still be symbolic in a few ways.  It will mark our second wedding anniversary and one year since we decided to try for a baby.  Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it will likely mark the completion of our third IUI cycle so we will either be pregnant or moving onto IVF.

Either way, I am excited for the trip.  Now to pick restaurants!

Have you been putting off things because you keep hoping to get pregnant?

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Follicles Are Immature

I was SO convinced that my second IUI would be tomorrow that I created a Google calendar event to mark the appointment and invited my husband to it.  Ha ha.  I thought my body would be normal for once.  We even abstained from sex yesterday in preparation for the event and let me tell you this: you will never want to screw your husband more than the day you know you're not supposed to screw.

On the way to the appointment this morning I told my husband that there were three possible outcomes of this monitoring appointment.  The first and most desired outcome was that we would see some mature follicles, trigger, and then go in tomorrow for the IUI.  That way he can go to his business trip on Wednesday and all would be right with the world.  This coming weekend on Mother's Day I would say "no Bloody Mary for me, might be knocked up" and accept cheers and praise.

The second possible outcome we discussed was that the follicles would be too small to trigger and I'd have to come in again on Wednesday.  That was going to be a little tricky to figure out but maybe we could trigger Wednesday night and then have the IUI when he gets back into town Friday morning.

Of course the third possible outcome was one we just brushed off thinking that it wouldn't happen.  We get there and there's many immature follicles hanging out in my left ovary like petulant children, refusing to grow up!  So now I'm sitting here in limbo until Friday when we go in again and check it out.  Is the office open on Saturday?  I don't even know.  I hope it is.  Which means (oh please) that maybe we can have the IUI Saturday morning before getting on the road to see the in laws.

Or if there's no growth they're going to have me take MORE Clomid.  Joy!  This makes it impossible to calculate my hypothetical due date.  Stupid follicles.

Cycle 6, Day 11.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Clomid Headaches Suck!

Last month, a few days after I stopped taking Clomid, I had the world's worst headache ever.  I was miserable, like get out of my way, going insane, hurting.  I had been well aware of the side effects of taking Clomid and had made my doctor reassure me when he was prescribing it that the side effects would only last the five days I was on the medication.  I figured I could last five days knowing it would end soon.  My doctor said after I was done taking the medication I was out of the woods and I believed him.

So imagine my surprise and relief that first round when I had almost no side effects at all from the Clomid.  I did it!  Then came the Horrible No Good Headache.  My husband didn't believe me, however, because Dr. Google told him that only 2 percent of women experience headaches from Clomid.  I hadn't even taken Clomid for two days before this headache came on. And, err, because of the massive amounts of wine I had consumed the night before.  Yes, I admit, the headache could have been caused by the wine, but I have been hungover before and THIS was not it.

This time around I had forgot my Clomid not hangover theory when I awoke this morning with my head pounding.  I'm feeling anxious and pissed off all of a sudden too.  It's CD10 and I took Clomid on CDs 4-8.   I just need to get this out there so that future Clomid takers who visit Dr. Google know that yes, you CAN get headaches after you are done taking Clomid.

The last one only lasted an excruciatingly long eight hours or so.  Here's hoping I'm entering the tail end of this pain.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cycle Six, Day Nine and Counting!

How is it only cycle six you may wonder, if it's month eleven, well it just is my fun and exciting anovulation.  But this is gearing up to me perhaps my first textbook fertile cycle!  Yesterday, on CD 8, I had some crazy EWCM, the first I've seen since I've been on the pill!  Sure it's a little early but I'll take it.  We tried for some natural baby-making yesterday and will (hopefully) do it again today.  I got an almost positive opk today and hope things line up perfectly for (maybe) IUI#2 on Tuesday.

This plan better work because I was hoping we can get in another sex session post IUI - something we didn't get a chance to do last time - but my husband will likely have to leave town on Wednesday.

So please, Universe, let the stars align so everything goes well with this cycle.  Please give me two mature follicles just like last time.  I know some people want more, but I'm terrified of HOM.  Please give my husband some better numbers.  Please work your magic!

Meanwhile, in other news, we cleaned our bedroom today, something we should have done for like, um, maybe the past two months.  It's so easy to get distracted with all this fertility treatment whatnot and forget everyday grownup responsibilities.  No more of that!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wouldn't It Be Sort Of Cool?

I talked about this before, but how awesome would it be to find out you were pregnant way after the fact?  I know some magical women cherish every single moment of their pregnancy and then miss being pregnant after they give birth but this makes absolutely no sense to me.  To tell you the truth, I'm so worried about being pregnant.  It's taken me a while to gather my thoughts on this so this is just an introduction to talking about my anxiety and how it could be affected by pregnancy.

In my perfect world, I would wake up one day and be ten weeks pregnant and say "wow, this is pretty cool."  I'd walk around for a day or two being happy about the pregnancy.  Then I'd wake up the next day and be 24 weeks pregnant.  And then I think I could make it from there.  Or at least if I found out I couldn't handle it, I'd only have hopefully a few more months of anxiety and stress.

I've done a lot of research on this issue and it looks like 50% of women with diagnosed anxiety prior to pregnancy see a decrease in their anxiety during pregnancy.  Only 25% see an increase in anxiety.  So that means I have a 75% chance that I will be at least as okay as I am today then I will when pregnant.  While that makes me feel good, I also know what it's like to be on the losing end of statistics.

I don't watch the t.v. show "I didn't know I was pregnant" but I know that generally people think those women are crazy.  I think they're sort of lucky.  If I woke up tonight in labor I would be so happy!  People may call me crazy, but hey, free baby!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

No One Is Talking About The Sextuplets

On Wednesday, April 23rd, Allison Kate, Leah Michelle, Caroline Grace, Andrew Noah, Benjamin Luke, and Levi Thomas Perkins were born in Houston at 30 weeks, one day gestation.  Their mother, Lauren Perkins,, had induced ovulation from injectible medications and at least one IUI and whammo, six babies.  The media made a big deal about this news for all of one minute, including some painfully misleading facts about fertility treatments, and then lost interest when the family asked for privacy.  The latest news is that five of the six babies are breathing on their own just a few days after birth, which is seriously awesome.  One was reported as being "sick" but progressing.

I was anxious to see what the ALI community thinks of this news but as of today, it doesn't appear that the births have sparked any commentary on the fabulous search engine of the Stirrup Queen's blogroll.  I guess, while this incident is remarkable to me - a verified newbie to the world of fertility treatments - it's not completely unheard of in the post-Octomom/Jon and Kate world.

While I seriously hope and pray that Allison, Leah, Caroline, Andrew, Benjamin, Luke and Levi continue to thrive, I worry about how the news of their birth affects me.  And, yes, I realize that sounds pretty shallow but let me elaborate:

Several news articles describing the birth of the sextuplets referred to an IUI as a "cheaper alternative" to IVF, but with less control over the number of eggs fertilized.  While I guess that statement is technically true, I find it misleading in a way that makes me pretty self conscious at the same time.  The goal of ART is to get women pregnant with one healthy child.  One.  I feel like people forget this.  And with the media sensationalizing multiple births, I worry I will be seen as an extreme baby hoarder by seeking fertility treatments, or at least as someone who threw caution to the wind when it came to deciding how many children she might conceive.

Never mind the fact that an IUI itself has nothing to do with the number of follicles created and therefore eggs fertilized.  When I had my IUI I had two mature follicles, so theoretically my outcome was either no babies, one baby or two babies at the most.*  Proper monitoring is so important when using ovulation-inducing drugs.  And I don't want to jump to any conclusions, but I wonder if Lauren Perkins had that kind of monitoring.

*I know there are some freaky scenarios where only one mature follicle was present and then somehow people ended up with high order multiples but I think this situation is pretty rare - and I sort of want to know what the "immature" follicles were measuring.

I want to believe that Lauren Perkins got pregnant with her brood by freak accident despite only showing one mature follicle, but entries from the family's web site seem to indicate otherwise.  Her husband writes that Lauren was anovulatory possibly due to the fact that she ran 50 miles a day.  A day!  As someone who is anovulatory through seemingly no fault of my own, I am just a little bit freaked out that this woman didn't try to cut back her fitness routine to see if it could have induce ovulation naturally.  Again, I don't know this for sure but the web site seems to indicate that.

The web site also includes some language about how the couple was told they had a 1% chance of sextuplets.  I frankly don't know how that number could have been assessed.  Most clinics will not let you proceed with an IUI if you have too many follicles.  Most clinics strive for singleton pregnancies.  I just can't imagine any doctor all willy nilly talking about sextuplets.  It doesn't make sense.

Anyway, get stronger babies.  You are in my thoughts.  Even if your arrival sparks a lot of confusion on my end.  More on this later.