Sunday, October 19, 2014

New password protected post

It's been a while since I've updated my password protected site but, here is an update.

If you've forgotten or lost the password, please email me and I'll give it to you again.

I go into a few more details about Dr. Grim and an update on my weight loss journey, too.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Introducing Dr. Grim

Stephanie has Dr. Babymaker, I have Dr. Grim.

Today we had our first consultation with Shady Grove. Beautiful office & very welcoming staff.

But, the doctor... well, I didn't hit it off with him at all. James didn't feel the same way I did about him but then, he wasn't being told he's old.

After we met with the doctor, we met with the financial coordinator and by that time, I was crying.

But, I pulled myself together long enough for her to start going over insurance information (which was pointless as our insurance is changing in January).

Then the nurse came in to talk about our plan of action.

Which is, nothing. There is no plan until January when the new insurance kicks in. We can't start a cycle now and it's not a good idea to cross over years when we know we'll have new insurance in January.

We know the new insurance will cover IVF but we don't know if it's under the same allowances we have now. We assume it will be the same, just different out-of-pocket expenditures.

But, we don't know for sure and won't know for a while. So, we're back to delaying IVF until January (roughly).

While the doctor made me feel like my ovaries are a time bomb about to go off, there was some good news.

We will not have to pay more than $500 for ICSI even though my insurance won't cover it without abnormal sperm samples. Huge relief, for sure.

I don't know, I just left the doctor feeling hopeless. James says it's an overreaction to what he actually said but, did agree that this doctor didn't have great bed side manners.

He was matter-of-fact and, I guess, a straight shooter. But, you want to hear a little positivity, maybe a silver lining from your doctor, right?

Instead, he made me feel like there was a huge long shot but, yeah sure, we'll give it a try. Why not?

James said it doesn't matter if his bedside manner is crap, if he manages to get us pregnant, we won't care.

Yeah okay, I guess he's right. But still, it left a slightly bitter taste in my mouth.


On September 11, I declared that I would get pregnant on my own before January.  Well, I did that but, I guess I forgot to declare that I would get pregnant AND IT WOULD STICK.

So, I'm trying again.

Because I will it so (again), I will get pregnant before January (again) and it will stick. Nine months later I will bring home and happy and healthy baby and never have to utilize Dr. Grim.

Maybe it will work?

Finally, here is the latest from "Does This Baby Make Me Look Fat?"
After all, laughter is the best medicine "they" say.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Finally some good news

We'll have IVF insurance next year.
Needless to say, that is a huge load off our shoulders.

So, we get to stay in the game.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Let's part ways now, okay?

Damn bronchitis. I desperately need this to be over and done with. But, it won't let go of me. For weeks now I have had to use an inhaler to breathe, get only a few hours of sleep at a time, can't walk very far without needing to rest my lungs and have coughing fits that make people around me cringe.

My body aches from the coughing. It's like I have run five miles while having rubber bullets shot at me.

It is better but, not over.

In the past two weeks I've had a miscarriage, suffered with bronchitis and had my in-laws in town during the worst of both, all while still working.

However, I want to say a big congrats to those who have gotten their BFP's while I've been away. It's great news and I'm wishing you a very happy and healthy 9 months. It's going to go beautifully for you!

I know I haven't made comments but I really haven't been on my computer outside of work except to catch up on Downton Abbey.

Despite my whining, I am feeling better. I got out yesterday and took a short walk with James and Ryan. It wasn't easy (I forgot my inhaler) but, it was a small start.

I'm back on track today with recording my food and making a small effort to exercise lightly. Through all this, I've lost weight but that's not surprising given that I spent so much time vomiting and that the coughing alone is likely expending more calories that I eat all day.

My appetite isn't back to normal just yet but, that's improving, too.

My mood is improving a little but, there is still 10,000 thoughts going through my mind, both positive and negative.

We have the appointment on Friday with Shady Grove but, I can't say I'm looking forward to it now. I guess having gotten pregnant on our own makes me feel like we can do it again. But, I'm 39 and we just don't have that kind of time.

So, I suppose I'm just feeling a little resentful at having to start back down that road.

Yes, we could call it a day and I know there are people in my life who feel we should. I know because hints have been dropped.

But, it's our decision. James and I feel like our family isn't complete and we're going to keep trying until I get to the point where I've had enough.

I'm not there yet. My longing for another baby outweighs the dread of starting fertility treatments again.

Which reminds me, James wrote a lovely blog update on our family blog . My husband truly is a wonderful person who loves his family deeply.

Thank you to everyone who has commented in the last two weeks and I apologize for not responding. My heart (and lungs) just haven't been up to the job of blogging much.

But, I appreciate all the support. You guys make the tough times more bearable.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Minor improvements

I seem to be through the worst of the bronchitis, thank goodness. I'm still wheezing but, I have the rescue inhaler and that's helping. The coughing isn't nearly as bad as it was even two days ago.

Ryan is feeling better although he was sent home from school today because he threw up. James says he's playing as if nothing happened so we'll have to watch him to see what that was about.

My pregnancy began it's end on Monday and the worst of it was over in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. It was worse than I was expecting, and definitely worse than the one in April. 

But, it's done now. 

I've been trying to remember the positive thing that came from this; we got pregnant without help. Presumably we caught a bad egg (or the virus killed it before it started - who knows?) but, it DID happen. 

I'm broken-hearted at how brief the excitement was but, there is so much to be joyful about, too. Something I was sure would never happen, happened. Was it a fluke? 

We meet with Shady Grove on 10/17 and I don't know where we'll go from there. The insurance situation is still unclear and probably won't be clear until early November. 

Either way, I'm hoping to do one cycle this year. The new insurance options don't have co-payments but rather some scheme where you pay 20% of the visit or something like that. Higher deductibles of course and new prescription benefits to boot.

We've already met our deductible for the year, only pay a $30 co-payment and the medications are all covered at a very reasonable co-payment. Since, even if the new insurance would cover IVF, it would still end up costing us a whole lot more, I want to try to fit in a cycle this year.

This wasn't the plan I had in mind for starting IVF but, sometimes you have to roll with it. Plans change and so do situations. I'm going to take advantage of what we have while we have it.

I just hope the new RE will agree. 

I'm feeling a little more relaxed and less panicky that I was before. I have little room to control anything so what's the point in stressing out?

And, if all else fails, maybe we'll get another natural conception (preferably one that sticks). 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bronchitis, pink eye & other crap

After about the 5th or 6th night of not being able to sleep because of all the congestion in my chest, I dragged myself and Ryan to Patient First (Ryan woke up looking like he had pink eye).

I have bronchitis, Ryan has pink eye and an upper respiratory infection.

Doctor tried a nebulizer treatment for me but it didn't do jack. In fact, the breathing test after the nebulizer was worse than before.

So, I was given antibiotics and a rescue inhaler and Ryan was given eye drops.

When we were back home I ate a little something and about thirty minutes later I started vomiting. Ever since then, no matter how little I eat or drink, I vomit afterwards.

It's unlikely this is pregnancy related, most likely part of the viral bronchitis. The doctor couldn't give me a steroid shot like he wanted since I am, technically, pregnant.

I haven't started miscarrying yet which I thought would happen pretty soon after I stopped the progesterone. That's how it worked when I had a CP back in April.

No telling what's going on there but, I'm going to get HCG beta done again a little later. I know it won't be 0 yet since I haven't started bleeding but hopefully it's gone down a little. I don't want this to drag on for ages.

I just cannot catch a break.

And, also, I'm wondering if this virus is the reason my little bean couldn't stick. The symptoms started before I took the HPT so I'm sure the virus was already raging through me by the time I got the positive.

It's probably best not to dwell on that thought too much. I can't go back in time and not get sick so, what good does it do?

Still no word about what (if any) IVF options will be available with the new insurance options. I've forced myself not to think too much about it this weekend.

I just want Mother Nature to get a move on with this CP, get over the bronchitis and get my son healthy again.

Then, when we're all feeling normal again, we can consider what happens next.

Friday, October 3, 2014

This is a joke, right?

I don't mean to turn my blog into twitter or facebook today but,  it's been one thing on top of another.

My old fertility clinic just called and left me a message that said "Jessica, your blood test came back and it's negative. Go ahead and stop taking the progesterone and call us when you're ready to start another cycle".

WTF? Am I being punk'd?

I haven't walked in their door since August.

I figured, okay for some reason they were given my blood test results from today. Weird, but, I'd like to get to the bottom of this because I intend to switch clinics and I don't want them to continue to get results.

I give the nurse a call and ask. She said, "I have it right here, you're not pregnant". I say "well actually I am but, won't be in a week or so. Soooo... what the hell are you talking about? I didn't even do a cycle with you this month".

She gives me a HCG number (< 2) that doesn't match the one I got before lunch from my OB.

Bottom line:
She's reading results from July.

Let's think about that for a minute.
She's calling in October to give me results from July. And, doesn't even realize it.

If I wasn't in total break down mode already, this would be what pushes me over the edge.

Now, I'll leave you with this because it's hilarious and truly made my sh!t day better.
Best one yet, Stephanie!




PS - I'm likely going to be taking a break from writing and reading. I'll check in with you all for sure, but, I'm not sure I'll be in a positive enough place to write meaningful comments.
Why should you have to put up with my bad attitude?

Icing on the f**cking cake

I hate this day so much.

My husband just got information about the upcoming open enrollment at his company.

The insurance we have now will no longer be available. It's not clear if another insurance will have IVF coverage options but, I have to say after reading the email, it doesn't look like it.

We now have two months to do an egg retrieval and embryo transfer. His current insurance covers 4 of these procedures.

I doubt we'll be able to fit in one whole cycle before the end of the year, particularly if they require birth control for 3 weeks.

October 3rd, you just joined the list of dates I'll hate for the rest of my life.

The results are in...

My beta went down (a lot, actually) so, we can classify this as another biochemical pregnancy.

I'll stop the progesterone and wait for the miscarriage to happen.

I'm sad, of course, but, also glad I know definitively.

More information for the new RE to have next week, too.

Still, it was nice to be pregnant for five days.

A little bit pregnant

Yes, you can be a little bit pregnant.
And the anxiety and ambiguity that comes with that is absolutely maddening.

As you know, my first test was, in my eyes, at least, ambiguous. Definitely pregnant but low beta numbers.

I remember back when I found out I was pregnant with Ryan, I took the HPT, it was positive so I called my OB (same OB I have now). He made an appointment for me that was at the six weeks mark. That's when he see's pregnant patients for the first time.

When I went in at six weeks, he did an ultrasound and we saw the heart beat. That was how it went going forward.

I vaguely remember him taking blood but, we never discussed HCG beta numbers or the such.

And, that's exactly how it happened with Nathan, too.

I joined due date forums and other women discussed beta numbers and compared but, I never had a clue what they were discussing. I read women comforting other women saying "maybe yours is lower because you ovulated late or implanted late".

This stuff was totally foreign to me and I had no idea what they were talking about.

The first experience I had with beta testing was at my old fertility clinic. The first month I got a call saying the blood test was negative. That was that.

The second month is when all those phrases that I didn't understand before became meaningful. My second IUI was "successful" but my HCG beta was 8.

The nurse said right away that it didn't look good but wanted me to return in two days for another draw.

I started to Google frantically. Yes, 8 is bad. That rarely ends well. But, I did find a few hopeful stories of women who started with very low numbers and went on to have healthy babies.

Next beta was still 8 so that was that. I went in for two more to watch for it to return to 0. This was my crash course in beta numbers and just how significant they are.

Since that call on Wednesday, my life has been a series of ups and downs. Hopefulness then anxiety - back and forth.

Today's number is important. If it's doubled (or more), I can breathe a very small sigh of relief. I can know we're headed in the right direction. Doesn't guarantee safety of course, but, nothing can.

My fear today is more ambiguity. A number that has risen but maybe not risen enough or one that didn't quite double but close.

I think that would be worse than being told it went down or it barely increased. With that, you know what you're really being told; this isn't your take home baby. It's time to let Mother Nature do her thing.

I stopped taking tests after Wednesday night because they weren't telling me anything new. The line is still light and I was looking for a pattern of darkening to ease my mind a little. They weren't getting darker.

This is the "hopeful" part, my doctor was completely unconcerned with the number. Well, it's hopeful but also somehow infuriating. He said it was so very early that he expected to see a very low number.

But, I can't help but think that if that same called had come from my clinic after a treatment, I'd be told to, once again, not expect much.

I can't control what I get told today. So, just in case, I'm thinking of the positives to take away from this should the news not be what I am hoping for.

I got pregnant on my own (well, James helped out)! Holy crap, I got pregnant on my own! It CAN happen. My OB was right when he said he did not think my cervix was an impediment.

The sperm can get to where they need to go, they just need to get hold of a good egg.  You better believe that should this little blastocyst not make it, we're going to go at it like rabbits in hopes we can catch a better egg next time.

That doesn't mean we won't pursue IVF in the new year as planned (assuming James' insurance still covers it - another anxiety fueled situation).

There is always a silver lining and getting pregnant, even a little pregnant, on my own is a pretty huge silver lining.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Well, that was unexpected

The last 48 hours have been a total whirlwind of ups and downs.

Monday morning I came in to work but wasn't really feeling well and had a hacking cough that was disruptive to my fellow cube farm dwellers so, I went home to work.

Spent a good portion of the day worrying about one thing or another, such as:

James got word that his insurance at work is changing and there would be a conference call next week to discuss it. This sent me into total panic mode because, what if they take away IVF coverage?

Then sometime about 4PM, for no reason at all and on a complete whim, I took a FRER.



Do you see it there, ever so faint? Go ahead and click on it, it's there. No drugs, no monitoring, no doctor involvement (no progesterone supplements after ovulation). We got those two lines the old fashioned way.

And now, to some degree, I'm pregnant.

I was shaking and didn't know who to call first. Then I realized, it should really be the baby daddy.
So, I call him and no answer.

Well, I tried right?

Then, I called my old RE because I knew I'd need HCG Beta drawn and I wanted that done ASAP.

The nurse there said if it was a naturally occurring pregnancy, I need to call my OB. So, that's what I did. I know full well he doesn't deliver babies anymore but he's all I had and delivering the baby wasn't the most pressing concern at the moment.

He said he'd have me in first thing in the AM to draw blood. I was able to stop myself from taking anymore tests that night but I went to town the next morning. 5 tests and all squinters like the one above but all definitely positive.

Yesterday morning after I dropped Ryan off at school, I was off to see my OB. Long story short, blood was drawn and because Quest enjoys making people wait a lifetime for results, I didn't get them until today.

The nurse called and said "you were right, you're pregnant!" and then proceeded to give me a number that was infuriatingly low. Higher than when I had the chemical in April but a number that did not make me feel safe.

I burst out crying. She tried to tell me it was so early and this number was completely fine. She said my doctor would call me a little later to discuss and I thanked her still sobbing.

Not even half an hour later he called to offer his congratulations. He said the number was fine for 10/11DPO but said, if I wanted to, I could repeat the test tomorrow.

I said yes, that would definitely make me feel better.

Guys, the number is low, in the teens. I know everyone says it's the doubling that matters and it has to start somewhere etc etc etc. And, I know my doctor says the number is totally fine.

But, most cases like this I've encountered first hand have not ended well. I'm trying to be positive and I'm definitely hoping for the best but I just can't feel happy.

The test I took this morning was still positive but still so very weak. Granted, I had a hard time mustering up enough urine to even go a full five seconds so that may have played a part.

This graph has lifted my spirits a bit:

That leaves room for hope.

But, my heart is telling me that I likely won't be the one to beat the low beta odds.

Either way, I go tomorrow for another blood draw and if it's doubled, I'll breathe a sigh of relief but still won't relax until there is a heartbeat seen and heard.

I would completely appreciate whatever good thoughts, vibes, prayers offered.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

What the hell am I coming down with?

My face felt very flush on Friday and it's back today. It feels like the skin on my face is burning from the inside.

I've felt dizzy a few times (no, I'm not pregnant) and I'm coughing so hard I have wet my pants and nearly vomited.
I've been taking a decongestant that doesn't seem to be working. I've switched to an allergy med hoping that would do the trick.

I'm hungry, but, nothing sounds good.

I can hear the wheezing in my chest at night and that makes it hard to sleep. Also, I go between freezing and burning up throughout the night.

On top of all this, Ryan has a pretty bad cough, too. Ryan has been sleeping with me at night and James has exiled himself to the spare bedroom while we recover from this mystery illness. Thankfully, other than the cough, Ryan seems fine. I switched him to allergy meds, too.

Today I'm 10DPO and I'm conducting an experiment. 
I've been on progesterone suppositories every month since February and no longer know what a normal LP for me is unmedicated.

Before I started treatments, it varied wildly, which, apparently, is very unusual. It would be anywhere from 8 to 15.

It could be that my DPO counting was off. I didn't temp and relied solely on OPK's.

So, I've made it to 10DPO and I'm feeling sure that will end sometime tomorrow. I started feeling some pretty harsh cramps yesterday but then, that could have been from the coughing.

I was expecting it last night and made overnight arrangements assuming it would happen as I slept. When I woke up to nothing, I was pretty surprised.

Since we have made a commitment to try on our own until January, I'll go back to using progesterone next cycle just in case a miracle does come our way.

Thanks to everyone who wrote comments on my last post!
Because of those, I came up with about 8 new questions to add to my list for the new RE next month.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Help from IVF'ers needed - Part 2

This question may seems similar to what I posted a month ago but, it's not. I'm not looking to compare clinics now, I'm sure I've settled on the one I want.

And, now that I've settled on a clinic (and assuming they accept me as a patient), I'm compiling a list of questions to ask the doctor at my first appointment.

I have a few already but, I'd really appreciate some input from those of you who've been down this path already.

Is there anything you wish you had asked up front or something you didn't know until later that you wish you had known from the start?

Now matter how small or obvious, please let me know. I want to cover all my bases this time.

It's not that I didn't feel that way last time but it was a different situation in a different time and place and James and I had a different mindset.

And, we were only considering IUI at that time because we had no IVF insurance.
Now that the insurance situation has changed and we're covered, I want to be thorough.

And one last question for those still trying: what vitamins/supplements are you taking? I'd also like to know how much, how many times a day and if your doctor suggested it or did independent research lead you to taking it.

I need you guys and since we're in the middle of ICLW, this is a great time to ask!

Lay it on me, guys!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Let's push things forward

I've sat down to write a new post at least four time in the last two days.
I start then say to myself "I can't be bothered" and delete it. And, I've been awful at responding to comments, too. Sorry about that.

Maybe it's because I don't feel like I have a lot to say. Or maybe I've had nothing but negative thoughts in my head and who wants more of that?

I've actually stopped reading blogs that always seem so negative. Not because they were negative but because the negativity started to bore me. 

However, my spirits up today.
James and I saw my retiring OB yesterday and it was so wonderful. I showed him a picture of Ryan since he hasn't seen him for two years. We thanked him for bringing Ryan into the world safely. 

He did the normal GYN exam that I've been putting off. Most importantly though, we talked about infertility. My OB isn't an infertility specialist in any way but, he did have some valuable advice for us. 

He said he thinks the position of my cervix being the cause of my infertility is bunk. He said my cervix has always been high up (he would know, he's seen it more than anyone else!) and awkwardly placed. Some women are just like that. 

But, seeing as I got pregnant quickly three times in two years, he doesn't believe it's the cause. Internet search actually agreed that a tilted cervix isn't an obstacle for sperm that has tested normal (normal volume and motility). James' sperm has been A+ so they are likely getting to where they need to be.

He recommended doing a little experiment at home; semen liquefaction. He said  however long it takes to liquefy is how long you should lay with your hips elevated. 

How do you do this?
Well, you need a "sample" in a cup and see how long it takes to go from the white goopy stage to liquid stage.

If you've ever done an IUI or an SA, you probably already have these results. 

Fortunately, every single time we did an IUI, I asked for a copy of the SA. I was looking through them and it's taken anywhere from 60 minutes to 15 minutes to liquefy. 

So, for me to be safe, I should have my hips elevated for an hour. 30 minutes would probably do it really since only one was 60 minutes and the rest were under 20. 

He wasn't suggesting we skip IVF in favor of TTC on our own again. In fact, he encouraged IVF and said don't waste another day on IUI.

But, he said since we're taking off until the New Year, give his suggestion a try.

I also asked if any genetic testing was done on my miscarriage back in 2010. I don't remember he and I discussing anything about that after the D&C. My mind was elsewhere at the time because I had a baby at home who was only 4 months old.

Unfortunately, I never asked for genetic testing to be done. So I don't know the gender or what defects it might have had to cause the miscarriage (I was 10 weeks along). 

The other piece of important advice he gave me was to not bother with a regular OB when I do get pregnant. He said to go straight to a high risk doctor. Since I'm considered AMA (advanced maternal age) and I've had a stillborn, he suggested I see only a specialist and gave me a recommendation. 

Looking at their website just filled me with total peace. That's the practice for me, I can already tell. No doctor can prevent the cord getting wrapped around my baby's neck again but, this place specializes in nuchal cord ultrasounds (that puts my mind at ease right there) as well as AMA and RPL. 

And, they deliver at the hospital that is closest to my home. I was warned that if our baby is born in distress, he/she will be airlifted to the hospital where Ryan and Nathan were born because they have the best NICU in the area. But, let's hope it won't come to that.

Next month I meet with Shady Grove Fertility and I am so damn excited. After pouring through their website and facebook page and looking at their SART report I want to be their patient.

Looking over the paperwork they sent us to fill out, I just feel so much better about this place. 
I'm relieved I didn't start the IVF process with my old clinic. 

In other news:
Last night Ryan's pre-school had Curriculum Night. This is where the teacher explains what your child in learning and how he's learning it.

I got to speak with her one on one about Ryan, too. I asked her if he's a leader or follower in class. She laughed and said Ryan was the leader of the whole class.

This made me pause a moment, that's not what I was expecting at all but, I was thrilled to hear it. She said he's very popular with the other kids and he's always nice. She only had great things to say about him and it made my day. 

All in all, I'm feeling in better spirits than I have lately. 

You might notice I haven't commented on my weight loss journey. Erm... well... umm... the thing is...
How about we check in with that next week?

I just haven't been good to myself for the last week and a half so, I'm getting back on track.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This one is going to sting

I have handled all pregnancy announcements and subsequent births without drama. Because mostly, it hasn't been anyone very close to me. Co-workers I don't know outside of work, facebook friends I haven't seen since high school & Royals, no big deal.

None of my very close friends or family have gotten pregnant until now. And, this one stings.

My friend J (who I also work with) said she needed to tell me something yesterday so we went for a walk. How did I not guess her news? I truly thought she wanted to tell me some work gossip. 

It's lovely of her to want to tell me so early and before word got out because she knows how we've struggled.

But, there is more to this story. 

She and I were pregnant with our second babies at the same time, we had the exact same due date in fact. Only our stories ended very differently. I had a funeral for mine and not too long after, she delivered a gorgeous healthy son.

James and I have been trying for another one ever since we were given the all clear in 2012. Nearly two years now and I still don't have a baby and she's on her third. 

Now let me say, I'm happy for her. She wanted another one and she's getting another one. Even though I knew she was going for a third, I thought it would take a while since she's a few years older than me. But no, she pretty much got it the first shot. This is the first announcement that has hit me directly in the gut.

The thing is, it took hours before it had an effect on me. When she told me I was completely happy and told her it was kind to worry about me but I was fine. I said it because, I thought I was.

But, I was at work and had my mind on a deadline and once I had down time to think about it, I was gutted.

Not gutted that she is pregnant but, gutted that pregnancy has once again passed me by in favor of another. It sounds so incredibly selfish but, I feel like others keep getting my miracle. 

And on top of that, she's team May Baby. Something I had my heart set on so much last month. 

To add insult to injury, as James dropped me off at work this morning I saw a woman who works for my company but on a different floor. She had her first baby a couple months after I had Nathan. 

I haven't seen her in a while and guess what? She's looking at least 7 months pregnant. 

Am I somehow not deserving of another baby?
Have I done something so awful to make me not worthy?
Are my husband and I not good enough parents to the one we have?
Or, does the universe just hate me?

And right now, I don't even have an RE. I don't know if the one I'm interviewing next month (or, are they interviewing me?) will even take me on.

Please tell me, how do I keep my spirits up?
Not a rhetorical question my friends, I'm really asking for ideas on keeping my spirits up.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How things can change in one day

As you know, yesterday I was feeling rather despondent about all the things going on at once. Honestly, it was enough to make me wonder if I should throw in the towel on everything. The dieting, another baby... everything.

But, I picked myself up pretty quickly and took action.

Here is my update:

1. I no longer have an OB.
I'm still very disappointed about this one. I've gone through 2 c-sections and I want the best doing my third one when the times comes. And, he's the best.

But, there is a silver lining. He only delivers at the hospital where Nathan died and while I won't get into the entire story (the ending is all that matters), that hospital can never hold anything but nervousness and anxiety for me now.

Ryan was born at that hospital as well as my cousin and probably most of Ryan's friends. It's an excellent hospital with top notch facilities. It's where I lost my son, though.

So, a new OB that's closer to home means that when the time comes, I can deliver at a different hospital.

I'm going in for my annual GYN exam next week and I'm going to ask him who he recommends. I trust him to hand me off to someone great.

2. I no longer have an RE.
As of October 17th, that will hopefully change; I've made an appointment with Shady Grove Fertility.

When I called to make the appointment the woman I spoke with put me at ease from the start. First, her accent sounded like my husbands so I assumed she was English (South African as it turns out. Doh!) but, it was comforting. It kind of felt like I was just having a chat with his mum and it felt comfortable and reassuring.

I explained the hassle I had just gone through with my old RE and she was so sympathetic and encouraging. Honestly, that mattered to me.

I won't know yet whether or not they will accept me as a patient. It's not like my old clinic who would basically take anyone who walked through the door and had money to pay.

When I explained my situation and gave her my numbers she said she was sure I would be taken on as a patient.

Call me crazy but, I'm tossing around the idea of giving the new clinic one shot at IUI. I still have three left that my insurance will pay for and IUI might be a good way to get a feel for the new clinic, their procedures and staff before trusting them with IVF.

Opinions?

3. Despite doing everything right, I've gained weight.
This still holds true. But, I believe in what Megan and my husband have both said; weight fluctuates. Particularly for women and where they are in their cycle.

I believe I'm doing the right things to lose weight and I know the scale will reflect that eventually. Meanwhile, as soon as I'm done with this post, I intend to google "does your weight increase close to ovulation?". ;-)

I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing because I know it's the right thing. I won't obsess over the scale (I have a friend who swears she can retain several pounds of water weight at any given time).

And, lastly.
I got a positive OPK this morning (CD 12). I was on fertility meds for so long, I wasn't sure what to expect this cycle.

CD 12 is about right on target for me so, as usual, my body is doing everything it's supposed to do, when it's supposed to do it, except for becoming pregnant.

I'm still hoping for my miracle before the end of the year so we're getting down to business in the BD department.

We're in it to win it!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Freaking the f**ck out!

Where do I even begin?

1. I no longer have an OB.
The OB who delivered Ryan has retired from OB work. He's going to be doing GYN only going forward. This freaked me out enough to bring me to the brink of tears. This doctor saw me through 3 pregnancies and was well and truly upset when Nathan was stillborn. He wasn't there with me at the time because he was in the same hospital having emergency open heart surgery.

While he was recovering from that major event in his life, he got the news about Nathan and he called me from his own sick bed to tell me how sorry he was that he wasn't there for us.

I knew his retirement was probably coming after that, but, I was hoping to have him deliver one last baby of ours. Now, it's too late. I didn't get pregnant and his OB days are over. After what I've been through, I will find it hard to trust another doctor. I don't even know how to pick one. I don't want another one, I want him.

Yes, I realize I'm not even pregnant and this is all a moot point unless I become pregnant. Which may never happen since...

2. I no longer have an RE.
I've officially fired my RE's office. For one, their billing department is atrocious. The bad online reviews I read were almost exclusively about their poor billing department. At the time I thought, "who cares, they get me pregnant and we can sort out the  billing". Well, I'm not pregnant and the reviews were right, billing department is dreadful.

My insurance company has been trying to contact them for over a month. Last night they read off to me every attempt to contact them they've made. Even my insurance company can't figure out what the hell they're doing.

This morning, on a whim, I called myself and spoke with the billing department. She was rude and called my insurance company liars. She said they haven't been calling her. I got frustrated and told her she'll be getting a call from them today and I needed her to answer the phone.

Her response? "I don't sit by my phone all day. I can't guarantee I'll answer when they call." The woman was full of attitude our entire conversation.

On top of that, last month they sent all my blood work to LabCorp instead of Quest which means I have to pay 100% out-of-pocket for it because my insurance doesn't have an agreement with LabCorp.

When you're getting blood work done almost every other day, you can imagine how quickly that adds up. I now owe LabCorp hundreds of dollars which we, obviously, didn't budget for.

Also, at that last IUI, my husband refused to pay the $250 for the sperm wash until they sorted out the billing. We can expect that bill to come in the mail soon and as far as I'm concerned, they can wait forever for it.

Their in-house lab doesn't participate in any insurance. So, anything you do there like sperm wash for IUI,  ICSI, Assisted Hatching (which I was planning to do since insurance will pay for it) and PGD have to be paid out-of-pocket.

The office itself is in-network but their lab isn't. What good is that?!

So, I'm done with them.

3. Despite doing everything right, I've gained weight.
I stepped on the scale three different days and it's not budging either. I am up four pounds from my weigh-in Friday. WTF?!

I know I shouldn't be weighing myself every day but this current situation is upsetting me. I'm staying off until Friday and recording whatever weight is there, even if it's a higher weight.

I can't even begin to understand what's going on. Stress?

I will not fall apart. I will not fall apart. I will not fall apart.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Because dammit, I will it so!

"Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so."
-William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet

I made an important decision today; I'm going to get pregnant on my own the old fashioned way.
And, I'm going to do it before January.

Okay,okay -  maybe I'm feeling a little full of myself with my weight loss success (9 pounds in 11 days!).

However, I am going to give it my all these next four months. I'm going to continue to focus on weight loss, but, I don't want to give up on my own miracle happening.

So, I will myself to get pregnant.

It's not even breaking new ground. This is something I've done before - a few times in fact.

Let's face it, I've had much better success without fertility treatments than with.
I'm aware that I'm older now and things have changed (most importantly, my cervix). But, it doesn't mean for one second it's not worth trying.

Trying for me will mean sticking with OPK's and/or the fertility monitor (which I love, by the way), checking for EWCM and timed BD.

If only we can get Ryan back to sleeping in his own bed...



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Going in the right direction

I weighed myself on a whim today (normal weigh-in day is Friday) and I'm down another two pounds for 7 lost in total.

Hoorah!

I did kind of think I'd be down a bit since Friday since all day Sunday was spent at Kings Dominion at James' company picnic. It felt like we walked a thousand miles!

We had such a great time. It wasn't too hot, a little breeze coming through and the rain stayed away. Couldn't have asked for better weather. 

Huge success all the way around.



The rest of this blog is for my fellow infertile friends.
I want to share a 100% true story with you that I think will give you all some hope. 

I have been a member of a stillborn support group since 2012 when Nathan died. It was so helpful to connect with other moms and dads who have suffered in the same way.

Anyway, in that group was a woman who is a doctor. I can't remember all her details anymore but her firstborn was stillborn.

After that, she was told she had less than a 1% chance of conceiving a baby and she'd never be able to carry one to term at that. 

She tried fertility treatments anyway and they all failed. So, her and her husband had picked out a donor egg and a surrogate mom. It was all worked out and they were ready to go.

Then she fell pregnant, naturally. Her doctors told her it was amazing but she'd never be able to carry this baby to term and she should continue her plans with the surrogate. 

She chose to put those plans on hold, just to see how things went. That pregnancy resulted in a baby that has now turned 1. 

She's pregnant. And again, naturally. 

Is this the woman taking up all our miracles? Maybe! But, she gives me hope. 
Less than 1% has turned into one perfectly healthy baby with another on the way. 

I try to think of her whenever I find myself thinking that I don't know why I should bother trying to conceive naturally when I know it will never work. 

And for me, it probably won't. 

I suppose it's kind of like the lottery; someone wins. Who knows, maybe it will be me (or you).





Friday, September 5, 2014

Finding some positivity among disappointment

At 14DPIUI I tested BFN.
No surprise of course but, yes, I was a tiny bit disappointed. You're always hoping for a miracle, right?

I stopped the progesterone after that. I know I was going to keep it going until 18DPIUI and test one more time but honestly, I've known for some time now that it didn't work. I don't see any point in prolonging it.

I've been tossing around the idea of not tracking anything for the next four months. No OPK's, no fertility monitor and no recording data on an app.

As The Beatles would say "Let It Be".

When I notice EWCM I'll make sure to throw is some BDing but, I want to relax for a bit. I've been tracking, POAS and everything else for nearly two years. It's time to BD for fun, again - whenever - and not think about what the timing is.

When the time comes, will I be able to stick to the plan and not check an OPK? I don't know. It feels like one of those things that's easy to say but maybe not so easy to do. We'll see.

Remember I said my RE suggested I lose ten pounds before getting started on IVF? And, you might also remember that I said that the reality is, I have quite a bit more than that to lose.

Well, today was weigh-in #1 and the first week I lost 5 pounds! That's quite a good start, I think. And it's motivated me to keep going.

More about that can be read here (for people who have the password).

Everyone have a good weekend!

PS - you might notice that I have kind of stolen TTC In My 40's blog postings style. Well, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Operation May Baby = Bust

11DPIUI = BFN

Ah well, I called it last week, anyway. This kind of cramping has PMS written all over it.

Since I've decided to forego the blood test this cycle, I'll test again at 14DPIUI and again and 18DPIUI just to be sure it's safe to stop the progesterone suppositories.

Funny story regarding this morning's HPT.
I woke up early and everyone else is asleep - hoorah, I get a little alone time!

In the master bathroom I grab a Wondfo and head downstairs. Once downstairs I go directly into the little bathroom where I take the test.

I set it aside thinking I'll return in two or three minutes to read the results. However, I get sidetracked by cat vomit. It takes me several minutes to dispose of it then clean the carpet. Then, I discover more cat vomit. Great.

Once I finish cleaning up this lovely surprise I remember the test and think to myself "damn it's definitely been over three minutes. If the test shows even a faint line, I'll have to test again to be sure".

Good one, Jessica!

That test, after at least 7 minutes, was as stark white as new fallen snow.

I will have to invest in a box of FRER since I'm skipping the blood test this cycle. My Wondfo's have an expiration of 9/2014 so I can't fully trust them before ending progesterone.

You might wonder why I'm skipping the blood test at all.
This is what I wrote on a forum post:
I did my 5th IUI ten days ago and, as a matter of protocol, my RE sends me to get an HCG quant, Progesterone (STAT) at 12DPIUI. 

Every time it's been negative (except for one CP in April) and a week later I get a bill for $35 just to be told I'm not pregnant. 

At this point, I'm tired of the waste of money. For one $35 blood test I can get a few boxes of HPT's that will last several months. 

My doctor likes the blood test to be done to confirm but, this was my last IUI before moving on to IVF in January. 

I doubt my RE or his staff are waiting for my blood test results with baited breath and will hop on the phone to call me if they never arrive. 

I have all the PMS signs so I know that I've had another failed month. What's the point in spending another $35 to confirm that? 

If I were going to try again right away then I'd go get the blood test done because I know my doctor wouldn't proceed without the confirming results. 

However, since I'm taking a four month break from treatments, it's okay to skip the hassle of the blood work, right? 

I figured I'd take an HPT at 14DPIUI and again at 18DPIUI and when it's negative, stop taking the progesterone and let AF come. 
So far I've spent $245 to be told I'm not pregnant. Granted, three blood tests were from a CP that we were monitoring to see if there would be a rise and then to see if it fell.

None the less, that's a lot of money to find out something that, at best, an $.88 test from Wal-Mart can tell me.

Alright, it's taken me nearly an hour to write this post because First Born woke up and requested I put his race track together (then told me I did it backwards, so I had to fix it) and then husband woke up.

So, it's time to put this update to rest. I'll be back soon (if I can find anything to talk about).

Happy Labor Day to my American readers!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Update to my "Top Secret" blog

You can go here to read it if you have the password.

If you'd like the password, please email me to get it.
As I've mentioned before, if we're IRL friends, I probably won't give out the password. I'm sorry for this and I swear it's not personal but there are some places I just need to be for "strangers" or for people who aren't involved in my life regularly (a few close friends/family being a small exception).





Friday, August 29, 2014

Well, hello there PMS!

And how nice of you to bring acne, sore boobs and cramps with you to stay! 

8DPO and if it weren't for the progesterone, I'd be saying hello to Aunt Flo in the next two days, too.

Without progesterone, my LP is 10, maybe 11 days. These days I stay on the progesterone until the HCG blood test comes back as negative. Then two days later I see red.

Ah well, it was worth a shot, right? I can't say I didn't give IUI a good chance to work. 

James and I had a talk this morning because I was up a lot during the night thinking about another health issue that needs to be dealt with. Nothing serious, and I'm sure I'll blog about it at some point.

Until I deal with that, I don't think putting time and limited IVF chances into it is a good thing. In fact, I think it will be a waste of the 4 IVF's my insurance will pay for. If you're going to do it, do it right - right?

Our plan was to start IVF in October or maybe November but I think it might be more prudent to wait until January while I deal with this other health concern. That gives me four months to take Ovaboost along with a host of other supplements that will increase egg quality (hopefully). 

When I mentioned it to my doctor a few weeks ago, she said putting IVF off a few months was okay. But, I wasn't so sure because I feel 40 hanging over my head. I'm 39 and 4 months, so yeah, 40 is on top of me. 

And I know 40 isn't some magic cut-off date where you have to just close down the reproductive shop. 
But, my head is in a place where it's convinced that if I can't get pregnant before I turn 40, I will never be able to.

It's not even necessarily logical to think that. Women get pregnant in their 40's (and older) all the time! I know because I did a google search which lead me to that link. 

And, there is this story of a woman giving birth in her 60's.

So, I'll take the time to concentrate on another health concern and see where we stand in January, I think. 

*Please note: this is my plan today. A plan I think is a good idea to stick to. But, I reserve the right to change my mind in two months when I start panicking about my age again (or the age of my eggs).

It feels right to start IVF off by giving it the best possible chance to work and hopefully, my husband will make me stick to my guns on this one.

 


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The calm before the disappointment

My husband pointed out this is a mixed metaphor. Still, it's apt.

The thing is, I know that the chances of an IUI working for me is less than 10% even with 88 million sperm vying for the love of one egg.

And now that we've agreed pursuing IVF next, I have ignored this TWW altogether. With that being said, I think I will still be disappointed next week when I get the inevitable BFN.

Now I can look back on the IUI journey and think about how much hope I had wrapped up in it. I'm not going to lie, I was 100% convinced IUI would work for us. In my head I was rearranging the 4th bedroom into a nursery. I was coming up with good arguments as to why we shouldn't find out the sex beforehand. It was a sure thing.

Until it wasn't.

So now, to distract myself (between my marathon of Gossip Girl episodes - don't judge) I have been doing as much research as possible on IVF, embryologists, clinics, assisted hatching and anything else I can think of.

I liked to be armed with information (you might recall my RE told me months ago that I am the most well prepared and informed patient he has ever had).

My in-laws are coming late next month and after that we'll decide when to start the IVF protocol.

In the mean time I'll focus on losing weight, getting back on track with healthy habits and working on just getting myself out of this total funk I've been in.

I'd like the blame that funk on the medicine, and it might be true. But, I'm also sure it has something to do with trying, and failing, month after month.

A break will be good for me. I need to find my positivity and motivation again. I'm not naturally a negative person. I haven't liked that side of me and it's been my own personal rain cloud all summer.

I love Fall and it's almost here, giving me every reason to accept good vibes back into my life.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Help from IVF'ers needed

I've been thinking more and more about the IVF process which includes thinking about the clinic I'm currently using.

I'm not unhappy with my clinic all but, since I'm moving on to IVF, I want to make sure I'm going with a place that will give me the best shot at getting pregnant.

The truth is, we chose our current RE because we were going to be paying out-of-pocket for IUI and price was a major factor. And, let's be honest, you don't have to have graduated first in your class to do an IUI.

But, now we have insurance that will pay for IVF and it's something that requires so much more precision than IUI. We need to know we have access to the best option in our area.

So the question to my readers is this: what do you ask when you're interviewing RE's?
How do you make comparisons beyond the typical "success rate"? I don't want to rely solely on success rate statistics because too many contributing factors go into that figure.

I know there are clinics who won't treat women over a certain age, or BMI or AMH/FSH level because they don't want their success statistics to be diminished.

My currently clinic is honest with you about the odds of getting pregnant based on your personal situation but they don't turn women away because the likelihood of it working are minimal.

What data do I use to compare clinics?
How do I know if they have a good assisted hatching program?

Please, any information or guidance you have regarding this would be immensely helpful.

Thank you in advance!

Friday, August 22, 2014

I'm a believer

A kinda-sorta scientific study of my own

In August 2013, after TTC unsuccessfully for more than 6 months, my OB sent James and I both to get some testing done.

At the time, I checked out normal but, James' results were not great. I figured that was the reason it wasn't working for us but it took until January 2014 before we agreed to see a fertility specialist.

At that time our RE did all the tests on James and I again. This time, my results weren't great but his had improved significantly.

So first, let me give a break down of the numbers

8/6/13 - 60 million (normal) 20% motility (abnormal)
1/30/14 - 70.06 million (normal) 62% motility (normal)

Between the August and January tests, I had James take MotilityBoost for Men. I didn't think he needed anything else since his count was high to begin with, motility was the only concern.

3/8/14 IUI #1 - Post Wash 31.68 million w/ 60% motility
4/5/14 IUI #2 - Post Wash 57.12 million w/ 85% motility

We took a two cycle break at this point while we got our new insurance sorted out. During this time, James ran out of the MotilityBoost and forgot to tell me.

6/28/14 IUI #3 - Post Wash 19.2 million w/ 80% motility

The motility is still excellent but the count went down. I asked about the pills and he told me he had run out some time back. So I ordered more MotilityBoost but this time also added FertilAid for Men.

7/26/14 IUI #4 - Post Wash 23.99 million w/ 83.3% motility

Not a significant improvement but, he had only been on MB and FA for a couple weeks.

8/21/14 IUI #5 - Post Wash 88.6 million w/ 72% motility

The motility isn't where I'd hope, but still in normal limits. The count though, holy cow!
That's the highest number yet and that's post wash.

I can't say I know for sure that the MB and FA had anything to do with it but, looking at his numbers with and without it, I think these products have made a difference.

I started taking the OvaBoost product last month and hopefully, we'll see some results from that, too.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

#5 is in the books

The doctor did have to aspirate some fluid but it was a tiny amount.

James provided his best numbers yet at 88 million post wash and the doctor said that the IUI was the best one we've done.

I read yesterday that some doctors suggest having a full/semi-full bladder for IUI's and since my doctor never says one way or the other, I decided to not empty before hand.  I did find a study that had 250 women empty their bladder before IUI (control group) and another 250 not empty. The group that didn't empty had a higher success rate. So, cant hurt, right?

I got super busy at work after my morning blog post so the rest of the morning absolutely flew by. I couldn't believe when I noticed it was noon already and James was on his way to pick me up.

Unfortunately, the afternoon felt like it just crept along. James' appointment was at 1PM and mine wasn't until 4 so we went to lunch after his. He had to do a conference call at 3PM so we headed back to the clinic and sat in the waiting room. Talk about boring!

But, I do enjoy the people watching. Especially since it's mostly women and we all know we're there for the same thing; to get a baby. 

We've done all we can now, the rest is up to Mother Nature I suppose. 

Bring on September 5th!


Truly amazing friends

This morning I came to work wound so tight you could bounce me off a wall.

Again, these medications I take totally messes with my head and body. Having to inject myself with the pregnancy hormone (trigger shot) is just plain cruel.

First off, when I am actually pregnant, I vomit. Any slightly odd smell sends me to the toilet. So injecting myself with HCG gives me all the symptoms with none of the happy offset (like, carrying my baby).

This morning on the way to work we drove past a dead skunk. I thought I was going to vomit right there in the minivan.

So, needless to say, by the time I got to work I was extremely anxious and feeling annoyed at the world (thank you hormone altering meds!).

A co-worker stopped by to say hello and we got to talking about how I was so obviously not myself. He was super and talked me through it so nicely. He helped to calm me down and get my mind off of it by making me laugh.

Then, another co-worker stopped by to show me she wore a energy bracelet in my honor today. That was so sweet I wanted to kiss her. I nearly cried at the kind gesture (hormones strike again).

And then... Felicia. My wonderful friend and co-worker came over to me, gave me a hug and a kiss on the forehead, told me she loved me and said that this is my month.

I can now honestly say that I am walking into my IUI today with a better attitude than I expected when I woke up this morning.

Those three people, Stephen, Brittany and Felicia made my day today.
But, many others also do that on a near daily basis.

The support and love from you guys is amazing so I want to acknowledge you now.

Always topping the list is my husband, James and son, Ryan. They are the ones who have to put up with the wild mood swings more often than anyone else.

Felicia- Deserves to be acknowledged twice. She puts up with my horrible habit of half listening (I'm trying to do better) and makes every single work day better.

Jen M.- The friend who was brave enough to give me a shot in the ass at work. You were my number one choice because I knew you'd be able to get it done.

Jen S.- Thanks for giving me support from afar and checking in on me by text so often.

Aunt Maggie- For helping to keep my feet on the ground. You're the best advice giver in the entire world.

Fiona- Just because I love you and talking to you forces me to set aside my own issues and focus on my favorite cousin for a while.

Paul- You drive me bonkers but you also make me laugh. And, you've taken away some of my stresses by putting them on yourself. Please know that while I don't always show it, I do appreciate what you do for my family.

My blogger friends:
TTC In My 40's
Haisla
Just T
Megan
Lab Monkey
Brianna
MLACS
Stephanie (Her YouTube videos make me laugh so much so I watch them over and over when I need cheering up. Seriously, check her out)

Facebook friends, I didn't realize so many were following along! There are too many to name but thank for the messages of support. I know people like to keep their own experiences private so the fact that you message me and tell me your stories gives me inspiration.

I'm sure I missed people but I'm sending a huge thanks to everyone who has found a way to make me smile in the last five months! That deserves huge kudos!

Alright, let's do this!
TEAM MAY BABY!



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Top Secret Blog Update

I took the bait.

Email me at: JessicaCHoward@gmail.com if you don't have the password.

Otherwise, nothing new to report today, really.

I did the 4AM trigger which went smoothly even if my husband and I were both a little grumpy at having to interrupt our sleep to get it done.

I woke up at 3:45 to mix the trigger shot solution and we were back in bed by 4:05.

I'm scheduled for a 1PM ultrasound to see if that pocket of fluid is still there and, it so, aspiration of it. James is scheduled for his part in all this at 1PM, too.

Then we return at 4PM for the grand finale.


Go Team May Baby!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

About to pop

Another update so soon?

The nurse called me with the blood work results and yes, I'm about to pop some eggs so it's go time.

E2 = 468
LH = 29.3 (At least, I think that's what she said. I wrote down 9.3 but, that can't be right.)
Progesterone = 2.2

The doctor told her that before we do the IUI, she's going to aspirate the fluid (if it's still there). So, that is one problem that will no longer exist.

Who's ready for another May baby?
This girl right here, that's who!

Team May baby!