Friday, February 28, 2014

Mission Statements

I paused on the title of this post because the last vibe I want to throw into the universe right now is that I am on a "mission" - for some reason I feel like boldly using the word would jinx me to failure. Nevertheless....

As you all know, I turn 40 in less than two weeks.  And as I have indicated in past posts, I am starting to get just a wee bit sensitive to the slings and arrows of seemingly well-meaning people when it comes to the decisions I am making around my fertility.  So let the catharsis begin:

I am not too old for this.  I can have a baby after the age of 40.  This is not some ridiculous notion, plenty of women do it.  My eggs may be on a path of shriveling up and dying, but there's still a chance that a good one is in there somewhere.

I am not scared to change diapers again. Actually this is the last thing I am afraid of.  I can take care of an infant in my 40s.  I am a fitness instructor for fuck's sake, so it goes without saying that I'm healthier than many women in their 20s out there.  I don't drink, I don't smoke, I eat my spinach.  Niblet had COLIC and I still survived somehow. 

I will not dwell on the potential age gap between my children.  My need to procreate again isn't just to give niblet a playmate.  This isn't all about her - though I should add that I don't want her to feel forced to be a lifetime live-in baby-sitter in lieu of her own life when she's older.  But in reality, the potential age difference, if I can be so lucky, could work in our favor.  We won't have two kids in daycare.  We will have staggered college costs.  My kid can pee on her own unassisted, which frankly is the dream of every mother I know who has more than one. 

I cannot spend endless hours of time energy worrying about bad outcomes (birth defects, another miscarriage, etc.). I was in my 30s - a socially acceptable time to procreate - when I carried a baby in a placenta covered in cancer-causing tumors.  EVERY pregnant woman is freaked the fuck out about the world of horrifying reproductive possiblities out there.  How about your fears? Should I live in fear of getting into a car accident because of a texting driver?  Or getting mauled by wild dogs? Incurable illness?  There's a world of scary shit out there.  Being as neurotic as I am, I could conjure - quite literally - MILLIONS of freakish scenarios of doom in my brain.  But this would be a pretty horrible way to live.  Statistically speaking, if I can get pregnant, I have a better chance than not of having a healthy baby. 

In short, I want to live my life.  My life includes trying for another baby.  Period.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Another shot.

So I return here to pronounce that I am decidedly not pregnant.  Ok, it would have been too easy to find success with a single IUI, right?  I am waiting for a new cycle to officially start so I can go through the process again: drugs, scans, sex, more scans, insemination, more sex, wait (not to be confused in any way with sex, drugs, rock and roll).  Rinse wash repeat. 

If my body follows the clock it has favored these past few months, I anticipate my next IUI procedure to be performed on my 40th Birthday.  (Yeah, I need to change the "about me" section of the blog, as I will soon no longer be in the ranks of a chick in her late 30's trying to have a baby.  Good grief.)

I am trying to remain calm and find whatever silver linings I can hold on to right now.  My job is incredibly stressful and busy right now, I am "high on the radar" of my office these days - it would be difficult to schedule the many ultrasounds and labs I would need without anyone noticing.  In April, I fly with niblet to California to visit family, including my one living grandfather.  I wouldn't relish this travel at 11 weeks pregnant. Perhaps this cycle will be timed better than the last, where we missed the mark by around 8 hours.

The boards have also been a source of hope for me.  A number of virtual friends in their early 40s have recently struck the elusive "golden egg" - I am not attempting something out of the realm of possibility.  Also, my acupuncturist thought that last night my pulse was the first one that she had taken "that could sustain a pregnancy."  Kinda makes me wonder, have I been a weak swooning mess these past few months? 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I'll see you in my dreams

This is the two week wait where I have been walking around with my hands over my ears, like niblet, screaming "I can't hear you!!!" (For anyone who cares, I am currently 9DPO).

The need for such protective mechanisms began last weekend, at a get-together of friends that should have been calming.  Until a close friend of mine, with whom I have shared my miscarriage history, starting laying in on the questions.  Am I still ttc?  Yes, really?  Shouldn't I be scared of having a baby with grave genetic abnormailites at my age?  (I shit you not, she did say this).  Shouldn't I just quit while I'm ahead given the "stunning beauty and intelligence" of my one living child?  Meh.

Then a few days later, I discovered I have a strange person who has now appeared in two of my dreams.  I swear you guys, she is following me in my sleep.  I can describe her clear as day: blond-going grey, with a long bob, an "aging" woman, pale, kind of rubinesque, about 50-ish, who - fuck if I know why - lurks around in a state of undress.  I mean, guys, she is stark nekkid.  (Note, I am fully clothed in these dreams).  In my first dream she was a receptionist in a doctor's office.  In my second dream (two nights ago), she was the retail clerk or store manager of a baby goods store.  A very strange baby goods store, which had no merchandise, just a book listing merchandise, that operated out of a pop-up truck in my old city neighborhood.

OK, let the dream analyses begin!  Is she the spirit of a post-menopausal woman telling me to stop?  Is she a portent of my own fertility's demise?  Is my subconscious just really fucking weird?

(Mind you, these dreams were a step up from the horrifying doozy I had over the weekend which involved my stumbling upon cult of people who liked to put baby animals in toaster ovens for sport.  Is it any wonder I am so fucking tired all the time?)

I may not be visiting Dr. Google at all hours of the day inquiring about phantom "symptoms" (in fact I feel none), and I am not peeing on sticks every morning, but so much for my ability to not think about my fertility.  At least in sleep.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The IUI, Part II

So when I last wrote, it was with brisk and careful steps that I hiked over to Dr. Cuddles' office, with a teensy vial of my husband's washed sperm tucked in my cleavage.  I tried really hard not to make too much of a scene staring down my shirt while in the elevator with a clearly perplexed elderly man (it would have been worse if it had slipped out you know).

Once I got to the reception desk I was immediately whisked to a an exam room set up with an sonogram machine.  The IUI catheter was waiting for me on a metal table next to the stirrupt chair.  I breathed a sigh of relief, after a false start last month, we would finally get this show on the road. 
So, here's the meh and the good of the morning:
The meh:
  • My suspicions were correct, I had ovulated just before the procedure.  Probably within hours (see description of mucus below).  My RE stated that ideally she would have performed the IUI right before my follicles burst.
  • I didn't have the "ton of eggs" she was hoping to see, I had once follicle rupture on each side.
  • My seemingly awesome weight loss didn't register as profoundly on the doctor's scale (which is clearly mocking me, because I lost 4 lbs darnit, not a measly 1).  Dr. Cuddles quite literally made the batshit suggestion that I "need to feel hungry" after my meals.
  • Dr. C is wed to statistics and age is not a "fluid" concept for her.  Apparently since I am 39 right now, I am in a vastly different cohort than I will be in one month, when I turn 40.  In her world, my IUI success probability changes the millisecond I turn the big 4-0. ("Right now you're 39," she said firmly.)
The good:
  • Husband had nearly 40 million swimmers, an excellent count, Dr. C was happy.
  • My cervix was filled with "egg-white cervical mucus" (EWCM) meaning, 1.  I was at least in the right window of time for this procedure, and 2. The clomid wasn't having one nasty side-effect on me (i.e. drying out cervical mucus) that it reportedly has on other women.
  • Both of my ovaries responded to the Clomid, even if not with superstar results.  Ovulating on both sides is good.  All you need is that "one good egg" right?
The future:  My next cycle will include a lot more monitoring.  We're going to do an ultrasound on Day 13 (this month I ovulated somewhere between Day 14 and 15) and probably perform the IUI on Day 14 (this cycle we didn't perform the procedure until Day 15). 

And here's another smidge of good news:  I may squeeze one more IUI in when I am still 39 (perhaps hours before I turn 40).  Since Dr. C really cares about this.

I am holding myself to some pretty high standards in my next TWW: 
  1. NO GOOGLING of phantom pregnancy symptoms.  God help me.
  2. NO PEEING ON STICKS (HPTs) until I am at least 12 DPO (as I am supposed to get blood work checking for HCG and progesterone on 14 DPO I shouldn't pee on any sticks at all, but I am only human).
Today I am 4DPO/IUI.  Eight more days.  Easy-peasy. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

IUI Comedy Gold, Part 1

So am I the only one who think that there isn't enough IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) comedy out there?  Seriously, guys, maybe it's just me?  I really felt like the experience was out of the theater of the absurd.

The laughs began last week and throughout the weekend, when I peed on sticks every 5 hours.  If I was at work, I would secret-store them in a pocket in my handbag to review in privacy later on.  When I set out to do things furtively (i.e. get knocked up without telling anyone at the office), I go all black ops about it, no OPKs or HPTs will be left in the company rest-room trash bin, nuh-uh. 

"Is the line in the square box as dark as the line in the oval box?" I would ask my husband every 5 hours, not trusting my decrepit eyesight (and having a touch of OCD).  We each stared into each OPK the way a fortune teller might look at tea leaves.  Meanwhile, my ovaries pulled (literally) their tricks again this cycle, I imagined them bursting with eggs there was so much cramping going on in there.  Thank you 100mg of clomid (days 2-6 for anyone who is interested).

Husband and I awoke each morning at 6 to see if I had surged and try to time any sexy times accordingly, so that we would not jeopardize the actual IUI.  (We wanted to ensure that he would have enough swimmers saved up for the procedure, and were hyper-conscious of not having him blow his wad - so to speak.  Or rather, for reals).  In our ideal world, we would get a good band of sperm in there naturally, go for an IUI right before I ovulated, and then do-the-deed (dtd) again later that night for good measure.  He is a military history buff, so I described the plan of attack on my egg(s) in terms I think he understood (first the front line troops, then the cannon fire of the IUI, then another wave of troop support closing in from behind).

Sunday morning at 6am I peed on a stick and BAM, the surge had spoken (LH or luteinizing hormone surge, for anyone who cares).  I called Dr. Cuddles at 6:50 (awkward) and she scheduled an IUI for us the following morning.  My husband and I agreed that we would forsake all of the lust that a lumbering middle-aged couple like ourselves share, so that he could provide - ahem - a good sample for the IUI.

This morning I was awoken at 4am with some serious cramping on my left ovary (the right had been cramping the day before).  I will confess a bit of panic that the game was over, was I ovulating?

Husband delivered the goods to the fertility lab at 8am and I sped up the road an hour later to pick up THE SAMPLE to deliver to Dr. Cuddles for my IUI, which would be performed in her office, about a block from the lab.  And got caught in a post-snow flurry traffic jam (I live in a region of the US that is incapable of handling even a dusting of snow without great amounts of hand-wringing and fucked up driving).  And finally arrived at the lab to pick up THE SAMPLE.  Guys, I almost cracked up on the spot when I saw the teeny-tiny vial of THE SAMPLE.  It was like, the size of niblet's toe.  I was instructed to keep it "safe and warm" in my bra during the walk over to my RE's office.

5 minutes later:
Me:  "Guess what I am doing now?"
Husband:  "umm, did you pick it up?"
Me:  "Yes, I'm walking it over to Dr. Cuddles' office.  It is in my bra.  Warm and cozy, ensconced in the protection of my bosom."