The Post You’ve All Been Waiting For…

Reese Party of 5. Expected to pop. Our family is growing by two feet. Baby on board. There’s a bun in the oven. Napping for two. And every other cheesy announcement line you can think of! I don’t care if I’m about to annoy the crap out of everyone with my Facebook oversharing because…. WE’RE HAVING A BABY! A real life, screaming, needy, pooping, drooling, precious little bundle of joy!

I guess I should back up a little. We had a very disappointing February. Our first IUI attempt failed. You can read about it here. I had so much hope in that magician. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to try again the next month, but like Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast.” So we decided to go full steam ahead with round 2 in March. I did everything I could to better prepare my body. Cut out soda, coffee, wine… basically all of my favorite things in life. I did acupuncture to “relax”. Although I’m still not sure how anyone can find being stuck with needles all over your body relaxing. I’m assuming those people have never drank a bottle of Moscato while watching anything on Bravo. Throw in some raw cookie dough and I’m basically in a full on state of zen. But I figured I should try to mentally prepare my mind and body for what might happen. I was positive. Not hopeful because that got me nowhere on round 1, but I was positive.

I got my positive ovulation test on Sunday, March 13th and woke up bright and early to get to the Doc’s office to “do the deed” on Monday the 14th. Everything was just the same as round one. Nathan gave his sample, then an hour later all of his best swimmers were placed right where they needed to be in my uterus. We left. I cried. Then I prayed. Then I cried again. I wasn’t sure if I could take another failure. And just like the first round, we didn’t tell anyone. If this round was a success I desperately wanted to be able to surprise our parents with the news of another grand baby on the way. So after round two, I had blood work a week later and my levels were great! They were at a 42.4 (only a 5.2 on the first round) on the increased dosage of clomid. So we were certain that I had ovulated and just praying that we timed the procedure right. A week after that on Monday, March 28th, I could have taken a pregnancy test. Nathan and I woke up for work and I told him I wasn’t ready to take it yet. I still had a couple of more days until my expected period and I didn’t think I could handle seeing “not pregnant” once again. So I waited and Nathan was so supportive. Then Tuesday morning came. I still wasn’t ready. Tuesday after work Nathan said, “We really need to take the test so you can call your doctor.” I agreed, but told him he’d have to be the one to read the results. So I peed on that magic stick that has had so much control over our life for the past year and a half, and then we waited the longest 3 minutes of my life. Nathan read them (yes, them. I took a few). I don’t even remember how it happened exactly. I just remember he made a joke then said, no I’m just kidding it says you’re pregnant. He hugged me and we fell on the bed and cried. The feeling in that moment is something I’ll never forget.

So here we are, back to present time. So much has happened in between that day and today and I’m sure you don’t care about all the details of every doctor appointment so far. The important part is that announcement day is finally here. I’m a little over 11 weeks and baby is healthy and measuring right on track. I’ve been waiting my whole life to say these words, “I’m Pregnant!” I simply cannot thank you all enough for being a part of our journey. The encouragement, shoulders to cry on, prayers and wine have been what has gotten me through. I’m so thankful for each and every one of you who has followed along while I blog my inappropriate, hormone induced and sometimes potty-mouthed stories. If you pray, I hope you’ll substitute your prayers for me for other women who struggle with infertility. It’s a battle that no woman should have to fight.

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Infertility… The S*** No One Tells You

No one tells you that infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. No one tells you that 20% of infertility cases are categorized as “unexplained.” No one tells you that your insurance most likely won’t cover ANY tests or procedures for infertility. No one tells you about the endless amount of pee sticks, raging hormones, blood work and the emotional and physical pain you and your spouse will endure on your journey to have a baby.

I think we all have this vision in our head that Prince Charming will come along, you’ll have your dream wedding, buy your dream home and then you’ll have a picture perfect pregnancy and welcome a beautiful baby into your family to complete the American dream. Sounds just like reality, right? Unfortunately, approximately 12% of married women have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant. I am that 12%. My husband and I are that 1 in 8 couple.

You never think this will be your reality until it is. For me, and like most people, I knew nothing about infertility. Each doctor’s appointment came with more acronyms and testing than I knew what to do with. I googled my way through it with the support of my husband and I spewed word vomit on this very blog to cope with the information and emotional overload. This blog was never intended to be public. I thought I’d share it with family and close friends and use it as more of a journal. After I sent the first post to a few people they encouraged me to share my story and I’m so glad that I did. I never knew the impact my thoughts would have on people. And more importantly I never knew the impact others would have on me. I’ve always said, “It’s a club I never wanted to be a part of,” but the support from others has gotten me through the best and worst days. These people have shared in my triumph’s, let me complain about snarky nurses, brought me wine and more importantly… they haven’t once told me I’m crazy! They have validated each and every good, bad, irrational and Google-driven feeling.

I never realized the stigma that surrounds infertility. People are scared to talk about it openly for fear of judgment, criticism and the lack of knowledge that most people possess on the subject. If I had a $100 for every time I heard, “Just relax,” or, “it will happen when it’s supposed to,” I would be rich! Looking back now, I don’t blame those people. They are simply uneducated as was I before I made it into the club. Infertility is a condition that affects so many men and women and the more we talk about it the more awareness we can bring to the topic. And maybe if we’re really lucky one day all 50 states will mandate insurance coverage for infertility instead of only 15.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. I encourage you all to join the movement, #StartAsking and educate yourself. You never know if you and your spouse will become a member of the club one day.  

For more information on infertility please visit: http://www.resolve.org/

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If At First You Don’t Succeed… Try Weird S***

We’ve all heard the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!” While I agree that one should never give up on their dreams sometimes those failed attempts can lead to insanity. My good buddy Al (as in Albert Einstein) did say, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” There I was doing the same thing month after month: pee sticks and meds and crying, repeat. After a very disappointing March and a failed IUI procedure I was certain I’d need to be committed to an institution soon.

Then I did what I do best when I needed solid advice… I Googled! I searched and searched for natural alternative methods to conceive and started making my list of the things I would consider trying. At this point, if someone told me I would get pregnant if I just stood on my head in a crowd full of people, spun around 10 times all while singing Broadway show tunes from Wicked, Annie and Grease, I’d say, “Pass me the mic and watch me twirl!” I mean desperate times call for desperate measures.

As I compiled my list of alternative methods I realized two things: 1.) people are crazy and 2.) people are really crazy. People believe whatever they read on the internet (pot calling the kettle black right here). The amount of crap I found on the internet about natural methods to help you conceive really blew my mind. Page after page of “how to get pregnant for dummies.” Everything from eating certain foods to specific positions, it was all there for any Somber Sally like me to read and begin to obsess over. I have never thought I would even consider this whole “hippie” route, but there I was considering.

Here is the short list of the things I actually thought MIGHT work and that I would really consider trying:

– Acupuncture
– Removing toxins from your body like caffeine and alcohol (I know I can’t believe I even considered this one)
– Nutrition and vitamins
– Chiropractic treatments

Now I know what you’re all thinking, how the hell is this chick going to give up booze and caffeine? And the answer to that is I have no freaking clue, but I figure I better try since I’ll have to do it for at least 9 months when I eventually get pregnant. And I’m happy to say that I’m so far, pretty successful. And to my shock, giving up the alcohol and my daily glass of wine wasn’t the hardest part. The hardest part was cutting back on the caffeine and my 3 cups of coffee at work to keep me from killing people every morning.

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I had already cut out my beloved Dr. Pepper before Christmas and had only slipped up on a couple of occasions. And I’m happy to say that I have cut back on my coffee significantly. Right now I’m only drinking 1 cup a day if I have one at all. I really think it’s more about having that cup as a part of my morning work routine. So if you’ve been fortunate enough to come across The Beast (me) on one of those coffee-less mornings, I apologize. But hey, I’m adjusting.

The next natural method I decided to try was acupuncture. To be honest while I had read the most success stories with this method I was scared s***less to be stuck with those needles. I mentioned it to my directors (who both had fertility issues and I frequently chat with them about everything) and one of them said she actually did acupuncture at a place about 10 min from work. She gave me the info and I looked them up and set my first appointment about 2 weeks ago on my lunch break. I thought I would chicken out, but I didn’t. I got to the appointment and chatted with the therapist about what I was doing there. Then he told me about all the ways acupuncture relieves stress which can in turn help women conceive.

After our chat he got me setup in my recliner. These chairs were awesome! Heated and massaging and I was immediately relaxed… or maybe it was the soothing Enya music they had playing in the background. I told him I was going to plug in my headphones and close my eyes. I figured it would be better for me and the other people receiving treatments around me I they didn’t hear me cuss every time he stuck me with a needle. A few pricks here and a few pricks there and he tapped me on the shoulder and said he’d be back in 45 min to remove them. So there I sat with a bunch of needles hanging out of different parts of my body. I tried to relax and focus on my mediation podcast, but it was hard. I don’t do well with sitting alone with just my thoughts. My mind raced. After everything we’ve been through, would this $20 therapy give us a baby? Do I really believe in this crap? How clean is this? What shoes am I going to wear on Easter Sunday? You know… all the really important life altering questions. Finally my 45 minutes was up and he came back in to remove the needles. He said we would work out a plan specific for me and time it with my next IUI procedure so that my mind and body were in the optimal state for conceiving. I left and thought, what the heck did I just do? The whole process was weird. I did enjoy my time in the recliner on my lunch break. I’m considering just going back and seeing if I could not do the whole needle part and just sleep in their chair for an hour.

At this point I wasn’t sure if I would continue this alternative method, but I was really glad I tried. For the first time in this whole process I felt like I was actually somewhat in control over what was happening with my body. I felt like I was making changes that could potentially help get me pregnant. Maybe it was just a placebo effect. Maybe it’s all a bunch of crap, but I was finally feeling a little bit of peace with our situation. For the first time in a long time, I felt calm and in control. And that was a really, really good feeling.

So for now I’m just trying to continue this whole Zen state of mind, getting ready to start my next round of clomid (a higher dosage this month so please pray for my husband and our marriage) and then preparing for IUI round two.

 

I’m A Liar and A Failure

When I decided to start this blog I knew the only way it would work was if I was completely open and vulnerable about our struggle to have a baby. If I wanted people to really understand what it’s like to experience infertility I needed to be raw and emotional. It was scary. I pride myself on being a very strong person. Not physically strong, because let’s be honest the only weight lifting I do these days is in the form of lifting my 2 lb wine bottles to fill and re-fill my glass. As much as I cry, I’m a very strong person emotionally. It takes a lot for me to open up to people and ask for help. I tend to take on way more than I can handle. Lucky for me, I have a husband who knows this trait well. He sees the warning signs when I’ve reached my breaking point and he knows just when to sit me down and force me to talk. This blog has been my personal therapy session. I analyze my thoughts and feelings and then I write s*** down and you lucky people get to read it. Today’s blog is about to get real. Probably the most real I’ve been so far. I’m sure you’re wondering how it can get any more real than vaginal probing sessions and my husband’s semen samples, but you’re in for a real treat. Here goes…

I’m a liar. No, seriously! I’m a big, fat, freaking liar. In my last post I told you all about our meeting with the magician who, for only $383, was going to wave his magic catheter wand, insert my husband’s sperm into my uterus, perfectly timed to meet my egg that had just been released during ovulation and then BOOM! “Wingardiaum Leviosa!” I would be pregnant. That post was all true. We had met the magician and established that the IUI would be our next step and that we might try next month. Now here comes the lie…. We already had our first IUI. I’m sorry I betrayed my loyal readers and didn’t give you a completely accurate play-by-play. But I was scared. I was scared of everything. Scared for the procedure (I’ve learned that catheters are very unpleasant little tools). Scared that this little 5 minute magic trick might work. Scared to actually, finally be pregnant. And most of all, I was scared of failure.

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Let’s back track a little to my lie. Because my new magician doctor was able to see me so quickly after I called, I was actually already in the middle of my last cycle of clomid prescribed by my regular OBGYN. So, when we discussed the IUI he told me that I could actually do my first round this month. WHAT? I think my heart sank into my butthole. I had been waiting for so long for an answer and here was this doctor telling me that he could perform his magic in just a little over a week and that I could possibly be pregnant by the end of the month. Insert panic attack here! When I told Nathan his response was, “When do we go?” He was ready! I told him I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with it this month and I couldn’t believe I said that. Here we were, waiting for an answer and we finally got one and I was dragging my feet. Nathan slapped some common sense into me and reminded me that this was what we had been waiting for. So after a nice little pep talk, I decided to put my fears aside and do our first IUI. So I finished my round of clomid, peed on sticks for a few days and finally got a positive ovulation test. I called the doctor’s office to schedule my IUI for the next day. We didn’t tell anyone. Not even our parents. I was putting enough pressure on myself and I didn’t want the added pressure of everyone else knowing, waiting and questioning me in two weeks. So Nathan and I agreed we would keep the procedure between us.

I couldn’t sleep the night before the IUI so I watched Friends reruns, looked up baby names and pinned things to my private ‘Baby Reese’ Pinterest board. Talk about doing a complete 180. I went from considering not even doing the procedure to planning our child’s first birthday party on Pinterest. I was ready. I was hopeful. Still scared s***less, but hopeful. Tomorrow would be the day we would conceive our child. I thought about how crazy it was that Nathan and I would know the exact moment when our baby was conceived. The science behind it all really blew my mind. Even though I had hoped we would conceive naturally, I had accepted the fact that this was our plan and I was going to make the most of our little science experiment. Nathan and I were quiet the whole ride up to the hospital.

We checked in at 7:15 and to our surprise there were about a handful of other couples already ahead of us. Each doing the same procedure. We kept hearing the receptionist say, “That will be $383.” And there we stood in that line, just waiting to buy our baby. After we got all checked in we waited in silence until the called for Nathan to go give his contribution to the experiment. A little while later he returned and then we waited about another hour before they called us both back. Once we got into the little room, I undressed from the waist down and assumed my position on the table. Nathan sat in a chair and we made small talk. Finally a knock at the door and in came the bubbliest person I’ve ever seen at 9 in the morning. She was the one who would perform the procedure just as she said she had done thousands and thousands of times before. She showed us Nathan’s sample in a small tube. My response was, “That’s it?” She laughed and said that’s all she needed. In that tiny little amount of liquid no bigger than the size of a dime were 52 million of Nathan’s best swimmers just waiting for a chance to fertilize my egg. She told us there needed to be at least 10 million to perform the procedure and my stellar husband gave them 52 million. She explained the process of washing the sperm and told us basically they take out all the bad sperm and only choose the MVP’s to be inserted.

Then we were ready to get started. I laid back and hoisted my legs up into the stirrups. Nathan was in a chair at the end of the table and I asked him if he wanted to come up to the good side or watch. He smiled and said he kind of wanted to watch. The nurse was more than happy to oblige and told him to stand behind her. She walked him through each move she made. “This is her vaginal canal. And this right here is her cervix.” Nathan stood behind her hunched over looking at my lady parts and made some faces as she pointed things out and explained the process. I laughed and had to stop looking at him. It was weird. Sweet that he wanted to see how our baby was being made, but weird. Then I felt a little pinch and some cramping. The nurse squeezed in the baby juice and then we were done! All of that worry and the procedure was over in about 10 really quick minutes. I laid there for a few minutes afterwards and then we were free to go about the rest of our day. The nurse told me I would need to go in for bloodwork in one week to check my progesterone levels and then hopefully I would be calling her back in 2 weeks to let her know that we were pregnant.

I remember walking out of there scared to move too quickly. Like I was afraid it would fall out (yes, I know that can’t happen, but common sense goes out the window in times like these.) So we left the office and went to lunch. As soon as we got in the car I was different. I felt different. I felt positive and giddy. As we drove to get lunch I looked at Nathan and asked, “Do you think it’s a boy or a girl?” He smiled and reminded me not to get ahead of ourselves, but he was happy that I wasn’t being all doom and gloom. So we went about our day and all I could think about was what was happening inside my body. Everything was perfect. This was going to work. It HAD to work! It’s science. Everything was right where it needed to be and ready to go. At that very moment, our baby was being conceived.

A week went by and it was time for bloodwork. I was still feeling really good and was counting down the next 7 days until I could finally take a pregnancy test. I was literally having dreams about being pregnant. I was googling creative ways to announce your pregnancy and I was ecstatic about the fact that based on our IUI date, our baby and I would share the same birthday. Our baby would be due November 9th. It was fate. It had to be! Until I got the call about my bloodwork. “Your progesterone level was only at a 5.2. While that does indicate that ovulation occurred, being on clomid your level should have been at least a 15. Don’t give up yet, but it’s most likely that even if the egg was fertilized the lining of your uterus isn’t thick enough for the embryo to implant. Try to relax for the next few days and call if you start your period and then we can start planning for the next cycle.” Thank God I was working from home when I got that call. I immediately burst into tears and text Nathan the news. I started googling in a frenzy. Can I still be pregnant 7 days past IUI if my progesterone is at a 5.2? Natural ways to increase progesterone levels. What the f*** is progesterone? And the google history goes on. I was trying to stay positive, but I knew that my dreams of carrying a child would be put off once again by another month. The next few days were kind of a blur. I tried to stay busy and prayed my period wouldn’t come. I had all the usual period symptoms: rage, insane urge to binge eat, emotional basket case, sore back and boobs. But I kept telling myself, maybe those are early pregnancy signs too. I woke up on Sunday to get ready for church. Went to the bathroom and had some spotting. I knew that b**** Aunt Flow was coming. Of course it wouldn’t come on Sunday so I could get drunk and watch the Oscars. And even when I woke up Monday morning, still nothing.

I went off to work on Monday and was obsessively going to the bathroom every hour. Around noon, I knew she had arrived I went to the bathroom and cried uncontrollably in the stall. All of that hope… right down the toilet. I had started my period. I’m not sure how long I sat in that stall praying that no one would come in the bathroom. I just needed to be alone and cry until I couldn’t cry any longer. Once I was finally able to drag myself out of the bathroom I text Nathan the news and told him I was leaving work. I packed up my things and headed home. I cried the whole way. Every song seemed to taunt me. Justin Beiber’s, ‘Baby,’ even came on the radio and sent me into a breakdown. Just the word baby was enough to send me over the edge. Once I got to my exit, I pulled into the gas station to pick up a few essentials: a Dr. Pepper slurpee, 2 bottles of wine, 2 king size Reese’s peanut butter cups, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, a bag of Funyon’s, a hot dog, a pack of skittles and a lottery ticket. I knew the cashier was judging me and could see my splotchy, cry face behind my glasses. I snapped without question, “I’ve had a bad day!” The cashier packed up my items and quietly said, “I hope it gets better.” She threw in a snickers bar on the house and I mouthed thank you. I tried to get out the words, but I started crying again. Right there, in the freaking gas station. I gathered all the ridiculous junk I just bought and went home to wallow.

As I sat on my couch and cried with my good pals Ben and Jerry, the reality of the situation sank in. I was not pregnant. We wasted $383. The IUI failed. My body failed. I had failed. And I was crushed. It’s a pain that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to accurately describe. How can you mourn the loss of something you never had? But there I was, mourning the loss of our baby who may or may not have been conceived two weeks earlier, but never implanted. It’s not something that will ever get easier. Maybe one day I’ll look back on that day and think about the good that eventually came. For now, all I can think about is how empty I feel. How my heart literally aches for a baby. How many times will I put my body through this before we just give up? How do people do this time after time? How do women go through multiple rounds of IVF with no success? How will my husband feel if I can’t give him a baby? Why me? Why any woman? Today I have more questions than answers and more heartache than hope.

So there it is. I’m a liar. I had good intentions and to be honest, I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll lie on my blog. I’ll always tell the full story eventually, maybe just not in real time. I haven’t decided if we are going to try again this month or not. Right now I’m still feeling too broken. If and when we do try an IUI again, I probably won’t write about it until after. Hopefully the next IUI blog post will be one with a happy ending, but that’s not always real life. Not every story has a happy ending. So today I’ll close this chapter of my life story and hope that the next chapter is the greatest one yet.

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$383 and a Magician

$383 can buy you a lot of things: 190 boxes of Zebra Cakes, 60 bottles of wine, 125 Sonic Cherry Limeades, 190 delicious king size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, etc. (Most of the things I like come in the form of food or beverage. Shocking, I know!) See you can get a lot for $383. And in our case, apparently $383 can buy you a 20% chance at conceiving a baby.

Don’t you worry, I’m not planning on offering people $383 for their baby. This $383 can pay for an IUI procedure which we hope will result in our own little baby Reese. I know my posts have been few and far between lately, but that’s because there hasn’t been much to report. We’ve been hoping the past few months of Clomid would be just the kick my ovaries needed to get their shit in gear, but we haven’t been that lucky. I had high hopes that those magic $20 pills would be the answer to my prayers. I should have known better, because let’s be honest, nothing about this process has been or will EVER be easy. Since the Clomid itself hasn’t done the trick my doctor decided it was time to get rid of her crazy hormonal patient pass me onto a specialist to discuss our options. So I was referred to a great new reproductive endocrinologist (fancy name for fertility specialist) who is a part of Washington University Physicians at Barnes. I was hesitant to leave my Dr. because she knows my history and for the most part can always decipher my speech which usually comes out in the form of rambling and blubbering sobs. How on earth could I possibly train a new Dr. to speak ‘my language?’ She assured me I was in great hands and to call and schedule an appointment as soon as possible because it can sometimes take months to get into see him.

I heard the word months and freaked about possibly having to wait another couple of months to find out what our options and next steps were. Hi, remember me? The control freak? Waiting and patience are two qualities I don’t possess. So I called immediately and spoke to the office staff and asked how soon I could meet the magician? At this point I’ve convinced myself the only way I’ll end up pregnant is through some kind of sorcery. Don’t judge me. I do whatever I can to get through the days and stay positive. If that means believing that my new Dr. is the next best thing to Albus Dumbledore then so be it. Luckily after speaking with the nurse she informed me that they had a cancelation for the following Tuesday and that I could come in then. So I signed myself up for the very important meeting and counted down the days until my appointment. I was eager to hear his thoughts about my test results up to this point and I was nervous about potentially hearing the acronym IVF and seeing $$$$$. I did my best to stay drunk calm for the next week and tried not to stress about the future.

The morning of my appointment was of course one of the worst winter days in STL this year. I had about a 45 min drive and I left 2 and ½ hours early to make it to my 8:30 appointment. Of course every highway was at a dead stop so I made my way through city side roads and ended up arriving at 9. I HATE to be late. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine. But I eventually arrived safe and sound and only had a few choice words and obscene hand gestures to my fellow travelers on the road. I walked into the office and apologized for being so late. The receptionist was just the sweetest and told me that everyone was late and not to worry. So I filled out some paperwork, paid (because of course nothing for infertility is covered by insurance) and sat impatiently in the waiting room. An hour later the called my name and stomach dropped. I walked with the nurse and she took my stats and then sat me in a small office and said the Dr. would be with me shortly. About 15 minutes later there was a knock on the office door and then the door opened and there stood Doogie Howser M.D. Seriously this fertility “magician” my Dr. referred me to looked like he just got his driver license. How in the world was this child going to help me? After I picked my jaw up off the floor the child told me he was a student working with the magician and was just going to review my records with me and take some notes for the Dr. Thank God! So I sat there and told this child genius Dr. all about my lady parts. He asked a few questions and then left the room to get the miracle worker.

A few minutes later the child and my actual Dr. came in. He introduced himself and got straight to business. We went over all my blood work results, my husband’s specimen results, ultrasounds and the films of my tubes from the HSG test. The whole time he kept reassuring me about how young I was. I knew I was going to like this guy! After a pretty in depth conversation about all my lady parts (I think I was only able to comprehend about 1/3 of what he was saying), he once again told me, “Sam, you’re so young. I don’t know why this hasn’t happened for you yet and I’m sorry you are here. But I am going to do everything I can to help you conceive a child.” And cue the tears. The child Dr. in the room stared at me and looked uncomfortable. I told him if this was the field he was going into he might as well get used to seeing emotional, hormonal women. The magician laughed and agreed. Then he got down to the important stuff. What’s next for us? He told me that based on all my tests and everything looking normal on the surface he said our next step would be to increase my clomid dosage (yay for higher dosage crazy pills) and then to try an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). He said there was no need to jump to conclusions and go straight to the more expensive IVF route and that an IUI or series of IUI’s would be the next logical step.

The way this IUI works is that I’ll take the clomid on days 3-7 of my cycle to hopefully put my ovaries into overdrive and produce at least one if not more good quality eggs. I’ll take at home ovulation tests and as soon as I get a positive ovulation test then I’ll call and schedule my IUI for the next day. The ovulation tests detect a surge in your LH hormones that signals that ovulation is coming. Usually after you get a positive test you ovulate within about 24 -36 hours. So by scheduling the IUI for the next day after a positive test you hope that you’re timing things correctly for an egg to be released when the sperm are in place. To do that, my husband will do his part and give a sample in the office. They perform some magic and concentrate the semen, remove any bad swimmers and basically only pull out the MVP’s. That process takes about an hour or so. Then they will take this tiny little sample of sperm and insert it directly into my uterus using a catheter. Essentially, this IUI just takes out all of the hard work for the sperm and if timed correctly the sperm are right where they need to be waiting for my body to release and egg. Then if all goes as planned, the egg is fertilized and implants about a week later just as it would for someone who is conceiving naturally. And then a week after that (2 weeks after the IUI) I would see a big fat positive on that little devil of a pee stick pregnancy test.

So there you have it folks. Our little science experiment in the making. Hopefully if things go as planned we’ll be able to try and do our first IUI in the next month or two depending on how my body reacts to the higher dosage of clomid and how my other blood work tests turn out. You never dream that your future child will be conceived this way, but this is the path we are being led down. I’m working really hard on staying positive and praying that this is the best $383 we will ever spend and that my marriage will survive a month of me being on a higher dosage of clomid! Please wish my husband luck…. or better yet, take him out for drinks!

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Real Life Groundhog Day

Ever feel like your life is a movie? You stop in a coffee shop and lock eyes with a Ryan Gosling look alike. As he leaves, you decide to leave your number with the barista in case for some reason Mr. Right decides to come back in because your 5 second unspoken connection was so meaningful that he’s decided he can’t live without you, comes back in for your phone number and then you live happily ever after. All of this to the tune of Carole King’s, “One Fine Day”. Every girls rom-com fantasy come true, right?

Well lucky for me, my real-life movie seems to be more like Groundhog Day. Just me, Bill Murray and good ole’ Punxsutawney Phil hanging out each month. Instead of looking for my shadow, I’m searching for those illusive two pink lines on a pregnancy test. Month after month of ovulation sticks, wine, charting, wine, meds and more wine. All leading up to that excruciating 3-5 minute waiting period just to have my dreams crushed with the appearance of only one stupid pink line. Maybe if I just draw in the second pink line with some fingernail polish I can trick my body into getting pregnant? I realize that’s not at all how this whole pregnancy thing works, but I’m starting to get desperate here people.

I seem to be in this infinite time loop and my life is just repeating itself month after month. Same steps. Same results. Not Pregnant. Now I’m not quite to the point of no return like Bill was and I don’t plan on trying to kill the groundhog to end this time loop… yet. We are however about to make the big money jump to start seeing a reproductive specialist. I can’t wait to spend thousands of dollars in hopes that a doctor can make my body do what it’s supposed to do naturally. Don’t mind me, just a little more bitter and sarcastic today than usual. Of course, I take no responsibility for this and blame it all on the hormones.

In all seriousness, I would pay and do whatever it takes so that I can hopefully experience the joy of pregnancy one day. And I mean, I’m not being greedy here. I’m just asking for one little miracle. I mean, two would be great, but one is all I need. Just to experience that sweet little baby growing inside me is honestly something I’m aching for and that ache has only grown since the day I feel in love with my husband. I want more than anything to see OUR little human. Half me; half him. Unfortunately, each month I’m told no and have to start the process over it becomes harder and harder to swallow.

Praying for a miracle soon because I’m not sure how much longer I can take hanging out with Bill and Phil. Happy Groundhog Day!

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What I feel like I see every month…

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The Clomid Made Me Do It

Clomid is a medication that is commonly used in fertility treatments to stimulate ovulation. Serious side effects can include: headache, nausea, abdominal swelling, hot flashes, extreme thirst, violent outbursts or sudden tears, eating everything in your pantry because it was within reach or glaring at your husband with complete disgust and anger simply because he walked in the door.

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Those lovely side effects are just a glimpse into what my life has been like for the past month. After my HSG test came back that my tubes were clear as day my doctor decided to turn me into a raging lunatic try a few months of clomid to stimulate ovulation. Even though I have regular periods and my blood work shows that I am ovulating every month she was hoping the clomid would just put my ovaries into overdrive and BAM I’d be pregnant. Well after one month on that demon drug, here I am even crazier and surprise, surprise…. not pregnant.

Let’s back track a little. You take these magical pills on days 5-9 of your cycle. Hopefully the medicine does the trick and your follicles produces a few good quality eggs ready to be fertilized. Doesn’t that sound sexy! (That was sarcasm if you didn’t pick up on it.) So on day 5 of my cycle last month I took that magical little pill first thing in the morning. I was excited and optimistic and positive and bubbly and had faith that this tiny little pill that cost me $4 would magically get me knocked up. Fast forward 24 hours. I wake up on day 6 of my cycle, pop pill number 2 and it was like an instant flip switch. That second pill sent me into a hormone induced rage. I was cynical, rude and hangry (so hungry you’re angry). To sum it up in one word, I was a… B****! And the worst part is, I had absolutely no idea why.

That night my hot husband walked in the door and I hadn’t spoken to him all day which is very unusual for us. I was actually on my way out to take my son to Boy Scouts (an activity his dad always takes him to) because I just assumed he was working late and wouldn’t be home in time. As soon as he walked in the door, I grabbed the keys, passed him without our usual welcome home make out session and headed to the door. He quietly asked, “Where are you going?” I snapped, “Well I’m taking him to scouts since you weren’t home.” He looked at me with shock after my snapping and then I could tell he was choosing his words carefully and replied, “Babe, I was planning on taking him. Why don’t you just stay here and have a glass of wine and I’ll take the kids.” Cue more irrational outbursts from me, “Do you not want me to go?” This went on for a few minutes until I agreed that I would stay home. As he walked out the door he asked if I needed anything. I was annoyed. Seriously! Here my sweet husband is asking me what I needed and getting the kids out of the house so I can have some down time and there I was just in total b**** mode. I just said, “No.” And off they went.

As soon as the front door shut I couldn’t believe my behavior. He didn’t do anything. Not a thing! That was really uncalled for. So I called and said I had no idea what that little episode was about and then it hit me… The Clomid Made Me Do It. I apologized for hating him for no apparent reason 5 minutes ago and then I told him I was dying of thirst and would need him to stop and get me a bunch of Gatorade on his way home. Now, if things were reversed here I think my response would have been something like, “Ha! Get your own damn Gatorade.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my husband is a Saint. He knew I was crazy and hormonal and he laughed at my apology and lovingly said, “of course I will get you a BUNCH of Gatorade.” And he did. Now that’s true love people.

After taking the magic pills for the 5 days Nathan and I, well we um…. got to work. We were under strict doctor’s orders to do the horizontal polka, the no pants dance, roll in the hay, do the deed, hit a home run, get lucky, I think you get the picture. So we did the deed and then we waited. And on New Year’s Eve I decided to take a pregnancy test. I was only on day 27 of my cycle so it was still early but I wanted to find out if I could drink two bottles of wine sober drive or not. So I peed on that tiny dreaded stick and prayed for a freaking miracle. And just like it has every time before that pee stick laughed in my face and shouted (or displayed) NOT PREGNANT.

So I did what I always do, I cried and sent Nathan irrational text messages about how I was being punished and how this was never going to happen for us. He did what he does and calmed me down and talked me off the ledge. Then I had a great text convo with my friend who’s in a similar boat. Because sometimes misery just loves company and she’s always down to have a pity party with me. When I’m in a ‘mood’ sometimes I really don’t need everyone’s positivity. When I’m having my moment and all I want to do is yodel out my best version of LeAnn Rimes “Blue,” I don’t need you telling me to just breathe and think positive. What I need a good friend to do is pass me a damn mic, hold up their lighter or cell phone and convince me that I’m totally the next American Idol. What I need a good friend to do is to come over in their sweatpants with a few bottles of wine and the entire left side of the Chinese food menu so we can binge watch Friends episodes for two days. Now I do have my limits. After my maximum 48 hour pity party is up, if I’m still in those same sweats and haven’t showered for those two full days I give my friends complete approval to stage an intervention. Because after 48 hours, it’s time to put on my big girl pants and move onto the next month.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all the kind words and positive attitudes most days. But there are just some days when I want people to say, “You’re right! This sucks and is completely unfair. Now let’s drink all the wine in your fridge and eat an entire roll of cookie dough.” Some days I just need to wallow in my misery and that’s ok, because tomorrow is always a new day. And just because I have a bad day, it doesn’t mean I have a bad life.

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12 days of Christmas Infertility Version

On the first day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me: Some Pinot under my tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Three rounds of blood work,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Four kinds of pregnancy tests,
Three different doctors,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Five pills of Clomid,
Four kinds of pregnancy tests,
Three different doctors,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Six invasive vaginal exams,
Five pills of Clomid,
Four kinds of pregnancy tests,
Three different doctors,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Seven follicles growing,
Six invasive vaginal exams,
Five pills of Clomid,
Four kinds of pregnancy tests,
Three different doctors,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Eight rounds of blood work,
Seven follicles growing,
Six invasive vaginal exams,
Five pills of Clomid,
Four kinds of pregnancy tests,
Three different doctors,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Nine mood swings,
Eight rounds of blood work,
Seven follicles growing,
Six invasive vaginal exams,
Five pills of Clomid,
Four kinds of pregnancy tests,
Three different doctors,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Ten shots of progesterone,
Nine mood swings,
Eight rounds of blood work,
Seven follicles growing,
Six invasive vaginal exams,
Five pills of Clomid,
Four kinds of pregnancy tests,
Three different doctors,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Eleven Google searches,
Ten shots of progesterone,
Nine mood swings,
Eight rounds of blood work,
Seven follicles growing,
Six invasive vaginal exams,
Five pills of Clomid,
Four kinds of pregnancy tests,
Three different doctors,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my infertility gave to me:
Twelve fertility sticks,
Eleven Google searches,
Ten shots of progesterone,
Nine mood swings,
Eight rounds of blood work,
Seven follicles growing,
Six invasive vaginal exams,
Five pills of Clomid,
Four kinds of pregnancy tests,
Three different doctors,
Two zebra cakes,
And some Pinot under my tree.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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I’m Thankful for Infertility

This Thanksgiving I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, but most of all this year I’m thankful for my infertility. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Did she really just say she is thankful for infertility? This broad must be drunk already.” And you’d be correct in that assumption. Wine goes great with turkey and potatoes and bread and pie and pie and pie… well you get the picture. I like wine and pie and if you don’t then you should probably stop reading my blog because we can’t be friends. Of all the things I have to be thankful for this year, my infertility is at the top of my list.

This year has been the best and worst of my life. When you picture starting a family that picture in your head usually doesn’t include blood work, ultrasounds before you’re pregnant, invasive vaginal procedures, snotty doctors, so many pee sticks (seriously SO MANY! I feel like I single handedly keep ClearBlue in business) and lots and lots of crying. Unfortunately that is what the journey is like for so many women. A time of your life that is supposed to be scary but full of excitement and anticipation suddenly becomes a different kind of scary after a few months of only seeing 1 line on the pregnancy test month after month. After this description I’m sure you’re wondering how someone could be thankful for this. Well in no particular order, here are the reasons I’m thankful for my infertility:

  1. I say these are in no particular order, but I think my first reason is definitely the most important. I’m thankful for my infertility because it has brought me closer to God. In a time where it’s easy to ask “why are You doing this to me” (and trust me, I’ve cried that out more times than I can count), I’ve learned that I need to let go and just have faith. Even though I don’t understand His plan (as a matter of fact I HATE His plan), but it’s not up to me. I still struggle with letting go on a daily basis (I’m a control freak, remember), but I know that my life and our future children are all in God’s hands. Without that comfort and my faith I don’t know how I would have survived this past year. And maybe, just maybe… that’s been His plan all along. To bring me closer to Him and to teach me to let go.
  2. I’m thankful for my infertility because it has brought me closer to my husband. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that man is a saint! I don’t know how he has put up with me for the past year, but he hasn’t divorced me yet is still sticking around. I’ve leaned on him to be my strength and my support, he has been my source of laughter when all I wanted to do was cry, to be my caregiver after procedures and so much more. He has done it all time and time again and I know I couldn’t have made it through this year without him. He continues to amaze me with the amount of love he shows me. His constant reassurance that I’m not crazy we are in this together has meant more to me than I’ve been able to babble out through the constant sobs.
  3. I’m thankful for my infertility because it has brought me friendship. Weird, I know. By blogging and putting my story out in the open I have received countless messages from friends and strangers to be honest. Seriously, people came out of the freaking woodworks! I’ve learned more about my friend’s struggles that they maybe didn’t feel comfortable sharing before. I know how it feels to be scared to talk about infertility. You feel ashamed and embarrassed that ‘your body can’t do what it’s made to do.’ It’s a constant mind game of: my best friend just announced she’s pregnant. I’m saying congratulations, but thinking I wish it was me. And I wish so and so would quit asking me when I’m going to have a baby. And should I tell my friends about the endless amounts of details that go along with infertility? Will they care? Will they understand? Any woman who struggles with infertility can relate to all of the above and the second you know someone else is experiencing the same problems you are it’s an instant unleashing of word vomit because you just know they will get it. You don’t have to explain the acronyms. You share doctors. You swap stories of success and you swap stories of sorrow. It’s a club that I never wanted to be a part of, but it’s comforting to know that in an instant I’m a phone call, a text message or a Facebook chat away from getting support from a woman who has been in my shoes. And in my case, my go-to Gals ALWAYS know just what to say. Special shout out to my Twin. You’ve been a constant ray of sunshine and a reminder that there is always hope.
  4. I’m thankful for my infertility because it has given me a special appreciation for the creation of life. Making a baby is hard and I’ve heard actually growing a human is even harder! The miracle of life is such an amazing thing. Experiencing infertility has made me feel like a doctor (don’t worry, I won’t be performing surgeries anytime soon). I’ve learned more about a woman’s body and reproduction than I really ever cared to know. I obviously knew all the basics, but once you experience infertility you end up knowing your body inside and out. It’s truly an amazing thing. Everything I’ve gone through this past year has just completely changed my outlook on motherhood and I can’t wait for the day when we welcome a beautiful little baby into our home.
  5. And last but certainly not least… I’m thankful for my infertility because it has given me a free pass to get drunk drink wine and rant about s*** on the internet.

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Hakuna Moscato: It Means Drink Wine

My new moto is Hakuna Moscato, because nothing says it means no worries quite like a bottle of wine!

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A big thanks to my hubby who supplied me with a nice large bottle this week since my time machine failed me and I turned 30 on Monday. Spare me the, “These will be the best years of your life,” and “30 isn’t bad, just wait until you turn 40,” or “Age is just a number.” Yes, age is just a number and that number 30 makes me feel old! Or maybe it’s because I spend most week nights eating dinner at 4:30 and going to bed by 8:30 that makes me feel more like 70 than 30.

Needless to say I was not excited about this milestone birthday. I think everyone has a picture in their head of how their life will be at every age. For me, that picture in my head couldn’t be more different than what my reality is. My reality is 100 times better than what I ever imagined. I have the best husband… literally, THE BEST! I know every woman thinks that. Sorry to break it to you ladies, I totally win in this department. And I feel sorry for everyone else who isn’t married to my husband. And even if we were like those people on TLC who believed in multiple wives, I still wouldn’t share him because I’m selfish and he’s mine. So you’ll just have to settle for hearing about how wonderful he is. This picture in my head of my life included children… SO MANY CHILDREN. I always joke and say that I would raise an army of kids if that is God’s plan for me. And once again that picture in my head is far from my reality. I am raising two of the best little nuggets, but raising children that weren’t biologically mine was never part of the plan and I couldn’t be more thrilled for this unexpected twist. They bring me more happiness than I ever knew possible. I live and breathe for my two children. But, at 30 I also thought I would have my army a couple of biological kiddos. I think that has been the reason for my lack of enthusiasm. I’m getting older and I know “30 is the new 20,” or whatever crap people tell you when you turn 30, but that doesn’t mean my ovaries are getting any younger here folks.

This year for my 30th birthday I decided to pay the hospital about $500 (because of course nothing fertility related is covered by insurance) to shoot magic glowing dye into my cervix to make my insides light up like a Clark Griswold house so they could check and see if I had junk in my tubes. I was able to schedule the procedure last week after Aunt Flow made her monthly visit. The nurse at my doctor’s office transferred me to the hospital to schedule the HSG test or after today what I will refer to as the Hell Test, because I’m pretty positive what I went through today is as close to Hell as I ever care to come. This test had to be scheduled 1-5 days after Aunt Flow skipped town to ensure that I wasn’t pregnant. So we scheduled it for Friday the 13th of all days and she began telling me what to expect. “The procedure is relatively quick, but you will experience some mild discomfort and you’ll need someone to drive you home. We’ll see you next week!” Once again, that broad was so chipper and I wanted to punch her through the phone. So I waited and googled all week in preparation for this next test. I was actually praying for blockage. I was praying for an answer to this nightmare. I was praying for something that was “common” and an “easy fix” to our fertility issues.

I arrived at the hospital to be admitted about 45 minutes early. I was anxious and scared and every emotion in between. I’d heard horror stories about this procedure and I’d also heard that it was quick and not bad at all. So I really had no idea what to expect going into it. I’ve learned that when you experience fertility issues, everyone wants to tell you about their brother’s sister’s cousin who couldn’t get pregnant and then she did. Today was no different. I told the woman at admitting what procedure I was checking in for and she began with her story of her sister’s infertility. I appreciate the positive vibes and all, but excuse me woman I’ve known for 3 minutes if I don’t give a s*** about your sister’s fertility issues. I’ve got my own problems to worry about and sitting her listening to you go on and on about how you told her you’ll carry a baby for her if she is unable to isn’t putting my mind at ease for the pain and probing I’m about to endure. It’s just making me want to ever so politely tell you to shut the h*** up. After I left the chatty Cathy in admitting I checked in at x-ray and waited.

A super sweet and tiny little nurse came to get me and take me back. She made small talk during our walk and briefed me again on the procedure I was about the experience. Once again she mentioned the mild discomfort. We got to the room and I dropped my drawers and was ready to get this show on the road. I got my bare cheeks up on the freezing cold surgical table and assumed my position staring at the ceiling waiting for the hell to be over. The nurse called in the Dr. and he was a miserable human being. “Hi I’m Dr. McA**hole (that’s not his real name, but it should be). Do you know why you’re here today?” I responded with, “Well you’re the doctor. I would hope you know why we’re here.” He didn’t laugh. Then he asked if I understood the procedure. Once again I sarcastically responded with, “Yes, Dr. In technical terms, we’re here to see if my shit is clogged.” The nurse laughed. I mean I think I’m hilarious most days, but apparently my humor doesn’t always translate well to hospital staff. So the Dr. rolled his eyes like my 6 year old does to me often and went about his business. Not sure what he had to be so cranky about. I was the one laying spread eagle on an ice cold table about to have a Dr. go fishing in my insides with a catheter. Sounds super pleasant right?

So there I lay and then the pain started immediately after the Dr. went to work. I like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for pain but after today I’m not so sure. This was supposed to be a quick procedure. The nurse started making small talk again and I knew something was up. Then the Dr. finally chimed in and said he was having a hard time getting the catheter in my cervix so he kept poking away with little concern for my squirming. After what felt like an hour he said he was able to get it in. So I laid flat and they got the xray machine in place. The nurse then said I would feel that mild discomfort as the push the dye through the catheter. HOLY S***! I moaned and grabbed the table. They had me rotate, more dye, another scream from the pain. Then Dr. McA**hole had the nerve to ask, “Are you experiencing pain?” No you jerk, I scream and writhe like this for fun. Yes, I’m in a whole lot of pain. Mild discomfort my ass. “We’ve got to get a picture of the other side. We’ll need you to turn the other way and I’ll push the dye through one more time.” Repeat horrible pain and scream and then we were all finished. Of course by this point I was crying. I felt like I had a bowling ball in my uterus and I couldn’t move just yet. The nurse told me just to lay there. Thank God that was over.

The Dr. took one look at the screen and said, “You’re tubes are clear. Everything looks fine.” And then he walked his cranky a**hole self right out of that room. I looked in disbelief at the nurse and told her that man needed a hug. She laughed and said it was good news that my tubes were clear as day. No blockage in sight. She said it was cause for concern that he had so much trouble getting the catheter in my cervix and that I experienced so much pain when they pushed the dye through. That also means that the little procedure they just did could be all I need to open up my cervix and flush out my tubes. So fingers crossed that was the best $500 I’ve ever spent.

So I put on my diaper they gave me (because as if the pain of the procedure wasn’t enough discomfort for the day, I’d apparently be leaking fluid for a while also) and went on my way. They’ll send the images to my Dr. and she’ll call me with her results and her recommendations for the next step now that this test turned up empty. No idea what will happen next and I think that’s the worst part. The unknown. The ‘nothing I can do about it, drink more wine, hurry up and wait, one door closed and another door closed, drink even more wine, nothing I can freaking do about it’ unknown. So here I am wine in hand, still in pain from today, heating pad on high, popping pills and waiting once again. And of course, praying. Lots and Lots of praying!

On a totally unrelated note… I NEED these shirts!

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