Saturday, April 28, 2007

That'll be 2 tickets, please.

Step right up, 'cause this is the greatest roller coaster in town.

OK, I've totally come around and I'm feeling really optimistic. Yes, our timing was less than ideal and the odds are therefore against us, but wouldn't it just figure this would be the one to work? The real source of my new found optimism are the "symptoms" that have been creeping up over the last 36 hours or so. As I told M last night, I would be sure they were psychosomatic, but they are very unlike anything I have ever felt or expected to feel and therefore I feel incapable of psychically conjuring them. :-)

I'm having the strangest cramping sensations - not like pre-AF cramps at all. They're actually more like ovulation cramps, but not quite that either. Very tingly and weird. There are a couple other little things but I don't want to post them here. (Apparently I still have some restraint on the TMI details.) Anyway, I still have a few more days until I can test so hopefully I can stay positive, but it won't be hard as long as these funky cramps continue. They are so... different. And after 4 failed attempts, different is good no matter what form it takes.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ups and Downs

My co-worker who is also TTC had 2 lines on her pregnancy test this morning. At my urging, she hurried over to her doctor for a beta and she just got the results. Her HCG level was 147. The average for her cycle day is about 120, so she's in really good shape. Despite the pity party to come in the next paragraph, I am really, *really* happy for her. Until I went to my doctor's appointment a couple of hours ago (more in a moment), I was bouncing out of my seat I was so excited for her. She's been trying for a couple of months longer than M and I and she's nearly 10 years older than us, so it's a relief to see her succeed at this. I literally got goosebumps when she told me.

Then I went to my doctor's appointment, and now I'm back to thinking TTC is complete and total bullshit and a hopeless endeavor to boot. (Catastrophizing? Me??) I'm an idiot and forgot not to eat anything this morning so I couldn't get the fasting blood test. The NP said she wouldn't recommend it for me anyway as she's fairly sure it would come back normal. I was able to get the other blood test I wanted. It's amazing how much of a non-event needle sticks have become to me. A year ago, I would have done just about anything to avoid them. Now I don't even notice them anymore. But I digress. I also talked to the NP about the HSG and other diagnostic options. I found out that she will not do an insemination in the same month as I have the HSG (the pros are divided on this one - some will, some won't), so that means another month off if we decide to do it. It's really too bad I didn't press this issue this cycle because this month would have been a perfectly convenient month to take off instead of making a last minute trip to KD and having to tell our parents what's going on. It would be good to have the HSG soon so that we can avoid throwing more money down the TTC drain if there is a problem, but it means paying a huge chunk of money and taking a whole month off. I just don't know if I can do that mentally right now. I'll have to see what M thinks.

In the "I'm a big dummy and I'm getting my hopes up despite all odds" category: I had some serious lightheadedness last night. The women on one of my boards swear by that as a sign of implantation, although I have my doubts. I have also been crazy emotional for the last few days and it would be wonderful to be able to chalk this up to hormone stuff and not a personality defect. This has been a really rough cycle for me all around though, so it could just be the emotional aftermath of all that. Maybe it's all just catching up with me.

I can't believe I have to wait another week before I can test. :-(

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Getting back to this, finally.

Last Wednesday was pretty rough. I'd only realized a week or so earlier that I would have to make a trip to KD at all this month. That was the first foil, and it did not play well with my little OCD problem. I have researched and planned and arranged this whole process to excess, and nowhere on my radar did I see a trip to KD this month. So that was a shock. I had a couple of important meetings last week that made travel arrangments tough. One (the Wednesday 3pm) meeting was a statewide teleconference that I was facilitating, so that one wasn't going anywhere. I rescheduled the Friday meeting and booked an early flight out Thursday morning. All obstacles aside, I would have preferred to go Wednesday, but I really wasn't worried about going Thursday. Thursday was day 14 of my cycle, and over the past year, I've ovulated on day 15, 16 or 17 almost every time.

The cramping started around 5pm on Wednesday and when it hadn't let up by about 7:30pm, I was approaching panic. I don't have ovulation pains every month, but when I do, they last for 2-3 hours and coincide with all the other signs that tell me I'm ovulating right then. I was pretty sure we were done. I went on the Southwest website to find out if I could still cancel a flight I'd already checked in for, and I could, so there was a tough decision to be made. The expense in question was a $400 flight plus whatever other expenses I would accrue during a weekend of traveling. Could I justify spending that if my gut told me we'd missed the window? Under normal circumstances, yes, but considering that we've spent $2000 on our dog in the last month, it seemed a little irresponsible. I was leaning toward not going, and this was the point at which I lost it. I didn't want to have to take a month off and I felt there was NOTHING I could do to salvage this cycle. I could not believe how delicate our timing was - that I could do so much tracking and planning and still have the rug pulled out from under me at the last second. This quickly ballooned into me wondering what was wrong with me that I was spending so much money and putting M and I through so much stress for something that is so totally out of our control. For the first time, I told M I was "done." It truly felt like there was NO WAY to get all the puzzle pieces together at any one time and I was feeling really stupid for how much we've already invested - emotionally and financially. We've talked a lot about moving closer to KD lately - I just figured we were stupid to try any more until that happened so we wouldn't be at the mercy of all the long-distance logistics.

There was a lot of crying, and in hindsight, I think it was good. It released a lot of tension that has been building up over the past 6 months. Also in hindsight, I'm surprised I didn't go through a brief "I'm done!" phase sooner. I knew this process might be long and there could be lots of ups and downs. It feels more healthy/appropriate to the process that I should flip out every once in a while. Post-meltdown, I feel better but definitely not 100%. I'm more resigned to this taking a while, and the fact that it's time to step up the intervention, and these things make me sad. I know this sounds really cheesy, but I feel like I'm mourning the loss of my perception of myself as this young, fertile person who would have no trouble getting pregnant.

On the brighter side of things, I had a delightful talk with the cryobank near KD this morning. They sound about 2000% more enlightened and easy to work with than my local bank, and they're cheaper, too. Woo hoo! :-) I don't think it will be any problem to move forward with them, so that is a relief. I also have an appointment with the NP on Friday to check hormone levels and possibly schedule an HSG for next month. There are lots of options available to me, and I'm doing fine now, really. I just wanted to get last week's episode down somewhere so that in a few years when we're blissfully happy with #1 and considering #2, I can remember what the process *actually* was like rather than the nostalgic, fictionalized account I'm sure I'll carry with me.

Friday, April 20, 2007

An update I owe

I'm at KD's with 1 business meeting down and (probably) 1 to go. I don't have the energy to write much about the path that brought me here right now, but it will have to be documented at some point. In the meantime, here's the nutshell version:

Monday, April 16th - My monitor moved to "high", which is not good, since that's when you're supposed to start having sex if you happen to have a male partner lying around in your bed. All I could do was cross my fingers it wouldn't peak until I was at KD's. (Typical # of days at high = 2-3)

Tuesday, April 17th - I told my parents about us TTC. It went well, I think. It was a hard conversation for me (more later, perhaps), but my parents were thrilled (of course) and I got to cancel my rental car. :-) My mom agreed to drive me to and from KD's (from the airport) so we could visit in the car both ways.

Wednesday, April 18th - No peak yet, but a damn near positive OPK accompanied by major ovulation pains starting around 5pm CST. If I were in fact ovulating at 5pm, it would be virtually impossible to have any chance of pregnancy by the time KD got off work for a business meeting on Thursday. Commence total melt down. This is the thing I'll have to write more about later. Total culmination of all frustration of the last few months surveillance difficulties triggered by a straw breaking a camel's back. At the end of my melt down, we decided I would still go to KD's. The worst case scenario is I just get to spend a weekend with KD and his wife and see my mom, with no chance of pregnancy resulting.

Thursday, April 19th - Full positive OPK and peak on the fertility monitor. Against all past experience (why can't my body ever just be consistent?!) my "ovulation pains" continue for a solid 30+ hours. I've never had them go on for more than 2-3. This indicates that - at least this time around - the pain I was attributing to ovulation was more likely from the follicle build up rather than the actual release. We went ahead with an insemination last night, and the pain started subsiding around 10pm. It looks like we may have caught the tail end of the window after all, praise the deity of your choice.

We should probably have one more business meeting tonight, but we'll see what today's fertility signs hold as the day goes on. That's the scoop for now. It's nice being here and I'm really excited about spending the weekend with KD and his wife, no matter what happens on the TTC front. Not saying I'm not hoping for a BFP, but I'm feeling pretty realistic about the (un)likelihood of me getting pregnant without additional intervention at this point. I have an appointment with the NP a week from today and we're going to discuss starting medications and some diagnostic options for next cycle. I just think I'll feel more optimistic about our chances once some of those elements are integrated.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What are the freaking chances?

It has been decided (after a whirlwhind of chaotic twists and quick decision making) that I am headed out to KD's for this month's try. This is less than ideal, but preferable to taking a break, which was the only other logistically possible option. The current plan is to head out next Thursday and fly back next Sunday. If that doesn't include the critical days, well... then... damn it, I guess. It's the best we can do.

I just got an email from my mother. She too will be in KD's small town (population 44,303) next weekend. She'll be arriving Friday and going back on Sunday.

Are you kidding me?

Edited to add: I completely forgot about this until just this moment. My mom mentioned this upcoming trip to me a month or two ago (before they'd set any firm dates) and said that she'd like to get KD's contact information so she can pay him and his wife a visit while she is there. I thought my trips out there were finished so I didn't think much of it at the time. I guess KD is going to have to come up with some "travel plans." So sad that they won't be home to receive a visitor! ;-)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The slow turning of the gears

No definitive end to this cycle yet, but I know it's coming. I had the negative test on Tuesday, and my temps have continued to fall, so I know we're out of the running. If there are no changes before tomorrow morning, I'll test again so I can call the NP and let her know the results, but I'd be surprised if I get to that point.

Tuesday was hard. I mostly thought I was doing okay, and then I went to a meeting with a colleague who is 8 months pregnant and another whose daughter is nearly 18 months old (she and her partner got pregnant on their second IUI). The woman who is 8 months pregnant now got married the month before M and I did. I supposed it's possible she and her husband had to "try," but seeing as they got pregnant less than 3 months after they were married, it doesn't seem there was much work involved on their end. Perhaps I shouldn't make assumptions.

Anyway, I found myself sitting in that meeting feeling really bitter and intolerant towards the both of them, which was a first for me and marks a point I never wanted to get to. I am on an online discussion board that has segregated itself into "newbies", "tweens", and "old codgers". This division happened a couple of months after I joined because the older members got too frustrated reading the bouncy exuberance of new members, especially when they got BFPs on their first time out of the gate. There is a clear heirarchy wrapped up in it as well. Those who are most invested in the separate threads claim it is just to have space for the different conversations that evolve throught the TTC process, but that's not how it actually functions. The "newbies" get a lot of flack. I totally get this. I mean, if you've been TTC for a year and you don't have a baby on the way to show for it, you should at least get seniority in the TTC forums, and all the trappings that go along with that, even if that means you occassionally flex your muscles at someone else's expense. But I digress. So, I'm technically a "tween" now, by dates, but I have so far boycotted the "tween" thread on principle. I value the idea of staking out space for people that are in different places on their journey to vent and get support, and I'm glad it's there for folks that want that, but the movement to the "tween" thread implies something I'm not comfortable with (yet): That my journey has evolved to the point where I can no longer celebrate other's success without a corresponding bitterness or frustration about my own situation. I feel like if this process takes me to a place where I can no longer share in someone else's joy, I've lost too much of my spirit and it's time to reassess. Anyway, I had my first glimpse of those feelings on Tuesday, and it shook me up a bit.

Back to the meeting. The mom of the 18 month old stopped me afterward to ask how things are going. (She's a friend and the one who referred me to our NP, so she's aware of our process.) I surprised both of us by getting all teared up as I told her I'd tested negative that morning and I knew we were on to try #5. That was the first BFN I've gotten teary over since the first one, and I really didn't know it was in there until it was too late. I was still feeling really awful when I got in my car to go home. I'd been flirting with the idea of going back to Weight Watchers, but kept putting it off because you have to quit if you get pregnant, and I didn't want to go to all the trouble to get registered and pay when I was going to have to drop out in a week or two anyway (you know, 'cause I was going to be pregnant this time for sure!). Anyway, I realized all of the sudden that Weight Watchers would be the perfect place for me to go that night. I need to get the stress eating under control (now more than ever), and I would really like to have the chance to fit back into some of my clothes before my preggo belly outgrows them again. WW is good for these goals. And for bonus points: It's a positive thing that I'm not even allowed to do while pregnant, making it the perfect silver lining to my BFN. Now I have at least a full month to concentrate on WW before the have a chance to kick me out. :-) While in the meeting, I realized another really good thing about starting WW on that particular day. WW offers something I really need right now; possibly the thing I need most right now. It offers the feeling that I have some control over my body. One of the greatest challenges of TTC is the realization that I have zero control over that aspect of my body, and it doesn't matter how many scientific or anecdotal "tricks" I employ. When it comes down to it, I can not make myself get pregnant. But, I can make myself lose weight and be healthier. That is something I can control. Not only will doing those things make me feel better about myself (and not have to spend all my money on a new and larger wardrobe), but they can only help on the TTC journey as well. It's a win-win-win situation.

By Tuesday night at home, I was feeling a LOT better. I still think this process sucks @ss, but I've also regained my conviction to stay away from the "tween" thread... at least for a little while longer. :-)