Wednesday, January 23, 2008

one must always remember to laugh

And now, some comic relief from the craziness that is my life, because if you don't have a good sense of humor, you have no business reading a blog about two lesbians navigating this three-ring circus we call advanced babymaking.

M and I stopped by Target the other day to buy pregnancy tests. While there, we found a Williams-Sonoma cookbook that needed to come home and live with us as well. So, we took our tests, our book, and our $1 off coupon for the tests (we have no shame) and proceeded to the express check out. Our checker was a 20-something kid with his pants belted a good 8 to 10 inches below his waist who was perfectly fine with us being in his lane... until he noticed what we were buying. Apparently, two blatant lesbians** purchasing pregnancy tests and a soup cookbook was just a little too much reality for his evening. He dropped our purchases quickly into a bag and wordlessly waved our receipt about a foot out of my grasp. I might have considered this rude, but it wasn't like he knew he was doing it. His gaze was a full 180 degrees the other direction - how could he have seen where my hand was, or in this case, wasn't?

But wait, there's more. As we were leaving the store, I glanced at the receipt before dropping it into the bag. On the top of the receipt is one of those automatic coupons that is generated by something you purchased. Any guesses? It was for $1.00 off Kotex products! "Hey, just in case those tests you just bought don't work out for you, come back and we'll knock a dollar off your tampons!" How very considerate.

(Incidentally, 2 of the 3 tests in that box have been used and have been negative. It looks like we are well on our way to strike-out #13. Against all rational thought, M and I managed to work ourselves into a flurry of high hopes for this cycle so it's been a sad couple of days around here. On the flip side, I am happy to be days away from checking off the first of our last two cycles before our IVF consult. Bring on the better odds, baby!)

**I should note here that I've been sick and holding down the couch for the past few days so I was looking a little ragged on this particular field trip. I'm not saying that lesbians in general are dirty or unkempt or whatever. I am saying that there is a noticeable decrease in my own tendency to pass for straight when I am (a) out with M, who has more external gaydar triggers than I do, and/or (b) looking less primped and fluffed than usual. On this occassion, we had both factors at work, so I know he had us pegged.

Monday, January 21, 2008

somewhere between 11 and 13 dpo

For the first time in 13 cycles of actively trying and 24 cycles of charting, I have no idea when I ovulated. I can get it down to a 2 day window, but after that, all signs are too ambiguous to pin it down further. If I'm 13 dpo, both our ICI and IUI were probably too late. If not... Ah, who knows.

I have no symptoms. None. At a bare minimum, I always have breast swelling and tenderness by now. It usually kicks in around 8 dpo and by now, it's uncomfortable to lay on my stomach. I have no other symptoms to speak of either - no "imagined" pregnancy symptoms, and no "AF is coming" symptoms. It's like my body is suddenly devoid of hormones, which is unlikely as this is a 100mg. Clomid cycle. In the past, I have believed that anything different is good, but I'm not getting the same vibe about this particular difference. The vibe I'm getting this time is that I should have my progesterone checked again.

Oh well, I gave up the driver seat on this ttc road trip a while ago. Looks like it might be time to move into the back seat altogether. Or maybe the trunk.

Monday, January 14, 2008

a mother of an update, no pun intended

What a wild ride we've been on.

The Clomid made me ovulate late again, so I had the tank for nearly a week. Again. It's really annoying to continue to pee on opk sticks and continue to have negative results as the typical ovulation window passes you by. I started to worry that I'd missed my ovulation altogether, although the raging pain in my ovaries suggested it was still to come. The point of the Clomid is to cause you to create multiple follicles and it must be working on me because for the last couple of days before I ovulated, it practically hurt to take a step. I finally got a positive opk a full 4 days later than I expected. The positive test came in the evening, and by the time I woke up the next morning, the enormous pressure I had been feeling in my ovaries had subsided and my temperature had gone up a bit, so I figured the egg(s) had released. I called the NP, anxious to get in ASAP, and found that she was out for the day. Her secretary offered me an appointment the next day and (clearly warned by the NP) said that even though I would probably worry it was too late, the NP was certain it would be fine. Grrrr.

I took the appointment and called M right away - too soon, really. I ended up being less than cordial with her in my frustration. The decision before us was whether to throw away $250 and a soon-to-pass-quarantine vial in order to check off one of the two Clomid + IUI cycles our RE is requiring before moving forward. We decided to go for it. We also decided that I would come home at lunch and have a solo business meeting (My decision to take out 2 vials "just in case" paid off!) so that we'd have at least one somewhat viable shot this cycle. More important than completing the RE's checklist is the need not to take this horrible medication in vain - we had to do what we could to salvage any use of this Clomid cycle. So, I did an ICI at home - less effective, but hopefully closer to the right timing. This is SO not our month. The next afternoon, I went in for the IUI. M came along. As always, all lights were green, all signs were awesome, blah, blah, blah. She said she felt we caught the end of the "fertile window." We'll see. This cycle might be just F'ed up enough to work.

I ended up going for 2 acupuncture appointments last week and I also started an herbal treatment that is supposed to help with implantation. I was keeping in touch with my acupuncturist every day because she wanted to be sure to do a session right after my IUI, and on Friday when I hadn't surged yet, we went ahead and scheduled it for Monday because "surely" I'd surge over the weekend and go in then. Well, Monday came with no surge in sight but I was feeling pretty fragile emotionally so I kept the appointment. Then I went again on Wednesday after my IUI. That's about as much relaxation as my reproductive system can hope for!

All of the monitoring and calling providers and planning to rearrange my schedule was ridiculously draining. I have never been so fed up with this process as I was last week. I simply can't believe how hard we're having to work for this. I know it will all be worth it, but wow.

OK, the rest of this is me working through some stuff and documenting it for my own purposes. Feel free to skip it. It's not essential to the plot. ;-)

I wrote a LONG email to a good friend today and I hashed out a bunch of stuff about how I've been feeling and where we are headed. The gist is that I've (well, really we've, but I think I'm the one that's been doing more mental gymnastics over it because I'm the overanalyzer in our relationship!) been trying to work out whether being fed up with ttc is reason enough to proceed with IVF in a couple of months even though we're skipping a couple of steps that could come first, and I've come to rest on believing that it is. When we started this whole thing, I was determined to be patient and not rush to interventions we didn't need, and I still think there is value in that course of action for as long as it is working for you. But, it has ceased to work for us. I have been a basketcase over the past couple of weeks and the only thing I know for sure is that we are so ready to be done with this madness. My coworker, who got pregnant after we'd already been trying about 8 months, is less than two months away from giving birth and at this rate, it looks as though I won't even be pregnant by then. I never imagined this would be our road. Several of my friends are starting their own ttc journeys and while I truly and honestly want them to become pregnant quickly, I'm simultaneously terrified of the possibility that they too will be holding babies in their arms while we're still be treading water here in ttc land.

If we do go straight to IVF after our next Clomid cycle, there are really only two steps (one test and one treatment) that we'd be skipping that I might be a candidate for, and if the only benefit we get from that comes in the form of my mental and emotional well-being, then it is worth it for me. I'm ready to do whatever will give us the best chance because each cycle that we try feels so very long to me at this point. Waiting 3 more cycles just to make sure injectibles couldn't work for me before ending up at IVF anyway just does not feel do-able right now. Yes, I understand that the injectible cycles might work, but the chances of them working when Clomid didn't is so marginal - I just need more of a boost in the odds right now. Money is an important factor in this as well. We're really close to being able to afford an IVF cycle and if we have to pay for injectibles instead (several thousand dollars per month), it'll will deplete our IVF piggy bank entirely. I'm not willing to risk that right now.

Let's say the cost of injectibles is X and the cost of IVF is Y. X + X + X = Y, give or take. If we try 3 X cycles, we have to wait until we've saved up Y to try again. If we do things out of order and start with Y, we can try again as soon as we've saved up X, and the next after we've saved up another X, and so on, so there will be less of a break between tries.

Speaking of money, my parents gave us a significant amount of money to use toward IVF. We'll still have to come up with several thousand on our own, but it helps tremendously. They said that they've been meaning to take advantage of some of the "gifting" tax laws for a while, and the fact that they could start now at a time when we have such a large and specific need just made up their minds for them. I guess it goes without saying that we are very lucky women.

Our final argument for skipping to IVF is that we've finally accepted that breaking for a year or more to move just isn't going to be an option. I thought I could do it, but the last couple of weeks have shown me that I can't. So, we've basically decided that we will continue ttc until the house goes on the market with the understanding that if I do get pregnant, we'll be changing gears significantly and hanging out here for a while longer. This decision means we have more tries on our dance card than we thought. All other factors aside, we'd like to move this fall which would involve putting the house on the market in August or September, so the latest I could get pregnant would be then. Getting pregnant in August or September, however, would not be ideal as it would keep us in this part of the world for at least a year longer than we'd like, possibly more. So, looking at having 7+ more months to try and accepting that it may take some or all of half a dozen different treatments, it makes sense for us - strategically - to do whatever gives us the highest chance of working at the most relatively ideal time (in this case, sooner rather than later), then working backward from there.

Anyway, all of these factors and more are leading us to believe that proceeding with IVF after our next failed Clomid cycle will be the way to go. It wouldn't be the right answer for everyone, but it is for us. I know it may seem impulsive or short-sighted to an outside observer, but this process has changed us in ways I can't explain, and it's what we feel we need at this point. We're 16 months and 13 tries in and I am so, so tired. Maybe it won't work, and we won't be any better off than we are now, but we need to give it a shot. I need to give it a shot. I need to be able to move forward somehow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

starting 2008 off right

Lots of good news on the TTC front yesterday. I talked to our NP and she will do an IUI this cycle using one of KD's vials. This is way cheaper for us b/c we've already paid for KD's vials and the NP charges significantly less for an IUI. Also, we get to use KD which we weren't going to be able to do with the RE, AND we don't have to miss this cycle meaning:

1) No wasted Clomid side effects,

2) No involuntary break, and

3) No delay in meeting the 2 more Clomid + IUI cycles our RE is requiring before moving on.

It also looks like KD may be able to come out in a month so we can do an IUI with fresh swimmers (yay!) and he can have the infectious disease repeat screening that he needs for the RE to start using his vials after February 1st.

And here's something we're trying on for size...

We have tentatively decided to move forward with IVF in March/April. I'm still going to try to have at least one more consultation between now and then to allow every opportunity to be swayed, but we have spent the last three days making pro/con lists, staring at calendars, and running scenarios. In the end, this is the route that makes the most sense for us in conjunction with the rest of our goals for the next year. It's not a final decision by any means, but it's what we're going with for now.

Happy 2008 to all my friends in cyberland!