Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Happy news greeted me today when I logged onto the computer- the ladies at The Chronicles of Conception finally met their baby boy, Lachlan Grae! I've seen very few instances where IUI/ICIs actually worked, and they're one. When I first "met" Tiff and Karli, they were already a few months along. Their success fed my resolve to give IUIs a chance, even after the first (and second, and third, and finally... fourth) did not work for me. I was reassured by knowing the procedure had worked for someone.

One more day left in 2008, and then we're all new in 2009. I can't wait! I have never been so eager for a new year to begin.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

is it 2009 yet?

Hello world. I've been excitedly reading all the cycle sista blogs for Nov/Dec and found quite a few BFPs this month. Congratulations to those wonderful ladies, and thank you all for sharing your journey with me. I admit that I'm kind of jealous, but it really does offer hope that this process can, and often does, succeed. I appreciate the insights you've all provided regarding the various drugs associated with IVF and how best to administer them. Back in July (it feels so long ago. Could it really be just 6 months?) when C and I first learned why we hadn't conceived on our own, I felt naive and alone. Sure, there are people in my life I could talk to about IF, but they haven't actually dealt with it first-hand. This blogging community has given me not only information but a sense of camaraderie and belonging that have eased my mind considerably.

So, am I next? My RE appointment is now only 15 days away. I discovered that, in the absence of sperm, my body really does revert to its pre-IUI 28-day cycle. This small detail makes me happy because it means that I'll be on CD15 for my appointment. I know there is essentially a whole cycle's worth of tests to be done before we move on to actual procedures, but having a shorter cycle and being closer to the start of the next one seem like they might move things along a little quicker. This new insurance of mine is expensive (cheaper than donor sperm, though!), so I don't want to drag things out longer than necessary. I didn't have the option of starting coverage on the day of my choice (I'd pick the date of my RE appointment, of course), only on the first of the month. I feel like I'm already wasting one-fourth of the first month's premium. But I won't dwell on that. 2009 will be the year I got pregnant. And, hopefully, it will also be the year of my first child's birth. It's going to be a very momentous year.

I almost forgot- Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah and Joyous Solstice! I'll wish y'all a special new year next week. Mustn't forget this week's holidays in anticipation of what I hope will be the biggest year of our lives.

Be well!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

quietly muddling through December

I think I'm part of a noticeable trend in blog-land this month. Most of the blogs I follow have been very quiet lately, maybe as an after-effect of NaBloPoMo or maybe due to the hectic holiday season. Or perhaps, like me, many just have nothing of great import to say this month as we gear up for a new year and all the hope that a clean slate, or at least a fresh calendar, brings.

In spite of taking the month "off," TTC is still ever-present on my mind. I still poke a thermometer in my mouth before opening my eyes each morning. I P'dOAS today in anticipation of the +OPK I expect to see tomorrow. I'm observing my cycle this month to see if, in the absence of sperm, I revert to my old norm of 28 days. I ovulate very regularly, or at least I believe I do (never been monitored, so who really knows?) based on OPKs and BBT and CM, on the 15th or 16th day of each cycle. The extra days of my IUI cycles were during the luteal phase, which has me guessing that some kind of sperm-egg reaction took place each month. I take it as an indication that our timing was perfect, but either the resulting embie was non-viable or my uterus wasn't as welcoming as it should have been. I can't wait to hear what the RE has to say about my theories. Only 28 days until my appointment- hurray!

I'm still enjoying the perks of a month without TTC- the port is half gone and I enjoyed a beer at the office holiday party. Dark chocolate has become my nightly indulgence. Just a small bit, since I am also working on losing the pounds put on since our IF diagnosis in July. I haven't had sushi yet. For some reason, I keep forgetting about sushi. Maybe this weekend. I'm going to a concert tonight with my brother, who alo enjoys sushi, so I'll ask him if he'd like to have lunch with me on Saturday. If not, there's always take-out. I'll pick up a nice steak grinder for C and a lunch-box of sushi for myself. There's a good sub shop next-door to the sushi place.

That's all for today. I hope everyone out there is having a wonderful holiday season.

Friday, December 5, 2008

what's good about NOT TTC?

Well, for starters, there's chocolate. Dark chocolate. And port. I really like port. With chocolate. Dark chocolate. Taking a month off from TTC has allowed me to indulge in a couple of vices I would otherwise enjoy only rarely anyhow, but which I haven't had in about 14 months. I knew November's IUIs had not worked in time to buy a nice little bottle of port and a dark chocolate espresso beans candy bar for Thanksgiving. I like beer too... and I had a most fantastically delicious bottle of beer on Saturday night. I also drank a cup of highly caffeinated coffee last weekend that sent me loopy for a few hours, so I think I'll stay away from caffeine regardless of my procreative plans.

I don't know why, but the espresso bean laden dark chocolate didn't seem to have any affect on me, caffeine-wise.

I think that I will have sushi this weekend.

There is, I must admit, a silver lining to a break in TTC. Of course, I am incredibly antsy to get moving on the next step and it bothers me that January will start on about CD6 and my RE appointment isn't until CD13, so any early-cycle testing will have to wait until February. Which means I might not get to an IVF cycle until March, so even if we're successful on the first attempt, I may not hold my child until 2010. So, you see, I'd give up the port and the chocolate and the beer and the sushi if I could have not skipped this month. The silver lining is a bit tarnished, especially in comparison to the pot of gold I'm looking for.

But, ever the reluctant optimist, I will enjoy what I can during this break.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

not trying is harder than trying

As much as TTC was constantly on my mind when we were either waiting for the +OPK or holding our breath during a TWW, it's even more in my thoughts during this cycle of "doing nothing." I was never a smoker, and I gave up caffeine over a year ago. I haven't had sushi since before I got married, and I am about to open my third bottle of 250-count daily vitamins. But suddenly, every morsel of food that passes my lips is prejudged for fertility value. Is this apple good for fertility, or should I be afraid of whatever pesticide residue didn't wash off? Should I be splurging on organic produce? I'm not drinking out of a nalgene bottle, having replaced it with an aluminum one, but the water cooler in my office stores water in plastic. Should I drink it? Should I stand further from the microwave when I heat up my lunch? Am I drinking enough FertiliTea? If I'm not P'ingOAS, shouldn't I be doing something?

So, I've decided that December is the month in which I will lose the 8 pounds I've gained since the SA that kicked off the medically enhanced portion of our quest. My gym membership will earn its keep this month. And I am hoping that regular exercise, including yoga and pilates (the gym has classes- hurray!), will become a routine part of my existence. We'll see. When depressed, it's hard to convince myself to work up a sweat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I am thankful that 2008 is nearly over.

I am thankful that my husband and I have each other, and that our marriage did not suffer in spite of a very trying year.

I am thankful for the wonders of science and reproductive technology, which give me hope for having a family the new-fashioned way.

I am thankful for sperm donors. I don't care what their motives were, the results they make possible are priceless.

I am thankful for bloggers. If not for all these people sharing their experiences, I would feel woefully alone and at the mercy of doctors and insurance companies. I learn from them and take comfort in reading about so many successes.

I am thankful for my family and friends; for not pressing for more detail than I am comfortable sharing and for always being ready to listen and encourage when I need a supportive ear.

I am, most of all, thankful for my husband. The trials we've been through in 2008 I would not have experienced without him, but without him I would not be trying to start a family and I would miss him as I did before we met. I love you, C.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

oh, and the big announcement that I promised...

BFN. I didn't even need to POAS because I already know what it would say. So I'm not going to bother. AF will be here tomorrow. Bleh.

looking ahead

I will be so relieved to see the end of 2008. Nothing good has come of this year. C started the year laid off, and continued that way until mid-April. Almost as soon as he went back to work, his mother went into the hospital for what turned out to be the last time. We lost the month of June to grief and mourning, then spent July devastated to discover that C has no sperm. I had an optimistic month in August, when I naively believed that all we needed were donor sperm and an IUI to achieve our dream. September through November pulled me back to reality, and now December is just an obstacle blocking our path to a new year, new health insurance, and increasingly scientific attempts to conceive.

And today, I couldn't turn the key in the ignition. Apparently, there's some issue with Ford and Buick ignitions from 2003. After a time, the ignition pins don't drop around the key like they're supposed to. The first time it happened, well over a year ago, the tow truck driver who responded simply tapped the key with a chock block and, miraculously, it turned. Since then, I almost always have had to smack the key with varying degrees of force to make it turn. I've had to smack it harder and more often as time passed. Then, this morning, I spent about 10 minutes whacking the key with the heel of my gym shoes before it finally gave. Of course, I was not home when this happened, and I forgot my cell phone, and it was raining cats and dogs, and I was late for work. The dealer wants between $350 and $450 to fix it. I want to cry. If I had that much money, I'd be spending it on health insurance, dammit! Some days, it feels like there's just no way to catch up, let alone get ahead.

Maybe it was just all the humidity, and when the rain stops the key will not be so persnickety. Then I won't need to fix it for a while.

Friday, November 21, 2008

plans on hold

Well, it looks like I might not be keeping that RE appointment I planned. C was laid off today, not hours after the foreman told him the company had just landed the building portion of the construction job they've been working on. Nothin' like hearing, "Hurray! There's lots of work to do. We'll be busy all winter," at lunch and then being handed your pink slip at 3:20.

If it were just the insurance payments, I'd be OK with continuing uninterrupted. Money is tight, but I wouldn't mind too much if we had to put up to half of our new insurance premium on a credit card. But, C is scheduled for surgery in December, so we'll have all of his co-pays to deal with on top of all the medical bills we accumulated back in July when we were first finding out why we weren't pregnant. I've made payment arrangements with all the providers, but unemployment benefits don't add up to a normal salary, and I budgeted based on our two-income capabilities.

Everyone, please think really hard... snow snow snow snow snow. We need a nice snowy winter around here to keep C (and the plow) busy so we can move on with our baby-making efforts.

it's everywhere; they're everywhere

Now that we're knee-deep in the IF life, C and I are learning that all sorts of people in our lives have also dealt with IF on some level. Now, we knew a bit about the ones close to us- friends, cousins. But when one of my co-workers caught me crying in my office and I told her a little about the situation, she rattled off two current and one former co-workers who all had some difficulty conceiving. I guess I didn't give much thought to infertility back when I thought we were fertile, so I didn't know all the pieces of the puzzle that have to be in perfect working order for someone not to be IF. I didn't realize how pervasive it is, or how disruptive it can be to a couple's life. I'll admit it, I was naive.

One interesting note about about all these people I know who've survived IF, every one of them wound up with a child or children. Is it a remarkable success rate, or have the ones who didn't get a BFP given up and kept their stories to themselves?

So, I guess we're surrounded by people dealing with fertility issues. At the same time, EVERYONE is pregnant! Two weeks ago, we got a call from C's cousin. Her son, a teenager, has become pregnant with his girlfriend. She called for another cousin's address to send a shower invitation, but I think she also wanted to share the news. I told C that there was no way I would even consider attending- even if we weren't trying so hard for a child of our own, I hardly know the cousin and have never met her son, let alone his girlfriend. Sorry- no go. C didn't think I'd be invited. After all, I have never met the pregnant people, and I'm more than twice their age. Three days later, the invitation arrived. I tore it up and tossed it in the recycle bin. I didn't RSVP.

Sorry- I really don't want to go to anyone's baby shower until I am eligible for one myself. Not that I will have one. My family doesn't seem to understand social norms at all. I got married a year and a half ago, a year after I started working in this office where my mother and brother both worked at the time of the wedding. Around here, there's a party of some sort every other week- baby showers, bridal showers, going-away parties. It didn't occur to either my mother or my brother to organize a shower for me. In fact, the one shower that I did have was arranged by my mother-in-law. My mother was just another invited guest, not a participant in the planning.

A little bitterness there. My family, for the most part, is living in the social dark-ages. Especially the ones older then me (two brothers and the parents). They just don't "get it." So now that my MIL has passed away, I don't expect there to be a baby shower if I should manage to get pregnant. There especially won't be one at work. I think people would expect my mother to arrange it, so no one else will. I'll be OK with no shower. Just give me a healthy baby and I'd be perfectly happy never to celebrate my own milestones. And then I might be OK with celebrating other people's, even when it's an accidental teenage pregnancy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I knew it would be

Negative. But it doesn't get a "BFN" this time because a test at 7dpo is completely inconclusive and a ridiculous waste of a test. But, as I mentioned, it was a cheap test and I still have one left (I thought I had two, but remember now that I used one to make sure I wasn't pregnant before starting clomid).

I won't dwell on any imaginary symptoms I might be having this cycle. If I don't discuss them and don't write about them, I feel more sane and less delusional. I do imagine that something is up, but I don't necessarily feel pregnant. Regardless of what I am, or am not, feeling right now, I'll know one way or the other next week. No need to speculate; we'll find out soon enough.

It would be more than wonderful to tell C on Thanksgiving that we're pregnant. Thanksgiving was always his mother's holiday and this will be the first holiday season without her. His emotions surprise him sometimes. He thinks he's "over" the loss, but then he'll see or hear something and think of what his mother would think of it, then remember again that she isn't here to see or hear anything. C needs something wonderful to look forward to.

Monday, November 17, 2008

have stick, will pee

I said I was going to test on the 18th. I still may. Trouble is, there's just no way possible for the results to be positive so early. I don't want to jinx the string of 18s that I have going (donor number ends in 18, it's our 18th cycle of TTC, the date will be the 18th, C was born on an 18th,...) by not testing. But realistically, is there even a remote chance I'll get a BFP? So why would I POAS knowing full well that the results will be not only depressing (yet another BFN), but also meaningless?

I'll probably do it, just for practice. I bought the cheap tests and will still have two left to use at a more reasonable date. I know what the result will be, so seeing just one lonely line won't be a disappointment.

On a completely unrelated side note, I have found my new most-favorite mid-afternoon snack. I take a handfull of frozen mango chunks and a smattering of frozen raspberries and toss them into a container before leaving for work in the morning. I let them sit on the windowsill until about 2:30 and then they're melted just right- still cool, but no longer frozen. The combination of raspberries and mango is amazing. The mango is smooth and sweet. The raspberries are terifically tart. YUM!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NaBloPoMo no mo'

I've blown it twice in under two weeks, so I am hereby officially resigning from NaBloPoMo. Now that the pressure's off, I won't have to blog unless I have something to say. I'm not a talker, generally, so this is more like me.

I made my first insurance-sponsored appointment with the RE. This will be incontrast to my July visit, which was funded entirely out-of-pocket. I haven't even purchased the insurance yet, but made the appointment for the first week of December, just in case I am not pregnant by then. I figure the more not-pregnant plans I make now, during the TWW, the more likely I am to actually be pregnant by Thanksgiving. It's like carrying an umbrella so it won't rain. It also gives me something to do and think about during the TWW. And, should we not succeed this month, I will handle the disappointment better knowing that I can move on to the next step without delay.

Actually, I was afraid the RE might be booked and I didn't want to have to wait several weeks to see her. Nor did I want to select a new doctor. I like this one. And I absolutely love the patient coordinator! She has been a wealth of information since day 1. To be a patient in their office will be a priviledge.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

and so it goes

Very mixed emotions today as I made it back to the MW office for the second IUI of this cycle. Eager optimism, which I felt the first try or two, has given way to resignation. This is just another hurdle to overcome on the path toward having a baby. Whether it works or not, we'll see. And I feel today as if I have no stock in the outcome of this particular cycle. It's an odd sort of detachment that I haven't felt in any other TWW before this one. It may not last. After all, the TWW just started today.

I was also a bit annoyed with the MW office today. Yesterday, I could understand when I had to wait 30 minutes for them to take me in, then another 25 while I sat half-naked in the exam room. After all, I was a last-minute "I need an insem today!" appointment, so I wasn't really part of the day's schedule. Today, I had an appointment, an assigned time slot which I was expected to be on time for. And I was, right on time. Just in time to sit in the waiting room for over 45 minutes, with nary an explanation, followed by 20 minutes in the exam room. How long do they think it takes me to disrobe from the waist down? At least I didn't park in the pay lot today.

That said, the MW was her usual wonderful self. She was saddened to see me back for another cycle, and seems sincerely to want an update, whether it's a pregnancy announcement in a month or just a message to let her know I've moved on to IVF. I let everyone know this was my last visit to their office. They've really been helpful and kind and never let what could have been an awkward situation feel anything but normal. But they don't do anything with respect to treating infertility (aside from IUI/ICIs), so I need to look elsewhere for the additional help that we apparently need. The MWs are also fairly far out of the way, an hour from my office when the traffic isn't hell.

So, in addition to the detachment, I feel some trepidation and kind of like I am starting out at zero again. I need to find a good doctor (I think I did, but I need to see if she's taking new patients and when she can squeeze me in... hopefully early December to start). I'll need to explain the situation to new people who haven't heard our story before. I'll be dealing with new insurance and hoping not to be taken advantage of. I'll need to undergo all sorts of tests to make sure I'm a viable IVF candidate. We'll need to select yet another donor, this time looking for one who has ART specimens available (although I think they can use pretty much any category of specimen for IVF- need to check on that). Maybe we can keep lucky #18? Maybe #18 isn't as lucky as I believed.

Then again, I believe this is our 18th cycle of trying. I am going to POAS on the 18th, even though that's a few days (OK, more like a week) too early to learn anything conclusive. I want to believe that this is our month. But I feel that detachment that I mentioned. Self-protective denial, perhaps? I need to stop overthinking everything. This may be the longest TWW yet, especially with NaBloPoMo, which, even though I missed a day already, I've decided to try to complete in spite of myself.

Monday, November 10, 2008

last chance to keep it "simple"

I got the digital smiley face at 5:15 this morning, so I'm off to the MW for another insem. This cycle is the last with the midwives. We'll either be pregnant by Thanksgiving or I'll be scheduling appointments with an RE covered by my not-yet-purchased new health insurance. I'm hoping for the former. If we could keep it as simple as it's been so far and meet with success, I'd be the happiest of campers. But, if we have to, we'll pursue IVF with a passion. One way or another, we're moving forward.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I blew it already. I missed getting a blog in for Saturday by about an hour. Normally, I am not up this late and would have just plain forgotten about NaBloPoMo, but we had my brother and his girlfriend over for dinner and Monopoly tonight. Then we stayed up to watch the BC football game. All of a sudden, it was after midnight! So, sleepy me decided to check my email before bed, and there was a message about NaBloPoMo. Doh!! Ah well. The blogging is for myself anyhow, so it doesn't really matter. G'night!

Friday, November 7, 2008

the man can cook

I'm so glad I married someone who doesn't object to doing his share in the kitchen. C flipped through a cookbook and found this recipe for White Chicken Chili. It sounded tasty and pretty simple, so he gave it a try on Tuesday night. It was absolutely delicious. Next time, we'll have to double it so we have enough to share.

White Chicken Chili

2-3 boneless chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cans white beans, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 (4oz.) can chopped chiles
2tsp. cumin
1tsp. ground oregano
1/3tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4C dry sherry
1 or 2 C Mexican shredded cheese

Boil the chicken in 1 can of chicken broth. Remove chicken and shred. Return to broth.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add sherry.
Add onion/garlic/sherry mixture to chicken and broth. Add all remaining ingredients. Heat thoroughly. Serve warm with sour cream and corn chips.

We didn't have any sherry, and our most local grocery store is tiny so they didn't have any either. I wasn't about to shell out $10 on a bottle from the liquor store so I could use 1/4 cup in the chili, so we just left it out. The result was fantastic. We'll try it with sherry next time for comparison.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

poor excuse

Sorry- in an effort not to mess up NaBloPoMo but still leave work semi-early (I already hit the 40-hour mark, and am no longer "on the clock"), I am leaving a sorry excuse for a post today. But hey, at least I remembered before shutting off the computer. I rarely log on in the evening from home, so it's now or never.

No news today, big or small. I am looking forward to another round of POASing which I can start tomorrow with the cheap-o OPKs. I save the digitals for CD14 and later, or when I get confuddled by the lines on the analog tests. (If it's not digital, it must be analog, right?) Anyhow, I should see a +OPK on Tuesday or Wednesday. Then I'll be off to the MW for another pair of IUIs. I'm not excited, stressed, or anxious this round. It's all old-hat now. I'm saving the excitement for the tail-end of the TWW.

OK- post posted. I can go home now. Night!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a fine line

I think I may be experiencing some of the moodiness associated with taking clomid. I was on the phone with C, his usual afternoon "I haven't talked to anyone all day, but now I am FREE and commuting, so I will call my wife" phone call. I told him I was planning to stop at the grocery store on the way home and asked if he had any requests. Then, all of a sudden, I became evil. I snapped at him because he wasn't willing to stop at a Trad3r Joe's on his way home to pick aomething up for me. All I could think was that he never says "Thank you" any more. I make him a thermos and a mug of coffee every morning. I toast and spread peanut butter and jelly on an English muffin for his breakfast. I fill his water bottle. I get out of bed at 5 am every day to help him get out the door on time. But he doesn't say "Thank you" any more. And when I have to get up early on the weekend, he sleeps right through. Nobody makes my breakfast for me. I have to make my own coffee and fill my own water bottle.

I think I have a case for being a bit irritated, but I shouldn't have snapped. I'm blaming it on the clomid.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

smells like spring

In spite of the leaves on the ground, it really smelled green and growing outside today. I worked all day with my office windows open. Refreshing.

Have you noticed people talk about the weather whan they have nothing to say?

I really can't shift my brain out of this TTC funk that's been hanging around for, oh let's see... 17 months now. It's still on my mind, every minute of every day. Last night, I refereed some girls' soccer games. I listened for their names, thinking I might hear one I'd want to use for my own child. I watched them run and wondered if I'll one day watch my own child run. I saw the proud smiles on the parents after the game ended and hoped that I'd be one of them some day. Being around children always makes me wonder about my future with my own children. Until recently, it was always a matter of when. When would I get pregnant? Will I have an autumn baby? Will he be healthy? Will I be a good mom?

Lately, I've been slipping into if. The certainty is gone. I'm still confident that something will eventually work. We're only at the very beginning of the trail of treatments available, and as far as we know I am perfectly healthy. Old, in reproductive terms only, but healthy. Every once in a while, though, at a particularly low moment, I fall into if. The child I see in my dreams blurs and that he may never exist permeates my thoughts.

Today's not a low day. We're a week away from another TWW. Lucky #18 is sitting on ice waiting for the digital smiley face to appear. I have my ducks in a row just in case this doesn't work, so November won't be the end of the road whether I get a BFP or not.

Monday, November 3, 2008

off on a tangent

And now for something completely irrelevant to the TTC world. Sports bras! Yes, I need some help finding a decent one. Champ*on has a sale going on, with all their sports bras marked down. I usually wear two (I hate jiggling... it's distracting) when I run and play soccer (OK, I don't really run unless I'm on a soccer field), and since both that I usually wear are from Champ*on, I thought I could find a single bra, from Champ*on, to replace the pair. I bought four different ones to try on, and three were instant disappointments. The remaining one I took for a test drive last week, and it failed miserably. I blame it for our loss that night.

Anyhow, the closest I've recently come to a truly supportive sports bra for a full-C is a dreadfull contraption from Ene1l that is labelled the "last resort bra" by the marketing staff at Title IX (sporting apparel purveyor geared exclusively to women). There's no jiggling with this thing on, but it's like wearing a very heavy and extremely tight half-shirt under my shirt. Unless I am sprinting, and enjoying the full benefits of the highly supportive garment, it's very uncomfortable. It squashes the bottom of my rib cage. So, it's good for soccer games that I play in, but I need something a little more comfy for casual pick-up games, working out at the gym, and for chasing kids around when I referee.

Has anyone out there found a great sports bra that they'd like to tell the world about? If I find one, I'll be shouting from the rooftops!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

a disturbing thought

I had a wierd thought last night, after I took my third clomid dose for this cycle. AF was wierd this time around- only one real day to it after four days of the usual preamble. It was also 2 days later than the last one, which was 2 days later than my norm before sperm entered the equation. This all made me wonder- could I be pregnant and not know it? I took a HPT at 30 days and AF (or what I assumed to be AF) began at 32, so maybe the BFN was because I tested too early. In any case, before I pop another clomid in my mouth, I'm going to POAS just to make sure. I need some empirical evidence to back up the complete lack of symptoms.

That said, we went out last night with some friends who are aware of our procreative efforts and stumbling blocks. Before we'd filled any of them in on the details beyond "we're trying," C and I had purchased the donor sperm that we've used thus far and will use for the current cycle. One of our friends seems intrigued by the process of selecting a donor and asked if she could help us "shop" for the next attempt. I'm not unhappy with my lucky #18, and really don't want to change even though the first try didn't succeed. And maybe November really will be our month and the whole point will be moot. I'm not sure if I find it strange or encouraging that this friend wants to help choose a donor. Then again, it's wonderful to have friends who care so much about us.

I'm going to the drup store now to buy a HPT. Don't expect any news.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Why NaBloPoMo?

I thought at first that it would be too big a commitment. I don't even hit the personal internet on a daily basis, so where would I find the time to blog every day for an entire month (this should be in February, with only 28 days)? Then I realized that IF is in my thoughts not just every day, but nearly every minute of every day. A blog entry need not be excessively verbose or deep. And it's nice to chronicle the evolution of this effort as my emotions run the gamut from despondency to the jubilation I hope will come when I finally get that BFP. So I decided to participate in NaBloPoMo for myself, to track the daily musings on IF, and anything else that seems relevant to my existence, for a solid month. I know there are a couple of people who've at least glanced at this blog (and I thank you sincerely for your comments. They're like hugs from travelers sharing this journey with me), but I have no delusions of some great audience waiting for my every post. This is for me, and for my as-yet-inconceived baby who should know how much she was loved even before she came to be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

a good day

I am amazed. One week ago, I was a wreck because our third IUI cycle had not worked and I didn't know where we'd go from there. Today, I am nearly giddy. I don't know how they stay in business, but the health insurer that the RE patient coordinator suggested covers EVERYTHING. I figured we'd still have to buy the donor sperm ourselves, but no- it's COVERED! Not only that, but if I buy the right plan, there's no coinsurance involved, no co-pay. Once the deductible is paid in full (won't take long), I'll pay nothing but the monthly premium. We've been spending about 4 times the monthly premium for the last 4 months. This, today, may be as deeply in debt as we go with this endeavor.

Sometimes, it's hard to gauge just how stressed I am until the stress is removed. I was really really stressed about our finances. And now, not so stressed. I feel nearly weightless. I could hardly wait for C to call me on his commute home so I could share the news.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, I called the local home heating oil company to check their prices. We bought 100 gallons in September because our tank was nearly empty. I didn't want to buy much because I thought the price might go down a bit further. We paid $3.899 in September. Today, a gallon of home heating oil costs $2.799!!! I can turn the heat on and not panic every time I hear the hum of the furnace! I know this is a lot more than it was last year (I have $1.899 in my head for some reason), but it's so much less than I was afraid it would be. Hurray!

Today is a

I hope yours is too!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Another cycle of clomid, 100mg on days 5-9. One more insem using lucky #18. I'll keep my fingers crossed, but I've stopped holding my breath. Luckily, I had a wonderful chat with the patient coordinator at the RE's office and I am encouraged by the prospect of independently-purchased health insurance. It's not as expensive as I had feared, and costs a lot less than our monthly sperm purchases of late. So, if November doesn't work for us, we'll take two months off- one just to take a break, and the other to undergo all the pre-IVF testing that my new insurer will require.

I am still hoping that November will be our month.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

insurance is a scam

I feel as lost as I did in July, when C and I first learned we had no sperm. We knew nothing of the costs and logistics of the one obvious solution- donor insemination. We didn't know where to begin or who to turn to. We had this devastating news and no way to respond productively.

This morning, I called my employer's HR department and the customer service folks with the insurer offered by my employer. My employer is based in Ohio; I am in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has a fairly generous state mandate concerning infertility treatment. Ohio mandates diagnosis only. I called to find out if the insurer had to obey my local mandate or the mandate provided where my employer is based. Neither. It turns out that, even though our insurance is handled by a major national brand insurance company, the company is considered self-insured and therefore EXEMPT FROM ALL STATE MANDATES!

I must say I'm glad we didn't put our efforts on hold wating to switch to my employer's health insurance. That would have been even more frustrating than finding out after months of IUIs that the switch would do us no good.

I fell apart this morning, in my office. I slunk off to the restroom for a while, but in an office this size there's really nowhere to hide. I am pretty certain that this month's IUI did not succeed. We have two more vials of donor sperm that we can use for a November insemination, but then I really don't know what to do next. I am terrified of pointless debt, and if we invest in IVF or additional IUIs, there's still no guarantee.

Back in July, when I spoke with the patient coordinator at the RE's office, she mentioned supplemental insurance that I could buy to cover just infertility. I'm waiting for her to call me back. I spoke with my employer's insurance company about purchasing additional individual coverage, but none is available. They told me to call my employer, but I really don't see the point in that- they're not going to re-do the 2009 options just for me, and I am tired of letting strangers into my personal life. I called Fertility Lifelines for advice and learned about their IVF scholarship program. That's a possibility, but it can take as long as a year to find out if I've been selected. What do I do in the interim? I'm already 40 years old. I can't just sit back and wait!

One more IUI cycle. We'll use clomid again. I'll ask the MW if there's anything else I should do/take/avoid. I bought a Yoga for Fertility DVD and a bag of FertiliTea. I don't know what we'll do next if November's IUI fails, but I'll try to figure out if there's any benefit to switching insurers. My plan covers diagnosis of infertility, so it may still be worthwhile to change, but it'll cost me $900 over the course of the year (plus deductibles, co-pays, etc.).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I've been useless for nearly two weeks. I can't stop wondering if this is our month to conceive. I spent a couple of days reading Maybe Baby from start to present (there is no "finish" in real life), and now I am wondering if our next step should be straight to IVF before we waste any more of our precious, dwindling resources on IUI's. We're bordering on fiscal crisis. The clock is ticking louder every day. Why do we want this so much? Do we want this enough to go through more of the expense and the agony of another TWW, and another, and another... until we either succeed or some callous health "professional" deems me too old to be a viable candidate for any fertility treatment? If I switch to new health insurance that's covered by the state mandate for fertility coverage, will IVF be included?

For about 45 minutes this morning, I was convinced that I am definitely not pregnant and I couldn't stop crying. I don't feel any symptoms. None. Nada. But I don't want to think about it, yet I can't stop. Nothing else matters right now.

It's hard not to feel as though I need to make all of our most life-altering decisions right now. How much debt can we handle? What if we succeed, and then can't afford to raise our child? Which do I value more- the prospect of getting pregnant, or my excellent credit rating (which is slipping fast as my debt-to-income ratio grows)?

Every blog seems to end with a baby, but so many took years and years of TWW's to get there. I don't have years left. I think we're approaching the point where C and I will need to ask for help, but no one has money to spare, especially on something as frivolous as a child. How do you argue convincingly that you need this?

For the next few days, I need to stop thinking about fertility. I can pee on a stick on Friday and the results will be credible because it'll be CD30 & 14dpi. Until then, there is absolutely nothing I can do but wait. And remember to breathe.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I was hoping for something to think about during this tww besides whether or not I am "feeling pregnant" yet. Well, I kind of got my wish. I am worried about my brother. He, my mother, and I all work for the same company, albeit in very different roles. Yesterday, my brother was laid off. He's been here for seventeen years! I've only been here for just over 2. But apparently, his organization had one of the lowest on-project labor histories, so the higher-ups in a far-off state in middle-America decided that some cuts were necessary. They issued the edict, and left it to the managers to decide who'd get the axe. D's manager is here, in the same facility where D, Mom, and I work. He manages staff in other facilities, too, but the other sites only have one person. Can't cut where there's only one! So, D is gone.

He walked into my office yesterday after receiving the news and looked completely shellshocked. You see, D isn't like a lot of people. When he graduated from college, he went back to the deli job he'd held through high school. I think he was laid off there, too; after a few years he'd become too expensive to keep or something like that. But D would not have left otherwise. He tends to find a comfortable rut and then stay in it. He likes routine. He doesn't like to shake things up. In his wildest imagination, he probably wasn't thinking that his future included working anywhere but here.

He did receive a very generous severance package, so money isn't the real issue. It's the instability. For the first time in 17 years, D doesn't know where he'll be at 3:00 next Thursday, or at 11am on the 19th of some month. And he's kind of alone. I mean, he has our family, and we're a pretty big family by modern standards. But he lives alone and doesn't have a significant other (anyone got any friends they're searching for a special someone for? He's 42, a gemini, and fantastic with kids. He's been a scoutmaster forever and loves to hike and camp and play soccer. Let me know. He's a great guy.) So, at the end of the day, he still has to pay all the bills himself and cook his own dinner and eat it alone.

Ironically, at the same time that D's org is laying people off (they axed someone else this morning... with only 85 employees on-site, losing 2 is a very big deal), I'm working with my supervisor to have my position reclassified, which would result in higher pay and more potential for moving further up the ladder. I started working on this well before D was laid off, but this has me thinking that I should become more vigilant about searching for a new job somewhere else. I never stop job-hunting. D, on the other hand, stopped as soon as he got his first offer 17 years ago.

There we go- I think I just spent a whole 20 minutes NOT thinking about IF and TTC and the TWW. But now my breasts are a little achey, and it's got me wondering...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the bbt habit

I woke up this morning at about 2:30 when C crawled back into bed. I found out later that he woke inexplicably at 2am and went downstairs for a glass of water. I refused to open my eyes or speak for fear of waking myself completely, but when I was even more awake at 2:52, I gave up. And what did I do, first-thing upon deciding that I just wasn't getting any more sleep? That's right- I reached for my trusty thermometer that has been a fixture on my bedside table for exactly 7 months and took my bbt to start the day.

Seven months of temperature plotting. Fertility Friend is "full," so instead of their nifty charts and observations, I've created my own spreadsheet and analyzed it myself. I laughed in July when the first fertility clinic I visited said to the AI orientation audience that our first step would be to begin plotting bbt's for at least three months. Ha! I had four under my belt by then. I was a pro. And my charts were so pretty and predictable, with a dramatic temperature rise indicating ovulation on CD17. I temp now, not so much to learn my body's rhythm but to try to guess what it'll be each day. My guess was off by 0.03 today. Not bad.

Anyhow, I am looking forward to the day when I can just wake up in the morning and relax, not worry about sticking a thermometer in my mouth or waking up my husband with all the beeping. I wonder if it'll be a hard habit to break?

Monday, October 13, 2008

fingers crossed

I am incredibly optimistic this cycle. Not that I haven't been optimistic before, but this time I feel confidence on top of optimism. On the "scientific" side, my BBT rose (predictably) above my ovulation temperature on Sunday, the day after the second insem. Our timing was spot-on, again. I felt something going on in the neighborhood of my ovaries on Friday and Saturday- ovulation pain, perhaps? Then there are the superstitious excuses for optimism, the biggest being lucky number 18.

Anyhow, we did the second insem on Saturday. C went with me, but stayed in the car and napped while I was in the office. I was grateful for the company on the drive and didn't need him to go into the office with me, although he did offer. So now we wait and I try not to overanalyze every little twinge and ache. I can test on the 24th. I may be kind of quiet between now and then, avoiding this environment that's focused on ttc. I will try not to think about it every minute of every day.

Friday, October 10, 2008


As anyone who might have a similar side effect to taking Cl0mid will want to know, I am happy to report that the dreaded hemorrhoid has pretty much disappeared. I couldn't find any reference that mentioned how long they last, so I can now state from personal experience that a mild case lasts less than a week.

IUI #1, take 3

Halfway there... one more IUI and we officially enter the TWW. I'm hoping THIS is the one. Of course, I've hoped that twice before. I kind of snapped at C a little this afternoon. He called as I was driving back to work from the insem and told me that "it's all in your attitude. Keep positive." To which I replied that, while I believe a positive attitude does help, there's far more to it than that and I don't want anyone insinuating that a lack of success is MY fault for having the wrong attitude.

I am thinking positively. I have been since we tossed the condoms and began this whole process. I know that at some point we will have a child. I do not know, however, how we will get there. Maybe this is the route that will work. Maybe it isn't. If I were not a realist, I would not survive the ups and downs we've been enduring. So please don't tell me that my attitude will determine the outcome of this attempt. It's not realistic, and I don't need that kind of pressure or blame. I am hopeful. I am certain that *something* will work. Enough said on that topic.

As for today's insem... well, the MW said they've had much success and many pregnancies this month, so maybe that will rub off on me. I took Cl0mid this month, and I can feel something going on in the vicinity of my ovaries, so I'll believe that the drugs helped. It's a new donor, prewashed, so there should be a higher volume of motile, viable swimmers than with the frozen-thawed-washed specimens we used in our first two attempts. She made no comments today, though, on how the specimen looked. It was very busy at the clinic, so maybe she didn't have time. Or maybe there's no real opportunity when the specimen needs only to be thawed, not thawed and washed.

Tomorrow, C will go with me to the clinic for insem #2. Maybe we'll go out to lunch, but I really don't want to dwell on it. I hope there are loads of distractions (good ones) between now and 10/24. I don't want to wake up every day wondering if I'm feeling imaginary symptoms. Here goes!

Monday, October 6, 2008

side effects

Cl0mid, so far, is not my friend. No hot flashes or cramps, but I've snapped at C several times over the last week. And on Saturday night, I developed my first ever hemorrhoid. This was not listed as one of the potential side effects, but there's really nothing else I can attribute this to. It's not terribly painful, but it is extremely uncomfortable to sit at my desk at work. I feel raw.

I will forgive Cl0mid this irritating inconvenience if it helps me get pregnant. Today is CD11, and O usually happens around CD14, so assuming the OPK turns positive at some point, this will be a busy week. I wonder if I should mention the 'roid to the MW at the insem. I bought a tube of Prep-H, but is there anything else to be done? Web MD suggested incorporating more fiber into my diet and drinking more water, but that's for prevention, not to make this go away. I also couldn't find any info on how long, once present, such a condition persists.

Here's what's different this month, in case I need to know what works...
1. Eased up on the pineapple juice, now drinking a small can approximately every other day;
2. Cl0mid on CD5-CD9, 100mg;
3. New donor, pre-washed.

Last cycle was the longest I've had since I started paying attention- 30 days where my norm is 28. I guess 2 days difference isn't much, really, but it seems like a big deal. And when you're in the TWW, your mind can play tricks on you. I wasn't convinced I was pregnant, but I wasn't sure I wasn't, either. I think that's why I was more down than usual when AF finally began and the truth was known.

But, it's a new cycle now, with a new donor who bears my lucky #18. C has been very encouraging, and at the same time has expressed his frustration with not being able to take care of the sperm half of the equation himself. He even offered to go with me to the clinic for the insems if I happen to ovulate on a weekend. That may not sound like a lot, and many of the blogs I've read mention that both partners did all they could to be present at every insemination. But C doesn't have paid vacations or sick time, and this costs so much money that we really can't afford for him to be with me. On top of that, he doesn't like hospitals or doctors' offices (who does, really?), so I'm grateful that he'd join me on a weekend. And if my timing is like the last cycle, we might be headed to the clinic on Saturday.

Friday, September 26, 2008

now I know what day it is

The MW called in the prescription last night, and my body has informed me of exactly what day it is, so we now begin the countdown to DI #3, the first medicated attempt. The good news is that C and I are taking a weekend trip to the western part of the state and I'll be able to enjoy some alcohol if the mood strikes. My favorite brewery is not exactly on the way to any of our scheduled destinations (niece's cross country meet, Mass MoCA, the Norman Rockwell museum), but it's near enough that we may end up there for an early dinner tomorrow. Since the last time I visited, I think Berkshire Brewing Company has added a brew-pub to their facilities. And they're right around the corner from the Yankee Candle ex-factory (the factory used to be there, but then the tourist-trap retail side of the business exploded and the factory moved a few miles down the road) so we may go sniff around a bit. I'd move back to the Happy Valley in a heartbeat if I could land a decent job there.

Well, maybe in a bit more then a heartbeat... I have a mortgage I'd have to pawn off on someone else first.

Anyhow- have a great weekend, world.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

what day is it?

I thought I was on CD1 on Tuesday. AF was here. But then she wasn't. And then she came back, but didn't stay. And now she might be here, but is she staying? I'm hoping for a prescription for Cl0mid, but how's that going to work if I don't even know what day it is? And why is my predictable body running two days late (or more) this cycle? I've been charting for seven months and once had a 29-day cycle, but never a 30.

If AF isn't really here by tomorrow afternoon, I might have to pick up a HPT after work. Wouldn't it be funny if I didn't need to spend all that money I shelled out yesterday for 4 vials from a new donor? That would be the best money I ever spent if I somehow jinxed myself into being PG.

I really believe I'm NOT preggers. Not even close. But this here-then-gone AF has me wondering. I should reset the ticker... but not until I know what day it really is.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

lucky number 18

I've always had a thing for the number 18. And in situations that don't add up to 18, I settle for 9. I used to think it was because 18 is the age at which one becomes an adult, legally-speaking. The age of independence. Old enough to vote. Old enough to buy cigarettes and adult magazines (not that I ever did- but at least no one could stop me because of my age). But 18 has long since passed, and I still like the number enough to include it in every lotto ticket I've ever bought. No, I haven't won anything, but that's as easily blamed on the rest of the numbers as on lucky-18.

In college, I mysteriously decided that I would one day marry a lefty. I have no idea where that came from, but I was convinced. I even called a guy I had a crush on, under the pretense of conducting a survey to determine if the honors student population contained an unusual proportion of lefties. He wasn't a lefty. The crush didn't last, but I don't believe that had anything to do with his handedness.

And then I met C. He's learned to do most things with his right hand because his parents insisted that it was wrong to write/eat/throw with the left hand, but he's definitely a lefty. [He finally got his first lefty baseball glove last spring- he was as excited as a little kid!] And guess when his birthday is... the 18th!! Maybe I really knew something when I got stuck on 18 and lefties.

Anyhow, we picked our next donor and there's an 18 in his ID number. He isn't left-handed, but I am encouraged by the 18. The bank had pre-washed specimens available, AND he's an "open" donor. I think we owe our kids the chance to find out where half their genes came from. We switched to a much bigger bank, so there were a lot more choices available. I placed the order today, and I hope our families will understand the lack of Christmas presents this year.

C'mon, lucky 18!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CD1- I am very sad today

I thought I was ready to handle another CD1, but I'm not. I have no idea why we have not conceived, and there is nothing I can do to "fix" things for the next attempt. So why bother. What's the point? Why should I hope to conceive on the next try? Why should I spend thousands of dollars when no one can tell me why we haven't succeeded already?

The economy sucks. Our house is worth less than we paid for it. C will probably be laid off again this winter. It never snows any more, so the truck we bought will be a drain on our finances, not earning its keep by plowing. I am stuck in a job where I am overpaid for what I do, and my resume atrophies a little more every day. I can't leave because no one will pay me as much to do a similar job, and it's looking more and more improbable that I'll ever be promoted. I'm at the top of my salary grade, so my annual raises won't even keep up with inflation. Ice cream boxes are 12.5% smaller than they were 3 months ago, for the same price. And I want to spend another $2,000 on the unfounded hope that the next IUI will work. Again, why bother?

Because I have always wanted, more than anything, to have children, to be a mom, to witness someone's life from its very beginning, to love, to teach, to nurture, to protect, to be responsible for someone's existence and happiness.

And today, it feels like it'll never happen and the money we don't have that we're spending will lead to nothing more than a bad credit score and a gaping hole in my heart.

I am sad today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Correction- TWW #16!

Let's see, we started tryng in June 2007, and didn't know until June 2008 that our efforts would never amount to anything. So that was a whole year of TWWs. So really, before I started the whole DI thing, I racked up about 16 TWWs. True, this is DI-TWW #2, but I've been spending half of my life in the TWW for over a year.

Ergo, I've paid some dues, and should be rewarded soon. Right?

7DPI... no "signs"

But that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I refuse to be down about this process already. If the insem was successful, we wouldn't know for certain for another week or 10 days, so until then I will simply hope for the best.

If no such luck this time, we have some real thinking to do. Massachusetts does have a state mandate regarding health insurance covering infertility treatment. But, we learned the hard way that union-provided health insurance is exempt from the state mandate. Can you guess where we get our health insurance? Yup- through C's union. So, everything thus far has been paid out-of-pocket. We're not a wealthy pair, but as long as we're both working we can pay back the loan in a year or so. The trouble is that after two unsuccessful double-insems, and considering my age (40 1/2), it's time to seriously consider a little medical intervention. Do we shell out the bucks for more donor-sperm and a cycle of Cl0mid? Or do we wait until January and switch to the health insurance offered by my employer, which isn't exempt from the mandate? I think that even with some sort of infertility coverage, we still have to buy the sperm ourselves, and that, so far, is the most expensive piece of the puzzle. But if serious medical intervention becomes necessary to produce a pregnancy, it would be nice to have at least some of it covered.

On top of that, we'll need to rethink our donor choice. No reported pregnancies. Only unwashed samples are available, and the MW has now informed me that thawing AND washing them depletes the viable population, whicle washing before freezing has less impact. But it was tough finding a donor we liked who was available, so adding this new criteria will limit our choices even further. Why have we not gotten pregnant? Is it me, or is it the donor?

In any case, we're taking the TWW off from making decisions about donors and doctors. I need to go drink some pineapple juice and take my vitamins anyhow.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Here we go again... TWW#2

It's 1 DPI, or two, depending on whether I count from the first one or the second. In any case, inseminations were done yesterday and the day before after a +OPK on Tuesday afternoon. My BBT hasn't spiked yet, though, and the OPK was two days later than expected, so I don't know what's going on with my body this cycle. I guess we'll know in a couple of weeks.

What's different this time?
1. I bought a digital OPK. It's a lot less subjective; there's either a smiley face or a big fat zero. No more comparing two lines, trying to tell if one's as dark as or darker than the other. Maybe I mistimed the IUIs in round #1. Maybe I only imagined that the line was dark.
2. Inseminations on CD16 & CD17, a full two days later than last cycle. The OPK turned positive at 4 in the afternoon (I took to testing twice each day, CD13 until positive) on CD15- too late to schedule an insem for the same day. It was negative at 5 that morning.
3. One IUI on CD16, then an ICI on CD17. The midwife who did the IUI suggested that there would be more viable swimmers if they were just thawed instead of thawed AND washed. It seems counterintuitive to do that on the later insem, but she's the one with experience so I decided to give it a try.
4. Pineapple juice. Every day. I read in multiple places online that pineapple promotes thickening of the lining of the uterus, increasing the chances for implantation. So I bought a case of small cans and have been downing 1 or two daily. If nothing else, I'm getting plenty of iron and vitaims A, C, and E.
5. I took three days off from work this week to make sure I was relaxed and well-rested for the insems. Of course, my timing was off, so I had to split almost as soon as I returned to work on Thursday morning ("Hi- now that I'm back, I just need to leave in about 45 minutes. I'll be back by 3!"). I also did it to avoid having to explain my midday absences to anyone.

I'll know in about 10 days whether or not these changes had an impact. I hope so. We'd be due in June... Father's Day, perhaps?

Monday, August 25, 2008

14dpi- tomorrow = CD1; Starting over

Yeah- it sucks. But, no one is lucky enough to conceive on the very first try. Right? I just wish I knew what I could do to make my chances a little better. I can't get any younger, and that scares me. Instead, I am eating as heathily as I can, continuing to steer clear of all forms of caffeine, and completely abstaining from alcohol. I doubled my daily dose of folic acid, too, just in case that might have contributed to our BFN this time out. I'm thinking of using a few days' vacation time during the week of the next IUIs. Maybe if I concentrate on being v-e-r-y relaxed, I'll find success.

What else should I do, short of drug therapies, to up my chances? I've been reading a lot of people's blogs on the subject, and it seems like everyone has to use clomid and an hCg shot and who-knows what else. Should I jump right to that step? Has anyone conceived without any medications?

Time is tight. I have 13 days to learn and do all I can to improve my chances. Help!?

Monday, August 18, 2008

7DPI... halfway through the TWW

Is it too early to test? Could I be feeling symptoms of pregnancy already?

Yes; and most likely, no. I'm tempted though. Two of the last three mornings, my morning temperature has been higher than I've ever seen (in the five months I've been charting). I read that only about 22% of pregnant women experience a tri-phasic temperature pattern, but my body has been so overwhelmingly textbook with respect to everything else, that I expect it to follow every possible trend. I think my breasts were achey over the weekend, too... like a bruise deep inside. It might be all in my head, though. No achiness today, and the real reason I'm overly sleepy is that the cat decided to play with his squeaky mouse at 3 am.

I've been doing a lot of reading- books at home; blogs at work. My heart goes out to all the women who spent literally years on the TTC wagon. I'm not sure our pockets will allow us to do that, although I would sell the house if it meant the difference between the hope of having a child and life without one. What's the point of the house if we don't fill it? The blogs are a help- where else could I find a community of women who have been through DI (donor insemination)? I've learned what the next step can be if our unmedicated approach doesn't succeed. I've found suggestions that might up our chances- acupuncture, supplements, dietary changes.

I hope not to be "one of them," though. I want to be the exception. I want success on the first attempt.

The book I am currently reading (Helping the Stork- I'll name the author later, can't remember right now) has raised some interesting issues that I hadn't considered. Am I naive? My parents are very Catholic, as is one of my brothers. Will they accept a child into the family who isn't genetically tied to my husband? My husband's brother is a Born Again Christian- how will he and his 6 kids react? Should we be keeping the whole process secret? Just how pervasive is the bias against DI and other forms of assisted reproduction? Does anyone know? Has anyone met with any negative responses?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

high hopes

IUI number 2 happened yesterday. Another big chunk of change spent on the dream of a family. C tells me not to think of a failed insemination as money wasted because every try brings us closer to a child of our own. Between the BBT charting and the OPKs, I think we've taken all the luck out of it. I feel as if we've made this effort so scientific, and timed everything so perfectly, that it HAS TO succeed. If it doesn't, there must be something we can improve on for next cycle. I'm not someone who can deal with failure in the absence of a cause. I need to know what I can do to create success. If something doesn't work, I need to know how to fix it.

That said, I know our odds are slim for a successful first attempt. I can't help hoping, though. I'm not telling anyone. I don't want people hovering, asking every day or two how I feel. Even C asking "Do you feel pregnant yet?" is getting on my nerves and it's only been two days since the first IUI. I shouldn't feel anything for at least a week, I think. And we won't know anything for two weeks. I can't stop thinking about it though... what if we succeeded? I'll be giddy. If we failed? I'll be even more dilligent about daily vitamins and eating the right foods.


I've given these up for you, baby-yet-to-be. You're worth every sacrifice. I know you are. Please join our family. We miss you!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The ride begins

Well, we're on board now. The OPK turned positive this morning, so I called the clinic right at 9 am, as instructed, and scheduled my first IUI. Weather and traffic cooperated and I made it there in about an hour. The staff apologized several times while I was waiting, explaining that the longer the sample sits, the more little swimmers rise to the top and are ready to do their job. I told them I'd wait as long as I had to to increase my odds. It was only mildly uncomfortable, and then it was over. I'll be back tomorrow for another IUI so we cover the whole ovulation window.

And then we wait. I think it's commonly referred to as TWW- the two week wait. This is the first hill on a gigantic rollercoaster. I don't know how long we'll be going up, or how steep the drop will be from the top. I just hope my seatbelt is tight enough. Here we go!

Friday, August 1, 2008

who's your "daddy?"

It seemed so arbitrary, selecting a donor. I mean, where do you start? I wanted to pick someone who resembles C so we wouldn't get comments about where our son's curly hair comes from or why our daughter has green eyes. Both of us have straight hair and blue eyes, although a couple of my siblings have wavy hair or non-blue eyes. But if the donor looks like C, then the resulting child will more likely resemble him too. I don't want to hide the fact that we're using donated sperm, but I also don't want to advertise it.

It's surreal- I felt like I was picking a new mate. I spent my whole life wondering whom I'd marry, what he'd look like and who our children would resemble. Since C and I became serious about each other, I've pictured what our kids would look like. And now we have this complete stranger contributing to the family gene pool. It's a strange feeling.

We started with blue eyes and blonde hair, with the hope of finding someone of Irish ancestry. We read through dozens of donor profiles, staff impression reports, and lists of character traits. We eliminated anyone with a positive CMV (I wasn't tested, and it takes two positives to affect a baby, so a negative ensures no affect). We skipped donors under 5'9" tall, or who were overly weighty for their height. The first one we both agreed on and were enthusiastic about turned out not to be available, so C made a list of his top 7 and asked me to narrow that down. Four of the seven were "retired" from the bank. One was in "very limited supply, but may or may not add to his inventory in the future." We bought the long profiles for the remaining two, after calling the bank to check on availability, and picked the one with the more favorable family health history. I just hope the donors were completely honest because this is my child's life that we're delaing with.

Anyhow, we picked one. I placed the order. I took out a small personal loan to pay for everything since we're still recovering from C's 6-month lay-off last winter. We bought 4 vials to start with. We'll use 2 per cycle- one the day the OPK turns positive and another the day after. OPK's turn positive 24-36 hours before ovulation occurs. I'm testing only every 24 hours, and frozen sperm last only 24 hours once thawed. So to increase the odds of success, two inseminations per cycle is recommended. If we get lucky on the first try, the remaining vials will help us make a full sibling for the resulting baby. If not, we've got round 2 all lined up for September.

Some time next week, I'll be heading to the clinic. Meanwhile, healthy eating, lots of sleep, low stress, and my daily vitamin & supplements.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

a plan

"Any kid that comes out of you is mine."

Surprisingly, C doesn't seem phased by the fact that he can't biologically father a child. Sure, it was disappointing news. And now we have to deal with paying for everything orselves (Massachusetts madates fertility coverage, but insurance plans provided by unions are exempt!). We have every reason to believe that my body is perfectly capable of conceiving and carrying a child, so this may not cost as much as we feared. I had a second blood test today to check day-3 hormone levels. If that comes back normal, like the day-21 test did, then we're good to go.

All the information I found online advised that my first step be a visit to a reproductive endocrinologist. That was ill-advised to some extent, but the face-to-face meeting with an expert in female reproductive biology, and the information I walked out of her office with, was worth the $300 price tag (once again, not covered by our union-provided insurance). I don't need an RE. At least, I think I don't since there is no indication of anything awry with my hormones or reproductive system. She was familiar with a Boston clinic that deals with inseminations using donor sperm, and referred me there. She also recommended a couple of Ob/Gyn's in my neighborhood, and provided a list of pre-conception tests that should be done before we invest in donated sperm and the insemination procedure.

The absence of sperm appears to be an issue dealt with almost exclusively by lesbian couples, which makes sense when you think about it. So the first place I went was a Boston clinic that caters to the LBGT community. They host a bi-monthly orientation session, which I attended in July (good timing!), and where just about all my questions were answered. They gave me a list of sperm banks, several donor catalogs and price lists, and explained exactly how the insemination is done. I didn't ask C to attend the orientation with me. I thought I would stand out less as a single woman than he would as the only male in a room full of lesbian couples. He might as well wear a neon sign announcing that he has no sperm. [He's OK with that fact, but I don't want anyone questioning his masculinity. He's no less a man just because his testicles happen not to make sperm.]

Another result of speaking with the staff from the first Boston clinic was a referral to yet another clinic that does in-office inseminations using donated sperm. This one's in Arlington... further away, but not so focused on the lesbian community, and also less expensive. I met with a CMW there and felt very comfortable with her, so that's where we'll make our baby. She was encouraging and confident that we'll succeed, and also offered to provide Clomid if I decide I need it to stimulate ovulation. Apparently impressed with the research I'd already done, she waived the $200 consultation exam "requirement" and said the next step was to pick a donor and schedule the procedure. We thought we'd have to wait until September to start trying, but now it looks like August for us. If we win the lottery and succeed on the first try, we'll be due on May 5th!

Friday, July 25, 2008

What I did this summer

Here goes... I'm blogging for the first time, and may one day let someone know this is available to read. Until then I'm not sure who my audience is, aside from me.

It's July. I'm starting to feel anxiously optimistic. After about 2 months of bad news and tragedy, we finally have a clear course of action to follow. We're taking it out of luck's hands. There's no chance anyone can ever call our child a "happy accident" or a "surprise."

The background- C and I have been married for a year. We knew from the start that we wanted to have children, but we didn't let that dictate the pace of our relationship, even though I was 36 when we first met. We took our time, made sure we were right about each other, and got married last year. We immediately threw away the condoms, but figured nature would take over and we'd have news for our families within a few months; a year at most.

From the very beginning, I gave up alcohol, except on days when I knew for certain that I could not possibly have conceived. Three months into our reckless procreative attempts, I gave up caffeine. I started taking a daily multi-vitamin religiously. Eight months in, I bought a thermometer. At the ten month mark, I bought OPKs. Along the way, I turned 40 and all the news broadcasts were suddenly including stories about how difficult it is to conceive after 40.

Anyhow, the experts advise seeking medical help after a year of trying, or after 6 months if the woman is over 40. I volunteered C to be checked out first, since a male exam isn't as invasive as mine would be. That turned out to be the best approach as we immediately discovered the root of our failures- no sperm. It was devastating news, and nothing can be done to repair him, but at least we know what's wrong. There was an initial concern that he could be at increased risk of cancer, and with his mother's passing very fresh in our minds (5/27/08- cancer), we spent a couple of weeks on edge, waiting for test results from the doctor. Aside from the lack of swimmers, though, C is completely healthy.