Saturday, July 31, 2010

And the studying continues...

I've been locked away studying for my candidacy exam and I'm going stir-crazy!
Piles of journal articles and books are scattered throughout my office and have now migrated into our family room. I will be so happy when this test is over.
It looks like the written portion will be a bit longer than originally planned. I was supposed to be done on Friday, but now it looks like it will be going into the following Monday, Boo!!
I hope to post more once the written exam is done. I still need to call the RE and set up an appointment for the week after next. I'm hoping to have a more concrete plan then.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Evolution of Thoughts

When I was 10 years younger, I often said things like "I would never get fertility treatments. If I can't get pregnant naturally, than having my own child isn't meant to be" or "it's Darwinism, we shouldn't screw with nature". These thoughts are one of the main reasons why I never talked about wanting children.
When Tim and I were dating and getting serious about marriage, I told him that I would most likely not be able to have children. Since I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was pretty young I knew pregnancy would be difficult.
Tim was ok with not having children and I felt strongly that I shouldn't get hung up on wanting something that I couldn't have. The problem was that I already wanted it, I just never said it out loud.
As I got older, I became more comfortable with the idea of trying to have a child and seeing where our attempt would take us. I hadn't made any decisions about treatment, but I was at least willing to say that I wanted children.

The path of infertility treatment isn't direct, it's step-wise for most couples. You start of trying on your own, then move onto the soft stuff like clomid. Clomid leads to trigger shots and IUI and then, if that isn't successful, the hard stuff comes; full-on injectable cycles and IVF.
Just as the treatments are step-wise, my opinions about how far I am willing to go to get pregnant change in small increments over time. I now feel comfortable with taking clomid, doing trigger shots and IUI and I have no qualms about moving to IVF if these treatments don't work. I don't think that my willingness to pursue treatments to achieve pregnancy is an act of desperation, but rather an increased understanding of some basic life truths.

First, Darwinism doesn't exist in modern humanity. "Fitness" as described by Darwin relates to physical characteristics; if you can't outrun the lion, you will be eaten. "Fitness" as described by the people of child and family service is more related to ability to care for a child. A "fit" parent is emotionally and financially stable and will raise their child to be productive members of society. If physical limitations to pregnancy can be overcome with treatment, than why not pursue those treatments?

Second, there is no "meant to be". I don't know where this phrase came from, but I wish it would go away. If someone cannot get pregnant naturally, hearing the phrase "it wasn't meant to be" is like dumping a salt into a gaping wound. If "meant to be" really existed, than there would be no children to adopt or abortions. If "meant to be" really existed, no child would suffer at the hands of an abusive parent. If "meant to be" really existed, than Tim and I would have a baby by now.

Finally, wanting to have a biological child is selfish, but that doesn't make it wrong. I get so irritated with people who say that women with IF should stop being so selfish and just adopt. Couples dealing with infertility are no more selfish than anyone else out there trying to conceive. We only want what everyone else has, no more, no less. We want a chance to have a child with daddy's eyes and mommy's nose. We want to see the people we love in our child and yes, that is selfish, but it's human nature and it's not wrong and I will not apologize for wanting it.

For those of you who made it through this loooong post, you deserve a cookie :)

This is Lisa, stepping off her soapbox. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thirty Three...

Thirty three is the number of my friends on Facebook that have their kids in their profile picture. That's 33 out of 185, roughly 20%, of my friends on facebook identify themselves first and foremost as parents. It's funny, because I am always commenting about how everyone I know is pregnant, but the reality is, many of my friends aren't pregnant, they are parents already. This isn't any sort of great revelation or surprise, of course. I'm 31, most of my friends got married shortly after graduating from veterinary school which was 4 years ago, a baby boom should be expected. It's just one more confirmation that what we are trying to achieve by having a baby, isn't a crazy request. We're not asking for the moon and stars, we just want what so many others are able to have with very little effort.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Second Thoughts

So, I know that I'm the one who said we needed to take a break, but the not-trying may actually be worse than the trying-but-failing that I have become so familiar with. I'm thinking we may need to go back to the RE next week to talk about what we can do moving forward. We have started to talk very seriously about IVF, but I am honestly not educated enough about the process. We need some guidance about what is best for our situation before we make a decision.

On another note, I have been studying for my candidacy (generals) exam at school. For those who haven't had the pleasure of enduring this test, it is one of many hoops that I must jump through to get my PhD. The exam is 2 parts, written and oral. The written exam, which I get to take in 2 weeks, is a 4 day-long essay exam which is designed to test specific knowledge in my area of research as well as my analytical ability. The oral exam is 2 weeks after the written and generally involves grilling the candidate on anything they didn't answer well on the written. It also involves questions which are not even remotely related to my area of research, I've heard of people being asked things like "how old is the universe" and "what is the milky way". This portion of the exam is designed to "take the candidate down a peg" and show them that they don't know quite as much as they think they do. I am scared shitless to take this exam, but at the same time, I am so excited to have it done (assuming I pass).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hello, Depression.

Well, I moved through the stages pretty quickly this month. I'm in the depression stage. I tested this morning and got (another) BFN followed several hours later, by cramps and spotting. I think it's safe to say that this cycle was a bust. I am heartbroken, yet again.
Tim and I will be taking a break for awhile in hopes of rejuvenating our spirits. I don't know how long the break will last, but I'm guessing 2 months or so. After that, we will meet with the RE and talk about doing one or 2 more medicated cycles with IUI and then moving onto IVF.
I just need to think about the timing and what would be best in relation to my graduation and board exams.
Hoping acceptance comes soon,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Stages of Grief

I think that one of the hardest things about IF is the hope-loss cycle that occurs every month. With each new cycle, comes new hope that the treatment will work and I will finally get pregnant. I take my medications, go to my appointments endure the tests and procedures all with hope for a successful cycle. The 2ww also starts off with so much hope, even if everything didn't go perfectly, as long as I ovulated, I am hopeful that I could be pregnant that cycle.
I continue charting my temps and looking for clues that I'm pregnant. If things look good, I will generally start testing around 11DPO which is a bit early, but not impossible to detect a pregnancy. From 11DPO and my first BFN (which was today, by the way), I start working my way through the stages of grief at the loss of a pregnancy that never even happened. I begin, as most do, with denial. I keep testing and hoping and with every BFN I get one step closer to realizing that it didn't happen, yet again.
I then make the abrupt transition to anger. I can't stand to look at pregnant women, I yell at the TV when I hear stories of women neglecting their children and teens dumping their unplanned babies in the nearest garbage can. I can't understand why they get to have a baby and we can't. It seems so unfair and I get angry at the world for this injustice.
After anger comes bargaining. I don't consciously make bargains, but I do change some things at the point right before AF shows her ugly face. I stop drinking (not that I drink much anyway), I focus on my eating, I clean the house and basically act like a pregnant person. Maybe this is my way of bargaining. -Hey, if I prove to the world that I am a good person, worthy of a baby, it will happen, despite the multiple negative tests.
Well, bargaining has failed for 18 cycles now and when it does, and AF shows, the next step settles in, depression. I cry, I mope, I sleep more and I just plain hate the thought of trying again. This is the worst I think, for me and for Tim. I know he hates seeing me like this and he really hates hearing me say that I want to give up. It's always the depression talking, because I want a baby more than anything, but in the depression days, the thought of going through the loss again is more than I can bear.
All of my treatments have started on CD3, so the final stage generally comes at some point that day. Acceptance. I have to move on, I have to keep trying and to do that, I have to let go of past failures.
And then the cycle begins again...

Friday, July 2, 2010


After my RE told me that the cycle was a bust and I could start taking prometrium any time to trigger my period, I was beyond bummed. I decided not to start the prometruim right away because we were going to be traveling and going to a fundraiser event and I didn't want to be tired, which is one side effect of the drug. I kept taking my temps and tracking them just to see how things went. Surprisingly, on Friday last week, my temp jumped up. I continued taking my temps through the week and wouldn't ya know, it looks like I ovulated afterall. I went in this morning for a blood progesterone level not only to confirm, but to be sure that my RE knows that I did eventually ovulate.
Without the IUI, our chances are still pretty darn low, but low chances are better than no chance at all so I'll take it! Since my LP is so long, I've got about 7 to 10 more days of waiting before I can find out if we are pregnant. Fingers crossed!