Monday, April 25, 2011

A Letter to my Sisters

AmberZ posted this in her blog ( I wanted to share it with all of you:

I did not write this, and can not find the author info. If you know who did, please let me know so I can give them credit.

A Letter to my Sisters:

Infertility is like a party- a big, year or two or three or more long party that no one really wants to go to. In fact, it is a pretty lousy party, not much fun at all. But by the time you get the invitation, you are already there. Perhaps it is your doctor that gives you the invitation, or a specialist, or perhaps just plain old time that gives you the nudge that this is one party you won't be missing.

So we all show up at this party kicking and screaming. But since this party is held in our honor, we wipe our tears and look around the room. We see our mothers, our aunts, our sisters, and the lady down the street. The check-out lady is there, and so is the attorney, the school principal, and the taxi driver's wife. When we see them at first we are surprised- "I didn't know you were invited too" we say. But when we start to talk with them and learn their stories we know instantly we are sisters, and that their grief is our own, and that we aren't quite so alone.

This party is filled with sisters. My mother and perhaps yours too, was at this party once. So were many friends of mine. I am always humbled by seeing how many sisters I have here. Even as sisters leave, new ones come to take their place. I spent a long time there before it was my turn to leave. You too will leave this party someday.

There are parting gifts at this party, but most of us are so glad to leave when our time is up that we just throw them in our purse and forget they are there. Then one day, while we are looking for something else, we dig out a little box. Oh yes, our gift. We were looking for what to say to a sick friend, or perhaps how to handle some adversity that came our way and we found this little box in the bottom of our bag. We open it slowly, and there inside we find it. Endurance. Strength. Compassion. We were strong, and once walked through the fire she has made us stronger still. We have endured what would have once broken our hearts, devastated us, and come through with a strength that will not easily be silenced. And compassion. Our hearts have grown and now we can, without judgment, embrace each other in ways we couldn't before. We know the true meaning of kindness, and the value of compassion. We see humanity, for all it's sadness and all it's emptiness, and we can't do anything but wrap our arms around her in a warm, full embrace. We understand each other's sorrow, and we share our strength.

And so my Sister, stay strong. I understand how hard some days are, and I know how deeply you want this to end. Please know that it will, and that you do have the strength to endure this. You will. You will move forward because you desire this more than anything in your life. You will conceive, or you will adopt, or you will foster children. You will someday leave this place, this party in your honor, but you will remain a Sister forever.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Confused and sad

I still had a faint positive this morning and after realizing that my booster trigger was only 2,500 units, not 5,000 units, it's pretty clear that I was actually pregnant. It may have been short lived, but there was a little one there, but it wasn't meant to be. I am so incredibly sad and I know that I shouldn't be, but I am. The reality is, it's good news. I was actually able to get pregnant for the first time in over 2 years of trying, something worked. It's just the weirdest feeling to think that I might have actually been pregnant, even if it was for only a few days.

I am supposed to go in for a beta on Thursday just to make sure that everything is ok. I suspect that they are still concerned about ectopic pregnancy, but they aren't telling me that. I am sure it will be negative, but it will be a good thing to do just to know for sure that it is over.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Foolishly Clinging to False Hope

Well, it looks like our 3rd and final round of injectables/IUI is coming to an end. I had a progesterone level done on Monday last week which was 8 dpIUI. It came back pathetically low (1.5) which means that in all likelihood, I didn't even ovulate this cycle. BUT, I foolishly clung to the hope that it was a lab error or some other equally unlikely explanation that could mean I'm still in the 2ww.

Per my RE's advice, I took a booster HCG injection on Monday. This was 5,000IU of HCG which would help 'keep my progesterone up' LOL-um, yeah---because it's so high! Anyway, I did it, still clinging to that hope. In an embarrassing display of optimism, I began 'testing out my trigger' starting on Wednesday night.

For those who have never had the pleasure of injecting yourself with drugs designed to force ovulation, I'll give you the down-low. The injection given before IUI is called a 'trigger' shot, because it is supposed to trigger the ovulation of mature follicles the same way that LH (leutenizing hormone) does in the unmedicated cycles of 'fortunate' women. Instead of LH, the injection given is HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which is the same hormone that home pregnancy tests detect. The trigger shot results in false-positives on HPTs. A general rule of thumb for how long the trigger will cause false positives is, 1,000 IU/day so since my initial shot was 10,000 IU, it should have been gone 10 days following the injection. Since there is variation between individuals, I test out my trigger shots and I have learned that with the 10,000 IU shot, the tests go from positive to negative around 7or 8 days post trigger and the 5,000 IU booster is gone by 6 days post trigger.

Generally, the tests fade from a nice positive (easy to see, no squinting or holding it up to the light--not necessarily as dark as the control) to a faint positive that is difficult to see. Well, the tests that I took from Wed to Saturday morning (5 dpt) were all equally dark, there was little to no evidence that the positive was fading. So of course, I got hopeful and thought that if the test was still nice and positive on Sunday, I would get really excited.

Unfortunately, when I took the test this morning, the line was much less obvious than it had been before. Again, being foolishly hopeful, I still thought that I had a chance. I mean, hey, the trigger is usually gone by now and it's not, that is worth getting excited over, right? Well, then I started cramping and spotting and crying....

I hate this so much. I hate that I have to go through this month after month and I REALLY hate that I let myself get hopeful only to have that hope crushed. Here's a picture of the tests I've taken so far. (yup, I pulled the ones from Wed-Fri out of the garbage to obsess-yet another symptom of foolish optimism)

It looks like we'll be moving onto IVF. Of course there is still that part of me that clings to hope...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


There are 11 definitions for the word 'bitter' on Not one of them describes me, yet so many people throw this term around whenever they have a negative interaction with someone who is struggling with infertility.

bit·ter /ˈbɪtər/ [bit-er] adjective, -er, -est, noun, verb, adverb
1. having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes.
2. producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt.
3. hard to bear; grievous; distressful: a bitter sorrow.
4. causing pain; piercing; stinging: a bitter chill.
5. characterized by intense antagonism or hostility: bitter hatred.
6. hard to admit or accept: a bitter lesson.
7. resentful or cynical: bitter words. –noun
8. that which is bitter; bitterness: Learn to take the bitter with the sweet.
9. British . a very dry ale having a strong taste of hops.
–verb (used with object)
10. to make bitter: herbs employed to bitter vermouth.
11. extremely; very; exceedingly: a bitter cold night.

When I look at these 11 definitions, I am trying to find the one that people are likely referring to when they say that someone is a 'bitter infertile'. Used in that context, it is an adjective which leaves me with 7 possible options. I am guessing that they are referring to definition #7 "resentful or cynical". So, I looked up those words to see if I could find a bit more clarity. Of course 'resentful' just means full of resentment, which wasn't very helpful. I had to look up resentment for further information. Resentment is defined as 'the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.' Have I ever felt resentment? Yes, I am certain that everyone has, not just women suffering from infertility. Do I feel that I am 'full' of resentment? No. So lets move on to cynical.

cyn·i·cal   /ˈsɪnɪkəl/ [sin-i-kuhl]
1. like or characteristic of a cynic; distrusting or disparaging the motives of others.
2. showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one's actions, especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others.
3. bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

Well, since the word 'bitter' is in #3, I will think a moment about that one. Am I ever distrustful or pessimistic? Sure, but isn't everyone at times? I've been thinking about this 'bitter' label for a long time now and I honestly don't think that would define myself as 'bitter'. Do I have moments where I feel resentment and cynicism? Sure, but those moments don't define me. They are not my way of life.
The reality is, when people call a women who is suffering with infertility 'bitter' they are perpetuating a stereotype. They are making a sweeping generalization about who a person is based on a single trait. This, to me, is the same as being a racist or a classist. It is ignorant and belittling and there is not a single positive thing that can come of it. I know that this post won't change the views of those who use this word, because let's face it, those people don't care about me and don't read my blog, but it felt good for me to write it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why my husband is awesome

You know, I just don't give Tim enough credit most of the time. He is an amazing and wonderful man and I feel so fortunate to be in his life. When I sit down and try to think of all of the things that make Tim amazing, there are so many things that I think about and some that I just can't put into words. As a start:

  • He is sensitive, he cares about me and our furbabies. He cuddles on all of us and talks in baby talk to the puppies.

  • He gets me. When I am having a bad day or upset about something, he senses it-I don't even have to say anything, he just knows and he also knows when to hug me and not say anything or just leave me alone.

  • Tim is one of the smartest people I know and he is an amazing teacher. He is passionate about so many things, particularly aviation and photography.

  • He isn't afraid to be goofy, especially around his niece and nephews.

  • Related to that, Tim loves kids. He is so cute around babies, all sweet and nervous and then when they are able to walk around and talk, he is so comfortable with them. He is going to be an amazing father.

And then there are a few funny things about Tim, that make him who he is and make me laugh.

  • Tim really likes to build things, but he almost never completes a task without hurting himself and/or swearing. He will invariably hit his thumb with a hammer or drop something on his toe. I can't help but stifle a giggle while he's hopping up and down on one foot.

  • Tim will always be a pilot, even though we can't afford to have him fly as often as he would like. Whenever a plane flies overhead, he looks up. I think that when he looks up, he is putting himself in the cockpit, imagining what the pilots are doing and seeing.

  • Just like a pilot, Tim is always strives to be on time--it doesn't matter what it is; a lunch, a class or even a party. This may not seem that funny, but he made me laugh on Sunday when he had to produce a sample for the IUI. We needed to leave at 7 am and I tried to minimize the pressure by telling him that it's no big deal and that we can leave a little late if we need to. Well, sure enough 7:00 on the dot, he walks into the kitchen ready to leave. I couldn't help but laugh and say that he is such a pilot that even his sperm strive to have an on time arrival.

Tim is just amazing, for these things and so many others that make him who he is. The past 2 years have been tough on both of us emotionally, but he has been a constant support. We have truly been in this together from the start and in the end, no matter what happens, being together is the most important thing.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Adventures in Insemination

Well, IUI #4 is done. This is the final IUI before moving onto IVF. In honor of this monumental occasion, I thought I would share a little bit about insemination adventures.

Tim always comes with me for the insemination and after they put the sperm in, I'm supposed to lay still for 5-15 minutes (depending on the doctor, they all tell me something different). We decided after the 1st one that we needed some 'mood music' to a. help pass the time and b. encourage the little swimmers. Here is a list of the songs that have been played on the insemination station:

  • "Derezzed" from Tron Legacy

  • "Danger Zone" from Top Gun

  • "Just Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble

  • "If I Didn't Have You" by Randy Travis (our song)

  • "Heart of Life" by John Mayer

  • "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey

  • "The Picard Song" by I don't know---it's some goofy song on youtube

I wonder if you could guess which songs I picked and which ones Tim picked???

I hate going to the RE on the weekends because the weekend receptionist sucks. She is slow to get people checked in, she has absolutely no personality and she has overcharged me on more than one occasion. Today, she was in classic form and we waited for about 45 minutes before she finally put us in a room. Dr. Cof wasn't available today so I got a different RE (not Dr. Lynch-thank GOD). He was very friendly, competent and the IUI didn't hurt much at all. After he finished, he told me to lay there for 10 minutes and then we could leave. Well, we started playing music and encouraging the swimmers to head for the tubes. We reached the 10 minute mark in the middle of "Don't stop Believing" by Journey and I figured we would wait an extra minute and let the song play through. Apparently the bitchy moronic receptionist had different ideas. She barged in with barely a knock asking if it had been 5 minutes yet. I told her that the doctor recommended that we stay put for 10 minutes. She informed me that I needed to get dressed and leave.

I wanted to smack her. Seriously!? I mean give me a freaking break. This clinic has 13 or so exam rooms so I know that they weren't short on real estate for other patients. Not to mention that she is not a doctor and it is not her place to tell me what to do. I don't care if she got her online degree in being a shitty receptionist at Devry, telling me to get up and leave is not ok. So of course, I took my sweet-ass time getting dressed. With how much IUIs cost, I think I've earned 20 minutes in an exam room if I want it.

So now we wait! Wish us luck :)