Monday, December 31, 2012

CD 11 - Sick

Today is New Year's Eve, and someone or other in this family has been sick since the Monday after Thanksgiving. I am so over it. It started with my husband, then my son, back to my husband and now me.

Adding to the fun is that we're entering "fertile territory". Meaning we're on an ever-other-day schedule from now until after ovulation. Let me tell you, there is nothing less sexy than both you and your partner being all gross and snotty. Just sayin'. Equally unsexy is when the sick child across the hall starts to cough, moan and cry in his sleep. If I hadn't already taken the Femara and dealt with all the horrible hormonal headaches, I'd be tempted to shelve this cycle until next month. *sigh*

So today is CD 11. Last cycle I actually ovulated on CD 11, hence our getting busy now. I'm having no signs of early ovulation, however, which is kind of a relief. I need to start the progesterone soon after ovulation and I really would prefer it to be on my "normal" time frame. It makes me feel better when things at least appear normal.

My acupuncturist was closed this past weekend, which means I had to skip a treatment. Have I mentioned how much I love my acupuncturist? So freaking much. She's amazing and has helped me get my pain syndrome under control. We're currently working on my cycle and helping to support a healthy pregnancy. It makes me really antsy to miss a treatment this close to ovulation, but by the time I have my next appointment, we'll be ready to start supporting luteal phase, which is usually my downfall.

Here's hoping everyone gets well soon and my next acupuncture appointment gets here in good time!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CD Six: Christmas Wrap Up

I spent most of yesterday, Christmas day, with a horrible hormone headache. Not sure if should blame the Femara on that, or just the fact that it was day five of my cycle. It was pretty horrible. I wound up having to lay down in the middle of the day, despite the fact that the house was wrecked and my father-in-law was coming by.

Thankfully the sound of my son screaming for Grampa injected enough holiday cheer into me to force me out of bed, but it was still rough going.

We made the decision this year to have a quiet Christmas at home. We're going to my family's house tomorrow for the big family get together (three out of the four of us live in another state from my parents, so getting together on the day is tough). I wound up really regretting this decision, though.

Maybe it was the hormones, maybe it's the sense of anticipation surrounding this cycle, maybe it's just one of those things, but I was BUMMED to be spending a quiet Christmas at home. My FIL came by for an hour, but other than that it was the three of us and it really depressed me.

I'm hoping hard that next year we'll have a new baby and the whole extended family will make the trek north to New Hampshire to be with us, but if not, we'll just make the trek south. I don't think I can handle another year like this one.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cycle Day Three - The Return of Hope?

Alright. I admit it. I'm actually starting to get hopeful here. And this is bad, people, very bad. I don't want to be hopeful; hopeful means that if this ends like others I will be squashed even flatter than before. Because it's been a while since I even dared to hope. The last time we tried and I got pregnant, I was basically writing it off from before we even knew that implantation had taken place. I find that steeling myself goes a long way toward acceptance when the inevitable occurs.

So now I'm feeling hopeful, and also worried at the same time. Ick.

I finished up the antibiotics yesterday and began the Femara today. I also had acupuncture yesterday, and when she hit one of the spots to support fertility, I nearly jumped off the table; apparently I had such a strong reaction because that point was out of balance? So maybe having it pricked for an hour may have restored some balance?

I don't know, but it only adds to the hopeful feeling.

Other things adding to it include:

I finally have my pain condition under control. It appears to be a severe vitamin and mineral deficiency, so maybe I couldn't support pregnancies before, but I could now?

I've suspected that my progesterone levels have been low for some time now. So maybe taking the progesterone in the second half of my cycle is going to have the desired results?

I've been going to acupuncture faithfully for the last few months. She has helped enormously with some other health related things I've had going on, so maybe it will affect my fertility in the same positive way?

Obviously I still have nothing definite to make me truly convinced good things are going to take place in a few weeks, but I'm still feeling hopeful.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cycle Day One

We're finally here - the first medicated cycle. I've been taking antibiotics for the last three days (only tomorrow to go) as step one. I have to say I won't be sorry to see this part end. We aren't even sure they're necessary, but test after test turned up white blood cells where they shouldn't be, so cautionary antibiotics it is.

I am  having the worst.freaking.cramps right now and oddly enough, am sort of excited. Back before my son was born, I had excruciating cramps each month. Nothing touched them - it was torture. After he was born, they retreated to manageable, and in the last couple of years they've been barely anything at all. At the time, I was all about that - pain free cycles? Bring them on. Now, however, I'm wondering if it had anything to do with the miscarriages - like my hormones were off or something.

Maybe it's all the acupuncture, but the last two cycles have been nothing like what they've been for the last couple of years. I'm hoping that's a good sign.

Sunday is cycle day three and I start the Femara. Once I finish it, I start peeking on OPK until we get the high sign, then it's progesterone in my hot pocket until we know something one way or another.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

I am a planner. I like to imagine something in its entirety, with every possible contingency known to man before it ever happens. I like to think that doing so prepares me for whatever the possible outcome is and lets me go with the flow a little.

Sometimes this works out beautifully, like the time I planned a trip for my husband and I down to Newport, RI. It included a scenic train ride where we had an entire cabin to ourselves, a great lunch and a really wonderful time. All my planning paid off and the entire thing went off without a hitch.

Sometimes, though, no matter how much I plan for something, it doesn't come to be. Case in point: my last eight pregnancies ended in eight miscarriages. You don't exactly plan for those, now do you?

Planning makes me feel safe, however, and I'm having a really hard time right now with the fact that I have a "plan" for this next cycle. On the one hand, it makes me feel good and safe: We have a plan! A series of steps to take! Steps that are in place to ward off any number of different contingencies! On the other hand, it's got me completely freaked out because we all know that there is no planning for these things.

So I'm trying for pretty much the first time ever, to not focus on what's going to happen. I'm focusing instead on other, little things.

I got five inches cut off my hair
We baked cookies
I scheduled some playdates (and then canceled them when my son came down with the croup - see above about no planning for things sometimes)
And I'm just trying to enjoy the holiday season (as much as one can with a hacking child in the room across the hall)

One of the hardest lessons I've ever had to learn occurred shortly after my son was born: He is his own person and I can plan all I want to for him to do something, but in the end he's going to do what he's going to do. And all I have is influence.

All I have in this next cycle is influence and I find it very hard to accept.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Killing Sexy and Burying It In the Back Forty

I had to admit something to my husband today that I've been trying to hide from him for the last several months. All of these repeated miscarriages have completely killed my sex drive.

Think about it, first it seems like every time we have sex, I get pregnant and we lose it. This includes at least three times when we were using contraceptives. So I get scared and start wanting to have, um, sexy times that didn't involve The Act that could get me pregnant.

This in turn led to lots of my husband grumbling and pushing me for something I was scared of. So I start to dread even those "safe" sexy times. Pretty soon I'm just dreading the whole act, which in my mind is linked Dead Babies.

Needless to say this has been taking a toll on our relationship.

So apparently about a month ago, I told him that once I passed ovulation in this cycle (the one before we start trying again, this time with drugs!) that I would relax the barricade a little. I find, however, that now that that time is here, I'm having a hard time doing it.

First of all, this cycle has been so messed up (probably stress) that I'm terrified I'm going to ovulate AGAIN, and since half of our problem is inflammation that causes EVERY fertilized egg to implant, no matter what it's quality, I don't want to take any chances until we've taken some steps to at least TRY to ensure success.

He disagreed.

We fought.

I told him my big ugly secret.

And...things seem to be fine for now. But I wonder what's going to happen to my sex drive (and psyche) if we go through many more losses.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Relief...Sort Of

So I've managed to get enough first hand accounts from other women how have taken this drug (Letrozole) to feel like I won't be a complete, stark raving loony while I'm taking it. Which means that no matter when my next cycle starts, we will be going for it.

I'm so very relieved. I did not want to put it off another month. My last miscarriage was in September, and my RE has told me that we can go ahead and try every month, even if it results in a loss every month (happened last year - three cycles, three early losses all back to back). She wants us to give it 6 more months before we take on the insurance company for IVF, etc.

So despite her telling me in October that we could get right on it, we held off, wanting to get through the holidays. I've been very impatiently waiting for January to get here because I feel good about our current plan, and feel like we might have a shot of success after all.

I am not a patient person in the slightest so all this waiting was driving me bonkers. Now I have a green light ahead and I almost can't wait.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What. Now.

I have always had a super regular cycle. Even amidst all this RPL nonsense, on my "off" months, I have a regular, 28 day cycle. You could set clocks to my reproductive system, I swear it.

The last two cycles though, the last one and this one I'm going through now, have been wonky. Last month it was 27 days - not too out of the ordinary, but I spotted for nearly a week before it began.

Which brings us to today. Day 11 of my cycle, and I? Am ovulating. Three to five days earlier than what is normal for me. I'm totally perplexed. Not worried, necessarily; I do realize that a woman's cycle can be way out of the ordinary from one month to the next without any problem.

What makes me, let's call it "nervous" is that we try on the next cycle. The next cycle that was originally supposed to start on Christmas Eve, but now looks like it will start the week before Christmas. We won't be in the middle of the Two Week Wait (or even my Are We Losing Wait) during the holidays, which is really important to me, but I sort of expected to start medication, etc after the holidays - not during them.

I'm kind of nervous about how the hormones will effect me, and I really DON'T want them messing with my holiday. I could wait an extra cycle to start, but I've been counting down the days, and I'm not sure I CAN wait any more either.

I'm wondering if all the acupuncture I've been doing lately has anything to do with this. She's triggering points to "support" (I'm using a lot of quotation marks this post, aren't I?) my menstrual cycle, and the last round I went through with acupuncture resulted in something similar.

I'm hoping that this is all a good sign, and that the acupuncture is getting things back to where they need to be, even if that means a couple of wonky cycles. I had my hormones and FSH, ect tested recently and those are all normal, so I'm not too worried that it's anything terrible.

I seriously, seriously hope that all this nonsense is just a prelude to the BFP that finally sticks around.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Differences Continued

So several days after I wrote my post about my odd feeling that our next kid will be "different", I finally got around to telling my husband about it. Because I know he thinks that "feelings" like this are a bunch of hooey, I tried mentioning it in a really offhand way.

I basically told him about the blog post, using a tone of voice that implied that I had, perhaps, already told him about my odd feelings. He busted me, though, and asked me to be more specific.

After explaining what I meant by "different" and how I was totally OK with this, like for example if our kid had a limb difference, I would immediately call up our friend Amanda, who's amazing daughter Elaine is missing a hand, and ask for resources, he asked me a question.

"If you're so afraid of something like this happening, what keeps you going?"

I was kind of surprised by his question. First, because I had just explained that I was honestly OK with most "differences" that I have imagined happening, and second because of this:







Who doesn't want more of that in their life, no matter what form it ends up taking, or how long it takes to arrive?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Disruptions and Resumptions

I've practiced yoga for more than 20 years now. I started in high school, and have pretty much practiced continuously since then. Until about a year ago, that is.

After the first couple of miscarriages, I figured it was just, "One of those things". I ate healthy, exercised, had a healthy child; what could be wrong? After a few more, though, I started changing my view.

First I got super, duper healthy with my eating. I. Was. Perfect. Because I was worried that I had accidentally eaten gluten (I have celiac) and that was what was causing the miscarriages. Then I started cutting chemicals out of the house and using only natural products. I kept doing yoga, because I thought it was part of my "healthy lifestyle".

Then I read something linking yoga with miscarriages and in desperation I stopped going. Stopped going to one of the only things in my life that keeps me sane. That I do just for me.

After a few more miscarriages, I swerved the other way for a while. Ate whatever I wanted, didn't exercise. After all, if doing every "perfectly" hadn't worked, why bother? I even gave up on acupuncture after I miscarried after my third round.

Now, after 8 miscarriages and a clean bill of health from the RE, I think I've come full circle again. I've resumed my yoga practice, my normal eating habits and have been attending acupuncture regularly for the last few months.

I think I'm finally at a point where all these losses are no longer disrupting my life; they're just a part of it. And this makes me a little sad, because who wants all this pain to be "normal".

Less than a month until the medicated cycle starts. I'm almost hopeful again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Different?

I have been having the strangest feeling lately that I'm having trouble shaking. The feeling that my future baby is going to be "different" in some way.

I can't really describe it better than that. By different I mean that there will be something "not normal" with the baby, such as Down Syndrome, a limb difference or something like that. It doesn't bother me, this feeling - I'm not afraid for future baby or freaked out that there might be something wrong. I just have this odd feeling.

I think it might have to do with all the losses. Like after eight losses, I can't quite get my head around the fact that I'll someday have a healthy "normal" baby. That I will get my baby, yes, but I'll be getting something "extra" along with. Again, this doesn't make me sad, but it's been occupying a lot of my brain space lately.

Added into this is the fact that there is a high chance of something "going wrong" or being different. I had a placental abruption at 33 weeks with my son; the chances of this happening again are high. Which makes the chances of the baby being premature high. All of these losses may also be caused by just a string of bad luck and odd trisomies, which makes the odds of a survivable trisomy higher, too.

I know one woman who battled infertility to have her second son. She had some extra prenatal testing done because they were worried that it would negatively affect the baby and she would therefore abort. Her second son was fine; there was no need for any intervention. And I wonder how common her reaction is to these feelings, versus my reaction to them.

Do many infertile women, or women who have multiple pregnancy losses start to feel that the next baby they conceive will be "different"? And of those that do feel this way, am I the only one that is totally and utterly at peace with this fact? (And by "at peace" I mean now that it is in the hypothetical future. I'm sure I'll be concerned and fact arming if I do encounter a difference.)

I wish I knew why I felt this way and if it's some sort of universal warning system, arming me against the future, or if it's just my crazy head making stuff up.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Why I Want Another

 I left the house rather early this morning to get to a Thanksgiving day yoga class. While I was bending, twisting and standing on my head, my husband was at home with the 3yo.

Because my husband needed to leave for a little while when I got home, he had to jump into the shower while I was gone. A certain 3yo has lately been obsessed with showers, and quickly peeled off his own clothes to hop in, too.

Everything went well until it came time to get dressed. Mr. Stubborn refused to put on his own underwear. So my husband says, "Do you put on your own underwear or does Mama do it?" This, my friends, was the end.

For the next 30 minutes, whenever he was asked to please get dressed, my son calmly answered, "Mama will do it." Mama was still quite a while from coming home, but this didn't phase him in the slightest. His incredible confidence in me and the bond we share is what keeps driving me through all these miscarriages to have another one.

Think about it; having another is going to double the amount of awesome that I have in the house.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful

It's hard to see the silver lining sometimes, but I try to do it from time to time. Otherwise the "whys" and whatnot start to really get to me.

So, despite our misfortune, I'm actually thankful that we have had to wait to add to our family for the following reasons:

My son is now completely and totally potty trained. He's in training pants at night and just has the occasional overnight wetting now. Day and naps are totally done. If we had had our baby by now, I would have spent several months with two kids in diapers.

We're in better financial shape now than we were a year ago. We can be more flexible and buy some stuff we need. Huge when you consider the costs a second kid will add.

I'm more "secure" in my job as a freelancer now than I was a year ago. Taking time off for maternity leave shouldn't be a problem with my current contracts - they love me.

We have Peep. My little black kitten who I love with all my heart. I have a soft spot for all animals, but particularly black kittens. And especially black kittens who were born on Friday the 13th. Love her.

My son has made huge strides forward socially recently, so I think it will be less of an impact on him to suddenly share the house with a brand new "stranger".

I have my pain syndrome under control. Drug free, no less. It would have been hell to have been in that much pain with a newborn around.

So things might not be perfect, but I think we still have a lot to be thankful for. Hopefully next year, we'll have something even bigger to be thankful for.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Anxiety, Continued

The last couple of weeks have been very tough for a variety of reasons. The dog is being an asshole - he ran away the other day, leaving me to chase him through the neighborhood while I left the 3yo in the house alone. I literally had chest pains because I couldn't leave the 3yo for more than 5 minutes, and my parent's dog was hit and killed by a car when he ran away one day. Thankfully a neighbor caught him but still - asshole dog = anxiety.

In addition to this fun escapade, the child has not been sleeping well. He's at a point where he needs to nap once every couple of days. He gets "rest" time every day, but really needs to sleep every couple of days. He hasn't been, and because he's one of those "sleep begets sleep" kids who get manic when they don't sleep enough, he's been waking us up at night. When I don't sleep, it brings on my pain syndrome. Which in turn makes me anxious. Not good times.

I also learned a friend is pregnant. I do, rationally, know that waiting until January is really the best plan for us. Really. It gives us our best chances of success, and of not going crazy while we try. But. But, I want to get going! I want to be pregnant NOW, not in January, even though I realize that there is no guarantee no matter what month we try in.

I'm currently investigating which, if any, anxiety medications I could take while pregnant, because clearly I need to be doing something else right now to function well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Anxiety

I think that part of what's been happening with all these miscarriages, is that I'm stuck in some kind of Catch-22.

I have a condition that causes pain and inflammation if I get stressed. The stress could be caused by foods that I'm sensitive to, lack of sleep or just general anxiety and stress.

Here's the kicker: these miscarriages cause a lot of stress, which in turn causes inflammation. According to my RE, at least part of my problem staying pregnant is inflammation. In other words, the more I stress my body - physically and mentally - to have this baby, the more I undermine my chances.

I've been spending the last couple of months trying to get it under control. I've cut out all foods that cause even a slight reaction, have been taking melatonin and going to be early to ensure good sleep and have been trying to reduce my mental stress.

It's that last one that is kicking me in the ass just now. I've been having a flair up for the last few days - not fun - and it's totally attributable to mental stress.

I want so badly to get this under control before January comes and we try again, but it seems that just thinking about it is causing enough anxiety to stress me out. Ugh.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kicked Butt

Sometimes I wonder why I'm going through this. This long battle to have another baby. I mean, on the surface I know that my son is awesome and that having a second baby will only double that awesomeness.

Below the surface though, 3-1/2 has been kicking my butt. He doesn't listen, cries for no reason, has been waking me up in the middle of the night to ask for a kiss (cute, but annoying after the fifth night in a row of interrupted sleep). And I'm starting to wonder if I'm cut out for two kids.

Mixed in is the chronic pain I live with. When I'm having a flair up, I have very little patience. Add in a little boy who refused to nap, took off his underwear instead of pulling his pants up, let the dog out of his crate, and you have a scenario that I am at the end of my rope with.

These times are so fleeting, I know this, and I also know that these phases only seem endless when you are in the middle of one. But still, sometimes I can't help but wonder if the reason I don't have two kids, is because the universe doesn't think I can handle it.

Jealousy

Every year there's a gigantic New England craft fair near where we live. It's a great way to get some unique gifts, and since money is tight just now, I'm leaning more toward unique and special instead of big and expensive. Therefore, to the craft fair we go.

We spent a couple of hours wandering around, and I scored numerous awesome gifts: handblown glass rings inside patchwork coin purses for my sister, sister in law, step daughter and mom, an assortment of hot sauces for one brother, tequila pistachios for another brother.

It was a good time, except for one thing: The sheer number of booths dedicated to baby stuff. Baby quilts at amazing prices, cute little clothes, hats, toys. I had to push past them without looking, because we still don't know how long this journey we're on is going to be.

The worst was when I went past a booth only to get stuck there by a woman pushing a MASSIVE double stroller. Her kids were my kid's age and older, and my kid was on foot, so why she had to push that thing was beyond me, but what really killed me was watching her push her TWO kids.

My son has a little friend who was conceived via IVF. Her mother has been trying for number two as long as we have, and we've shared our struggles with each other. They'll be cycling again in January as well.

She's admitted to me that she also finds it hard when she sees a woman with two or more kids, because in the back of her head, she has to acknowledge that this might never be her despite what she does or tries. I so get that. Every time a friend of acquaintance announces another pregnancy, I get jealous. I get jealous because they don't have that breathe held worry that they'll lose it any second. I have one friend that announced the second the stick turned pink. I couldn't be around her for a while after that, listening to her plan for her perfect pregnancy.

I know that some women have it even harder: I have one awesome, wonderful son. There are women who don't even have that, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm still struggling to have another. That even if this new cycle with drugs works, I'll be holding my breathe through the whole thing. And not just the first trimester, due to the abruption I had with my son at 33 weeks. I won't be safe until the baby is in my arms, and that's a long, long time to worry.

And a long, long time to avoid looking at baby quilts and mothers pushing their two kids around, too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An Obsession With Names

We are not pregnant yet. The earliest that we could possibly get pregnant with a sticky baby is January. Figure in a few months after that to find out the sex of said baby. Despite all of this, I am obsessed with baby names just now.

We picked out the perfect boy name last year when I found myself pregnant the first month we were trying. We were tossing around names, and the perfect one just sort of fell into our laps. Done - if we have another boy, we have the perfect name.

Girl names, on the other hand, have been trickier. I hated my name growing up. Hated. It. I started using my middle name by the 7th grade, because I hated my first name so much. I really don't want to saddle a daughter with a name that she might hate, so I feel like there is extra pressure to be perfect about it.

Let me be clear here: we are not pregnant yet. We don't know when we will be. And there is nothing to say we will definitely be having a girl and will need a girl's name. And I still obsess about it daily.

I think I've finally found the perfect name. I have yet to bring it up to my husband, because while he is tolerant of me and my small obsessive quirks, I know he's also a, "Deal with it when it needs to be dealt with" kind of guy. Meaning that he doesn't really want to have this discussion until we know that we are definitely pregnant, and preferably definitely pregnant with a girl.

I'm a planner, though, and a slightly superstitious one at that. I feel like I have HAVE to have the right name before I can be pregnant with that baby. We had our son's name picked out while we were still dating - he mentioned that it was the male version of his mother's name and that he wanted a son with that name. I loved the name as soon as I heard it, and when we found out we were pregnant, I declared that was the name for a boy. The girl's name was tougher, but it wound up by a moot point anyway.

So now I feel like I have to have the right girl's name picked out, just in case the next one is a girl.

Silly, I know, but this is what you are reduced to after 1-1/2 years of trying and eight losses to show for it.

Holding Pattern

We're in the middle of a bit of a holding pattern just now. Last year, I miscarried in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. It put a bit of a damper on the festivities last holiday season, to say the least.

Therefore, we're waiting to try again until after the holidays. We have a new plan after talking with the RE.

All my numbers are good, no abnormalities in my uterus. So we're going with an "assisted" cycle where we will be trying:

Antibiotics to reduce any potential inflammation and try to get rid of the abnormal amounts of white blood cells in my uterus.

Drugs to make my ovulate more and give support to the developing egg in case this is the problem.

Progesterone as soon as I ovulate in case this is the issue.

I have absolutely no reason to be more hopeful about this cycle than I have about any other, but I am. We'll see.