Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ugly Tears

My husband and I had a huge fight this morning basically about whether we should try this month or take the month off. This all stems from the fact that I'm viewing sex as something of a chore right now. You know, mop the floors, do the dishes, have some baby-makin' sex. He apparently feels we should be having sex because it's fun. Fun. Huh. I think I've forgotten what that aspect of sex is like.

What really surprised me was my reaction. I honestly had considered taking this month off anyway, so when he told me he wanted to shelve it I surprised both of us by bursting into tears. Ugly, shoulder shaking, gut wrenching tears. The kind where your face sort of folds in on itself and you know you look like hell without even having to see a mirror.

The idea of taking even one month off was giving me the equivalent of a panic attack. I suddenly couldn't STAND the thought of not trying. Odd because I'm also really, really ready to move on. Not from trying for another child, but from this specific type of trying for another child. I don't want anymore breath-held terror, worrying about another loss. I don't want to feel pregnant - even if its just the progesterone fucking with me. I want to move on to whatever we decide will be the next step - IVF, adoption, surrogacy - whatever.

So apparently hope really is the last thing to die, because there must be a very small (and yet very vocal) part of me that isn't ready to give up quite yet.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Early Morning

It's 5am. The toddler is screeching from across the hall. I stumble out of bed, attend to him and go back to sleep.

It's 6am. The toddler is screeching from across the hall. I stumble out of bed, attend to him and try to get back to sleep.

Husband: What is this all about?

Me: He wanted his blanket spread out better.

Husband: Are you serious?

Me: This is why I need to have a second child. If I don't have another kid to spread my attention to, he's going to be a 40 year old man who still lives with his Mama.

Husband: Are you sure you won't be fanning and peeling grapes for two kids?

Me: What? No; everyone knows the second kid totally gets the shaft. Besides, I'll have half as much time for this bullshit.

Husband: You don't have enough time for this bullshit now.

Me: Ah, but I do. Besides, he's my only. I have to do it.

Husband: Uh-huh.

Me: 40 year old man who lives with his Mama. Promise me we'll have another.

Husband: Do I have a choice?

Me: Promise!

Husband: If it is in my power to do so, yes we will have another.

Me: Fine. Thank you.

Toddler: MaaaaaaaMaaaaaaa....

Me: Here we go again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Period from Hell

Back before I got pregnant with my son I used to have severe, super painful periods. Like, ended up in the ER a few times because of the pain, super bad. Even the months when I handled it at home were filled with vomiting and writhing in pain, with no pain killers working at all.

That's how this cycle is starting. Day 2 and I think I am going to die.

I'm not sure if it was the progesterone or what but I'm having incredibly painful cramps that nothing is touching. They're also radiating up my right side all the way to my ribcage, which is a little disconcerting. My doctor has long suspected I have some endo on that side (first no health insurance, then getting pregnant took away the pain so well I never bothered with surgery to find out for sure) and this was the worst it's ever been.

I got up this morning so dizzy from pain and blood loss I walked into a wall twice. I'm actually now really, really nervous about trying again this cycle with more progesterone. Could that have done this? Is this a one-time event, which will go away next month if I don't use the progesterone again? Or am I doomed from here on out until I get pregnant again or have surgery of some kind?

I'm also nervous about what two more tries with this stuff will do if we don't get pregnant on it.

There has got to be a better way than this.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Negative - Relief

I know I wasn't planning on testing until Tuesday, but last night after I inserted the progesterone gel, I got the most insane burning cramps. They lasted for an hour and were horrible. Then this morning after acupuncture, I noticed some spotting. Since my period would be due today or tomorrow I decided to test.

It was negative, and all I'm feeling right now is relief.

For a long time, every time we tried to get pregnant we did. In fact, on three different occasions, while we were taking pains to prevent pregnancy, I got pregnant. My RE told me I got pregnant too frequently and that they were probably all bad quality embryos, which was causing the miscarriages.

So in my head, I was thinking this cycle could go one of two ways: pregnant and live baby or pregnant and dead baby. I honestly wasn't thinking that we could try and NOT get pregnant. That, in fact, would be a GOOD thing because it would mean that whatever was causing the inflammation that was making all the crappy embryos stick is gone.

So to get signs that my period is starting coupled with a negative test is HUGE.

We talked about it and decided that if this had been another loss, we would have stopped - 9 is enough. Because this was nothing, however, we will try again this cycle. I have two more refills of prescriptions before I need a new referral and to see the RE again. If nothing happens during the next two cycles, or I have another loss, we will turn our attention to adoption or surrogacy.

A negative test = relief. Who knew?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Over It

For a long time a couple of years ago I had a burning pain in my lower abdomen and pelvic region. It was nearly constant and drove me completely batty. Over the last two years I've figured out that I tend to experience this pain when one of three things happens:

I eat gluten. I have celiac, and when I eat gluten I get the burning pain, although it is mostly confined to my digestive track.

When I eat dairy. My doctor and I both suspect (and suspect will be all we do unless it gets much worse again someday) that I have some endo on at least my right side. Before I stopped eating dairy I had the burning pain all the time and crippling pain during my period that turned to the burning pain if I indulged in some cheese. Cutting out dairy from my diet entirely eliminated 95 percent of the pain.

Miscarry. The burning sensation starts early, usually before I've even confirmed I'm pregnant. It gets steadily worse until I start bleeding. I've suspected gluten, I've suspected dairy and have controlled for those variables. My doctor believes it is inflammation and the odd and ever present white blood cells I have in my uterus.

For the last two days, I've been having that burning sensation.

Now. Something else is at play here: I think I may have a UTI. I'll spare you the symptoms, but I have also noticed that this burning sensation in my pelvis always coincides with my having just peed after having held my pee for an extended period of time - middle of the night, or a long shopping trip.

I suppose it's possible that the burning is linked to a UTI (which I will get checked out for if the cranberry supplements I'm taking and the acupuncture I'm going to request tomorrow don't help), but I just don't believe it.

I think this cycle will end like all the others: I'll get a positive test. I'll make it into week five - maybe even week 6! - and then lose it. Like all the others.

And I'm so done. Not done with wanting another baby or stopping the quest to get another baby, but done with the whole TTC thing. I don't think I can take another two weeks of anxiety, of analyzing every little last twinge. Of swinging from hope to despair.

Truthfully I was done after the last miscarriage last fall. We started tentatively discussing surrogacy/adoption/IVF, etc and then I had my last appointment with the RE who convinced me to give the current plan a try. I like plans, so I agreed.

Now the plan was to try 6 times with drugs, and if we didn't succeed, then take on the insurance company for IVF, which probably holds very good chances of success for us due to the (suspected) reason I miscarry.

I don't think I can do it. I don't think I can go through this 5 more times. My insurance requires 3 IUIs before paying for IVF, and IUIs would just be 3 really expensive miscarriages, so the plan was to call the insurance company after 6 tries with drugs and see if they would agree to skip the 3 IUIs. We can always pay for IVF out of pocket - at $6,000 it's still cheaper than adoption or surrogacy, but I'm really freaking DONE.

I want to move straight to adoption/surrogacy, even if it's more expensive. My husband has agreed that we can discuss this, BUT only after this cycle resolves itself. He is still hopeful this will work, you see. I laugh at his optimism and thumb my nose at his hope. As far as I'm concerned, it's over or it will be in just over a week from now.

I just want a baby. I don't really give a rat's ass about how the baby gets here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

To POAS or Not to POAS

If I had not been taking Femara and had ovulated in a normal fashion this cycle, my period would have been due today. I ovulated late, however, which means my period wouldn't be due yet? It would be due Saturday or Sunday? Not sure. And therefore, I have no idea if I'm technically "late" yet and if I should test.

There is another thing at play here. For some really odd reason, in each of the 8 losses, my hormone levels fluctuated so wildly, that I could get a positive, negative, positive and then start bleeding. A couple of times I started bleeding before my period was even due, but I'd had such strong symptoms I tested as I was bleeding (or had a blood test done) and got a positive on the way out.

So I'm really afraid of a negative. The only early and consistent positive test I've ever had was my son's. The others have all been wacky, which, considering how they turned out, makes some amount of sense.

This is leading me to freak out about when/if I should test. I don't want to do it Saturday. I have acupuncture and I don't want to have to be all sad and weepy if its negative. Plus we have a skating party to go to, and if its positive, I'll be nervous about falling, and if its negative, I'll be sad.

I don't want to test Sunday either, because my husband will be gone all day, and if it's negative, I'll be sad AND lonely. No go.

I can't possibly test Monday because we have a playdate at a friend's house where there is a new baby. A new baby I cannot wait to get my hands on, but if I get a negative Monday morning, holding him may send me over the edge.

So it looks like Tuesday will be the day I test if I don't start bleeding before then.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Jenga

I was given a Nightmare Before Christmas Jenga set for Christmas this year. I love all things Nightmare Before Christmas, so it's been sitting out in our kitchen since I brought it home. This means my 3 yo is constantly seeing it and asking to play.

And play we do. He's actually pretty good for 3, but he's also 3, so in the course of a game there is a lot of wiggling, banging, climbing on the table, moving his excavator too close to the leaning tower of blocks. And this makes me incredibly anxious, knowing that the whole tower will come down soon. And the higher it goes, the more anxious I become.

After last night's game, I realized that this journey with RPL and secondary infertility is a lot like playing a game of Jenga with a mentally unstable partner.

You carefully construct your set of blocks. You lay each block perfectly, nudging everything into place. You take blocks evenly from each side, thinking about your every move. But then, your mentally unstable partner comes along and shakes the table. Or yanks out the one block at the bottom holding everything up, and your tower falls.

You're sad. Disappointed. So you build again, only this time you're anxious: what will happen? Will you get the tower even built this time before he knocks it down?

And down the tower comes. Sometimes just as I'm starting to think that this time, no, this time, I've got a handle on things and we are going to build a tower of greatness.

Now I realize that for other women, they may not even get to build a tower. Their blocks may be missing, or damaged. And I try to tell myself, at least I get to build my tower again and again. Even if it gets knocked down by circumstances well out of my control.

And through my anxiety, all I can do is hope.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cycle Day 22 - Swinging Like a Pendulum

I had some cramping and spotting right in the window I usually do for implantation. If this was a cycle without drugs, and I was feeling the way I am today (tired, sore boobs, peeing every 15 minutes, etc) I would assume I was pregnant. But because some of this started from day one of the progesterone, I'm not fully convinced. Let's say I'm 80/20 for.

I am also currently swinging wildly between hope and despair.

Hope: This cycle is going to be the one! It's the progesterone! I know it! We'll get a take home baby for sure!

Despair: I always implant too early. I didn't start the progesterone early enough to counteract that entirely. I'm not crampy enough/sore boobed enough/whatever enough - this will fail like all the others.

This occurs approximately every 15 minutes. Usually when I get up to pee.

I find myself wanting desperately to get off the crazy train and adopt. Specifically I want to adopt a special needs child from a country where they are institutionalized, and bring them home where I can love on them forever. Unfortunately, my husband will not agree with me. He won't even let me adopt another cat, the bastard, let alone a child. Asshole.

Tomorrow is our anniversary and miracle of miracles we have a sitter. We get out together sans child about once a years, so this is a momentous occasion. And just to fuck with my head is the question of whether or not I actually am pregnant:

To drink or not to drink - that is the question. I kind of feel justified in a drink just now, but have a feeling that depending on which way the pendulum swings, despair might drive me to make that a drink or six and that's just not good for anyone.

Can you tell which way the pendulum just went while I typed this? I may not survive my own head to find out the answers to these very pressing questions: Am I pregnant? And if so, will I lose it like the others?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nobody Loves the Kitten

So in addition to one 3-1/2 year old running around, we also have three pets.

Youk, our 22 pound tabby. Nine years old, he enjoys sleeping, sleeping and sleeping. He also thinks of me as his very own private property.



Next up is Jacques, also known as Jacquesee Muppet because there is nothing but stuffing between his ears. He's a two year old Super Mutt rescue from Louisiana and we like to joke that he barks with a Cajun accent.



Last is our kitten, Peep. Nine months old, I fully admit that she is my replacement baby. Born on Friday the 13th, she is The Best Black Cat in the World. And the other three can. not. stand. her.



I didn't realize just how much jealousy was going on, though, until just last night.

It started a couple of days ago. Peep was sleeping in my lap when my son came into the kitchen, saw her there and started to freak out. He began demanding that I pick him up. Pick him up. Pick him up RIGHT NOW and he proceeded to shove the kitten out of my lap and curl up in it himself. OK then.

Then, the next day I was petting Peep on the floor of the living room. Suddenly the giant Muppet comes running over, shoves her out of the way with his nose and inserts his head beneath my hand for petting.

Finally last night I was up in the middle of the night with my son, with the stomach flu. (Joy.) Peep was curled up in a cat bed outside the bathroom door. I was waiting for my son to finish in the bathroom, so I started petting her. Suddenly I heard a thumpthumpthumpthumpthump across the floor. It was Youk, and he threw himself between Peep and my hand, effectively cutting her off from more petting.

I'm a little worried about what the three of them will do when we finally get a real baby in the house.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

CD 19/20 - Updates and Developments

Despite getting an LH surge on CD 15, I didn't actually ovulate until CD 17. Way, way late for me. I had been really concerned because even though I got the surge, I had NO ovulation symptoms up until that time. I was terrified that the Femara was working against me somehow, but late in the evening of CD 16 I started getting some ovulation symptoms and the next day stabbing pains in my side coupled with more symptoms, which made me think this must be it.

I started on the progesterone last night two nights ago (I started this yesterday, then life got in the way, so I'm finishing it now). Can I just say that for as much as that shit costs, it had better freaking work? I had a $50 off coupon from my RE, AND insurance and my share was still $75. Although I think there may have been an error in the way they charged me, so I'm going to bring it up when I need a refill and see what can be done.

Two days in on the progesterone now and I'm suddenly remembering how much I actually hate being pregnant. I mean, I love being pregnant when I get a squishy baby at the end, but pregnancy and I do not get along all that well. For every one of my 9 pregnancies so far, I have been siiiiiccckkk. And the progesterone is starting to make me feel like I'm at least a little pregnant. Fabulous. Symptoms so far include being so tired I can barely see straight, everything smelling incredibly strongly, and being nauseous whenever I smell something strong.

On the plus side, one day on the progesterone cleared up all the acne the Femara left me with, so there's that.

I tend to get implantation cramping/bleeding etc, four to five days after ovulation, which means that I could get a sign that this cycle took as early as tomorrow. I have yet to be wrong when I've guessed that I'm pregnant based on early symptoms (when you've been pregnant this many times, you tend to know these things), but I'm not sure how the progesterone and its accompanying symptoms will affect that. So I'm going by the cramping; if I start cramping hard in the next few days, I'm betting it took. If no cramping, then I doubt it worked and I'm using super expensive progesterone gel for no reason.

I am seriously hopeful and optimistic for the first time in a year. I am also seriously scared that this will therefore lead to some serious depression if this ends early again. Fingers crossed!

Friday, January 4, 2013

CD 15 - Finally Ovulating

I have never ovulated this late in my cycle like...ever. And technically I only got an LH surge today, which means I still haven't ovulated yet, but it's coming in the next two days. I find it sort of humorous that I took drugs to make me ovulate and I ovulated so late (for me) that I was starting to worry a little.

I am insanely hopeful this cycle. Way more hopeful than I've been since we started on this journey nearly two years ago. I'm seeing signs everywhere, including this really unique rainbow we saw on our way to the store yesterday.

As we drove, we saw it straight ahead - this enormous vertical rainbow streak that showed up only on the clouds, not the sky between them. It wasn't an arch, just a big vertical streak.

A few minutes later at the grocery store parking lot, we found it again, only this time it had a twin. It was the legs of the rainbow, many, many miles apart with no arch above them.

I managed to get a picture of one of the legs; I wish I had a picture of it when we first saw it. It was way more dramatic then.

Is it wrong that I'm taking this as a sign that my rainbow is coming soon?


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

CD 13 - Reflections

While I wait to ovulate (sigh. Shouldn't the Femara be kicking in by now?) I've been giving a lot of thought to how my thoughts and attitude have changed over this journey.

Two years ago when we were still in the "talking about it" phase, I thought I knew how I wanted things to happen. I wanted a medicated birth, just like my son's. While we plan to homeschool, I thought I'd send my oldest off to preschool while I had the baby at home. I thought I'd be a different kind of mother. I didn't want to do any medicated cycles, and I wasn't sure how I'd feel about having a baby that was "different".

These are all things that have changed as a result of this journey.

I'm now so anti-medical intervention that I'm considering a home birth for when and if the day finally arrives. I have a few regrets about my son's birth, such as the shot they gave me when I got to the hospital that slowed labor down so much I had to get pitocin. He was so sleepy and unresponsive for the first day after his birth that it really freaked me out and ruined our breastfeeding relationship (long story I may post someday). After all the reading I've been doing on pregnancy and birth, I want this next kid to have the best possible start - so non-medicated it is.

I'm now a lot closer to my son than I was 2 years ago. We've started preschool homeschool, and I have no intention of sending him anywhere. I want him here with me. Life is so fragile and so short... I don't want him going anywhere fast.

I fell into a funk for a long time that left me being less than the mother I really want to be. It's taken a lot to pull myself back out of that and focus on the fact that while I wait for my rainbow baby, I have an awesome and wonderful son right here, right now. I owe it to him to be the best mother possible and to bring some of those dreams I have for the future into focus right now.

Obviously I've changed my mind on the medicated cycles and the "different" kind of baby.

I like to think that this journey is going to change me for the better. That I'll be a better mother, a more careful person who embraces everything that I currently have and lives in the moment. I hope to hell it I don't fall back into another funk that leaves me wishing for a future where everything is perfect, while I let my present slip right by.