Thursday, December 30, 2010

Yeah, I Got Them All Covered

By "them" I'm speaking of the side effects from the Femara.  Let me preface this post by saying that I'm pretty sensitive to medications. I rarely take anything and even have to be urged to take Tylenol and Advil when I have a bad headache or cramps.  So, yeah, medicine doesn't agree with me. Yay.

So, I took my first Femara two nights ago and had a fitful night's sleep. I woke up at five with a migraine.  I went back to sleep around 6:30 and then woke up at 8 only to experience the worst hot flash I have ever had, followed by a full day of feeling shaky and queasy.  I started to feel better around evening time, when it was time to........take my next pill. :/

My good friend was on her first day of Femara yesterday, so I was sure to let her know all the side effects I was experiencing. She told me that she wasn't having any, but would let me know when/if she did.  A few hours later, she informed me that she felt the hormonal rage starting to brew inside her and my first thought was, "Well, I can handle the physical side effects, but don't make me hormonal and moody on top of it all."

Fast forward to 11o'clock last night when I was lying on the couch surrounded by tissues watching The Nanny and bawling. At The Nanny.

DH - "Will you please come to bed?"

Me - "No! I hate everything!"

DH - "I'm not going to leave you out here watching Fran Drescher and crying like a loon."

Me - "Go away! I wouldn't expect you to understand!" (Collapses in heap amongst snotty Kleenex).

So, yeah. I got all those side effects listed on the bottle covered. At least it's "better" than Clomid, right?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Sprinke of Hope....A Dash of Defeat

Yesterday I went for my u/s and walked out with a prescription for Femara (Letrozole) 2.5 mg.  The u/s went great, everything looked good. No cysts on the ovaries, uterine lining thin. I'll be taking my first pill sometime this evening and working on containing my hope.  At least, that's what my RE's nurse thinks I should do.

I told her that I would like to take a peek at everything next week around ovulation time to see how I responded to the medicine. In my mind, I'd hate to go through this cycle thinking that I was taking some magic pill only to find out that nothing happened. I told her that I'd rather know every step of the way because I had a lot of hope for this cycle to be "the one." That's when she brought me back down to the world of uncertainty and self-loathing.  "Don't get your hopes up too much. Your chances are about the same as anyone who's body is functioning normally. 20%."

Uhh....but my body hasn't been functioning normally.  So 20% IS an improvement. Right? Am I right?  Thanks for pissing in my cheerios, chica. When does my doctor get back, by the way?  Why is there always that rogue wave knocking you down?  I know I shouldn't invest too much stock into what she says, but she's an RE's nurse. She sees people get their hopes up and dashed every month - month after month. I guess I should be thankful for her dose of reality. This may not be the month.

But I hope it is.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

CD One

No big revelation as to what this post will be about. The title most certainly gives it away.  I find myself staring down the barrel of another cycle as AF decided to make her grand appearance on Christmas Eve. In the fitting room. At Gap. Yay me.

Gap worker- "How are those jeans working out for you?"

Me- "Do you have a tampon?"

Yep. That's how it went down in one of the ugliest AF showdowns (or show ups?) in recent history.  I'm just happy she came, being that I had expected her since Monday.  Which begs the question, "Why weren't you prepared for her arrival?"  I can only say, "Wishful thinking" in response. It was a break cycle and the good thing about them is they carry no expectations. It would have been nice to have made a little baby down in the Bahamas, but the quality of the BDing was sub par and DH knows this as I have reminded him several times.  How cool, though, to call my RE's office and tell them that I no longer required their services? Ah, I digress.

Three days in and looking forward to my u/s tomorrow. Hoping for a good report and to be walking out of there with an rx for Femara in hand. I'll be starting Tuesday and taking it through Saturday. Finishing on January first. The new year.

There I go again with the hope.

We took the boys to their first (mine, too!) NBA game last night and they were thrilled (me too!).  Here's some pics from the outing I thought I'd share. The Thunder won!  Afterward, we took a drive through where my husband works and showed the boys the Christmas lights they put up there. Insane how tightly wrapped those trees are in lights! Enjoy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Please, Save Me from Becoming my......Mother

My 57-year-old post-menopausal mother is seeing an RE.  As ridiculous as that sounds, it's true. Let me back up.  When we moved to Oklahoma over four months ago, my mom broke out in hives. I joked that she was having a reaction to me being so far away and this was funny for a week or so. Several dermatologist appointments, a battery of tests, and even $5000 worth of blood work ordered up by one very thorough allergist (thank God for health insurance) later has turned up nothing and the poor woman is still covered in hives.  The only thing they discovered is that her thyroid is nonexistent and this fact has led her to be referred to an endocrinologist. Easier said than done. The ONLY guy in town couldn't see her until April. She probably would have killed herself by then as I can only imagine what being covered in hives for 4+ months would drive me to.  On a whim, she called an RE's office and was happy to hear that he could get her in and would take her case.  So, my 57-year-old post-menopausal mother is seeing an RE.  Believe me, the irony is not lost on this girl one bit.

She just had her appointment last week (approximately one week after my first appointment with my new RE) and I can imagine she felt a little out of place. I can see pushing 60 and sitting in an exam room with a wall covered in baby pictures (mostly twins, she recalled) would make you say some pretty dumb things.  What did my mom choose to say to find some common footing with her doc? I'll give you one guess. She talked about  "My daughter is living in OKC and she and he husband aren't getting pregnant and she just went to an RE last week.  Her doctor wants to put her on Femara to make her ovulate and I'm just scared to death she's going to be the Octomom all by herself and so far away from her Mama."  Thanks. For. That. Mom.  I thought my ears were tingling on Wednesday afternoon.  I shall fast forward to her phone call to me after the appointment.

Me- "You called me the Octomom?! Well, if it made you feel better about being around all those baby pictures, then I suppose it's okay to discuss my personal business with a complete stranger (mind you I was kidding)."

Her- "He wanted me to tell you to tell your doctor to test you for Diminished Ovarian Reserve."

Me- "Okay, what?! Why would he even say that? He doesn't know me or anything about my case."

Her- "He said that after he looked at my chart."

And there you have it. No matter what we tell ourselves when we are teenagers about being NOTHING like our moms when we grow up, it is inevitably our fate. She went on to tell me that he believes she should have never gone through menopause so soon and it could very well mean that she "ran out of eggs."  It doesn't seem all that far-fetched that the same thing could be happening to me. I'll probably mention it to my doc when I see him on CD 3 for my u/s.  I just think it's hilarious that my mother and her doctor are discussing and mock-diagnosing me from five states away. And I suppose it's funny that I'm becoming her a little more every day. Minus the hives, though. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Football and Babies Part Two

So, I've made it abundantly clear that my RE is the guy for me and if you missed that just click here. He made such a great impression before we even discussed my situation and possible treatment.  It could not have gone better! Then again, maybe I had my mind made up that it was going to be so bad that it just ended up being not as bad as I imagined. :) Who cares about the why and the how? I feel good. That's all that counts. 

Back to the appointment, when it did come time to put me in a test tube and study me he gave me the news: I'm not infertile. That was good and bad to hear. "Yay! I'm not infertile" "Wait, are you going to tell me to leave?"  Fortunately, I was able to enjoy the good news without being kicked out on my hiney.  I'm not infertile because we haven't been trying for a year. This I knew. It's been almost a year, but we're not there yet. So what now?  Being the prepared and informed patient that I knew I would be (with a little help from a good friend), I showed him all the data I had collected.  He told me my periods are all over the place. (Yeah, I know.) He told me I'm not ovulating regularly.  (Yeah, I had a feeling.) He told me he could help. (Now we're talking, doc.)

After ordering me some tests for my thyroid and prolactin levels, he recommended that we wait for AF to arrive and then schedule an ultrasound for CD 3.  He wants to check for cysts and "obstructions" and basically anything that he feels will keep me from conceiving.  At that point, he'll also test my FSH levels to see if they're within "normal" range.  We already cleared DH as a possible reason for conception failure. The answer lies somewhere in my lower abdominal cavity. We just need to pinpoint what exactly has gone whack with my plumbing. If everything is good with the u/s, he recommended a 5 day rx for either Clomid or Femara, my choice (I'm leaning toward the Femara) CDs 5-9.  Then we'll regroup for an u/s to count and measure my follicles.  He strongly encouraged DH and I to discuss and plan for the possibility of multiples and if that's NOT what we want, we'll go a different route steering away from fertility medications.

So much to think about after my appointment that my head was dancing with visions of condom-covered ultrasound wands and potholder-covered stirrups.  All joking aside, I felt great. I felt relieved. I felt a sense of peace for the first time in a really long time. It was so hard for me to come around to the idea of getting help, but the feeling of contentment as I left with my stack of reading material in hand was a welcome change and a definite step in the right direction.  When I discussed it all with DH, he agreed that this is the way to go for now. He's a very results-driven person like me and if doing the same thing month after month isn't getting desired results, choosing to do something different is the right thing to do. Love him for that!

What I didn't care for much was his reaction to the various due dates I threw his way.  ME - "If we were to get pregnant on the first cycle, the baby would be due in late September/early October."  DH - "Let me check the WVU Football schedule and see if that works. (checks) I don't know about that. I really want to fly back for the LSU game." LOL...he's crazy on all counts. I think/know/hope being here with me and our new baby would trump any West Virginia game, but I try not to make him choose between me and his college football team too much. Saves me from feeling disappointed. :)

What I learned from taking this smallish big step is this: Struggling to get pregnant was consuming me. This appointment gave me my focus back.  I realize I can concentrate on my family AND make a baby, too. I don't have to choose anymore!  I can give everyone the attention they need and deserve because there's a hand being extended to me that I believe can help make it all happen.  My outlook has improved dramatically. The cup may still be half empty, but it's not shattered on the floor with me standing in the broken glass. That's an improvement!  So here's to 2011 and baby making! May my due date not coincide with West Virginia Football!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Football and Babies Part One

I know it's been a few days since my consultation, but this week has been insanely hectic and I'm just now getting to post about it all.  Looking back at the week,  it was insane and trying at times, but the feeling of peace I have now makes it all worthwhile.

My initial concern going to an RE was that my concerns over TTC would not be taken seriously. I even imagined being turned away from the office and told that I didn't belong there (maybe even a little wishful thinking) but as it turns out, I do belong. My doctor was amazing. How is it possible to put so much trust in someone you've just met? He did a great job of making me feel comfortable and I wanted to share a few things that I really liked about him in general.

1) We were not going to be doing any sort of exam on my first visit, so we moved to his office to talk.  That little gesture on his part really eased my tension.  I know we could have spoken anywhere, but the fact that he chose to move us from the fluorescent lights of the exam room with the potholder covered stirrups glaring at me put me at right at ease. His office was beautiful and as soon as I sat down, I felt a lot better. I guess I didn't realize how much the exam room freaked me out until we moved elsewhere. Good move, doc!

2) He didn't feel the need to jump right into my file and start talking about my plumbing.  First, he told me a little about his background and why he does what he does. He talked about his switch from obstetrics and gynecology to reproductive endocrinology and made me feel like he wanted us to have a relationship, not just him know everything about me, but that he wanted me to be familiar with him and what he does and why he does it.  He said, "When you get pregnant, I'd be happy to recommend a OB-GYN." "When you get pregnant..." "When you get pregnant..." "When you get pregnant..."  Never "if."  Always "when."  That felt really, really good. Also noteworthy, not once did he try to sound like a know it all doctor who rambles off his credentials in a pompous, holier than thou way. He just wanted me to know about him. It was exactly what was needed to open the doors of communication.

3) He broke any remaining a pretty cool way.  After he finished telling me about himself, he offered to tell me a little about MYself. I welcomed the opportunity. He looked at my file and said, "You are from.......West Virginia?"  Immediately my mind started racing around trying to figure out how he could have picked that up from the information I provided in the Patient Information forms I filled out prior to be called back.  Had I provided my cell phone number? With the 304 area code? No. It didn't ask for my cell. Did I scribble little flying WVs in the margin of the page? Most likely....not.  Before I could come up with anything else, he asked me how he knew that. I gave up. I told him I had no clue. He informed me that my Social Security number gave me away. He also could tell that DH was from West Virginia and then he moved on to explaining to me how Social Security numbers work and how you can tell where people are from based on them. It was a fun, informative, completely off subject conversation AND I learned something. Who knew??

4)  Once we established my origin, he brought up West Virginia football.  The key to my heart! This guy is good. Really, really good. We discussed the possible move of Dana Holgorsen from Oklahoma State to West Virginia, which was pretty much still a rumor but on it's way to being announced in a little over twenty four hours.  We then went on to talk about TCU being added to the Big East and this and that about Morgantown and such. It's safe to say, from there we could have talked about anything. Anything at all. He had established himself as a person worth spending time with in this endeavor of making a little Jackson baby.

To be continued...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fast Forward to a Time Where Nothing Makes Sense

I've been negligent in my blogging. In my defense, I knew I wouldn't post for well over a week because DH, the boys, and I went on a little trip to the Bahamas. Cleared our heads, got some tans, had some drinks. Feeling ready to tackle this week. It's going to be a big one! First thing is first, though:

I feel like I'm fast forwarding big time in the stream of events, but basically, after DH and I were cleared to start trying for a baby, my body stopped making sense. Great timing  for the plumbing to bust. Way. To. Go. You see, I've always been one to have a very reliable cycle. AF came on the day I expected her at around 10 in the morning.  She lasted five days and we parted ways for another 28 days. This is the life I am accustomed to.  However, since January of this year, AF has been an illusive bitch. Sorry, but I will not censor myself when speaking of her. She now shows up whenever she feels like it. Could be 25 days or it could be 40. Since January, she's been wrecking havoc on my life and as I type, I am sitting on one butt cheek. Why? Oh, because I ovulated two days ago and my whole right side and lower back are in a constant state of cramping. Normal? I think not.  It also feels as if there is a five pound weight in my va-jay-jay. I checked and there isn't. I'm fairly certain that's not normal either. :(

I contacted my gyno about my concerns and she feels that varying cycle lengths are "not a big concern." Also, painful ovulation can be "normal." Gee, thanks for that. Is your degree in answering question without really answering them? Cause you're awesome at it. And what about me? If I know something isn't normal for me, does that count for anything?  Which led me to my "take the bull by the horns" decision.  I called an R.E. I told the receptionist what was going on. I expected her to tell me that I was going the need a referral as well as a slew of tests first from my regular doctor.  Turns out, I don't need either. She simply asked me if I felt it was time to be seen. I nodded my head and cried.

Let me wrap up by making something clear: I know there are people out there struggling with infertility. Some have been trying for years. They have a clear diagnosis.  I'm hoping that's not me.  The truth is, I don't know what's going on. I have enough concerns to warrant a visit to the R.E. though. Feeling positive for some answers on Wednesday. Whether or not this is the beginning of a new relationship (albeit patient/doctor) remains to be seen.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"But...They're Going to Cut My Boys....Again"

The title to this post was DH's simple, clear statement of the reason he didn't want to have another child. It came after months of dead-end conversations that left me wondering what was so bad about kids that made him so resistant.  Was it me? Were there deeper problems, like in our marriage, that I had no clue about?  What was going on??  Here, none of the above. The poor guy just didn't want to have his boys cut.....again.

I found myself in a precarious position. I've always been able to talk my hubby into this or that, but no way could I or would I pressure him into going under the knife again. I'm spoiled, but I'm no monster.  The thing is, I couldn't make him want to do anything he wasn't willing to do and he couldn't make me stop wanting to have a child.  What a terrible crossroads to find ourselves at.  It was a very sad and confusing time for both of us.

Two months went by and I found myself growing sadder and sadder. I had joy in my two sons. I genuinely loved being a homemaker. I liked having friends over and entertaining. I loved my husband, but felt a distance with him that I never had felt before. It was like I was mourning something I never even had.  So, it came as a complete surprise to me on a February day before DS1 turned 8 and there was an epic amount of snow on the ground (26 inches, I think!) when DH re-opened the conversation about baby #3. Without saying a word, I listened to him pour his heart out on the subject and agree to see a urologist for a consultation. I just couldn't believe it.  This was really happening. We were really taking our first steps here!

Two weeks later, we had our consultation. The urologist felt that DH was a good candidate for reversal and we were informed that our insurance would cover it all! That was such a blessing considering the procedure was more than $6000. We were asked to go home and discuss it more and call back for scheduling, which we did. I was just happy to be having a conversation with DH that didn't lead to trailed off sentences and blank stares. We were communicating, really communicating and it felt so, so good.

Surprisingly, and even DH would agree with this: the surgery went off without a hitch. He told me more than once that the recovery was easier for the reversal than the original vasectomy.  He did great, returned to work within a week, and had zero complications.  Only one question remained:  Did it work?

Well, of course it did. The nurse from the urologists office happily told us there were "plenty of swimmers."  It was officially time to get busy making a baby. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why Now? After All This Time Has Passed?

If you're reading this and you've glanced over to the right where it says "Time Line of Important Events," you're probably wondering why we went so far as to permanently make it so that we could no longer have children only to turn around and change our minds. It's a pretty natural thought progression that I have every intention of addressing.  Quite simply, we made a mistake. Read on...

After we had DS2 and built our modest three bedroom home in Fayetteville, WV, we were feeling very settled and happy with our two boys.  Birth control has always been an issue for us. I got pregnant while on one and had a long list of bad reactions to a handful of others.  I knew deep down that I wouldn't take it.  DH had always expressed his desire to get a vasectomy when we were done having children, seeing as how I worked so hard to bring them into this world.  (He's a keeper girls.)  We both felt it was time. Like I said before, we were settled, happy.  So, we took the plunge and it felt good. It was November of 2006.

Fast forward to the early months of 2008 and we were thrown a curve ball of the epic variety. DH's job was transferred four hours north to Pittsburgh, PA.  We didn't have to move. If he wanted to keep his job, however, we did. Employment is good when you have a family. In fact, it's necessary. Kids are 'spensive.  So, we went. Loaded up our things, sold our first real home, and left for the big city.  It was a very difficult and stressful time. Needless to say, it was a change we neither expected nor welcomed.

We mostly relied on our strong foundation of mutual love and respect for one another to get us through the initial adjustment period after we moved. That's a lie. We relied solely on our sense of humor.  Thankfully, we were cut from the same mold when it comes to that aspect of our personalities. We laughed at the Steeler fans. We laughed at the Pitt fans. We laughed at anyone who thought that Pittsburgh was a great place to live. We laughed and laughed that first year. And laughed. And laughed. (Can you tell how much we wanted to be there??)  Fortunately, we were closer to where our families lived in West Virginia by living in Pittsburgh, so we went home many weekends. That helped.  As the first year came and went, however, I felt a shift in myself. One that I couldn't quite put my finger on. As summer faded into fall and all the leaves changed and subsequently fell to the ground, it became clearer to me what was going on.

My thoughts began to change. I daydreamed about when I was pregnant. I found myself walking past baby pictures of the boys and stopping and staring for a pregnant (pun intended) pause.  My dreams were different, too. More times than I can count, I dreamed of baby. A child. In our home...ours.  Deep down, I knew what had mind and my heart.  I wanted another child.  But, how in he world was I going to bring this up to DH?

To be continued...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amid joy."

The above quote by Arthur Helps never meant much to a girl like myself. Sure, I've always considered myself to be a strong individual, as life has a way of wearing you down and making you better than you were before by meeting and overcoming various trials.  The thing is: life has been pretty good to me. I'm a happy person who has not experienced *too* much heartache, although I've had lots of interesting surprises.  :)

I met my husband in early 2001 and we fell hard and fast for each other. We were married in July and our son, who I'll refer to as DS1, was born seven months later.  A beautiful, healthy, Depo-Provera baby boy.  A wonderful surprise.

Fast forward to 2005 and after a month of not trying and not preventing pregnancy, we happily found out that we were expecting our second son, DS2.  Another surprise, but not so much.  It was time to give DS1 a sibling and a little brother was a wonderful gift for him.

Pregnancy has always been an easy feat for DH and I. We were the ones who jokingly told people, "All DH had to do was walk past me and voila! I was pregnant." Ugh. Just knowing I was the type of person who used to say that sort of thing makes me want to defriend myself.

Which I suppose brings me to the point of why my fingers are moving across my keyboard right now, as well as why the above quote has a special meaning to me today.  This blog is about us trying to have a baby. Actually trying. Planned out...perfectly.  Except that it's not going perfectly. In fact, it's not really going at all. This is hard work. And it kind of sucks. Who knew?  Not this girl.

A friend of mine has been trying to have a baby for a lot longer than me. A LOT longer. I have a hard time feeling sorry for myself each failed cycle knowing that she's had five and a half times the failed cycles that I've had. Also, she's trying ttc baby number one. I already have two beautiful children.  The reason I bring her up is because she finds blogging about ttc to be therapeutic. At this point, I could use an outlet.  Most of the time, I feel sad and frustrated. It's also very lonely.  I hope that by sharing my experience, it can help me to organize the feelings and thoughts that so often cloud my brain and keep me awake at night.

So, welcome to my blog! Whether you found it by chance or by invitation, I'm happy to have you along for this crazy ride.  Hopefully, it's one that ends with me expanding my family by two feet. :)