Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Two Week Torment

Trying to have a good attitude, but it is ever-turing towards the negative.  Thus, let this be a fair warning that what is to follow will likely be an overly emotional rant!  I have wanted to come by and write many positive posts over the last week or so, but I never seem to get here until it is absolutely necessary to vent.  My deepest and most sincere apologies in advance, but I need this.  I am officially six days into the two week wait on our virtually natural cycle.  The only supplements involved are vitamins and prometrium (only being taken because I had exactly the right amount leftover from past cycles.)

I am not sure why I am in a negative place, but it probably has something to do with my past week and the holidays.  I never understood when people talked about the holidays being a hard time.  I have always thought that no matter what your troubles, the holidays would always be the best time--full of joy and laughter.  But this time around, it is hard.  At this time last year, we could not imagine having another Christmas as a family of two.  All the toasts between hubs and I were to our last year of a Christmas with just the two of us.  When we traveled, we talked about how different it would be next time, me either being pregnant or cradling our baby.  That's why having the holidays come around without that dream being realized is quite difficult.  We've talked a lot about moving forward with the new year and pointed out that we will be toasting to our health and happiness and leaving baby out of it for the time being.

My past week has been fairly difficult as well.  Just a lot of mama and baby talk surrounding me daily.  Can I tell you how unbearable it is to sit there with multiple mamas chattering about nothing more than baby related talk?  Feeling invisible?  Feeling out of place?  Feeling like my heart is being ripped out of my chest?  I'm sure many know the feeling.  While I understand this and have no doubt I will do the same thing when I finally reach that point of motherhood, when I find myself in such a situation it makes me want to get up and walk away.  One mama at a time, please.  Because then it's a conversation.  I am not sitting there listening, giving my mind time to wander.  In case you've picked up on this, a wandering mind is not good for me.  In the future, I will be more mindful of the conversations I walk into.

In the same vein, this week has brought multiple pregnancy announcements, over two consecutive days.  The first came from a dear friend--probably the sweetest, kindest person I have ever known.  I am unbelievably happy for her and her husband, but it was one of those 'we weren't trying, just seeing what happens six months into our marriage' conceptions.  Because of our close relationship, I have known of this, or the possibility of this, since literally the day after the baby dance that caused it all.  There is something to be said of not being caught off guard with such news, as was the case with the second pregnancy announcement that occurred in a staff meeting with cheering and clapping and whoops and hollers--all when I just wanted to burst out into tears.  

I have no doubt that negative thoughts will affect my mind and body and that no amount of perfectly timed baby sex can help me conceive if I am literally at my wits end with the realities of being infertile for a year and half.  I understand this, but I still hope and obsess and read into even the tiniest of sensations.  I've been here before.  And inevitably, when you're at this point is the moment where everyone around you tells you to just relax, see what happens, don't worry about it.  While I appreciate their sentiment and encouragement, at times it just makes me want to scream.  I'm sorry, did you miss the fact that we have been trying for a year and a half?  That while I have never been told I am infertile, I have been diagnosed with a fertility condition and have been told that it will be hard for me to conceive?  Yes, I understand that the idea is magical--try without trying, without worrying.  After all, these same people say, it worked for them...and them...and them.  Yes, it worked for all these people without fertility issues who are either five years younger than me or are the people who truly started "trying without trying" in a time period where they didn't mind waiting.  That was never the case for us.  When we began trying, we wanted a baby.  The pressure was on right away.  Not to mention the fact that with incredibly irregular cycles, I knew from the get-go that something was wrong.

I have talked many times here about a good friend who has been an incredible support through all of this.  And as I sat with her yesterday, we both sat dabbing our eyes as we wished for the end of the year.  Reflecting on why this time period seemed to be increasingly hard, I said, it is just with holidays coming around again, I'm wondering when this will be over.  Wishing for the end.  For a new beginning.

My two week wait is officially up on....drumroll please....Christmas Day!  Perfect.  Way to bring a landmark date into the picture, fate.  One that requires my ever-spinning head to weave more fantasies of perfect ways to receive and share baby news.  Though I get frustrated when my husband says this, I don't expect it this time around.  While talking with my friend yesterday, she shared the same assumption with a fitting anecdote:  The holidays people generally get off work for are substantial. With them come detailed preparations, large scaled gatherings and commitments, and often a sizable amount of money.  It is wonderful to have the time off, but often one is exhausted from all the holiday festivities and goes right back to work without having relaxed much at all.  Why, one asked, can't I have a holiday like Columbus Day?  or President's Day?  where I do not have high expectations of others and no one has any expectations of me.  So, she said, I don't think your news will come on Christmas.  Maybe on a Columbus Day.

I suppose that sums up where I need to gently be guiding my fickle mind.  There is no point to having great expectations of the future that fit neatly onto a timeline in my head.  It is meaningless to fantasize of how incredible it could be to share baby news on Christmas.  Maybe on a Columbus Day...or another similarly ambiguous day of the year that suddenly becomes our most precious moment.  Maybe that will be our day.  Now, if someone could just circle it on a calendar for me, I would greatly appreciate it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A whole new world

I am trying madly to get back here these days, but it's been hard all due to my crazy work.  Unlike earlier, I am not trying to put ttc as far out of my mind as possible to get through.  On the contrary, I am actually having a wonderful natural cycle.  Well...as natural as you can when you are desperately trying to conceive!  Our "natural cycle" includes pre-seed, OPKs, supplements, and now my new favorite thing in the whole world...

Before we began having "baby sex" we always used condoms.  So, you would understand our delight after having unprotected sex for the first time.  We were blown away!  It was a whole other world!  While the act is incredible, I have always found the aftermath fairly... disgusting.  I was now feeling less sexy than ever dealing with the leakage, propping myself up to counter this, having to use a towel, and on and on.  Imagine my new delight when I used an instead cup for the first time.  Blown away!  A whole new world!

For those of you reading this who don't know about instead cups, they are actually polyethylene cups designed for your period.  I first picked them up because I had read so much about them being effective for ttc.  The idea is that it keeps the sperm inside and closer to the cervix rather than it leaking out.  I am still not sold on this idea for really increasing our chances, but I thought it couldn't hurt to try.  It took a few times to get the courage to stick this rather large thing up, but once I did, it was incredible.  I now feel it is my duty to tell every woman I know about these!  It wasn't all that sexy, but a quick insertion under the blankets as opposed to the alternative seemed fine to me.  And then, just as a tampon, you don't feel it at all and the best part....drumroll please....no spillage!  You can lay how ever you please without worry!

Ahhhhh.....I have entered a whole new world.  A much cleaner, little more sexy world where I feel like I can actually keep my dignity after doing the deed.  Initially, this was done purely to increase our chances conceiving, but I do believe that I just may have to use these far more often.  Try it.  It's amazing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

a-flowing

Thanks to all for the kind words and encouragement.  I have realized that even when trying to avoid being consumed by ttc, I do need to drop by here more often, if for nothing else than for somewhat cheerier posts!  I generally come here when I'm having a difficult time with everything and waltz through life without blogging on the other days.  It works for me, until it doesn't and I have a massive breakdown in the grocery store parking lot, or an otherwise inconvenient and embarrassing location for uncontrollable, audible sobs.

Still, I began this blog as a record of our journey, to document all the feelings I was having so that I and others could go back, understand, fill the disconnect, the void, get encouragement, hope, and insight into different ways of dealing with the excruciating wait, the pain.  But if I only come to rant, if I only come in those self pity moments I am not doing myself or anyone else any good in the long run.  Of course, I will have to come here and rant at times.  I'll have to curse the pregnant woman I see in the parking lot with six children already waddling behind her.  (*#&^   @$!%^) And I'll have to complain about leaking with goo and being forced to walk around wearing a pad grown woman's diaper.  I'll have to explore all the dark feelings I have, but I don't want to neglect those times of light by taking them for granted and paying them little mind.  I'll be better.  At least, I'll try.

With that being said, I have had a fabulous long weekend.  I am realizing that holidays this year will more than likely be a struggle for me.  There seems to be something about those times that you are naturally more reflective that is making my mind go into an all-out tailspin these days.  Case in point, when we got back from summer break, our principal asked us to stand, introduce ourselves to new staff and tell what made this summer memorable.  Memorable?  Really?  Of course I was the first person to speak.  Of course I was asked to stand and had to (hopefully discreetly) struggle to pull my aching ovaries up.  I a little less than two weeks out of the hospital and one week off bed rest at the time.  Yes, that is what made this summer memorable.  Fast forward to Thanksgiving and I feel myself being pulled again into those reflective moments.  I am a lucky girl and thankful for much, truly.  But compared to other times, this last year hasn't been so great.  That's the truth.  On top of that, holidays remind me of how I have spent the past holidays "knowing" that we'd have a baby next time around, dreaming of our little family together around the table, on Christmas morning.  All in all, I am aware holidays won't come easy this year, but I am glad to have found ways to combat the inevitable.

via google images
Still, I am happy that I was able to keep busy by serving up a delectable feast for our first hosted Thanksgiving.  And, I am feeling happy, soooo happy for jumping back into art, for the fact that my creative juice are once again flowing.  Art makes me so happy.  Creating feeds me and undeniably lifts my soul.  It is one of the most satisfying things to see something you have had in your head come to life on paper.  It may not always look exactly how it looked in your head, but the process, its evolution is something you have created and helped to form.  Funny how this parallels the road to parenting itself...

This weekend, it was an imagined child's rendition of a tree with a favorite quote, the very beginnings of which are on the art therapy page but will soon have to be updated.  It has come a long way since then and has been absolute art therapy.  Of course I work on other pieces that are not fertility related, but it is funny how my favorite pieces are those that are.  You would think that there would be too much pain in them, but it is these very pieces that seem to bring hope, that I want to work and re-work over and over.

I'm happy to be happy today, to feel light-hearted.  I am happy that I am surrounded by creations that make me smile . . . namely my oak tree and my new favorite sketch I'm pleading to make into our holiday cards.  Yet, with nuzzling giraffe caricatures of us as a couple, it is quite questionable if hubs will allow this to be sent to all family and friends!  I'm working on it!

Friday, November 25, 2011

I've been here before...

Five days ago today . . . Cue period.  Cue rant.  Cue meltdown.

I'm not sure exactly what I expected.  I will say that I try never to expect to come out on the other side with a baby in the making, but at a certain point, it is a matter of survival that I do believe that possibility with every inch of my being.  I have been gone from blogging for quite awhile, but to get you up to speed, at our consultation meeting with the new infertility clinic, the doctor gave his recommendation for moving forward.  His recommendation included Femara.  Yes, Femara, the drug I've been wanting to use since last spring!  When we stepped into the clinic that morning it was all about closure, not about future fertility treatments.  Indeed, I could have been happily filling out adoption paperwork in the parking lot minutes before I walked in, sat down, and heard that one little word.  It wasn't easy to jump back in, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it might be either.

Still, I thought it would be different this time around.  It isn't.  I am back in the bleak, dark place I was months ago.  It is quite the mental cycle every month.

Now nearing the end of my period, I am still not sure where to go from here.  I feel like we have taken a huge step backwards by going through with fertility treatments this last month.  I say that because I felt like we were getting closer to adopting, but every time you go through another month of disappointment there is another period of grieving before you can pick up the pieces and look to the future.  It is so hard to throw money into complete chance.  Yet, at the same time, it is so hard to walk away from that chance when the very next month just might be the month.  

Still, this is the cold, hard truth of how I'm feeling today.  As I said earlier, cue rant.
I am just tired of it.  I am tired of it all.  I am so tired of feeling like less of a woman because to this point, I haven't been able to get pregnant.  I am tired of feeling guilty for being the person who my husband is with because I can't give him what he should be able to have.  I am tired of imagining him wishing he did have a fertile wife he could pop pregnant at the drop of a hat.  I am tired of these toxic thoughts that I know are ridiculous because I know we are so strong and have incredible love.  I am tired of feeling like an emotional and financial drain on our relationship.  I am tired of timed medications, supplements and fish burps!  I am tired of being healthy only for the sake of pregnancy--stopping everything in despair the minute I find out I am not pregnant.  I am tired of being scared to not work out and scared to work out at the same time--scared that not working out will just exacerbate my condition but stupidly scared that working out will prevent implantation or knock something loose (so non-sensical!)  I am tired of what this has turned our sex life into - methodical, timed sex attempted only during fertile days.  I am tired of not drinking at the end of a hard day.  Of not eating sushi, of even avoiding things like cold lunch meat and my caffeinated tea.  I am tired of having progesterone goo leak out of me every day for two weeks while I wait, in one of the most uncomfortable states possible, to hear if we succeeded this month.  I am tired of thinking about it constantly.  I am tired of the hopeful days where I begin to feel every twinge.  I am tired of the monthly dream of how I will tell hubs about the pregnancy, how I will tell my friends, my family.  I am tired of being poked with a needle.  I am tired of that pitiful voice they just have to receive training days on - the perfect inflection for telling her she's not knocked up over the phone.   I am tired of hating, literally hating my body.  I am tired of feeling dramatic.  I hate dramatics.  I am tired of the overwhelming negativity and the miniscule positivity I feel during this process.  But I am also tired of feeling that I just can't walk away.  

I'm also tired of that annoying habit during hard times to take a lyric of a song and twist it to fit your situation, then cry uncontrollably as you play the song on repeat.  The newest song written just for me at this time is Dessa's Mineshaft.  
Little lines, such as 
The list of things of I used to be is longer than the list of things I am
Ex-lover, ex-friend
. . .
Living on the small chance
Luck would save the last dance
speaks to how I feel as though I am losing my identity and withdrawing into myself as I wait for luck to save me.   

One day I'd like to say what all the tug-o'-war was for
obviously speaks to me, to all in my situation, I'm sure.

further from our origin,
No closer to our destination
reminds me of how, even though I know that we are a strong couple, we are far from where we started but still possibly very far from where we want to be.  Sigh.

You're tired, you're fired
You're inside of the lie
It's a brilliant design
It's like, "Just act surprised"
explains how I feel as though I'm stuck and going nowhere.  And tired.  

And of course, the chorus kills me every time I think of my body's past, current, or future confirmation that it is not pregnant with my little bean.  





I've been here before and I know where it goes

It goes down 

Mineshaft by Dessa, live version of remake from her new CD Castor, the Twin
(The version on her newest CD I just can't resist.  Not a studio recording, but enjoy!)  


I think we are looking at a "natural" cycle this month seeing as probable news would come immediately prior to the holidays and timing would make appointments difficult.  Besides, I just don't want to deal with that progesterone goo!  I know that none of this matters once on the other side, but on this side, it feels like I am being crushed by it all.   


Friday, September 30, 2011

Moving On

Near my hometown, there is a wonderful state park with a natural spring where clear water bubbles up in a serene, aquamarine pool before rushing down rocks and joining the river.  Walks here are so calming, so nostalgic.  When I go home, I always make a point of visiting my favorite spot on the bank and dipping my toes in the water with close friends and family.  At first, it is shockingly cold.  But eventually, we all plunge our feet in, seeing who can leave theirs in the frigid water the longest.  Indeed, by the end, all feet are quite numb!

I suppose you could say we have one foot back in the water, very cautiously dipping it in.  Just as that water back home, it is shockingly cold and even somewhat uninviting.  Still, I know that I have to plunge in.  While I am hoping this plunge doesn't make me numb, I am already feeling it's effects.

Effects, that is, of just dealing with our infertility again after such a carefree break.  Since our whirlwind of events in August, we have been on a break, an amazing break.  I had no idea how liberating time off could be.  Still, it is important to move forward and so we are beginning to seriously research our options.  It feels good, but in the last few days I have definitely been reminded of the ups and downs of infertility.

Monday I was thrilled, knowing that this month would be a month of gathering information, discussing all our options, and moving towards a decision.  I eagerly scribbled the important dates in my datebook--October 1st - first adoption information meeting, October 24th - appointment with recommended RE, October 29th - adoption fair.  I felt so on top of everything, excited about our options, excited about the future.

Tuesday I was less that thrilled after a night of terrible dreams all revolving around infertility and being in the hospital due to OHSS--past and future.  It was an awful way to come back to the world of infertility. It was the first time in a long time I've needed to fight back tears in the middle of the day, the first time in a long time I felt myself just staring off and zoning out during meetings.

Wednesday I was simply feeling the weight of it all.  While I am thrilled to be exploring our options, at times I am feeling a bit scared of jumping back in.  It was so nice to push it all to the back of my mind for some time, as if I had finally come up for air.  Luckily, today my students were amazing, which made a smile stick to my face!

As our first big meeting is this Saturday and is focused on adoption, adoption is now at the forefront of my mind.  Honestly, I have been leaning towards adoption for months.  I just never felt like a pregnancy was really going to happen and in the near future, I still don't.  For whatever reason, adoption seemed like an easier choice.  Nothing about fertility treatments ever seemed easy to me.  It still doesn't.

But now we're really here, looking into adoption.  I am beyond anxious to find out how we could make this happen.  Yet, at the same time, I am finding that with opening this new door, this elusive adoption process has become real.  It's presence in my life brings up the real and inevitable emotions, hopes, worries.  And, though this has always been understood, it is as if I am truly realizing for the first time that it probably won't be the cake walk I fantasized.

I know this, I knew this.  Clearly.  None of this will ever be easy.  So we're dipping our feet in a little at a time.  I will cling to my autonomy from infertility for as long as I possibly can--clinging to the increased smiles and happiness.  I will bask in the light of more laughs with family and friends.  I will indulge in great sex and drinks at the end of long days.  I will be thankful for all that I have in my wonderful life, for the incredible support of my husband, for his love and the unbelievable way he has taken care of me throughout all that has transpired.  I will, we will, keep dreaming of our someday baby and be proactive about finding him or her.

We'll dangle our feet in, but I will not, I cannot become numb from all of this again.  Please remind me of this later if you notice my feet turning blue!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Release

I can't begin to explain how I have felt over the last few weeks, but I will try.  After the big scare of August, people would ask how I was doing.  I would always answer, "Physically, I am doing well, but emotionally it is a little hard with so much going on."  Every time I spoke these words, I believed them whole-heartedly.  But then, I began realizing that I kept saying them and I kept having days, even weeks with no major breakdowns.  In fact, I don't even remember the last minor breakdown!

It has been five weeks and three days since my release from the hospital and five weeks and one day since I realized I was officially not pregnant.  And I am doing fine.

Honestly, I can't remember the last time I was this happy.  The events of the last month have had an enormous impact on our lives present and future.  Namely, at this point, they have launched us into a forced break.  And with that forced break I have gone all out--All out trying to escape from infertility that is.  As it took me awhile to be get back on my feet and gain my strength, the first thing I cut out was all the meds.  With the Metformin having likely wreaked havoc on my liver, I have stopped taking the insufferable little pill three times a day.  Without it, I am now free of the nausea that used to rule my days.  With the knowledge that my ovaries are out of control for the time being anyway, I haven't been a stickler with my PCOS diet either.  I'm sure that cutting some things out could do me good, but it is so nice to be able to not worry about every ounce of what I am putting into my body, I think I just need this time.  In what is probably an absurd omission, I am actually not even taking my prenatals or fish oil supplements.  I know that this could be the absolute wrong choice, but I just want to be a completely normal woman for a bit.  And if completely normal means cutting these out in the name of no fish burps for a few months, so be it!

I am now exercising and not exercising however I please, doing what I like when I like at the gym.  There is no worrying if this is too much or too little, if this is OK in the two week wait, if I could be interfering with implantation.  While all of that worry is completely over the top, it is just what my head does, or DID.  We are going out more than ever, no longer tied down, consumed, and depressed by our infertility.  I am eating sushi galore as well as every other food I tried to cut out in case it would result in a miscarriage.  And we are drinking.  Have I talked about the drinking???  No, I am not a lush, but take a woman who has barely tasted alcohol in 15 months and she'll be a little giddy at the thought of a drink.
And sex?  Just sex?  Without the thought of doing this or that in hope of conception.  Ahhhhh.  Pure bliss!  An weekend day that consists of an early brunch turned late lunch getting tipsy off a bottle of wine on a favorite restaurant patio followed by some sensual pillow time and a long nap until dusk?  Yes, please!

I know this will not last forever.  We have big decisions to make and with each comes a good deal of stress.  There is little that is carefree about our fertility situation overall and I realize that there is a finite time that this happy-go-lucky view on life will stick around.  But while it is here, we have decided to enjoy it.  While we are not avoiding the question of what is next, we are not dwelling on it.  We discuss how we are feeling, throw out pros and cons of each option we have, and then put it aside and enjoy ourselves, our family, and our friends.


Here's hoping we can find ourselves lost in another bottle(s) of wine and each other this weekend!  Cue happy sigh . . .

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ovulating? What???

Again, I thank those who have left comments and advice in the last couple of weeks.  We are desperate for them as there just seems to be one big question after another.  And yes, I have another . . .

Yesterday, I began having great EWCM.  There was still plenty today so I decided to take one of the OPKs left in the closet just on a whim.  AND . . .

Yes, there was a positive, smiley face staring back at me!  What?  Is this even possible?  Can I even ovulate with my ovaries still twice their normal size and full of large cysts?  I am so confused.  Normally when I see this, I am jumping around in excitement and gearing up for some great baby-making lovin', but now I am just utterly confused.  I can't understand how this can be possible.  I haven't been cleared for exercise or sex yet, so it doesn't really matter.   But...do I just have sex???  I don't want to risk anything, but I go a little crazy at the sight of one of these smiley faces.  All in all, I'd just like to know what is going on with my body.  Every time I think I know, it throws me a curve ball.

So again, anyone???

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Case of the False Medical Records

Yes, false records.  In the midst of the million emotions that are flooding my mind right now, the issue of the false medical records keeps surfacing.  Clearly, it is the last thing we want to be worrying about right now.  You would think that we had enough to mull over, right?

After all the wonderful comments and personal stories that others shared with us (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!), we are convinced that I did not receive the best care.  This fact is magnified by the inaccuracies of the report made by my fertility nurse the day I went in doubled over in pain.  While some of the errors are very minor, many are not and do not paint an accurate picture of what occurred during the appointment.  Likewise, there is an error in the hospital records.  So, here's my list . . .


"Pelvic Pain began gradually 6 days ago and has remained at about the same level of intensity."
 Correction:  The pain had started 6 days ago, but had gradually increased so that every step hurt, every bump, every bodily function--all things that we discussed in length.  


"There are no aggravating factors."
Correction:  Perhaps this means something else I am unaware of in the medical world, but aren't all the things I just listed aggravating factors?  How about our discussion about pain during eating or intense pain in my abdomen during urination?  


"Given Percocet for pain"
Correction:  Vicodin


"Rates abd pain at 6 of 10."
Correction:  At that moment, yes.  Discussed how there are instances where the pain is at a 9 or 10.  Even wincing while drinking a dixie cup of water in front of her because of the pain.


"Normal gait."
Correction:  hmmmm....how do I not freak out about this one?  Normal gait?  Really?  I couldn't stand up straight, was walking at a ridiculously slow pace.  I even asked on my way out, so the pain meds might help me get around better?  stand up straight?  Her response:  Well, that will just take time. 


"Offered ultrasound"
Correction:  Yes, I was absolutely offered an ultrasound, but in this way. . . "We can do an ultrasound, but we already know what we'll see.  You're hyperstimulated."  We went on to ask her recommendation about three times, to which she repeatedly said she would not recommend an ultrasound.  


Instructions:  Schedule Ultrasound
Correction:  No such instructions were given.


Upon admittance to the ICU:  "Patient received fertility labs on Monday visit."
Correction:  My hemoglobin was checked.  Clearly not all that needed to be tested.  


It's a long one!  Most of these are from one report, one clearly false medical record made by the very Auntie Dumplings that I have trusted in for so long.  It is sad.  I don't mean to say that she purposely falsified the records in any way, but the paperwork is not accurate.

After hearing my OHSS story and looking over these records, so many people have told me I have a lawsuit on my hands, to go to the attorney general, to go after her.  I will not.  I could never do that to another person.  I dealt with her in my own way, albeit a very gentle way.  In fact, after I was discharged from the hospital, I called her and left a voicemail, rattling off all the scary test results and OHSS symptoms I had had over the last week.  After I hung up, my mom said, "I thought you were going to be harsh."  What's the point, I thought.  Yes, I wanted her to know everything that had happened.  I wanted her to feel a little guilty even.  I wanted her to make sure she gave better care in the future.  But it does not do me any good to be a bitch.  She called back and predictably apologized that this happened, saying (much like everyone else) that she had never seen such a severe case before.  It was nice to close out with her.  I told her I was canceling my appointments with her as I had to go to the other office for follow-ups already.  I told her that we needed time to figure out where we would go from here.  She understood and kindly told me to call her if I needed anything.  It was the most civil break-up I've ever been through and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Still, I do want my records accurate for the sake of myself when my records are transfered to another clinic and for the sake of the clinic itself, so that they are diligent about their record keeping.  The last thing I want is for this to happen to another person, but how will the extent of the problem be known or understood if the paper trail is littered with inaccuracies?

I am confused about where to go with this complaint.  Do I talk to the doctor I have now been seeing?  The office?  Most of the staff had no problem calling my Auntie Dumplings out and blaming this entire fiasco on her, but that is not an official action.  And I officially want this changed.

So, I turn to you again.  You were all amazing with the feedback on my OHSS.  Every little bit helped us understand a little more what happened here and what should have happened.  We are so thankful for the openness of complete strangers!  I want to move onto my life.  I want to address all the serious emotions I am having, to feel my way through this difficult time, to find where our path will lead next.  I do not want to be worrying about medical records.

So, any advice?




Friday, September 2, 2011

Still Shrinking

Just got back from my last check-up and I am still shrinking.  Today, the ovaries are a little over 5cm.  This is good news, as they should be around 2cm and are no longer larger than 20cm!  A small victory for the ovaries!  Much like all of you, the sonographer called out my fertility nurse today, just like he always does, saying he blames this on her and her care, even telling me that he doesn't want me going back to her.  Sigh.  There is a lot to think about with my case and what action we are going to be taking with everything that happened.  I'm sure I'll be exploring that more in depth as we pull ourselves out of all this wreckage.

Physically, I am feeling nearly normal.  My strength is back and I can work longer than one hour at a time.  I am walking at a normal pace, even zipping around if I am in a big hurry.  Breathing is fine and my liver tests have now come back completely normal!  The first week back to school meetings were a challenge as I struggled to find the energy to get through the day and the strength to get up and down out of a chair.  Still, every day I got a little stronger.  Feeling back to normal for the most part, I forget that I still need to be taking it easy at times and begin lifting and bending over.  I mean, I have a classroom to put together, you know!?!  By midday, the little devils are definitely reminding me that they are still quite tender.  The achiness and short, sharp pangs start coming.  They are nothing in comparison to what I have been through, but a reminder that I am not quite 100% yet.

image via google images

Today we go out of town for a family party.  While I am excited to escape for a bit, I am a little nervous of the drive, simply because of the past.  So much jostling for several hours in the car may not be good for these sensitive little ovaries!  I just hope the ride isn't too painful and that once there, I don't have to paste on a smile and mask my discomfort.

Seriously, worst August ever!  But maybe, if I get there and back without too much of a problem, a nice weekend at a lake will help start my September out right!  Ahhh....this picture is already transporting me to serenity.  Here's hoping this works out well!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My OHSS - Mismanaged or "Normal"?

image from google images
During my OHSS ordeal, I spent the half the time I was calling out for help be told that this--all my symptoms, pain, weight gain--was "normal".  After five days, when I actually received an ultrasound, the entire office was spun into a frenzy.  Obviously, this was not normal.  But I still question whether this was a result of gross mismanagement or if this was a normal protocol that my body just decided to rebel  against severely.

Here are my numbers from the days I was monitored.  Any input on what you think may have happened would be very, very helpful.  This being our first injectable cycle and the response being so severe, we are not only new to this and the relative norm of such data but also worried about going forward.  After my liver enzymes were off, I also wonder if this is linked to the Metformin or OHSS.  Info you have on Metformin and if you get regular liver tests while on the drug would be helpful as well.  Thank you for all your input that will help us find our way!

Patient History:
PCOS
 Meds: Metformin, basic fasting glucose test prior, no other test before or during
1 cycle on 50 mg Clomid -- no response, cycle canceled
1 cycle on 100mg Clomid -- no response, cycle canceled

This cycle:
Day 1 baseline ultrasound - quiet ovaries, cleared to begin
Clomid 100mg days 3-7
6 Gonal-F shots 150 iu days 8-13
Ovidrel Trigger day 14
IUI day 16 


Monitored Appointment Data
Friday:
Right ovary follies:  14.5mm, 14mm, 12mm, 9mm
Left ovary follies:  2@13mm, 8mm
many smaller
E2:  824.6
  
Monday:
Right ovary follies:  18mm, 14mm, 2@11mm, 10mm, 9mm
Left ovary follies:  2@17mm, 14mm, 13mm, 11mm
many smaller
E2:  3621
                                                                                                                                                                 
Tuesday:
Right ovary follies:  20.5mm, 2@15mm, 2@14mm, 2@12mm
Left ovary follies:  18mm, 17.5mm, 2@15mm, 13.5mm
many smalller
E2:  3343
Trigger shot


Thursday:
IUI
40-60 forward moving/hpf

I am fairly blown away by some of these numbers, specifically the E2 jump by Monday.  Even more so when I read that normal E2 during the ovulatory phase is less than 500!  But, all in all, I am not an expert in fertility medicine.  I don't know the norm.  I don't know what data should really look like or what red flags would constitute the immediate canceling of a cycle.  I just know my gut feeling--that this wasn't right.  

Thanks for any and all input.  Every little bit will help us figure out where to go from here!



Saturday, August 27, 2011

My OHSS Story - Part V

. . . The tests that followed, the measuring, the weighing--all confirmed again that I was far beyond severely hyperstimulated.  Ovaries are supposed to be the size of eggs, about 2-3 cm.  Severe hyperstimulated ovaries are the size of grapefruits.  My largest ovary was, in hospital analogies, the size of an IV bag.  The largest measurement was 20.5 cm, with an estimated volume of 1170 mL.  The follicles, or cysts, we all know are ideally measured at 1.8-2.3 cm.  I had numerous cysts covering my ovaries, the largest measuring 5.5 cm.  Unbelievable.

The fluid had begun to move into my lungs, thus the trouble breathing.  Because of the fluid, my lungs weren't able to expand as much as they should.  So, when I was feeling like my breath was cut off half way through my inhalation, it was.  The lungs had hit a wall and could expand no further.

For the entire time I was in the hospital, my belly was measured and I was weighed daily.  Until the very last day, their long tape measure couldn't even come close to fitting around my hard, swollen belly.  The fluid was nearly all in between my ribs and my knees.  I felt huge.  I looked huge.  When I could finally get up one day and shower, it was a scary sight to see my body.  I had sent my husband out to get some nightgowns so I wouldn't have to wear those lovely hospital robes.  Though I would normally get smalls, I told him to be sure to get mediums for me with the swelling.   In mid shower, I was tearfully yelling out to my mother, "Please call!  Tell him to get large!  Tell him to get large!"

When all was said and done, in less than a week I gained 27 lbs, all falling between my ribs and knees.  It was scary.  So scary.

Now, I am on the other side of this nightmare.  My ovaries began to shrink on Monday.  Though there was still a significant amount of fluid affecting my lungs and my liver enzymes were off, they decided I could be released from the hospital with regular monitoring at the clinic.  The first day home was the hardest.  It was exciting to be home, be able to sleep in my own bed, but it was also misleading.  I was home, I could do more, right?  Wrong!

The night we got home, I started bawling on the sofa all because I wanted a water.  I had been getting up and down, getting drinks for a few hours and it had begun to take a tole on me.  Even getting situated was hard.  Here at home there were no nurses to bring you nice, cold drinks whenever you wanted, I couldn't pull a tray right up to my mouth in order to eat my food, there were no bars around to help me pull myself up, and (perhaps the most difficult) whatever I sat on was not mechanized for easy resituating!  So I went through a box of Kleenex and bawled my eyes out.  Even the glasses and plates that I had to lift at home to eat and drink were heavy and causing strain.  How pathetic!

It has been a struggle to learn how to deal with my still enlarged ovaries over the last week or so.  There are still times when my ovaries ache or seem to cramp up, though the sharp, debilitating pain is gone.  I have been walking slow and eating smaller portions, in order to not upset my insides.  Now, with movement coming easier, when I forget to take such precautions and take it slow, my insides rudely let me know!  I am still getting my stamina back.  Having just returned to work as a teacher, the days are very long and I usually head home for the lunch hour to nap.  It is a wonder I can get back up and get through those long meetings that follow.  But when I come home, I collapse again, literally sound asleep in less than 5 minutes.  Breathing is easier with the fluid subsiding and while I am still shrinking bit by bit, I have lost 22 of those 27 pounds I put on.  Follow-up ultrasounds show that the ovaries, though still grossly enlarged, can actually be told apart at this point and continue to shrink.  My liver enzymes are still a bit off, but continue to normalize.  My body is generally more sore all over as I can't stretch or exercise as I normally do.  Indeed, without my back exercises, my back is a mess and causing much pain!

Hubs says I am shut down until after Labor Day and while it is hard, I suppose I agree.  When I think about it, this will mean that I have really been "shut down" for the entire month of August.  I have missed out on so many fun plans this month with friends and family, but I know my health is the most important thing.  Normally, I would push myself far beyond what I should, but with the risks so high--torsion or rupturing of an ovary--I know that I can't.

I feel very lucky to be on the other side of this ordeal intact.  I know that OHSS can turn out so much worse.  With the size of the ovaries being so mind-boggingly huge, I am just as shocked that it did not get worse, that I am intact, and that more than likely there will be no real long-lasting residual effects.

The emotions are pouring out of me in so many ways, on so many fronts.  But for now, I am spent.  I will have to explore those emotions later and nap now!  Goodnight!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My OHSS Story - Part IV

. . . Once in the ICU things started happening quickly.  It was a whirlwind.  I suppose they are used to having to do things at top speed in the ICU and they were true to form.  In no time at all I had an IV drip, sensors for EKG were slapped on me and I had machines monitoring my pulse, heart, and oxygen continually.  Maybe blood pressure too?  I can't remember.  I had x-rays and blood draws and another ultrasound in no time at all.  I was in between being panicked from the sense of immediacy and just thankful that I could finally get help.  I am not sure if this is how others feel, but when I was admitted I was just as fearful as I was relieved.

I was in the ICU until the following night.  The pain was still radiating and bodily functions still painful.  The staff there was good.  Different nurses and doctors would come and check on me, but it was there that I first started hearing the questions.  How did this happen to you?  Why is the treatment for this an IV?  Why are you swelling?  At that point, this was only from one whacky nurse, but really?
 
The night I was moved out of ICU though, I started having more complications.  As friends and family visited throughout the night, I reclined in my amazing mechanical bed feeling fairly fine.  The laughter hurt, but other than that, I was feeling decent.  But after everyone left and I got up to use the bathroom, I was shocked to find that the swelling had now moved down into my legs.  They were stiff and rock hard just like my abdomen and I could barely move them to walk.  Other parts were swollen as well.  So swollen.  A quite irreverent nurse put it the best as she examined me saying, "Oh, it's like you grew a pair, huh?"  So inappropriate, but so hilarious.  It was terrible and rivaled the moderate pain of my ovaries themselves.  In the middle of the night, I started having trouble breathing.  When my husband would pull me up or help me change positions, I couldn't breathe.  When I would try to take a breath, my windpipe seemed to be abruptly cut off half way through and I would be sent into a coughing fit.  I was scared.

The following days brought more frustration.  Though I felt good about being at a hospital in case something happened, my care really didn't seem consistent.  Having never been hospitalized, perhaps this is the norm, but I was surprised that my clinic sent a different OB to see me every day.  At the same time, they could treat me and my ovaries, but they could not treat the lung problems I was having.  Nor did they really seem to know much about how to treat my body chemistry that was completely off-balance.  It was frustrating and for good reason.  I will say that if you ever go through hyperstim, it is difficult because there is no treatment.  Still, you do have to be monitored and receive supportive therapy to ensure nothing does happen.  This can be frustrating because you really don't feel as if anyone is necessarily acting as your doctor.  Different doctors would come in, all with varying degrees of bed-side manners, ask how I was doing and then more or less leave.

One day, I just lost it.  Yet another OB doctor came in, asked how I was doing, and then proceeded to ask me what the plan was and if any other doctors were assigned to my case.  What?  You're asking me?  Isn't this stuff in my chart?  Didn't you just review it?  He, quite unprofessionally went on to question why I had an IV and asked who ordered it.  He discussed how he thought it was an overreaction to put me in the ICU.  He told me how the pulmonary specialist that had been seeing me in the ICU had been called after my breathing had worsened and had questioned why he should see me at all.  I wasn't his patient.  He didn't want to come down.  After this frustrating conversation, I laid down.  My heart was racing, my breath so short.  I was upset, but still relatively calm, so I didn't see any reason for this distress.  In a minute, I had called the nurses asking if my oxygen level could please just be monitored as I was having so much trouble breathing.  Enter OB doctor.  Cue respectful tirade which went something like this:

"I know that I've never been in a hospital or in this situation before and don't want to be disrespectful of how things work, but I'm not feeling comfortable here.  I see a different OB every day who asks me about my symptoms and then asks me about the treatment I'm receiving.  I can't answer the question of why I am on an IV.  I can't answer the question of why I was admitted to the ICU.  I can't answer the question of why I did not receive any attention while I was calling and even in clinic Sunday through Wednesday.  But I'm here and there are issues.  I understand that there isn't any treatment and I can only receive supportive therapy, but I feel as though I am receiving more questions from healthcare professionals than I am receiving answers.  I don't know if my ovaries have shrunk.  I don't know what my lungs look like.  I haven't had an ultrasound nor a chest X-ray since Thursday.  Again, I don't want to be disrespectful, but consistency would definitely make me feel a little more at ease here.  Or even to feel like someone knew my case and cared to look over my chart and see me.  I'm having issues breathing, I need to see a doctor for that.  After everything that has happened over the last week and the lack of response from the clinic, we are feeling so vulnerable right now.  We want to put our trust in the healthcare professionals here, but don't really know who that is."

Within about 5 minutes, I was hooked up to a box that monitored my pulse rate and oxygen.  Within 10, I was wheeled down for a chest X-ray and ultrasound.  And, to say the least, I was feeling quite empowered for the rest of the day.

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My OHSS Story - Part III

Some have expressed their wish that I would write this all in one post.  I apologize for any annoyance about this, but the story is just so long and honestly, I am not together emotionally enough right now to recount the entire story in one sitting.  I write until the tears take over.  Then I stop.  So, while I'm very sorry for the inconvenience, I just can't do it any other way.  Now, the story . . .

. . . Wednesday, I was very surprised to hear from my fertility nurse who had been instructed to call by the on-call physician and have me schedule an ultrasound for Thursday with their chief sonographer.  Whew!  Sigh of relief!  So, that Thursday, I saddled up atop my pillows after waddling slowly out to the car and hung on for yet another agonizing car ride.  Once I got to the office, everyone was surprised to see my state.  The most wonderful sonographer and understudy gently helped me up to the table and proceeded to administer the ultrasound.  In all truth, it wasn't very long because as he moved the wand across my abdomen, he was clearly completely taken aback.  Indeed, even when I lifted my shirt and he saw the swelling that started right under my breasts at my ribs, he said, "This is not good.  You look 6 months pregnant."  Now, I know I  had ballooned, but I still am not sure I looked all of 6 months pregnant.  But, from the mouths of professionals, I guess.  As the wand moved across my entire belly up to my ribs (which had long disappeared beneath the swelling), I could see them--follicles--from all the way down near my uterus to literally all the way up to my ribs.  My husband grabbed my hand and I squeezed, fighting back tears, knowing that this was not good.  As he gently moved the wand across my stomach, he told me over and over again that I should have come in sooner, that the ovaries were now too large for him to even measure.  He was kind, so kind and honest.  The truth was scary--my ovaries had ballooned and were now larger than any he had ever seen.

They rushed me over to do some blood work STAT.  Then they weighed me.  On Monday, the last time I had been weighed at the clinic, I had gained about 5 lbs.  It wasn't good to see, but I assumed that it was "normal in my situation", right?  But when I stepped on the scale and realized that I had gained 10 lbs since Monday, for a total of 15 in less than a week, I lost it, knowing this was incredibly serious.  I had read as much literature as I could on hyperstimulation.  Indeed, this is why I knew something had been wrong the whole week--the whole week that I had been calling the office!  Now, my fears were boldly confirmed.  We were taken into an internal waiting room and sat as the office fluttered around in a tizzy.  I could hear the nurse practitioner sighing as she went over my case.  I was told to chug water and a call was put in for a doctor to come quickly.

Once in the exam room with the nurse practitioner, I was bawling.  "I knew it was bad," I cried.  "But I've been trying to get in and get help since Sunday."  We recounted the events from Sunday to Thursday and she apologized, completely calling out her co-worker for blowing off the ultrasound on Monday.  She explained, with a helpful chart, that hyperstim is common, but dangerous and that I was well above and beyond what they considered severe hyperstim.  I knew, I always knew.  But it was just now being put together.  I was just now being listened to.

The doctor that had then rushed over came in and calmly informed me that I was being directly admitted to the adjoining hospital--to the ICU .  .  .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My OHSS Story - Part II

Welcome to all ICLWers!  If you are just stumbling upon my blog, you should know that I am currently pouring out my Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) story in separate posts.  We realized the other day that we had really been dealing with this since the beginning of August.  The first day I started feeling any side effects from the meds was July 31st, when I had to leave a restaurant early because the room was spinning and I was feeling faint and nauseous.  24 days later, we are still dealing with OHSS.  Here is my story, continued...

Within two days of the IUI, five days after the last Gonal-F shot, and four days after the Ovidrel Trigger shot I could barely walk.  The pain in my abdomen was so intense with movement, I simply lay as flat as I could, careful to support my back, which was also throbbing in pain.    Indeed, all the pain was putting so much pressure on my back and entire abdomen that bending at the waist in any degree became out of the question.  We had a wedding to attend that Saturday night and against my better judgement and my husband's worried discouragement, my stubborn streak took over and I became determined to make the event.  Just days earlier, I remembered how I was wondering if I would be able to dance after the IUI at this occasion--today the idea of even trying to move my hips at all was laughable.  So we went.  The wedding was a small affair over an hour away.  Already in so much pain, I took pillows to sit on and support my back in the car.  But still, every bump, no matter how small, sent terrible pain riveting through my body. Later, we would wonder why in the world we had ever attempted to make the trek to this wedding with me in such a fragile state.  As we reflected on this lapse in judgement, hubs, who had fought to keep me home resting would recall, "At one point, I walked be the room and saw you all dressed up sitting in a chair doing your make-up.  I knew you were sitting because you couldn't stand from the pain, but at that point, I just had to give up."  Yes, I was determined.  And most know that they are not going to win when I am determined!

So we went on what is sure to be the most painful journey of my life and proceeded to sit the entire night.  While it felt good to be there supporting my friend, I felt so ridiculous as the mingling cocktail hour of everyone standing, walking, drinking was experienced by me from a chair.  I just could not stand.  To most, I made a lame excuse of throwing out my back, though a select few knew the real story.  At one point, when a large circle was gathered talking, the husband of a good friend I had confided in asked loudly, "So, how long did they say the pain would last?"  I laughed and shook my head for a minute before shrugging my shoulders, saying I wasn't sure.  "Really?"  he continued.  "They didn't give you a time frame?"  Really?  Way to totally blow my cover!  But still, I just laughed.  At one point, as only I could do, I embarrassingly knocked over not one, but two, full glasses of water--absolutely soaking myself and the floor.  And yet, I couldn't bend, I couldn't move.  All I could do was sit there while others ran to clean the mess at my feet.  I felt beyond ridiculous.  We left promptly after dinner. The walk to the car was terrible--crossing over cobblestone bricks is obviously not a sensitive ovaries' idea of fun--and they boldly let me know it, all the way home.

By Sunday morning, I was in such pain I was ready to go to the hospital immediately.  Though I obviously haven't experienced them, I remember saying that I can only imagine that this is what labor contractions feel like--surely no worse.  I was screaming in pain, having to hold on as waves of intense pain shot through my body.  Surprisingly, I even had to breathe through the worst of them.  Urinating had become increasingly agonizing itself.  Though it had actually been uncomfortable for days, now it seemed as though the act rearranged everything in my stomach in such a violent way it was all I could do to hold on.  I called the on-call physician at my clinic who promptly prescribed Vicodin and encouraged me to come into the clinic Monday morning.  Scared that the pill would send me into a vomiting spiral after a similar experience when having my wisdom teeth removed, I actually did not take any, but continued with Extra Strength Tylenol which provided next to no relief.

Monday morning I woke up to use the bathroom and immediately began feeling light headed and began dry heaving.  I was sweating and burning to the touch.  Then, I went to the clinic.  Hubs and I sat across from my fertility nurse hand in hand.  By this time, I could really barely walk.  Instead, I was hunched over moving with the tiniest steps at the speed of a snail.  At some points during our discussion, I had to close my eyes and wince in pain.  She would ask if I was ok and then resume the conversation of how this is all normal.  I told her I couldn't walk-she saw.  I told her urinating was unbearable as my insides rearranged themselves.  I told her I was swollen beyond belief and hard to the touch, starting all the way up at my ribs.  She said it was normal.  She prescribed Tylenol with Codeine for the pain and gatorade to ensure my electrolytes were balanced.  "We could do an ultrasound," she said with a shrug, "but we already know what we'll see.  You are hyperstimulated."  With the way she framed it, as a waste of time, really, we did not insist.  Clearly, we had never been through this and were looking to her for the proper  medical care and protocol in this situation.  They checked my hemoglobin, which tested fine and sent me on my way.

I immediately began popping the Tylenol with Codeine and to my delight, they provided some slight relief.  Yet, by Tuesday night, I noticed that my early afternoon urine had been a bright orange and I hadn't relieved myself since.  Worried of what this might mean in terms of dehydration and organ functions, I again called the on-call physician who encouraged me to wait until tomorrow to see if my symptoms worsened and just monitor it.  I hung up and sighed--resigned myself to the idea that this was really all normal...After all, I had now tried to reach out for help three times and every time I was told, "This is normal."

Not so fast...


Friday, August 19, 2011

My OHSS Story - Part I

Over this past month we toyed a lot with the idea of whether or not to proceed with our infertility treatments or take a break.  Readers may remember this dilemma.  At one point, we thought what is the point of going through all of the injections only to find out that I am hyperstim and all our hard work and financial investment ultimately results in a canceled cycle?  At other points, we thought how can we take a break to make decisions of where to go next without ever experiencing the next step--the injections?  What if I don't even respond to the injections and we don't know that going into the break?  In the end, we decided to go ahead with this cycle.

We jumped in, anxious, nervous, but hopeful that we would successfully get this scary ordeal of our first injectable cycle under our belts.  And so it began.  As I stated earlier, it began in this very bed--the bed where most of the shots were administered by my nerve racked husband.  A nightly ritual that began with tears and screaming itself, I soon learned extreme measure that would slightly ease my fears:

  • #1  Be sure to have taken out contacts and changed to glasses for the night before shot time rolls around.  Why?  simple--when shots time ultimately descended upon us, I could slip my glasses off, rendering me practically blind.  Without the ability to actually see the needle, my nerves subsided a bit.
  • #2  Put pillows over head.  Hug another pillow at chest. 
  • #3  Listen to upbeat music loudly through ipod as injection is administered.
Yes, my nightly ritual was surrounded in fear and nerves only overcome by these ridiculous measures.  How I marvel at all you out there who just do it.  I cannot.  The girl who once thought herself so tough  transformed into a mere toddler.  I felt as though I should get a sucker and a sticker after each ordeal, but I never did.  Instead, I buried myself in my husband's arm, soaking up the love that he let flow so freely.  I felt his kisses on my forehead and felt us just hold each other forever.  Hubs did not enjoy our evening ritual either--often saying he felt so bad for hurting me, apologizing profusely that we were doing this, and getting very near to tears himself several times.  

After receiving five days of Clomid and three Gonal-F shots, we thought we might be done.  But, my ultrasound seemed to reveal the need for more shots.  Another pen was prescribed and ordered.  After two more injections, I had another check-up and then it was decision time.  There was one mature follicle and three or so close.  We could either go with this one or do another injection in hopes more would come forward.  We did another shot, thinking nothing of it.  The next check-up revealed three mature follicles and five follicles that were close to mature, meaning that three follicles would release eggs and the other five may or may not.  My E2 level was through the roof.  "The highest they had ever seen," reported my fertility nurse.  (Actual, mind-blowing number to come after I get records on Monday.)  

Excited by the outcome that we had always been led to believe was a good one, we eagerly administered the Ovidrel trigger shot in order to release the eggs and got down to business in the bedroom.  But business was not good.  Already hyperstimulated after the last shot, or possibly even prior, my belly had already began showing signs of increased activity--my entire abdomen just felt so...busy.  Little did I realize, it was also overcrowded with many more swelling follicles, making our little bout of lovemaking quite short and sweet, not to mention uncomfortable and extremely painful.  But the goods were deposited and supposedly began their swim to the prize that awaited. 

Our first cycle where I had actually responded to any meds whatsoever and ovulated!  Even though we had originally thought of this as a cycle to get one under our belts, we had become so hopeful!  There was no doubt in my mind that this was working!  I could feel it.  Boy, could I feel it!  We knew, as with any fertility treatment, we were still rolling the dice and betting on odds, but the odds were good.  Nothing was overly risky.  We were never led to believe so.  I was hyperstimulated, yes, but I was well monitored and it seemed as though this sort of thing happened at the clinic all the time.  

By Thursday morning, I was increasingly uncomfortable.  We went in bright eyed eyed before the clinic even opened to complete our first IUI.  In the stark and oh so romantic and erotic small exam room, hubs released the boys, which were quickly washed and measured.  The result--impeccable.  Millions of tiny, forward swimming sperm ready for their ultimate pilgrimage to Mecca--yes the Mecca is my eggs!  The actual insemination was quick and painless.  Our fertility nurse gave us her good luck wishes before heading out.  But before she left I explained how uncomfortable I had been over the last 24 hours.  She assured me this was very normal.  I persisted, saying, "It is just so painful inside right now that I have to walk very slowly and every time I step, it hurts."  She again assured me that this is completely normal in my situation and left my husband and I to lay and sit respectively in the room waiting for the magic to happen.  

After 30 minutes in the inclined position, hubs pulled me up.  We kissed, shared a long hug, and stared at each other with hopeful eyes.  We had gotten through it.  We had gotten through it all--the pills and the emotional rollercoaster they launch you on, the shots and the fears and suffering they bring each night.  Even this pain, would undoubtedly subside soon.  We had done it, gotten through it all together, hand in hand.  Now the only thing to do was to sit back, relax, and wait to see if I conceived.  

Not so fast . . .


My OHSS Story - Introduction

I have not been blogging lately.  I took some time away, thinking that the space would do me good, help the subject of infertility not consume my life.  I have been quiet for some time on everything that has transpired this summer--all the emotional talks and decisions we made, the steps that we took.  But, now I am gushing, pouring out words like a waterfall in the aftermath of the last two weeks.  What has come out is unprecedented in my blog thus far and for my sanity and yours, I will have to be delivering the story in segments.  I do not do this for readership or for suspense purposes, I just do it for logistics.  Yesterday, when I began the cathartic ritual of pouring my soul out onto paper I had no idea what would come.  What did come was seven pages of accounts, details, and emotions.  And I am only half way through the story.

What will follow will be my Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) story.  I will not add drama or blow things out of proportion, but be prepared, because this is the most dramatic and traumatic series of events in my life to date.  I hope this story will serve as a call to all women to be vigilant about their care.  For all to listen to their bodies and the signs that it gives when it is in distress.  To demand that others listen and to demand answers.  I hope it will help others know themselves and feel comfortable in their decisions as they pertain to fertility treatments.  As one who understands what it is like to want a baby so bad you will do nearly anything, I do not want it to scare others away from the very things that hold promise in your life.  But, I do want it to be known that this sort of thing can and does happen, though it is extremely rare.

In the end, I sit here on the other side of this ordeal writing from my very own bed, thankful beyond belief that I am more or less fine.  As I sit in this bed, I remember that this is where it all began...
This is where we came to do the injections that started it all, it is where I first awoke to throbbing pain, it is where I screamed out in pain days later, where I made desperate calls hoping someone would listen to my pleas.  And now, it is where I come to recover.  It is where I come to transform back into my old self--physically, emotionally.  The fact that I am intact and will soon be able to reclaim my full health seems incredible after everything we've been through.  And with each thought of where I've been and where I am, more tears flow.

I am already to emotional too begin the real story, but it will come.  So, spanning the last two week period, this is my OHSS story. . .

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blah

Cycle canceled.  Blah.  The E2 level went down again, so no little eggies available.  It doesn't feel good, but I wouldn't say that I was expecting the moon this time around.  Really, both times, I was just expecting to get further in the process, get a few procedures under our belts.  While we were prepared for the trigger shot these last two times, with my body not responding to Comid, the next step is daily injections.  I am still unsure how I feel about this.  I became even more wary after hearing that they are $150 per shot!  We'll have to see where our hearts are in all of this over the next few weeks.  But for now, I will drink champagne and enjoy my celebratory weekend and anniversary trip with hubs.  We need a good time! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Slow and Steady

Well, the results are in.  It is so funny how one day with infertility there is a positive spin on things and the next day it could very well be negative.  Monday I wasn't feeling so great, as it looked as though my little follicles decided to be stubborn in the face of Clomid again.  Not much growth and no dominant follicles coming forward--just some chocolate chip cookie looking ovaries.  I was discouraged, cried again, but picked myself back up and returned today.  It seems I have four follicles coming forward, largest is at 12 right now (CD11).  My E2 level will be in tomorrow and hopefully be up from the 491 it was on Monday.

Auntie Dumplings, my fertility nurse, has been clear all along that this isn't ideal, as we'd like to "quiet the ovaries for a few months".  From what I can understand, it seems this would help with the PCOS and ensure there weren't too many follicles coming forward at once.  Still, we just couldn't let this perfect window of time go to waste.

And then came the confusing part.  While I love Auntie Dumplings, I believe that we both have the same  characteristic of talking in circles around what we are really trying to say.  Unfortunately, this leaves me with so many questions after I leave.  I never realize it in the moment, because we discussed the issue at hand.  But then, when I'm driving away in my car, I always seem to think, "hmmm...now what did she really mean by that?"  During the appointment, she said that if it looked like four eggs were going to be released, they wouldn't recommend the trigger shot.  But immediately following that, she asked if we had discussed selective reduction.  I'm sure I looked at her completely blank...I have no idea.  What is that?  I definitely haven't gotten that far.  She said if too many eggs were fertilized, they would refer me to an RE for them to take some out for a healthy pregnancy.  Wow!  Another huge decision to make!  And, more importantly at this stage, is she saying that they wouldn't recommend a trigger shot, but I could still take it and plan on selective reduction if any eggs were fertilized?  Or would I not take it, but still be at risk for four eggs becoming fertilized?  So confused!

At any rate, I am not going to stress about this today.  It is a gorgeous day outside and after scouring the flower markets for sales, I am on my way out for a day of fun in the sun.  Planting, painting, and knowing (at least for now) that my follicles are progressing.  All is well!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Floundering Feelings

image via google images
My feelings these days are floundering.  I am happy with our decision to move on and keep TTC this summer, but overall, my feelings regarding our future little bean(s) are so different than they used to be.

When we first began TTC, I was a starry-eyed optimist.  I thought of our babies all the time, named them, imagined them sitting up in the clouds, ready to tumble on down into my belly at any moment.  I meditated on them, on the idea of clearing my body and making room for the baby.  I talked to them, read them imaginary letters that were really more like prayers asking to get pregnant.  I simplified my life and began eating and behaving like a woman who was already pregnant, taking wild precautions with just about everything.  Hubs and I would sit together, jokingly talking for hours about what our babies would be like.  If there was a little disagreement about laundry or dishes I would tease him saying, "shhh, if they hear all this silliness the baby is not going to want to tumble down!"  I am not crazy, I swear, though much of this probably paints me as a psychotic lunatic.  It was fun, it was light-hearted, it was carefree.   We were about to get pregnant and have a baby!  Right?

Wrong.  I am still not pregnant and while I know this has not been a long journey compared to so many others, it has still taken a toll on my body and my hope.  In the last month or so, I'm not so sure where the hope and optimism have wandered off to, but I'm sure I don't see them in sight.  There are glimpses at times, but I can never really catch them and pin them down.  I could be concerned about this, but I firmly believe that they will return when needed--probably in the 2WW right around 10dpo, if history tells us anything.

But moreover, my entire psyche has now shifted.  While it is obviously about baby while TTC, it isn't the focus anymore.  It isn't about baby--not about thinking of names or imagining what we'll be like as a family.  It isn't about dreaming of a nursery or those cherished moments.  And it isn't about creating a zen-like environment.  Now, it's about getting through.  I have hit  a stage of self-preservation, I believe. I assume it is for the best, but I do lament those carefree days.  Today, I can't meditate on my babies or my body with a smile.  I can't even think of the names we had prematurely picked out as they now seem to represent so much pain.  Before, it seemed like every decision and every move was to ensure that my life and my body would be ready for a happy, healthy baby.  Now, it seems every decision and every move is simply a required motion in order to get to the other side.

Even my view of these procedures have taken a hit as I can't say that I honestly think that good news will come when I go in for my appointment Monday morning.  After having no effect with Clomid 50mg, my dosage has been upped to 100mg, but I don't feel as though there will be good news.  I am ready for the news that my follicles did not respond, that I am Clomid resistant and that, yet again, this cycle will be cancelled.  My starry eyes are gone and now I'm a realist.  Now, all this just seems like huge hoops to jump through, an obstacle course in the way of our goal.  And more than ever, I am feeling like it is simply a course we have to run before we inevitably adopt.  I say this with no issues and no sadness as I am from an adoptive family and have always wanted to adopt myself.  The sadness I feel, honestly, comes from the thought of this journey, the next few months of procedures being so taxing and tolling it completely takes the joy out of the road to motherhood.  When I think about adopting, I wish I could just start the adoption process eager, optimistic and starry eyed again, but in the current scenario, it seems as though we will go in emotionally drained and scarred.

Infertility has turned me into a realist and thrown me into the deep waters where self-preservation is a necessity.  When I started my meds and my pregnant bellied friend exclaimed with bright eyes and a squealing voice, "Oh, this is so great!  Now, in two weeks, you could be pregnant!" I wanted to bolt.  I wanted to say, "Sure, I could, but don't hold your breath."  I wanted to tell her how naive I thought that comment was and while I know it was said with best of intentions, I wanted to say that it hurt me.  Of course, I played nice, smiled with a shrug of my shoulders and said, "Who knows?"  Soon after, I excused myself to cry in the bathroom.

I'm sure that I'm being dramatic now and I know that I will find the hope and optimism when I really need them, but I, like everyone else just wish that I didn't have to wait for them....or for a baby any longer!