Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I feel as though I should be writing deep, moving posts lately.  After all, I am processing a lot of emotions and quickly becoming comfortable with many new infertility treatments I swore off mere days ago.  But sometimes, when so much is going on, you just have to state the facts.  The rest of me seems too muddled and jumbled right now to do much more than simply state the facts.

So today, the fact is, that my body is REALLY pissing me off!  And, as the crazy infertile that I am, that talks to her someday children, trying to coax them down into her belly, I am now talking to chastising my body.  It plays out as a segment of SNL's weekend update:  Seth & Amy's REALLY? bit.

image via google images
Really, body?  You decide to resist the Clomid's effects, but still grow some follicles, and produce enough E2 for a good reading that brings relief and a smile?  Really?  You decide to let the follicles keep growing, but forget to fill them with eggs, as the plummeting second E2 reading shows, resulting in a canceled cycle?  Really?  And now, when we have counted this cycle as a wash--reproductively, financially, emotionally--you decide to produce a plethora of fertile fluid?  REALLY?  REALLY?

What's a girl to think, body?  You're kind of being an asshole!

hmmm . . . in light of all this fertile fluid do I start up OPK kits?  Make appointments?  Have baby sex?  Hope?   . . . so lost in all of this!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Clomid Conundrum

My latest infertility conundrum is this:  How can a woman ovulate with natural cycles for over a year and then fail to ovulate on Clomid? 

image via google images

Perhaps this is normal, maybe I am Clomid resistant, quite possibly it is just taking some time for my body to respond to a new drug.  I wonder if it is the PCOS mucking things up? (No, that was not my first choice of words, but I'm trying to keep it just a wee bit classy up in here!)  I'm sure there are many possible explanations, but I still don't understand it a bit.  It seems so counterintuitive and baffles me completely!  I fell as though I am in a constant state of confusion.

Forgive me if I've mentioned this before, I just can't let it go!  After having very clear, albeit very late, ovulations confirmed both by temps and OPKs for over a year, all of a sudden there is nothing.  I had beautiful LH surges, cervical fluid, temp rises and luteal phases.  All gone with the very drug that was to induce ovulation.  humph!

Has anyone else ever had this happen to them?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Questioning My Body

Ever since I was preliminarily diagnosed with PCOS, I have had a million questions running through my head.  There are too many to address in one post, so I will have to spread them out over the week.  Right now, I feel as if I am finally registering that I am going through the stages of grief with my own body.  I feel as though I am literally mourning my fertility.  At times, I feel like I am also mourning the hope of a fertile woman, though I know that hope returns when you need it to, though quite possibly in a much altered state.  I assume it becomes a mature sort of hope that accepts the fact that limitations exist.  This hope is a realist.

The steps of grief:
image via google images
1) Denial & Isolation
2) Anger
3) Bargaining
4) Depression
5) Acceptance

Now I will say that throughout this journey, I have experienced each one of these.  For just as soon as you think everything is clear and you can accept your truth, something else seems to pop up to change that truth and the whole process begins again.

For months and months of trying to conceive naturally, I was absolutely in denial.  As we got further and further into our journey, the all-consuming thoughts had me very isolated.  Extreme bouts of anger have been sprinkled in because, honestly, I just don't want to do any of this extra shit!  I know it is the path I have to take, but I cannot say that I have enjoyed gaining weight to increase my odds of conception, shelling out more and more money every other week, being poked and prodded more times than I can count.  It is not exactly what I pictured when I naively imagined the incredible pregnancy that would bring me my little bean.

Anger also took over my body last week, when I was preliminarily diagnosed with PCOS and my cycle was canceled due to a steep decrease in my E2 level and minimal follicle growth.  For the first time in my entire life I hated my body.  I absolutely hated it.  I was disgusted.  I wanted to rip out my insides and replace them with something that actually functioned even close to normally.  As I write this, I realize how graphic and horrific this sounds, but they are the exact thoughts that ran through my mind.  

At this point, I feel like I am doing some sort of bargaining as I try to wrap my head around what this PCOS really means for me.  As I try to make sense of the PCOS and this insulin resistance piece, I think through my general health and gynecological history.  I have always had irregular periods, but I have always, at least, had periods and clear, though late ovulations.  I have always had acne, which may be a sign of the higher testosterone level that comes with PCOS.  I have always craved any carb you set in front of me, which I believe, may be a symptom of the insulin resistance?  

And here's where I start getting upset and irrational.  I have always been skinny and had trouble gaining weight, though I made it an absolute priority after receiving this recommendation to aid in our baby making efforts.  I quit cardio and turned more to short bouts of yoga and light walking.  I kept my head calm with meditation and my body full with foods with higher fat content.  Due in part to my efforts and in part to my metabolism slowing down with age, I gained weight.  So here is my irrational, albeit, serious question that continues to nag me no matter how ridiculous I tell my mind it is:  Did I do this to myself?  Though I am sure there must be some sort of genetic predisposition, have my eating habits and recent resistance to exercise caused this, or at very least exacerbated the problem?

I generally have fairly good eating habits, but now every time I put something with sugar in my mouth or crave bread I feel guilty, as if those choices and cravings are exactly why I have found myself in this situation.  So, with that, I am bargaining--thinking, OK, if I don't eat this plate of pancakes with syrup, will that make you happy, body?  If I go and run on the treadmill tonight rather than walk on it, will you bring on my period naturally so I can avoid pumping even more drugs into my body?  If I buy this PCOS diet cookbook, will you go away and leave me alone, or at least calm down enough to let me get pregnant and carry my baby to full term?

If only my body would respond clearly.  Better yet, if only my body would do what I told it to do!  Sigh

Wardrobe Malfunction

image via google images
Note to self:  When trying to sex things up in the bedroom with a sexy little lingerie number after TTC sex has become timed and full of pressure, remember what could happen if you've gained a little weight in order to increase chances of conception.  That's right, during my sexy night, while hopping on top to ravish my hubs, my little number snapped, mid passionate kiss.  Yes, my tie literally busted from the extra strain.   Not feeling so sexy anymore!  And it was such a cute number!  Damn, Gina!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Here I go again...

Well, I did it again.  I opened my big mouth and I was unsure how I felt about it just minutes later.  When dealing with infertility, it is very hard not to have it on your mind constantly.  Likewise, it is very hard not to want to talk about it when you need to.  The problem is that you might need to at any moment, in any situation.  And the problem is, when faced with a question related to your fertility or health, you may freeze like me, unable to find any acceptable little white lie in the moment.  That is exactly what happened to me yesterday.

I consider myself very lucky to have several friends in my personal life and several friends at my place of work that I can always go to to discuss things when they are bothering me.  At first, I thought it would allow infertility to take over my life, be present in some way in every conversation, like a huge, visible rain cloud hanging over my head and following me around.  But, luckily, it has not felt like that.  Rather, it has been incredible to have someone to talk to no matter what time of day I feel the need.  The support is truly amazing.

But there are those times at my place of work where I can't talk.  They are the times with my Kindergartners.  I bonded with one of my students the other day when I showed her my EpiPen for my allergy.  "Now I know your special place for your EpiPen and you know my special place for my EpiPen," I told her as I slid my pen into my desk drawer.  Elated, she ran home that night telling her family how her and the teacher were so much alike that we even both have EpiPens.  The next week, after a rough fertility appointment, the same little girl told me that she had a glucose problem.  Without thinking at all I said, "Wow, how funny!  So do I!  I just found out my body doesn't do the right thing with sugar, too."  Mind you, I was talking to a Kindergartner, so I really didn't think this would open a discussion on the matter.

And then, it came...during a celebratory feast yesterday with my class, I found myself in discussions with many parents.  At the end, I found myself talking to her mother who said, "She [her daughter] came home so excited, telling us about how her and her teacher are so much alike.  'We both have allergies and EPIpens,' she announced proudly.  Then a few days later, 'We both have problems with sugar!'  So, what is your problem with glucose?" she asked innocently.

And there it was, hanging in the air--a question I had to answer on the spot.  My mind, my face, everything went blank.  Not really knowing much about different glucose problems, I couldn't grasp at any random answer.  So I answered truthfully.  I answered with the terms that have been brought up in my appointments that I really know next to nothing about  - metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance.  And as I looked at the woman whom I have thought of so many times over the course of this journey, whom I feel a connection with albeit a small one, whom  I know from what her daughter has told me (Kindergartners tell you everything) has had several fertility problems herself this last year, who is pregnant with twins, I let it all out.  "Actually," I said, "I have thought of you a lot over this year, because that, and many others, are problems that have made it hard to achieve what we want as a family."  As I gestured to her belly, empathy came over her face and I knew the rain cloud was now right over my head, pouring down on me.

She quickly comforted me as my eyes began to tear up, saying that, as I already knew, she did have complications and that she would love to share her story over a cup of coffee anytime.  It was wonderful.  And I would like to hear her story as so many people I am surrounded by are the types that get pregnant on a whim.  My school is the most supportive environment I have ever found.  I am very close to so many parents, even one very trusted past parent who knows about everything only because she sensed it and just asked one day.  Still, that is a completely different relationship, someone I really consider a friend.  This is a parent.

So now it is out there.  I completely trust this woman, but rumors can always start even with the most trustworthy people and then spread like wildfire.  While I would love to hear her story and share mine, I am not really wanting parents and staff throughout the school to know the ins and outs of my uterus.

image via google images
Tongue Twisted
I truly hope I didn't just do something not only ridiculously unprofessional, but also incredibly stupid to open Pandora's box!  Maybe I should write up a list of white lies and rehearse so that next time, my mind doesn't go blank!

Technical Problems HELP!!!

image via google images
This is not what I usually write about at all, but I am desperate!  There is a problem on my blog when you click to comment.  I believe that if you view individual posts, the problem occurs as well.  The problem is that the post then appears twice.  It appears once on the dark blue background in gray text with a comment box below.  If you scroll down, it appears again in the normal blog format with a comment box below.  Both comment boxes will work if you choose to leave a comment, but I could imagine it may not only be very confusing, but also an enormous annoyance to readers!  So, sorry readers.  I really have been trying to fix this for months.  Indeed, this has been driving me absolutely crazy for months!  I have sought out every online blogger help page and community I can find, conversed with the techies in the world, played around with the code (usually deleting multiple s) and nothing.  So, if there is anyone more technically savvy than myself who knows how to fix this, here is my plea.  Please help!

And, since I really want this to be my only tech post, I'll ask another nagging question to all out there.  I search google images for pics for my posts and always cite the source.  Can I do this?  If not, where do people find the images they use on their posts???   hmmmm...I thought this blogging thing was going to help relieve stress, not bring more!

To any readers, I promise I will leave the tech talk to this one post and its comments, and jump right back in with the fertility talk!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Claiming my Infertility

Well, here I am.  After over a year of trying to conceive, I have finally accepted the reality and am ready to say it.  I am ready to claim it.  
Japanese symbol for infertility via Google Images

It happened yesterday, when I wrote the post about my canceled cycle.  After writing the words, I sat typing in my labels.  I typed infertility and froze.  I have never stopped there.  In the past, I have always put infertility and fertility together, because I just wasn't ready to claim that identity yet.  I was ready to ride the fence, but not willing to admit that I had, indeed, jumped over that fence.  In fact, in terms of post labeling, I always add many labels to my posts.  But all I could think to classify this news as was infertility.

Immediately, the acceptance came flooding over me, rushing through my body.  And, like all the fertility news I feel I have received, I went through a slew of emotions - there are the thoughts that can be classified as "poor me thoughts", there is the numbness, there is the disbelief, the jealousy, and the self-loathing.  But, luckily, just as quickly, there are the thoughts of beating this, feelings of strength, a collection of self as you find your courage.  I went through it all as I stared blankly at my computer screen, wiping away tears as my vision blurred.

Yes, I am struggling with infertility.  It is not a pleasant struggle nor one I would wish on any other person, but it is a struggle that brings out the strength of an individual--body, mind, and spirit.  While I consider myself a relatively tough person, in the past I have crumbled at the mere thought of much that I have gone through.  But when reality sets in, it is sink or swim, and of course, you must choose to swim.  Indeed, part of staying afloat is accepting your reality and living your truth.

My truth is that I am infertile.  My truth, it seems, is PCOS.  It is follicles that grow slowly, eggs whose growth are stunted (for lack of a better word or explanation).  After so much testing, I did not expect this to be the case, but it seems there is so much about my truth that is unknown, uncharted.  What I do know is that while I have ovulated (albeit very late) for over a year and a half on my own, I did not ovulate on my first round of Clomid.  While I cannot wrap my head around this one, I must accept it as fact.  I know that I will most like begin Metformin, a diabetic medication they prescribe for women with PCOS and insulin resistance, though I am unsure if this diagnosis brings implications for my long term health.  I know that I will actually administer shots to myself, something I could never have pictured myself doing in the least, and I know that we will begin IUI (intra-uterine insemination) aka AI (artificial insemination) right away.  With the knowledge that there are higher conception rates when Metformin, Clomid, Injections, IUI, and Progesterone supplements are all used together, we feel we are ready to go all in, not to mention ready to fill that medicine cabinet!

Along this journey, I have had moments when I am absolutely elated and moments when I am incredibly depressed.  I have felt unstoppable and crushed, brave and cowardly.  Such swings mess with the mind of even the strongest person and make you question your fortitude and perseverance, but here is what I have decided.  I am allowed to cry and feel broken and lament my fertility.  This is normal.  It is human nature and it is womanhood.  But this does not mean that I have lost my strength.  It simply means I need some time to mourn and then rebuild my strength.  At the end of the day, I know that I will rise to meet any obstacle thrown my way.  Oddly, while wrapping up this post, I know that it almost feels liberating to be claiming my infertility after hiding from it for so long.  But at the end of the day, I also know I want to get off this god damn roller!

Here's to accepting your truth and living through it, whatever that may mean.  To accepting the highs and the lows, but always digging for your strength in the end.  And after a canceled cycle and more medical bills than I ever want to think of, I am absolutely raising a glass bottle of wine to that tonight!  Kanpai!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


My E2 level went from 389 to 52 in 2 days, meaning there will be no eggs.  Cycle canceled.  No more meds.  No more procedures.  No more chance.  I feel like I really can't say any more about it at this point.  I am still trying to soak in the news...trying to tell myself it would be naive to think things would go well the first time around, even though I didn't think it would go quite like this.  Trying not to think about the money we just shelled out, and very much trying not to think that it was all for nothing.  Trying to remember that crying or feeling just a little broken doesn't mean I am weak, it just means I am human and that I am a woman.  I am strong, and we are a strong couple, and we will get through it, albeit with tears and heavy hearts.

A Simple Hug

It is almost always true that a hug can do so much for a person.  Just one can ease your fears or make you feel safe, communicate care or stop your wandering, worrying mind.  As far as hugs go, yesterday I received one of the most wonderful hugs of my life from Auntie Dumplings, my fertility nurse.
(in)fertility has flung me into this sterile medical world without much preparation.  So much of it is unnerving and uninviting.  At times, it is hard to feel warmth when your world seems so bleak.  But there it was, at the end of my day 12 follicle study-- all the warmth I could ever ask for from the person in charge of getting me pregnant.

So much has been happening lately in terms of our fertility journey.  It has been a lot to soak in and I am incredibly overwhelmed.  Here's the run-down:  I have begun my first medicated cycle and am now on 50 mg of Clomid, which my body is not responding to very well.  The ultrasounds I have had (now four, I believe) have all pointed to PCOS, though most of my hormone levels checked out fine, save a slightly high testosterone level.  It doesn't look like I will ovulate any sooner than day 17 if that, which isn't at all what they want to see.  This roller coaster ride has taken me up and down in the last few weeks, an emotional ride that has only been heightened by the effects of Clomid. (But that will have to wait for another post!)

I have so much running through my head...our chances of conception, future treatments, costs, emotional self preservation...and I think that Auntie Dumplings could definitely sense this.  After relaying the facts that my follicles had grown minimally in two days, she wrote up her plan which includes an ultrasound/ follicle study for next Monday if I have not ovulated yet, injections to trigger ovulation if I have not, and subsequent progesterone supplements.  The future plans are to put me on Metformin (a diabetic medication used on those with PCOS to help the body deal with insulin, I believe) and 100 mg of Clomid.

After wincing at the thought of administering a trigger shot, she quickly suggested that she train me on the shot and before I knew it, I had washed my hand, cleaned my belly with alcohol and was pinching an inch and holding a needle centimeters away.  I was also beside myself.  I was shaking.  My face was being contorted in so many ways as I struggled to get my mind wrapped around this.  I can only imagine that I was letting out high pitched whines and squeals.  It was horrible.  But the whole time, she was coaching me.  Answering my, "I really don't think I can do this!" with "Yes, yes you can" as she rubbed my arm to comfort me.

I did it, and in record time.  I think my freak out really only lasted less than a minute, though it was some of the longest seconds of my life.  Imagining trying to do that at home for the first time, I am sure I would have cried with my husband for hours before actually putting needle to skin!  But here, I had to.  And after it was done, after I had actually stuck myself with a needle and held it in my belly for 5 seconds, it really wasn't that bad.  I thanked her very genuinely after that, realizing that she had just saved me from a potential future major meltdown, after which she laughed kindly, accepting my thanks and said, "Can I give you a hug?"

It was the best moment I have had in an office throughout this entire journey.  Just feeling warmth from those in charge of this huge endeavor is incredible.  The hug was the icing on the cake after what was medically, a mediocre appointment, but emotionally, a wonderful appointment.  I truly feel like there is teamwork and care behind my fertility team, my dream catchers.  And for that, I am very thankful.