Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Keeping Secrets

When I first decided to jump head first into trying to get pregnant, I was 24 years old and had been married to h1 (husband #1) for 2 years and with him for 6. I had been having a very sharp pain in my abdomen, the kind of pain felt at ovulation time. The only problem was that this was not ovulation time, my period was supposed to start at any day. I went to the doctor and was told that I probably have a cyst causing the pain. I was not educated at all about my ovaries so of course I went into full panic mode and thought for sure I was going to be told that I couldn't get pregnant because I heard women with cysts can't have babies.

I got myself checked and sure enough, it was a cyst. I was assured this was a "functioning" cyst and nothing to worry about. H1 and I decided that NOW was the time for a baby. We were so giddy with the prospect of getting knocked up and having a baby and giving our parents their first grandchild on either side. It was a very dreamy and magical time. We decided to keep it a secret because we wanted to surprise everyone. We wanted the big reveal...you know the kind...like on America's Funniest Videos where they give a gift at Christmas with a sonogram picture or a teddy bear or an empty picture frame...something along those lines. I was even arrogant enough to determine which month(s) I wanted to get pregnant in because there were certain months that already had too many b-days. Silly girl.

I dove in to TTC like someone walking the Mojave might dive into a swimming pool upon first sight. I read EVERYTHING on the Internet to find out about the timing, the signs and symptoms of fertility, the best/worst foods/drinks...I was a sponge. After 3 or 4 months of nothing working I bought the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I cannot rave about this book enough. Even if you read it just to educate yourself on the female body it's worth it. After reading the book I started charting....I was so primitive at the time I was using paper charts and an actual pen to keep track of everything. With all the technology available now it's almost like I was a pioneer. (insert chuckle here) Once I figured out that I was ovulating on time and everything was "by the book" I figured it must be something with h1. Again, silly girl. Once we hit the 12 month mark I called my primary care physician and made the "family planning" appointment.

Now the secret became even more important to keep because something was obviously wrong. And I cannot accept failure so therefore I was definitely not going to announce to our families that we had failed and now we needed a doctor to tell us what's wrong. No way, no how. Well, during all this secret keeping time we had a teenage girl on each side of the family announce a pregnancy. Well F me. I cannot even tell you how disappointed we were. First, we were upset at these girls for being so stupid and not protecting themselves and all the other things that go along with a teenager announcing a pregnancy. The real disappointment came when we had to face the fact that we wouldn't be "first" with any of this baby stuff. That sucked donkey balls.

We had to field questions from time to time about when we were going to have kids. I always came back with "we have plenty of time" and "we just aren't ready yet"...lie, lie, lie. I still had the hope that it would happen for us so I was still excited over new babies and baby showers because I just KNEW I would be next. Did I mention what a silly girl I was?

Once h1 got his swimmers analyzed and all was found to be fine, we were referred to a regular OB/GYN for further questions. By this time it had been about 18 months of trying. The OB/GYN looked at my charts...stellar. Checked out the swimmers...stellar. "Hmmmm" he said, "you should have at least had an accident by now after all this time." He put me on Clomid for 3 cycles. Nada, nada and more nada. And if you think I was telling anyone that I was taking fertility drugs you are crazy! Not with everyone thinking that you get 4-8 babies with ANY fertility drug you take...my gosh woman, what were you thinking? And so the secret stayed with us. The OB/GYN sent me to the fertility clinic. Gasp!

The fees were too high and the bank account was too low to do anything so we just decided to stick it out and keep trying naturally. My dad asked me one time about us having kids...it went something like this:

Dad - when are you going to have kids?
Me - I don't know, I don't know if it's in my plan. (I meant the plan God had for me, not MY plan)
Dad - oh, what plan?
Me - my life plan, I'm not sure when, at some point hopefully
Dad - oh....

And that was as close as I got to spilling the beans to my dad. It never got brought up again until h1 left. He wanted to know who's idea it was to NOT have kids. So I had to tell him that we tried and failed. Not an easy thing to do when he just found out that my marriage was failing too. Like I said, in my family we don't accept failure. I know that's not how it's supposed to be viewed but at the time those were my failures. H1's family found out a few months before we split about our struggles. No real support was given so I guess it didn't matter that we hadn't told them. There was other drama going on at the time that I will share later, so my TTC woes weren't front and center, and understandably so.

I spent over 4 years in silence about my struggles with this with h1. I have recently told my family and BJ's family about our medical help needed since we have been at this for over 3 years. Both sides have been very supportive. So much so, that I almost wish I would have let my family in on it sooner. I think there need to be ground rules about what is ok to say and suggest and what is not. One of my main reasons for keeping this secret was that I didn't want all the comments and questions all the time....try it like this, eat that, don't think about it so much and my personal favorite, JUST RELAX. I haven't gotten any of that in part because I think everyone knows by now that I have tried EVERYTHING possible on my own and it DIDN'T work. So now they just wait for my updates to find out when my next appointment is and how my follies look. It's actually quite calming having it all out in the open. It's a personal decision tailored to each family involved. If you know your family can't handle it, don't tell them. If you think they will be supportive, lay your cards out on the table...there's not much to lose but there's a lot that can be gained.

I'm sorry this is now a novel and if you made it through, thanks. I think I've mentioned that I can get very long winded. At least you know I'm honest. I am headed out of town tomorrow after my follie check so I won't be able to update until Monday at which time I will have at least 2 follie checks under my belt....so I'll see you then!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dream On

I can't even count the number of dreams I have had over the years about being pregnant or being a parent. I also wish I had a nickel for every time that someone I know has told me that they had a dream about me being pregnant. I have always thought and said "oh it must be a sign...this is our month!" Nothing could have been further from the truth. It's obvious that my mind had just been so consumed with getting knocked up that I carried my obsession into my sleep. I haven't had a dream like that in a very long time. I had one last night. I'm going to try and tell you my dream and hope that I don't come off as completely whacked out.

I was in a scenario with my boss and her right-hand lady. In this scenario, we were going to be traveling (presumably "home") by raft across a great body of water. It felt like we were going from Cuba to FL. Please don't ask me why as I am as baffled as anyone by this scenario. As we are floating along the vast body of water, there are other rafters around...refugees I guess, I'm not really sure. I know it was night time and I know I was pregnant. I had just found out and had not told anyone yet. There was some sort of entity trying to stop us from proceeding...it was kind of gobbling up rafts, if you will. Anyway....something happened and I woke up in the dream and was very disappointed that I wasn't really pregnant. Fast forward to making it to our destination. We walked into a store or something and someone noticed that I had a baby bump. No one was more surprised than I, as I thought I wasn't really pregnant. I remember looking down and seeing that my pants wouldn't button and that, indeed, I had a bump. I was congratulated for making it to 22 weeks and that we would soon know the sex of the baby as we were getting ready to have our sonogram. I remember being so happy that it wasn't a dream and I was touching my stomach and rubbing it and I had the biggest smile on my face....then my eyes opened for real. No raft, no water, no baby. I felt empty. I wondered if I would ever get the chance to be so happy rubbing my big belly.

It was such a let down. I guess the fact that I started my stims yesterday morning must have led to the new found hope that produced this pregnancy dream. Either that or the fact that I had trouble buttoning my shorts yesterday and thought to myself that I wish the bloatedness I was feeling was because I had a baby in there. Whatever brought it on, I hope that it doesn't happen again UNTIL I am actually knocked up with child. See? I'm staying positive.

I started my stimming meds yesterday morning without a problem. The problem came last night with my Menopur. I forgot that I needed 2 vials and apparently I forgot how to mix everything. I had to re-do my alcohol swabbing of my tummy because I was tired of holding my shirt up with my chin while I mixed the liquid with the powder so I just let it drop once I realized I needed another vial of the powder. You would have thought this was the first time I had done this. BJ almost came into the bathroom to make sure I was ok because I was in there for so long. The Gonal-f is a breeze but the Menopur is another story. There's something about the Q-cap that makes it difficult to get the right amount of air in the vial while trying to pull all the liquid out....ugh. It's not rocket science but I sometimes have issues.

Friday, June 26, 2009

In the Beginning

So I promised to give more background info as I go along...and here we go...
I come from a broken home...but who doesn't these days? My parents were very young when my mom got pregnant with me. She already had a son from a previous marriage. I could write an encyclopedia set of books on my relationship with my mother, but we won't go there right now. When I was 6 months old, my parents got married. My dad was in the military and had to do a stint overseas. While he was gone, my mom hooked up with her 3rd husband. Needless to say by the time I was 2, my parents were divorced and I was living with my dad and my grandmother. My mom really was in no position to be raising 2 kids. After all, the guy she cheated with was still married with 3 kids of his own. Fun stuff, right?

My dad got married just before I turned 4 to a great girl. I call her a girl because she was only 19....he was 24. They only dated for 2 months before they got married. They are still married today. She raised me as her own and now that I am a step-mom I know how hard it is to try and nurture a child that you love as your own but that is not "yours". Not an easy balancing act. We moved quite a bit while I was growing up since my dad was in the military. My dad and step-mom had a son when I was 7. He was born 3 months early and only lived for 2 days. I didn't really understand a lot at 7, but it was very sad for all of us. My dad's second son was born just over a year later (1 month early) and he was beautiful and perfect. I loved him with all my heart and soul. He was my shining star. I vividly remember watching him through the glass as they cleaned him up. My step-mom had a c-section because he was breach so she didn't get to hold him right away. He was all icky and gooky but the cutest baby in the world. When he was 2 my dad's 3rd son was born, also 3 months early. He had a brain hemorrhage on his 2nd day of life...history was repeating itself. He survived but not without consequences. He was severely handicapped, deaf and had Cerebral Palsy. He had countless brain operations (among others over the years) and was in the hospital for about 3 months. I remember the fist time I got to hold him. He was so tiny and I felt so proud that I was allowed in the NICU to be with him. My step-mom went the hospital every day that he was there. Nothing can match a mother's love. Having him in our lives really changed all of us. For me and my brother we became more tolerant of those with disabilities. My parents (and I mean my dad and step-mom) were strained in a lot of ways. There weren't many opportunities to do family things like go to the movies or out to dinner or to amusement parks. We did those things, but rarely. All effort went into caring for him and making sure we had everything we needed for him and worrying about him. But when he would laugh and smile and grab at me or a toy I was waving in front of him, none of that mattered. He was just my brother. My parents never had any more kids. They wanted more but the burden of caring for my brother was heavy. Plus, it was learned that my step-mom has a mis-shapen uterus and there was no guarantee that she would carry to term. Hence, the 3 pre-term deliveries. She didn't just go into early labor each time, her water broke so there was no way of stopping labor. We got extra lucky that my other brother (1 month early) was carried almost to term and came out healthy.

I found out recently that my parents had been trying for 3 years before they got pregnant the first time. I never knew that but had I known, I would have been more likely to share my own TTC troubles with them. I'm glad they know now a little of what I have been through. It might not have been such a hard road had I not kept it to myself for so long. Live and learn.

I guess that's enough for now. I didn't really plan on getting this specific with my life story but it just sort of flows once I get going. And if you really want to know who I am, I think it's important to know where I came from.

On the TTC front...I was on my way into work today and a car passed by with a crying baby in the back seat. My first instinct was to run the lady off the road and rescue the poor baby from his uncaring mother. Reality set in and I realized that he was turned away from her in his carseat (as he should be) and there was no way she could reach his pacifier...the next time we rolled passed her he was sound asleep. All was well.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nice to Meet You

Well, here I am. This is my very first post. I find writing to be very therapeutic so I started this blog. I have a lot to say and I get very long winded at times and for that, I apologize in advance. This is going to be my outlet for my life...past, present and future. I have recently begun reading other blogs and I can't get enough. I'm pretty addicted to them. Maybe someone out there will get addicted to my blog. Who knows? I'm not doing this to be popular, just to help me vent my frustrations at life and maybe help someone along the way that may be going through something similar.

I'm going to give you a brief background on me now and then later I will fill in the rest as there is a lot to fill in and I don't want this first post to be too much to handle for anyone that might stumble upon it.

I'm in my mid 30's and I'm on my second marriage. My husband, we'll call him BJ, has a son from a previous relationship. I tried to get pregnant with my first husband for over 4 years with no luck. We had all the tests and were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Great...nothing to fix so we keep trying. I did everything I could....changed my eating, drinking, used opk's, took my temps made my charts...still nothing. I convinced myself that it would happen. It didn't.

Now I'm with husband #2. We have been trying but not obsessing for over 3 years. Oh, did I mention that husband #1 is getting ready to have his 2nd child with his girlfriend? Salt in the wound. But anyway...BJ and I went to the clinic in October to get a plan in place and get this show on the road...we aren't getting any younger. After some hurdles (cysts, high estrogen etc.) we tried 2 IUI's. Both failed. We decided to make the jump to IVF. Not an easy decision and I will probably get into that another day. Our first IVF started out a little bumpy. I had a cyst that the BCP (birth control pills) didn't get rid of. I had to "hold" on my Lupron...for almost 2 weeks. Finally, it was small enough and we could proceed. After stimming for what seemed like forever, I still only had 2 follies worth writing home about. They wanted me to do an IUI. I decided that timing intercourse would be better considering our finances. That is another story for another day. Again, a BFN (big fat negative).

I went in this morning to see how things are going on my new protocol. I just got the green light from my nurse! I will start stimming Sunday and go in for a follie check and bloodwork on Wednesday. Yippie! Another shot at this. I have listed below (for all you that are familiar with IVF meds) my protocol. I'm sorry this is so scattered right now. I will work on getting this set up and easier to follow. I'm very new at this and can only aspire to be as good at it as my fellow bloggers. :-)

Morning - 300 Gonal-f
Evening - 150 Gonal-f, 150 Menopur