Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Random Thoughts

I'm not sure if I ovulated this cycle because I was battling a virus at that time.  Kind of thinking I didn't.  Oh well, not that our chances were very good anyway.

Next Tuesday, my husband goes in for his 2nd S/A since his varicoceles repair.  I haven't thought about it too much to be frank.  Just trying to keep myself occupied otherwise, I guess.  I don't want to have to deal with the worry.  Don't want to have to worry about our next steps.

I am breaking out like crazy.  It's pretty annoying.  My face thinks I am still a teenager. :(

I had a clarity moment tonight where I just told God in my heart that I would trust his timing.  I feel like I can do that at least for today.  I don't what I'll feel like tomorrow, but I think I can at least manage that today.  And it's all about one day at a time, isn't it?

P.S. I finished Season 6 of 24.  I'm pretty burnt out on that show right now.  Going to take a break!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Did I Miss It??

Ovulation time always makes me a little neurotic under normal circumstances.

I'm doing some combination of OPK's, checking my BBT, feeling up my boobs (the nipples get sore around ovulation), checking CM.  All while trying to remain very casual because -- you know -- I'll get pregnant the moment I just relax.

I went to the doctor today because I've had some bug that I just can't shake.  My doctor thinks it's viral, and that I just need some R&R.  So that means I have no idea what that will do to my ovulation timetable. And this is making me a little crazy because my husband is leaving for a business trip this coming Sunday, and I don't want to miss our window this month!  Then again, what if I already ovulated and I just don't know it because of this stupid bug?!

Seriously, I need some help calming down the crazy bubbling up inside.  I just try to remind myself that it hasn't been working for months.  If I miss another month, what's the difference?

What do you do to stay calm while you're waiting to ovulate?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Waiting Around

I am supposed to be ovulating in the next day or two, but it looks like I'll be delayed this cycle.  I've become a pro at monitoring CM, so I'm pretty good at figuring out when I'll be ovulating.  I hope this doesn't turn into one of those 38, 39 day cycles.  Those are the worst because I don't end up ovulating until day 24 or 25.


Whenever I get stressed, that's what happens.  I ovulate super late.  The only thing I have to be stressed about this month is my husband's upcoming 6-month checkup post his varicocelectomy.  And although I don't think I'm stressed out about it, I may subconsciously be.

Oh, and I have been sick lately.  Caught a minor head cold.  I've been on the mend, but I've been coughing like crazy.  Doesn't being sick delay your ovulation?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wish I Had More to Write About

...but I don't.

Ovulation time is right around the corner, and I couldn't be less enthused.  I'm not being dramatically pessimistic.  I'm just over it.  Getting my hopes up, waiting and waiting, and then being disappointed.  Don't have the energy for it.  Don't have the capacity or the patience for the roller coaster.

Plus, kind of upset that I've been breaking out a lot around my jawline.  That's usually a hormone driven thing, but I am entering my ovulation period, and that usually means my skin starts clearing up.  Don't know what's happening, and that could explain why I'm a bit bummed out right now.

As Lauren from the RHONJ said, "when you don't look good, you don't feel good."  Spot on, sister.

Speaking of TV, I've been unable to keep up.  I've got 90210 (LOVE), the Vampire Diaries and Glee airing now, all of which I've started falling behind on.  Plus, the last season of Brothers & Sisters and three more seasons of 24 available on Netflix instant streaming.  Season 5 of Dexter and Season 3 of Sons of Anarchy await me on Netflix disks.  Dying to get into Breaking Bad which was just added to Netflix instant streaming.  Free episodes of Real Housewives of, well, everywhere on Hulu.

And this, from a girl who does NOT have cable TV anymore to supposedly cut down on wasting time so that I can write my great American novel.

Help!  I'm getting sucked into a syndicated vortex!

You gotta tell me what shows you're addicted to, especially any of the ones above on my list. :)

P.S. You notice that of my list above, 90210, Glee, and Brothers & Sisters have all dealt with infertility?  Hot topic!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Ran a 5k today.  My first official race ever.  It was great.  I felt like I was going to barf at the end, but it felt good to finish something.  I did it under 31 minutes too, which isn't so bad.

The Chinese herbs I drank yesterday seemed to have made my flow stronger than usual.  Not sure if I'm just imagining it.  Maybe it's cleaning out my old uterine lining really, really well.  You know, cleaning the slate, out with the old, in with the new, that kind of thing.  I don't know if that helps with fertility, but I'll just believe that it does. :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

She is Here

AF, that is.  Oh well.  Not a surprise.

On a happier note, it's our 6th wedding anniversary.  I can't believe we've been together this long!

It's getting to the point where I don't want to advertise how long we've been married.  Because then people inevitably wonder, even if they're not asking us out loud, why don't you have any kids??

Can't win with infertility, can you?  Happy doesn't seem happy anymore.  Not the way it used to.

Still, I'm going to try today.  DH went with me today to pick out my gift, some perfume.  (Nothing like a beauty purchase to cheer oneself up!)  Now we're going to dinner at a fancy schmancy restaurant I've been wanting to try for a while.

Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband who is the best part of every day. <3

Friday, September 23, 2011

Temps Dropping

I'm expecting my period tomorrow.  My temps started dropping this morning, so I'm not holding out any hope.

My mom mailed me some packets of Chinese medicine.  I don't even know what's really in it, but it's supposed to be for general regulation of your cycle, and to boost your overall female health.  She said that within 3 cycles I should expect to be pregnant...that is, if my husband's sperm was normal.  Ha.  Oh well.

Next month, DH goes for his 6 month S/A since his varicocelectomy.  Trying not to fret too much about it.

In other news, I am addicted to 24 the TV show.  Discovered the show just about 10 years too late...but better later than never.  I've been watching it on my Netflix streaming non-stop.  I'm now  on Season 4!

A couple of thoughts from the show:

1) I love Tony + Michelle. <3  Keep making that magic happen please.

2) Kiefer Sutherland is not Jack Bauer, and I'm kind of in love with Jack, which is confusing because it kind of makes me in love with Kiefer.  But I think if I ever met Kiefer in person I would be sorely disappointed because he isn't Jack.  I bet I'm not the only woman who feels this way either.  That must be one tough burden for Kiefer to carry.

Any other 24 fans out there?  If not, what good TV are you watching these days to get your mind off of TTC?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Halfway Through

...the 2ww.  And I'm pretty sure I'm not pregnant.

But I'm not thinking about it too much.  Infertility has given me a lot of time to think about my life and what I want for it, regardless of how/if/when kids factor into the picture.

Ever since I got married six years ago, I have been planning to be a mom, whether consciously or subconsciously.  I didn't think much about a career or long term plans for my future because I figured that when I had kids, I would table any big career plans and focus on raising kids.

Now that kids are no longer an inevitably, or at least something that can be planned at will, I've decided that I am going to focus on what I want for my life.

And I'm starting to realize that I don't want to do what I'm doing now forever.  Or really, for much longer.  I work in an office, get paid pretty decently, and have good health benefits.  But what I really want is to make a living writing fiction.

This past month, I've started buckling down, and working more seriously on my writing.  I have nearly completed a short story, which I'm going to submit to some magazines.  We'll see how it goes.

Just like with infertility, one step at a time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ugh...Here We Go Again

Just ovulated.  My guesstimation is that it was this past Saturday or thereabouts.  I am officially in the 2ww...WHICH I HATE.  Because even though I know our chances are fairly slim, it's hard not to fluctuate between hope and despair for the next 14 days, and I hate the ride.  The ride makes me motion sick.

I just want a Friendly's sundae.  A Friendly's sundae would make it all better, I'm convinced.

Raise your hand if you're in the 2ww too.  We can commiserate together.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Where Did August Go?

I can't believe the last time I updated was in July, and now we're into September.  I wish it was because I was busy after a BFP or something super happy and exciting like that, but that was not the case.

I did think that I had gotten pregnant in August, but it was just me miscalculating my ovulation date, and therefore Day 1 of my next cycle.  Still, for two glorious days, while we were in vacation in Ocean City, MD with our family, my husband and I exchanged conspiratorial glances and secret smiles, thinking that maybe this time it had actually worked.  That maybe we were one of those lucky couples who get treatment/surgery and miraculously get our BFP and then never have to look backwards at that dark and lonely world of infertility.

It started with cautious hope on Monday, when I was expecting my period and it never came.  Then Day 2, that hope grew just a little bit more, like a baby bird poking its head through its shell and glimpsing for the first time the rays of the sun.  By the morning of Day 3, when AF still hadn't shown up, my husband and I were debating whether or not to buy a pregnancy test, and when it said positive (not if, when), whether or not we would tell our families that night.  I had been experiencing cramps all morning for the past few hours, but no sign of AF.  I thought that this was normal if I was pregnant since mild cramping can be a symptom.

Finally, around 10:30, we decided to spring for some pregnancy tests at the drugstore (although it pained me that I had a ton of cheapies lying around at home).  I started walking to the car to drive to the CVS down the street.  My husband stayed behind because he was supposed to work out with his uncle, so we decided to divide and conquer.  Halfway to the car, I felt a gush down there, and after a few seconds of confusion, I realized what had happened.

There was definitely a sense of sadness.  But there was also a feeling like, of course, it seemed too good to be true.  This is more like it -- why would I think things had finally turned around for us?  But most surprisingly of all, there was a sense of relief.  The past couple of days, when I started really believing that we had actually done it, I started to feel scared and panicked, not sure whether or not I could do this whole motherhood thing, or whether my husband and I were really ready for parenthood.

It took me by surprise because I have been so focused on getting pregnant this past year and a half, and once we found out it wasn't going to be easy for us, I became that much more determined.  This month's episode made me realize I don't think I've stopped and really thought about my feelings about actually being a parent and having a child in our lives.  Are we really ready for it?  Would we be good at it?  I guess I figured that I would worry about the getting pregnant part first, and then worry about the rest later.  Otherwise, there's just too much to worry about.

When I came back into the condo, and told my husband that I'd gotten my period, the look on his face was one that I don't think I will ever forget.  If I had any feelings of relief or, dare I say it, happiness, that we weren't pregnant, then seeing him after I told him the news wiped all of that away.  My husband has been fairly even keeled throughout our struggles, fairly optimistic, patient, one might even say stoic at times.  There have been many occasions when I've accused him about not caring about our situation, or said that he's not as invested as I am.  But the disappointment in his eyes and in his face when I told him that I'd gotten my period convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that he wants this just as much as I do.  And if I felt ever like breaking down and having a good cry for what happened this month, it would be over his sense of loss and not mine.

So that was August in a nutshell, as far as our TTC journey is concerned.  We are nearing this month's try soon.  My husband and I are approaching this month with a lot more caution.  In fact, when I brought up that it would be nearing TTC time next week, my husband just shrugged.  Inside, I bristled a bit, convinced it was his indifferent and blase attitude rearing its head again.  When I asked him what the shrug was for, he looked away and said, it just never works.

I thought my heart had done plenty of breaking last month, but it did just a little bit more in that moment.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Pregnancy Announcement

I just found out last night that my best friend is pregnant with twins naturally.  And probably without really trying or at least on their first try.  She and I have known each other for the past nine years.  We moved to the area at the same time, and have seen each other through boyfriends, engagements, marriages, and more.  She knows intimately our struggle with infertility.  In fact, she was the friend who came over the week before to pray with us before DH's S/A last week.

My birthday was this past Thursday, and she emailed me last night (Saturday).  I am grateful for many things.  One, she emailed me with the news, as I had requested her to do when her time came.  In her email, she was very gracious in saying that she understood this might be difficult news for us to hear, and that we should take all the time we needed to process the information before responding.  She waited until after our S/A and after my birthday festivities to break the news.  I know she must be terrified about having twins as she and her husband just purchased a house, and she has often shared with me her financial struggles.  We live in a very well-to-do area, but she makes 50% more than her husband makes, and he will probably never make a ton of money in their lifetime.  She knows that she will probably never have the option to be a stay-at-home mom.  A lot of her/our friends will or do make more than they do, and I know she struggles with this constantly.  Because of this, I am sure that she is scared about having twins, but I'm sure she is downplaying sharing this with me.  And as scared as she must be, I'm sure she's also downplaying how happy and excited she is to be sharing this awesome news with us.  For all of these reasons, I am so supremely grateful for her sensitivity in how she shared the news with us.

But that other part of me is extremely sad, bitter and jealous at how easy conception must have been for them.  Plus, the fact that they're not having one baby but TWO babies...and naturally!!  And the fact that she wasn't even sure she wanted kids just yet.  That really evil and dark part of my heart is crying out to God and the world, wondering, how can it be that they can have so much and we can have nothing??  I feel so bitterly grieved for myself and for all the couples out there whose arms are so empty, who are so scared and lonely, wondering when their turn will come, if it will ever come.

It really is at times like these when I am so angry with what infertility has done to me.  It's made me someone who can't be happy for my closest friend in the face of such good news.  It's prevented her from sharing the news with me the way she should be able to -- shouting it from the rooftops, us jumping up and down together in excitement.

I cried all last night after I heard the news, and this morning I skipped church because I still feel absolutely awful.  I am crying now just thinking about all of this.  I guess good news can't just be good news for long...something has to come along to knock you back down to earth.

I'm feeling pretty deflated right now.  I plan to take the rest of the day easy, and to let myself just process everything.  I'm so tired of this hamster wheel of infertility.

Someone, please make it stop.

Monday, July 25, 2011

And the Results Are In

And they're good!  Or at least very promising. :)

So here are the results of the first S/A since DH's varicocelectomy on March 16, and since he started taking Clomid in February:

Count per ml: 19 million (>= 20 million is normal)
Volume: 4 ml (>= 2 ml is normal)
Motility: 45% (>= 50% is normal)
Total Moving Sperm: 34.2 million!!! (>= 40 million is normal)

The urologist did not give a figure for the morphology, but I've heard that this does not matter so much for conception.

This is compared to our first series of S/A's at our RE in November:

S/A #1

Count per ml: 6 million
Volume: 5 ml
Motility: 6%
Total Moving Sperm: 1.8 million

S/A #2
Count per ml: 6 million
Volume: 3.9 ml
Motility: 20%
Total Moving Sperm: 4.68 million

The doctor said that the count could either get better, stay the same or get worse (which, I guess, is just all the options you could have).  So in three months, we're going to go back for another follow-up S/A to see how things have progressed.

In the meantime, we are very hopeful.  The urologist said that even though DH is just a little below normal levels, he thinks there is a good chance, given a year's time, that we can get pregnant on our own.  So for now, we are opting to try naturally, and we will see what will come of it.  I'm sure that after the next S/A we will re-evaluate, but for now, that's what we're going to do.

I didn't go with DH to his appointment today, and I'm glad I didn't.  I was at work, and it was good to have the distraction until I got the phone call from my husband.  Thankfully, after the call, I only had about an hour left of the work day, and I spent it doing some mindless tasks.  I was so ready to go home.  It was a very stressful Monday, but with a happy ending.

I continue to be hopeful, but part of me is bracing myself for the worse.  Who knows where this could end up?  We're not there yet, but we're headed in the right direction.  I am trusting the Lord, and asking for His guidance and strength as we continue through this crazy TTC journey.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dooms Day is Fast Approaching

Monday is the big day.  We'll see just how well the varicocelectomy and Clomid are doing for his sperm.

I don't know if I realized it until now, but I think it's been causing me to have a hard time focusing on work.  Next week I have a series of presentations I have to give throughout the company, and I feel so underprepared for it.  I just haven't been able to focus, though, on pulling everything together.

I know I must sound like a broken record, but I feel like so much hinges on this S/A.

Last week, friends of ours came over and prayed for us.  It was such a blessing to see their love for us manifested in that way.  I am so grateful to have friends like that.  Their prayers made me shed some tears, not going to lie.  They were so full of hope and confidence, asking the Lord that he would allow us to conceive naturally, that the results of the S/A would be so positive that it would astound even the doctors.  I wish so much that I could believe it the way they seem to, but mostly I am filled with doom and pessimism.  At this point, I am ready for the results to be no better than before the treatments, and that we are bound for IVF.

I know God works miracles beyond what we can believe.  But the miracles aren't for everyone.  Sometimes God chooses for some people to walk a harder path, and that's ok.  It doesn't mean that he's unfaithful to them or loves them less.  It just means that in His sovereignty and wisdom, He gives us all different paths.  I just pray that he would give me acceptance, humility and peace no matter what path he chooses for my husband and me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


It's slowly and steadily seeping in, and unsettling me.

I have so many what-if's running through my head as we approach the S/A in a couple of weeks:
  • What if it worked and we have lots of sperm but we can't get pregnant on our own?
  • What if it turns out I'm the problem?  Maybe my eggs are impenetrable or have bad DNA?
  • What if we qualify for IUI, but we can't get pregnant?
  • What if we have to do IVF?  Can I go through with the shots?
  • What if it worked and we have lots of sperm but it takes another 12 months to get pregnant on our own?  Could I wait that long?
  • What if it worked and we have lots of sperm -- should we try naturally or should we just go for the IUI and get it done quickly?  But what if we did IUI and ended up with twins (not something I want if it can be helped).
  • What if it didn't work?  Does that mean I can't leave my job or that we can't move somewhere else because I'd need to have the infertility benefits from my job?
  • What if it didn't work?  Should we try something else for my husband or move on to IUI/IVF?
These thoughts or some slight variations of them keep swirling around in my head.  It makes it hard to concentrate at work.  It feels like the days are crawling by at this point until we get to the S/A.

I'm not feeling overly optimistic.  Neither is my husband.  For whatever reason, we both don't think the varicocelectomy or the Clomid has helped him.  There's no tangible reason we think that.  Maybe we're just pessimists.

The S/A is July 25.  My 31st birthday is July 28.  Either I will be really happy or really sad come my birthday.  I am prepared to be really sad, and to that end, I am hoping we can do something nice for my birthday (dinner, a night out) in order to distract me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm Back

I have to apologize profusely for not being better about updating this blog.  The main reason is that there has been no news to report.

The hubby had his surgery to repair his varicoceles in March; he's been on Clomid since February to address the borderline low testosterone, and now we're waiting for our first S/A since either to see what our next steps are.  The appointment is July 25.

I must be more anxious and stressed about the S/A than I realize.  This cycle will probably end up being around 39 days long, which is definitely on my longer side, and usually happens when I'm stressed out.  I just feel like everything hangs in the balance with this S/A.  This S/A is going to tell us how we're going to get our babies -- is it going to be through IUI or IVF??  Or might we even be able to conceive naturally??  (A laughable thought, it seems like.)  This S/A is going to dictate what the next 6-12 months of my life is going to look like -- can I switch jobs, can we move, are we going to have to worry about money or not?

No pressure.

The one silver lining is that I've been able to get a better grip on the situation emotionally, and I've also been able to be open with a lot more of my friends about what we're going through.  The outpour of love and support has been such a blessing.  In the process, I've found another IF in real life (been trying for 6 years), and hopefully will get to know her better.

Thanks to all of my blogger friends for reaching out.  I've been following all of your journeys, and you are all in my thoughts and prayers.  I will try to be better about updating, and will definitely let you know how the S/A turns out.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One Step Forward, Then Two Steps Back

I was doing so well, and then a surprise pregnancy announcement (surprise to me because I didn't realize they were trying) from my college roommate sent me over the edge today.  I actually got the news in the afternoon from my other college roommate.  As I was making dinner later that evening, I couldn't keep it together.  I just sat down and had a good cry.

I'm happy for her, I really am.  But why oh why does it have to be so hard for me?  And when will it be my turn?  The scarier question is -- do I even get a turn?  I had to take five minutes tonight to let it all out and just feel sorry for myself.  I'd been doing so well, but everyone needs a good pity party at some point, don't they?

I know the Lord has a plan for my life -- I just wish I knew what it was.  But I am trusting Him, and knowing that everything will work out for the best, no matter what the outcome.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Today was my husband's varicocelectomy.  It all went well.  He's in very minimal pain, which I'm very thankful for.  The doctor said there were quite a few varicoceles that they ended up tying off...5 or 6 on each side, some of them quite large.  He said -- and I quote -- "I think this will help."

Oh, I really, really hope so!

We have a follow-up appointment next Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Urologist Update and Musings on Life

I've been terrible about updating this blog, I know.

The first thing I should do is fill you in on the follow-up urologist appointment earlier this month.  The doctor determined that DH has borderline low testosterone levels, and he has put DH on 50mg of Clomid daily.  So far, there has been very minor symptoms...just some bloating and some breakouts.  He has a blood test and follow-up appointment in early March to see if his testosterone has gone up.  There is about a 30% chance that the Clomid will increase his numbers.

We also decided to do the surgery March 16 to correct his varicoceles.  There's a 70% chance that it will improve his sperm.  Of that 70%, 50% will go on to impregnate their partners.  So there is a 35% chance that it will help us get pregnant.

I hate the numbers game.  Because in the end, it's just a game, and no one can tell us whether anything will actually work or not.  We could very well end up falling on the wrong side of those odds.  But still, I can't help but be hopeful.  Between these two treatments options, something's gotta work, right?

I know I was in dire straits not too long ago, and feeling really low about where we were.  However, now that we have a treatment plan, I'm starting to feel better about the whole situation.  Whether or not that treatment plan will actually work is yet to be seen, but knowing that there is a plan has provided me with a great deal of comfort.

In addition, our infertility has created a couple of interesting, overlapping ripple effects in my life, ripple effects which have made me think long and hard about my life in whole.

First is -- I've started thinking about my career path.  I don't know if I'd ever taken my career seriously because in the back of my head, I'd always hoped to be a stay-at-home mom when I had kids.  So every job I've taken to this point has been with the caveat that I'd work there until I had kids.  Not that it would be guaranteed that DH would even be able to make enough money to support us on a single income, but still.  That was always the plan.

Now I'm realizing that plan is shot.  Or, rather, it's delayed indefinitely.

So lately I've been thinking, oh crap now what?

And I'm beginning to wonder if the field I'm in is really the field I want to be in.  I somehow ended up in the field because I was good at it, and the money was good.  But it's not what I'm passionate about.  It's definitely not what I would have said I wanted to end up doing if you had asked me nine years ago right out of college.  Yet here I am.

About a month ago, our team re-organized, and I was moved out from under my boss, and am now reporting directly to my boss's boss.  It's an honor, and an unofficial promotion of sorts.  But the added responsibility has made me realize that I'm going to be hard-pressed to move up any further in the organization if this isn't the work I really want to be doing.  Because the lack of passion is going to end up showing.  Or else, I'll just make myself miserable in order to succeed because I'm a people pleaser, and I can't bear to let anyone down.

Then I started thinking about what I really want to do.  And I keep going back to -- I want to be a writer.  It's been my dream ever since high school, one that I started to carry out in college when I completed the Creative Writing program.  It's a scary profession to go into because it's lonely and uncertain and can be largely thankless.  And yet, I can't escape the desire to write and express myself through words and stories.

I haven't been writing creatively for several years at this point.  I had actually quit a previous job five years ago in order to be a writer full time.  But that failed miserably, and I ended up getting a normal job again and attempted to bury the writing bug and move on with my adult life.

But now I'm wondering if perhaps I failed for a couple of reasons.  One, the best way to fail at something is to announce your intentions publicly.  I think I set myself up for failure in some sense.  Two, I was in my mid-twenties, young, and inexperienced at life.  And this is where the infertility comes in.  Because of my infertility, I feel like I've experienced more pain and more want than I have to date in my young life.  I finally have something to write about.

And that's part of why I have been bad about blogging.  I've actually been spending a lot of my free time writing creatively, and seeing what will come.  I'm glad to say that I may actually be able to put my infertility to some good and productive use.  Who knew?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Midweek Update

The quick update: we have a follow-up appointment with the urologist on Friday where we get all of DH's bloodwork results.  At that point, we also talk about next steps and treatment options.  Both DH and I are pretty nervous about this, but have tried not to swell on it too much.  If you could keep us in your thoughts and prayers, we'd really appreciate it!

Next, I finally made an appointment with a Christian counselor in town to talk through my struggles with infertility.  I've been a blubbering mess these past couple of weeks, especially on the weekends when I don't have work distracting me and I have all day to stew and think about infertility.  I'm looking forward to the time to vent and get some biblical insight. 

On top of infertility, I've also been facing work stress.  Plus, we're thinking of moving across the country.  We haven't been all that happy in this area for the past year -- can't figure out how much of this is due to infertility, but we'd been saying for a long while, even before we were TTC, that we didn't think we wanted to stay in this area long term.  The only downside, and this is pretty major, is that we'd be moving very far away from our families.

So, where are we thinking of moving?  San Francisco!  I don't know about them earthquakes, but it makes sense based on DH's career aspirations to be in that area.  For me, I would just love to partake in all of the delicious Asian food and the balmy weather!  I'm getting sick of the snow and ice!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Opening Up

Today, I had two of my good friends from church over so that I could share with them my infertility struggles.  We're slowly letting people in on our struggles.  It felt good to let it out.  One of them -- let's call her D -- is pregnant with her second child (not the one from my last post), and the other -- we'll call her K -- has three boys.  They were great about listening even though one of them did say that maybe I just need to relax, stop thinking about it, and just let it happen when it happens.  (I hate being told to relax!  At this point, I need to be on medication to relax because my brain is not going to spontaneously stop thinking about infertility every other second of the day, it's just not going to happen!)

Sorry, I just had to rant.  Rant aside, we spent a lot of time talking about how it really is God in control of our lives.  We think we can plan the course of our lives, and it's at times like these when God steps in and reminds us who is really in control.  Our lives never turn out the way we think they will.  D and I were actually talking about how our lives are sort of flip flopped.  She and her husband dated five years before they got engaged.  She went through a hard time before she got engaged because her life wasn't where she thought it would be at that point.  She thought she'd already be married.  And as far as I can tell, she hasn't had any problems getting pregnant.  Me, on the other hand, I was convinced I wouldn't meet anyone and get married until I was 30.  Up until I'd met my husband at the age of 23, I'd had one boyfriend whom I dated for a whole 2 months, and hadn't dated anyone in the six years since.  But from the point when I met my husband, we were married within less than a year and a half, when all was said and done.  On the other hand, while I worried about ever getting married, I never thought I'd have issues getting pregnant.  Look where I am now.

We also talked about how the pain will some day go away.  K was telling us a story about a friend of hers from back when she lived in Sydney who'd gone through five miscarriages.  They used to commute to work together in the mornings, and her friend would cry during those bus rides, talking about her pain, and sharing with K how hard it was to be around K because K had a little boy at that time.  Years later, K's friend now has two children of her own, and when she and K talk, she can barely remember the heartache she went through. When K brings up that period of time in her friend's life, her friend remarks with some wonder that she can barely remember those teary conversations they used to share every morning.

I wonder if that will be me some day.  I hope that will be me some day.  But still.  It's hard to imagine that some day something that seems to consume so much of my head space and fill every corner of my day with its uninvited presence could be just a vague, distant memory.  It seems laughable from where I'm standing now.  But then I think about my days as a single person before I met my husband.  There were a number of weepy nights spent alone in my apartment listening to sad CDs about love -- love lost, unrequited love, every single permutation of blighted love.  If you could count it up, I spent hours on the phone with friends bemoaning my single status.  And then I met my husband, and the agony and worry and heartache just went away, instantly.  Every once in a while I'll think back to those days, and part of me has to laugh at the foolishness of my young self.  I was only 23 for crying out loud!  If only my 30-year-old self could reach back in time and comfort that lovelorn young woman.

I'm hoping that my 35-year-old or 40-year-old self has something similar to say to my 30-year-old self at this moment in time.  It will all work out.  Just have a little faith.  I've read my fair share of infertility blogs at this point, and there are a number of infertiles who have made it out onto the other side, one way or another.  It's interesting to read their entries pre and post baby.  The darkness and despair prior, and the joy, however quivering and tentative, as each day of their pregnancy passes until that wonderful, transcendent moment they lay eyes on their babies for the first time.  And then the entries about the early days of parenthood and the sleepless nights, the feedings, wondering what type of stroller to buy.  Did they ever imagine that they would make it to the other side?

What makes the journey so hard is that we don't know the ending.  We don't know if it will be a happy one or not, if we will get the babies we so desperately want.  I wish I could be ok with that, but I'm not.  I hate the uncertainty.  But if I may be so bold as to say this, I do think there is a happy ending for most of us.  Because one way or another, we will go on to have our babies some day.  Or we may adopt, and meet our children somewhere down the line.  Or we will decide that we will live child-free.  But one day, we will be ok.  We'll make it through this somehow.  We may even look back and realize that this was the life we were meant to live.  Have faith.

In the meantime, I want to do more than just cope or survive.  And that was another thing that K, D and I talked about.  How in our culture, we're trained to live and plan for that next thing.  And all the while, we miss out on the now.  It's easier said than done, but I realize how true that is.  When I think back on 2010, the majority of it seems like a blur.  I can only remember that I waited each month to ovulate, and then I waited each month to see if I got my period or not.  We're talking about 24-some days of last year that I can really remember.  What happened to the rest of the year?  There must have been other things that happened, that were important or eventful or happy, but I have a hard time recalling them.  What a waste of a year.

The conversation made me realize that I want to be more present this year.  I want to try to live in the now, and savor the days as much as I can.  I don't know how I'll do this -- with God's help -- but I would like to try.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.

Psalm 139:16

Monday, January 24, 2011

So Tired

I had a terrible weekend -- the worst that I've had since I found out about our infertility.  I woke up crying on Saturday, and pretty much cried the rest of the weekend.  I just couldn't stop.  All I could figure is that I'd ovulated some time over the weekend, and that my hormones dipped as a result.  I don't normally suffer from depression, but I think I was experiencing real symptoms of depression this weekend.  It was downright scary.

I could hardly drag myself to church on Sunday, but my husband was moderating the service, so I wanted to make a show of support.  Although I was on the edge of tears much of the time, I made it through the service relatively unscathed.

But at the end of the service, I was standing next to a pregnant friend of mine, watching her watch her one-year-old son toddle around, when she asked me, oh so innocently, "So what about you? When are you going to have kids?"

I started with the standard reply from the infertility textbook, "We'd love to have kids, but it probably won't be for a while."

I was hoping she might drop it, but she kept pressing on.  "Why not?  Come on!"

Ok, take two.  "We'd love to have kids, but we can't."

She looked puzzled.  "You mean, because of your husband's work?" (DH has been freelancing on a major project, the release date of which has been pushed out again to this summer.)

"No..."  I was starting to wonder if she was really daft, and if I was going to have to spell it out.  But then I realized something that hadn't really dawned on me before.  Infertility is not foremost on everyone's mind, least of all a fertile person's mind.  I don't think this friend even considered that we might be going through infertility.

So being absolutely exhausted with keeping up this strong facade, of having to hide my infertility, of feeling beaten down by life in general, I was just honest with her.  "We're infertile."

I wasn't sure how she would take it.  She and I aren't super close, but we're part of a small church, and so we get to chat often.  She gasped, and put her arm around me, and said, "Oh Christina! I'm so sorry."

I just broke down.  I started telling her our story and, of course, cried while I did.  When we first started talking, there was no one in the room with us.  It was right when the waterworks started that, wouldn't you know it, everyone decides they need to come into the room and straighten up or gather their stuff.  Anyway, my friend was supportive and kind about the whole thing.  Sometimes she said daft things like, "I understand" (I doubt she did), but I know she meant well and her heart was in the right place.  Overall, I did start feeling a little better after that.

The important thing that I realized from my conversation with her, and from my crappy weekend, is that I'm so tired of hiding the truth of our infertility.  I'm so exhausted with carrying this burden by myself and feeling like I can't talk about it with anyone in my real life.  Feeling like I always have to put on a happy face and pretend that everything is alright, that nothing gets to me.  There are times -- and none magnified as strongly as within these past couple of days -- when I just feel like my world is crumbling all around me, like my life is skidding out of control.  When the life that I'd always imagined has disintegrated into ash, blown away by a puff of air.  I wonder if I will ever be me again -- just me -- without the shadow of infertility as my constant twin.  Is it scary to say that I honestly don't remember the person I used to be before infertility?  Before the constant worry?  Before the perpetual low-grade sadness that's draped itself over my life like a constant film of dust?  They say that this pain will one day go away, and in my logical mind, I know that's true.  This too shall pass.  But regardless, I'm still terrified I will never get back to that old me again, that I'm lost forever.

Over the weekend, I downloaded the new Deerhunter album, Halcyon Digest.  I've been playing one track over and over again -- "Helicopter."  The lyrics are haunting.  They make mention of drugs, but I don't get the sense he's talking about illegal drugs.  It seems like he's talking about legal drugs for a medical condition.  I can't figure out what the exact meaning of the song is, but it resonates with me if I put the lyrics in the context of infertility.  It's suited my mood and mindset, so below are the video and lyrics.

I am thinking about seeing a counselor to talk through my feelings. This all may be worse than I've been admitting to myself.  Maybe it's time to talk to someone.

"Helicopter" by Deerhunter

Take my hand and pray with me
My final days in company
The devil now has come for me
And helicopters circling the scene

And I pray for rest
Could you pray for us?
We know he loves you the best
We know he loves you the best

The light's inside my cave
I'm tired of my pain oh 

Oh, these drugs, they play on me
in these terrible ways
They don't pay like they used to pay
I used to make it day to day

No one cares for me
I keep no company
I have minimal needs
And now they are through with me

Now they are through with me
Now they are through with me
Now they are through with me
Now they are through with me

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Expanding My Thinking

In the past few weeks, I feel like God has been opening my heart to adoption.

Let's just back up and appreciate that statement for what it is.  Because the three-years-ago me would have been aghast at that statement.  The before-infertility-existed me would never ever have considered adoption in a million years.  But lo and behold, the game has changed drastically for DH and me this past year, and suddenly IV-wuh? me can teach a Harvard Medical class on reproductive cycles and ovulation.

When we first learned that we were dealing with infertility, my first thought was, "how do I do Clomid/IUI/IVF and how much is that going to cost?"  Adoption still wasn't a consideration.  But now as I follow along over the blogosphere with the fertility treatments that so many of you women are going through, I am realizing that these treatments don't guarantee a baby.  Not by a long stretch.  They're hard on the body, hard on the wallet and, most of all, hard on the heart.  I've been forced to ask myself, is this really something I want to go through?

The New York Times had a 2008 audio series on infertility that surfaced when I was browsing around the internet a few months ago.  It's actually a phenomenally moving series, and totally worth a listen.  I think so many of us will relate to the emotions and the experiences.  One of the women interviewed had been through a series of unsuccessful infertility treatments, including IUI and IVF.  She said something that really stuck with me, "I didn't want to force my body to try and do something that it wasn't interested in doing."  This really made me pause and think.  I haven't been through any treatments yet.  I don't know what it's like, but having read a number of your accounts, I can see that it's extremely taxing and nerve-wracking.  Is this really something I want to do?

How we each respond to infertility is so personal.  For some, adoption is just not right.  On the flip side, neither is IVF for some.  I'm not saying that I'm ready to bypass ART in favor of adoption.  I'm not saying adoption is easier than infertility treatments, or more foolproof (we've all heard of adoptions that tragically fall through at the last minute).  But in some senses, I can see how adoption could be easier.  Because for a lot of people, adoption is seen as a last resort.  And if we were able to make peace that adoption was right for us, then I feel like we could stop worrying about the next step because it would be the end of the line for us.

For me, I feel like God is using our infertility to nudge open the door of adoption for us.  He's not pushing us through it.  He's just propping it open with his foot.  So I'm just taking a peak inside.  Just a little one.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on adoption.  And for further reading, and what got me thinking about adoption some more, check out Hillary's blog, Making Me Mom.  She's written a couple of blog posts on adoption -- Part I and Part II.

Monday, January 17, 2011

4% Morphology is the New Normal??

This report on sperm morphology made me feel better.  My hubby isn't quite there yet, but he's not too far off at 3%/1%.  Now we just need to get his count and motility up...

Report is courtesy of Dr. Licciardi, a fertility specialist at NYU.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Raise Your Hand if You're NOT Pregnant

Is it just me or is every other celebrity out there now pregnant?

I have to admit that I keep up with celebrity gossip, and I can't help but notice that a ton of celebrities have been announcing pregnancies these past few weeks -- Natalie Portman, Kate Hudson, Devon Aoki, Jewel.

This plus the fact that I have two friends who are now on pregnancy #2.

I seriously feel like I'm the last non-pregnant person on this earth.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


If you can believe it, I've been so swamped at work (new projects, staffing issues, etc.) that I have not been thinking about infertility as much as I usually do.  So instead of dwelling on infertility 24-7, I only think about it about a few times a day.  Hey, if you're an infertile, you'll know that this is incredibly little!

I don't know if this is good or not because the work stress is starting to overwhelm me.  I had a moment of clarity this evening where I realized that I can't let work consume me.  My life is about more than work.  I have a wonderful husband, family, dog, home and friends.  I guess I could extrapolate this to infertility too.  I'm more than just my infertility.  As hard as that is to remember, it's true.

On that note, and maybe in contradiction, I had my husband move his urologist follow-up appointment out to February 4 because something came up at work.  I'm kind of bummed that we're moving it out a week than originally scheduled, but what is another week in this whole journey anyway?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Infertility is Kicking Me While I'm Down

Just got a bill for $883 for my HSG.  I was shocked.  I guess it was my own stupid fault for not doing more research.  I just thought that the test was covered.

I called the insurance carrier to ask, and they confirmed this.  The HSG is covered...after the $1,000 deductible.  I started crying on the phone after the agent told me this, and she was very apologetic.  It's not her fault, but still...I have to go through infertility AND this?

Shortly after the call to the insurance company, I had to call a friend from church to remind her of something.  She just announced she is pregnant with #2, so I was congratulating her on that.  She was telling me how great she feels and how much she loves being pregnant.  She also told me that our other friend at church who is also pregnant with #2 just found out that they are having a boy, which is what they had been hoping for.

How is it that everyone else's lives seem to be going swimmingly and ours just feel like they're falling apart at the seams?

I know God has a plan for me in all of this, but I'm having a hard time finding peace with this.  We all have our difficulties in life, and God gives us different paths, but I just can't help wondering why my path has to be so particularly rocky right now.  I think it's times like these that God tests our faith and endurance.  If that's true, I can't help but feel like I am failing miserably.  I am not finding much joy or peace in this test.  I do feel some acceptance, but it's mostly a numb acceptance, like I'm just waiting for it to all be over.

I pray that God would help me find joy amidst the trial, that he would remind me of his everlasting love and goodness.  I don't have the strength to get through this, but I know that He will be my strength in this time of weakness and helplessness.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Urologist Appointment - Finally Some News!

Finally!  Something to report!

I feel like this past month has been agony, waiting for this appointment with the reproductive urologist, and finally it came today!

So here's what DH heard (I wasn't able to make the appointment, but I made DH swear up and down that he would get all the nitty gritty details for me):
  • DH has varicoceles.  For real???  This was surprising to us.  Doc said they weren't blatantly obviously because they're in the mild to moderate category as far as severity.  The reason we found this surprising is because DH's father had examined him over Thanksgiving and told him he didn't think he had varicoceles.  (DH's father is a general surgeon.  So he's a doctor, but not one specializing in this area.)  Doc said that if DH gets surgery to correct this that there is a 70% chance that it will improve his sperm.  By how much, we don't know.
  • Other than the varicoceles, he said that DH seemed normal and healthy otherwise, however...
  • DH has to get bloodwork done tomorrow.  This will include genetic testing, and probably testing of hormone levels.  This is what I'm really worried about.  I'm praying my brains out that everything will be ok here, but deep down, I'm afraid that something will be wrong.  While the varicoceles helped explained some of the situation, DH said that he got the sense that Doc thought something else was at play.
  • DH gave a urine sample today.  Don't know what that was for.  I think to see if there is any sperm in it?
  • Doc did not seem concerned with the low morphology.  What the heck?  Really?  It's at 1-3%!!  Going to ask for more details on this the next time we meet with him.
  • I asked DH to ask about taking zinc, natural supplements, acupuncture, and TCM to see if he thought any of that would help.  He said there really aren't any solid findings around any of that stuff, and that it probably wouldn't help enough.  He said the main thing he needed was Vitamins D and E and that was already in DH's multi-vitamins.
  • I asked DH to ask if the doc thought we could get into the IUI range.  He said there was a chance.  I don't know how to take this since I didn't hear this first hand, but I suspect he tried to be judicious when answering.  Maybe we could do IUI.  But we'll probably end up doing IVF (my hunch).
  • Doc said DH needed to be eating red meat to help his swimmers.  He said he should be eating red meat every two to three days.  That's a LOT!  Right now, we probably eat red meat on average once every week or two.
We have a follow-up appointment scheduled for end of the month.  Doc wants both of us to be at this appointment because we will have all of the results of the tests, and will be discussing treatment options and next steps.

Wow, wow, wow.  I can't believe something is actually happening!

I'm more optimistic than I should be.  I know that whatever treatment route we take, we'll need to wait at least 3 months for the sperm to develop before we'll know if anything worked or not.

It's going to be a long, slow road.  But at least we're moving, and that's a start.