Monday, March 29, 2010

Rejecting Predictability

I've determined that my body has been influenced by my husband. I'm a creature of habit in most areas of life. I like to find a routine that works and keep doing it. I know it works, so why rethink it? So I eat generally the same thing for lunch every day (, I have a pattern for what I eat for breakfast (cereal , and I have a routine for what kind of exercise I do and when. My husband, on the other hand, hates any form of routine. From my perspective, he goes out of his way to make sure he doesn't fall into routine. From his perspective, "falling" into routine takes effort and he'd rather not think about it. I guess we're just wired differently.

I think my body has decided to take its cue from him. Routine? Predictability? How boring. Why would I want to ovulate on the same day each cycle? Or have temperatures that give me a clue about what's coming next? Or have periods that are of the same length and heaviness? That would just be silly.

I wrote about my last ovulation, and how dodgy it was, a few weeks ago. And then it turned out to be even dodgier than expected, of course. My latest surprise has been my period this time around. I was quite pleased with how heavy it was the first couple of days. Not super heavy--I could have left the same tampon in all day and been fine--but still heavier than last time. It started Wednesday afternoon and was flowing pretty nicely through Friday, tapering off a little Friday but still going.

I had my acupuncture appointment on Friday, and KB (my acupuncturist) said she stimulated points and gave me an herbal decoction that would help my period to be really effective, cleansing out the old blood and all, to give this cycle a good start. I noticed that my cramps subsided quite a bit after the session. And I wasn't too surprised to wake up in the middle of the night that night to find quite a bit of blood flowing, although it's very unusual for me to have much going on at night. I thought maybe the acupuncture really had gotten things going.

However, I was surprised when essentially nothing happened Saturday or Sunday. No blood. No brown, red, or pink on the pads or tampons. (I know this is a bit graphic, but if you're reading infertility blogs, you should know what you're in for.) So I thought I had just had my first three-day period ever. I've always had basically five-day periods, ever since I was 12 years old and got my first one. On the pill and off, always five days. But hey, I'm not going to complain about three days. I was a little concerned that a short and not-too-heavy period might indicate a thin lining, but that's why I'm doing acupuncture--to fix things like that.

I was all ready to skip on the pad and go for a pantiliner this morning. But guess what? She's back! After two days, I guess my uterus decided it had a little more lining to shed. Today being CD 6, when I'm usually done bleeding. And might as well add some cramps to that just for good measure. More cramps than are warranted with the amount of blood, which is hardly more than spotting. I guess I'm glad that what's coming out is coming out. But couldn't we have done this Saturday morning? Did we need to stretch it out?

Of course I can't help but wonder if the acupuncture and crazy herb decoction I'm drinking twice a day have encouraged my body to get a little more out than usual. In which case I should be happy that it's working.

Speaking of the traditional chinese medicine, I came across one practitioner's website (after googling "traditional chinese medicine fertility statistics") that claimed his clinic had about a 60% pregnancy rate for infertile women who came for treatment. But, for women who were willing to drink cooked herb decoctions, that rate was 75% within three months! Impressive. I'm just hoping not to defy any statistics in this case. Just to let you know, dear body of mine, statistical predictability is different than routine predictability. So go ahead and defy routine. But we don't need to defy statistics, okay?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

How to Talk to Friends

Whenever I'm home alone for a few days, I find myself reflecting on my current friends. I have an idea in my mind that if I had really good friends, they would know that I don't particularly enjoy being home alone on weekends, especially in the evening. And they would invite me to hang out with them. But this rarely actually happens when Pete's gone.

I used to plan activities with girlfriends whenever he was traveling. I'd have them over for a girls' movie night or invite them out to lunch or dinner. To deepen friendships, you have to initiate, right? And since we've only lived in the Bay Area for less than four years--and many of our closest friends moved out here after us--I don't have the longstanding relationships that I envision myself having if I had lived in one place for a long time with lots of friends who had also been there a long time. I simply haven't reached the level of friendship where they initiate with me as much as I initiate with them. So I've tired of always being the initiator. And for some odd reason, their lives don't revolve around me. Go figure.

I would love to have the kind of friends who sense when something's wrong. Who call me up out of the blue to ask how I'm doing. Whom I feel comfortable calling out of the blue. But you need a history with a person to reach that level.

And the thing is, I don't really have that history with anyone other than family. I've been tremendously blessed with many wonderful friends through the years in different seasons of life. But none of them have really stuck. I barely keep in touch with my closest friends from high school and college.

I've wondered many times why that is. I'm actually fairly confident that I'm a pretty enjoyable person to be around. I really do care about people. And, especially since marrying a very outgoing husband, I do try to initiate.

But I think I give off the air of having everything together. Like I don't really need close friends. Like I would love to hang out with you, but I have a whole cohort of other great friends to hang out with as well. I don't know how to change that. I don't want to be that person who is always sobbing about her problems just to show people I need them.

All of this has really become more evident as I deal with infertility. Back when Pete and I first started trying to get pregnant, I had two close girlfriends that I told about it. The three of us were getting together weekly to go through a Bible study and pray for each other. It was great. It was the kind of thing you do to make close friends. I shared that I had gone off the pill, but that I suspected that it would not be an easy road for us to get pregnant. They were with me as I waited for a period to come, as I went to the doctor the first time, as I discovered hypothalamic amenorrhea. They were great about asking me how things were going. I would tell them.

But I was great at giving it a good spin. At making it seem like I was okay, I was handling it gracefully. It was hard, I had my moments of freaking out, but I was always over them by the time I talked to these two friends.

Fast forward to this past week. The three of us no longer meet with just the three of us; now we meet in a group of five couples. I shared once with that group that things had been pretty "up and down" for us as we tried to get pregnant. And I have wanted to share again, but it just takes so much energy to talk about things, and I know I'll only be able to get a few sentences out before starting to get choked up. I keep sort of hoping that someone else will have something really tough to tell us about so that I'm not the only drama queen, and so that I'll have the opportunity to reach out to someone else in need.

We were meeting Thursday night, and I was feeling absolutely awful. Physically, yes, because of my period, but also emotionally. Nothing new had happened; it was just one of the really low points on the roller coaster. I had been planning to give everyone an update on where we are in our journey, but as I sat there, I just couldn't do it. Pete wasn't there to back me up. And I looked around at my good friends and just felt really isolated, because none of them know what it's like to deal with infertility. Two couples already have a child and were able to conceive easily, and the other two haven't started trying yet.

As soon as I got in the car to go home, I started sobbing. I sobbed the whole way home, the rest of the evening, and most of the next morning. I knew that I hadn't been myself when we were hanging out, so I was half expecting that one of those two friends would call or email to check on me. Nope. No word from them. But I did hear from the other two women in the group--the two I know the least. Both of them emailed me the next day and said I had seemed really quiet and asked how I was doing.

How does that work? It meant so much to me that they noticed and asked me about it. But why them and not the other two? I'm not at all angry at my two closer friends. I really don't know if I would have the courage to ask one of them if we were in the reverse situation. I'm just confused. Baffled.

I guess I have to give up trying to figure out how friendship works.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My March Resolutions

First of all, I'll give the TTC-related update. I'm officially 15 dpo today and finally saw the faintest hint of brown last night. I took that as good enough reason to skip on the progesterone suppositories this morning and hope that AF comes in full force soon so I can move on to the next cycle. I was expecting more of her today but have only had the faintest hints of blood--accompanied by lots of cramping and back pain (and hip and butt pain, and thigh pain, and....) As always for me--at least since going off the pill.

Also, Pete and I went for his SA yesterday, since he was leaving (and left) for a conference this morning. We wanted to have them processing the results while he was gone. He wanted me to come in case he had trouble... finishing the job and needed me to sneak in and show some cleavage or something. But he did great and was finished rather quickly. I guess a few days of abstinence will do that. He brought out his brown bag and went to turn it in to the guy at the check-in counter, and the guy started shaking his head as soon as Pete started walking up. Guess what? Apparently they only accept "specimens" before noon. Which completely makes sense. But, um, shouldn't he have told us that before Pete went and jacked off? He clearly should have seen him heading back towards the "specimen collection rooms." The exit was in the opposite direction. So Pete had to throw all his little guys away, and now he can't go until Monday since he's gone until Sunday. Boo.

I am quite excited to start in with acupuncture/herbs/TCM on Friday. I was hoping AF would start tomorrow, as I've read that it's best (according to chinese medicine) not to have any treatments on days 1-3 of your cycle. But at this point, I'm not sure when day 1 will actually be, so I'm just going to go on Friday no matter what. I'm ready to get this show on the road and maybe start fixing some of the screwy things going on with my cycles.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blows Which Never Fall

Thanks to all the ICLWers who have stopped by and commented! It's been fun to find some new friends.

Someone earlier today asked me for an inspirational quote. Let me digress for a moment on the subject of that word--"inspirational." I am not a big fan. I'm trying to think of some context in which it is regularly used which would not cause me to gag a little, and I can't think of a good one, though I'm sure it exists. In general, though, that word translates in my head to "syrupy sweet but lacking in real meaning." As in inspirational music (ie, Michael Card or Steve Green). Or inspirational greeting cards. Am I really supposed to feel inspired to do anything of substance if I get a card that reads, "May your day be filled with cheer and hope lasting you through the next year." Wow, all my problems have just been erased by that inspiration! I'm sure I now sound like an incredibly pessimistic and cynical person, and I'm really not. I just can't be inspired by something that markets itself specifically to inspire me.

Anyway. Back to the inspirational quote I was asked for. I actually do keep a file of great quotations that I come across in different places. So I went hunting for that file and read through. I came across one that actually, well, inspired me.
"Such strange creatures are we that we probably smart more under blows which never fall upon us than we do under those which do actually come." (Charles Spurgeon)
Wow. Is this ever true of me. On Sunday, after the BFN and a long morning at church (surrounded by children, or course), I was in a pretty foul mood that dissolved into a crying session with the P in the car on the way home. And what it was about was not so much the BFN, or the children, or the mothers, but just the thought of how many more months or years of this I could endure. I had been feeling quite upbeat and happy on Saturday, only to collapse emotionally on Sunday. But any peace and acceptance I reach is always so fragile. Which I think is a good thing in the long-run, as the emotional crashes remind me that I really can't do this on my own--without other people and especially without God.

In that moment in the car, as I bemoaned my fear of the coming months of so many ups and downs, P gently reminded me that I don't need to get through the next months. I don't even need to get through tomorrow. I just need the grace to make it through today--through right now. I was smarting under blows which hadn't yet fallen upon me, so to speak. And they're always bigger and scarier in my imagination than the blows that actually come. In fact, the blows that come are usually difficult as much for what they imply for the future as for what they imply in the present.

Go and be inspired.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Non-TTC Intro

First of all, welcome to my blog if you're stopping by from ICLW! I'm excited to participate for the first time, and I promise to stop by your blog if you comment here. My brief intro is that hubby and I are trying for #1, and though we've only been trying since July '09, I have known since shortly after that (and if I were honest, for a long time) that I had issues--namely hypothalamic amenorrhea. I did manage to get my cycles back by gaining some weight, but now they're very long and I have really low progesterone, so clearly everything is not as it should be. We're not going the RE route right now (no insurance coverage, so the cost is too high), but I'm about to start acupuncture and herbs and see where that goes.

Since I haven't talked much here about the rest of my life, I thought I'd give a few fun non-TTC facts about myself here.

  1. I lived in the Philippines until I was 11 years old. I am not even 1% Filipina, but my parents moved there to do non-profit missionary work. It was definitely my home, though, and the transition back to the US (right in time to start the fun phase of life called junior high) was rough, to say the least.
  2. I love, love, love to cook. I'm really into baking, especially baking bread. I just had one of my homemade bagels for breakfast this morning (with homemade jelly on top). I also love to eat, and I especially love trying new, exotic foods. My favorite dish when I was a kid was baby squid cooked in its own ink. Which is why it's a bit ironic that I have hypothalamic amenorrhea for being too thin. As much as I love to eat, I guess I'm also a little too self-disciplined about it. 
  3. I also absolutely adore reading good books. I just finished up my MA thesis (in English literature, of course) last December, so I'm loving the extra time I have to read books for fun. Favorite authors include John Donne (the subject of my thesis), John Steinbeck, Chaim Potok, Jane Austen (can't resist--she was an absolute genius at writing novels), and hundreds more I can't think of right now.
  4. My entire wedding, which was fairly large (200ish guests) and every bit as elaborate as I wanted, only cost $5000. Made possible by many talented and generous friends.
  5. Hubs and I plan to move overseas within the next few years (once he finishes his Ph.D.). Most likely to China. Partially because I've always wanted my own kids to have the international upbringing I had. And partially because we just aren't cut out to live in one place for the rest of our lives.
I find it sad that after writing five non-IF things about myself, my first inclination was to put something in about the TTC. I guess that's how it goes. But I will give a brief update on that front. Today is either 12 or 14 dpo, so I decided to pretend it was 14 dpo and test this morning. Result: one very dark line. Just one. I was hoping that would help me to move on and accept that AF will be coming soon, because I know she is, but of course there's still this annoying part of me that is insisting FF was wrong and today was only 12 dpo, and I still have a chance. I'm trying to shut that voice up, but my boobs keep throbbing in pain and keeping the voice alive. Grrr. But I'm really actually doing okay emotionally, thank God. Just annoyed with my boobs.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fly, Arrow, Fly

Back when I was first learning about hypothalamic amenorrhea, I came across several places that described the typical HA sufferer as white, female (well, duh), intelligent, well-educated, and controlling. Well, I don't exactly remember if they used the word "controlling," but it was something to that effect. In any case, I was implicated completely. I'm as white as they come, have a graduate degree, and always did well in school (as in, straight A's all the way through until one class in grad school, which still kills me. But I'm over it, I promise). And, yes, I'm naturally someone who wants to be in control. Of almost everything. In fact, when P and I did our premarital counselling, our counselor (a professional) gave me a little booklet about OCD. Hint, hint.

I'm willing to admit that I like to be in control. This is, after all, why I was so good at controlling my diet and exercising regularly, thus getting myself into this HA mess. As with most personality traits, it's both a strength and a weakness. I'm awesome and being discipline, organized, efficient. I get things done way faster than expected. I never (repeat, never) had to pull an all-nighter to finish an assignment or study for a test--because I had always planned ahead enough to get it done in advance. I plan all the meals we're going to eat each week ahead of time so I can use our money wisely and save time by only making one grocery trip a week.

But I have dreams (nightmares, really) about being late, being unable to get something done, about chaos. These are the things that literally keep me up at night, as pathetic as that sounds. And I dread planning meals each week because of my perfectionist tendencies. I have a strongly held belief that there is a perfect plan out there for our meals--one that would be perfectly efficient, healthy, varied, balanced. Etc. So I labor trying to find that perfect plan. Just in case you're wondering, it doesn't exist. Perfection doesn't exist in our broken world. That sounds hopeless, but it's really quite freeing when I can believe it.

God gave me the perfect (okay, I just said perfection doesn't exist, so I guess I'm using it figuratively here) husband to help me learn to let go a bit. Thankfully, he's almost as much of a planner as I am. I believe I would actually go out of my mind if I were married to someone who liked to fly by the seat of his pants (someone like my little brother, for example). P gets anxious if we don't have the next five years planned out; I get anxious if we don't have the next week planned out. So I help to let go of the next five years and he helps me to let go of next Tuesday. It works quite beautifully, actually. Thanks for orchestrating that, God.

This infertility thing is, needless to say, a huge, painful, stretching experience for both of us. I can't sleep at night worrying about my temperature the next morning. P gets frustrated that we are losing the possibility of having a baby in 2010. And we both just have to let it go, and help each other let it go.

That doesn't negate the fact that I still feel better now that we have put a bit of a plan in place. I was feeling really lost for a while because I didn't know what came next. Or how soon it could come. Without being able to see an RE, it seemed like we would just be floundering on our own for months and years on end. But we have a plan. And it was actually P's idea, so I don't have feel guilty about being too impatient and pushing things forward too fast. He wants a kid just as much as I do.

The plan? Assuming AF shows when she's due early next week, P will go in for his SA on Tuesday. I guess the results of that could change things entirely, but it's likely that he will be at least borderline normal. Then I will start acupuncture next Friday. I already booked my appointment. I'll go ahead and pay for the six-month plan and start going weekly, taking the herbs, eating warm foods, whatever. If P does have sperm issues, I might even be able to convince him to go in a few times.

After (and maybe even during) that six months, we'll start researching the process of adoption. We've always wanted to adopt, so this is not totally out of the blue. The idea of providing a home for parentless children, of creating a diverse family, is beautiful to us. We just always thought we'd adopt after having a couple biological kids. But why not now? It's expensive, it seems insurmountably complicated, but I guess we feel more at peace with the idea of dropping a lot of money and time into adopting rather than infertility treatments. We would probably look into international adoption first, since we plan to live overseas in the future anyway, but we'd really be open to anything.

That's our plan. It's faulty. It may be selfishly motivated at some points. It's unlikely that things will proceed as expected. But it's relieving to have a direction to move towards--a target to shoot for, I guess. If some wind comes along and blows our arrow in another direction...well, okay. We're learning that things work better when we release the arrow rather than trying to hold on to it as it flies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Was It Too Much to Ask For?

Was it really too much to ask that I might get a tiny piece of good news with my latest bloodwork? That I might have a progesterone level of, like, 25? I would even settle for 10. Or 9 for that matter. But 4.5? The lowest yet? I just don't understand.

Not that I think I deserve a small piece of good news for any special reason. I am well aware that my infertility journey thus far has been both brief and easy compared to many. And I realize that low progesterone during the luteal phase is hardly an insurmountable problem. And that luteal phase defect is very common among recovering HAers.

Still. I had high hopes that the clomid would have helped this time. And even such a small problem can feel insurmountable to me because I don't understand what could be causing it. Because I can't see an RE or get any monitoring. All I can do is consult Dr. Google and my wonderful community of fellow HAers on our message board.

Of course, there is a silver lining that has kept me from being completely depressed today. There is a very good chance that since I was on clomid, and since I ovulate before day 23, that my ovulation was complete and mature. My OB mentioned to me last time that such low progesterone could be indicative of an "insufficient ovulation," whatever that means. But since it's still low this time, I guess the problem is most likely isolated to the luteal phase and a weak corpus luteum. Thank God, I did go ahead and start inserting the lovely progesterone suppositories up my vagina last week, so I should be on track to have a luteal phase that's as long as it should be. And Dr. Google did reveal to me a number of other cases of women who had low progesterone and got pregnant and had healthy, full-term babies.

Still. I can't shake the feeling that if this were going to be THE cycle, my progesterone would be higher. It's just a feeling. Silly intuition. But I can't shake it.

7 more days before I can test with confidence.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Even Dodgier than Expected

After the unexpected positive OPK last Sunday, my ovulation played out even more unexpectedly. I woke up Monday morning with a 97.8 temp, and after the 96.9 on Sunday, I simply assumed that I had ovulated. P and I debated about whether to have sex again that night but decided it was probably too late to make a difference, so we decided not to worry about it. Then, I woke up Tuesday with my temp back down to 96.9! I was so confused--and kicking myself for not OPKing on Monday. I spent a couple of days really concerned that my body had tried to ovulate and failed. But my temp was up to 97.7 on Wednesday and has gone up since. So I did ovulate at some point. I just really have no idea when between CD 21 and 23.

I am now officially 3-5 dpo. How the hell am I supposed to know when to POAS? I guess I don't need to decide that now. What I do need to figure out is when to go in to get me progesterone test. I had all these great plans of going in first thing in the morning at exactly 7 dpo to catch it at the highest possible level. But now I have no idea when 7 dpo will be. My best plan is to go in on Monday, which will be probably either 6 or 8 dpo--right in the middle of the suspected 7 dpo range. I'm sure it won't make a huge difference in any case. If my progesterone is low, it's going to be low no matter when I go in.

I did start on the progesterone suppositories today. I hear they don't affect your bloodwork too much, so I'm hoping they don't skew the results of the test. I've started to have cramps today that feel very similar to the past couple of two-week waits, which is a little discouraging. But I guess nothing would have implanted at this point anyway, so I should expect things to be the same.

I'm just reminding myself to be thankful. I am ovulating on my own, and I only had to get to a BMI of 19.5 for that to start happening. Even if my ovulations haven't been great, at least they're happening. And the clomid didn't shorten things up. These are really good signs.

And Pete and I were talking last night about how these extra months of me working full-time have definitely been a financial boost. We ended up with quite a few more big expenses at the end of last year than we expected when we first decided we were ready to have a baby. So I know God has been working through the timing. But God, really, this cycle would be the perfect timing! I would have the baby at the beginning of December, which means I could keep working through the middle of November. Then I could just go ahead and quit, and we could be ready to head over to Beijing for 3 months P's exchange program at the end of January. I wouldn't have to worry about finding a job while there to give me something to do. I could just take care of the wee one and take full-time language classes. If this cycle doesn't work, we will probably have to adjust the whole time-line for the exchange program, as I would be very hesitant to go that far within a few weeks of having a baby, and definitely hesitant to have the baby in Beijing. Not because I don't trust Beijing hospitals but because I really don't want to be in labor under the care of doctors and nurses who don't speak English! So really, God. This has to be the one.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Dodgy Ov

My husband likes to make up his own abbreviations and nicknames for pretty much everything. I told him about the world of internet infertility lingo, and how it gives us our own club of insiders with whom we can virtually connect. He decided he felt left out of that club and felt compelled to create his own insider lingo for his own club of one. Hence, ovulating, frequently called "o-ing" in our web world, is called "ov-ing" at home (pronounced ah-ving, not owe-ving). So he's been asking me the past few days if I'm ov-ing any time soon. Of course I haven't been able to give any definitive answer. The past couple of cycles, I've spent at least a week thinking I was going to ovulate any time, and have even had my body gear up to release an egg and then fail.

Until yesterday. I had an internet friend who ovulated and got pregnant on day 21 of a clomid cycle, so I've had day 21 in my mind as the ideal day I would like to ovulate this cycle. But as day 21 approached, I didn't think it was going to happen. My temperatures have been all over the place, little ewcm, no sore boobs. I woke up yesterday morning to a slightly lower temp, but without the sore boobs, I still thought that I was at best a few days away.

I have been faithfully OPK-ing, and I have learned that it works best if I pee in the cup shortly before lunch time. I tend to consume less in the way of liquids in the mornings, so that's when my pee is most concentrated. This works fine on weekdays and Saturdays but is tough on Sundays, since I spend all morning at church and usually go out to lunch with friends right after church. So then I usually have to come home and reduce liquids for a while in the afternoon, but that's just annoying. I'm addicted to having a glass of water with me wherever I go, so I feel dehydrated without it. I know I'm far from being really dehydrated, but I've had enough UTIs (only two in my life, but still) to be very attached to drinking water.

Yesterday I was determined not to have to deal with a liquid-less afternoon. So I brought my OPK with me to church and thought I'd try to steal a minute between the service and leaving for lunch to pee in a cup and test in the bathroom. Of course, none of our friends were available for lunch yesterday, so we walked to the car planning to come home and I skipped the bathroom stop. But in the car, P and I decided we would rather eat out than at home. I figured I'd just find a disposable cup in the restaurant, no problem.

Turns out that disposable cups are not as readily available in restaurants as I envisioned in my mind! I should have known this; I did, after all, spend three summers waiting tables in college. I know that dine-in customers get real cups, not plastic ones. We sat down at our table and I asked for a diet coke, which I saw from other tables that they would serve in a can, and an extra glass. The waitress asked if I wanted ice in the glass; no, thank you, I don't need my pee to be cold. P pointed out that I could just dump the ice out, but I thought the waitress would find it odd to return to the table and find the glass she had brought filled with ice completely empty.

She forgot to bring the glass, which I decided was just as well, as it would also look very weird for me to take one of the huge red glasses they used into the bathroom with me. But then I was stuck. I was determined not to waste my morning of reduced liquid intake, but what could I pee in? I have the cheap-o OPKs, so I can't do a midstream test very well. When we got our food, though, I spied a small disposable cup on my husband's plate that contained his burrito sauce. "You can just dump that sauce on the burrito and let me use the cup, right?" "But I don't want to open up my whole burrito now and spread it out, I want to dip it!"

So I came up with the most ingenious plan yet. We had a basket of tortilla chips on our table, inside of which was a small non-disposable cup of salsa. I preferred to pee in something disposable so I could just throw it out rather than bringing it back to the table where we were eating. So, we dumped the salsa on the chips, dumped P's burrito sauce in the salsa cup, and I took his empty, disposable sauce cup into the bathroom and filled it up. It was the perfect size, really.

I finally returned to the table to eat my food with the OPK stuck inside its plastic wrapper in my coat pocket (all very sanitary, of course). I would wait the obligatory 10 minutes and then check it to see exactly how faint the second line was. Of course, I forgot to check for a while, but when I did (discreetly holding it in my coat pocket while pulling the stick out just enough to see the lines), I was shocked. Two definite lines! I couldn't examine it very carefully to see how dark the second one was. But it looked dark. (And when I examined later in the car, it was definitely as dark as the control.) I looked back at P with my mouth open in shock. A day 21 ovulation! Who knew such things were possible for me, even with clomid!

We enjoyed a quickie last night (right after the Oscar's) and I did the whole laying-on-my-back-with-elevated-hips thing afterwards while watching a rerun of House. I was actually pretty sore last night in the boobs and ovaries, and my temp was up this morning, so I'm pretty sure last night was the night.

I feel like I've been fast-tracked into the two-week wait this time, since it's taken so much longer each time before. I can't imagine what it would be like to ov on day 14 every cycle! Whatever the outcome this time, my most immediate hope is that my progesterone is higher at 7dpo. At least over 10 would be nice. That would help confirm that my problem before was just that it was taking my body way too long to ovulate, and the clomid-induced shorter cycle solved it. We shall see in a week.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Maybe the Needles Will Help

I just had my first acupuncture session yesterday. It's really kind of random that I'm even trying acupuncture. I get regular emails from a site called Groupon that offer me amazing discounts on all kinds of things in the area where I live. My husband makes sure I don't take too many of the offers. But one came through a couple of weeks ago for an acupuncture treatment and initial consultation for only $29--regularly $120. I've always wanted to try acupuncture, and now I actually have a really good reason. So of course I went for it.

I should preface this by saying that as frustrated as I have been about not being able to see an RE, a very small part of me is thankful that I'm not undergoing the craziness of regular ultrasounds, injections, or whatever else an RE might put me on. In fact, I have been rather disillusioned with modern medicine overall through this experience of infertility. I long to trust that my doctor knows everything. But really? She only has a tiny bit more of a clue than I do after reading scientific papers. And with hypothalamic amenorrhea, it seems that many doctors have less of a clue than I do. And I'm very turned off by the piecemeal, fragmented approach of modern medicine. They treat whatever small complaint you have as a separate issue, usually by throwing some drug at you. You know what? I don't want a drug. I want to know what is causing the problem.

On the other hand, I've always been skeptical about so-called alternative medicine. Probably because my husband is an extremely skeptical scientist. Also, being brought up in American schools, we're bred not to believe in anything that science doesn't understand. But you know what? I believe 100% in God, and science doesn't understand him at all. Not that medicine and religion are on any sort of level playing field, but could it be that science doesn't understand everything about medicine yet? Gasp.

So, as my ramblings are probably evidencing, I was quite excited about my acupuncture consultation and treatment. I have no idea how all those tiny needles up and down my spine could possibly help me get pregnant. But my acupuncturist assured me that her treatments could get me back on a regular cycle in 3-6 months! I didn't think a regular cycle was even possible for me. And with no weird chemicals? She also informed me that my pulse was a little weak, whatever that means, and that she would want to see it get a bit stronger before my body tried to support a baby. I think she was implying that we should stop even trying before I get 3 months of treatments under my belt. Well, that's not going to happen. There's no way DH is going to be donning any kind of rubber apparatus in bed any time soon. And yes, next time I ovulate, we will BMS it up. If I get pregnant and my pulse isn't quite as strong as she would like...well, I'll just have to do some jumping jacks to get it stronger.

Beyond the more natural and holistic perspective, the cost of acupuncture is also very attractive. If we started going to an RE, we would probably rack up anywhere between $2000 and $20,000 in costs within the first month. Regular acupuncture with this particular woman would probably cost about $700 in six months, and that's including any special herbs she might recommend. Awesome.

I think my hubby would still like to at least wait this cycle out before starting anything new. That makes sense to me. It is my first try with clomid, so chances are somewhat favorable. However, I'm on day 20 today with no ovulation yet. Sigh. My body is just so stinkin' slow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Obligatory Update

I've been super busy these past couple of days, which is the reason for the lack of blog communication. But, I promised myself I would at very least keep a basic record of my progress here, so I'm popping on for that update.

I'm on CD 17 today after my first crack at 50mg of clomid (to correct the lpd). I'm hoping, hoping, hoping for an earlier ovulation than the past two cycles. I have been warned that it could actually take longer, which seems weird. But I'll try not to freak out if it does. As long as it's a good ovulation this time and I have higher progesterone at 7dpo. We shall see. Starting to see a few signs of ewcm, but little else in the way of O yet. Really, my body just has no clue that most people get things going by CD 14.

I did convince DH that we should get him a semen analysis if this cycle doesn't work. He realized how important it was for my peace of mind and, like the dear he his, agreed he could go in to a clinic and wack off. Although he would like it if I came along to help ;). Something to look forward to if this cycle fails.
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh Familiar Jealous Anger

I think every infertility blogger has a post on this topic. That awful jealousy. That inability to really rejoice with our friends who get pregnant. That ugly sense of injustice.

This is where I think infertility has a lot in common with unwanted singleness. I have friends who are still single and desperately long to be married. I have always been so grateful that I met my now-husband in college and really didn't have to spend any time wading through the uncertain loneliness some of my friends have to deal with. And hearing news of engagements without being able to be really happy. I had enough trouble with friends of mine who started dating long after us, got engaged the week after us, and decided to get married the month before us. Of course, these friends are also due with their first baby in April. And, though they haven't said it, they probably believe that our infertility is due to the fact that we (gasp!) eat beef that isn't grass-fed and chicken that isn't free-range organic. Yes, they are those kind of friends. You can see why I'm keeping this blog anonymous.

Back to the jealousy. I just found out (on facebook, of course) that good friends of ours are due with their second. Already on their second. And she's younger than me. Of course. And they got pregnant "sooner than expected." Of course.

I'm a committed follower of Jesus. Does this simplify or complicate the feelings of jealousy and sense of injustice? I can't decide. On the one hand, Jesus affirms me that it is unjust. This world is broken, and so our bodies are broken and don't work the way they're supposed to. If the world were as it should be, we would all be fertile. And he hurts for me because he loves me and doesn't want to see me in so much pain. Cries for the barren woman are all over the Bible. Moreover, he promises that one day, all the brokenness will be gone and the emptiness filled.

On the other hand, I know that the jealousy isn't entirely okay. It's selfish and ugly. God has the right to give other people babies within their first month of trying, and he has the right to make me wait. I can't free myself of the ugly feelings. I'm stuck. But he can. In fact, though he doesn't promise me a baby, he promises me freedom. So I pray and wait for the freedom while I pray and wait for the baby.
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