Happy Halloween, Everyone!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Happy Halloween, Everyone!
Friday, October 30, 2009
I'm doing my best to convince myself that after my appointment in December, we'll be on the right track, I'll ovulate, and within a few cycles I'll be pregnant. I reward myself for my optimism by shopping online for baby items. (You know, for the baby we don't have yet...)
Behold, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30 car seat:
I started drooling over this car seat almost two years ago when I first saw it-- long before I was trying to get pregnant. I love green and have every intention of painting our nursery apple green no matter what the sex of our child turns out to be. I feel like it's perfect-- accent with pink for a girl or blue for a boy. When I saw this Green Bubble pattern, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. I bookmarked it in my mind.
Fast forward approximately two years later-- now we're trying to have a baby and will (hopefully!) have a need for one soon. To my disappointment, they discontinued the Green Bubbles fabric after 2008. So, I've been searching online to try to find one.
Here's the thing-- I have no qualms about buying a used car seat as long as a) It's never been in an accident b) It's in good shape & c) It's within the time frame of the safety expiration date for the particular brand.
Enter the problem: Peg Perego's safety constraints are very strict. It's considered the safest car seat on the market-- one of the reasons I want one. They only certify their car seats for 5 years, saying that over time, the plastic can break down so it would be more likely to snap in an accident. Because of the short life of these car seats, if I'm going to get one, it really needs to be a 2008 model-- that way it would be safe through 2013. I need that buffer, just in case it takes us some additional time to get pregnant.
So, friends, if anyone sees one, on ebay or craigslist or in a store, will you let me know?
BTW, Here's the matching stroller, the PlikoP3:
No trouble finding these on ebay & craigslist, and I don't think they have an expiration date. So for now, I'm just on a mission to buy future baby's car seat.It would make more sense to wait until I'm pregnant to buy one, I know, but I fear that it may be long gone by then. Who knows? Maybe we'll end up needing it sooner than I think...
Thursday, October 29, 2009
In the spirit of positivity, let me just say, "YAY! My doctor called with the results from my last round of bloodwork today!!" I would like to point out that last time, it took a week. Here we are, 3 days later and they have already called. Go, efficiency.
P4 = 0.79
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
1) I quit using the CBEFM today-- not forever, just for this cycle. Since it's become pretty apparent that I'm not ovulating, I feel like every time I pee, I'm throwing away money. At $1 per test stick, it's just not worth it-- I'll save them for a cycle where there's a chance it will matter. Before you optimists tell me not to give up hope, I will finish the box of cheap opks that I have. They have to be used within 30 days of opening them, so I'm not going to waste them. (I've used 15 CBEFM test sticks this month, so I'm simply stopping 5 days early. It will give up on me in another 5 days anyway-- the machine will not let you test for more than 20 days. How's that for optimism?)
2) If my ob/gyn returns my test results next week and offers a plan that is anything less than aggressive, I'll will try to make an appointment with an endocrinologist for a second opinion. As nice as my ob/gyn is, this isn't her specialty, and I want the best care possible. I've been slightly unnerved since last week when I was told that my TSH was at the high end of normal. After lots of reading, I've found that plenty of labs still consider a range of 0.5-5.5 "normal"-- however, these labs are quite behind in offering aggressive treatment for their patients. I'm not advocating taking meds that aren't necessary, but I feel like these elevated levels are directly related to why I'm not pregnant yet. I'm always exhausted, I'm always cold, I've gained weight, my body temps are low and I'm not ovulating. I wrote so much of this off as depression-- but now I'm quite certain that there's another issue that needs to be addressed.
The phrase that I keep running into over & over again on website after website is this: "Some endocrinologists believe that a woman with suspected thyroid disease may have difficulty getting pregnant and/or maintaining a pregnancy at a TSH higher than 2.0." 5.51 is where mine was last week. We've been trying so desperately to get pregnant for almost 8 months now, but is it really a blessing that we haven't had any success? I can certainly say that I would rather feel the frustration and sadness of not getting pregnant, than the emptiness and devastation of losing a baby.
3) I'm going to make it a point to enjoy this time with my husband. So much of our time together the past few months has been plagued by my worries, tears, fears & frustration. In fact, I started worrying about the problems we were going to have the month we started trying to get pregnant. I'm not saying that I'll be able to live worry-free in regards to trying to have a baby. I can't. But I'm going to try to celebrate our progress more and focus on our stagnancy less. I'm lucky that we are going forward with testing now, instead of waiting another four months until we hit the year mark. Instead of being irritated that I have to wait a week for my test results, I'm going to try to focus on the fact that my doctor is doing more tests to help pinpoint what is wrong, how to fix it and find the best way to help us conceive our baby.
I'm going to try remember that this freedom that we have to enjoy each other's company will one day be overshadowed by the needs of a little one: lazy Sundays in bed, trivia on Tuesdays, and dinner date nights will be hard to come by... and while I have no doubt that everything that we'll give up will be worth it, I know that I should savor these things while I can.
I have a feeling that we still have a bumpy road ahead...but I've made the decision to do my best to enjoy the ride.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I can't imagine the frustration that women who go through fertility treatments deal with... the drugs and the constant monitoring, bloodwork, ultrasounds. I'm hoping I don't have to find out about this annoyance first hand. My doctor's office is difficult to get to. I park in a garage, then take an elevator to a main lobby. I then switch elevators and go to the second floor. On the second floor, I take a cross walk into a different tower, where I hop on a third elevator and head up to the 5th floor. The bloodwork took less than 10 minutes. The navigating in and out took almost 30. Ridiculous.
But, if this is what we must do to get our baby, then this is what we'll do. Today's bloodwork will retest TSH levels along with T3 & T4. Additionally, they will (needlessly) check my progesterone levels for a sign that my eggs have decided to jump ship from my lazy ovaries this month-- For your viewing pleasure, here is my chart as of today:
Do you see any indication on that chart that I've ovulated, much less that it occurred 7 days ago? Yeah, I thought not. CD16 I got my hopes up. Nope. Cd20 I really got my hopes up. You see how that went. OPKs are getting lighter every day, so I think Sat was the closest I'll get to a positive. (I even marked it as postive on my chart becaused I needed the self esteem boost.) I feel like giving the doctor's office another lesson in the correct timing of a P4 test. I made them a copy of my charts this morning and asked them to put it in my file. I even pointed it out to the nurse, "See? I haven't ovulated yet."
As much as I hoped having a baby would be easy for us, I had a nagging feeling that it wouldn't. What I didn't count on was that I would practically earn a medical degree trying to get knocked up...
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Update, 11PM: Took a digital OPK. Negative. I'm still encouraged by how dark those lines are, though... Maybe tomorrow.
Friday, October 23, 2009
After our movie, we came home and I saw this:
It's not positive, but I got so excited about how dark the line was-- I stupidly got my hopes up again. Then (::slap forehead::) I realized that it couldn't possibly be accurate after several hours(could it?), so I decided to take another one. This is what I saw:
Parent: Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
(Rob will send in his resume for the position of Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop.)
- Long term, team players needed for challenging, permanent work in an often chaotic environment.
- Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills.
- Must be willing to work variable hours which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
- Some overnight travel required (including trips to primitive camp sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities).
- Travel Expenses not reimbursed.
- Extensive courier duties also required.
- Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily until someone needs $5.
- Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
- Must possess physical stamina of a pack mule and go from 0 to 60mph in 3 seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not just someone crying wolf.
- Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.
- Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
- Must have the ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
- Must be willing to be indispensable one minute and a total embarrassment the next.
- Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
- Must assume final complete accountability for the quality of the end product.
None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.
None required, unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
Wages & Compensation:
Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
While no health insurance or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth growth, unconditional love and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.
There is no retirement-- EVER.
It's funny, even when you put it like that... It's a job I'd take in a heartbeat.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
This morning, when I entered my temps and stats, it stated that I was "Possibly Fertile." No change in CM or CP, but my temp dropped 0.2 degrees today. I was so sure, after my temp rise yesterday, that I would see another rise today and I would be one temp away from those glorious crosshairs on my chart that indicate that I ovulated, negative OPK be damned!
But no, one temp drop was all it took and FF has moved on. Given up on me. Even a computer program is now doubting my ability to ovulate this cyle. FML.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Prolactin = 13.82 (Anything under 24 is considered normal.)
Testosterone = 4.3 (Not sure if this is free or total, but was told this was normal.)
FSH = 5.07 (Normal ranges from 3-20)
and my thyroid results:
According to Dr. C's assistant, their lab considers anything from 0.5-5.5 normal, so this is why she said I was at the top of the normal range. However, Dr. Google has informed me that this range is quite outdated. In 2002, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) announced a narrower range of what is considered normal: 0.3-3.0. By those standards 5.51 is well out of the normal range.
When I questioned what my LH was, I was told that they didn't check it. Not sure why, but I guess they felt it wasn't necessary, so I can't compare this with my FSH. Shit.
So, the plan is still the same: to redo the thyroid bloodwork next week and send to a different lab to analyze, including TSH, T4 and T3.
Here's the thing I'm still frustrated with: They want me to come in on Monday so they can do both the thyroid bloodwork and the progesterone test. To make sure there was no confusion, I stressed again that Monday is CD21 for me and I HAVE NOT OVULATED YET. Sure it's possible that I might ovulate before then, but I certainly won't be 7dpo, so I won't have had my spike yet. So, the results will come back with a very low number, and I'll get a call telling me that according to my progesterone, I didn't ovulate. ::sigh:: I KNOW.
I'm just going to have to wait it out and see what the next round brings-- hopefully once I get through these tests, we'll make a new plan that I can feel good about.
Monday, October 19, 2009
I finally heard back from the doctor this afternoon. Her assistant called to let me know that the blood results came back normal except for my thyroid, which was on the highest of the normal range. She wants to do another thyroid panel and send it to a different lab when I come in for my CD21 progesterone bloodwork.
Only it won't be CD21 for me, because it's supposed to be done at 7dpo and I didn't ovulate today... Who knows when that will happen? My CP and CM both suggest I'm fertile now, yet the monitor is still reading low, my OPK was negative and I haven't had a temp shift.
Now I'm left with so many questions about the results that I wish I had asked-- I'd like to know my specific levels for FSH and LH. Yes, they were "normal" but what was the ratio? Were they about equal? Was my LH higher than my FSH?
I'd like to know what my TSH levels were-- have they effected my Free Testosterone levels at all? I've heard that .4-4 is normal. (WebMD) What was mine?
I'll call tomorrow and ask for the specifics.
I feel so conflicted about the results. One one hand, I feel relieved that there wasn't anything that stood out as being a serious problem. On the other hand, I feel like I'm back at square one with no plan. I'll have to wait at least another week or two to see if I ovulate, then get the progesterone bloodwork done, the thyroid bloodwork redone, then wait another week or so for the results again...
For now, that's it. No meds, no plan, no progress. I burst into tears in the car on my way home tonight... I had hoped that today would provide me with some answers. Instead, all it provoked was more questions.
For several months, I've been following Colleen's journey over at Park Slope Purgatory. She's a wonderful writer and I immediately felt a connection to her because we're the same age, we started trying to get pregnant the same month, and as I read her posts I found that she was so often feeling exactly what I was feeling-- Worried. Frustrated. Disappointed.
Colleen had a good feeling about this cycle-- her posts the past few days have been adorably hopeful, sweet and anxious. As I read her post yesterday about her plan to test this morning, I found myself wishing with all my might, that this might be it for her. I was so nervous this morning as I typed in her blog address-- preparing myself to come up with words of encouragement if her test was negative. But...
COLLEEN IS PREGNANT!!!
I couldn't be happier for her-- after knowing how disheartened she's been the past few months, I know what this must feel like for her... because I know how I would feel if it were me. When a woman who has been trying for a while gets pregnant, there is a joy, a victory that I feel for her... Like she beat the biological clock! Colleen was already prepared to start testing with her ob/gyn in the next few months to figure out why she hadn't gotten pregnant yet. Now, she'll be making trips to the doctor for an entirely different reason.
Colleen, I can't thank you enough for your support the past few months. I'm so thrilled for you and can't wait to follow your new adventures! Congrats!!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The best news about this cycle so far is that my CBEFM had me start testing later & has given me 6 days of Low readings from CD8-CD13-- It's the exact opposite of last cycle, which was full of High readings. Sure, I'd like for it to give me a High reading (better yet, a PEAK!) but I don't want it to lie to me and I'm pretty certain that I'm not going to ovulate within the next few days. (It is possible to go from Low to Peak with no High, but my guess is that I'm still a good week away from ovulating, if I ovulate at all this cycle.)
After my appointment last week, I've stopped using the saliva OPK-- my ob/gyn says that it's just not reliable, which was extremely unfortunate to hear, as we spent nearly 5 months using that as our only indication of when/if I was ovulating. Evidently the estrogen surges that create the ferning pattern can happen at times other than ovulation-- it's best to use an OPK that measures your LH surge. So now, I'm temping and using the CBEFM as well as tracking CM & CP. That should be more than enough.
More than enough to confirm if/when I'm ovulating, I mean. It may not be enough to get me pregnant.
I'm not sure what that's going to take.
Friday, October 16, 2009
So much of the process of making a baby is waiting... I waited to meet the right man, waited to get married, waited to buy our first home, waited until we were "ready."
Each month, for seven months, we've waited for my body to ovulate, then waited for two weeks to find out if we succeeded or failed.
When I realized that things didn't seem to be quite right, I made an appointment with my ob/gyn, then waited for the day to come. On Monday, I got my bloodwork done. Today, I'm waiting for the results.
I hate to be that patient, but I called the nurse this morning to see if the results had come back. After all, the office closes early on Fridays, and I didn't want to wait all weekend if the results were sitting on someone's desk and they just hadn't gotten around to calling me. I'm anxious to see if anything came back abnormal. My doctor's assistant was really sweet and let me know that they hadn't come back yet, but that I should hear something by Tuesday at the latest. She said that most likely, the information will come to Dr. C on Monday morning, and that she'll sign off on the results that day, then someone will call me.
So, now, there's nothing left to do but wait. Again.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
While Rob and I are still struggling to get pregnant and have never lost a baby, our families and friends have been touched by loss. Rob had a baby brother (Billy) who passed away when he was several weeks old and it's important to remember those who grieve for their lost little ones.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
PCOS (in a nutshell)
This will explain what PCOS is & how to treat it.
NYTimes article about Fertility Treatments & Consequences
Rob sent me this one this morning-- we've had some discussions recently about fertility drugs, multiples, selective reduction and what we would do if we were in that situation. While I'm confident that he and I could make a choice that's best for our family, it's murky water that I hope we never have to swim in.
In other news, I think that my ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor is starting to "learn" me. Last cycle it asked me to start testing on CD6-- this cycle it didn't ask for a test until CD8. Since I didn't ovulate last cycle, I think it realized that there was no way I was going to ovulate anywhere near CD6... (Fingers crossed I ovulate at all!) Also, my test this morning registered "Low"-- this time last cycle, I had already received three "High" readings. It seems to be learning what is high for me. Maybe I'll even get a peak this cycle!!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
It's the size of a tube of lipstick and it has a tiny slide that you put a drop of saliva on, let it dry, then look at it through the lens in the tube. There's a small green light that illuminates the slide and the shift of hormones during your cycle changes the pattern of your saliva.
Weird, I know. Really, what happens is that a surge of estrogen increases the sodium in your spit. So, early in your cycle (when estrogen is low), your saliva looks like a bunch of little bubbles. When you get close to ovulating and your estrogen levels increase, the increased sodium makes your dried saliva crystallize, which looks like frost on glass (or ferning) under the microscope.
I start testing right after my period ends and when I get a full ferning pattern, I usually follow up with a urine OPK to attempt to confirm I'm ovulating. The Ovulite monitors estrogen, while a traditional OPK tests for an LH surge. (Yes, all of this in addition to the fertility monitor and taking my temps each morning. Hey, I'm nothing if not thorough.)
I'm still spotting a bit from this last anovulatory cycle, but I decided to go ahead and start testing this morning. WTF-- a full ferning pattern!!? It's only CD5! I've never gotten a full ferning pattern before CD16-- there's no way I was ovulating this early. I did a urine OPK just to check and, of course, it was negative.
Anyway, out of a slight fascination with the biology of my body, I tried to document what the slides look like and the pictures turned out pretty cool!
I'm not sure if my hormones are messed up because I'm sick-- perhaps it's something to do with my prescriptions. Who knows? Add it to my list of questions to ask the doctor on Monday.
Friday, October 9, 2009
But for now, until I feel a little better, I rest.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Thank God. After a 58 day anovulatory cycle with progesterone and two days of spotting, I finally got my period this afternoon. Never have I been so excited to move on to the next cycle. This cycle has felt "over" for weeks.
With my upcoming ob/gyn appointment, I wondered if she might order CD3 bloodwork, as I'm concerned about PCOS. If she ordered this at the appointment on Monday, I realized that if next cycle goes like this one did, I may not be back to CD3 for months... I called the office and expressed this concern to my nurse who promised that they wouldn't let me go almost 60 days without a period again-- they'd put me on progesterone much earlier next cycle, if needed. Also, there's some baseline bloodwork that can still be done on CD7. She said, "Go ahead and come in on Monday and bring all of your charts and any data you've collected and we'll make a plan at your infertility workup."
"Your infertility workup."
The words hit me like a slap in the face.
Yes, I'm happy to be moving forward with this appointment. Yes, I'm eager to find out if there's something preventing us from getting pregnant or whether it's just been bad luck. Yes, I think that PCOS is a real possibility. No, I'm not ready to think of myself as infertile.
No one called me infertile. I get that. But it's the first time that word has been used in reference to a possibility about us and it scares me. It really scares me. I'm feeling the weight of the reality of this appointment now-- we're past the halfway mark in what's considered a "normal" time to conceive and we know that my body isn't cooperating. While some might be able to see the glass as half full and realize that we have 5 more months of trying before we're officially branded with the label of infertility (unless these test results find something sooner), 7 months of disappointment are heavy on my heart and I feel discouraged. What I believed would be a beautiful journey into parenthood has turned into a stressful struggle.
And I'm scared.
As for Spotty, that's not a Goldfish-- it's my new nickname. Since my body loves to tease me, I started spotting two days ago, but have still not gotten my period. Tomorrow will be 60 days--at least I have some fun projects to distract myself...
Monday, October 5, 2009
This is what I got when I picked it up yesterday:
We still ate it-- and laughed about it while we drank our champagne.
This morning, I can see that the cake is perfectly good.
It's just a little wonky.
Kind of like us.