So many meds!

A quick update, because there’s not much going on at the moment.

I’m on Day 6 of Provera, and will be expecting my period around Day 12. I’m going back and forth with the IVF nurse, figuring out meds. This is the sheet that was sent to me in the mail:

It looks pretty hefty. Luckily, I’m used to the follistim and Ganirelix. I am a bit confused because I was told I am using Lupron, since I am at high risk for OHSS, but it wasn’t checked off on the sheet. I think it was a mistake. Also, I have no idea what the Vivelle dots are (estrogen patch, right? But what is that, and why do I need it?) And the HCG – I knew about the progesterone shots in the butt, but didn’t realize I’d be mixing up potions too. Whatever, there’s clearly more to learn before I start all of these, but it begins with follistim, and I’m an old pro there.

My husband and I have done some research and discussed how many embryos to put in at length. Our final decision is as follows: If it is a Day 3 transfer, we’re putting in 2. If it’s a Day 5 transfer, we’re going to make a game day decision. That decision will be based on how many high quality embryos we have total. If we’re going to be freezing say, at least 4 or 5 good embryos, then there’s absolutely no reason to put in 2 embryos, in our minds. We’re still young, and next cycle we’d be able to hopefully use a thawed embryo. So we’d only put in 1. If, however, we only have 2 embryos of good quality period, and would most likely have to go through the entire thing again next cycle, we’d put them both in. That’s the plan. I understand the risk of twins, and I also understand how challenging they can be, but what I didn’t like was having to choose. Really, seeing as how we’d both love to have twins but are perfectly happy with one as well, there’s no reason to make that final decision right now. It’s going to come down to our embryos. My gut feeling is that if we get to a Day 5 transfer, I am going to have a lot of eggs taken out, and probably at least 5 good ones (I hope). If that happens, we’re only putting in 1. So we’ll see.

I just wish that day would come already. My bitterness that has lingered and hung on for the last 5 or so months is slowly being pushed aside by hope. Hope is a dangerous little emotion..too much can do more damage than not enough. But IVF is the real deal – if this doesn’t work, I guess I’d be…really surprised. It might not work the first time, of course, but eventually..I hope IVF works. I really, really want this baby. My life is suspended, completely in limbo, and we’re really just going through the motions. So here’s hoping.

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A release of hope

Back from my mini-vacation. We stayed at a bed and breakfast in Lake George, then spent one afternoon an hour and a half north of that, in Lake Placid. N is doing a full Ironman there this summer, and he wanted to drive the bike route and see what kind of damage he was in for. 112 miles on a bike is no easy feat! Luckily, it wasn’t actually that bad.

The bed and breakfast was great. Beautiful, cozy, and their 5-course breakfasts were really amazing. Gosh, I feel like I’m doing a professional review. Anyway, if you are ever in that area and are looking for a great place to stay, check this place out:

Cornerstone Victorian

I did find out that, of the two food demons in my life currently, wheat has just moved to #1. I had a little wheat the past few days, including a low-sugar apple cinnamon muffin, and a bit of fresh bread at dinner. Just like a few weeks ago when I tried to reintroduce wheat into my diet, I had the worst stomach problems. It only put a damper on a half hour of my vacation, so no big deal in the long run, but seriously, it was very painful. I really can’t eat wheat anymore. It just can’t happen. As for sugar, I had just a little bit of that too, including two small ice creams, and really had next to no hives. I’m thinking that’s just a passing thing, and I really just got lucky for this trip, because as of two weeks ago sugar was my arch nemesis. Either way, I gain weight from these foods. Back to Paleo, for real this time, and I know I’ll lose weight at the very least. By the way – almond milk? Delicious. Unsweetened coconut milk – not so much.

As for my mental health – I’m okay. It’s an up and down thing, you guys know. We had a great time, and I was happy. But deep down, the truth of the matter is that nothing, really nothing could make me so completely happy that I would permanently push infertility aside. I can have moments where I’m not thinking about it, but the emotions that come with it are never really gone. I had a good of a time as any; as I could. We both did. I’m just saying that underneath it all I’m not truly happy, because the one thing I really want in life has been giving me problems, difficulties, and it seems so far away. For all I know, it could be very far away.

The issue here is my hope level. Say, on a scale from 1-10, when I first started TTC, it was at a 10. When I started Clomid, a 9. Last cycle, when I was so sure I was pregnant, an 8. But since that damaging cycle, I stopped obsessing about TTC. I mostly stopped temping, only once every few days now. POASing has just started back up, and I actually hate it. I don’t worry about our timing. But with the release of all these stressors comes the release of hope. Sure, it’s possible it could happen soon. I understand that. But I can no longer feel like it’s going to. I am hopeful, on a shallow level, but deep down, the optimism isn’t there. It is so far away. Actually getting a positive pregnancy test? Going for my first ultrasound? Hitting 20 weeks? So, so far away. And that just really, plainly sucks.

I’ve noticed my new try-not-to-think-about-it attitude manifesting itself in other ways, too. In the past month, I’ve rarely blogged. I have nothing much to say. I haven’t really commented on many blogs either. For once, I didn’t sign up for ICLW. I’m just in a place where I am so tired of the frustration and, really, the pain that goes with all this that I don’t want to talk about it much anymore. I don’t know if it’s showing, but IRL I feel quieter, more serious. I’ve never been good at faking anything, especially emotions.

It’s not all gloom and doom, and I don’t walk around with a scowl on my face. I’m happy, like I said, but not truly, deep-down happy. I have a great class this year, N and I have a lot of fun together and, thanks to him, we laugh constantly. You know, there are happy things. But I am missing out on something that makes any person the happiest on the planet.

I am going in for a blood test this morning, as it’s CD 15. I hope to hear, “Ovulation is on its way.” If I hear, “You didn’t respond to this double dose of Clomid, either,” I might scream. But I’m going to take the positive route and say yes, it’s happening, hopefully in the next few days. I still really want to do my first IUI.

Stair-stepping, Round 2.

I’m back for an update.

My follicle, which was 16 mm last Friday, has stopped growing. In fact, my nurse wonders whether it was ever a follicle at all, or maybe a cyst. If it was a follicle, there is no egg inside. My estrogen levels have actually gone down, when they should have gone up. Of course, I knew this already and hated having to wait a certain amount of days to be told this.

I am stair-stepping again, for the second cycle in a row (out of three total). They are bumping me up to 150 mg of Clomid, and I start it today. What was CD 25 this morning has just become CD 5, again. I am nervous about the hot flashes – they were bad enough on 100, not to mention 150.

I actually answered the phone today, so I did have some questions. Specifically, the answers were, no, the Dr. is not concerned about how Clomid works for me sometimes and not others, and specifically, works on one dosage ONCE, and then never again. Yes, it is normal (in terms of infertility). No, he does not see the need at this point to do a trigger shot, and instead wants me to stair-step. No, it’s not all over once 150 stops working (and we all know it will) – they will go to 200, and then 250. 250 is the max.

I am to come in for bloodwork in about a week and a half (what will be CD 15) to check on my status. So, as I feared, my first IUI is going to have to wait another 15-20 days.

Can I wait? Of course I can. But I’m irritated beyond belief because this is the second cycle in a row that I’ve had to stair-step, making it the second cycle in a row that the length of my cycle has been over 40 days. Can’t they see this is turning into a pattern? I will ovulate, I’m sure, on 150 with this stair-stepping, but then next cycle, when it’s150 by itself, I won’t. One dosage of Clomid, no matter what amount, is clearly not working in any given cycle. I need more.

The other reason I am irritated is because I have been peeing on a stick for 14 straight days, sometimes twice a day. I had ovulation pains, EWCM, my temps dropped real low. We got in a few BDs, then I got this lovely infection, probably caused by all of this. I planned. Again. Putting both my husband and I through this every cycle is just….so frustrating.

So yes, I’m annoyed. I am just mad that my body isn’t even allowing me the chance to conceive, and that the doctors aren’t too concerned. I’m worried that I will get to 250 (if I can survive the hot flashes), that will fail and then – IVF. I know so many of you go through IVF, but it’s nerve-wracking.

I’m not going to get my hopes up this time. I am sure I will ovulate. We’ll have the IUI and I will hope the best, but I’m going to try not to think about it. I’m done playing mind games with my body – begging and pleading and hoping is not working. Emotionally, I can’t continue like this, so instead, my tactic for this cycle is to attempt to completely forget about it. Wish me luck.

Hope for Clomid

So this thought has been spinning around in my head for a few days, and that’s how I know it’s time to share.

I am, of course, excited to be starting Clomid soon. Really, really excited. I’ve also been easily over-sharing the details of my infertility to people outside of the online blogging world, in real life. This hasn’t always been the best decision. I’ve just been in my own little world, anxiously waiting for my first treatment to my anovulation.

Recently, after declaring out loud, “I can’t wait [for Clomid]! I’m so excited – I just want to do this already!” someone said in response, “Well, you’re happy to start the process, you mean. It’s probably not going to be that easy.”

I’ve actually had a few people say something like this to me – so it’s not just this one. The person who said this particular comment to me did not mean this to sound – pessimistic. She’s actually been very supportive, as she had gone through similar experiences a few years ago, which has, at this time, not had a happy ending. I know she wasn’t trying to be negative; she was trying to be realistic and to help me keep an even head. I believe now that she was probably talking more to herself than to me.

Here’s the thing: After blogging (seemingly endlessly) about waiting, and patience, and being full of unanswered questions, I finally have an answer: anovulation, and a treatment: Clomid. I realize that it is my very first treatment to this problem. I also realize that of course, there’s probably a pretty decent chance that it won’t work, and I’ll have to move my treatments to the next level, IUI. Who knows, that might not work and I’ll be moving to IVF. I know all this.

If I don’t have hope that Clomid is going to work (and maybe naively, I do), then how could I possibly go through this process and keep my sanity intact? I’m not saying that if this doesn’t work I’ll be completely surprised, but I have to hope it will. And I do. In fact, I hope it works in the first very round. Doubtful? Yes. But I’m going to hope for it anyway.

I guess what I’m saying is this: in my opinion, if you’re going through fertility treatments, you have to be positive. If you aren’t, and you’re reminding yourself constantly that this probably won’t work, we’ll have to try something else – well then, you’ll drive yourself crazy. I am telling myself that Clomid is going to help me get pregnant so that I can have something to hope for while on Clomid. Otherwise, what would be the point?

To all of my new blogging friends who are at any step in the fertility treatments process, how did you handle comments like this? Did you keep positive thoughts through each type of treatment?