More writing prompts and an IVF update

I’m a few days behind on my writing prompts! But first, an IVF update.

I’ve been to the doctor’s…let’s see, tomorrow will make my fourth day in a row. I guess I should’ve expected that. I really don’t mind, and I’m especially grateful that three of those days fell on the weekend, including my day off today, so I didn’t have to rush to work. The long and short of it is that my follies are still very small, yet very numerous (like, 20+ on each side). However, my estradiol shot up very quickly, from 34 to 250, to 600 back to back. So I’ve started Ganirelix, to keep the ovulation at bay I guess, even though there are no follies big enough to release an egg. I have also bumped my follistim back a bit. I’ll be interested to see how many follies are actually growing during tomorrow’s ultrasound. The other issue is I have three cysts – two on the left and one on the right. Apparently no one is overly concerned, as I keep going with this cycle. They are small enough, I guess. But they continue to be watched, and I just hope nothing happens with them to cancel the cycle. All of a sudden, today, I feel bloated and a little crampy. Nothing much by any means, but I wonder if this means things are growing in there. Here’s hoping.

Okay, my writing prompt update:

I skipped the accent one, partly because I’m late on it, and also lazy. However, I can say that I have what I deem the “typical” accent of newscasters across the country – New England, but not too North (Bostonian or Maine) and not too South (into New York and New Jersey). I’d say there’s not much to hear when I talk, accent-wise, but then, everyone says that. When I lived in London for four months and worked with sixth graders, they used to tell me all the time that my accent was so strong, but they didn’t have any accent at all. It’s all relative.

October 5: What is your favorite book?

It’s sad that I’m struggling here. I have read a lot of good books, yet titles rarely stay with me. Here a few I’ve read multiple times:

1)      The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I actually read it aloud to my students every year, but even if I didn’t, I’d read it myself. It’s a futuristic, utopian type of story, with similar characteristics to The Hunger Games, without the competition and love story. It’s So.Good. I love the deep questions it brings up.

2)      I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb. Truth be told, I haven’t read this one in years, but I loved it and read it multiple times.

It’s sad that I have to stop here. I need to read more, I think. However, I can add any Jodi Picoult book to the list, especially Nineteen Minutes and a few others.

October 6: Who is your current favorite band?

Another one I struggle with. I love music – music is a huge part of who I am. However, I typically identify with melodies, not lyrics, which lead me to love random songs, rather than specific artists. My favorite genres of music are big ballads, from the likes of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, etc., anything acapella (I’m really into Straight No Chaser and many groups from the show The Sing Off at the moment, not to mention my all-time favorite Boys II Men), and when I’m in a certain mood, quiet guitar-type music, like from John Mayer. I also listen to country (thanks to my husband) and like Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney, among others. And finally, I enjoy a good pop song. If I can sing to it or if the harmonies rock, chances are, I’ll like it.

October 7: If you could sleep with any celebrity who would it be?

This one makes me laugh. Before I started fertility treatments, I was clearly lacking hormones (hence not ovulating). I thought people were good-looking, sure, but the more animal instinct of attractiveness really did not exist, for the most part. I couldn’t name one celebrity I was lusting after, when everyone else in high school and college had a list 10 miles long. And then, after the hormones were shot into my system, I figured out the hype. So, I’m simply going to put my list of Top 5 celeb crushes, which I think should do the trick.

1)      Henry Cavill

He starred on The Tudors, and seriously, I can’t even explain it. Just watch that show. Now, he’s starring in the upcoming Superman movie, and yes, I will be seeing it in theaters. Possibly multiple times. If only he was chosen for the 50 Shades movies (he was being considered).

2)      Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I’m pretty particular about him – the long hair look doesn’t work for me, and I need clean-shaven as well. I’m picky – what can I say. He doesn’t fit my type as much, but I kept him in the list.

3)      Josh Hutcherson

Yeah, I know, he’s young, and I’m 28. I’m a creeper.

4)      Zac Efron

Again, I’m creepy and I’m well-aware. They are both – well, I think he and Josh Hutcherson have both reached 20!

5)      Tying for fifth place – two Gleeks: Cory Monteith (I’ll have you know he just turned 30) and Chord Overstreet

 

 

I think it’s fair to say I have a type. Clean-cut, boyish face, big eyes..yep, that’s about it.

October 8: If you could have any job in the whole wide world regardless of your qualifications, what would you choose and why?

Last for my writing prompt updates, to be honest, I can’t see myself being anything other than a teacher. I believe I was born for the job and it suits me well. However, occasional day-dreaming, especially when I was younger, had me a better singer and less shy on stage – and my dream job would’ve been a professional performer. I like the idea of singing or acting for a living – I imagine that once the gigs come in, it’s extremely satisfying, not to mention the money. I have always loved performing, even though I’m on the quieter end of things. I think someone like Taylor Swift has the best job in the world.

A senior moment

I just can’t stay away from these daily prompts, even though I just got home from school (an ice cream social fundraiser) and have one million things to do. This is more fun.

October 3: What is your most embarrassing moment?

I tell my students all the time – whatever comes to your mind first, is probably what you have the most to say about. This worked for me too, and my most embarrassing moment immediately came to mind. I tried to think if there was anything worse, but nothing stands out without further thinking, so this is the one.

High school graduation. A stressful night as it was, what with the actual graduating, not to mention I was singing the national anthem with a few other girls, and Nate had my car keys, which he dropped in the parking lot and we were racing around trying to find.

But right before it was time to walk out, the entire class (about 300 of us) met in the auditorium with the school principal, who was giving out the cords. There were cords for honors, certain clubs, etc. I received two cords, I think, but the first one I received was class musician. When I was called to the stage, the entire class was sitting there, watching me. My principal had already given out a few cords, and was putting them around the students’ necks. Well, I forgot this fact, and when I went up there, I looked up at him and he started to put the cords around my neck. I didn’t realize what he was doing, and wasn’t thinking clearly, and thought he was reaching out for a hug – and so I threw my arms around him and gave him a huge bear hug.

The class burst out laughing, and a small part of me died that day.

Now, I laugh. Wow, I hugged my principal in front of my entire class. Me, the slightly nerdy, quiet, band geek. How totally uncool. But at the time, I could’ve crawled in a hole. And I still had to go out and sing the national anthem! It has taken many years since for me to remember that moment without that same feeling of unimaginable embarrassment. Now, I’m over it, but it still sticks out. Thanks, Jenn, for bringing it back!

An update – even with two more Provera pills to take, I got my period today. Day 1. Going in for my baseline ultrasound in the morning (and missing my staff picture!), and starting follistim tomorrow night. Haven’t even unpacked the meds box yet. Let the IVF games begin.

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.

I hate cysts.

The last two weeks have been seriously crap-tacular. This past week, especially, was very much up and down, with the majority of it being down. I thought I might update.

The good of last week was our IVF consultation appointment with the doctor last Monday. Here’s a summary, in list form.

– We are proceeding with IVF (obviously).

– Though I am somewhat at a high risk for OHSS (young, many, many follicles in those ovaries), doctor says by giving me a Lupron trigger instead of Ovidrel, it cuts down the chances dramatically. He said there’s been no OHSS in the last 5 years for anyone taking the Lupron trigger. I hope this is true, because OHSS scares the crap out of me. For those who don’t know (yes, I do have a few non-infertiles who read this blog!), my understanding is that OHSS is when your ovaries hyper-stimulate, and you end up with crazy pain and you’re in the hospital. And it’s dangerous for you, not to mention possibly ruining the cycle. So this just can’t happen.

– We are doing ICSI. ICSI is a specific type of IVF, usually reserved for people with sperm problems, or unexplained infertility, which would be me. Instead of exposing my egg to a whole bunch of my husband’s sperm in the petri dish and hoping one attaches itself, they actually take a single sperm out of the bunch and literally place it on the egg (I think anyway). The doctors would select the best sperm there was to do the job. This is kind of crazy to me, that they are choosing, really, whether I’d have a boy or a girl. Not that I’ll know, but still.

– We are doing Assisted Hatching, if necessary. Again, to my knowledge, this is when, if the membrane of the…egg? doesn’t allow for the sperm to get in, because it’s too thick, the doctors would put a tiny slit in the membrane to allow it to come through. Assisted. Or something like that.

– We also agreed to participate in this study, something about exposing the embryo to 5% oxygen instead of the typical 20%. Apparently, scientists are the middle of trying to figure out if 5% is better for the embryos than 20%, and three big universities, including mine, are doing the study. My doctor assured me up and down that our success rates would not drop at all by doing the 5%. The success rates would either stay the same or get better. My husband is all about improving science, and I’m up for it too, so we said yes. I’m trusting my doctor on this one and letting it go.

– My clinic has a rule that you must freeze embryos if there are any to freeze. After that, you can do what you’d like with them. It’s not covered by insurance, but I’m not complaining. So it’s $1,000 for a year, and then after that, you pay a few hundred dollars every few months. We were going to freeze them anyway.

– Finally, we discussed the number of embryos to put in. Long story short – and for those of you who don’t know, your embryos are transferred back into your body either 3 or 5 days after the retrieval. I believe most people do a transfer on Day 3. However, if the embryos look amazing, apparently they can keep them going outside the woman’s body until Day 5, and be able to watch them 2 additional days, and then they would put them in. My doctor informed us that the success rate for getting pregnant at all on Day 3 with two embryos is the exact same success rate on Day 5 with one embryo (I believe he said 55%). Same exact thing. And for the Day 3, the chance of twins (when putting in 2) is 1 in 3. So it’s been decided that our Day 3 transfer, if that’s what we have, will be with two embryos. The bigger question at this point comes for if we make it to Day 5. If we put in two embryos on Day 5, our chance of twins is 50%. I realize that’s half, and not whole, but to me, I’m reading it like 100%. As in – by deciding to put two in on Day 5, we’re basically asking for twins. Day 3 is more of just a chance.

We think we have our answer regarding the Day 5 embryos, but we are still in discussion. N and I agree on everything – we can handle twins, we are fine having twins, we can afford twins, and twins would be wonderful. We would love it. But of course there are risks that come for babies and the mother – higher risk for complications, preemie birth, and of course I’d be having a c-section. While that’s more of a minor thing..I always just imagined I’d be pushing a baby out myself. But it doesn’t matter.

And then this came up, too. We hope to have three children, and four if we can afford it. At least one of those children was always going to be adopted, especially if we have four. At this point, I have always wanted to be pregnant twice. I want to go through that amazing time twice. By having twins, especially if we only have three and adopt the third, I’d be 29 years old and done, and I’m not sure that’s what I want. But I don’t know. I guess if I have a really horrible, stressful pregnancy I might feel different. I told N that I just can’t promise that if we do have twins, I won’t want to birth a third myself. And then if we have four, adopt the last child, and if we don’t, we wouldn’t adopt. N is fine with that, though he would rather adopt two, if we’re going to have four kids. I don’t think we’re going to be able to afford adopting two kids, but maybe I’m wrong. It’s all just..a lot to think about, just to answer the question of how many embryos on a Day 5 transfer.

If you asked me a month ago how many embryos, no matter what day they’re put in, we would’ve both said two. Now that it’s closer, now that the doctor makes me feel like making it to Day 5 with one embryo would almost definitely work, I feel like I’m taking a step back. I would love twins, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a single doubt about raising twins, and neither does my husband. But I just want a child, so badly, that I don’t know if it’s worth the additional risks of complications. And I don’t know if I’m going to be done giving birth. So we’re on the fence at the moment. And then again, we could end up with a Day 3 transfer of two embryos and get pregnant with twins anyway, and I’m not even second-guessing that one. So maybe we’ll just…see how it goes.

The fact of the matter is, all this talk about babies, such specific decisions being made, makes me think it’s almost here. And in reality – it might not be. I have got to get my mind geared up for this IVF thing..because nothing is guaranteed. We still don’t even know why nothing has worked up until this point. There could be some implantation issue we wouldn’t even know about yet. So, I don’t know. Doesn’t unexplained infertility really just mean unexplained until they figure it out?

After we made all our decisions (with the Day 5 question being answered when the day comes), the doctor did a trial transfer, though I’m not sure why, when I’ve had three IUI’s and an HSG already. And it hurt. It always does. Apparently things are tilted in there…it always takes them a while. Then he did an ultrasound to check on my ovaries, because even though it was only Day 10 of my cycle, if all looked good in there, he was willing to give me Provera and get this show on the road. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I have a cyst, on my ovary. It has been there for a few cycles, hovering around 20mm. This check showed it at 34mm. Which would explain the stomach cramping I’d been having. He decided he doesn’t want to proceed with IVF until it shrinks, and said I could either wait or go on birth control. I asked him if the timeline would be about the same and he said yes, so I opted to wait. I have an appointment on  Tuesday, before he goes on vacation for a week, to check in on it. So I went home.

Then, the very next day, I had the craziest thing happen to me at school. It was after our staff meeting and almost everyone had gone home. I was still feeling crampy all day long. I had just eaten a hard boiled egg and was preparing to leave when I suddenly had incredible intestinal pain. I’m not going to be graphic but I felt like I needed to run to the bathroom where..nothing happened. And I was spasming. Like, can’t walk, can’t sit down, can’t move spasming, I’ve had it before, but it always goes away in about a minute. This didn’t go away. I tried to tell myself I just needed to get home, so I tried to make it to the parking lot, and then I was doubled over with pain. I made it to my car, bent over, and then I think I started to panic, because I got dizzy, hands numb and tingly, white as a sheet, and thought I was going to throw up. Two people I work with were there, asking me if I was okay, and I was scared and a hot mess, so I basically pushed them away. They drove off, and  I realized I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t even stand. I made it back to the building, but of course it was locked, so my principal had to see me like that, asking if I was okay. I thought I was going to need a hospital visit, but when I do get those spasms, I know Advil helps. Advil also gives me lip hives, but sometimes it’s worth it, and this was one of those times. Finally, a janitor went around looking for Advil and got me some, and by that time I was in the nurse’s empty office, half standing, half laying down on the couch. After taking it, I sat there, almost fell asleep, and then about 45 minutes later, the spasms stopped and I drove home.

Two nights of a heating pad, plus endless amounts of laxatives, plus eating only potatoes and tea, and finally the pain stopped fully yesterday. I did see my primary doctor and he said it could be the cyst, or diverticulitis, so I needed to watch it for a few more days. I was sure it wasn’t fertility related until I started to spot. It wasn’t a lot, but it was there, for sure, and there’s no reason for that right now. A little research told me my cyst probably burst. Also, it must have been pushing on my intestines, causing the spasms and blockage. Now, I feel like a million bucks. When I go in on Tuesday, we’ll see what happened officially. I wonder if it’ll be gone…a lot faster than I thought it would be. I feel fine now.

While it totally screwed up my week and was very painful, my new thoughts are about IVF. One cyst, 34 mm, caused me an insane amount of pain and messed up my intestinal system. What will it be when there’s like 10 large follicles on each side? I don’t want to go through this again. So I will be asking my doctor on Tuesday.

That’s a super long update, but this IVF business is no joke. I never thought, after Clomid, after injectables, after three IUI’s, I’d be here, but I am. I want this to work so bad, so at this point, I’m anxious.

Gluten issues and an IVF consultation

Back with a minor update on things, and a few questions.

First of all, I want to say that though I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have been reading everyone’s posts and keeping up with your journeys. Lots of you are in the process of having babies, which is very exciting. Those of you who have gone through IVF, I’ll be coming to you with questions soon!

Okay, so I’m having this stomach problem. Let me back up. Last Thursday, my husband made a meal for myself and a good friend who came to dinner. He threw some chicken and rice into the crockpot with some cream of mushroom soup. Right as she was arriving, I realized I ought to check the soup container for wheat, as she has Celiac’s and I’ve been avoiding gluten as well. It turned out, as the can told me, there was wheat in the soup. Thank goodness I didn’t serve it to her, as I would’ve felt horrible beyond belief for making her sick, not to mention she’s a few weeks from giving birth! Oh man. Phew. So we had sandwiches and all was well. That night, when my husband came home, he sat down to a plate of his meal, and I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had a small plate of it myself, knowing there was wheat in the soup. Well, I do know what I was thinking. Every once in a while I think to myself, maybe gluten isn’t a problem and it’s just my weird autoimmune issues that flare up. How much wheat could there possibly be in this stupid soup anyway? So I ate it.

The next day, around 7:30 in the morning, I started having horrible cramping in my stomach. I went to school like that, had to teach for the first few hours doubled over and speaking quietly with shallow breaths. It hurt so freaking bad. I didn’t have to run to the bathroom though – just horrible pains. It took me a while to figure out what the hell was going on and then it dawned on me – it had to be the soup. It had to be the gluten. Finally, with the help of tea and gluten free pretzels, the pains subsided and I went on with my day. The rest of the day they came and went, but not as bad as the morning. Then yesterday, the pains continued. I didn’t eat any wheat at all (almost bought kettle corn at a fair, but was told it has gluten…so sad.) but I did have dairy in the form of ice cream, which…dairy does bother me in large doses. But it’s usually a little upset stomach and then it’s gone. This dairy seemed to bring back my stomach problems from the day before, and I was in and out of the bathroom all day. This morning it’s the same. I am having stomach pains, specifically on my left side, very low, practically in my uterus. It’s very low. And it seems to be localized. Every single time I eat, no matter what it is, I immediately feel pain there right after, and usually have a bathroom run. Then it’s dull pain until the next time I eat.

So. I have to assume this is the wheat talking, with yesterday’s dairy not helping out much. Last July, the day of my IUI and my husband’s big race, this same thing happened and it lasted for days. I thought I had a bug. Now I’m wondering if I accidentally ate gluten and didn’t know it.

I get a little paranoid sometimes, so here are my current fears:

1) I’ve damaged my stomach or intestinal lining in a big way, and like I’ve read, this gluten is going to stay in my system for 6 months and ruin my autoimmune system, which I’ve worked hard to keep balanced.

2) It’s going to affect my getting pregnant from IVF, since my antibodies are probably sky-high.

3) I’ve made myself sicker, and given myself like diverticulitis or something. Like, what’s going on in my intestine?

I’m just worried about it. And frustrated. I don’t know why I was playing around with gluten, but I tested negative for Celiac’s. I thought it just bothered my stomach a little. It’s not like I go out and eat fresh French bread, though I really want to. I just swear, if this impacts my antibody count which impacts IVF, I will kill. And why isn’t kettle corn gluten free?? Also, my stomach hurts.

So now I am determined to be 100% gluten free in everything I eat. Which means I better start looking at sauce labels and things like that. I never did that before. And here’s where you guys come in: I am looking for a new breakfast. Specifically some sort of shake I can take with me to school. Up until today, I have been having a protein shake with Syntha-6 chocolate powder, almond milk, frozen blueberries and a banana, and it was delish. And I just read the back of the Syntha-6 bottle. I can’t actually find the gluten ingredient, because there are about 5,000 chemicals in that crap, but it says, contains wheat. And to think, while “going gluten free” the last…oh, year of my life, I’ve still had this protein shake 5 days a week. No wonder I haven’t felt THAT much better. And it’s sad, that crap was filling, too.

So a little help from you healthy people out there – I need a new shake. I did try that green stuff a few of you mentioned in your posts long ago, but…I think the color just threw me off. I don’t know. I can’t do it. It needs to be like…fruity, with little vegetables, as opposed to vegetably, with little fruit. And I can’t have yogurt. Anyone have a great one out there? I’ll use the almond milk – that stuff rocks. I’ll never go back to milk again.

I’m going to try to be careful today. I read online that after a gluten stomach attack, things like high fiber foods and dairy can keep it going for days. So no dairy today (I’ll just take out the cheese from that omelet I was planning on….boo.), no soy, no corn, no nuts, and of course, no wheat. And low sugar.

Did I tell you? My come-and-go hives, which I’ve had severely for the last 2 years, is back out of my system. My allergist said this would happen, it comes and goes. A few months ago, I couldn’t touch an ounce of sugar without throat hives, and after testing it a few times lately, my sugar issue is back to normal, and I’ve celebrated with ice cream that’s not sugar free. However. I don’t want to be stupid, and bring these hives back right when it’s going out the door. So I really need to stick to the low- to no-sugar.

But also today, my stomach is inflamed, so high fiber foods won’t feel comfy either, like the salad I made last night. No veggies, either. What the hell am I going to eat today? It might be a BRAT diet day.

Okay, on to IVF. This is really happening. I am really doing this. Tomorrow, we are meeting with my doctor, and creating our IVF plan. All the decisions will be made here. One decision that is rolling around in our heads is the number of embryos to put in, when the time comes. My husband and I have both agreed on two. We would prefer not to go through this again, and twins are something we feel we can handle, afford, etc. Also, if one embryo doesn’t implant, there will be the other one. Many people put in 2 and are only pregnant with one. So we are in agreement. My doctor, however, might be trying to convince us otherwise. The reputation at the center is to have as few multiple births as possible, which I understand, because of possible complications. And I’m young. And my ovaries appear “healthy” – just not the rest of me, but whatever. I know he’s going to try to convince us to put in one, because he’ll assume the one will take. But I’m not so sure I want to count on it like that. We still are thinking two. So it’ll be an interesting conversation tomorrow, but I’m happy to make the plan. After that, I’ll have to wait about 2 weeks before I can get Provera and get this party started. Then, I’ll have new questions for you IVF-ers out there: How bloated will I be, like, do I need to go buy more pants for work? How painful is it? When they say I can’t exercise..what does that mean exactly? How can I avoid OHSS? How painful are the progesterone shots? Etc.

But one day at a time. Today’s goal is for my lower intestine to settle down and convince me I haven’t ruined my chances at a pregnancy by firing on my autoimmune system.

A Natural Mother

What happened to me on Clomid is appearing to be happening to me on follistim. I’m sensing a trend, and it’s really the most bizarre thing.

As a recap, when I was on Clomid, it would work (get me to ovulate by growing my follies) the first time I was on a new dose. So, when I started on 50 mg, it worked. But then, the second time I would use Clomid and start on that same dose I finished with last time, it wouldn’t work, and the doctor would have to up my dose. This happened while on Clomid three different times, and my doctor would just let me stair-step my cycles (not get my period and just keep going instead). Out of the six rounds of Clomid I took, three got me to ovulate. And yes, those three were every other time.

The first round of follistim got me to ovulate. They had to play with that dosage a bit because 50 iu’s weren’t working after a while. So, a week and a half into the shots, I was upped to 75 iu and bam, I grew 3 follies and ovulated. Guess what. I’m on my second round of follistim, and the doctor started me off at 75 iu, since that’s what worked last time. It’s been over 2 weeks now – that’s a lot of shots, and I have one, count them, one small follie, barely over 10 mm. Why am I not surprised? It’s like the first time I use a drug, my body hasn’t seen it before and responds appropriately. The second time, my body fights it off like it’s nobody’s business, daring me to try yet another drug or procedure.

That whole, don’t go on vacation because your estrogen is too high not to see us 3 days in a row thing, was crap. It’s been a week and a few days since then and it’s not looking good. That said, the doctor wanted me to continue this cycle. It’s not as if he gave up on it. But this cycle is going to be one follicle strong. Just one.

I’m not begging for multiples here, and I don’t mean to imply that. However, there’s something about going through all of this, both physically and mentally, where I get to this place where my brain says – you know what, if I’m going to ovulate, it better be more than one egg. When only one grows, I just joined the rest of the population who releases that one egg on their own and gets pregnant by having sex. Ha! Clearly these three-times-a-week jaunts down to my clinic and multiple stomach bruises do not put me in the same place as everyone else, and I would appreciate my body providing me with more than one large follie in order to say, “Thanks for putting up with my crap. Here’s two (or three) eggs for your effort and well-being.”

Plus, this is my last IUI. Yes, it really is. We’ve made up our minds, and have the luxury of being able to do that with our wonderful insurance. I can’t believe I’m getting very close to pulling out the big gun, IVF. It’s scary. Terrifying.

The funny thing is, I’ve recently mentioned IVF to a few people, especially those who I’ve not updated in a while. I don’t mind updating them when they ask, I really don’t. Talking about this has never been an issue. But it’s the funniest thing – the way people react. I’ve learned that most people do not know what IVF is. I guess I shouldn’t expect them to. But I feel like I always knew. I suppose that’s not the case. Anyway, the trend in comments is basically a congratulatory one. Yes, good for you. You’re doing IVF. Yay!

No, you don’t understand. This is the next step, yes. But it’s the last step. Not last last, like there’s no other options. But last as in..the last “common” type of fertility treatment. If that doesn’t work, to my knowledge my options are: surrogate, donor egg, adoption. And those will be done, if need be, but I mean – that’s, well, extreme. It just is. But as for IVF – I’m not happy about it. It’s not a “yay”. This is a step I’m not happy about doing. It’s a huge deal, and it’s scary.

Of course, people also don’t know what IVF entails. They seem to realize the severity of it once I get to the part where they go in and suck out the eggs, one by one. (I try to make it graphic for added effect.)

I’m jumping the gun, I know. I can’t help thinking about my next cycle after this one. Surgery, OHSS risks, and what if none of the eggs are viable? What if it doesn’t work?

One cycle at a time, and I’ll find out the progress on my little follie at yet another ultrasound tomorrow morning. I did start Ganirelix and as far as I know, that means ovulation might be..getting close? Or something? Had to order another round of follistim – blew through that first 900 iu pretty quick!

School is starting soon. My main reaction to this is happiness. I have a regret about this summer – I did nothing with it. I told myself I needed to do some projects, or something. Read some good books. I don’t know what the hell I did do this summer, but I know what I didn’t do. Anything. I wasted it. But then, I suppose the whole past year has been somewhat of a waste, and the only thing that got me through it with actual happiness was my last class. They were so wonderful. I laughed every day. Now, it’s back. Granted, I’m just starting to put my room back together again, and I’m getting a whole new round of kids, but having something to focus my mind on is such a relief. I almost forget this pregnancy mess.

But then today was a reminder of what is so far away. One of my most dedicated, happy, well-rounded 11-year old students from last year has come back to help me set up my room. He is actually one of a few students helping me out in my room this week, for which I am so grateful. But he was the first. We got a lot done; bulletin boards, attacking the closet, etc. I knew he was coming in advance and I told his mother I’d make him lunch as a thank you. Nothing much – just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, a Gatorade, and chips. Well, he wolfed that sandwich down like it was his first meal on earth, and he raved about how delicious the bread was, how much he just loved the sandwich. He was also grateful for the rest of the food, and it’s not like he doesn’t eat at home! He has a wonderful family. I felt this sense of motherly..I don’t know, pride or something. Longing. That I could do something for him that he appreciated. Because he is coming back later in the week, and because my house is running out of food, I went to the grocery store after I left school. Bought more of that bread he loves (it’s my husband’s – with gluten), more jelly since we were out, Gatorade, etc. It made me happy to buy this food, and I will be even more happy when I go to make his lunch.  I realized how badly, how truly badly I want to be a mom. I want to be that mom in the store, thinking about my kids and remembering their favorite snacks, and bringing them home to make the kids happy. Such a simple little gesture but doing it for this student felt so good, it must be what mothers feel. I won’t go this far because he’s a student, not my kid, but I can’t wait to sneak a few m+m’s into a sandwich, or write a note that s/he finds at the bottom of his/her lunchbox that says “Have a great day. Love, Mom.” That’s what I want. That is the dominant feeling I am lacking most, the one that seems so very natural to me, and I think I do it well, but never have a chance to use it. I really do think I’m a natural mother. I’ve thought that for a very long time. Which is what makes this all the more difficult.

Like I said before, teaching is on the brain a bit now, and I’ll start updating my new teaching blog more often. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can do so here. I’m a little confused with wordpress – a lot of people who read this blog are reading my new blog and getting the emails, but my new blog doesn’t say I have them as followers. I don’t get it!

Stupid ovaries.

My ovaries and I aren’t getting along at all. As the days pass, I’m coming to the realization that my ovaries are lazy. Stagnant, unconscious. They don’t DO anything.

I should have already known this, since I was only able to ovulate on Clomid when I stair-stepped, and each cycle would be 60 days long. For some strange reason, I assumed that moving on to the big drugs, the real deal, would change all that. I was wrong!

Today will be my 14th day of follistim. I did 5 or 6 days of 50 IU, 5-6 days of 66 IU, and today is Day 3 of 75 IU. My last blood test a few days ago showed that my estrogen actually dropped a little bit, and the ultrasound didn’t have a single follicle on each side larger than 8 or 9 mm.

Is this normal?

Even though the labs don’t say it, I must have PCOS. There has yet to be a moment where my doctor confirms I have PCOS, but if you have 30 follicles on each side, just hanging out, isn’t that a strong indication? I understand that my doctor wants to take things very slowly, because of those 60 follicles. I imagine I’m at a high risk for multiples, if my ovaries ever decide to actually do anything! Right now, the only thing growing is my frustration level.

And I’m used to waiting, by now. I should expect that it takes forever for my follicles to grow. It’s just that I wonder if it’s worth it, to do follistim with an IUI, if it’s going to take months to get there.

I did a little googling and it seems others in my situation just say the hell with it, and go to IVF. I am willing to do that – next cycle. It’s not an option for this cycle, and I did check. So I need to wait this one out, again. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, and I’m still holding out a little hope, but I wonder how many days of shots I will be doing before a doctor says, this isn’t working. On to the next thing.

It’s funny how that “woe is me” attitude creeps up on me. Once I started the shots, I was feeling pretty decent again. Now that nothing is happening in there, those thoughts just appear in my head again. They tell me it’s going to be a long time until I’m pregnant. They tell me I’m going to be doing IVF during the school year, which makes for a stressful time. And the scariest thought is this: what if my autoimmune problems, which are clearly still around, aren’t going to allow the 1) follicles to grow, 2) sperm to meet with egg, 3) BFP to stick, 4) baby to be carried to term. Seriously, the “woe is me” attitude brings about many worries, and they don’t help me in the slightest.

It’s the worrying right now that holds me back. I would’ve liked to join in on the diet and fitness challenges that Belle, Sunny, and Jenn (among others) are doing, but I can’t make the commitment. What if I need to eat rice krispies with almond milk in the middle of the day to make me feel better? And how can I find the right diet? The diet that feels best for autoimmune problems is not exactly the same as the PCOS diet, and I feel like I have too many health problems all at once to figure out what my body needs.

The one thought I’m trying to push away is the fear. If I could successfully completely cut out certain foods from my diet, would I get pregnant then? If I was just more dedicated to health and fitness, would it happen? Is the fact that I ate an ice cream the other day, with sprinkles, mind you, which had dairy and sugar (two things I usually don’t eat), and I had stomach issues the next day  – could that be why my ovaries aren’t functioning?

These are completely irrational thoughts, and I understand that. But I hate feeling so out of control with my own body. Naturally, I want to place the blame on myself, because when I do that, things make sense. If I just throw my hands up and say it’s not my fault, well then, it doesn’t make sense to me. But by doing this, I am adding so much extra pressure to myself that I don’t need, and it causes me to…overeat. I have always held myself to standards that are too high. I have always put on the pressure, the stress. Now is no exception. It’s very hard to let go. Ugh. I do want to get in on those challenges, girls. I just don’t know where to start.