Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Don't Want You to Get Your Hopes Up

I was so excited and nervous for our IUI this morning. We got there for my sono at 8:30 to find that I had not yet ovulated. I had two eggs ready to go, one at 25.5mm and one at 21.5mm. The 16.5 had already shrunk back to 14, but one of the 14s from the other side had grown to a 16. In the end, all we had was two. I was okay with that.

Hubs and I went and got breakfast while we waited for Hubs' "specimen" to be prepared. Then we sat in the freezing cold waiting room for just over half an hour to be called back. I was wise to how cold the waiting room is, and so was nice and cozy under a blanket, while I passed the time playing solitaire on my phone.

At 10:00 we were called back into a room, and sat there, waiting for a few minutes. When the door opened and Dr H came into view, I smiled and told him good morning. The look on his face told us he had some bad news. He said, "I don't want you to get your hopes up."

I won't go into details, but Dr H told us that with what he saw from Hubs' sample, our only real shot at another baby is to do IVF. I kept a stiff upper lip, and stayed as upbeat and positive as I could. Dr H asked if we still wanted to go ahead with the IUI, telling us it wasn't impossible, by the likelihood was low. We decided to go ahead with it because the money has already been spent. We had nothing to lose by going forward with it.

After the procedure, Dr H asked if I had a follow-up appointment schedule for two weeks from today. I told him it was going to be less than 14 days, and asked if that was okay. He told me it didn't matter this time, because the appointment would not be to discuss our next cycle plan.

Yeah, take a minute to really let that sink in. Ouch.

Now before you think Dr H is a Debbie Downer, he has been nothing but awesome and optimistic for us since the day we met him. So the fact that he was down today, is concerning to me. It was really hard to take.

I kept my emotions in check until we got out to the car, and then I cried the whole way home.

Every time a doctor tells us we won't get pregnant because of Hubs, I think they are wrong. Little Bean is proof, right? They have to be wrong. Right? Hubs reminds me, its not impossible. Our chances just aren't very good.

We've had a couple doctors, Dr H included, that have told us when it is a problem with the male, there isn't anything you can do. But Hubs has done sooooo much research and has found numerous studies that disagree. They all cite different things that have been tried and proven to help with issues like his.

This was our last cycle for this year, but Hubs has said he will go see a male fertility specialist. We were just disappointed because he has done so much this year to try to make his end of things better, and it hasn't. But from what he says, there is still a lot to try yet.

We're not done. We're not giving up. If Hubs' insurance will cover IUIs with no cap, we'll do an IUI every single month next year if we want to. We're going to keep trying, and we're going to keep trying new things.

Its just hard when the problem isn't all yours. It was easier for me to handle when I thought it was all me because I knew there were so many things we could do and try without having to consider IVF. But it hurts to think there is nothing more I can do.

I have said all along, I don't want to do IVF. It costs too much and the odds aren't great enough for me to justify the expense. Hubs' insurance covers fertility, but even they draw the line at IVF. If we went that route, it would be 100% out-of-pocket again. To me, the line between us and IVF is set, its not a line in the sand. If that's our final option, we're going to throw in the towel.

One thing we learned today: it takes 100 sperm to fertilize an egg. It takes 100 to break down the barrier around the egg enough that one can get in.

While our outlook for this cycle is bleak, the fat lady hasn't sung yet. Unfortunately, we won't know for 2 full weeks if she is going to sing or not. I just hope that fat cow keeps her mouth shut!

Here's to being cautiously hopeful....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oh the Difference a Day Makes

I went in for my CD14 sono yesterday morning and left feeling so defeated. I guess the lesson I am learning from this cycle is that I know nothing about injectible cycles as far as what is considered a success and what isn't. I also learned that follies are still good up to 28mm, even though my cycle plan may say to trigger at 18mm.

As we all know, this was my first cycle on Menopur. I expected to have lots of follicles on both sides, just based on the fact that these meds are $75/day. I mean, I can get fantastic results on chlomid with as many as 6-8 follicles, so I figured Menopur would yield similar results. I was so very disheartened yesterday when I only had two, with the possibility of a third. I didn't understand how the sonographer could be telling me I was responding really well to the Menopur. I thought for sure Dr. H would think we would have to modify something if we end up cycling again. I also fully expected Dr. H to tell me to trigger at 9:00 last night, and to come in Weds morning for IUI. Instead, I was told to take the trigger either last night or this morning, and to come back in for another sono this morning (which = more $$$$).

Yesterday I had three follies at 22, 17.5, and 14.5, and three more at 14. I won't go into details, but I thought we were only going to be afforded one chance, with the 17.5. When I went in today my follies had grown almost 2mm since yesterday. I had a 24, 19.5, and 16.5. The other three had remained the same size or had begun to shrink.

Dr H is out of the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so the sonographer called to give him my results. A few minutes into their conversation he asked to talk to me. After the pleasantries (I seriously love this guy), he said, "I have to ask if you are okay with the slight possibility of triplets." I laughed and told him that yes I was because I didn't think it would happen. He agreed that it was a small possibility, but that he had to ask.

I trigger tonight, and we are scheduled for IUI Thursday morning. I have to admit I wasn't feeling very hopeful until I talked to Dr H. But something about that guy makes me think this could actually work. I've thought about it all day, and realized this really could work. The point of the Menopur was to give us more than one chance, and to make any eggs we did get, were as good a quality as we could get. Add to that, we're doing the IUI, which super charges Hubs' donation. So yeah, we have a pretty good chance!

So fingers crossed, here we go with our first (and hopefully only [because it is successful]) IUI!

P.S. I will be catching up on blogs soon!

P.P.S. Sorry if this is over the heads of all you fertile folk. This post is more for me than anyone else. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the Middle

I have been really bad about updating my blog for the past year, and today I realized that I was doing myself a major disservice, especially when we're cycling. You see, I often times refer back to my blog during any cycle to see if I can pinpoint when certain events happened to help me figure out if I experienced certain symptoms before. Well this time, I hope I haven't done myself the biggest disservice of all.

Right now I am CD10 and have been giving myself Menopur injections for the past 6 days. I have 3-5 more days to go. This is significant because this is my first cycle that is 100% out-of-pocket, my first cycle with daily injectibles, and my first IUI in 5 years. I've only had one IUI before, and it was so long ago, it was before I was blogging.

The first few days on the Menopur I didn't notice anything as far as side effects. I found that giving myself abdominal shots was actually very easy, partly because I have lost a lot of feeling in my abdomen from all of my surgeries. I don't feel the needle go in for the first few millimeters at all. By the time I do feel it, the needle is almost all of the way in.

I thought I was going to skate by with no side-effects, but a couple of days ago I started to notice I was having some pregnancy-like symptoms. Mostly that anything and everything in regard to food made me want to vomit, especially the thought of meat in any form. I have been going to my favorite restaurants for lunch, and can't find anything on the menu that doesn't sound completely disgusting. I go back and forth between starving and wanting to vomit, without eating in between. In addition to those symptoms, I've had pain behind my eyes. It doesn't bother me if I'm looking forward, but if I try to look out of the corners of my eyes, it aches.

I realize it sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm really not. I'm just documenting my symptoms just in case we do an injectible cycle again, which is very possible because we found out Hubs' insurance covers fertility treatments. So next year we are switching to his insurance, and if we don't get pregnant this year, all of our cycles will be covered next year!

I definitely feel the Menopur working, especially today. I've had a lot of twinging today. I am most worried that I will be overstimulated and the cycle will be cancelled because this is the last cycle we're going to do this year. I am also worried that my sonogram on Monday will be too late. I am afraid I will have either already ovulated, or be in the process of it. So I'm torn between trying to get in for a sono on Sunday and having to pay $450+ for it, or waiting until Monday and paying less than $400.

So far I have taken $450 in shots, tomorrow morning will make $525. By the time I am done with the Menopur, I will have given myself at least $750 in shots. The sonogram will cost us around $400, assuming we only need one. The hCG trigger will be $85. The IUI will be $385. There is at least one doctor appointment in there that will run less than $300. Last time I added it all up, we were in this almost $3k. The idea of only having to pay copays for all of this next year if we have to... AWESOME! SO AWESOME!

If everything looks good on Monday, we'll end up triggering Monday night and doing the IUI Wednesday morning.

Two months ago I was so excited to do IUI. I just knew it would work. But now that I'm in the middle of the cycle, I find that I am keeping my feelings neutral to numb. I keep thinking of all my blog friends who have done IUIs and IVF before me, taking the same meds, and have nothing to show for it. I find thinking about that brings me down.

Obviously I hope this cycle works and we can be done. Sadly, I am getting to the point where I almost hope we get pregnant with twins because of all the crap we've been through trying to get pregnant. I have never wanted twins. But at this point, I've done and spent more TTC #2 than I did for #1. I feel like I should really have something to show for it. That thought is, well, there are too many words to describe how I feel when I think about it. Put simply, it sucks.

So there is the cycle dump. Now I can sleep tonight knowing everything is documented for posterity. Go me!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mr. Bigglesworth

Mr. Bigglesworth 1998-2012
 Somewhere around the end of May 1998 my dad came to pick me up from my freshman year of college. As I was locking up the Music Department Property Manager's office for the last time before summer, my dad broke the news that one of my childhood dogs had passed earlier in the week. I instantly started to cry and asked why I hadn't been told, and my dad said that my parents chose to withhold the information until I was done taking my final exams, so as not to upset me too much. Even though I was upset, I understood.

After we had the last of my things packed into the car, my dad and I got on the road. A short while into the trip home my dad told me that they already had a new dog. Again, I was a little upset. Three-and-a-half hours later, we finally arrived home. It was very late, and my family had long gone to bed. My little brother was outside, sleeping in a tent with his new puppy. I took my own sleeping bag and went outside to join him, and to sleep with my dog so that she would know the puppy had no claim on my affection.

Upon entering the tent I was tackled by a fat little puppy who wanted desperately to lick my face clean off. I shoved him over to my brother, climbed into my sleeping bag, and snuggled up to my own dog. Within seconds, the puppy was in my face, ferociously licking my nose. I kept throwing him back over to my little brother, only to have him make his chubby way back to me. "Bird, keep your dog on your own side of the tent!" I yelled, as I tossed the puppy back to him.

That night was the beginning of a 14-year companionship between my little brother, my dad, and their dog.

Over the years Mr. Bigs has watched two of his K-9 companions pass on, one at the age of 14, and one at the age of 3. He has watched two of his feline companions pass on, both at the age of 14. He hiked up the canyons with my own Mags, and attempted to use her as a floatation device when Mags dove into a small pond to fetch a ball (this was when he learned he did not like swimming). My little brother and I have come and gone from his life as we went to college or war. My dad was a constant for the old boy, but he loved everyone.

Bigs and Roo

He was always happy, and we always swore that if his tail hadn't been docked, he would wag it so hard he would take off in flight. The only person he didn't like was my parent's next door neighbor, and I always stood by the fact that Bigs had an excellent sense of character. Often times I would wish that Bigs could clear the fence and clear the neighbor off. They were arch enemies. But Mr Bigs loved kids and cats. He got along with everyone and loads of love to share.

Such a happy boy

He wasn't always the easiest dog, and there were times when we wondered where we had gone wrong in his training (I did most of his early training, and my dad and brother took over while I was away). But one thing we were always sure of is how much we loved him and how much he loved us.

Today was one of those days that I will look back on for years and will still cry about, just as I do when I think about all of the animals we have had to put down before him. To me, a dog isn't just a dog. They aren't people, but there is a reason dogs and people have been companions since nearly the dawn of time. The bonds between us are strong and go just as deep as those with our human family members. Losing a dog or cat is every bit as painful to me as losing a person I love.

Bigs and puppy Roo

When my little brother called me early this morning, I knew something was up. He and my dad were on their way to the vet to put Mr. Bigglesworth down. It took about 10 minutes to really sink in, but when it did, all I could do was sob. I got to be on the phone for his last minutes, and be there for my dad and brother the best I could with 1,300 miles between us. Yet, it hurt even more that I wasn't there.

Butchie, you were a wonderful dog and I loved your big boy head with your floppy puppy ears. I loved rubbing your tummy. I loved throwing the toy for you. I loved hearing your big bark and always feeling safe when you talked or even just walked by my side. I am going to miss you so much. I love you big boy. Take good care of Roo, Bris, Frank, and Bubba.

I love you big boy