Scheduled Out.

I’ve been thinking about schedules a lot this week. My last graduate school class starts this week, and thus I feel the pinch, again, of working full time while also being a part-time student. Luckily, this’ll be the last time we have to deal with it.

The problem, of course, comes in that work has given me a special dispensation about my schedule – I’m still working my hours, but it’s on a modified schedule, and I have a coworker helping me cover the times that I’m gone. And then the idea is that I would also be going for RE appointments. Or really, just the one. I really just need to schedule one and get it over with, but I think I have a raging fear of it being somehow the straw that breaks the camel’s back. And of course, the RE I’ve chosen, although close to both home and work, only has daytime hours. For some reason, the ones that are both reasonable and nearby in Manhattan only have daytime hours. I’m guessing there are enough patients that it doesn’t matter. Who knows.

But I have a ton of fear. That my boss will not give me the time, or give me a hard time about it, or any other twelve hundred things. That they would want some kind of explanation of the need for doctor’s visits. I mean, I can lie – the first, at least, could be a regular check up. But who wants to lie?

The process of dealing with needing help. I’m having a really hard time with the idea of needing to see a doctor, not even really about the procedures – I’ve read a lot online, I have a pretty reasonable idea about almost anything they might want to do.

That despite all the help, we’re going to end up back here, no baby, poorer, and still facing down something like adoption. Which isn’t bad, but that’s not the road we started on.

Just gotta suck it up and do. And let the scheduling stuff work itself out. Maybe.

This is also my social anxiety at its worst. Having to pick “the right” doctor, and then scheduling with them, and blah blah blah. UGH.

Today is also mikvah day – a ritual immersion that allows me to have sexual relations with my husband, and something I usually really enjoy. It’s just gotten harder and harder and harder as the time goes on. You don’t go when you’re pregnant (except sometimes women go in the last month of pregnancy) and so, each time I go, it feels just a little more like a failure. Ugh. I’ve cried the last several times I’ve been – in the preparation room. Sigh.

ETA: As I was writing this, my amazing husband was contacting my old RE that we can’t use because of insurance (although we wouldn’t have used him anymore anyway…) so we are underway for getting my records from them. That’s a huge relief too. I’m also really curious to see my chart as well!

CD1. Again.

Well, it wasn’t Wednesday. 

But it is today. All week has been ups and downs. Tuesday I was super emotional, and I was sure yesterday would be it. Yesterday, I felt better on that account, but had brown spotting. My temp was still high, but I didn’t trust it.

Today, my temp is lower, I have cramping. And blood. 

So, onto the next. My acupuncuturist gave me different herbs to try. Hopefully over this cycle I’ll get to actually make my new appointment with my new RE. And then we’ll get this thing moving again. 

Cycle 21. We’re so close to two years I could cry just thinking about that, never mind that it’s CD1. 

Miles to go before I sleep.

Nine things.

Stuff I knew before TTC

1. No one is guaranteed a baby when they want it. And yet, some people are able to plan like that. This makes it ridiculously difficult for them to understand those who can’t plan.

2. I really, really wanted to be among those who could plan for a baby and have it work totally correctly.

3. If you can, waiting to start trying is not the wrong decision. Having a baby is a big deal.

Stuff I realized when we started

1. Sex ed in this country is 99.9% about how not to get pregnant. For a huge percentage of the population, that makes total sense. For the rest of us, it means that not only do we not get the info we need, but it leaves the majority population totally stumped about what’s going on with us.

2. There’s actually a lot that I can know about my body by paying attention. I can figure out if and when I’m ovulating, if my basal body temperature is high or low, if it’s erratic. I can find out what my luteal phase looks like, and predict which day I’m going to get my period.

3. However, pregnancy symptoms and PMS symptoms can be the same. Like seriously. Heartburn, fatigue, being emotional? Yeah, that can all be PMS OR pregnancy symptoms. Really? Who decided that. I mean, it makes sense – your body can’t really tell the difference either until it realizes that nothing burrowed into your uterus, and the luteal corpus dies and you get your period. But still. Totally useless for those of us TTCing. Especially since no chart can ever tell you if you’re really pregnant.

Stuff I know now, as we’re rounding 20 cycles out

1. How much harder it would get to watch other people be pregnant. And also, how hard it is being different depending on who it is. There’s always jealousy – doesn’t matter what the story is – because they have something that I desperately want. But there’s a difference. It’s easier for that jealousy to be mixed with happiness when it’s someone I know struggled. It’s impossible when I know the baby wasn’t so planned, or the person can’t shut up about it. It has a lot to do with how much I like the individual as well.

2. I keep hope each cycle, but I’ve started planning like it’s not going to work. Early on, I’d think sometimes about “Oh, what if I’m pregnant when X happens?” And sometimes, I’d set my heart on it. And it hurt more than it was worth. So I’ve stopped saying it. Sometimes, it pulls me back in, but I’m better about it. I don’t hang a star on it. It’s just there. Milestones hurt, but there’s nothing to do for that. Going on our annual family vacation, my birthday, our anniversary. Praying that by this time next year, things will be different.

3. The grief and the uncertainty, and that they feed into each other. I feel grief about our family that we wanted. I saw a note I wrote about our ideal family, years and years ago, and I just laughed. All the dates I wrote for starting our family have already passed. So, we sit in the uncertainty, and I grieve for that timeline, and feel that I’m missing something. Not to mention, the Big Fear. The one that says I will always feel like this – that there will never be a baby for me. I can feel the lie in it, but it’s really difficult in the moment to separate it from my daily truth. Still waiting, sad and uncertain.

 

ETA: Expecting AF tomorrow. Think of me if it does turn out to be CD1 again.

Infertility = Disability?

RESOLVE posted this article on their facebook: Is Infertility Fertile Ground for Disability Discrimination Claims? 

Given that I can’t comment on facebook (hi, totally not private at all!), I wanted to talk about it here where it is private.

First, I appreciate the sentiment. As I mentioned previously, I haven’t needed to deal with employers and infertility yet, but I’m worried we’re going to get there soon. In a way, it’s nice to have something in my pocket – if they aren’t accommodating, there’s actually precedent for getting help, if I need it. Not that I imagine that they wouldn’t be accommodating, but because understanding that I have backup is nice.

It definitely makes me feel that there are at least some parts of the establishment that take the ridiculous world of infertility seriously.

But, there is a part of me that is a little squicked out at the idea of being “disabled” – who really wants that as a thing? But at the same time, I keep feeling like I want to explain to everyone how hard this is, how life changing, and how permanently life changing it is. So I guess it makes sense – this is one kind of recognition. Still.

What do you guys think?

The Second Worst

I was actually going to call this the worst time of the month, but that’s not true. The worst, always is CD1. When it is FOR SURE that you’re not pregnant and it’s just miserable. Trying to put yourself together so you can try to try again.

No, I’m thinking about the 2WW. I’m trying to be reasonable. In fact, I wrote somewhere else that I’m expecting AF on Wednesday.

Which I am.

But that never stops me from making fantastical plans.

A friend and I are planning a joint Disney trip in May for our birthdays. I love Disney and so does she, and she’s turning 30. We don’t live near each other anymore, so meeting up somewhere we both love seemed obvious. Today I was reading the guide book I bought (The Unofficial Guide – the holy grail of getting the most out of your trip), even though I honestly could probably plan the entire trip without it without trouble, and imagining how this trip would be different if I’m pregnant.

That although we are currently planning for me to not be pregnant, my friend knows we’re trying and there is a huge part of me that will be glad to miss all kinds of rides if I am pregnant.

That this cycle would put me being due right before our 7th wedding anniversary. And a month before my husband turns 32. That it would be super inconvenient from a work standpoint is fine – I’ve always expected that whenever I would be due would be among the least convenient times. So there’s that.

There’s the part of me that has hope. And the part of me that knows that this hope is probably futile and will make CD1 worse.

But I can’t help it.

Inspiration

Yesterday, I was sick, so I took some time to look through some of the listings of infertility blogs. There are lots of them, and I was hoping to follow a few.

Many of them have been abandoned, as blogging is hard work and people aren’t always that interested in dealing with it in an ongoing way. It’s interesting to note that often, they seem to have been abandoned right after a two week wait. Maybe the writer got pregnant. Maybe the writer just gave up. We might never know. I didn’t follow any of those.

Of those that are still going, many of them have turned into mommy blogs. Not that I blame them – and they’re cute, with beautiful babies and families and happiness. I honestly didn’t follow any of these either.

There’s a small subset, though, that were abandoned after a successful pregnancy, but where the writers left a lasting note – something for people who might stumble upon the blog to read. I wanted to post two of them here, with links, as inspiration.

So I have completely forgotten about this blog, and now it’s YEARS later. I thought it would be nice for those who stumble across this depressing blog to know where I’m at.

After years of trying naturally, countless IUIs, and a failed IVF round, I finally got pregnant after an FET (frozen embryo transplant). And what do you know, I had twins. A boy and girl born August 2010. They are 19 months as I type this and the joys of my life. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to write about them or the rest of the infertility journey, but for those of you who struggle, there is hope. It sucks, it hurts, and no one can ever understand the pain we go through, but keep at it. Because the end result is worth every single tear we cry. [Being Veggie and Wanting a Baby]

 

Have you ever heard someone talking about their dream coming true and thought to yourself, lucky them; that’ll never happen to me. Have you ever wanted something so badly you’d go to the ends of the earth for it? Have you ever begged God to give you that something? Have you ever hated Him when his answer was no, not yet, or just silence?

Do you think you’re the only one – that you’re alone?

There’s a blog I’ve followed for a couple of years. The writer has DOR also. Her first and second IVF attempts failed and her third was successful with only one embryo to transfer, only one chance. When I read her pregnancy announcement post I thought, well good for her. She’s so lucky. But that will never be me.

When it became apparent IVF was our best option we jumped into it, and into our savings account, eyes closed, breath held. When it didn’t work I left the career and the people I loved for a job I didn’t love, 50 miles away, all for the sake of IVF coverage.

In my prayer journals of the past several years everyday contains the same prayer: please God, let this work. And then the same lamentations: Why? Where are You?

Two weeks ago our son was born. He was born healthy and without complication. My dream come true; my end of the earth; my answered prayer. If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you don’t think it’ll ever happen for you, even though you’d do anything. You don’t think God is listening. You think you’re alone. But I bet there is at least one other person praying for you. I bet there is a small voice inside that still believes. I bet that someday you’ll have your own epilogue that is so awesome, so amazing and awe-inspiring that you won’t have words to say to describe it, so instead you’ll just marvel in it and you’ll say, this is my dream come true; my end of the earth, my answered prayer. [Diary of a Mad Infertile Woman]

This stuff is hard. Reading stuff like this, from people who went through it and got to the other side – it helps.

 

Both. I Want Both.

I’ve been thinking about this nonstop since last night. It doesn’t help that I’m home sick today (YUCK) so I don’t have as much of a distraction as I usually do.

Sometimes I feel like I just think that everyone who gets pregnant before me doesn’t deserve it. Like, I SHOULD be first. Particularly since about 90% of the people got married after us, and more and more lately, started trying after us. So, that sucks a lot. But I don’t think it’s the most honest representation of what I think. Mostly, it’s that I don’t understand why it can’t be both. Why do you get it and I don’t? It’s worse when someone isn’t happy about being pregnant, but lets be honest, 95% of the time, at least in my world, people are happy to be pregnant. So, I wonder – why do they get the happiness? Why couldn’t I get it as well? There aren’t a limited number of babies out there (I keep having to remind myself of this…infertility does strange things to your brain), so it doesn’t matter if someone else is pregnant, in terms of MY chances of getting pregnant. But still. Why not both?

In the interest of disclosure, my policy seems to be much less favorable towards the small (but growing) number of my facebook friends who had newborns right around the time we started trying and are now well on their way to their second children. That’s a little much for anyone in our situation to be magnanimous about. Obviously, I know, again, that it doesn’t really make a difference in my situation, but we’re talking emotions – they aren’t logical. I just keep feeling like I’m a small child, and it’s MY turn and I KEEP GETTING SKIPPED. The unfairness of it all! The desire to have a tantrum that really doesn’t go away, because the thing hasn’t been rectified. Sigh

~~

Cycle News: I’m hoping I’m going to ovulate soon. It’d be nice – mostly on time. Ugh. Body, work. It’s CD18 of Cycle 20. BLECH.

~~

You’ll notice (if you care) that many of the blogs I had on my sidebar have been removed. Either people got pregnant and stopped posting or just stopped posting without getting pregnant. So, I cleaned house. And now to look for some more people to follow along with – I’m open to suggestions 🙂

 

 

 

 

Meltdown

DH and I are overscheduled. We’re so overscheduled that we have started implementing meetings to talk about stuff together, because otherwise, stuff never gets talked about.

On the docket today was infertility stuff. We’re still trying to get the insurance stuff for my new job set up – the HR department leaves A LOT to be desired – but it just brought up a lot of crap that I hate.

It’s hard. He feels it in a very different way than I do. I have rearranged my life in a way that he has not, I have changed the way I eat in a way that he has not, etc, etc. All of those things that make this a really different experience for him than for me. And although I’m in therapy, honestly, I could probably only talk to her about this and that would take up all our session time and then some. And there are other things I need to talk to her about.

I’m not feeling very hopeful this cycle. And honestly, given the way my cycles are falling out and when I become eligible for health insurance through work, it’s not going to be until yet another cycle after this one (at least 6 weeks) before we are able to see a doctor. It’s so old – I feel as though we’re treading water, and I just want to be moving already before we start to drown. A good friend of mine is due in March and I am going to have such a hard time if we’re not even begun to be pregnant by then. And I don’t think we will.

I hate being stuck in the quicksand at the beginning while everyone else gets to run the race. The race might be hard, but at least you’re moving. Meanwhile, all of us “fertility challenged” are hanging out in the quicksand trying to figure out how the hell to get out. Ugh. What a metaphor, but it’s my favorite one that I’ve found so far.

Finding a Little Comfort

I read an article today that made me cry. The topic itself was reasonably lighthearted – a secular woman who takes pictures of ultra-Orthodox/Haredi women and is putting together both a show and a book about her experience. And then there’s this little gem.

At the Western Wall, she photographed a cane-toting woman who told her she came to pray every day for 25 straight years to beg God for children.

Thanks for that, Jewish Week!

It brought to the forefront something that I’ve been struggling with for a while in terms of what it means to be a person of faith and struggling with infertility. There is such a temptation to fall on your knees and cry to the heavens, “WHY ME?” Especially when it comes to the zillions of people all around me who get pregnant at the drop of a hat, whether they want to or not. What do they have that I don’t?

The reality is that I don’t really know how God operates. I do believe that much of the hurt and tragedy in the world comes from God’s love of freewill – that he loves freewill so much that he allows terrible things to happen. It doesn’t explain everything, but it helps.

The other thing I believe is that despite everything, God is there for comfort. No matter how much I didn’t appreciate being blindsided by that article, being able to cry about it was actually a good experience in the end – clarifying. I’ve had a couple of comport experiences in the last few weeks. Times where I haven’t really been thinking about things, and something has just struck me as so perfect that my breath is taken away.

The first two happened at Friday night Shabbat services, on different weeks.

Every week, our congregation (which happens to be Sephardi – tracing it’s ancestry to Spain or North Africa), sings Psalm 23.  I was drifting through it (as I do – it’s really beautiful), and a passage spoke to me. [Presented in translation here]

I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me,
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me
Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine adversaries,
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for length of days

Despite the reference to death that comes right before that – it spoke to me in a way that eased some of the ache in my heart.

The second one happened the next week, at the end of the main section of the prayer service (although before the reading of the psalm) – in a section that I love anyway, but that just felt more meaningful that week. I edit it for my own use – it’s a silent meditation.

Open my heart through Thy Torah,
That my soul may follow Thy commandments
[…]
Do so for the glory of Thy name.
Do so for Thy power.
Do so for Thy Torah.
Do so for Thy holiness.
Answer my prayer, and save me through Thy strength.

The last one is from the blessing we say after eating a meal. I say it all the time, which is what I mean about ordinary words taking on more meaning.

Our God, Our Father, tend and nourish us, sustain us and maintain us, and grant us relief soon, HaShem, our God, from all of our troubles.
Do not allow us to become dependent, HaShem our God, on gifts from flesh and blood, but rather on Your full, open, ample and generous hand,

Something about those passages became something more than just well-familiar words to me. As long as a I can keep those in mind, it drives away some of the ache, keeps me from feeling so desperate for help. God is with us. I just have to keep remembering that.

Alternatives

The thing about fertility, both when you’re dealing with MFI (which we’re not) and when you’re dealing with issues on the woman’s end (which we probably are), is that every health decision feels like it has real potential to be significant. A lot of women I’ve talked to have made lifestyle changes when it came time to try to conceive, and often, when infertility comes into the picture, that kind of thing gets moved to the forefront.

However, as the months pass, it seems like it’s more and more difficult to know what’s the quackery and what’s real. There’s Soy Isoflavones (apparently like Clomid), baby Aspirin, acupuncture, and herbal supplements. Not to mention yoga, meditation, and guided imagery. So, what’re my thoughts on this, 12 months in?

Interestingly, I haven’t found a lot that’s actively dangerous. There are, however, a lot of things that people need to be careful with. If Clomid won’t improve whatever your situation is, don’t do Soy Isoflavones. If you take baby Aspirin, you have to act like you’re on a blood thinner – because you are. So, that’s important to keep in mind, too. As a rule, I’ve tried to stay away from things that require thinking like that.

Herbs and Vitamins

Obviously, I take my required prenatals. I went by the generics from the local pharmacy, although I hear you should go for the fancy organic ones. So far, I’m not convinced on that one. I also take generic pharmacy Vitamin D3 because apparently most people in places with winter end up with at least a little deficiency, and it’s been shown to dramatically increase fertility.

I tried Red Raspberry Leaf for a while. Unclear if it did anything, but I stopped taking it because it was upsetting my stomach. I am trying Evening Primrose Oil this month – I’ll let you know how that goes, but so far, no untoward side effects. Not sure if there are any positive effects either, but still.

Acupuncture

In late October, I decided to start acupuncture for my migraines. It really helped mitigate them – I was missing school and all kinds of things, and that has really diminished. In February, I started going specifically for fertility. I had hoped to move to a clinic that focuses on women’s issues particularly, but right now the cost is prohibitive. We still might make the move if we end up at the RE – we know that that could cost a lot more, and it would be best to try as much naturally as we can.

Other Lifestyle Changes

There are the obvious ones – I’ve stopped caffeine entirely (which I think helped my indigestion a lot). I’m very careful about when I have alcohol – since I’m charting my cycle, I know where I am about 90% of the time, and when I’m unclear, I steer clear. This has meant some creative explaining to friends and whatever on occasion, since we aren’t talking about TTC in person, but most times, people haven’t noticed.

Very recently, I’ve started trying to get more exercise. With school, I have a tendency to be very sedentary – my life revolves around reading, doing assignments and writing papers – all of which require long periods of sitting. To help keep myself moving, I’ve started trying to do a little more walking around, as well as using our Wii more. We have a couple of exercise games, several of which are quite fun and get me moving for a half hour at a time without feeling it. In addition, I just started working with a friend of mine on starting yoga. She is a teacher, so she’s helping me feel out what’s the best routine for me and things. One of the things we’re working on is loosening my tight hips, which is supposed to help fertility – the idea is to improve blood flow to the area. Can’t hurt, right?

Overall, our attitude has been to try to improve my overall health – focusing on things that improve fertility, but in a holistic manner. Hopefully, this’ll help us get a natural BFP – or at least, puts me in the best possible position for when we have to turn to advanced medicine.