A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Odds and Ends; or, The End is Nigh

A few thoughts rattling around in my head this morning:

- Thank you for all your comments, tweets, and e-mails these past few days. I feel like you are holding me up right now and it's incredible--I wish I had known all of you and had this level of support last fall. Your encouraging stories and examples really help, and when you tell me that you have hope for me it helps me have hope for myself.

- I rested a lot yesterday, watched some junk tv (the Giuliana and Bill miscarriage episode--such tears! Yet it was cathartic rather than upsetting), read your comments, and took a very long nap. I gave myself permission to not do anything or be anything other than sad and miserable and mopey. By the evening I was feeling good enough to laugh, so I'm glad I gave myself this time off.

I also read this post by Basic Girl from her post-IUI chemical last February. I was so amazed by her spirit and optimism in that post and by her refusal to submit to hopelessness in a very similar situation to mine--one miscarriage on their own; then nothing; then IUIs. And of course, she's very pregnant now after their first IVF attempt! It made me reevaluate my response to this process, my constant doom and gloom, my overwhelming negativity. I'm going to try to be positive next cycle--not tell myself that I'll get a sticky BFP, but also not tell myself that it won't and can't work. I'll just reassure myself that there's a chance and that we've done all we can.

- This morning, that optimism was sorely tested when I woke up at 5 am with some very dark fears for company. I lay there wondering how many more losses I will be able to handle, and I decided that I can take several more chemical pregnancies but only one more miscarriage of a clinical pregnancy. (I know, this is insanity. Who thinks like this?) I decided that if we have another miscarriage at 7 or 8 weeks I'm putting TTC on hold and pursuing adoption, because I will be tapped out.

Then again, if you had asked me this time last year how many miscarriages or chemical pregnancies I could handle, I would have shouted "None!" and stuck my fingers in my ears and sang to myself to keep from hearing you. This is clearly a moving target.

But those kinds of thoughts are so unproductive and I really don't want to be beset by them any longer. I know I will be in a panic as soon as I get another positive pregnancy test, but I'm going to work on putting that anxiety out of my mind until we get there. And who knows how long that will take.

- I'm heading into Manhattan for my second betas soon. And I finally started spotting this morning. I'm glad, in a strange not-very-glad way. I want this to be over so we can move on and I don't want to take any drugs to end this or have worry about an ectopic or have to wait around for days and days and days hoping my body gets it's act together. Let's just chalk this one up to experience and give the next one a serious shot.

- We have no plans for Halloween this year, but staring at myself in the mirror yesterday I suddenly had a brilliant brainstorm for the BEST Halloween costume ever. Picture this:

A large burlap bag with leg holes cut in the bottom and arm holes cut in the side. I tie the opening around my neck with twine and write the letters S-A-D on the front.

Get it??? A sad sack!!!

Conversely I could always just go out looking like myself.

- And finally, I want to share a picture that Lawyer Guy snapped with his phone on Wednesday after he got home from work. We had cried a bunch and asked ourselves why this was happening and hated this dreadful burden we've been asked to bear. And then around 5:30 he took our pup Bella for a walk and saw this in the sky:

Isn't it incredible? I can't help thinking of Noah and the flood and God's sending a rainbow as his promise to never drown us all again. I know it's just water and sunlight and atmosphere and the right angle, but I can't help but pretend that it's a message from our baby to let us know that he or she is coming if we can just hold on a little longer.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Doctor's Orders; or, The Follow-Up

Dr. Wonderful called this morning to discuss yesterday's results. It was a good conversation--a little scary, but also reassuring and she took lots of time to answer all my questions.

First of all, she said she thinks it's a positive sign that we achieved a pregnancy, even if only a chemical one, in our very first attempt at an IUI. She said this shows her that the treatment can work for us. I'm going to take that and try to find comfort from it.

She then told me to prepare myself for this pregnancy not to last, and I said that I'd basically been anticipating that ever since I saw those ghostly shadows of lines on the pregnancy tests. Those were not lines that suggested a promising ending.

She said she considers this a different category of loss than our miscarriage and that chemical pregnancies are extremely common and an "underdiagnosed" condition. It may be just a fluke--a less healthy egg that happened to be produced and fertilize, which she said all women have.

But we're still going to do an RPL (recurrent pregnancy loss) panel once my betas get back down to zero--karyotyping on Lawyer Guy and me and clotting disorder testing on me. Dr. Wonderful warned me that this will involve a lot of blood work for me. Lawyer Guy is going to see a urologist and Dr. W said that his new doctor may recommend additional testing of LG's sperm based on the morphology stats.

At the same time, we're not going to hold off on treatment until the results come back. Dr. W said she's ordering the panel because she wants to be thorough and leave no stone unturned, but she doesn't think that anything will come back positive. Once my levels drop and I get my period we'll start the RPL testing and also begin treatment for next cycle: another dose of Clomid and another IUI.

Right now I feel a lot of conflicting emotions. I'm glad that Dr. W wants us to go forward with treatment; I'm glad that she thinks we've got a real shot at a healthy pregnancy with IUI; I'm glad that she thinks (or at least says) that the RPL testing is more of a formality than anything else.

And I'm also scared that I've now had a second loss. Even though chemicals are so easy to miss that many, many women may have had them without knowing it, I'm still bummed to be in that tiny category of women that have more than one lost pregnancy. Ever since we lost the m&m, this was my greatest fear: that we would have trouble both conceiving and maintaining pregnancies. That each year we'll get pregnant once only to lose it (I'm eerily prescient, aren't I?).

I'm trying to hold onto the hopeful stories I know--the many women who've had chemical pregnancies and losses and yet are currently cooking babies that seem to be doing well: People like Leslie and Al and Mo. And it's also encouraging that I've now got a doctor whose expertise is exactly this-- someone who responds to unexpected flukes with "Let's be thorough and check everything out" rather than "Eh, chances are everything's okay. Stop worrying."

And like I wrote yesterday, I don't feel like I lost a child, though I also feel considerably more miserable than my usual BFN funk. I never had one moment of "Yay, I'm having a baby!" and I never felt certain that there was anything growing and living inside me. But I also let myself imagine a little--I imagined telling family and friends at Thanksgiving; I imagined bringing 6-week-old twins to my sister's wedding. And those daydreams, fun while they last, create an awful sting when they fall apart.

I guess I'll just sit here for now in this very comfy chair and maybe read a little and try to sleep. And hope that things will seem brighter and more hopeful tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


You know what two incredibly faint, nearly-invisible-to-the-naked-eye lines on two hpts at 14 dpiui and 15 dpiui equal?

A beta of 12.5 At least this will be over soon.

Thanks for the hope and encouragement. I guess those who thought I'd get pregnant were right, in a way. And I guess I was right, too, in my pessimism. A win-win for everybody.

I'm okay right now. I mean, I'm not okay-- I hurt like hell and I'm sad and disappointed because I'd let myself hope too much and too soon, like always. But I don't feel like I lost a baby, not the way I did when the m&m died. I'm just a little tired of getting kicked down every time I think it's my turn.

Another beta on Friday to rule out ectopic (and on the 1/1 millionth of a chance that this fakakta situation turns itself around and we get a baby out of it. Ha!). A phone call from the RE to come to discuss what's next. Lawyer Guy's on his way home from work early. I wish I'd never dragged him into this mess by peeing on that stupid stick.

Let's end with some positives: The sperm can meet the egg; I've got a doctor who's going to figure out what the hell is wrong with us; I have almost run of out imaginary worst-case scenarios that can come true; I used up two more hpts from my 18-month-old stash before they expire in February (4 to go!); I'm getting drunk as shit tonight and canceling class tomorrow.

Oh, and I didn't go to the conference. Thank God right? I will never doubt my wimpy gut again.

Pictures; or, Persuasion

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Weekend Away; or, AF Right Around the Corner

Some bloggers can disappear for four days without feeling like they've abandoned their legions (hear me? LEGIONS) of fans, but not me. I have been terribly worried that you're all wondering: Where's Sloper? Did she finally lose it from yet another BFN and has been committed to Shady Brook by Lawyer Guy for threatening to stab pregnant women in the park? Never fear, the pregnant park-trawlers are safe from my wrath for now, because I never test early (hello, have you met me before?) so the BFNs are at least a day or so away. But I have been too busy to blog for the following reasons:

1) Sickness. On Thursday afternoon I suddenly came down with sharp, AWFUL stomach pains right above my belly button. I was gripping the side of my desk to keep from doubling over while my students worked on their peer review of each other's essays. It was awful. Every time I ate for the next two days the pain came back. On the drive home, I also started to feel like a flu was coming on--muscle and joint aches, chills, tiredness, the works. I spent the night on the couch watching Jane Eyre for the 80-thousandth time and eating chicken soup and drinking Gatorade and went to bed super early that night in the hopes I'd kick it.

2) My stellar immune system did its usual awesome work (this was the first time I'd felt sick in about 4 years!) and I was much better the next day, with the exception of my stomach aches, as I mentioned. This was great because it meant I felt up for my trip to Atlanta with Lawyer Guy for a friend's wedding. We flew out of NYC that afternoon and had a great time not only dancing up a storm at the wedding--which had one of the best wedding bands I'd ever heard--and hobnobing with publishing types (to whom LG kept pitching my one finished novel, the sweetheart) and drinking vodka gimlets, but also spending some time with my second-youngest sister, who just started her first year of law school down there. We ate bbq and grits and biscuits and I'm glad I don't live in Atlanta, because I would be fat(ter) than I am already. Small blessings, right?

It was a really fun, happy weekend and even though I still feel super pessimistic about this cycle and was facing some dark, sad, hopeless emotions before we went, the fun times out-of-town did a lot to pick my spirits up. I'm ready to get my period tomorrow and not jump out the window afterward.

I've also been thinking a lot about the conference I'm supposed to attend later this week. More and more, I just don't feel I have it in me to go, for a lot of reasons. I think I've mentioned that I'm afraid of flying, and pretty much the only thing that gets me through it is holding on to Lawyer Guy (and Xanax). I'm seriously stressing over a cross-country flight without him when I've been in such a funk.

I also don't want to be so far away when I need to talk to Dr. Wonderful about the failed cycle and get started on treatments for next cycle. I don't think I want to be thousands of miles from my doctor and my husband when the nail is pounded into the coffin of this first IUI cycle. And I've lacked any drive or motivation to work on my presentation over the last few days.

I feel like a crappy student and a total failure to even consider backing out of this (and for the record, I'd just let them know that I'm ill and can't fly--which is sort of true if you take neurosis as an illness). But when I think of not going, I feel immense relief. I feel excited to start studying for my oral exams and to start preparing some articles to submit for publication. When I think about going I feel dread and nausea.

I'm going to think about it over night and then call Jet Blue in the morning and find out the penalty for switching the flight. My gut is telling me to cancel. My gut is also a total wimp.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Maybe Next Time; or, Revisiting the Past

I'm sad today.

I wasn't a few hours ago. Then I was busy, writing a few articles for my freelance job, thinking about starting to work on the paper I'm delivering at the conference next week (I'm so anxious about it I'm procrastinating something awful), and checking out some favorite sites online.

And it's not like I didn't know what date today was: October 20th, right? It's not like I didn't know what date yesterday was: I was staring at the big October 19th on my lesson plan all day as I taught. But I managed to forget that last year on October 19th I saw this and wrote this.

Until suddenly I remembered. Who knows what shook that thought loose? But now it's all I can think of: how happy--ecstatic--I was this day last year, how exhilarated and content and certain I had found my happy ending.

Right now, I miss the lost hope and joy of those days as much as I miss the baby I thought we were going to have. Those weeks of happy hopefulness feel like a story I read or a movie I sat through--perhaps they happened to me, but I'm not convinced of it. I'm so sorry for that joyful girl, knowing that she will soon suffer so cruelly. I'm sorry for myself, that the intervening year has ground me down inside to sand, with nothing left to give but endurance.

I don't have that kind of hope any longer. The hope I have is objective and detached. My doctor says I'll get pregnant soon, so I choose to believe she's right. Statistically, I know that I'm likely to have another pregnancy, one day or other. Pragmatically, I know that this situation will resolve itself eventually. I won't always be waiting, however the waiting may end.

But speaking of hope emotionally, those butterflies of excitement and certainty and trust that This is the Time! and Now is the Day! are gone. I know that this month didn't work. My body is telling me so. Maybe my heart is, too.

And I'm sad as well that I have to know this. That I know what it was like to be pregnant and what it is like to not be pregnant and that I can tell the difference. Or if I can't tell the difference, then I'm sad that my self-protective pessimism was so often on-target it ceased to be protective and just became true.

The time I was pregnant passed so slowly and I lived through a lifetime's worth of emotional highs and lows in it. But in reality, it was brief--3 short weeks of knowing I was pregnant and then it was over. I expect those weeks will shock me with their quickness on this side of the continuum. Which is okay. Fast or short, they don't change anything.

These days, three weeks just gets me closer to flipping another calendar page and making a different month the focus of my "Maybe next time" mantras.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Okay, Except When I'm Not; or, 6dpiui

In my mind, I have already started the next cycle. I know I'm only 6 dpiui and I couldn't reasonably expect to have a clear sense one way or the other as to whether this worked or not, but sometimes you just know, right? I'm not sure how I would expect to feel if I were pregnant right now, but it's not like this. So I don't think I am.

And I would be okay with that--not thrilled, but okay, able to cling to Dr. Wonderful's confidence in our future chances and determination to get us to Destination Baby without any further delay--if not for...well, if not for any number of "not fors."

If not for the fact that I am leaving for a conference in Portland the day my period is due, meaning I have to decide whether to test the day before (in order to let my doctor know what's up before I leave) and see one of those BFNs I swore many, many, many months ago I would never let myself see again or wait and get the definitive proof that IUI #1 failed while alone and thousands of miles from home.

If not for the fact that I visited Clueless Preggo over the weekend, who is now Clueless Mommy, and sat there cuddling her sweet baby girl and wishing so heartily that things could be different.

If not for the fact that my best friend, Doctor Lady, is planning on starting to try for Baby #2, like, tomorrow, and I both want her to have an easy time of it and know I will resent her, just a little, for getting so quickly what has been such a struggle for us.

If not for the fact that Safely Married Friend--the one who insisted over and over that children were a long way off in her future--just took the infamous Last Big Trip with her husband and confided that they will start trying in January.

Is it so wrong that I want, desperately and with a jealous fervor that I thought I'd left behind in junior high, to get pregnant before ONE of my friends? To beat ONE person to the punch? To not be lapped by EVERYONE I know? To get to announce my own pregnancy to ONE person who won't be able to look at me with a been-there-done-that-got-the-nursing-bra-to-prove-it smile?

It is. It's stupid. It's meaningless, and I know that. I just hate watching the time slip away, whether measured in calendar months (2.5 left in 2010, that year I had such high hopes for) or in the size of my friend's bellies or in the numbers of children smiling from the Christmas cards that are due to start rolling in any day now.

Dr. Wonderful said these treatments will work, but we have to be a little patient. And I'm good with patience when it's just me in my house with my dog and Lawyer Guy, a stack of nineteenth-century novels to read and some trashy television to watch. But even after all these months (nearly twenty of them) of practice, I find patience in short supply when I step outside my door.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lighting Candles; or, October 15th

Last night, when I told Lawyer Guy that today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, he sort of wearily sighed and said, "Isn't that every day?"

Point taken.

But his saying so helped me realize that, no, it isn't any more for me. I actually have days--or long stretches of time within a day, at least--when I don't think about the m&m and losing him or her. I never have a day without thinking about our struggle and our desire to get pregnant, but I do sometimes cease to think about the pregnancy we lost.

This sort of feels right. I grieved so hard for that baby for so long and it felt like the weight of my sadness would crush me sometimes. Now the moments when I feel overwhelmed by the sadness of the miscarriage are less frequent than the times I think of it with acceptance and peace.

This isn't to say I'm "over" what happened. I'm frequently taken aback by how much remembering that baby still can hurt: recounting our story to Dr. Man and Dr. Wonderful at our initial consultations, for instance, and in each meeting feeling myself fight back tears I hadn't realized I needed to shed. And maybe part of my acceptance and peace comes from the fact that we've just started down this new path to having a baby and I'm optimistic about success. After several months of disappointment and stasis, I may have a very different outlook. The only thing certain in this process is that the situations we encounter and our emotional responses to them will never be predictable.

I'm going to light a candle tonight in memory of the baby I was just beginning to suspect I carried at this time last year. This time--late October, as the world drifts into autumn slowly like a turning leaf--will always belong to that baby, so I'm glad that October 15th falls within the anniversary of his or her short life.

I do love you, m&m. Not the way I thought or hoped or dreamed I would, but the only way I can.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Survivial Techniques; or, 2dpiui

There have been a lot of ups and downs already and I'm only 2 dpiui, which does not bode well for my sanity during this two-week wait. The HCG trigger is still working it's way out of my body, and I've got the same kind of boob pain and a slighter version of the hunger pangs of my pregnancy. Strangely, that doesn't bother me. It's like meeting an old acquaintance and realizing they haven't changed. I know it means nothing about what's going on in my body and I take it for exactly what it's worth.

But my equanimous response to the shot does not mean that I'm handling everything with aplomb. Yesterday, I decided that there's no way the IUI worked because we weren't able to follow doctors' orders and have back-up sex later that night. I spent some time hanging out with Dr. Google (stupid stupid stupid) and learned that post-wash sperm only lives 6-12 hours, so if my ovulation was even a little off, we're screwed. And then I was in quite a funk for the rest of the day.

Truthfully, though, I never really thought it would work even from the beginning. When we made the decision to rush straight into an IUI during our testing cycle, it wasn't because I thought it would actually bring us a baby. It was to get one under our belt before our necessary break in December (and at the time I thought we would also have a November break, though I've changed my thinking on that recently).

There are so many reasons I don't think this worked, aside from my fears about poor timing: the need for self-preservation; my inability to feel hope about this subject; the fact that I got pregnant this time last year; the fact that I want it so much; the fact that everyone who reads my blog wants it for me. Yes, all your encouraging posts and crossed fingers and hopeful wishes are signs to me that this won't happen. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate them-- I really do. I suppose the mind-frame I'm in is capable of turning anything and everything into evidence of its foregone conclusions.

To survive these next weeks, Lawyer Guy and I have come up with a little game. We're going to give each other some kind of nice surprise every day until I get my period or pee on a stick. Yesterday, I vacuumed the rug when he got home, which he had been asking me to do for a while (yes, I'm a terrible housekeeper). He gave me an extra-long kiss (since the bakery a few blocks down was closed). I have to figure out what today's surprise will be. I'm thinking a red velvet twinkie from that same bakery.

I wish I could give myself temporary amnesia and forgot I'm even trying to get pregnant until my period shows. But I guess this will have to do.

Please comment and let me know how you survive a 2ww after treatment or when you're anticipating betas. I'm ready for any tips you can dish out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ladies and Gentleman, We Have Insemination; or, Blueballs and Wee-Wee Pads

Finally, I get a chance to discuss this morning's IUI with all of you, and the first thing I have to say is: Ow!

I mean really, why did none of you tell me how much that catheter hurts going in? Lawyer Guy said he could tell how surprised I was by the pain because I was talking and laughing with him and then all of a sudden my eyes bugged out like Bella's when the vet sticks a thermometer up her butt. That was not the most fun way to spend a morning, for sure. But I'm feeling okay now even after having to stay on my feet teaching for the rest of the day, and I'm sure these last few cramps will go away by tomorrow morning.

And the important thing is, I've got spermies all up in my ute! Good ones, too, I think. DH's count was 35 million and motility was 60%. We don't know the morph numbers, unfortunately (they weren't on the sheet), but I am not going to let that keep me from thinking POSITIVELY about those results. Positive, positive, positive.

Now that the procedure is done and everything went the way it was supposed to, I can tell you about those wrenches I alluded to yesterday. I didn't want to dwell on them when I was still worried about how truly wrenchy they might become, but with the benefit of hindsight they have gained in humorousness.

So yesterday post-monitoring, as I'm sitting outside the bloodwork area waiting to get my trigger shot, LG pulls me aside and tells me that he needs to confess something. Immediately I freeze, terrified about what he's going to say. He goes on to explain that:

In an agony of anxiety about having to produce his sample for the IUI, he started "priming the pump" several days before, hoping to build things up to such a state that finishing on demand on Tuesday would be easy. But he did too good a job and had to pull back on Saturday at the very last minute, leaving him in an agony of blueballs for the next three days. He said he couldn't sit, he could barely walk around, he was so uncomfortable he wanted to cry. He also confessed that he let out a teeny bit on Sunday to try to relieve the agony, which helped for a few hours but not as long as he thought it would. He was also terrified that he had ruined the sample by that moment of release.

It was tough. He kept berating himself, saying "This is all my fault. I fucked everything up," and I was both crying at the thought that he was going to have to relieve himself yesterday and not abstain long enough and laughing at the complete absurdity of the situation. I was glad that he told me about this (because he was acting super distant and weird for the days before and I didn't understand why), but we agreed not to talk about it too much for the rest of the night, so he could try to think about other things and I could avoid becoming insanely anxious.

Thankfully, after some hairy moments, he managed to keep it in his pants until we got to the clinic this morning, when he produced said excellent sample. Crisis averted, much laughter ensured.

In fact, I was laughing all over the place in what was probably a semi-hysterical reaction to the stress of it all. As we were waiting in the exam room for the insemination, LG reminded me that it is his brother's birthday and that I should send him an e-mail. I whipped out my blackberry to do so and just collapsed with the giggles. There is no freaking way I could e-mail my crazy brother-in-law while sitting skirt-less, tights-less, and panty-less in a hospital exam room waiting for a pair of nurses to snake a catheter through my whooha and inject me with my husband's pre-prepared, Pepto Bismal-pink sperm. No. Way.

So I laughed and laughed and kind of couldn't stop laughing and then started to cry and then started to laugh again and then the nurses came in and I held LG's hand while they did their thang.

And now comes the worst part. The waiting. It's all so strange: as much as I hope and pray that this was our lucky shot, I can't believe that it will be. Not only because we have not been first-time-lucky even once during this process (first month TTC: a bust; first pregnancy: a disaster), but also because that is not how babies are made. No one ever said making a baby would involve sitting on a Wee-Wee Pad while strange women poked sharp sticks at my cervix. It's just...it doesn't compute.

How the hell am I going to last the next two weeks?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pull the Trigger; or, Quick Update

The follies are up to 21 mm, and this morning I got my first butt-injection (comfy!). We're all set for 8:15 tomorrow morning.

There have been some unexpected wrenches along the way which I'll cover tomorrow when we make it through the IUI and I get home from teaching (no rest for the wicked).

As much as I tell myself not to hope or expect, I can't help praying: Please, please, please God, let this be what it takes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Not Yet; or, Monitoring Recap [UPDATED]

Time for my first morning monitoring post! I've been reading these for so long, following along with so many bloggers' growing follies and changing expectations for their cycles, that it's kind of fun to finally get to write one of my own. Much more enjoyable than another series of posts bemoaning my tortured relationship with Pissy the CBEFM and wondering if Lawyer Guy's and my genitals would rupture from overuse before I managed to ovulate.

I'll start with some good news: my lining plumped up to 9.5 over the last two days, so there's nothing to worry about on that front. Phew, what a relief! I feel a little silly for stressing so much about it on Friday, but this is all new and overwhelming, so I think I'm entitled to a few overreactions now and again.

In other reproductive news, my rightie follies are now 17 and 17.5, just under what they need to be to trigger. So close! If my bloodwork shows I'm already surging we go back in tomorrow for the IUI, but if I'm not we trigger tomorrow and do the IUI Tuesday. Either way, I should know what to expect by this afternoon.

Doing the IUI tomorrow would be better from a logistical standpoint: both Lawyer Guy and I are free all day and have plenty of time to handle the appointments. If we do it on Tuesday I'll have to figure out what to do about my 10:15 am class in Queens-- maybe push it back a half-hour or find a friend who can fill in for me. But I'm willing to do whatever's required to make this happen.

So now I just wait! I'll update later today with the doctor's instructions.

Update: No LH surge yet, so I'm going in tomorrow morning for more monitoring and most likely the trigger. IUI probably to follow on Tuesday.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Patients and Patience; or, In Which I Become Yet Another Clomid Victim

I've been riding high the past week, so I suppose some sort of crash was inevitable. This crash is small and recent and nowhere in the vicinity of the dark, sad pit I felt trapped in for much of the summer. It's more of a go-kart upset than a 747 falling from the sky. Nevertheless, my exuberant optimism and hope of the past five days has definitely dwindled to a more depressing (and probably more realistic) level.

I have two follies developing on my right ovary, both at 14mm. Dr Wonderful said I was responding "perfectly" to the Clomid and that I will probably trigger at my next monitoring appointment on Sunday morning, IUI to follow on Monday (Tuesday at the very latest). This is all marching along quite swimmingly: Lawyer Guy has off on Monday for Columbus Day, so the IUI appointment will cause no problems at all if we can manage to do it then. And my experience with Clomid has been easy and uncomplicated. No mood swings, no hot flashes, no cysts (yet). Nothing but the occasional fleeting headache and a crampy twinge or two in my ovaries.

So what's the problem? you ask. Why have I gone from blissfully imagining bringing my twins (hello, two follies! Of course I'll have twins!) to my sister's wedding next summer to sighing on the subway as I contemplate starting this whole messy process over again next cycle?

In a word, I have fallen prey to the evil Lining-Devouring Monster that is Clomid. My beautiful 12-13 mm lining is only 5-something mm. I thought I was immune, but not even my overactive uterus can overcome Clomid's death rays. Sigh. Grumble. Moan.

I must point out that Dr. Wonderful did not appear at all concerned about my lining. She didn't mention it other than in an off-hand way as she was tallying up the stats during the ultrasound. In fact, I asked her about it after she finished the u/s and she gave me her opinion that, although Clomid does lead to thinner lining, it still increases the chance of pregnancy. Plus, I suppose there's a chance my lining could improve over the weekend with more red raspberry leaf tea. And there's the salient fact that all my months of perfect, plump, enviable lining did not get me pregnant, so who's to say something a little slimmer can't get the job done.

Still, it's a bit disheartening, especially to someone who's faced a lot more downs than ups in this babychase. I've resisted the urge to google anything about thin lining and pregnancy rates because I want to relinquish control over this to my doctor--that's why we're working with her, after all. It's just that it would be so amazing to be that lucky girl who gets pregnant on her first treatment, her first month of Clomid, and now I don't think it can happen.

Dr. Wonderful said to take a pregnancy test two weeks after the insemination. That will be the first hpt I've taken since last October. And, most likely, the first negative test I'll see since the last pre-pregnant one I took in June 2009. It's probably good that my hopes are tempered and my expectations diminished, given that I will need to pick myself up after seeing that one line.

Dr Wonderful said when she walked into the exam room that I won't be a patient of hers for long. But maybe to prepare me for disappointment, she told me before she left that I need to have patience during this process, because it will work for me even if it takes a little while. I said that patience is one thing I've learned over the past year, which are fairly grand words. I hope I can live up to them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dr. Even-More-Wonderful; or Results and Predictions.

I got confirmation today that I am indeed a smarty-smarty, because my haphazardly chosen nickname for Dr. Wonderful is turning out to be so, so apt. She is really wonderful. I have never felt such relief and comfort after having radioactive dye injected into my nether regions.

So first of all, the results of the HSG were all clear: no obstructions in uterus, tubes flowing freely, everything where it should be and looking good. I was SUPER nervous for the procedure, but Dr. Wonderful talked me through it, making sure I knew what was going to happen at each step, making little jokes to calm me down, and even switching to a smaller catheter when I seemed to be having a lot of discomfort from the original one. She was so great.

Then Lawyer Guy and I headed back across the street to the clinic to monitor my response to the Clomid and to talk about the results of last week's SA (because Dr. W called me, LG never got a chance to speak with her about them). My follies are all still really small, so Dr. W said to come back on Friday to check them out again. We may need to bump up an additional round of Clomid at that point if they still haven't grown much, but she's hopeful she'll be able to do the trigger then and schedule the IUI for the weekend. I hope it can work out that way!

Then before we all left, Lawyer Guy and I had a chance to ask her a bunch of questions. She said she's not terribly worried about his morphology results-- she thinks it's the least important factor in the SA and that while it could be contributing to the delay in our conceiving, finding it wasn't an "a-ha" moment. Then she actually said that she doesn't think we're technically infertile! She thinks the timing maybe hasn't been quite right yet, maybe there was a little mucus in the tubes that has now been washed out, maybe some little thing here or little thing there hasn't been matching up and that's why we've been having such trouble. She also speculated-- while cautioning us that less invasive methods will probably work but require a certain amount of patience-- that she thinks she will be able to help us get pregnant within the next six months!

As much as I am super wary of letting myself think that optimistically, it was such a relief to hear her speak with confidence. After spinning these doomsday scenarios in my mind of IVF with ICSI and months and months of saving and draining our accounts and spending years on this, six months sounds like a weekend! I have to laugh a little at how dire I once thought waiting six months to get pregnant would be, while now it sounds like no time at all.

I feel much better today than I have in months. I could be doing an IUI very soon. And while this cycle might not pan out, that's okay. We've survived worse and we can survive that. One of these days something is going to go right for us, and for the first time in forever I don't feel like I'm the one who has to make it happen.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pins and Needles; or, Action and Stasis

These have been two of the busiest two days of my life, filled with frantic cross-town subway journeys on the trail of Clomid, down-to-the-wire pill-popping (I took my first dose yesterday at 11:57 am; Dr. Wonderful said to get it in by noon), confused phone calls, new appointments, extensive amazon orders, and way, way, way too much Googling for anyone's comfort. And crying.

The good news, I suppose, is that I took my Clomid on time and we're still on track for IUI #1. The good news is that I went to my very first acupuncture appointment this morning and didn't pass out when the acupuncturist put the needles in (though I did shake pretty uncontrollably for a few minutes.) The good news is that IF treatments appear to be the most effective cure for extreme needle phobia available: alert the psychological community! Desire for a baby outweighs run-of-the-mill neurosis! The good news is that several books on IF are arriving at my house in the coming days.

The bad news is that I am really, really scared. I am scared that my husband's sperm is crap. I am scared that we will never have a baby together. I am scared that my dream of a little boy or girl with his height and my hair (or vice versa, I truly don't care) will never come true.

Last night we were lying in bed together both reading. I looked over at Lawyer Guy and took in his big brown eyes and it hit me that I might never have a baby with those eyes and it was all I could do not to sob right in front of him. This coming from a blue-eyed girl who used to worry that the odds of a a blue-eyed baby were too low with only one of LG's grandparents' passing on those genes. How did I ever think that was important? How could I ever actually think that I would rather have a baby with lighter hair and bluer eyes than one who looked exactly like him? I hate myself for ever thinking that way, because I know now that looking into my child's face and seeing Lawyer Guy reflected there will be the fulfillment of every dream.

We're doing this IUI and I'm totally committed to it. And yet I don't have a prayer of it actually working. Maybe it's self-protection, but when I hear good luck wishes they sound so pointless. Of course the first treatment we try--with those morphology numbers--isn't going to work. Of course not. But we need to get some info on how I respond to treatment and we need to start working with Dr. Wonderful and a Clomid+IUI doesn't cost us anything (thank God) so why not give it a shot?

As LG keeps pointing out, I'm operating on a mix of panic, hearsay, and half-gleaned info from Dr. Google. He's refusing to feel anxious or secure until we speak with Dr. W and hear her evaluation of our situation. I wish I could be as detached as him (he actually said this morning, "We don't know anything that will happen to us in life, so there's no point in worrying over it all. We just have to take it one step at a time.") and as able to put my emotions aside when my rationality requires it. That's a pretty tall order, though, and right now I would be content to just not burst out of my skin with fear and terror while waiting for the next steps.