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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Too Much; or, Not Enough

Things have been quiet in Purgatory these last few days, but not because I don't have anything to say or anything going on. There's been too much of both: too much to think about, too much to plan, too much to do, too much to feel, and not enough time to do it all in.

Some of it has been dull: grading 40 papers and teaching classes and running three Junior League meetings in the span of a week.

But some of it has even been good.

On Sunday, Lawyer Guy and I cooked a Fakesgiving feast for most of my family (my parents, two of my sisters, and one sister's fiance). We used our All-Clad turkey roaster for the first time and made our very first turkey, a 12-pounder that turned out perfectly, succulent and juicy and golden brown. Go us! We also made two kinds of stuffing (sausage & sage and caramelized onions & herb), pureed sweet potatoes with molasses butter, roasted brussel sprouts, green beans in a mustard-bacon sauce, arugula salad with roasted butternut squash and cranberries, kale chips and fennel parmesean dip as appetizers, and a caramel cake for dessert. And we made every bit of it from scratch (except a pumpkin pie, which we bought, and the gravy, which my mom made). We had bourbon/apple cider cocktails and champagne and it was a great time, even if it took us four hours to do all the dishes (we did them together while I simmered a turkey-carcass stock in our giant 12-quart stock pot).

This was all made more difficult, though, by the fact that I had--and still have--a really nasty headcold: sore throat, hacking cough, sinus pressure, stuffy nose. We were supposed to go up to West Point with my family on Saturday for the Army-Air Force game, but my cold was at its worst so I stayed home to rest up and ideally recuperate. I am doing better now, but am still pretty uncomfortable. I'd love to take a sick day from teaching, but I've had to use them all for fertility related appointments.

Which, speaking of, I had another one of on Monday morning (CD 10). I'd been feeling really disconnected from this cycle--I feel like I'm still getting over the disappointment of the chemical pregnancy and haven't been enthusiastic or engaged in this current cycle at all. I also wasn't feeling the same intense ovarian reactions that I did last time (despite starting the Clomid three days earlier) so I wasn't terribly optimistic about how things would be going.

Turns out, I know my body pretty well: I had one (count 'em, one) follie at 14 mm on my left ovary. Nothing else over 10 on either side.

Ho hum.

I know one is better than none. And I'm glad that my lining was at 6.9, which seems okay for CD 10. But I couldn't get a good pregnancy out of last cycle, and I had two follies then. I don't have much hope for one. Plus--I fully admit this is irrational--both times I've gotten pregnant it's been from my right ovary. I have this feeling that the left is not capable of stepping up to the task (then again, both those pregnancies didn't last, so maybe the left side would have a better track record in that regard). I go back tomorrow morning for more monitoring, to see how things have progressed. Dr. Wonderful suspected the IUI would go forward this weekend, but she said if there hasn't been any progress at my next appointment, they'll give me another dose of Clomid and the egg will drop the weekend afterward. I'm feeling some sensations in both ovaries, so I suspect that some growth will have occurred, though I obviously can't predict how much.

After the ultrasound, Dr. W. sat and talked with me for about ten minutes about last cycle and how I'm feeling about everything. She is so amazing. She told me she definitely views last cycle's outcome as a positive. She said she knows that the psychological torture of waiting is the hardest part in all of this and encouraged me to embrace my hobbies and do whatever I can to help distract me during this time. She also said "There is light at the end of the tunnel. You are going to be pregnant." I really love working with her and I'm so glad we followed our instincts and chose her.

I've been a little freaked out, though, I have to confess, and it's entirely my own fault. I asked Dr. W. what comes next if this cycle doesn't work. While she said that she wants to go one cycle at a time and not get ahead of ourselves, she still gave me an indication of what she's thinking will follow: one more Clomid+IUI and then...IVF!

Ah! Those letters! They strike fear into my heart.

Now, Dr. W. said she would advocate for IVF as the next step because she fears the risk of triplets is too great for my case if we do IUI + injectibles. But she also said we'd have to talk about everything before making decisions about what to do. And I know how kind and lovely she is--if we tell her we're just not ready for IVF I think she'd let us make an attempt with injectibles/IUI just to see how it goes. And she's right, triplets are not an ideal outcome. My anxiety would be off the charts if I were pregnant with three babies, plus I'd likely have to be on bed rest for a very long time, which has complications of its own. And then, you know, three babies.

But the risk of triplets is only three percent (which doesn't sound like much to me). And everything in an IVF cycle (meds+procedure) would be out-of-pocket for us. We're financially capable of doing IVF at this stage, but not financially prepared: the lovely In-Case-of-Baby cushion we've rebuilt over the two years since buying our apartment would be reduced by jumping into an IVF. We'd need to talk about this a lot and save more money and possibly chat with our parents before embarking on such a step.

I'm also not even close to psychologically prepared. I still, if you can believe it, don't actually think of us as infertile! There are still many times when I think to myself that all this happened because I worried too much and put too much pressure on Lawyer Guy at the beginning and couldn't take things easy and (yup, here it comes) just relax.

I just have to cross my fingers and hope that one of these Clomid cycles will be the trick for us. I'll just have to pray that poor Lawyer Guy can hang on to his ever-fraying confidence and sanity and endure just a little bit longer. During a phone chat with him on Monday, I reassured him that "We are going to be such great parents because of going through this, and we are going to be so unbelievably happy because of how sad we are now."

And he replied, "Yeah, we've been telling ourselves that for almost two years."

So my consolations are a little thread-bare and my hope is definitely dented and my heart is very bruised. But my doctor says there's a light at the end of the tunnel and some days I almost think I can see it.


  1. Ooh, your Fakesgiving sounds so delish! Sorry you're feeling crummy, though. Dr. W really does sound absolutely W. Hope lefty delivers for you this cycle, maybe it's time to give 'er a shot! And look out for an e-mail from me ASAP.

  2. Your Fakegiving meal sounds amazing-- and I must say that everything cooks better in All Clad. It's terribly expensive, but along with my Le Crueset pieces, they're my fav.

    I'm so hopeful about this cycle-- Those letters (IVF) are scary and it seems like such a big leap from where you are now. I'm curious about why doctor wonderful believes that your chance of multiples is so much higher with the injectibles than it was with Clomid? Obviously, multiples are possible with each-- my cousin got pregnant with quads on a Clomid+IUI cycle! Perhaps, if you decide to try injectibles, your doc could convert the cycle from IUI to IVF if your response was too strong.

    Oh, friend, I hope you don't even get to that point! Here's to thinking positively about this cycle!! XOXO.

  3. IVF does sound scary. But if it gets you that baby, worth the expense.

    As for your fakesgiving, YUM. Cooking is such a great distraction, especially cooking for friends and family.

  4. IVF scares the shit out of me, so I completely relate. But... one step at a time. You are not at that point yet. Try not to let that fear overwhelm you in the midst of this cycle. You are in my thoughts, and I'm sending positive vibes your way. <3

  5. Wow, your Fakesgiving meal sounds fantastic!!

    My doc was also not willing to give me a go on the IUI + injects for fear of multiples, and staring down the pike at IVF was so, SO scary. I like the option of asking to try IUI + injects and converting to IVF if necessary.

    I really hope that one of these Clomid / IUI cycles works out for you. Come on lefty!

  6. Your thanksgiving sounds divine. I looooove sausage stuffing. Yum!

    Well, you definitely see more multiples with injects/IUI, but there is always the option of cancelling and like you said, the risk of triplets is really low. IVF is a big step and a huge jump in cost...I agree that maybe a injects/IUI with the potential of converting to IVF is a good idea to explore.

    BUT, that is a few cycles away my dear and while I understand that you're planning ahead (I did, too)...you have a good chance of achieving pregnancy with Clomid/IUI.

    Hoping your 14mm-er holds that perfect egg.

  7. Fakesgiving sounds awesome!!!

    I hope so much that this cycle is the one and you don't have to worry about IVF.

  8. I like that 14mm guy!!! Please let it hold your golden egg!!

    I have talked to three REs (Dr. C, Dr. K and Dr. A) and all three wanted me to go directly from Clomid to IVF because they like being able to control for the risk of multiples. But all three were open to injects/IUI after some discussion (and of course with the option of canceling or even converting an overstimmed injects cycle to decrease the chance of triplets or more). Besides the expense issue, the other awesome thing about doing injects/IUI is that the RE gets to see how your bod will respond to the meds, it's not a guessing game when so much is on the line during IVF (expense, physical/emotional investment). They can see what dosing causes you to over and understim without risking canceling or ruining an IVF cycle.

    Now, all that said, I don't want you to have to ever ever ever take an FSH injection, I'm hoping Clomid is your ticket to that baby(ies). You are doing awesome Slopie (way to distract with that amazing-sounding meal!), and you're in the midst of a fab cycle. We are all rooting for you and hoping so hard you can complete your TTC journey this month! xo

  9. First, i am so impressed with your cooking abilities, since I bascially have close to none.
    Second, I really hope this cycle works out for you and that those ovaries kick into high gear. Will they do the IUI with one follie? I am very glad that you have such a good reltationship with your RE. She sounds amazing.
    I know this is 10 steps ahead, but I do want to let you know that there is NY state IVF grant for pateints with insurance that does not cover IVF (you cannot be uninsured). I think you need to make under $250,000 per year to qualify. Let me know if you have questions about that. It helped us a lot and funded part of 2 cycles. I really hope that you do not even have to think about this thoug.

  10. The leap into IVF is a very hard one, both financially and emotional. I completely lost it the first time I was told it was time for IVF...and then I found a new RE, who told me the same thing in a nicer way, and we did it. Your RE sounds absolutely fabulous. I love that she really seems to get how hard this is. And much as I too always want to know the next few steps ahead (at least), I think it's great that she wants to take it one cycle at a time and just figure out what's right for you at each point. She's a keeper!

  11. Sloper, First, I want ALL of the recipes from your Fakesgiving! Seriously! Sounded delish!

    Second, oh how I feel you so, so much. We're both in such a similar purgatory, aren't we? I've digested the idea of IVF because I have to at this point. But you don't have to. You have a couple steps before you need to think about it so while I know you're scared, don't be. I have all the faith you won't ever need to number crunch how to pay for IVF or figure out what meds you'll be on. I truly think IUI is all you'll need!

    As for injects, my RE is totally open to them obviously. I did overstim, as you know, with IUI #3, which is strange b/c I didn't with IUI #2 on the same doses. But I had A LOT of follies w/IUI #2. FIVE huge ones. So there is a huge risk. But honestly, I think just simply talking to your doc, acknowledging the multiples issue, and explaining that it's a HUGE jump from IUI to IVF expense-wise will probably change her mind. It's your body and your money. YOU get to decide what you want to do. Never forget that. Your RE may suggest something but it's only you who makes the call in the end. Do what you feel is best for you and if that means injects, so be it.

    Always thinking of you. Hoping this follie is your golden egg :). Looks like we may be IUIing within days of each other. Cycle buddies? :) xo

  12. Your RE is right, you have to take it one cycle at a time. But it's good to have Plan B, C, and D in mind. It always kept me sane. Not having a plan is what made me more anxious.

    While IVF seems daunting, you have time to mentally prepare for it. Hopefully it won't ever come to that. But if it does, I'm here for support and walk you through everything.

    In the meantime, yeay you for the Fakesgiving! I'm hosting this year and honestly I'm already having nightmares about it all.

  13. Those three letters strike fear into the hearts of many of us (even those of us who have done it before). It's a huge step and the money thing is nothing to sneeze at. I understand what she's saying about the risk of multiples with injectibles BUT she can also control the amount that you're given, to make sure that you don't have too many follicles. I'm also curious, why quit Clomid after only 3 rounds? The fact is that it worked your first time out of the gate. It didn't stick (how I wish it had) but you know that it can work. She's right on the money, though: one cycle at a time. And there are too many ladies who go into IUI's with only one follicle (and not very high expectations) who then end up preggers for me to lose hope for you.

    I love the sound of Fakesgiving (what else went into that bourbon/cider cocktail? If I see a white HPT at the end of this cycle I may have to drown my sorrows in a few).

    Sorry about the cold. Seems too early in the wintry season to be fair:(

  14. The jump to IVF is a big, scary one. Hello, I am supposed to start my cycle next month, and I still say "if we do IVF..." The denial. It's hardcore. So in that vein, takes things one step at a time. Clomid+IUI very well may work. I know the CP last cycle was sad and disappointing in its own right, but like your awesome RE pointed out, it's a sign that you CAN get pregnant with IUI. She's confident that you will be pregnant soon, and she's the one with the important alphabet soup after her name. And yes I am a hypocrite.

  15. Wow. Fakesgiving sounds absolutely amazing. I thought I was a pretty adept cook, but I don't think I could pull off a feast like that! You'll know when you're ready to move on, but it does seem like you have a pretty good shot with a few more Clomid/IUI cycles before you have to think about those scary letters. I hope this is your month, Sloper and that 14mm follie is the winner.

  16. Chiming in to say how wonderful your Fakesgiving sounds. What a fancy menu! Yum!

    I agree with your RE that you will get pregnant.

  17. That meal sounds amazing. You and your husband have mad cooking skills.

    Anyway, I COMPLETELY relate to you not feeling infertile. We've gotten pregnant before without the drugs. I feel like we can do it again. We've just had really shitty luck. And, yeah, IVF is like a huge, scary monster that you don't want to look at. I agree with your doc that you WILL get pregnant again and have a baby. I really do feel like it's going to happen for you.

    I'm sorry your hope is "dented." That's the perfect way to describe this.

  18. Your food sounds amazing, wow!
    As for the IVF, I can totally relate. It would be out-of-pocket for us as well, while IUIs would at least be covered 50%... but as my husband has now also been diagnosed with low morphology (and sounds about as hopeful as LG -- the poor guys), together with my endometriosis this might be the best chance we have. Your doctor sounds wonderful though, and I'm sure you'll find a way to get you pregnant that you can be comfortable with. Hang in there.