Friday, September 27, 2013

Tales of a regular girl

Let me set a disclaimer for what I am about to write about.  In no way am I downplaying the significant struggles that come along with having an irregular cycle or the journey of any couple out there who has the challenging task of timing the BD with a shifting (or disappearing) ovulation date.  I am just writing about my truth.

Hello, I am queen of the clan and I am a clock work cycle girl. You may have heard of others with this phenomenon...their cycles can be counted upon,  they know within a day or two when they ovulate and they are not late...ever.  I have gotten some negative feedback during my journey for this..."At least you know when it's coming"  and "You get a chance EVERY month".  I would like to attempt to explain through my own journey why I believe it is equally as difficult to be a regular infertile as an irregular infertile.  Now I can only speak for myself and this is my unique case as I see it.

*Warning: This is definitely TMI*

CD1: 8:30AM  Hell hath no fury like my AF.  I have cramping that is debilitating and a heavy flow that requires me to set an alarm for three times a night while I sleep so me and DH will not wake up to a mess.
CD2:  An only slightly better version of CD1
CD3:  The cramping dies away slowly throughout the day and the flow faucet finally starts to slow
CD4:  Not cramping anymore...Can finally sleep through a whole night as flow is to a drip
CD5:  AF ends completely by noon
CD6:  I pee a million times...This is because of the water weight that comes on with all my PMS
CD7:  Oh the gas...getting rid of the bloat
CD8:  Normal Day
CD9: Normal Day
CD10:  Start OPK.  I know it won't be positive till CD13 but hey...the routine keeps me sane.
CD11:  Sex drive jumps to that of a monkey.  DH calls the days that follow this one his monthly Christmas :)
CD12:  EWCM...and lots of it, ovulation cramps
CD13:  Positive OPK, ovulation cramps 
CD14: Negative OPK
1DPO: Normal Day
2DPO: Normal Day
3DPO: Normal Day
4DPO:  Cramping...AF Like, enough to require meds, Man do I want a snicker!
5DPO:  The above plus slight nausea and some water retention
6DPO:  Cramping leaves but Is it hot in here?  Everywhere I go I'm hot no matter the season or current weather of the day
7DPO:  Cramping returns with a vengeance and brings along a funky attitude for good measure...DH calls the days that follow this his monthly hell
8DPO:  Cramping lightens up a bit...attitude gets worse
9DPO:  Barely cramping now but ankles are swollen from retaining water
10DPO: No cramping...just feel like yuck.  I'm sweaty and tired as soon as I wake up
11DPO:  Cramping returns...slight.  Start getting some pressure in my nether regions.  I am now a walking zombie no matter how much sleep I get.
12DPO: cramping
13DPO:  Cramping returns with a vengeance and the funky attitude hits a peak
14DPO/CD1...see above :)

So the above is my cycle from start to finish.  I may be different from others in that this is my cycle EXACTLY.  I mean, some women may have a day or two variance...this is not my truth.  The times above and all symptoms happen exactly as I stated above and have for 48 of my 51 cycles of trying to conceive.  That means three variances and one of those times...I was pregnant. 

Let me tell you what this means to means as soon as 4DPO hits,  I know whether we have succeeded or not. None of that..."it's not over till she shows" or even "I wonder what this symptom means" is true for me.  I enjoy symptom spotting with others because there is hope in their symptoms.  Every symptom I spot for myself simply confirms that it will be a regular cycle for me.  I do not test early any more...I don't wonder if she will 4DPO, I know if she will or not.  Now, I would take ANY variance of the above as a sign that I might be pregnant.  If even one day changed (no matter what day), if even one symptom was more or less than it has been in the cycles before it...I will buy out the corner store and test till the cows come home.  If I am even one hour beyond the 8:30AM start out CVS. That being said, I have not tested AT ALL in over 2 years.

The point I am trying to make is that yes, it is a huge blessing that I ovulate on my own every month.  It is great to be able to plan around AF because...well...she's nothing else if not reliable for me.  However, it also means that logically...I can't even imagine I am pregnant most cycles.  I get three days to think...maybe it worked? before my monotonous wheel of a cycle crushes my dreams.  After that, I am simply going to the next day logging the cycle as it always has been.

You might say but could be wrong?  So many people say their BFP cycle was the exact same as getting their AF...that could be you too right?

My answer to that is...maybe.  It took me awhile to get to maybe because what I really want to say is...probably not.  I am working on thinking more positive about TTC.  I never thought I was negative before, just realistic.  You may remember a couple of posts ago when describing how payday and I met and fell in love, I said that I was "coldly logical".  This was not a diss...I actually looked at as a positive for most of my life.  It just means that I tend to believe the evidence.  I never looked at it as diminished hope just...calculated reasoning.  So here's my evidence that a BFP cycle for me will more than likely look different than my normal textbook cycle.

#1  The twins---I remember this pregnancy because I was in college and had just been proposed to recently.  I had absolutely no cramps or hormonal attitude freak outs leading up to me finding out.  I was perfectly and utterly happy and when my PMS symptoms did not show (I was not tracking as closely obviously but a cycle as regular as mine just becomes part of your life and you notice changes)...I thought it was because I was so perfectly happy...the proposal just must have balanced me out.

#2  My angel baby---1DPO through 14DPO...Nothing, zip, zilch, nada.  A feeling of was exactly like 1-3 DPO for two weeks.  16DPO BFP. 

#3  All other cycles that I was NOT pregnant were the status quo and exactly the schedule above.

I am taking these three things to mean...I know what it feels like when I am pregnant vs not pregnant.

I said all this to say that, this blog will probably be more about my feelings about TTC than the actual grind of trying to conceive (at least until January '14).  I don't test much, I don't really need OPKs and only use them to try and have a routine...just in case something does change.  I tend to obsess with my friends in the TTC community because I love to have hope with them.  Don't worry, if any of the above AF schedule varies I will be here with my own obsession too...but since the odds are that most cycles it will be the same 'ol same 'ol...I just wanted to let anyone reading know the truth about why my infertility blog may not talk much about actually trying to conceive.  Also because, we are all (infertiles) in this together and its hard for all of us.  Not getting pregnant is not getting pregnant, not being able to bring a healthy baby home is equally heartbreaking no matter what the physical situation.

Till next post...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trying To Conceive: The Timeline

May 2006---Payday and I are married.  I start going back to school and working part time while payday supports us with 7 day a week 12 hours shifts at a small company.

May 2006 thru June 2009---Payday and I both attend school, work, save, find a home, raise the twins.

June 2009--  I am 26 payday is 28 and we are in a good place.  We always knew we wanted children together so I go see my OBGYN and have my copper IUD removed.  I expect to immediately be pregnant...I mean I got pregnant with TWINS without even trying...

July 2009 thru November 2009---I research and learn everything there is to know about how to conceive, find an online community and start using opks

November 2009 thru April 2010---Starting to think something is wrong...I have a text book cycle.  AF starts on the 28th day every month, I get a positive OPK on CD 13 every month...Decide we will see a doc once we get to the 12 month mark in June.

May 2010---I am laid off from my very stressful job.  Payday has been working at his company for 3 years and is in a great place to take care of us financially.  He tells me my job was horrendous and I should finish my degree before going back to work.  Oh yeah...did I tell you he's awesome??

Later in May 2010---I am late?  What?  I'm never late...BFP!  First doctor appt is a month away...ugh!

June 2010---I enroll in my last few classes of my senior year of college and I am going to classes quite nauseous from the pregnancy.  We have our first doctor's appointment at 9 weeks 1 day gestation and the heartbeat is flickering measuring perfect at 9 weeks 1 day.

July 2010---Looks like I have a kidney infection so I head to the doc to see what we can do.  We take an ultrasound to check on the baby we saw last week...she has trouble finding him...she looks and finally sees him but...we don't see the heart beat.  We are sent to a lab to confirm and we find the baby had not grown another day past that perfect 9 week ultra sound.  We are heartbroken.  We are scheduled for a D&C because it looks like my body had no plans to expel my baby any time soon.  I pray for strength and wrestle with my faith.

August 2010---Go back in for follow up after D&C. My body has recovered perfectly and is gearing up for another cycle.  We have the green light to begin trying again in September.

September 2010--- Still in quite a bit of emotional pain from my m/c BUT thanking God that he has shown me I can get pregnant.  I hope my body has gotten the hang of it and we will be pregnant quickly now.

October 2010---  Finish up school,  apply for a job I doubt I'll get.

November 2010---Get the job!  Another blessing...they have tremendous infertility coverage...I think that's great...just in case

November 2010 thru November 2011---Whole lotta nothing.  BFN's left and right, same clock work cycle...time to see a doc and find out what the heck is going on.  Expect to bring in the new year with some answers.

January 2012---Find an OBGYN...she schedules 3 day labs for me.  Looks like I ovulate find on my own, orders more labs to test thyroid and other hormones...all of those come back great.  I'm balanced as rain...should be shooting out babies according to my pap and labs

February 2012---schedules SA for Payday.  Get the SA back and looks like we may have an issue with volume and count.  Payday and I discover we did not read the instructions for the sample well and had did the BD too close to his appointment.

March 2012---He keeps his appointment with the urologist because he will have to give another sample any way and then he can get his hormones checked as well.  Get's scheduled to give another SA has blood taken then for hormone labs.

June 2012---Payday misses second SA because he is hurt at work.  TTC goes into hiatus while he recovers.  We do receive his blood work back and he is hormonally exactly where he should be to produce a gazillion sperm.  We assume we will get great results when we are able to do the SA in Sept.  I am promoted at my job. Things are looking up on all fronts!

July 2012 Thru Sept 2012---Take care of Payday...Keep trying au natural

October 2012---They announce they will be laying us off at my job...WHAT?!?!?  TTC hiatus...again

December 2012---Start a new job...ALL their insurance is bad and their is nothing for TTC.  One of the twins has severe asthma and all FSA funds are put to the side for his treatments and specialists.

January 2013---September 2013---We decide we will try naturally and save up for TTC with medical help in 2014.  I begin a lifestyle change with a better diet and lots of exercise...I lose 30 pounds.  I go back to my online community.  My new company announces lay least I'm used to the cycle by now and I start to look for another job.  I think maybe God is working it out where I will have a new job and maybe they will have better insurance.  For now...we are trying on our own through December and hoping that a miracle of God happens to us before the new year.  This is wear this blog begins...Trying to conceive cycle 51 (give or take)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Testing...Testing...Is this thing on? Here I go...

This is my first post to what I hope will be the shortest running infertility blog ever!   I have decided that it may be good therapy to get some of my internal dialogue out into the world.  Bare with me as this first post will be the long version of a love story I have rarely told.

Also...fair warning: I am many things but what this blog will mostly be about (though I will include other things) is the medical fact that I am half of an infertile couple.  First time I have ever typed those words and no tears yet far so good.

Him and Me
I met my husband when I was eight years old at a church function.  I have been hooked ever since :)  Unfortunately, not romantically hooked...just hooked.  We became fast buds, two peas in a pod, Dick and Jane, Forrest and Jenny, whatever way you say best friends...we were it.  It's not something I can describe well but I would say it seemed then (and now) to be a connection outside of my control.  I have always been a loner.  I am an only child and I've always been quiet...thoughtful even.  In school, my only friends had been teachers up to that point.  Then Bam!  Here is this long dark quiet fellow with the most beautiful smile I had ever seen helping me get a bowling ball down the lane.  He made a joke about my nonexistent bowling skills and I made one back about his pronouncing of my name.  Like I said...hooked from then on. 

We were church kids. Church kids are the group of kids who are there every time the church doors open.  The group usually gets to no one another and becomes its own kind of "school".  You have cliques, popular folks, and nerds just like at school.  I began to live a double life here.  In school, I ate lunch alone.  I was not at all popular and had been bullied.  The bullying didn't last long because I was also a fighter but I mostly fought to be left alone with my thoughts.  At church I was of the elite.  Everyone liked me and no one called me names (to my face at least).  You can see which of these two worlds housed my social life and with the entrance of my new best bud  (we'll call him payday) my world brightened significantly. 

My church was big in the community and even in comparison to other churches in our district so we got to do a lot of great things.  My mom and dad both instilled in me a love of service and with the church I found a great love in God way before I found my husband.  Anyway,  we remained best friends through my middle school years.  I won't go into to many details (lest I be discovered ;) ) but suffice it to say we saw each other through some real tough times and some of the most joyous occasions.  He was just...the best.  Fast forward to High school life miraculously caught up with my church life. 

I was already prepared for this because I was surrounded by men I loved who had been grooming me for the inevitable change that was about to happen going from a small town school  to a big city high school.  My daddy...who I believe is best dad in all the step brother who was the best teenager in the world in my opinion...and my payday.  Payday had been telling me for some time that I was going to be all the rage in high school, he did NOT mean this in a nice way.  He wanted me to know I was "what most guys call hot"  BEFORE I got no one else telling me would seem like candy on Christmas. And with all three of them saying it in the same vein...I got it. 

So here we are...I am in high school...payday two grades above (at a different school) and I assume life will go on as normal.  I am getting invited to everything from the best parties to senior these things I am only mildly amused.  Mostly, I read ,study...and go to church.  I assume payday and I will go to my prom whenever the time comes because guys are just way to much hassle.  I assume that payday will be helping me with my scholarship applications...helping me pass calculus...watching my praise dance practice,  I'll continue writing poetry with him, watching I love lucy over the phone with him...and on and on.  I assume wrong.  We'll call this chapter...payday gets a girlfriend. 

In about his 10th grade year, payday enters into a relationship that changes our friendship for a very long time.  He is completely in love and this girl (like all the other girlfriends before her) does not care for me. Girlfriends are not new news for payday at this point.  He's handsome, he's charming, and a little bit of dangerous is in there too...yeah girls were all over him.  This one was different and in attempt to make a very long story medium long...I'll just say she told him all interaction with me had to stop and he complied.  She was not evil and neither was he...she was in love with him so even before I knew it...she knew I was in love with him too.  None of this is known to me at the time ( I am also the queen of denial for sanity purposes) and I am just a very hurt/angry teenager. 

Later that year...cue HSS/EH (for High School Sweetheart or Ex Husband from here on out).  HSS is the polar opposite to payday.  We are in a relationship for three years until graduation.

HSS decides he is going to the military, I am going into college and shortly after basic, he asks me to marry him (with a long engagement) and I  accept.  Little did we know that proposal night we made more than a promise.  I found out I was pregnant, the wedding was moved up and I delivered fraternal twins (boy and girl) about 4 months after our wedding.  We lived the military life style in a couple of states and one other country for three years before the stress of being married so young and giving up so much caught up with both of us.  We were divorced and I found myself back on US soil with toddler twins, no degree, no work experience and a mountain of bills.  All of my allusions were gone and I was a with the full scholarship, me who skipped two grades, me who was in love with the lord, me who was NEVER supposed to be one of THOSE girls. Me...divorced, broke, mother of two and a failure in my own eyes.

I spent two months at my mom's house in despair before I showed my face at my home church.  I spent most of the service huddled against my mom or in tears.  I was a wreck.  After the service I was turning to get my jacket from the bench and when I looked to the way out of my pew...there he was.  Payday...with a twin's hand in each of his "We're going to get a coming?".  There had been moments in our six year hiatus as friends that he has reached out in various ways...each time I told him where to go and how to get there.  Aside from this sappy tale of payday and I,  I was coldly logical, unforgiving, and quietly shrewd. Fool me once shame on you...fool me twice...Don't worry about the consequences because I won't let you fool me more than once.  However today, in my broken state (and by the grace of God)...I just said "yes".  We were together from that day forward.

We were married two years later and three years after that we began trying to conceive. 

Stay tuned for Trying to Conceive: The Timeline