Thursday, August 16, 2012

Silent All These Years

Yeah, I totally suck. It's just not nice to disappear from the blogosphere for I don't know - 2 freaking years - without warning and then just pop my head back in just to wave "hi" and see if anyone is still around and reading. Anyway, considering that I still occasionally lurk in all your blogs to see how everyone is doing (yay for all the babies!!!!!), I figured I should have the courtesy to post an update in case any of you were burning with curiosity about what's been going on these past few years with me.

And just to cut to the chase for those of you who don't care to read it all: No, I did not get pregnant.

Why the Long Silence?

Well, after a long summer in California (remember this was 2010) of actually not worrying about babymaking, I found myself not exactly happy, but pretty content with life and not terribly eager to jump back into the fertility treatment treadmill. And this somehow translated me succumbing to a depression that winter when we came back to Austin. I got stuck in a rut: I couldn't bring myself to go back into fertility treatment, but neither could I move forward toward adoption or living childfree. So I spent a lot of time feeling anxious, accomplishing pretty much nothing, and berating myself for being a failure at life in general.

I decided to get back into therapy after things devolved to the point where I was going to bed at night and wishing I wouldn't wake up. I had seen this wonderful therapist in my early 20's (eating disorder, parent's divorce), and with her help, I spent a good chunk of 2011 putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.

I was in radio silence most of that time partly out of shame over the depression, but mostly out of the fact that I didn't have any news to share on the fertility front. I was thrilled that so many of you were having babies, but I felt like I had nothing to contribute. Not even tales of treatment and trying, because I had switched battle fronts.

Eventually We Gave it Another Try

By the time 2012 rolled around, I decided I had it in me to give things one more shot, and Mr. Stick bravely got back on board with me. I decided to go with a complete fresh start and found another fertility specialist, Dr. K (who I love even more than Dr. G which I didn't think would be possible).

I'm not terribly sure why I neglected to return to blogging about it, except that I felt like I had forsaken everyone which made me uneasy about coming back to the infertility blogosphere.

Anyway, Dr. K had me try Femara instead of Clomid which was sooooo much better for me. My skin cleared up, my moods actually lightened on it (I joke that it's really an antidepressant), and I grow a pretty nice lining and decent eggs on it. But despite a number of Femara/IUI cycles - some with injectibles thrown in, nothing has actually worked.

In June, I went under the knife and had a laparoscopy to see if there was anything, anything that could be impairing my fertility that no one had yet found. I had been told by two other Dr.'s that there was nothing that indicated that I needed a laparoscopy, but Dr. K said that it would be worth doing if it would put my mind to rest.

The laparoscopy revealed nothing except a healthy uterus, two ovaries, and two intact and clear tubes (Mr. Stick says that now he knows I'm as beautiful inside has I am outside.) which pretty much only confirms that we have unexplained infertility.

But strangely enough, and I can't explain exactly why this is so, but Dr. K was right in that it's helping put my mind to rest. This may sound profoundly stupid, but knowing for a fact that I don't have any answers is kind of like having an answer. Somehow it's been possible for me to live in the ambiguity of it, and I'm coming to a sort of peace about it.

So What Now?

I'm going to be calling it quits pretty soon on my TTC journey. We tried another Femara cycle after the laparoscopy, which recently proved unsuccessful. I'd actually stop now if not for an extra trigger shot I have lying around in my refrigerator because I ovulated spontaneously on one of my treatment cycles. (I went through so much ridiculous sh*t with my insurance getting these Ovidrel shots approved and delivered that I just don't want it to go to waste.) So while there's a miniscule chance this next Femara cycle might actually take, I'm really just doing it because "it's there" with not a whole ton of expectations for it.

I decided against adding injectibles (aside from the trigger) to this upcoming cycle because we both have travel/vacation schedules coming up that will make it hard to deliver and store the hormones. And Mr. Stick and I made the decision some time ago that IVF will not be an option because I have a history of breast cancer in my family. Any evidence linking the two is murky at best, but the whole thing with Giuliana Rancic scared Mr. Stick pretty badly. In his own words, "I'd rather not take the chance for increasing our family, if it means that there's any risk at all of losing you."

I'm feeling good about all of this, much more so than 2 years ago. I feel that we went as far as we were willing to go, and I am optimistic that the universe that has so far denied us children has some other, more interesting plans in store for us. There's definitely been other things happening in our live this past year that I haven't had the time or space to go into, but suffice to say it could be exciting. Adoption is certainly a possibility, but as it has less of an urgent ticking clock, we probably won't visit it for some time.

Anyway, because I seem to be coming towards some kind of closure (not kind I had hoped for, but closure just the same), it felt right to put the news out there in case some of  you were wondering. I'm not sure how much more I'll be blogging here once we're done with TTC, but I may start up another blog (and be better about keeping it up) and will post the address here if anyone wants to keep up.

If you've read this far, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. And I'm so, so sorry for dropping out with nary a word and humbly thank you for your patience and forgiveness.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Holding Pattern

Glad you haven't given up on me yet!

I've been in a bit of a holding pattern these past few weeks, drifting in and out of that peaceful (yet wholly unproductive) land called denial. I'm doing a really good job of this break thing, so much so that I'm not even reading up on your blogs as I usually do because I've almost forgotten that I'm infertile.

My body hasn't forgotten, though, and my cycle started as usual. It was a little shorter this time around, which means it's actually approaching normal - wonder if it's the acupuncture or the hour-a-day of heavy breathing in a room with a bunch of other female yogis that's doing it. Whatever it is, I hope it keeps up.

Introducing Dr. H.

So I finally had my consultation with Pacific Fertility Center last week - leave it to me to sit on the data for a whole week before reporting it these days. Dr. H. was really warm and friendly, and I enjoyed my conversation with him a lot and got some rather interesting but not overly helpful data:

  • He's not a big believer in mycoplasma/ureaplasma as a cause for IF, and he doesn't think that cultures are particularly helpful. So if I want to proceed in looking into ureaplasma as a potential factor, I'll probably have to push testing and treatment through my urologist. There's enough inertia in me that makes me not want to do this at the moment. Bleh.
  • He thinks I should give Letrozole/Femara a try because it won't thin my lining like Clomid would. Dr. G had not been a proponent of Femara, saying that the pharmaceutical company that makes it issued a letter saying that it wasn't meant for infertility treatment. Dr. H said that PFC uses it regularly without any major causes for concern and that doctors in the South and Southwest tend to be more conservative around using it.
  • Dr. H also interestingly encouraged that after Femara, we go straight to single-embryo-transfer IVF if I'm concerned about the rate of multiples with moving on to injectibles. He said that their success for single-embryo are almost as good as their rates with doubles at their clinic. I think that if I were to do IVF, I'd do single-embryo anyway - the thought of multiples completely terrifies me, and it's one of the big reasons why I didn't pursue IF treatment earlier.
  • Lastly, he said that we could do further testing like a 3-day FSH and antral follicle count to double check ovarian reserve, but he felt that because I ovulated on my own and was still young (Ha! I love it that he says I'm young!) that it wasn't a big concern. He also wasn't big on getting a laparoscopy since I have no symptoms of endometriosis and my chances of having it were like, 20%, so there'd be an 80% chance I'd be undergoing surgery for no reason.
So, Now What?

Well, I don't really know. I'm tempted to sit out for the next few months still and then pursue treatment back in Texas this fall for the following reasons:
  • Mr. Stick's new job has pretty decent insurance that covers IF treatment, but PFC is not an in-network provider, where Dr. G is. Ironically, if the insurance didn't cover IF, I'd have just proceeded with PFC because I like their style, and the cost would've been close to the same. But I can't just ignore the fact that we'd get 50% of our costs with Dr. G covered if I stick to doing treatments with him. 
  • The timing is such that I can squeeze in one Femara cycle in California, but it looks like I will ovulate around the time we leave, which would make doing the IUI shuffle rather difficult.
  • Mr. Stick is ridiculously overworked at the moment, so even if IUI were an option, it'd definitely create more stress on him to do the procedure on my next cycle.
So I'm kind of resting somewhere between patience (wait until October, and well, maybe get pregnant by then...ha!) or persistence (screw it, call PFC and do a Femara with intercourse cycle). My window for the persistence option is closing soon, so I pretty much need to decide over the next few days whether I'm going to live on "Take a break Island" for a little longer or take the ferry back to "Trying-ville."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just Pretend I'm Not Here...

(Which you probably should since I can't seem to keep up with this blogging thing lately. I'm actually considering signing up for ICLW this month to see if having a little accountability will improve things!)

But really, the title of this post refers to a tea I had with two of my friends (I've become addicted to high tea in San Francisco - the city has an abundance of affordable tearooms) earlier this week. Two of my pregnant friends, I should say, but it honestly feels like I don't even need that adjective because I swear to you that it seems like ALL of my friends are pregnant.

I should've seen it coming, considering I knew they were both knocked up, but I thought that as educated adult women in our 30's, we could pass 2 to 3 hours together without having to talk about babies and being pregnant the whole freakin' time. Either I'm ridiculously naive or pregnant women are just asinine - probably a little of both.

What made it worse, I think, is that this is A's first pregnancy and M's second, so all A could talk about was about how sick she was during her first trimester, with M reassuring her about all the stages and telling her all the things she could look forward to in her second trimester. I felt like I was part of a strange tryptich: the wise and knowing second-time mother, the anxious and excited first-time mother, and me...the barren bitch.

Anyway, I serenely smiled through the whole thing and drank my tea. (I drank a lot of tea - by my 2nd pot, I was kind of wishing they were the Long Island Iced kind.) And when they did remember that (oops!) they were sitting in the presence of an infertile, talk turned to more inclusive subjects like work, food, marriage, etc. I mean, it wasn't all horrible - they are both incredible and positive women, they have a great sense of humor, and the tea and snacks were yummy. I think I just overestimated my ability to sit through all that baby talk without feeling a little like a useless bag of dysfunctional woman parts by the end of the day.

And of course, I agreed with them by the end of the tea that it'd be tons of fun to have dinner with them and our respective spouses later this summer, which it would. But to quote fellow blogger Glum Bunny there will be inevitable moments of wretchedness. At least I'll be better prepared this time around, and I'll have Mr. Stick there to lean on.

In Other TTC News:

* I turned 34 last week, which happened with little fanfare as regrettably, there was a death in the family. It's a strange yet life-affirming thing to spend one's birthday at a funeral home. Anyway, this qualifies as TTC news because it means that I have less than a year before I hit "advanced maternal age" - stupid western medical terms.

* I can honestly say that this last cycle was a total break. No temping, no peeing on sticks, and having sex only when we're in the mood. I forgot how freeing this feels - it actually makes me reluctant to get back on the TTC train schedule.

* That said, though, I can tell from my boobs (I feel like Karen from "Mean Girls") that this cycle is completely wonky. They've been sore all week, which of course means AF is coming, but they're more than a week early. I don't know if being here has suddenly reset me to a 28 day cycle (San Francisco is better than Clomid!) or if my body went anovulatory from travel stress.

* I have a consultation with Pacific Fertility Center on Tuesday the 20th with Dr. Herbert, which I thought I had strategically scheduled to happen at the start of my cycle (I want that day 3 FSH test damn it!), but if the above is correct, then we'll have to wait through another cycle, and there goes the summer. Hrmph.

Monday, June 28, 2010

California Dreamin'

OMG, I really have been MIA, haven't I?

Anyway, sorry for holding you all up in suspense, and even worse - not keeping up with and commenting on your amazing lives. I thought that by not having my regular client workload, I'd have a lot more free time here, but it seems to be the opposite. (I even planned on trying for Iron Commenter for the June ICLW - but I didn't even manage to make my regular appearance - ha!)

The short explanation is that San Francisco and I are having this mad love affair right now, and while I know I will of course go back to my ever-loving and faithful Austin, that knowledge is urging me to wring every moment of joy out of this summer with my new paramour. :)

Some highlights of the past two weeks:

* My sister came to town for a week during which we ate at as many little bakeries and local eateries as our stomachs could manage. She declared that we had only a limited number of meals together, so each one had to count! In between meals, we managed to find a really great dress for me to wear to her upcoming wedding this fall. And then her friends and I threw a bachelorette day for her (complete with tickets to "Wicked") and held a lovely bridal shower at our childhood home, so that week flew by like gangbusters.

* No sooner had sis left town then my really good friend from Austin, N., flew in with her college best friend for a long birthday weekend. We pretty much went all over the city - Fisherman's Wharf, the Marina, Chinatown, North Beach and Union Square. We had afternoon tea at the Crown and Crumpet, drank lots of wine in their hotel room, and did some credit card damage at all the shops in Union Square.

* Then there was Pride just this past weekend, and our neighborhood was inundated with parties. Mr. Stick and I made it out to watch the big parade yesterday morning, which was one of the most colorful and joyful celebrations I've ever seen. And while you can't have a parade without spectators, I hope one day I get to march in it because everyone in the parade looked like they were having so much fun.

* On the TTC front, CD1 came and went, and I was so busy I barely noticed. I've been going to yoga regularly, and I started acupuncture again last week, though that's mostly been for allergies. (The fact that I managed to avoid allergies this season in Austin means nothing to SF, apparently.) I think I'm settled in enough now to call up Pacific Fertility Center for a consultation this week or next, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that maybe they'll be able to explain the "unexplained." Also, my affair with the city (not to mention the semi-annual sale at the ginormous Victoria's Secret in Union Square) seems to be giving our love life a fun little boost.  

So that's pretty much it! Thanks to my hardpartying ways, I have a boatload of work to catch up on, so it'll be another day or two before I get around to sprinkling comments and love. But I knew that if I didn't blog right now, I'd never get around to it, so hopefully this will keep you all going until I come up for air again.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Binging on Free Wifi

So I made it to California safe and sound, only to find that the previous tenant living in our place freakin stole the router, so I have had no internet (wireless or otherwise) for nearly a week now. I've been joking around that I feel Amish living without easy internet access, but my clients and friends seem to be taking it much harder. I've fielded so many calls asking if I've dropped off the earth!

Luckily, where I'm living I'm surrounded by cafes with free wifi, so I've been hopping all around the neighborhood to get my daily fix. I've been focusing mostly on getting work done, and only now have had the chance to post and leave a couple of sporadic comments. Oh, and the landlord and the property management company are going back and forth over who has to replace it, so who knows how much longer this is going to last?! Grrr...

Body-wise, I just finished up my week of antibiotics, so hopefully that UTI crap is out of my system and gone for good. It usually takes a few days to find out, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It turns out that I ovulated the day before my UTI, so I'm not holding out a whole lot of hope that anything managed to conceive and stick around down there.

Even so, I'm feeling pretty content to be in a different place and in such a vibrant environment. I'm between the Mission and Castro districts, so it's kind of nice to see lots of straight and gay couples walking around with dogs instead of kids. We fit right in, though Fetch is a bit of a hick and doesn't heel or behave as citified as the other little dogs. (He's sitting at my heels outside the cafe as I type this and is looking up every now and then to see if I'll share my tuna sandwich.) I signed on with a yoga studio nearby, and I've been eating really well with all the yummy ethnic places and little produce markets around.

Anyway, I send out lots of love and happy thoughts to my preggie and infertile friends alike. I've tried to comment on most of my regular haunts and will do my best to keep it up.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Not the Positive I Want

Read it and weep ladies, because I sure did. That's a positive test...only it's the wrong kind of pee stick.

After some rather suspicious symptoms, I have just tested positive for blood cells in my urine, which means that the monster known as UTI has descended upon me after a 14-month reprieve during which I thought it had gone away forever. 

I'll be frank - for me, this is worse than a BFN because I'm such a wimp when it comes to this kind of pain. (And yet, I think I can do labor without meds. I so kid myself.)  I had a minor meltdown with Mr. Stick earlier today over it because I can't bear the thought of this thing dragging out for months like it did last time.

At least the antibiotics have started to kick in, and I no longer feel like there's broken glass in my nether regions. (Sorry, too descriptive?) I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that this thing will go away and stay away.

My acupuncturist wants me to get tested for ureaplasma/mycoplasma to see if maybe it's causing both the UTI and infertility. If this is the case, Dr. G. gets a big strike for not having tested me for it all in the first place, especially since he rubs elbows with my urologist. Hopefully, I'll get some answers, but right now, permanent relief from this beast is higher on the priority list.

On the bright side, we head out for California on Saturday, which is why I've been kind of absent from the blogosphere. Wrapping things up, packing, and all that. Once we're settled in, I promise to be more in touch and will pepper all your blogs with all the love and wit you can possibly bear.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't Ride If Pregnant

So one of the best things about being on a break is getting to do things pregnant women can't do - sushi, alcohol, and caffeine naturally come to mind, but at the top of the fun list is scary thrill rides. And while I didn't get on actual roller coasters per se, Mr. Stick and I played hooky today and went to Schlitterbahn, which is the best darn waterpark I've ever been to.

It's a ginormous, sprawling complex that's basically three mini-waterparks in one. The first time we went, we didn't get to everything. This week, they were running a saver special where they only opened two of the waterparks, and school is still in session, so we pretty much got to go on every major ride/slide 2-3 times. One of them we went somewhere between 6-8, we lost count.

Anyway, I really wish I'd had a camera on me (which I conveniently left at home because...duh, there's WATER EVERYWHERE) because on every sign before a big ride there was posted a big warning against expectant mothers riding, accompanied by this graphic of a stork carrying a baby and a big red/circle/slash on top of it. After seeing it for the umpteenth time, Mr. Stick goes, "Wow - that could be the international sign for infertility!"

LOL. That boy cracks me up.

Speaking of which, I have to shout out to my fellow bloggers who now cannot ride the "Master Blaster" or the "Dragon's Revenge" with me. Congratulations and sticky vibes to Leslie (Evolutionary Dead End), Adele (Delinquent Eggs), Type A (Type A Nightmare), Sew (Sew Infertile) and Samantha (And Baby Will Make 3). Here's hoping all of you except Samantha have a reason to change your blog names soon!