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!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: A Second Slice of Cake

Thanks to DaisyGal for partially inspiring this post with her own sunny entry today. It's so much easier for me to blog about the bad days, the dark feelings, and the overall crap that falls into my life than to give equal attention to the sunny days when love and kindness seem to be overflowing. When things are good, why sit in front of a computer and write about it when I can be out there soaking up the goodness and living it?

But I recently finished reading Jenni Schaefer's latest book (I do work in the eating disorders field, and, for the sake of full disclosure, I have some personal history with them as well.), and in it she writes about journaling the good days as well as the bad, as a reminder and a source of solace when things get bad.

So my perfect moment? Eating my second slice of cake for the day.

There's the obvious interpretation in light of what I just wrote about having an eating disordered history, but fortunately it's so far in the distant past that what I eat barely registers in that way anymore. It's more of a reminder that I'm on a break, so I really don't need to watch what I eat this cycle in terms of caffeine, alcohol, and other not-so-good-for-TTC things. And that feels freeing.

The real reason, though, is that the cake is a souvenir from one of the best parties I have ever had the pleasure of throwing and attending yesterday. Mr. Stick turns 40 next week, and one of our closest friends is turning 80 on the same day. His wife and I joke about them being twins born 40 years apart, and it certainly speaks to something about horoscope signs and all because they really are very similar despite the age difference!

So with two landmark birthdays, we decided to throw an all-out shindig yesterday at their house (which is bigger and has a pool). There was lots of food and wine (and a keg!), close to 90(!) guests who dropped in and out over the course of the day, lion and dragon dancers, and even an impromptu jazz jam session (a lot of their friends are musicians) late in the evening.

Because of the big age difference between ourselves and our friends, the party guests covered every age demographic, from the newly-born to the not-quite-ready-for-the-senior-center crowd. There were at least two dozen kids of every age running about or splashing in the pool, most of which were our friends' offspring.

I noticed about a year ago that I've started to be a little distant around kids. I'm always friendly and tolerant, but I wouldn't really play with or engage with them in the way that I used to in the past. (I used to be an in-demand babysitter once upon a time.) I think it's because parents would invariably comment and ask me about having kids of my own, and it just became too difficult to deal with as the months of unsuccessful TTC dragged by.

And while it's a protective and reasonable thing to do, I've realized that it's also pretty selfish. I'm depriving myself and these kids-who-are-not-mine from a positive interaction just because I'm afraid of being wounded by a careless comment. So this party was a test for me, and I decided that I was going to give and get all the kid-love I wanted...because who knows how many opportunities I'll get if my womb stays empty?

So that's what I did, along with my secret weapon: Fetch-the-best-dog-ever. 

I got to carry around a fussy 1-year-old boy, defend a 4-year-old girl's right to another gingerbread cookie, help a 7-year-old boy navigate the swimming pool, taught an 8-year-old boy how to make Fetch do tricks for chicken nuggets, and banter with a couple of surprisingly articulate adolescents.

And yes, the comments did come - someone shouted out that I looked good with the 1-year-old on my hip - and his mother who doesn't know about IF made a comment about me being able to afford a baby now that DH has his new job. But I was full of wine and sun and kid-love, so they rolled away without leaving too much sting behind.

There were a lot of other great moments of catching up with busy friends, watching Fetch become a hit with the crowd of people, breaking out glow sticks when night fell, and simply splashing around with Mr. Stick. And towards the end of the day, the friends we threw the party with gave us a beautiful watercolor that the wife had painted that I've admired for a long time as a gift.

I cried some happy tears on the long car ride home.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

I first started having pregnancy dreams shortly after Mr. Stick and I got together. They were pretty infrequent and never made it past the "BFP" stage, and for a long time they used to fill me with anxiety because I didn't feel ready for motherhood yet. I would always wake up relieved.

After we started TTC, I would still infrequently get these dreams and wake up terribly disappointed. The last such dream I remember having was the summer of 2009, and the dream had progressed to the point where a friend of mine was sending hand-me-downs from her twins(!) to me.

I knew that things weren't going well when suddenly I stopped dreaming of BFP's and started dreaming of BFN's. It wasn't bad enough that I had to experience disappointment in my real, waking life; apparently my subconscious decided it needed to remind me of my barrenness in my dreaming life as well.

A few months ago, I finally dreamt of a BFP again, but then after that came the miscarriage dreams - only two of them. I couldn't even blog about them - they haunted me terribly to the point where I wondered if it was even worth getting pregnant if I was only going to experience the kind of pain that my dreams merely hinted at.

And then last night, I dreamt I was pregnant again. Not just a BFP - I was in the hospital on my due date, waiting for my contractions to begin.

The sad thing about this dream is that IF had pervaded me so much to the point where I still didn't believe I was pregnant. My waistline was thick, but only a few inches larger than my current size, and I had gained only ten pounds. The nurse was debating whether to induce me, and I was arguing with her that I needed an ultrasound to confirm a heartbeat because I wasn't sure if I was pregnant, and I d*mn well knew that even if I was, I was too early along to even consider giving birth. I started crying, and I told her that nothing was even moving inside me, and this all seemed like a really cruel joke.

So she guides me into the ultrasound room, wands me, and I see a big smile come over the nurse's face. I look over (and remember folks that this is a dream), and it's not just a 3-D ultrasound, but a holographic representation of my baby. She's a girl, and she looks more like a 6-9 month old than a newborn - she has hair, her eyes are squeezed shut, and she is...beautiful. Not just beautiful in the "all babies are beautiful" sort of way but quite literally, physically beautiful in the way that I automatically think, "I'm going to be terrified the day she turns 15."

I worry about my lack of weight gain, and the nurse tells me that there is at least 15 pounds worth of baby and fluids in me (which is strange that she gave me a combined weight as opposed to the baby's weight), so I'm going to be just fine. (Which at that point, vain old me goes, "Wow - I won't even need to lose baby weight!")

Then we leave the room, and I see that a whole bunch of friends and family have come into the hospital to show their support and, in their words, "distract me" from all the pain I am about to experience. But I welcome the idea of the pain because I am happy and not scared anymore.

Waking up sucked big time. It took me a few moments to even realize that I had been asleep and dreaming, and all I wanted to do was crawl into that dream again and see the whole thing through.

I'm glad that my subconscious is feeling hopeful, even if the rest of me isn't quite there yet. And maybe this will sound pathetic, but a part of me is really happy that I know a little now what it feels like to really be pregnant...even if those feelings are just shadows of the real experience...and even if it was only in my dreams.

Friday, May 21, 2010

F*ck, Are You For Serious?

As if we didn't have enough sh*t to worry about: Infertility Drugs Raise Autism Risk?

Happy May ICLW!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! If you're new, the post with all our IF details is here.

The Current State of Things

After 3 Clomid cycles (2 with IUI), Mr. Stick and I are sitting this next one (and probably the one after that as well) out. There were a couple of reasons why - we're preparing for a big trip, we get better insurance next month, but the most important one is that I just plain realized that I needed to take a break.

So no meds and no procedures (and no wands up my hoohah!), but I'm still doing weekly acupuncture, taking vitamins (though not as religiously) and temping because my acupuncturist reads my chart each week. We'll see if I have the willpower to stay away from the OPK's in the next two weeks.

Oh, and the strange and sad thing is within a week of taking a break, I got four pregnancy announcements. One from my best friend, which I didn't take so well, one from a really good childhood friend, one from a local buddy, and lastly a surprise birth announcement from a friend of Mr. Stick's. Sigh - I feel like I'm starving in the midst of plenty.

And While I Have Your Attention...

I figured I'd pass along two really great offers that might interest you, dear reader.

1) Beckie's Infertility Journey is giving away an Ultimate Fertility Package this month.

Girlfriend is giving away an OV-Watch starter Kit, Pre-Seed , Fertility Socks, A Few Good Eggs Fertility Book, and chocolate and herbal tea. Go to her website to get the details on how to sign up for the offer. And just to let you know, even though I'm signed up too, if I can't win it, then I'll be just as happy if you win it!

2) This isn't really IF-related, but Zoya Nail Polish is running their nail polish exchange through June 30.

Zoya makes a toluene, phtalate-free nail polish that's pretty popular among preggies. The way their exchange works is, you mail in 6 or more of your old nail polishes plus $3.50 s&h for each bottle you mail in. Then, they'll mail you back the same number of Zoya nail polishes - you can pick from about 300 different colors. It's a good way to get rid of your old, toxic crap and get some new colors in for sandal season.

That's it! Thanks for dropping by - leave me a comment, and I'll do my best to return it. This community has given me so much support and love that I'm always happy to pay it forward.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gifts from the Universe

I'm a bit of a mess right now. Although I managed to pull myself from the brink of last week's meltdown, I'm still having moments when I realize I'm a complete emotional basketcase. Getting two pregnancy announcements in addition to last week's bomb has not helped this at all. Although I'm laughing them off, my wounds are still fresh and tender, and I find myself inexplicably on the edge of tears at strange and unpredictable moments, with no ability to articulate why I'm in so much pain.

This feels a lot like nursing a broken heart. I've been with Mr. Stick for more then ten years now, but you don't forget what it feels like to break up with someone and feel the carpet of the future you imagined roughly pulled out from under you. I guess I must be grieving, which I didn't expect would happen when I decided to take break. It's like when you work really hard for a few weeks and the first moment you get a break, your body decides it can get sick on you. For whatever reason, my body really just wants to be sad and gloomy right now.

And being the type A that I am, my reaction is, "This is sooooo not the time for you to pull this on me, Stickles. I gave you a TTC break, not an all-access pass to watch tv, read trashy books, take naps, and cry! You have project deadlines to meet!"

But the strange and wonderful thing is that I've been noticing since last week that the universe seems to be making room for my need to be a vegetable and work through some of my muck:
  • One of my non-profit clients has been a complete PITA for me in the last year. They are constantly cheaping out on IT and web projects, which create long-term issues that I end up having to contend with down the line. Well, last week, a couple come forward and volunteered to redo and take over their website in exchange for a service this client provides. My initial reaction was, "Oh shit, they're cheaping out again." But then I realized that here was an opportunity to unload this client without leaving them up a creek. So I let go of my attachment to them, and that burden was lifted.
  • I've been scrambling to get another client project finished by the end of this week. Last night, it stormed so hard that our power kept going out, so I finally shut down my computer and curled up with "Olive Kittridge" (a rather depressing book, btw). Then today, the client called and told me she'd be out all next week, which means I have a whole other week to finish said project. 
And the biggest gift of all? 

I'm going to home to California for the summer. Surprise! This has actually been in the works for a few months, but it has finally taken shape over the last two weeks. Mr. Stick has taken on a new position with a tech company headquartered in northern California, and they want him out there for training this summer. They would've paid for him to fly back and forth every week and put him in a hotel while he was there, but Mr. Stick proposed that it would cost just as much to fly us both out there for the whole time and put us up in a short-term rental.

(Both DH and I do computer-based work from home, so we're pretty portable. In fact, the only reason why we've stuck around Austin for so long lately is so I can get fertility treatment.)

I've found us the perfect sublet in the Mission District - it's a block from a shuttle that would take Mr. Stick to work, a block from a ZipCar lot if I need to grab a car, and a few blocks from the BART train which allows me to go to the East Bay and visit my mom. We'll be really close to a yoga studio so that I can get back into my practice.

We'll also only be a short bus ride from a fertility acupuncture clinic and the Pacific Fertility Center (which was recommended by Dr. G.) if I decide to keep up with treatments while I'm there. I'm not sure how I feel about starting with a new center, but I like having the option. Also, I have to admit that with this new job, we'll have some infertility coverage (not IVF, but everything else), which had an influence over why I decided to take a break now.

So, I know in my head that there's a lot of things to look forward to, even though my heart hasn't quite gotten up to speed with things. And I just have to put this out there - if the universe is in the mood for sending me gifts, could it please send me a B-A-B-Y while it's at it?

Monday, May 17, 2010

That answers it!

Just had this convo with DH not five minutes ago.

Mr. Stick: Hey! My friend T just had a baby.
Stickles: WTF? I didn't even know he got married.
Mr. Stick: He didn't.
Stickles: Wow - isn't that like a huge scandal?
Mr. Stick: No, my mom says everyone in Greece has a baby first these days before getting married.
Stickles: Oh great, that's our problem. We got married first. No wonder nothing's coming. F*cking A!

(Imagine this as sarcastic and perky banter. I didn't have a meltdown like last week or anything. In fact, the number of pregnancy/birthing announcements has gotten downright comical.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friendly Fire

Thank you guys so, so very much for your supporting comments. I LOVE YOU ALL!!! I was in a really bad place last night - I couldn't even read through the first two comments because each one would just set me off in tears again.

I'm...okay. I'm in self-preservation mode right now, which is pretty much the same as self-nurturing mode except that instead of trying to refill a well, I'm just trying to keep the well from going dry. I'm hiding in a bookstore (favorite place of refuge since I was a kid), chilling until my acupuncture appointment. I think if I'm brave enough, I'll let the Poke Clinic know that I'm dealing with some emotional pain, and they'll probably open some more floodgates for me to release all this grief.

If anything, the fact that her news gutted me like that spells out pretty clearly just how depleted I am and that I did make the right decision in stepping back. Throwing "Clomidia" on top of the situation would just make things harder, and I'd be doing it for all the wrong reasons - panic, fear, ego, desperation...

I was trying to articulate to Mr. Stick (remember, supportive but clueless?) why I was so hurt last night, and it boils down to this. I had intuited a few months ago that M was pregnant, and the feeling was strong enough that I was fearful of calling her. (I'm really glad I had blogged my thoughts about it at the time because rereading it helped me articulate this.)

So I had prepared myself, summoned up my courage, called her and then asked her in the course of our conversation if she was. She said no, and then she asked me if I was. Which then segued into a really difficult but good talk where I finally came clean to her about IF.

I understand, of course, why she lied. (And I realize now that she did lie because in that first phone call, she wanted me to give her recommendations for a trip to Hawaii she was about to take, and I learned yesterday that they had originally planned this trip for late fall - until they found out that she was going to be due in November.)

But that lie created for me a false sense of security. I think that a lot of IF'ers protect ourselves in a subtle way when we are among "civilians" (I prefer that term to "fertiles") - I feel like I am on constant alert for a pregnancy bomb to drop. With M, my defenses were completely down. I was totally vulnerable. I didn't even have my usual flippant and witty persona on because I was in a state where I was feeling light, free, and trusting of myself.

So to beat the military analogy to death once and for all, I got taken down by friendly fire.

Mr. Stick had a really interesting take on it, which I think I will be able to accept when I'm in a stronger state of mind. He said that I had an intuition, a voice that was telling me to be careful around M because I thought she was pregnant, and I ignored it because she originally told me something I wanted to hear.

And then he told me that yesterday, I trusted myself and listened to that voice when it was telling me to take a break and give myself what I needed. a way, the universe was reaffirming that my intuitions are correct, that I need to listen to myself and trust myself more. Because when it comes to my emotional health, I know more than my RE and even my closest friends.

(I need to give some props to Mr. Stick, btw, because despite my flippant comment about his cluelessness, he has been an absolute rock. One of the reasons I wanted to take a break was so that I could give the poor guy a reprieve from the fertility-drug-addled Crying McWeepy alien that has taken me over these past few months, and instead he gets an emotional meltdown straight out of the gate.) I am, hunkered down and attempting to rally so that I can make the most of this gift of time I have. I'm still feel pretty emotionally torn up, but that little voice tells me I'm going to be totally okay, and I know that I should listen to her.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Down and up, and then down down down...

This was supposed to be a different post.

I was going to write about how emotionally and psychically drained I've been feeling lately. About how I've been dragging my feet over my planned Clomid/IUI cycle and wasn't feeling any joy or optimism about it.  About how after a really long talk with a close friend yesterday, I had come to realize that I was looking forward to taking a break from TTC more than I was looking forward to trying to get pregnant. And how that made me realize that maybe I shouldn't go through with this next treatment cycle. Because my heart wasn't into it, and deep down I didn't believe that it would work anyway.

I was going to write about how I summoned up the courage to call Dr. G. this morning and cancel my CD baseline ultrasound and admit to you all that I just needed to take a break, get off the treadmill, break the cycle of deja vu. About how light and free I felt after cancelling, that I actually felt more like myself than I had in months.

That I went to the gym for the first time in a really long time and took a salsa aerobics class because I had energy to spare. That I went out with my friend N, and without even knowing what I had done, she said to me over lunch, "What I love about you is that you have such an honor and respect for your body and its needs." And that I then took the $185 I was going to spend on my ultrasound and went and got a haircut, a brow wax, and a brazilian and had leftover money to book a massage with N for next week.

I was going to tell you that I felt like I had taken back my life back, just for a little while. That I did the right thing and listened to that voice inside that said, "I don't feel like doing this," and I gave my tired and anxious self a reprieve. That even though I was going to let go of hope for this cycle, I wasn't going to waste the time - I was going to love, nurture, and take care of myself.

I was at my computer about to write the post. I should've just written the damn post.

Instead, I saw the blinking on my answering machine and realized that my best friend M called. So I called her back.

She's thirteen weeks pregnant. THIRTEEN WEEKS. I had asked her point blank two months ago if she was pregnant, and she told me no.  Maybe she didn't know at the time, but I can't help but feel like she lied to me. My. Best. Friend. Lied. To. Me. About. Being. Pregnant.

That peace I had cultivated for myself? Gone. That little cloud of understanding and bliss that I was floating on? Burst. I feel like the universe has just slapped me in the face.

I don't know how I got through the conversation. How I managed through the "We really weren't thinking about trying for another few months. It happened so fast." or "I had really wanted a March baby." or "I have to buy new maternity clothes because all my old ones were for winter."

I fooled her. Oh, God how I fooled her. I was so nice, I was so sweet. I laughed, and I said all the right things. And I was so very understanding and congratulatory, and all I wanted to do was scream at her, "Why did you have to tell me this today of all days? Why didn't you tell me earlier? Why didn't you tell me later? Why did you have to pee all over my peace parade?"

I have always prided myself on being able to put my grief aside when someone else gets pregnant. This is no longer the case. For the first time in more than two years of TTC, I wept, and I sobbed, and I cursed when I got off the phone after learning that someone else was expecting. I never, ever, ever thought that I would react this way to my best friend of all people.

I feel totally lost. I don't know if I did the right thing anymore. Part of me says yes, and the other part of me says it's not too late to ask for Clomid and get back on the treadmill.

I feel utterly betrayed. Betrayed by the universe, betrayed by my friend, but most of all, betrayed by my own good intentions and love for myself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A little geek humor for today. (Thanks, XKCD.)

The deja vu of it all is getting to me. 

I have the whole treatment sequence down by heart now, and pretty much have the next month laid out:
  • CD 1: battle disappointment with sarcasm and dark humor
  • CD 3: baseline sonogram
  • CD 3-5: take crazy pills
  • CD 5+: battle "Clomidia" and onslaught of strange dreams
  • CD 14: mid-cycle sonogram where there will be one mature follie and an ok-but-not-great lining of 6-point-something
  • CD 16: +OPK
  • CD 17: the IUI shuffle
  • CD 18 - 26: actual professional productivity, as I'm not obsessed with TTC for exactly one week
  • CD 26 - 29: become obsessed over sore boobs, strange crampy feelings, and watching to see when - oh, i mean - if my temps fall
We'll see if Clomid 4.0/IUI 3.0 actually results in Sticklet 1.0. If it doesn't, I'm looking to power down for a cycle or two before upgrading my protocol to Injectibles 1.0.

I'm feeling pretty blah right about now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nancy Drew & The Mystery of the Sore Boobs

My breasts hurt.

For most women, this would be cause for pulling out the pee sticks and going to town, but in crazy-upside-down Stickles world, it's just a reminder to stop obsessing and prepare for AF.

Let me back up here just a bit.

Sore breasts used be a once-in-a-blue moon thing for me. I certainly never got them when I was taking the pill, and during those wasted years when I was off the pill and actually "trying-to-avoid" I'd have one or at most two cycles a year where I'd get tender breasts.

Naturally, during these rare occasions, I'd freak out a little that we had an "accident" (more so about the fact that I was probably drinking alcohol and caffeine during my cycle moreso than the reality of being pregnant), but those worries all came to moot.

So the really, really crazy thing is that since we started actively TTC, I get sore boobs during every cycle. Every cycle. This has wreaked severe havoc in my head. Those first few months of TTC, every time my girls started getting tender, I'd whip out the pee sticks only to see a BFN and a visit from AF within 48 hours.

I have asked my OB, my RE, and my acupuncturists about this, and no one can give me a satisfactory answer. The docs think I'm just more sensitive to the changes in my body (which, I don't think so, because those few times I got tenderness in the past *really* stood out - I have notes in my charts to back me up) while acupuncturists seem very pleased by this information because it means that my body is producing good progesterone.

So I am left to wonder if I am really creating my own version of a "hysterical pregnancy" towards the end of the 2ww or if this is an indication that something strange is going on in my body. Like maybe I could actually be conceiving, but something goes wrong at the end of the implantation stage, and no one seems to be catching it.

Oh, and just to throw another curveball...

I've also noticed that these three cycles of Clomid I've been on, I get the sore boobs later in my cycle. In a normal cycle, I start getting sore at 7 dpo and get AF about 4-5 days later. While on Clomid, I'm getting sore at about 10 dpo and getting AF about 2-3 days later. I really don't know what to make of this.

So this is all just to say that although I could obsess over the strange little things that have happened this cycle, like the acne breakout from hell a few days ago, or my need to take a nap yesterday afternoon, the fact that my boobs are sore in exactly the way they've always been sore these past oh...26 months...I'm not having a whole lot of optimism right now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I really should be cleaning some spreadsheets for a database import right now, but I'd much rather share with you some painfully-earned knowledge. It probably won't apply to most of you...or any of you, I hope...but if there's anyone out there TTC'ing under similar circumstances, I think it's important to pass this info along.

The Background

IF aside, I've always been a remarkably healthy person except for an anatomical proclivity for urinary tract infections. I started getting them as a virginal teenager, but they really started rearing their ugly head once I started having sex.  I'd average about 3-4 major UTI's a year - by major, I mean having to go get antibiotics - and a handful of minor ones that could be flushed out with water and cranberry juice.

I eventually figured out after a few years that simply peeing immediately after DTD and washing up "down there" prevented them for the most part. I managed to get the frequency down to about 1 or 2 minor ones a year, which I figured out I could self-treat with concentrated cranberry pills and/or D-Mannose, which is a type of sugar that binds to bacteria in the urinary tract.

And then I started TTC

I'd like to think we had an active sex life before, but TTC apparently ratcheted things up a bit because I got a big bad UTI within the first two months. I was stubborn at first, trying to self-treat without antibiotics, because I didn't want to take antibiotics (ah the naivete of those early days!) if I was already pregnant.

And once I sucked it up and actually went to a doctor, I fell into a bit of a Catch-22, as they'd put me on a milder antibiotic (Macrobid instead of say, Bactrim or Cipro) when I told them that I was TTC. I'd dutifully take the antibiotics for two weeks, the symptoms would go away, and then BAM! I'd be back in the next month with another raging UTI. 2008 basically became a throwback to those college years when I'd be bouncing in and out of the clinic for UTI antibiotics.

The shit...or I should say pee... really hit the fan in late 2008/early 2009 when I got "the UTI that wouldn't go away," even with antibiotics. It was a miserably painful time - my gyn was running bacterial cultures that were coming up negative, and scary terms like "interstitial cystitis" (IC) were being thrown around.

(I know this sounds terrible, but I think if I had to choose between IF and IC, I'd choose IF. IC just seems too agonizingly painful to deal with on a daily basis - I'm amazed at the women who bear with it and more so, the mothers who bear with it. I mean, I could barely deal with a few weeks of severe bladder pain as it was.)

Eventually, I wound up in a urologist's office, and she determined that my urinary tract wasn't infected - it was badly inflamed from all the recurrent infections of the previous year. Ironically, she put me back on Macrobid, because it has an anti-inflammatory effect - and I had to take it for six weeks. She also put me on a daily regimen of taking cranberry or D-Mannose supplements and gave me a long-standing prescription to take Macrobid each time after sex to ward off another infection.

Thankfully, it worked. Within a week, the pain that I thought would take up permanent residence in my nether regions was gone, and it didn't come back after six weeks of antibiotic therapy. I happily took my supplements, and refocused my energies on getting pregnant.

But then I did some research a few months later.

It turns out that just about everything that I was doing was unfriendly to TTC:
  • D-Mannose doesn't just bind to bacteria, it also binds to sperm. Sperm have mannose receptors, and D-Mannose is apparently effective enough at this that there is a patent out to use it as a contraceptive.
  • Cranberry supplements create an acidic vaginal environment that is partially hostile to sperm. This too, is apparently effective enough to be used as a gender swaying technique for those maddeningly fertile women who use it to kill off the "weaker" y-chromosome sperm.
  • Macrobid shows a slight risk for miscarriage. Now don't get me wrong - this is one of the safest antibiotics one can take, and there are probably millions of pregnant women who have taken it without adverse effects. That said, though, there have been a few women who claimed that taking it resulted in miscarriage. There isn't a lot of strong scientific evidence that demonstrates this, but when you're as paranoid as I am, it's best avoided.
And of course, my tried and true technique of peeing and washing up right after sex is a little harder to do when there's a ton of advice about lying down with your legs in the air for a half hour after DTD. Sigh.

This makes me wonder if I've just wasted a bunch of cycles while I was on antibiotics or sperm-killing supplements. I don't blame my urologist - she's not an RE, after all, and I'm eternally grateful to her for putting an end to those weeks of pain. I think this information is pretty obscure, as well, since one of my acupuncturists at the Poke Clinic even recommended D-Mannose to me when I mentioned my penchant for UTIs. Which is why I thought it prudent to publish my experience on the Internets.

So what now?

Well, I gave up on the daily D-Mannose and cranberry supplements a few months ago. And I'm only taking Macrobid after "fun sex" in the early part of my cycle as opposed to baby-making sex  mid-cycle. Poor Mr. Stick knows better than to try to jump me late in my cycle when I'm worried about taking Macrobid during the 2ww, as well as not wanting to "shake things up too much down there" (irrational, I know, but welcome to my IF mind).

I'd also like to think that the acupuncture is overall having a balancing effect on my body. It did eradicate my allergies, so I don't think it's unreasonable to think that it might be resetting my body's chemistry to something that is both sperm-friendly and UTI-bacteria-unfriendly.

I've been lucky so far, in that I haven't had any UTIs - major or minor - since that horrible one more than a year ago. So I'm just hoping that it continues to hold out until I get the biggest lucky streak of all with a BFP.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

IUI Update

Hey ladies,

Sorry for dropping off the earth there. I get kind of blog-saturated during ICLW (love it though!), so I needed to take a breather and not spend every day focusing on infertility.

So I realized I never posted about IUI #2, which I'm sure you're all dying to know about. I got my much expected +OPK pretty quickly after whining about not ovulating, and we booked the IUI for the next morning.

After our IUI-shuffle hijinks of last month, Mr. Stick insisted that I sleep in while he went to the lab at the crack of dawn to "collect and turn in his specimen." Not only that, but he was sweet enough to wake me up in time for the IUI appointment and drive me into town again a few hours later, so he could keep me company during the procedure. What a husband!

Mr. Stick is nothing if not consistent - his swimmer numbers were almost exactly the same as last month across the board - motility, morphology, density, and count. I even asked Dr. G if he wasn't just reading the numbers from last month. We got about 40-million of those babies in there, so I really hope my egg rises to the occasion because we really tried to make it easy for that eggie!

So now I'm in the 2ww, the first half of which is always the most relaxing part of my cycle. There's nothing I need to be doing, watching, or waiting for. Ironically, though Mother's day is going to fall right at 12dpo, which is usually the point at which my temps take a nosedive. So next Sunday could potentially suck...or potentially not suck in a big big way.