Here we go again

Here we go again

I didn’t really think IUI was going to work, but I suppose it has. I tested first on Wednesday but assumed the line I saw was the trigger. I mentioned to my acupuncturist that I might be pregnant, and she said, “yes, I thought you were last week.” I’m not really sure what it means to be pregnant at 4dpo (when I was there last week), but heck, I don’t even really believe in acupuncture but I’m doing it anyway.

So here I am – beta today was at 73, which is fine, as far as the internets can tell me, for 13 dpo. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic, but I, of all people, know this is the first of many hurdles before we get to take home a baby. (Check out my TTC resume about what happened during pregnancy #1 to see what I’m talking about. If I make it to the NT scan, I’m sure you’ll hear much more about it).

Next beta is Monday. They’re also testing my estrogen and progesterone levels to see if I can go off of these pills I’m sticking where the sun don’t shine every night.

Crazy Making

When I first started down the IUI path, I decided to go unmedicated because I’m trying to avoid twins if possible. So, during IUI#1, I only had the hcg trigger. I was pretty complainy about having to feel pregnant when I’m not. That cycle I started spotting at 9dpo and AF arrived in full force on 11dpo.  So, for IUI#2, I got put on progesterone for luteal phase support, which made me really tired, and then gave me terrible mood swings a few days before my period showed up. During cycle number 2, it turns out I had two mature follicles, unmedicated. That increased my comfort level with medication, since while multiples are more probable on meds, the most probable number is still zero.  So, this cycle, at my doctor’s urging, I said yes to letrozole (Femara) on cycle day 3-7.

The letrozole had a side effect of making me anxious, which morphed into extreme sleepiness after a few days. I was happy when that wore off.  However, when I went in for the scan when I got my positive OPK, my lining looked on the thin side, so the doctor put me on estrace – a blue pill inserted vaginally. (For what it’s worth, my lining increased from 6.5 to 8.5 overnight). Then progesterone again the day after the IUI. 

I just gotta say that all these hormones have made me batshit insane.  I.Just.Can’t.Deal. Fortunately I work from home, so I only need to inflict myself on my family for the most part.  Every email I write to a client I triple check because I truly can’t tell whether I’m being bitchy or inappropriate. My son’s normal little temper tantrums feel to me like the end of the world. I was devastated when the pipe to the dishwasher started leaking because DH had been mucking around back there. DH fixed it by cleaning out a filter, and while I thanked him, I also told him I’d break his arm if he mucked with it further because. Definitely not okay, and would have been caught by my internal bitch filter under regular circumstances.

If IUI drugs mess me up so bad, I’m concerned I’ll need to be put in a padded room for IVF drugs.


End of this level

When we first found out DH had no sperm, I figured there was only one possible use for the frozen sample, which was IVF with ICSI. It wasn’t until we visited the RE that we realized we could use some of the sperm, which was subdivided into seven vials, for a few rounds of IUI first. I hadn’t had high hopes for conceiving via IUI, since the odds are so low per cycle and unlike couple who can keep trying indefinitely, we have a finite amount of material to work with. So IUI has felt like a detour, but I’ve gotten comfortable with the routine.

Anyway, my beta for IUI#3 is on Friday. On Friday we will know whether or not we proceed to IVF. Holy shit.

I want data!

I’m an engineer/scientist, and there’s nothing that I love more than data.  Science reporting drives me nuts since often the reporter has no idea what they’re talking about.  Show me graphs! Show me tables! Heck, show me the raw data and let me visualize it with graphs and tables! One thing that I hate about TTC, and pregnancy as well, is how little data is shown to us. Everything is compressed into little public health messages like “drinking any alcohol will your chances of conception.” Apparently that message is based on a Danish study from the 1990s:

Here’s a recent and much larger study that says a little drinking increases your odds of conception:

My point is that there’s more data and analysis would help me decide how to live during this endless time of TTC.  Drinking is just an example, but it seems like there are messages about all parts of my lifestyle that are just not helpful and have little basis in research. I could adopt a vegan, alcohol-free, caffeine-free, yoga-filled life with adequate sleep for a few months with a definite end date, but ultimately, I’ve got a kid and a job, there’s not end to TTC in sight, and I’d love to know what lifestyle changes I could make to help my odds, changes that have a solid basis in science.

Left behind

When I think about coming to terms with being a one child family, I often think about the other similar families we know to convince myself we’d be in good company.  And then one of them goes and announces a new pregnancy. I don’t know why I always think that if someone with a kid older than three isn’t yet pregnant, they’re planning to stop at one.  Anyway, I ran into a mom I hadn’t seen in a couple of months at a birthday party this morning, and she was packing a 14 week bump.  The single child family is becoming an endangered species around here.

Hello World

Hello prospective blog readers! After following a bunch of IF blogs for a while, I’m motivated to start one of my own.

A little about me and my journey:  I’m a 36 year old engineer living on the west coast, mother to one active 3-year old boy and wife to a 44-yr old software engineer.   I always imagined I’d have two children. What we have to work with is seven vials of my husbands sperm, that were frozen before he started chemo in 2012.

DH’s cancer story redux: In 2011, my DH started having chest pains and coughing.  He go progressively sicker and sicker and was misdiagnosed by his fancy gastroenterologist with a bad case of reflux.  DH lost more than 1/6 of his body weight before circling back to his general practitioner and being sent for a chest x-ray in February 2012.  Turns out he had a 17cm tumor in his mediastinum (chest cavity). We were devastated. After several tests it was determined he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, which is one of the more curable cancers, with an 80%ish cure rate.  He went through 8 rounds of R-CHOP chemo and 18 doses of radiation and was declared cancer-free.  There’s obviously more to this story, and perhaps I’ll get back to the details in the future.

DH spent the winter of 2012/13 in an out of the hospital because his immune system was destroyed by cancer treatment.  By spring 2013 he was feeling better, back to work full time and had another scan that showed he was clear of cancer.  At that point we decided to investigate whether we’d be able to expand our family.  DH went in for a sperm analysis, which showed he had zero sperm.  Fortunately, prior to starting treatment, he had paid a visit to a sperm bank which yielded seven 1mL vials of surprisingly high quality frozen sperm.

We started with an RE in September 2013. Our RE gave us the option of doing up to three IUIs, and then if they fail, then going to IVF. We have no insurance coverage for this.  I just did my final IUI this morning, and am in the two week wait.

So, our lives have been on hold for over two years now.  We feel very blessed to have our one healthy child but want more.  I work part time and will go back to work full time depending on what the baby situation is. We need a bigger house, but we don’t know how big.  We need a new car to replace our 15-yr old wagon, but we don’t know what car will be appropriate since we don’t know how many kids it’s for.

I know we are lucky to have these decisions to make.  Very lucky compared to some. I know I’m lucky to have the one healthy child and a totally alive and fairly healthy husband. And to have my own health, of course. Part of me thinks that after all we’ve been through we should declare victory and go home, but I can’t give up the dream of the family of four just yet.  I’m just impatient to know how all this is going to turn out – hence the title of the blog “Are we there yet?”.