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?”.