Monday, October 29, 2007

Timing, continued

Three weeks ago, my brother M. called to tell me that he and A. had just gone off birth control and were going to try to have child #3. Today, I received the obvious follow-up to that call: A. is pregnant. They conceived each of their other two children easily, too, but even so, M. explained to me that he was "blown away by how easy it was" to conceive again, especially since they "weren't really even trying yet." He complained some about how, because they conceived so quickly, it was throwing a lot of their planning into disarray, then explained how he wanted me and S. to arrange all our future vacation plans to better accommodate their happy news, since we have no such constraints.

I was so desperately trying to avoid crying into the phone, I told him that I was late getting somewhere and practically hung up on him. I don't think that I even said congratulations. Then I drove for several miles while sobbing hysterically into the steering wheel (real safe, I know, but at least I stayed off the freeway).

He wasn't supposed to tell anyone yet (the rest of the family is being told over Thanksgiving, though she'll only be ~8 weeks along then) and I'm under orders to "act surprised." That's not the only reaction I'll be faking. And now I'm left to wonder... would I have rather that he waited to tell me, so that I could at least have these next 3 weeks in peace, without the incredible suffocating feeling in my chest that I've had since he told me? Or is it better that I find out now, before I again have Clomid coursing through my veins?

And waiting still ...

I stopped the progesterone on Thursday, and it's now Monday, and still no period. I've been feeling vaguely crampy for several days, but nothing to indicate anything is really happening. If I believe my BBT chart for this cycle, today is Day 12 of high temperatures. My luteal phase is usually 10 or 11 days, very rarely going to 12, and my temps usually drop a day before my period starts, which means that my period is unlikely to start tomorrow, either (bringing my luteal phase to 13 days at least). Part if me is pleased, because it means that I probably did ovulate, and it's good to have my luteal phase be a respectable length. But at the same time... I want to get going with the next cycle already!

I'm definitely feeling the pre-menstrual headache today, though. With no advil. Damn.

Friday, October 26, 2007

And more waiting ...

Progesterone is done (again). Period should start in the next few days (hopefully tomorrow) so that I can start the next round of Clomid. I'm glad to be moving on from the progesterone; the fuzzy-headedness is really affecting my work.

My BBT is still up, and if it's acting normal (and overrides the progesterone tablets) then I won't actually get my period until Monday or so. We'll have to see if my ovulation theory is correct, and my cycle gets reset on its own, regardless of the hormone pills....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Progesterone Fuzziness

Today is day 7 of progesterone. I'm definitely feeling better than I was last week (no nausea, and only mild headaches) but I am feeling more fuzzy-headed than ever. Everything seems to be taking forever. I have energy, but I can't concentrate on anything, and I'm so absent-minded that I can't actually trust anything I'm accomplishing, anyway.

I keep thinking through scenarios in my mind. When is my period likely to start? If the Clomid works, when will the IUI be? What phase will I be in when we're with family over Thanksgiving? How do I explain Clomid side effects to family without telling them everything? Should I bring a pregnancy test to Thanksgiving, or is it better not to find out until I'm home? If the Clomid doesn't work this cycle, when can we try again? Blah blah blah.

I'm also obsessively looking things up on the internet. There's only so many articles I can read about side effects, odds of conception, ovulation problems, and unresponsive ovaries, and honestly I'm not learning anything new at this point, but I can't ... stop ... searching. The combination of my "focus" on fertility stuff and my lack of true focus on everything else means that I'm getting squat done at work.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ovulation Mystery

So... my ovulation test on Tuesday, just before my ultrasound, was an ambiguous positive. Starting a day or two before that, the left side of my pelvis was extremely swollen and painful. At the ultrasound, Dr. M. had a hard time finding my ovary on my left side (no problem with the right), then said that he saw it, but it had no follicles, and canceled the cycle. (I also told him about the bloating and uncomfortableness on my left side, and he brushed it aside.) Wednesday and Thursday, my left side continued to feel swollen and uncomfortable. Today: my BBT spiked, I've been feeling feverishly warm all day (like I usually do just after ovulation), and my pelvis suddenly feels 100% better.

I'm willing to bet good money that I just ovulated. I bet my left ovary was performing exactly as it was supposed to, but Dr. M. misread it somehow. I'm no doctor, but I think we just needlessly wasted this last cycle. I'm thrilled to be feeling better at last, but really annoyed that I don't fully know what happened, and that it may have been a mistake. I'm also kicking myself for not speaking up more at the appointment on Tuesday, to insist on an explanation for what was going on with my left ovary. Pathetic.

Nothing I can do about it now, though. If I did ovulate, it was probably yesterday, so we've already missed our window of opportunity. Once again, sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More Finances

Ultrasound appointment: $15
Progesterone prescription #2: $5
Clomid prescription #2: $5

New total: $55

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


My Day 13 ultrasound was today. My blood tests all came back normal, S.'s semen analysis is great, my HSG was normal, and according to the ultrasound, even my uterine lining looked great. But my ovaries apparently decided to take the month off. The right ovary had a few tiny follicles, but not as far along as they were supposed to be. The left ovary, the side that has been causing me pain for the last several days, was MIA. Dr. M. had to poke around ... a lot ... in order to even find the left ovary, by which time I was in enough pain that I wasn't even watching the screen anymore because I was too busy trying to breathe and not scream. But, I'm told that once it decided to show itself, it also showed that it had no follicles.

So, the cycle is canceled. Apparently, 50mg of Clomid is not the right dosage to get my body to respond -- I need a much stronger kick. Thus, this evening I started another 10 day regimen of progesterone to reset my cycle again, to be followed on Cycle Days 3-7 of 100mg of Clomid. On Day 13, we'll try again, and see if I can summon the follicles to even attempt an IUI.

Sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks. The weird thing is that my ovulation test this afternoon appeared positive, which means ... I don't know what. That I'm ovulating immature eggs? That the test was wrong? That I read the test wrong? At least, barring a bizarre reaction to the progesterone this time around, I'll have either ovulated or canceled again by the time we leave for Thanksgiving. We won't know anything else by then, which will suck (and make the family event, complete with newborn baby, that much harder), but we won't be missing out on a cycle, either. In the mean time, progesterone nausea, dizziness, and addled brain for 10 days. Again. Sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Feeling Eggy

For the first time in several weeks, I'm not taking any medications. Woo hoo! The antibiotics are done, the hormones are done, and I have an ultrasound appointment for tomorrow to find out how I'm responding to the therapy. The hope, I think, is that my ovaries are developing a few, but not too many, follicles that are at just the right maturity to release eggs in the next few days, and that my uterine lining is ... welcoming.

I'm feeling mostly better, though still a little queasy and lightheaded (and distracted). And my abdomen still feels a bit swollen to me, particularly on my left side. It's strange that I feel lopsided, but it might be entirely my imagination. I'm a little worried that I have OHSS, but since the symptoms are awfully close to the side effects of the erythromycin, I won't know for sure until the appointment tomorrow. I so desperately want my body to have reacted right to the Clomid....

In the mean time, I'm happy to not be nauseous, and I'm hoping to actually get some work done today. And I'm trying not to drive myself too nutty anticipating tomorrow.

Friday, October 12, 2007


After much discussion of the cost of fertility treatments, I decided to keep track of how much we're actually spending. Our insurance is actually not too bad -- it covers all the normal procedures, including IVF, should that end up becoming necessary, and medications. But, only up to a point. There's a lifetime cap which, by my estimates, should be enough to see us through many, many IUIs and associated meds, but probably with only enough left for a single IVF cycle (possibly two, if it's on the cheap side). I'm still hopeful that we won't get to that point, so all the major costs might still fall under the spending cap, in which case we're only responsible for the copays for appointments and prescriptions. So, the total should stay relatively low (in the hundreds, rather than the thousands that other people seem to spend) until we hit the insurance cap.

So far:

initial consulation: $15
progesterone: $5
Clomid: $5
Erythromycin: $5

Total so far: $30

The cost to my mental health, of course, is much higher....

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I talked on the phone with my brother, M., today. He started telling me about a home remodel that he and A. are thinking of doing, and before I knew it, he was explaining in detail their plans to have a third child. Highlights of the delightful conversation, during which I mainly concentrated on not bursting into tears:

  • When they were trying to have Child #1, they got pregnant on the first try, miscarried, then got pregnant the very next time they were allowed to try.

  • For Child #2, it took them two whole months to conceive, which really sucked.

  • For both pregnancies, when they were trying to conceive, they "did the whole charting temperatures, testing for ovulation, timing sex thing" and the process was sooo technical and "nauseating" (M.'s word) that it drove M. mad. I mean, between the two kids, they had to do all of that crap FOUR TIMES. That's really rough.

  • For a while, they weren't sure whether they wanted a third kid, but A. is adament that their family doesn't feel complete yet. M. was very descriptive of how horrible the heartbreak would be for the two of them if they only ended up with two happy children instead of three.

  • This time around, M. refuses to do all of that detailed stuff, even if it means that they might not get pregnant during the first month. Even if it takes two or (gasp!) even three.

  • A. wanted to start trying in January, because if they start trying now, she'll be in her third trimester over the summer, which will interfere with their camping plans, but M. convinced her to take the "see how it goes" approach and just start now. His view is that, since Child #1 was born 3 weeks early, and Child #2 took an "extra" month to be conceived, they obviously haven't been able to "time" births at all anyway, so why bother trying?

The whole thing was sickening. Listening to him complain about not being able to plan the exact month the kid would be born, and how inconvenient that was. The hassle of having to chart temperatures. The unimaginable sadness that would come with only having two children. The casual way he talked about everything, and the things he chose to complain vociferously about. I wanted to scream.

But, the bottom line is, A. went off the pill this month. They're assuming she'll probably be due with Child #3 in July. And it's likely to all happen before it happens for us. Sometimes, the world is incredibly unfair.

Moral Support

Clomid is done, but I still can't stop crying. Two days of antibiotics are behind me, which means that I've had stomach pains and debilitating nausea for 48 hours and counting. The nausea woke me up at 6am this morning. I had to force down some food at 8:00 so that I could take the next pill, and both the unwanted food and the additional medicine made the nausea that much worse.

S. had an appointment to have his sutures removed this morning. Last night, he said that he could go by himself, since he's off the Vicodin and driving himself around again, but this morning he threw a temper tantrum when I pleaded with him to let me stay in the fetal position on the couch because of the nausea. He even made me drive, though I insisted on taking his car so that, when I threw up, it wouldn't ruin mine. He claims he needed me for "moral support," for a 10 minute exam (and an hour in the car) that involved nothing. I was choking back vomit the entire time and doubled up in pain, but at least he got the support he needed. It's now more than 12 hours later, and I still can't believe how resentful I am about it. I mean, I've been 100% there for him since he injured his leg more than 2 months ago, doing everything he asks. I've been dealing with side effects of fertility drugs and treatments for 3 weeks without any support from him, because he's been laid up. But I thought that now that he was doing better and I was doing worse, I would finally be the one who got to put my needs first, and he could start doing some things for himself, if not for me. But he wouldn't even do that much.

All evening, he keeps saying "Thanks, I love you," and waiting for me to say, "No problem, happy to help," but I can't bring myself to do it. I'm just feeling so miserable, and I don't have support from any friends or family, and it sucks that I can't even get that support from him.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Well, today sucked.

Today is Cycle Day 6, which makes it the fourth day of taking Clomid. The Clomid actually hasn't been as bad as I was expecting. I had night sweats the first night, and I've had some relatively mild hot flashes (they're mildly annoying to me, but seem to be freaking out S.). A few headaches, but not as bad as my usual migraines, so definitely manageable (even without any Advil, which I'm trying to avoid). Mainly, it's the uncontrollable crying that's been the most noteworthy. Constantly. For no reason at all, much of the time. But, as far as the Clomid so far, nothing I can't handle.

The HSG, on the other hand... wow. It started off bad because they wouldn't let S. come in with me. He's on crutches because of his surgery, and he couldn't really stand next to me for 45 minutes during the procedure, and the nurse refused to let him bring a chair into the room, even though there was lots of empty space, so he had to wait outside. Inserting the speculum was more uncomfortable than a normal pap exam, but not by much. Prying open the cervix, however, .... holy crap that hurt. Even worse was inserting the catheter. I felt hot pain, and then it would go deeper, and then deeper, and every time I thought he must be done inserting it, the pain would intensify and spread even further. The x-ray itself was fast, and thankfully, it seemed to show that my uterus is fine and both my tubes are open, though we'll get the final results next week.

I've had horrible cramps ever since, and a TON of bleeding (worse than a normal period day for me). If I sit very still on the couch, the cramps subside some, but standing, moving, or lifting heavy objects (like S.'s freaking therapy machines) sends horrible pain through my lower abdomen. To top it off, Dr. M. prescribed 5 days of Erythromycin to ward off infections after the HSG, which always makes me nauseous. So even though I was looking forward to ending the Clomid tomorrow and having a few symptom-free days before ovulation, it's not to be. I spent the entire afternoon at home crying.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Cycle Day 2

Today is Cycle Day 2. Tomorrow I go in for the first of my blood tests, and I start the Clomid. My HSG is scheduled for this Tuesday; my ultrasound and cultures are scheduled for the following Tuesday. Depending on the number and size of the follicles, we'll figure out where to go from there.

S. had a post-op check today, and he will continue be stuck on the couch or bed 24 hours a day, at least until Monday, when he starts physical therapy. In the mean time, I'm doing the cooking, cleaning, bringing him food and water, helping him to the bathroom, bathing him, refilling his ice therapy chest every 5 hours (also requires daily trips to the grocery store for more bags of ice), moving his passive motion machine around 4 times a day (darn thing weighs 60 lbs, and has to be lifted up and down each time he gets in/out of it), and getting him pain meds every 4 hours (including the middle of the night, so neither of us has slept in 2 nights, either). He's getting understandably restless, and my cramps, headaches, and nervousness about the Clomid and HSG are starting to take their toll on my ability to lovingly cater to his every whim. It's obviously not his fault, and he's actually being a great patient, but I can't help feeling guilty that I'm not helping him more, because I'm too wrapped up in hormonal nuttiness.

So, yeah, Clomid starting tomorrow. The next few days should be real fun in our house.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Start Counting....

S. had his surgery this afternoon. He was still loopy from the anesthesia when I drove him home, with a long list of post-op care instructions for me to follow. After helping him into the house, getting him comfortably settled on the couch with his leg elevated and the auto-cooler humming merrily along, I headed out to buy the things he needed (big bags of ice, juice, soup, toast). I was in a hurry to get back, because he can't move around at all and was still having waves of nausea from the pain killers. As I'm running around the grocery store ... sudden cramps. Then dizziness. And more cramps.

So... right now, it's just spotting (bright red, but not exactly flowing). My normal pattern would be for full-on period to start tomorrow, then. For the purposes of counting my cycle days for the Clomid, I'm not sure if today or tomorrow is supposed to count as Day One. But, I have to call Dr. M. tomorrow either way, to schedule the various upcoming appointments, so I guess I'll just ask him. The timing isn't *that* great, because either way I'll be on the Clomid while also taking care of my immobile and needy husband. But, I am excited that we're moving forward!

In the mean time ... damn, cramps just keep getting worse.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The First of Many Waits

I took the last of the progesterone today. Now, we wait for my period to begin. I'm glad the progesterone is over, since I've been feeling rather sick and dizzy while on it, and haven't been able to concentrate on anything. I'm also anxious to move on to the next step (the part that can actually have a chance of getting me pregnant -- this is just the preliminary stuff to start my cycle going). At the same time, I'm nervous about the clomid. If I was feeling sick just from the progesterone, I can just imagine what the clomid is going to be like.

Dr. M. said that I could expect my period to start either during the progesterone, or 2-3 days after I finish it. Search online today, it looks like it might be up to a week after finishing it. I hate all the waiting! I had been thinking that I'd be starting my cycle Thursday or Friday, but I guess it might end up being later than that... so for now, we wait.

S. surgery is tomorrow. On the one hand, it's good that I won't be on the clomid and being a bitch to him while he's recovering. It will also be good that taking care of him will hopefully distract me from the anticipation. At the same time, I've been counting down the days to both the surgery and the clomid, and epxected them to be happening around the same time, so this is kind of disappointing. Oh well.