Thursday, January 28, 2010

Top Five... 2WW Remedies

 My top five ways to entertain myself durning the 2WW.  What are yours?

5. Weekend Trips - When it comes down to it, the weekends are the hardest part of the waiting.  My week days are mostly occupied by work, but once the down time sets in, the reality of the wait sets in and it drives me mad.  My DH and I have done stuff as simple as visiting friends, to weekend retreats at B&Bs.  Getting away is a great way to keep yourself busy!

4. Exercise - I love, love, LOVE long walks, especially on nice days.  I can honestly walk outside for hours.  Its a little less fun in this cold winder weather, but with a few layers on and some good tunes on the iPod, its a great way to clear your head and feel better.

3. Get Engulfed in a New Book - Pretty much speaks for itself.

2. Learn Something New - A few weeks ago, it was sewing, now its photography. Trying to learn something new is a great way to occupy your mind. Plus, bonus, I can hopefully put these new skills to work once we get our bundle of joy.

1. Spoil Myself - Nothing better than a mani/pedi or a good massage.


Website Information

Someone shared with me the following site and I found it very informative, so I wanted to pass it along:

The International Council of Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc.

CD15 Ultrasound Isn't What I Hoped

To update on my current status, today I had a CD15 follow up ultrasound to check my follicle size.  To recap, I had an u/s on CD12, at which time my largest follicle was only ~10-11mm.  To be considered mature and ready for ovulation, the follicles would need to be ~18-20mm.  So they told me to wait a couple days and come  back in to check on the progress.

So, as directed, I came back in this morning, and it doesn't seem like there was much improvement.  I didn't get the exact measurements yet (my doctor will call back this afternoon and let me know the formal results), but based on what they said, it didn't look like there was much growth... I'm guessing it is probably ~12-13mm right now.  Normally, your follicles will grow 2-3mm a day, so the news that I probably only grew 1-2mm over 3 days is disappointing to say the least.

Of course, this left me feeling pretty down.  I've already spend the past 13 months feeling broken, but today, its worse.  This cycle, I took 150mg of Clomid, which is supposed to be the max dose (I know some doctors will go higher), and based on what the doctor said this morning, it doesn't seem like its working.  He said typically he expects to see results between CD15 and 18. 

So now, I just wait.  My doctor will call this afternoon to go over the formal results of both my bloodwork and today's u/s and let me know what the next step is.  Likely, I will go back in a couple days to see if they are growing.  If they haven't, then they will likely consider this cycle unsuccessful, and I'll start over again next cycle... big disappointment!

UPDATE: Well its worse than I thought... it turns our my lead follicle is still only 11mm, which means there really was no improvement over the past three days.  I'll be going back in on Sunday (CD18), but it doesn't seem too likely that this cycle will work.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


As you know, I had the "pleasure" of getting an HSG last week, and promised to share the wonderful experience with you. First, let me start by saying this is by NO means how all HSGs go (I tend to have the worst experience with it comes to these things), so please don't let this scare you out of getting one if your doctor recommends it. Despite the unpleasantness, it is relatively quick and will provide you with some very useful information.

So, to start, what is an HSG? Well, HSG stands for hysterosalpingogram, which is an X-ray used to examine your uterus and check for blockages in your fallopian tubes. The radiologist will insert a catheter through your cervix and inject dye. They will then take several X-rays of your uterus and tubes and check for blockages. If they can see the dye fill your ovaries and spill into your body, they can confirm that you do not have any blockages.

So, what makes this whole process so unpleasant? Well, let me tell you my experience. Upon my arrival, I was told that the room where they perform this test was currently occupied, but would be available shortly... 30 minutes later, it still isn't available, so the hospital decides to perform this test in a standard X-ray room. Now, I know that doesn't sound so bad, but let me tell you, without those handy dandy foot stirrups, its hard to get into the necessary position. But after lots of rearranging, and a couple pillows, I finally got into a manageable state and we were able to start the test.

That’s when the fun begins. When they insert the catheter, they have to inflate a small balloon to hold it in place while they inject the dye. Overall, it probably shouldn't have been too bad. I experienced some mild cramping, not much unlike menstrual cramps and very manageable. BUT (there's always a but) unfortunately for me, my balloon wouldn't stay inflated; therefore they had to remove, reinsert, and reinflate the balloon THREE TIMES. By the third time, I was almost in tears. This is likely because of the trouble they were having, and is in no way reminiscent of how this procedure always goes. The good news is that once they have the catheter in place, the procedure only too another minute or so. The dye was injected fairly quickly and was over before I knew it.

You'll also want to be prepared for what happens next. You should expect some spotting or light bleeding. In my case, it only lasted a couple hours, with some spotting the next morning. You should also expect some of the dye and beta carotene (used to clean your cervix before the procedure) to leak afterwards. They will likely provide you a pad to use afterwards, but be prepared and bring one with you just in case. Another thing I noticed afterwards was a change in my CM for several days following the procedure. My CM was thick/creamy, but also very stretchy (like over-powered EWCM), and goopy. TMI alert: Think cloudy/opaque rubber cement... I, of course, immediately got online and was comforted that this was normal and only lasted a couple days, which was true.

So that was my experience. Like I said in the beginning, no matter how unpleasant it was, my doctor recommended it for a reason, and I'm glad I went through with it. Luckily there were no blockages. I've also been told that many women who have an HSG have an increased rate of pregnancy in the next 1 to 3 cycles following the HSG, because it essentially flushes out your system. So fingers crossed there!

Lastly, here are some other links on HSGs. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask your doctor!

All About HSG

WedMD: Hysterosalpingogram

Picture: Normal HSG

Picture: Abnormal (Blocked) HSG

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What To Expect... the movie?

Think "He's Just Not That Into You", with babies

Good idea, or no??

Really.... REALLY???

Its one thing when I feel like my friends have all the luck, but now Tila Tequila is pregnant too??  Yeah, thats fair...

UPDATE: After I posted this, I heard some rumors that Tila Tequila was actually serving as a surrogate for her bother and sister-in-law.  She did put out a statement saying this is not true and that she is, in fact, pregnant with the child of a "Swedish man - gorgeous."  Sorry, but I stick to my original statement that it is not fair for someone like Tila Tequila (who is supposed to be mouring the loss of her "fiance" Casey Johnson) to be blessed with a child. U-N-F-A-I-R.

Top Five... Frustations of TTC

Here are my top five frustrations of trying to conceive; what are yours??

5. Expense - I thought having the baby was the expensive part, not getting there! I feel like I have spent hundreds of dollars already. HPTs and OPKs were one of the first expenses I saw. Even when you buy in bulk, you're looking to spend $20 for only a couple HPTs. OPKs cost about the same and you usually only get 7 tests (or 20-30 strips, depending on what you buy). So after 13 months of trying, and testing, you can imagine how much that adds up. Then there are the other products people recommend, like Pre-Seed or Mucinex. Then we start infertility treatments, and it just gets worse... co-pays, ultrasounds, medications, all of which are very rarely covered by insurance companies. I was fortunate enough to update my 2010 insurance to have some coverage on treatments and medications, but it’s still an extra cost that I wish I could avoid.

4. Living Two Weeks at a time - it’s sad, but everything is broken down now into the weeks preceding ovulation, and the weeks following. I'm either tracking every little symptom trying to catch the egg, or waiting to see if it worked.

3. My husband feels like a sex slave - Why is it that men think sex once is going to get the job done? I swear, before we started TTC, there was no such thing as too much sex. But the second you're having sex with a purpose, it’s like the worst job on Earth. Now, I know some would say that maybe it’s his way of showing that he isn't ready, but I don't believe that. I genuinely believe my husband when he tells me he is ready to be a daddy. The problem is being able to enjoy the sex and not think of it as a job, and that is hard, especially the longer you are trying. It is much easier for men to take a more "laid back" approach to this process. They usually have a "go with the flow" attitude, whereas if you are anything like me, you have turned into a baby making psycho. Oh to go back to the honeymoon phase!

2. Everyone else is pregnant, what’s wrong with me?? - This is a big one. Like I've said before, there was a time when every day I learned of someone new who was expecting. After a while, it gets hard to grit your teeth and smile and congratulate them. Deep down, I am very excited for them, but its hard to not be a giant green monster on the inside. At this point, I feel like I have more friends who are pregnant or new mothers than friends that are not. When you are already feeling broken, this is just the icing on the cake. And what makes it worse? Oh, yeah, the people who get pregnant and weren't even trying! I have friends who were on the pill and got pregnant. I have friends who accidentally got pregnant. Why is it so easy for them, and so hard for me????

1. HORMONES - When did I become this crazy obsessed woman? Around about the time that TTC took over my life... When did I start crying ALL the time? Around the time I started pumping myself with hormones in an effort to finally have our first child. I swear, I can barely watch most TV shows, movies, even TV commercials without tearing up. It’s embarrassing!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Getting Started - Knowing where to begin...

If you're new to the TTC game, here is some advice on how to get started:

First and foremost, HAVE FUN!  This could very well be the most stressful moment of your life, and the more you stress yourself out, the harder it will be.  My first piece of advice is to just have fun and relax.  Enjoy yourself and each other.  Stop your birth control methods, and keep in mind that in most cases, it takes a normal couple 3 to 6 months to get pregnant on their own; granted, some people is takes only one try, while others it takes years and years.  Everyone is different.  If you've been on the pill, keep in mind it can take up to 6 months or more to get the hormone completely out of your system, so your cycles may be crazy at first.

Talk with your doctor.  Let her know that you have made the decison to start trying for a baby and ask for her advice.  More than likely, she is going to say pretty much what I did above, but its good to let her know where you stand.

If after a couple months you aren't where you'd like to be, start tracking.  I recommend Fertility Friend to track your cycle. There is alot of useful information in the site. The membership is free, but you can pay a small fee to upgrade to VIP membership. I really recommend the upgrade.

Basal Body Temperature

Measuring your Basal Body Temperature, or BBT, each morning, is a great place to start.  You can buy a basal thermometer at most drug stores.  I personally use one from CVS, and I have no complaints.  You should measure yout BBT first thing in the morning before getting out of bed or moving very much at all.  It will usually take one full cycle to see a pattern.  Once ovulation occurs, you will see a rise in temperature, usually about 0.5 to 1.0 degrees.  Once you see the rise in temperature sustained for three days and more, you can safely assume ovulation did occur, typically on the day preceeding the termal shift.  Remember, its the pattern that is important, so do not stress over any outliers. 

There are also some other physical changes in your body that can be monitored to determine whether ovulation is near; cerival mucus and position.

Cervical Mucus:

Throughout your cycle, you will notice several changes in your cervical fluid.  Some women notice this more, while others need to check internally to track the changes.  In short, the following physical properties will be noted:

Dry: At the beginning of your cycle, prior to ovulation you will likely produce little to no cervical mucus. Also right before your period should start your cervical mucus may become dry again. If you do not notice cervical mucus you will want to record this on your chart as dry.
Sticky: You may notice sticky cervical mucus prior to ovulation. It feels sticky to your fingers when you touch it.
Creamy: As you get closer to ovulation you will notice thicker, creamy-looking cervical mucus. This mucous looks and feels similar to lotion.
Eggwhite: Eggwhite cervical mucus is the term used to describe the mucus you have during ovulation. It looks like eggwhites and is slippery, clear, and stretchy.
Watery: Watery cervical mucus is wet and may be stretchy. You may notice this type of cervical mucus during ovulation or before having eggwhite cervical mucus.

More information on tracking cervical mucus

Cervical Position:

Tracking changes in your cervical position is probably one of the most invasive measures taken.  I myself only recently started doing it, so if you don't feel up to up, don't worry.  You have enough at your disposal to determine ovulation.  If you are going to track your CP, be sure to follow two imporant rules:

1. Be sure to clean your hands beforehand - you do not want to introduce any unwanted bacteria into this very sensitive area, and
2. If possible, do not check every day - Your cervix is very sensitive and can become irritate and/or inflammed.

Basically, before ovulation, your cervix will be low, firm to the touch (similar to the feeling of the tip of your nose), and closed.  As ovulation nears, your cervix will rise high, sometimes out of reach, will become very soft (similar to feeling your lower lip), and it will open.

More information on tracking cervical position

Ovulation Predictor Tests:

Lastly, there are OPKs, or ovulation predictor tests (the "K" is for kit, as they are usually sold as such).  If you do decide to use OPKs, please remember they can often be difficult to read.  Unlike home pregnancy tests (HPTs) where the present of a second line, regardless of shade or size, confirms pregnancy, with an OPK, the test time must be as dark as or darker than the control line to be considered positive.  This can make them easily mis-read.  First, be sure to read the enclosed instructions, but a few general rules do apply:

1. Do not read the test after the time limit has expired
2. Do not use FMU (first morning urine); your LH (the hormone detected in OPKs) will surge mid-day, and may be missed if you are only using FMU.
3. Try and hold your urine for 2 to 4 hours and limit liquid intake before taking the test; this will help assure your urine is not too dilute.
4. Test daily, and once you get closer to your expected ovulation date, testing twice a day may be necessary.
5. Remember that LH is almost always present in the body, so you will almost always see some result in the test window.  This is why you need to be sure the line is as dark as or darker than the control line before considering the test positive.

The BEST information I have found online for OPKs is  I really recommend it.


New Car Syndrome

This is something I have felt several times over the past 13 months... trying to conceive is just like buying a new car: Once you get it, you notice everyone else has it too!

I cannot even begin to explain how many people I know have gotten pregnant this year.  I swear, there was a solid month in the fall where every day I would log into Facebook and a new person would be pregnant.  It was non-stop.

You can't help but feel out of the game.  I'm not sure what happened, but I swear we are in the midst of another baby-boom.  I think someone needs to share their water with me!

Passing Along the Info, part 1

For the sake of anyone who feels the need to "follow" me, here are some links that I have found useful during this journey:

Fertility Friend - A trackers dream!

Information on Hormone Levels - great information on HPTs and OPKs

I also recommend joining What to Expect; their message board if a lifesaver sometimes!  A great place to ask questions or vent.

In the Beginning...

To be completely honest with you, I'm not entirely sure at what point I decided to start this blog. I feel like there has been a dozen times over the past year where I've found myself thinking, "Wow, you really can't make this stuff up, I should seriously pass along this information." But deep down, I really thought it was pointless... who really reads blogs? Then I found myself getting sucked into the lives of people I barely knew just trying to get a handle on the crazy things going on in my life.

So, that’s how I got here. I've decided after a very stressful year, a perfectly good outlet for me would be to put it all out there in the open. I decided at the very least, someone who is in the same position I found myself in over a year ago would find the information useful, and possibly entertaining. The intent it to focus on the decision to start a family, but who knows, it could expand.

I guess the best place to start is at the beginning. That brings us to January 2009. After months and months of discussion with my husband, we made the momentous decision to try and have a baby. We had been together for almost seven years, and married for one and a half. It was the next logical step. So, we started as most do, naively! We thought "OK, we'll stop using protection and will be pregnant in no time"... well, flash forward to June 2009. Not only are we NOT pregnant, but my system has essentially shut down. Who would have known that the birth control pills I have been pumping into my body for the last 10 years would basically leave my body forgetting what to do. No period. No ovulation. Nada... just a dusty old barren wasteland (at least in my opinion). Six months into our journey, and I was already more frustrated than I ever thought possible. A bazillion questions flooded my brain... Was this normal? Was I broken? Have I wasted thousands of dollars in birth control pills over the years? Will this EVER work?

Well, who better to ask than the professionals? I set up an appointment in June, and literally one hour after making the call to my doctor, Aunt Flo decides to make an appearance, almost 5 months late! I decide to keep the appointment and really just get the run around about how everything is probably fine now and it just takes a few months for the hormones to get out of your system... jump to August, another 7 weeks later, and my doctor finally decides she can run some tests (thanks so much... eight months in). So after a week or so of poking (with needles) and prodding (with actual probes), it was finally determined there was nothing wrong with us (yes, my husband had the wonderful joy of being tested on as well).

Sooo... there's nothing wrong. That’s strange considering nothing is working. My doctor decides to start a few rounds of Clomid to see if that will get the system going... and with each cycle a big fat NO. Just increase the dose and keep on going with no luck. Finally, I find myself in December, a year in and with no luck or progress. After a lot of discussion (and drinks), my husband and I decide its time to see an Infertility Doctor.

Enter Dr. K, who is hopefully our lifesaver. We actually felt like we were starting to get some answers as to what was going on, and form a plan of action on how to fix it. We decide to start our third round of Clomid, this time at a triple dose of 150 mg for 5 days, and monitor my development during the cycle... Once my follicles (basically what’s developing the egg) are ready, we'll trigger with an hCG shot.

Oooh, the hCG shot. I'm terrified of this. Not because I'm afraid of shots, but because my husband gets the job of administering it. I feel like people are supposed to be licensed to do this sort of thing. But no, they just give him a handout and a needle and set him free. And I'm supposed to be OK with him jabbing a needle in my stomach. Ugh, it gives me a headache just thinking about it. But I'm getting ahead of myself; we aren't even there yet...

Last week, I had the wonderful pleasure of getting an HSG... Google it, its wonderful.. NOT. As with everything that ever happens to me, I had the worst experience ever. The short and long of it is they inject dye into your uterus and tubes to check to blockages. But in order to do that, they have to inject a catheter through your cervix and inflate a small balloon to keep in in place... guess who's balloon didn't want to stay in place? MINE, of course. So basically, the most painful part of the procedure had to be repeated on me three times before it would stay. I thought my insides were going to explode. Luckily, they didn't, and the test finally finished, and everything was in order. If anything ever was blocked, its cleared out now...I genuinely think I could devote a whole post on this procedure, so I'll save any more thoughts on the matter for a later date.

So today is Cycle Day 12 of my first cycle with the RE (reproductive endocrinologist, aka, infertility doctor, Dr. K). I took the 150 mg of Clomid on Days 5-9, and had my follow up ultrasound today... yup, I got wanded, as I like to call it. No one ever told me they did internal ultrasounds. I walked into the room the first time and saw the instrument and automatically thought "sex toy"... So mature, I know. But I digress, its nothing. You barely feel it and I honestly find humor in telling my girlfriends about it. ANYWAY, I had my u/s today, but no dice. The follicles need to be at least 18mm to trigger, but my largest was only 10mm. So, back to the waiting game right now. I'll go back in a few days to see how much they have grown.

The worst parts of waiting are the side effects from the Clomid. The first two rounds weren't so bad (probably because the dose was lower), with just some cramping and headaches. This round is miserable for me. Two words: Hot Flashes... ugh, miserable. I can barely sleep at night I'm so hot. My husband is all bundled in his warm flannel PJ pants under our big fluffy down comforter, while I am sweating, down to my underwear, on top of the blankets, basically in tears. The best part is the symptoms tend to stick around until you ovulate... which means I have about another week of this crap!

So that is my story, for the moment. I am now engulfed in the world of baby-making... and driving myself, my husband, and probably anyone within a 50 mile radius insane. I'll keep it open and honest with you, as best I can!