IUI

All posts tagged IUI

I am ready

Published June 8, 2014 by Jennie

Infertility-2

 

IUI #3 failed.  I have cried about it, been mad about it, accepted it, and moved on.  I am now 100% ready for IVF.  Even though I have been struggling with infertility for four years, I have only recently been able to honestly say this.  We have learned a lot with everything we have done up to this point (except of course the cause of our infertility) and I can now say I am ready for the next step.

One thing that has really helped is this blog.  I know I can never prepare for everything that can come with IVF but I know a hell of a lot more than I did even just six months ago.  A lot of this comes from reading the experiences of other people who have gone through IVF.  I am so grateful that other bloggers are willing to share these experiences.  Doctors are great but I feel like I learn just as much (if not more) from people actually know what it is like.

Even though I am ready now, I am still scared.  My husband and I have discussed what we may do if IVF fails (and also if it works).  It is a little scary to think about going through the process, not having it work, and having to deal with the very real fact that I am never carry a child or be a parent.

We have decided to start the IVF process in August with a retrieval in September.  There is no perfect time to do it but we have decided that this time works best.  I am teaching a five week morning microeconomics class starting in July.  After that, I do not teach again until the spring semester.  During the fall, I will have no classes and will dedicate most of my time to my dissertation.  This of course is a lot of work but time wise, it is very flexible.  I can also scale back the amount of work I do as needed.

I added a link to one of my favorite songs that I feel relates to this post.  It is Colorblind by the Counting Crows.  Besides the fact that it is one of my favorite songs of all time, I feel that it does relate to this post and how I feel about undergoing IVF.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! – xoxox Jennie

You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don’t Take

Published June 3, 2014 by Jennie

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Last Friday, I had a rare date night with my husband.  He has been really busy at work and I have been really busy with school so it can be difficult to find time to spend together.  During our date, I began to share some of my fears of our outcome for IUI #3.  I have done close to EVERYTHING I could possibly to do give us the best chance of having it it work.  I have made what it seams like endless health and wellness changes.  I asked him what would happen if I did all this and I still failed.  His answer was simple.  He said that we will never know for sure what will happen if we try but we can be certain we will fail if we don’t.

That put things in perspective for me.  It made me think of a poster I used to have up in my classroom when I was a teacher.  I think it was put up by a teacher who had my room before me and looked something like this:

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I really never gave this quote much thought before.  I have never been a fan of motivational quotes.  I usually find them cheesy and unrealistic (I also do not really care for hockey!).  Even so, as I think about it, this quote (and my husband are right).  When you try, there is no guarantee of success but everyone who succeeds did so by trying.

I tried to make this shot work (anyone and everyone knows I did everything I possibly could).  I am still glad we tried.  We could never get to the next step if we did not go through this one.  Today I will allow myself to cry and grieve but tomorrow I am going to move on with my life.  Wednesday is a big day for me.  Seven years ago tomorrow while in front of 11 family members and wearing a $100 dress, I said I do to the love of my life.  That was a shot definitely worth taking and I would not trade it for anything in the world.  – Jennie

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To Test or Not To Test

Published May 31, 2014 by Jennie

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Today I am four days away from our scheduled beta test.  I am very open about our infertility struggles (both on my blog and my everyday life).  People often ask me if I have tested yet.  I thought I would share my thoughts on why I never test early.  This post (or any post I write) is not created to give advice to others or criticize how other people handle this process.  Different things work for different people.  I am just explaining why I choose not to test.

Cost

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The first (and least important) reason I do not test is due to cost.  While they do not cost much, it adds up (especially if I purchased several of them).

False Negative

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Different pregnancy tests do have different sensitivity levels, but in general, data indicate that pregnant women who test early often get false positive results.  Additionally, other sources state that about 25% of pregnant women will test positive two days before their missed period and 40% will test positive the day before.

I actually would not take a hpt test until a week after my period.  I know that might sound crazy.  I will say that even though I would not test, I would still take all precautions as if I was pregnant.  A study in 2011 indicated that many pregnancy tests elevate their accuracy claims.  They ultimately conclude that waiting a week after your missed period will ensure the most accurate results  I have included the citation of this study and I am happy to share it via email and explain the methodology if anyone is interested 🙂

Cole, LA. “The Utility of Six Over-the-Counter (home) Pregnancy Tests.” Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine : Cclm / Fescc. 49.8 (2011): 1317-22

Early Miscarriage

This is the big one.  I know that there is no point (especially during the first trimester) where a woman is guaranteed to carry the pregnancy to full term.  Even so, the chance of early miscarriage (also known as a chemical pregnancy) are noteworthy.  When a conception implants and results in a clinically recognizable pregnancy, 31% end in miscarriage (source).  Some women do want to know they are pregnant even if they end up losing it early.  I totally respect that.  For me though, I would rather not go through that.  During the last four years, I have had 2 instances where I got up to a week late.  I experienced several pregnancy symptoms.  In both cases, when I did get my period, it was heavy and painful.  It is likely that I had a chemical pregnancy but I think it would have been worse if I had tested positive at the beginning.

Fear

Infertility has been a big part of my life over the last four years.  This may sound strange but I feel like I have gotten good at it.  I want nothing more than to have a child but the idea still scares me.  I worry I do not know enough to be good at being pregnant.  I am scared of messing up.  I am also not sure what kind of parent I would be.

So there it is.  I am interested to see what people say about all of this.  It is ok to think I am a little nuts 🙂 – Jennie

 

62 Friends on Facebook

Published May 28, 2014 by Jennie

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Today I am officially halfway through the 2WW!  During this cycle (and all my previous cycles), I have been overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from my friends, family members, and fellow bloggers.  Even little things like checking on me to see how I feel or if there is anything they can do to help means so much to me.  I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful support system.

One of the more difficult things I have had to learn while dealing with infertility is that sometimes I need to be selfish when choosing who to maintain relationships with and who to let go.  Just because someone is a good person and I like them does not mean I need to keep them in my life.  When I first created my blog, I wrote a post about my struggles with Facebook.  I decided to keep my connections with my actual friends and family members only.

It does not mean I dislike the people I am no longer connected with on Facebook.  It means that just because I have met someone in the past, I do not have to keep up with their life.  It also does not mean that I end our connection once someone is expecting.  Pregnancy announcements are always hard for me.  I would rather reserve them for people I care about so my love for them can help me overcome my jealously.

I am still very happy that I chose to change things up on my Facebook page.  It is now a wonderful tool I can use to keep up with people I care about (minus the clutter!).  I also really enjoy keeping up with my blog and my fellow bloggers.  When I started it, I did not expect to relate with people I have never met as much as I do.  Sometimes I read posts from other bloggers and I feel like I could have written the same exact thing.  While I would never wish infertility on no one, it is nice to know that my experiences and reactions to it are not an anomaly.

I believe that infertility is extremely difficult to truly understand until someone actually goes through it.  I am so thankful I have a place to share my struggles, successes, and sometimes just vent.  I have also learned many great tips and tricks for getting through this from other bloggers.  I hope that I have been able to provide some support and encouragement for someone else at least once.

Also, for some reason, I do not feel the pang of jealously when other bloggers announce a pregnancy (well maybe for a short period of time but it really does dissipate).  I think it may because I identify with their struggle.  I know how infertility can overrun someone’s life and I filled with joy when one more person no longer has to deal with it.  The other reason I am happy is selfish.  If something worked for someone else, then it could maybe work for me.  It gives me hope.  I do not know if this cycle worked but either way, I am confident I have the support and resources needed to manage the outcome.

I usually have more pictures so I figured I would post one of my dogs for fun.

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Have a great day everyone! – Jennie

 

My TWW Survival Guide

Published May 25, 2014 by Jennie

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I know a lot of people dread the TWW.  I am not an expert on getting through it, but I developed a plan that I think works best for me and I thought I would share :).  I am treating it as a mini vacation full of fun and relaxing things.  Every infertile person know that the solution to infertility is relaxation, right (kidding of course!) but I figured finding time for some TLC can’t hurt.  I also found some fun things to do to pass the time and take my my mind off things.  Here is my list of things I have done.

Yoga

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I have been switching some of cardio over to yoga.  I have read it can be good for fertility.  Even if it is not, there are many, many other health benefits.  My goal is to be not horrible at it by the end of the summer (I have a ways to go but I am moving in the right direction).

Acupuncture

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blogged about this in January, and have continued to do it (especially during the TWW).  It is so relaxing!  If you are interested in trying it but hate needles, I will tell you they are much thinner than a regular needle.  I only experienced discomfort when the put the needles in my feet but that point is not critical for fertility so they skip that part now.

Massage

Aroma Therapy

I know that massages are spendy but every once and a while they are worth it, so why not during the 2WW?  Many massage therapists specialize in infertility and relaxation which is what I did.  I felt like  I was floating on water afterwards.

Bath

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Some research suggests that baths may harm male fertility.  Other research suggests that pregnant woman should be cautious as well.  Even so, they are incredibly relaxing and I think they are fine as long as I do not get the temperature up too high or soak for a long time.  My favorite bath recipe calls for just Epsom salt and fresh ground ginger.  It is supposed to help detoxify the body.  I know it helps relieve stiffness and tension.

Spa Treatment

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I love the feeling of spa treatments but they can be expensive and sometimes I worry about the chemicals they use on my skin.  One of my favorite at home spa treatments is a DIY soothing cucumber eye mask.  All you need are fresh cucumbers and aloe vera gel.  When you put it on your eyes when it is cold, it feels amazing!

Hiking

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This is a picture I took today of my husband and me at the top of Pinnacle Peak at Crowder’s Mountain.  I know I am supposed to stay away from strenuous activities so we took one of the easier trails, went at a slower place, and took a few breaks.  This is my favorite place in the world.  The view is soothing to the soul.  It was also awesome to spend some time with my husband.  Speaking of that…..

Sex

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Did I just go there?  Yes I did!  I know that sex it a taboo topic (I wish that was not the case), but I think it is important to talk about it.  I often feel that infertility can take away the intimacy from sex and turn it into a chore.  During the TWW, we can just enjoy things without all that stress and pressure.

If anyone has any other survival tips or feedback, please share!  I wonder what is going on (or not going on) in my body now.  Lord knows I am doing everything I can.  Love and baby dust to all xoxoxo – Jennie

Are those onions in your pantyhose?

Published May 21, 2014 by Jennie

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So today is day 2 of my IUI.  Besides minor cramps and bloating, I feel great.  I am so glad I took Letrozole as opposed to Clomid for this cycle.  I think Clomid is a great drug that works for many people but not me.  It also makes me feel crappy even for weeks after I take it.   Hopefully, insurance companies will soon accept Letrozole  for use as a fertility drug and not just a drug to fight breast cancer (it can be difficult to get some insurance companies to approve it sometimes).

Today I got up early to do yoga and took it easy for the rest of the day.  I am trying hard to relax 🙂 I also spent some time researching healthy options that I can include in my life.  I originally created this blog document my journey to health.  I also consider my blog an infertility blog.  My infertility is still unexplained so for me, health and fertility are the same thing.  There is nothing wrong that I need to address or some diagnosed infertility cause that I need to overcome.  The only thing I can do is improve my mental and physical health

One of my primary health goals is to cut out processed food.  I still have a ways to go but I have made a ton of progress.  One thing I struggle with is finding the best way to store and preserve my food since unprocessed food tends to go bad quickly.  I recently found a great food hack that suggested storing onions in pantyhose.  My husband was a little confused when he saw this and asked me why on earth I would store onions in pantyhose.  While it is strange, it really works and does extend shelf life!

Today I decided to create a pintrest account so I can share and organize the recipes, tips, and information I have found that have helped me make healthy changes.  I also added a pintrest follow button on my blog (I feel so technologically savvy!) and you can also find it here.  Feel free to browse, follow, give suggestions, or share information you have found useful.

I wish all my fellow bloggers currently in the 2WW (as well as those with scheduled upcoming treatments) the best of luck!  Baby dust to all – Jennie

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Like a Boss!

Published May 20, 2014 by Jennie

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Today was the big day!  I have worked my a$$ off since January to do everything I can in preparation for this IUI and additional fertility treatments (if needed).  I am not perfect of course but I am amazed at how far I have come.  I feel like I owned this IUI like a boss :).  Here is how it all went down

It takes me over an hour to get to my RE’s office from my house during rush hour in Charlotte.  One of my good friends lives 5 minutes from the office and she invited me to spend the night at her house.  She also teaches Yoga and I went to her class.  After her class, she made dinner and a fire in their backyard pit so we could enjoy the beautiful North Carolina evening.  Instead of getting up early to fight traffic, I woke up to the smell of blueberry pancakes cooking on the griddle.  This friend is one of my inspirations for eating healthy and unprocessed foods.  Everything she makes is incredibly nourishing and delicious.

The IUI went great as usual.  My DH had a sperm count of 22.5 million (my RE is very happy to get a count over 10 million) and his motility was at 90% (they like to see 60% at least).  I had 2 well developed follicles which is great (my RE will cancel an IUI if that number is too high).   Although I am happy as usual to have good numbers, it sometimes feels like a cruel joke because they are always good and we still fail.

The hardest part of the IUI for me is to sit still for 30 minutes after the procedure.  I always feel like my mind is going 100 miles an hour.  Relaxing is hard work!  To help, I created an IUI baby making soundtrack which included some of my favorite relaxing songs which I figured I would share 🙂

Violent Femmes – Good Feeling (my very favorite song of all time)

Lil Wayne and Drake – Right Above It

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence

Lou Reed – Perfect Day

John Denver – Take Me Home County Roads

Counting Crows – Colorblind

The Jackson 5 – I’ll Be There

Band of Horses – The Funeral

My beta test is scheduled for June 4th if AF fails to make an appearance.  That is also our 7 year wedding anniversary (7 is supposed to be lucky right).  While the 2WW can be difficult, I kind of like it because there is a possibility I could be pregnant.  Even after 4 years, I can still get my hopes up which sounds strange.  If I ever do get to meet my child I can not wait to tell them how much they were loved and wanted even before they physically existed.

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There’s No Crying in the Pharmacy!

Published May 6, 2014 by Jennie

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Today we started IUI #3 (third time’s the charm right?).  I do not expect it to work but I also do not expect it not to work if that makes sense.  This one may be a little better for a few reasons.

* I finished all my coursework for my doctoral program (as of yesterday).  My main focus now of course is my dissertation but at least I do not have to try to schedule this IUI around classes.

* We have infertility coverage now (as opposed to when we did the first two IUIs).  This may make things a little stressful.

My initial appointment went well.  Although I know it is necessary, it always feels like a kick in the stomach when they make me take a pregnancy test.  As with IUI#2, I will take 5mg of Letrozole on days 3-7 and trigger with Ovidrel.

I went to the pharmacy to fill the Letrozole.  After waiting about 30 minutes, I asked them if there were any problems.  They said that my insurance company needed preauthorization which can take a few days.  Apparently, they do not understand that fertility drugs need to be taken on specific days and I did not have the luxury of being able to wait a few days.  I called my doctor’s office and they told me I should just pay out of pocket.

In reality, this should not have been that big of a deal.  We paid for the first two out of pocket.  Also, the medicine is not terribly expensive (it is under $100 without insurance).  Even so, for some reason, I started to feel hopeless in the middle of the drug store.  I think it was because I was already running into problems and it is only day 1 of this treatment.  I imagine my facial expression resembled something like this…

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For the most part, I manage infertility well.  I usually do not let it get me down.  Today was not one of those days.  My eyes started to water up as I texted my husband to let him know what is going on.  This is how he responded.

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This may not feel like a big deal but it reminded me of something I often forget.  My husband is incredibly loving and supportive but for some reason, I sometimes see infertility as my battle.  This is no fault of his at all.  I think it is because my body is made partially to bear children and it does not work hence it is my fault.  This text reminded me that we face all struggles together.  Also, he always has my back.  We are a team.  I may be unlucky at fertility but I am exceptionally lucky when it comes to love.

 

Sabotage!

Published April 30, 2014 by Jennie

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For those of you not familiar with my story, my husband and I decided in December to resume fertility treatments in May.  In January, I decided I would do everything possible to improve my physical, mental, emotional health.  I have worked hard and have made some significant changes.  Things were going great until a few weeks ago.  I have kept many of my good habits (no soda, artificial sweetener, limited added sweeteners, etc). Even so, I have let a lot of things slide.  I’ve been cooking less and relying more on quick meals which are more likely to be processed.  I have also not been to the gym as much and when I go, I have been focusing mainly on cardio (I know that it does not do me much good unless I balance it with strength and flexibility training).

I should also say that this time correlates with the end of my last semester of doctoral classes.  I have telling myself I have just been to busy to be healthy.  Logically, I know my reasoning is full of crap.  Being healthy is a lifestyle, not just something you do when you have time.  Life will always be busy.  I can not just be healthy when its convenient.  I am really disappointed with myself.  I also have this crazy thought that maybe I am sabotaging myself.  It would be extremely difficult to accept that I did everything to prepare myself for fertility treatments and I still failed.  I feel like I may be setting myself up to fail because I can not handle being let down again.  Why is it so hard for me to stay positive?  I get so tired of trying to be perfect.  I just want to hide in my closet and eat ice cream. – Jennie

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It’s your turn science!

Published April 13, 2014 by Jennie

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For four years I have tried to get pregnant.  For four years I have failed.  While no one knows why (there have been LOTS and LOTS of tests, procedures, medications, etc..) we can not do it on our own.  Last week I started my last cycle before our IUI.  Our game plan consists of the following plays: 1 IUI, IVF (with insurance, we could get through 2 fresh transfers but of course we hope we will have the option of FET if needed), surrogacy (I have already starting doing a lot of research on this), adoption (preferably but at this point I bet we will be broke), and lastly acceptance that we will never be parents.

I can not help but wonder how far we will get down this list.  I am trying to focus on all the positives.  First of all, my infertility is unexplained.  This is partially good.  I know that several things that can cause infertility (such as PCOS, endometriosis, blocked tubes, ovulation disorders, thyroid problems, poor egg quality, low sperm count, poor sperm motility, etc) are not issues for us.  On the other hand, it is difficult to treat an invisible problem.

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Additionally, I am 31 which is not super young but I would say at this point, age is not a huge factor for me.  We have good insurance so treatment will be a financial commitment but will not bankrupt us (at least until we go over or max limit for treatments).

Another thing that we have going for us is that I have unusually high tolerance to pain.  Needles do not bother me at all.  When I got my last tattoo, I read most of the time and almost nodded off.  Somehow my brain knows how to block off or at least greatly diminish feelings of physical (and mental) pain.  I have been through a lot in the past in addition to infertility so I think this may be my survival tactic for getting through things.  My friends sometimes call me a robot which can be good or bad, but in this case, it is good.  For those of you who get queasy around needles (which is completely normal), please enjoy the picture below (many of you may have already seen this but it always makes me smile).

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I also will not be working during the last half of May and all of June (minus working on my dissertation).  I am teaching a class in July but I can easily get someone to fill in for me if I have to miss a day or two.

Even though medical science has failed to identify why I can not get pregnant, I have a tremendous amount of faith in my upcoming fertility treatments.  I have researched it ad nauseam and I know that this is our best shot.  It has to work for someone so why not me?  Although I know that disappointment may await us, I am so thankful that we have access to these types of treatments.  All of this will soon be out of our hands.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for myself and everyone fighting the exhausting battle against infertility.  I promised myself I will not give up even if things do not go our way and really start to suck – Jennie

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