Posts Tagged 'ovulation'

World Gone Wild

While it’s easy for me to get so very wrapped up in my own story, I’d like to take a moment to note that the world is going crazy. Egypt, Bahrain, Wisconsin (ooh, did I just put those in the same list?)… Usually, crazy carries a negative connotation, and for sure the violence people are facing (have been facing) in certain Middle Eastern countries is negative to the tenth. But I’m a little prickly from the positive crazy that all the recent action brings too.

I’m in the middle of the down cycle before we start IVF. That means I’m on my own natural hormones, I’m not waking up to an early alarm to take my temperature every morning, and, barring the one kinda painful fibroid check and practice transfer I endured last week, my insides are closed for business. During this downtime, I am reading the news, caring about issues outside of my ovaries, rarely crying, seeing friends, and remembering what it’s like to be me and favor life. I’ve remarked to K on this and the one or two other occasions we’ve had to skip a cycle how very long these months seem. I mean, February’s the shortest month and it’s going on forever! I love it.

But even as I distract myself with passive participation in world events, I maintain a chest tightening that is a constant reminder of the March madness to come. Soon after I get my period, I start taking birth control to suppress ovulation and encourage the follicles to grow at a similar rate to a similar size. Then I get to have a few days of withdrawal bleeding. Then I start with the self-administered twice-daily shots of ovulation stimulation. Through all of this, from what I understand (which changes all the time), I will be going to the clinic for blood tests and inside scopes to follow the progress of the follicles. At the magical time, we’ll go in, I’ll go slightly under (I get an anesthesia and antibiotics!), they’ll stick my ovaries with a needle from the inside and suck out the eggs (hopefully lots of ripe ones). The eggs will be injected with our donor’s sperm and left to do their thing in a petri dish for a few days. The eggs will then take to the catwalk while the fertility technician judges vote on their strut, curves, and talents. The best two will be put back in me, I begin taking my ol’ frenemy progesterone (injections this time), and, once again, fingers (holding much less money) will be crossed. And all with a 10% of success!!!

Wow, impressive list of travails, right? “Try demonstrating for democracy in the face of whip-wielding, horse-riding maniacs!” says the inner voice addicted to Huffington Post.


Leggo My Eggo

I wish people would stop telling me to relax, that women in their 50s have babies, that I’m so young, and that I will get pregnant and have a baby. They have nothing to lose with their optimism. I have it all. So when I’m spewing negativity, I want people to say, “You know, you’re right. Your situation sucks, and you may not be able to get pregnant. If that happens, I’m really sorry.” Is that so hard?

Last weekend we celebrated K’s birthday. I let myself relax and really enjoy being unpregnant. For example, we went to a chocolate tasting, and I consumed a significant amount of caffeine, which I would not have done if I was waiting to find out if I was pregnant. We also went to a hot spring and sat in a hot tub that was way too hot for health. Again, I would’ve missed out on that preplanned excursion. I felt good. I felt like I was doing exactly what I should be to prepare for the next go ’round.

I felt even better this week after talking to a fertility specialist. We formulated a plan of how to proceed. And since I was there and hadn’t had my FSH levels checked in a while, we went ahead and did that too.

This morning I learned that my FSH, which had been tested on a couple of other occasions, is fine. It’s my day 3 estradiol level that is too high. This means I was right: my eggs are old and tired. Beyond my years. I always say I’m old and people poo poo me. Well, according to my blood, my egg quality/number is decreased—especially for someone so young. So, if you’re a friend, please do not take my age for granted when I express my worries in the future. I will probably hit you.

What now? Well, we had E2 bank his stuff this morning so we have “him” here even after he leaves for Europe. (He told me  this morning that he bought his ticket last night; it took everything in me to bop excitedly with him and not start crying.) The expense of every little step in this new world of fertility clinic makes me realize what a gift we had in a local known donor this whole time. I’m going to have a look at my follicles next week. If there’s any big enough, I’ll get a shot that’ll ovulate me early, since it’ll only be day 9. Then we’ll do a quickie home insemination hours before K and I get on a plane to the Midwest. If the ultrasound shows what my estradiol level suggests, few poor eggs, then we’ll wait until January and bring out the big guns.

Isn’t it interesting how you think you’re going to the next level of a process, just sticking your toes in to test the water, and the next thing you know you’re being dangled from the high-jump diving platform over the deep end?

So Close/Far Away

How many times did I hear that many women get pregnant the cycle after having an HSG?
How many people would assume that, if you’re actively trying to get pregnant, inseminate after an HSG, and miss your period, you’re pregnant?

Now, take both of those numbers and subtract them from themselves.
The result? Zero! The number of pregnancies I’ve had!

Let me explain… We were on a break(!) when we discovered our donor is planning to move away soon. Since we’ve tried so many times unsuccessfully, we decided to have a look inside my stuff to see if there were blockages keeping the sperm from getting to the egg. I was hesitant to get the HSG because I heard it could be painful and because I didn’t want to know if I did have blockages. But, in fact, the test wasn’t horrible and my passages are free and clear. So we inseminate. And inseminate. And… no clear ovulation. No temperature rise. No dark, solid line on the ovulation pee stick. We just kept throwing sperm up there (on his last visit, our donor said I had so much sperm in me I could probably score at a gay bar).

On days 19-21, I had spotting and cramping. I dreaded the period that was to follow because the pain has been so hysterically bad in the recent past and I was due to be either on a plane or at my father’s grave site when it hit. But check this out: the period never came. Like, ever. I don’t only not miss my period, I am very regular (in a short-cycle kinda way). The whole time I was in my hometown, I was sneaking pees on pregnancy tests and feeling a little giddy. The tests kept saying NO, but my lower abdomen felt different (psychosomatic says “what?”). Once I was back home, I began to realize this period wasn’t coming. I wanted to know for sure and right away that I was or wasn’t pregnant so I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to inseminate. My doc ordered a blood test (stat), which confirmed, despite the week of feeling really cool—like a girl with a fairy in her pocket—that I am not pregnant.

So, do it. Inseminate! Had I gotten my period when I was supposed to, I’d be just about to ovulate. The catch? No donor. Still out of town on holiday. I peed on sticks regardless. I saw a couple of lines get close to an LH surge and saw a rise in temperature. All too late.

What the heck? How could a little test mess me up so I skip an ovulation and a period? I know people sometimes skip periods. But not me. Ever!!! Am I done ovulating normally now? Did I embody the youngest and quickest menopause in the history of womankind?

The quandary leaves me spinning (happy sixth night, btw). I feel so out of whack. When I do get another period, what do I do? What timetable do I count on? Should I just find the cash and do an IVF and have twins and be done with all this?

Finally, I had a birthday last week. I was sure, so freakin’ sure, that with my dad’s spirit now fully on the other side where he could put in a good word for a daughter, that I would discover—on my birthday—that the missing period meant I was pregnant. I joked with myself that it would be like going to get your hair cut: You say, “whatever you do, do not give me a short hair cut.” The stylist turns your chair around at the end and says “just what you wanted! a short hair cut!” I made myself a deadline of having a baby by 33 and no later than 35. I thought, the universe is so funny I’ll find out I got pregnant just days before my 35th birthday. Alas, my desperate sense of humor is not shared by mama universe.

Me? Two-Timing?

It’s not what you think.

In spite of a very popular recommendation from family members and friends to just have sex with a guy to make getting pregnant easier, I will never “do it” with anyone but my spouse. I’m actually referring to the highly questionable double ovulation (cue Twilight Zone muzak). I don’t mean the release of two eggs within one 24-hour period, I mean a full-on ovulation that exists several days apart from the obvious mid-cycle ovulation. A myth, you say? A fairytale made up by desperate lesbians trying to conceive? Well, whatever it is, my luteinizing hormone shouted out this morning…and it’s only day 5! What?!

As I’ve mentioned once or ten times on this blog, I have an intense, weird pain early in my cycle that occurs several days before my day 12/13 “ovulation.” Well, I got a twinge of it overnight last night and thought, “What the hell? I’m just going to pee on a stick in the morning even though I just stopped bleeding.” And to my surprise, a significant pink line presented itself on the ovulation predictor. Wow. Did that ever throw our morning into a tizzy! I had to meet a contractor at our new house (that’s right, it’s all ours!) but drop K off at work first. While I drove, K called E2 to see if he could make it over here tonight. I dropped her off and realized I had not brought the new house keys! I called the contractor and ran home, where I also grabbed some more pee sticks. I figured I’d test again the next time I had to pee. Well, like most women trying to conceive (especially on hot summer days), I drink tons of water. This means that my next pee was super diluted, unlike my first morning pee, which gave me the pink line. Distraught and confused, I called K at work and freaked on her a little bit. After some interweb research, we decided to go for it and inseminate now, however unlikely conception might be.

What kind of things did the Google machine of baby-making wonder tell us? Well, I found one (yes just 1) study by some Canadians that showed a handful of women ovulated two separate times out of a large test group. I also read some message boards (I know) in which some women told their stories of how they always thought they might be ovulating earlier too, but second-guessed themselves because of scientific “fact”: women ovulate once per cycle. They then tried inseminating (or having sex) in this first window of fertility and conceived! K found out that two of her co-workers conceived on the last day of their periods. And, to make me feel even better, I came across a whole section about double ovulation in The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception (etc.) Here’s a passage:
“According to the Western medical interpretation of female fertility, ovulation only happens once, mid-cycle. Although it’s recognized that some women ovulate twice in one month, it is only considered to be possible within twenty-four hours of a woman’s first ovulation. Our experience has proved otherwise. We, and many other practitioners around the world have come to realize that for some women, and for some cycles, ovulation occurs more than once a cycle, often seven to ten days apart.” As I told E2 tonight, women are strange beings; I’ve been one my whole life and I still don’t get it.

This Part Again

Has anyone seen the movie “Date Night” with Tina Fey and Steve Carell? There’s a part where Tina’s character goes off on how every night her kids seem surprised that they have to put pajamas on before bed. That’s how I feel about this guessing game with ovulation. You would think that by try #5 I’d know when to schedule the insemination. But with each cycle, I find myself questioning and second guessing every symptom and test result.

I had the horrible wrenching pelvis pain again last night. For the past half year or so it’s been showing up around days 9 and 10 just to throw me off. I know from previous tries that my LH surges and my temperature rises between days 11 and 13. Yet some on the internet tell me that what I experience is ovulation pain, which means I’ve already ovulated(?!?). You see why I’m farmisht? (It’s a Yiddish thang)

K reminds me that there’s always the cervical opening to consider. She dove in this morning and said it seems to be opening but isn’t quite there yet. So, we wait. And I’ll have E2 come by days 11-13 as before. But mark my words, if it doesn’t work again this time, I’m gonna start him up early next month.

And, if it doesn’t work this time, and, if my periods and pre-ovulation keep getting more painful, I need to grapple with the possibility of the big E. Endometriosis. I hate the internet.

One thing that is new (and exciting) is that it looks like we’re moving! For a long time K and I have been talking about getting out of our ‘hood and living somewhere safer. Our block has crime that rivals some of our old Oakland residences. As much as we like our house, the location makes zero sense for having a baby and raising a kid. Although I always thought I’d be pregnant, if not already have an infant, before such a move, it looks like we’re following a certain chocolatier’s advice: “Strike that… Reverse it.”

Who knows? Maybe buying a house with a giant play structure already built in the backyard will set the mood for an egg/sperm love connection.

The Early Bird Catches the Sperm

We started inseminating on day 10 this time because everyone tells us it’s better to do it too early. Yesterday (day 13), I finally got the positive LH surge on my pee stick, and we did our fourth and final insemination last night. Kudos to the young stud for biking out here 4 days in a row and (so to speak) doing the deed. (Btw, I totally freaked out on him when he said he was riding his bike over. He assured me that his bike seat is one of those crotchless ones for guys with prostrate issues, and later I apologized for being a crazy woman.)

I’ve never been so relieved to be done with an insemination! Everything went well, but I was a mess. My lower-right pain started up on day 9 and grew in intensity until yesterday, when it was just too much. I still have no idea what’s causing it, but K worked on some of the tight muscles in the area and we got in with the Mayan abdominal massage therapist/acupuncturist, who used some moxa. I feel a lot better today, but it hurt so much yesterday that I was a cry baby whimp and made K stay home from work to take care of me. Yeah, this is going to be a fun pregnancy.

My mom and I were talking this morning about the myth/truth? of the first, fast sperm making a boy and later, slower sperm making a girl. If that is the case, there are plenty o’ sperm that have been hanging around inside me for days (I am a walking bag of semen) that could potentially make a girl zygote.  Of course I want a happy, healthy baby first and foremost, but secretly (not any more!) I kind of always wanted a girl. K wants a boy, so, future child, if you’re reading this and you’re a boy, it’s okay to love mama more than me.

My Wart Is Back

My worry wart, that is.

I worry the first part of the month that I won’t get a chance to inseminate, and then I worry the second part that we did it at the wrong time or incorrectly, etc. But I got a good couple of days in there when I felt pretty great about life, myself, a future baby… I guess I just have to look forward to those two days of insemination for a break from the evil W?

Last Thursday, I had a delightful ultrasound, when person 1 for the day was up in my business. I thought I was only going to have an external rub over my ovary area (where it turns out there was a small cyst thing—nothing to be concerned about). Then the tech brought out a big wand-like implement and said, “If people knew that this part was going to happen, they wouldn’t come in.” Truer words were never spoken. For a look from the inside, she inserted what she said would feel like a tampon. Who knows? Maybe she uses fire hydrants as tampons, but not me. I have to admit, it was pretty cool to see my insides for the first time. It turns out that I have a retroverted uterus. When I asked what that was, K, who was in the room, piped in, “It means your uterus is from the ’70s.” She’s so darn funny at just the right times.

I spent the rest of the morning peeing on sticks every hour (overkill). K was person 2 to check things out up downstairs to see if my cervix was opening. After talking with the naturopath a half dozen times, we decided to inseminate the first vile that evening. It went pretty much like the photos in the previous post depict. The naturopath was person 3 to delve into my netherlands. She said the os was open and there was cervical fluid. K and I celebrated with a nice meal at our friends’ restaurant.

That night’s peestick showed a much lighter pink line. I assumed all the water and tea I drank at dinner had something to do with that. The next morning stick showed a darker line again. We raced over to the office for insemination dos. My os was already smaller, so the naturopath said we probably got in just in time. I was feeling good about things.

Then came 3 days of spotting. This can happen, apparently, but is still disconcerting for a gal who only bleeds when she’s supposed to. I continue to track my basal body temp., which spiked today as it always does on day 17. I made the grand mistake of looking in the Taking Charge of Your Fertility book (which tells me exactly when my husband and I should have sex, by the way), and it shows ovulation occurring the day before this spike in temp. What do I do? Panic! Call the naturopath! Decide I’m not pregnant and never will be!

The two weeks after insemination are a warty, no-fun time.

(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 41 other followers