Two Good Eggs

Two cracked eggs find the sunnyside (and funny side) of trying to conceive

[Un]Happy Infertility Anniversary

Another month has come and gone.  And, with the appearance of AF today, another dream is squashed.

This month marks our one-year anniversary of trying to conceive Baby 2.

I’m defeated, and broken.  Sad and numb.

And, as if the universe wanted to flip me a second middle finger in one day, this is what I found on the shelf when I went to buy tampons today.  Consider your audience, people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Middle finger] right back atcha.

So, now we drop back and punt.  We consider our next steps, which may include pursuit of IVF.  Stay tuned for the next steps of our journey.

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Breaking the loss silence

In a previous post, Sunnyside talked about the silent struggle of trying to conceive – when month after month you are consumed with details and symptoms; tracking and charting; testing and analyzing.  It’s exhausting to wonder and research and deal with it in silence.

As October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I reflect on the silent struggle of pregnancy loss.  It’s hard enough keeping inside all the BFNs we receive, all the wishful thinking and two week wait anticipation.  But when you’re faced with a miscarriage, as I was, before you’ve even been able to celebrate your pregnancy with friends and family, it’s devastating.

It’s so unnatural – grieving alone.  When we lose parents, grandparents, friends we grieve publicly.  We take time off from work.  We are surrounded by comforting arms and words of those who love us, and we grieve.  We allow others to comfort us, heal us.

But with early miscarriages, we grieve alone.  Why?

Perhaps it is because of all of the well-meaning cliches we receive from those who don’t know what else to say.

At least it was early.

At least you already have one healthy child.

It’s natural.

You can try again.

Would any of those responses be acceptable in any other loss?

I’m sorry your lost your father.  At least your mother is still alive.

At least he was old. 

Death happens.

No one in their right mind would think to say such a thing.  Why is it ok in reference to an embryo?

I suffered a miscarriage at almost 6 weeks on Good Friday 2012.  I spent half a day in the ER alone due to excruciating pain and vomiting, only to be sent home to “wait it out”.  I went home and cried alone in my bed for the evening.  And then I woke up, and prepared for Easter lunch.  Because I was hosting, and I couldn’t let anyone know what I was enduring.  I put on a happy face, I cooked lunch, and I entertained 10 people in my house for Easter – through the cramping, through the spotting.  And life went on.

I’m still not over it.  I think about that loss and wonder what kind of child he or she would have been.  What magic he or she would have created in this world.  What kind of sibling he or she would have been for our son.

It may have “been early”, but it was real.

Sunnyside sent me the most amazing gift following my loss – it was small and precious, and has helped me cope “publicly” without having to talk about it. She’ll tell you about that next week, and give you a chance to receive one for yourself.

This doesn’t mean I now feel comfortable talking about it openly.  I’m not sure what will make that easier.  For now, this blog is my microphone and you all are my therapy.  I invite you to talk about it.  Here, if no where else.  Talk about it.  Get it out.  FEEL IT.

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Checked CM while driving

Yup. You read that right. I started cramping and freaked out. The next thing I know, my right hand was missing. I checked for vehicles that were taller than my car. Cool. No eighteen wheelers to spy on me.

Where’s my antibac?

I need a manicure…

 

 

 

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POAS at Walmart Today…

Confession time: I found an old, unused EPT under the seat in my car (pathetic) and decided to pull into the Walmart parking lot (classy) and give it a go at 9DPO (delusional.) It was a BFN. Shocker!

Hope everyone is having a less trashy day than I am! 😉

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Define normal.

Remember when hearing the word normal was a relief?

Ma’am, your pap smear came back normal.  Phew!

Your blood pressure is normal.  Yay!

Your cholesterol is normal.  Awesome!

Your ultrasound looks normal.  Thank goodness!

Over the past 12 months, I’ve come to loathe the word “normal”.  Now, normal just means no one can figure out why I can’t get pregnant.  I’m defying logic.

After having a healthy and trouble-free pregnancy with my son four years ago, I thought Baby 2 would be a snap.  That has not been the case.  We’ve been trying to conceive Baby 2 for a year.  We’ve charted.  We’ve peed in cups.  We’ve checked fluids. We’ve raised hips and lubricated and prayed. And,  we’ve had two chemical pregnancies and an ectopic pregnancy in six months.  I’m ovulating.  His sperm is strong enough to fertilize.  We just can’t get a viable, sticky pregnancy.

My OB checked me out six months ago and said, “Everything looks normal.  I don’t know what else to tell you, so I’m referring you to a specialist.”  The specialist heard our story, and began the sequence of testing to try to pinpoint the problem.

Step 1:  We scheduled an HSG dye test to make sure there wasn’t a reason for the ectopic (like a blocked tube, or issue with my uterus).

When he called and said the test results were normal, I was instantly disappointed. I actually wanted something to be wrong.  I wanted him to find something in there so we could have a plan of action.  Oh, THAT is the problem?  Well, let’s remove it/fix it/medicate it.  Get this show on the road!

Step 2:  Let’s test egg count and quality.  Because I am at an advanced maternal age of 37, there’s a chance my good eggs have flown the coop.  So, let’s check into that, and if there’s a problem, maybe medication can help siphon out the good ones and leave the bad ones out.

Test results:  Egg count and quality are normal.   Sigh.  So that’s not the problem, either.

Step 3:  The doctor ordered blood work on my husband and myself to make sure there wasn’t something genetic going on that was causing the unsticky beans.  Something that would be easily treatable and avoided by medication, or worst case, IVF.  We both gave blood and waited two weeks for the results.

Our bloodwork came back normal.

He actually said, “I can’t find anything wrong.  You’re ovulating, so you don’t need clomid or femara.  You don’t need IUI, because you’re ovulating.  You don’t need sperm analysis, because you’re fertilizing.  Your bloodwork is clear, so there’s no genetic reason these pregnancies are aborting themselves.  I have no reason to believe you can’t have another successful pregnancy.  You just need to keep trying, or just go to IVF, if you are tired of trying (given your advanced maternal age).”

Just keep trying.  We’ve been trying religiously for a year, with not just the disappointment of a negative test, but the disappointment of thinking three times we’re going to have a baby, only to have our dreams and hearts crushed.

I don’t mean to imply that those who get abnormal test results are lucky.  I realize there’s a whole different level of heartache, anxiety and disappointment that must accompany that.  And, I realize that many of those abnormal tests result in not being able to have children at all.  That breaks my heart for them, too.

For our situation, it just makes me crazy not having a PLAN.  If we knew what was abnormal, we could address it.  But as it stands, we just keep doing what we’re doing, and eventually it’ll click?

Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

If that’s the case, then we’re about to become bat shit crazy.

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1 in 6 couples suffer from infertility. But we can help! Find out how.

Did you know 1 in 6 couples suffer from infertility?  1 in 6.

There is still shame and stigma attached to this medical problem which causes many of these couples to remain silent.

Odds are you know someone suffering from infertility and odds are they haven’t told you.

Please share this campaign with your friends and you may find someone tearfully thanking you for understanding and supporting an issue close to their hearts… one that you didn’t even know they were dealing with.

We need help to make it happen!

Check out this 5 minute infertility documentary and please show your support!  Donate – we did!

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Symptom Stalking…Oh Yeah, We Do This!

“I can’t change the litter box, babe. I might be pregnant. And I probably shouldn’t eat that feta, either.  But I will have a glass of wine.”

Am I the only one who’s convinced she’s knocked up every month?  I symptom stalk with the best of ’em. Forums, books, websites, and blogs have slowly morphed me into a self-diagnosing, wanna-be-mom monster. Two months ago, I had every pregnancy symptom listed in the Google universe. And boy, was I pumped!

My list of “maternal” maladies looked something like this: nausea, bloating, sore nipples, fatigue, light cramping, high temperatures, a cold sore, late period, hot flashes, a high, soft cervix, cold chills, and “that feeling.” And wouldn’t you know, Aunt Flow (aka the grim reaper) showed up swiftly and arrogantly just moments after I purchased a cute onesie to stash in the guest room closet. Isn’t irony a beautiful thing?

Scrambled had a candid, humorous post a few days ago regarding spotting pregnant women everywhere. I couldn’t agree with her more. We spot the impregnated at every turn.  We spot our own “pregnancy” symptoms. We think we spot a positive line on a pregnancy test. And then we start spotting as the vicious cycle repeats!

I find a reason every month why it would make perfect sense for me to finally become pregnant: the pseudo symptoms, the perfect delivery date, career timing, Chinese gender calendar predictions, etc. The last two months were especially disappointing. I had hoped to surprise my husband with a pregnancy announcement in August on our wedding anniversary, but instead the witch arrived. This month, my husband and I optimistically planned to open a gender announcement together on Christmas  morning.  The anatomy scan would have been scheduled a few days before the holidays and we were going to ask the technician to seal the results in an envelope without telling us. We thought it would be the perfect reason to bound from bed like little kids in anticipation of St. Nick’s bestowing.  I guess we can shoot for a Martin Luther King Day boy/girl reveal if we get lucky this month!

For a woman who claims to be founded in facts and evidence, I sure have become a superstitious, “just maybe” kind of gal over the last year. My mind has been taken over by twinges, temp spikes, pee tests, and thoughts of a tot of my own.

I will continue to symptom stalk because it gives me a hope and retains the title “crazy” that I have so proudly acquired. What I will try to differently, however, is to enjoy myself in the meantime. Drink ’til it’s pink. Pop a Xanax here and there. Maybe have sex when I’m not officially fertile. You know, the good stuff? 😉

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I just gave Judd Apatow his next movie scene (aka, there’s nothing romantic about TTC)

In pop-culture – movies, TV, books – getting pregnant is portrayed in one of two ways:

1) A beautiful miracle resulting from a gloriously romantic night of passion, love and plans for a future.  One beautiful night, followed by one simple pregnancy test read together sitting on the edge of the bed, a single tear trickling from your eye.

2) A hilarious train wreck as scripted by Judd Apatow.

I’m pretty sure after this weekend, Baby #2’s baby book will mysteriously be missing the “where you were conceived” page.

I’ve already told you about my baby-making lab – the OPKs, the BBT thermometer, pee cups, Preseed and after-sex pillow.  So, you know that this journey hasn’t been one fit for a Lifetime movie.

This weekend, I hit an all-time low.

     Friends, that is my OPK strip.  Stuck to the side of my bathtub.

    I was feeling under the weather, and wanted to take a bath.  While the water was running, I POAS and brought it with me to the tub to await the reading.  I guess I sloshed some water and the OPK went overboard.  I couldn’t find it anywhere, and thought for sure it was going to circle me like a tiny little boat in the tub.  As I got out, I saw it stuck to the side of the tub.  All.time.low.

You might be obsessed with TTC if you take your OPKs to the bathtub with you.

As I regained my composure (and promptly texted Sunnyside with my faux paus), I thought to myself, “Wow.  I’ve hit an all-time low.  It doesn’t get any worse than this.”

Oh, I was wrong.

My ovulation has been completely jacked this cycle.  After TEN days of fertile CM, and four days of positive OPKs, I still have not ovulated.  But, I was pretty sure that this weekend would be our last opportunity before the O-ship sailed.  We were unable to get busy on Saturday or Sunday due to family staying at our house.  Last night, both DH and I were under the weather and agreed we’d go to sleep and BD first thing this morning before work, and before our 4-year-old woke up.  DH had a migraine last night, so he slept in the guest room in an effort to let me sleep.  He slinked in at 6:30am and said so romantically, “Are we gonna do this or what?”

I sighed and said, “Yes, let’s get to it before he wakes up.”

We proceeded to fire up the baby lab.  Preseed inserted, sex pillow in place, let’s do it.  As SOON as we started getting busy (in a spooning position), we hear our bedroom door open.  In walks little man, dragging his blanket behind him.  Half-asleep, he just crawled into bed next to me and went back to sleep.  DH and I were frozen like two dogs stuck together and didn’t know what to do.  So, I did what I always do in awkward situations.  I start giggling.

And DH’s little friend retreated in humiliation.  Clearly we couldn’t go on with little man asleep in the bed with us.  That was just… wrong… even for Judd Apatow.

This is truly our last dance of the month…all signs point to this being our last chance for another two weeks.   Carpe Diem!

So I whisper-bark, “Go to the bathroom.  Go!  I’ll meet you in there!”

Confused, and totally disturbed, DH runs to the bathroom.  I get ready to get up and little man sleepily says, “Where you going?”  I tell him to go back to sleep, I’m just going to potty.

I meet DH in the bathroom and lock the door behind me.  We stare at each other for a minute – him buck naked; me only wearing a t-shirt.  Suddenly, I can’t stop laughing.  After looking around the bathroom helplessly, I take command of the situation and bend over to hold onto the side of the bathtub.

“C’mon.  Hurry let’s do this.  It won’t take long.”

Suddenly, DH can’t “perform” because he thinks little man can hear us on the other side of the door, even though he’s back asleep in our bed.  So, we retreat further to the toilet room in our bathroom and close that door.  The only thing to grab hold of is the toilet tank.  So, I do.  And, careful not to clear off the baby-lab provisions that reside on the window sill (Preseed, BBT thermometer, used pee cups, faded OPK strips, a fertility monitor), we try to knock this out in record time; but, he’s still afraid little man will hear us.  Things are not progressing.

So, I did the only thing that made sense to break the silence.  I flushed the toilet.

That did the trick.  We exited the bathroom, mentally recorded a little heart on our TTC chart, and went about our morning.

I realized at that moment that if this is a successful month for us,  I have just secured a life-long inferiority complex for Baby 2.  You, sweet child, were conceived in a moment of love and adoration … over the toilet.

Judd – you can have the rights to this storyline.  Just pay me enough to send this kid to therapy.

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Scientific Sexy Time

Let’s go ahead and cancel the “G” rating on this blog right now. It’s time to get a little intimate ladies and gents. We all love to make the bed creak from time to time, some of us in the morning (Ahem! Guys!) and some of us at night. And when the Big O arrives, it’s time to get our O faces on and get to it, no matter the time of day! Light the candles, turn off CNN, and put the fan on high because it’s about to get steamy and sticky ’round here.
That telling line (or smiley face) on your OPK has arrived and it feels like a Slip ‘n Slide downstairs. “Oh, honey. Where are you? This little egg is ready and needs one of your friends!” And the pressure sets in…
Thats okay. We can set the mood. Barry White, anyone? Or perhaps you prefer: “You and me, baby ain’t nothin’ but mammals so let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.”
Music? What? Not in this bedroom and definitely not at 6 a.m. The only sound is an annoying alarm clock and the dog’s attempt to remove the thong I carelessly tossed onto his head as DH rolled over to “greet” me. “Wait! I’ll be right back,” I whisper as I run to the bathroom, hopping over four-legged fur babies,“keep him awake!” 
A quick trip to the bathroom is in order to fill my syringe. Not heroin. Not fertility drugs. Just some good ‘ole PreSeed to help send his boys to the promised land. Does anyone fill that thing the whole way?! They sure do offer generous dosing options. One to two grams should do the trick.  And some Listerine. Now, that’s love, even if we won’t be facing each other. Come on, we all know which position will get the job done in record time. 
I bound back to bed and hope we can accomplish the task at hand before the alarm blares again in seven minutes. Easier said than done. I’m not a morning person and “I’m ovulating” is not a great excuse for showing up late to work…apparently.
“But babe, we have to finish like this so it stays in there!”
“I know. Chill out. I got this. It’s a lot easier to make you a mom if you shut up.”
We both laugh. He’s right.
The phone chimes and I encourage the grande finale, the 14th grande finale in the last 19 days. (Ahh, the beauty of unpredictable ovulation.) Exhaustion.
“The pillow. Gimme the pillow!” I shove it under my hips, cross my legs like I’ve got someone in a choke hold, and press my heels toward the ceiling. These little boys are on lock down in my lady dungeon, for at least twenty minutes. Heaven forbid I sneeze.
He strides off to shower. I stay still as a field mouse, secretly wishing I had a microscope and an ultrasound wand so I could obsessively track the journey. I’m such a nerd.
Sex during TTC is like horse racing. You release the boys from the gate, coaxing them hurriedly to the final destination! Go sperm men, go! Catch that f-n rabbit! All bets are on…now where is my damn cloak of roses?!  Oh…the winner (if there is one) isn’t announced for two weeks?? Bullshit. Gimme my flowers.
I finally emerge from a rigor-mortis-inspired position and wiggle to the shower, thighs on the verge of a spark as I dare not separate them. So sexy.
The day goes on as usual only to discover the next morning that my temperature has not yet spiked.
“Babe…one more time?”
“Are you f-n kidding me?” We both sigh.
“Just grab me an ice pack. My peekachoo feels bruised.”
“Oh, toughen up. You’re fine. Get over here, woman and sex me!” 
The laughter ensues and we rally, day after day, month after month. We will get this baby, damnit.
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The Silent Struggle

The question, “How are you?” has never been a more difficult one to answer than it has in the last year. I can’t be honest. If I am, I risk making others uncomfortable, and chances are their attempts to comfort me will produce the opposite result. I have to fake a smile, make small talk, and turn the conversation to some innocuous and generic topic.

What I really want to say:
-I thought this was the month, but I failed again.
-My temperature spiked and I can hardly contain my excitement.
-I started acupuncture and I seem to have found new hope.
-I’m running out of options/patience/emotional strength.
-I’m ovulating tomorrow and can’t wait to pounce on my husband tonight.
-I’m having a hard time coping with my friend’s new pregnancy.
-Look at my chart! It looks triphasic, right?!
-I think I saw a squinter this morning! Wanna see the pic on my phone?
-I just suffered an early miscarriage. I’m devastated.
-I just ordered 50 OPKs and 20 HPTs online. This WILL be the month!
I guess I could discuss work, our recent home remodel, the dogs, or an upcoming vacation, but all I want to talk about is my relentless, obsessive attempt to get (and stay) pregnant. I’m fortunate to have found Scrambled and  one or two other ladies who understand (and of course my loving husband,)  but beyond these wonderful supporters, I’m left to struggle in silence.
Why is it okay to boast about promotions, proposals, and pregnancies? Why is it so easy to support a friend during the loss of a loved one, through a bad breakup, or attend AA meetings with a recovering friend? Yet it is so hard to find and accept support during the roller coaster that is trying to conceive. I wish there was less shame and secrecy. I wish there was more open, comfortable conversation. I wish we didn’t feel so alone during the one time in our lives when we really need to feel surrounded and understood.
I’m tempted to log on to vistaprint.com and make a custom magnet for my car that reads, “I’m struggling to get pregnant and I want to talk about it!” I’ve heard they have great prices 🙂 “Hi. My name is SunnySide and I’m struggling to conceive.”
Perhaps we can find a way to campaign for open dialogue. Any ideas? Don’t leave me hanging!
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