February 27, 2013

So, Is She Better Now?

An interesting, innocent question put to me by a friend this weekend. She was asking about my sister's fertility now that she's had my youngest nephew (let's call him Bear, shall we?).

Is she better now.

Is there such a thing? I can't think of a form of infertility that ever gets permanently "fixed". Endo can always grow back, PCOS only gets worse with age, even male-factor probably doesn't get permanently better after surgery or what have you. This is not the flu. It does not simply get better, go away.

And what if it did? What if there were no such thing as secondary infertility because (for whatever reason) getting pregnant fixed the problem. Would any of us be better? Even if one pregnancy was a cure-all, the emotional and psychological aspects of infertility can't be fixed like that.

Is she better now.

Is she better because now she has two kids instead of one? Because she got a *little* bit closer to that big family of 6 or 7 that she had always dreamed of? Or is she better because its been 3 years since she lost the triplets and maybe an hour slips by that she doesn't think of them and miss them terribly? There is no medicine for that. There is no way to forget the years of heartache and loss. There is no way to fully let go of the fear, even after a positive experience.

When someone cuts your arm off, it does not "get better". It hurts less over time and you learn to adapt to a new way of life. Eventually you can find some humor and some life lessons in the tragedy. But it certainly does not get better; your arm is never coming back.

I know that's not what my friend meant. I know she lives blissfully unaware, in a land where women *plan* to get pregnant, without knowing anything of the intricacies involved in conception, and lo and behold, they do. Two point five kids, evenly spaced out, no more than two years apart. Who *are* these people?

Is she better now.

Is she done trying? Probably not. Will the next attempt be easier because of this last success? Definitely not. But much like losing your arm, the process hurts a little less and she has adapted to this way of life, as we all do, over time. This completely and utterly baffling way of life. I think that's as close to "better" as we can expect to get. What has been done cannot be undone, but the person without his arm soldiers on and so do we.


I heard a song this morning on the radio. If you go to this site, it is the fourth song down. I stood in the bathroom, curling my hair, with tears in my eyes. But I needed to hear that song. I was in the kitchen a few minutes later when it hit me and I *knew*. 

I know it is already planned out, but its time to try again. I have been afraid of what I might go through this year on my last series of cycles. Everything about what might and might not be has made me apprehensive about going down this road again. But now I'm sure, its time. I need to do this, no matter what the result is. I am ready.

February 21, 2013

Counting Down to Crazy

This month has been interesting as far as cycling. I did not have very obvious signs and symptoms like last month, but then, my metformin dosing has been all over the place as I struggle to get back up to my full prescription. Maybe that messed things up. At any rate, I noticed the tell-tale reddish-brown tinged CM yesterday, so AF is on her way (however slowly). I expect I'll be able to call the RE's office in early March to start my first IUI cycle. Here we go again, huh?

Fortunately there should be plenty of projects to keep me busy and distracted (and hopefully sane) this spring. I'm finalizing my initial gardening plans and pricing supplies for when M and I go shopping. I have thought long and hard about placement for my garden bed and the compost beds, so that I won't have to move things around in the years to come (hopefully). I am reading and absorbing all the information I can find on sustainable landscaping with native plants. This is my goal for many reasons and they are not all about social concerns and such. Mostly its because I have no faith in my ability to grow fussy little plants and flowers that need to be tended to like a mewling infant to survive in this climate. Also because I am very VERY lazy and cannot be trusted to remember to water houseplants, let alone a great big yard and flower beds. I would like to exert my daily garden efforts on my veggie garden since that will result in food which is a good return for the work.

I think a sustainable, native landscape is a great match for M and I because we are not formal or particular about things. We will be perfectly happy with a yard full of blowsy swaths of this and that, spilling over their beds or growing wherever. This doesn't mean I want my yard to look like chaos; afterall, I am spending a LOT of time planning things out so we can establish a cohesive whole over several years of planting bit by bit. But I don't need or want a formal English garden by any means. Besides, a nice, naturalistic backyard won't show abuse from a dog as much. Oh yes, I am getting a dog this spring.

That's another thing I am researching and planning for well in advance. I grew up with dogs, so I know the effort required to care for them. We have a cat, but cats are more like teenagers in the level of care and involvement required from the parent. Dogs are more like toddlers, I think. And puppies even moreso. Which is why I think we will not be getting a puppy. M and I both work full time with a 35 minute commute. If I leave home at 7:30am and Matt doesn't get home until 4pm at the earliest, that's 8.5 hours the dog will be home alone. Puppies cannot be left that long (not without messy consequences anyway) and I don't want to end up with an ill-mannered dog simply because he isn't exercised as much as he needs. So we have to be careful about the age and energy level of the dog we adopt. There are a couple of rescue shelters in our area and many more if we are willing to drive to one of the greater metropolitan areas near us, so I'm sure will can find a dog that is a great fit. My dream is to adopt something with Hound in it, but I'm flexible.

There's one more little project I'm starting next week and I'm not sure how its going to turn out. ::deep breath:: I've decided to try a Couch to 5K program... I've seen a lot of people in our community, as well as personal friends on FaceBook, give it a try and it seems to be a good program to encourage the simplest form of exercise in people who have zero love for it. I bought some running shoes, downloaded an app on my iPhone, and until the sun starts rising earlier I'll be running on my lunch breaks at the indoor track by my office. My goal is to run in the morning before work and take my dog with me so we *both* get some exercise. If I don't exercise early, it pretty much does not happen because my hair gets messed up/ I have to shower again/ I'll stink for the rest of the day and on and on it goes. I don't have time for all that fussiness. Run in the morning - before my shower - problem solved. I have no clue what I will do when the weather turns cold again... Any suggestions?

February 12, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

And also a couple of things that I don't like. Just for balance, of course!

Can I tell you how much I love Modcloth? For a pear shaped woman clearly born in the wrong decade (if not the wrong *century*!), Modcloth's vintage influenced dresses are a God send. I window shopped their website for MONTHS before I bought my first item - a belt. That's how nervous I am about buying clothes without the ability to try them on. Well, the belt was amazing, so I decided it was worth the risk to ask my husband for a dress for my birthday. It should arrive any day now and I'm on pins and needles to find out if it fits and flatters. If I really love it, I may post a picture.

The other side of the clothing coin is how obnoxiously difficult it can be to find certain items that I know look good on my body type. Pants in particular, again because of the pear-shaped thing. I can't wear 95% of the pant styles out there, including but not limited to: jeggings, super-skinny, skinny, boyfriend cut, flare, ultra-flare, "curvy", and most boot-cuts. I can rock trouser cut and wide-leg. How difficult is it to find trouser cut or wide-leg pants that were not made for middle-aged and older women? So difficult that I have worn my current khakis TO DEATH and have been searching for replacements for over a year. Usually I find something when it has already gone to clearance and they are out of every size except 2 and 20.

Another thing I am growing to love is homemade beauty care stuff. Since converting to the Curly Girl Method of hair care, I have been much more open to exploring other natural/homemade health and beauty treatments. Currently I am trying out washing my face with oil (I swear I am not crazy) and using apple cider vinegar as a toner.

PCOS symptoms force me to think outside the box and get creative about solutions. The acne doesn't respond to typical cleansers and medicines because the root of the issue is my wacky hormones. No matter how I eat or how much I exercise, I am *always* going to be pear-shaped and I will *never* be my ideal weight. So I have to find clothes that work for my body instead of trying to make my body work with certain clothes.

Something else that is growing on me: Sunrises. I used to be a sunset lover and never really understood the appeal of sunrises. Yeah, I knew they were pretty, but they happened "so early" and sunsets are just as pretty if not moreso and I didn't have to adjust my sleep schedule to enjoy them. But now that I am waking up around 6am (soon to be 5am when my office's hours change and I start exercising in the morning), I look forward to sunrise. Sunsets are still lovely, but they are the sign that the day is ending and soon you'll have to go to bed - just think about all the things you needed to do today that you didn't accomplish and now its too late...

I'm struggling to get back up to my full daily dose of metformin. I like that metformin seems to help my PCOS (a teeny tiny bit), but I am obviously not a fan of its side-effect friends. Still, in making an effort to remember to take it regularly, I also have to remember to eat at certain times and be careful about the things I eat, so I suppose overall it is a good thing. An annoying thing, but a good thing.

Three more weeks or so and I'll be starting my IUI cycle...

February 05, 2013

Zen and the Art of Infertility Maintenance

I had my "what now?" appointment with Dr. B this morning. It was the least stressful appointment I think I have had in the past 2 years. I was completely zen. The only thing that remotely bothered me was when he went on a little tangent about IVF being the best bang for your buck. I told him I have not made up my mind as to whether we would ever pursue IVF and he backed off and said that he's not trying to talk me into it or anything, just making sure that I have all the information for deciding our method of treatment.

I did remember to ask about Femara and Dr. B was totally on board with using it. Yay! Goodbye nasty Clomid side effects! And the nurses told me a generic has been released for Femara in the last year or so, so hopefully the cost isn't too bad. One thing I do like about Dr. B is how laid back he is about my timeline. He reassured me that, in the infertility world, I'm very young still. No rush to get this accomplished nowdammitnow. When I was new to all this, that bothered me. Because I *did* feel very NOWDAMMITNOW about getting pregnant. I'm so glad I have relaxed in recent months.

So, the plan:

For now, we are planning on starting IUI cycles in March, using 5 mg(?) Femara and an Ovidrel shot . At this practice, they typically do 3 months of the same treatment and if you are cycling, but not pregnant, after 3 they re-assess the treatment plan. Apart from increasing or lengthening the dose of Femara, I don't have any more options other than IVF. Dr. B has made it clear he thinks it is too risky and not worth the expense for me to do stimming with IUI and I agree. That leaves IVF and adoption. And I think we all know I have not conclusively made up my mind about either. I worry that IVF would make me a crazy person, but I suppose there is the same risk with pursuing adoption. And I don't exactly know how my husband feels about either of these options because he is mostly mum (but supportive) on all things IF and just lets me take the lead. But IVF and adoption are a REALLY big deal, something that he would need to have a definite opinion on before I'd be willing to move forward.

Besides the emotional and psychological side of considering IVF and adoption, there's the money. Oh, the money. Dr. B says a fresh IVF cycle is $12,000 and a subsequent FET (if necessary and possible) is about $1800. Domestic adoption is roughly $20,000 on the low end if you go through an agency (I guess there are a lot of "cut out the middle man" ways to adopt now, but they come with more risks). But we have benefit support to help pay for adoption. IVF would be almost 100% out of pocket. Either way, its a lot of money. A lot of money just to have the *chance* to have a baby - still no guarantee.

Am I unworthy of being a parent if I say that *all* that effort and *all* that money, just for a chance (even if it is a good chance), is not worth the risk? Does that mean I don't want it enough? I'm not trying hard enough? I don't think so, but I hope I wouldn't have to deal with those questions from other people for the rest of my life if I end up child-free. As though someone would say "Well you *chose* child-free if you didn't pursue these other avenues, so you've no room to be sad or bitter!"

I just want to let the chips fall where they may and not be judged for it, you know? Even within our community there is risk of judgement. There was a prominent blogger who announced she was done with IVF after 2 rounds because she worried the risks were not worth the possible benefit. She got slammed by a lot of fellow IFers. I commented that I wondered if the root of the issue was that they did not feel she had tried hard enough and conversely that they felt she was insinuating other people were trying "too hard". Regardless, I gotta do what's right for me, whatever the limit is. For now, I'm gonna think small and focus on gearing up for more TTC.