Tag Archives: donor

Isn’t ‘life’ what happens when you’re busy making other plans?

10 Jul

I can’t believe that summer is halfway gone already! How is it that I feel as if I’m ALWAYS waiting for things yet that time flies at the same time? It’s crazy.

Mrs E. started her new job yesterday. She’s going to be adjusting for quite a while but she likes it and the people there so far. I am glad to see her out of the stressful environment that she was in before so I hope this is a better fit and she’ll be happy. Her last job dismissed her immediately after she resigned. That often happens to people who have security access to as much as she did, so she got to enjoy a 2 week paid vacation. It was good timing since she had family visiting but again, it felt like we were really busy and those two weeks just went so fast for her!

While her family was here and she was off work, my acupuncturist recommended that I go on a 10-day juice fast as part of my treatment. Even though I had a pretty good diet beforehand, it was apparent to her that my digestion was off and I wasn’t absorbing the nutrients from my food as best I could. Having nothing but pure fruits/veggie juice and water was a way to hit the “reset” button and get things back in order. When your intestines are healthy your hormone levels are more balanced and that’s what we’re working towards. I can’t say that it was the easiest thing that I’ve ever done but it definitely was very cleansing. My digestion and eating habits have improved greatly since I finished it and I think being gluten, dairy and soy free before it started was a big help. I didn’t really crave any foods or go through withdrawal as some people do with it and I lost a few pounds in the process. Unfortunately, I was going through this while we had family staying with us so I was still going out to restaurants with them while they ate wings, steak, indian food, and lots of my other favorites in front of me. I was committed though and stayed strong! I’m still doing juice once a day or so now just because I like it.

When all the juicing commenced we had our follow-up appointment with the doctor did that all the screenings for the IVF program with us. We found that I’m not the blood type that we thought I was, so that actually opens up a lot more options for us when choosing a donor.  We were almost decided on a few and when that widened the spectrum it was back to the drawing board. We are still trying to decide but instead of driving ourselves crazy we just take time every few days to sit down and go through some of them. We were told to pick three and put them on file at our doctors office. They will literally setup our account and order it with our credit card on file when the time comes. They told us as long as we have our selections made a few weeks before our egg retrieval that we’ll be fine.

The next steps are to go back to the RE we saw before and have our IVF consultation. Since he’s head of the program, it’s standard procedure. I was trying to be proactive and had scheduled that appointment for 7/13 before our bloodwork followup but they called yesterday and told me it had to be rescheduled. It wasn’t a long enough time slot to do the full consult. *Sad trombone*. I was so sad but the next earliest they had available was 7/24 so I took it. After that we should need one more appointment with a nurse to go over our med schedule and show us how to do all the injectables. I’m hoping that doesn’t take too long to get scheduled and done. If we have to wait past the 30th for that, then we’re probably not going to be able to start until the end of August. It’s frustrating but I’m trying to call and possibly get into a cancellation slot if we can. If we miss it, we miss it. It’s only a month (I feel like I’ve been saying that every month lately though…)

Lastly, we did complete two tries in June even though we knew we were headed into this whole IVF thing. Why not, right? Well, I didn’t expect anything and have been quite pre-occupied since then so I was just waiting for my period to come. Go figure…now I’m 2 days late. I did take a pregnancy test last weekend but it was negative. It shouldn’t have been too early for a negative but hey, stranger things can happen. Don’t they say that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans? I’m not getting my hopes up at all but I think I need to go home and pee on a stick just to be sure.

Until next time… 🙂

 

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Rainbows, more impatience and acupuncture

5 Jun

We still have a few more days until we find out if this cycle worked or not. I’ve been a little crampy, had a constant headache and have been tired lately but as strange as it sounds, I’m not even focusing on that right now. I’ve actually had to consult my fertility app on my phone to be like “how many more days?” a few times this week. I’m looking forward so much to our next doctor’s appointment in two weeks so that we can find out what the heck our next steps are. I need to know. It’s killing me. “Whenwhenwhenwhenwhenfinallywhen?” is so much louder than the rest of my thoughts.

This past weekend we helped our donor and his boyfriend move to their new place and it’s about a 35 minute drive away. That alone has me  really feeling ready to leave our current plan and move on to our next step/method. Emotionally, I’m just not feeling very attached to them right now and while they will remain friends, I’m sure the distance of their move will only add complications that I just don’t want to deal with anymore.

We also attended a family reunion this weekend and I spent some time talking with my cousin’s wife who is an OBGYN about endometriosis and infertility. While she doesn’t know the full scope of exactly what we’ve been up to she did ask if I had tried acupuncture. I had given it thought before but was really surprised at how quick she was to recommend it.  It motivated me a little more to find a local acupuncturist and I called her today to set up an appointment.

Some of you may wonder why I’m doing this now and why I don’t just wait a few more days or weeks until we know what’s going on. All these little things help me though. They give me some sense of hope and control over the situation. These changes and a bit of space have helped me to pull more out of “my funk” I talked about last time. I’m not all the way out of the woods but I think I’m headed there. We saw a double rainbow on Sunday night, so we’ll hope that’s a good sign and enjoyed the pretty.

So, not much going on but that’s going to be the case sometimes as I’m trying to update more regularly. Oh, and there was this over the weekend too so maybe you can look forward to a post from someone else in the near future for a change. *Ahem*

Sometimes You Need The Funk

1 Jun

I have a confession to make: I’m a bad blogger. For some reason I feel like I should only be writing here when we have new things happening, which isn’t always the case. There are so many in between moments to this process and so many feelings that go along with them that even though I think weekly “I should blog about that”, I just stop myself. I’m going to try not to limit myself to that anymore.

This month has been filled with disappointment, (yet again) and also a lot of discontent and what I’ve just generally been calling “funk”. My wife was out of town for almost half of the month. She had a work trip that ran into some vacation with her family. As soon as she got back from that we started house-sitting/dog-sitting for my parents while they are on vacation. We haven’t been in our own house together for about three weeks now and everything feels very out of whack. Unfortunately, I started ovulating while she was still out of town and had to try to make a baby on my own a few times. The logistics aren’t fun. Trust me. Luckily, she did make it home for the last one. If this month works, we’re telling ourselves that THAT’S the one that took.

As far as our process goes, it hasn’t changed much. I’ve been trying some natural “remedies” and things like that to try to increase our chances. Even if it’s not helping, it can’t hurt. Besides, those little things help me feel like I have some teensy bit of control and that I’m changing up our experiment a bit and not just banging my head against a wall doing the same thing every month. First, I switched to plant-based prenatal vitamins. There’s all kinds of controversy over whether this is hogwash or not, but I figured that if I was putting these supplements in my body, I preferred to reap the benefits of higher quality ingredients. I threw the drug store cheapies out the window. Next, I kicked coffee all together. I was drinking decaf or half-caf but I’ve stopped that completely. The best part is that I don’t miss it. I’ve been drinking at least one cup of organic raspberry leaf tea everyday. It’s supposed to help thicken the uterine lining (so a little embryo has a better chance of hanging on) and assist with hormone levels for a more regular menstrual cycle, plus it’s tasty. It’s not caffeinated and I’ve replaced my morning coffee with that. Can’t hurt, right? I also drink one cup of decaf green tea in the afternoon for the antioxidants.

Another major and sort of related thing I changed was the transition to more sustainable feminine products. (Warning: If you guys don’t want to talk about “happy period stuff”, skip this paragraph.) I’d been doing more research about personal care products and things we use that are not good for our bodies and our endocrine system and bleached tampons and pads were definitely high on that list. I went online and I bought reusable cotton pads and a DivaCup about 3 months ago and I can honestly say, they’ve changed my life. It was a bit of an investment, but it’ll save money in the long run and I think my cramps have been severely decreased with the use of the menstrual cup. In fact, I used to opt for pads and now I much prefer using the cup because it’s that good. For those of you still scratching your head about this, basically you just use a cotton pad instead of a disposable one, wash it and use it again. Instead of a tampon, it’s a small silicone cup that’s inserted and every 12 hours you take it out, dump it and put it back in. I haven’t actually found it to be as gross or archaic as my initial reactions led me to feel. The cup lasts MUCH longer than a tampon ever would with no risk of TSS or nasty chemicals leaching into my body. I can’t even feel it once it’s in properly and last month, I actually forgot I had my period at one point. I’m forever a changed woman. If you’re squeamish about your own body functions or can’t stand the site of your own blood, these things may not be for you. One thing this whole TTC process has taught me was to learn and own my body. If you’re into that, this may be something for you. I was actually kind of fascinated by the fact that the inside of the cup has notches like a measuring cup and I’ve been able to learn what kind of volume is “normal” for me during menstruation. Again, not for the squeamish but I think that’s kind of cool.

As an attempt to get back into shape a bit more I’ve been trying to get to the gym 4 to 5 times a week but that hasn’t been as easy. I’m teaching spin classes but forcing myself to workout otherwise has been hard because I’ve been in this thing I call “my funk” now for about  a week. Maybe it’s because everything has been so disjointed lately, or because I’m worried about being disappointed again by our doctor or our next pregnancy test, I’m not sure. It feels like I’ve slipped into a little bout of depression and the hardest part is that I don’t want to be pulled out of it. I’m a pretty “glass-half-full” type of person overall but lately, I feel like if I don’t just sort of allow myself to be here with these feelings for a while, that they aren’t going to go away. Staying in bed in my pajamas for a week or so sounds really nice. I’m just sad and frustrated and I’m not going to let anyone tell me that I have to be anything other than that right now. Sure, overall I’m still optimistic and very grateful for what we DO have. I know that we are not yet to the point of swirling down a dismal pit of despair…but lately, I feel really wounded by this whole process and I know I’m completely valid in that. It’s difficult to convey the sentiment that you’re unhappy and you just need to be left that way. It’s not that I don’t appreciate having people that want to cheer me up in my life or KNOW what the bright side is. I do. I just don’t want to look at it right now. I need sunglasses.

I’ve been trying to do little things for me that won’t hinder our goals but that are completely unrelated to trying to conceive. I don’t want to spend too much money on these effort because it looks like we might really need significant funds in the near future. I tried to think of things that I really used to enjoy and that I might not have so much time for when kids come along. Like tap dancing. I used to be pretty good but then I quit and hadn’t even had tap shoes on my feet for about 9  years until a few weeks ago. I signed up and went back to classes and it’s been pretty awesome. I don’t know anyone else. There’s no expectations of me other than to show up and have fun. At this point, my class is mostly older ladies and I like it that way cause I tell you what…those gals are no BS, that’s for sure. This is their “me” time and they don’t let anything wipe that smile off their face for a full hour each week. It’s kind of nice to have that influence of pure joy and silliness, even from the ladies who don’t have high aspirations to be amazing dancers. They don’t care! I’m actually a little advanced for the class that I’m in but if I move up, I might lose this group and I feel like they’re pretty good for me right now. I’m content to stay grinning in the back row for a while.

My snazzy new tap shoes. They’re fun 🙂

In other news, some of our woes with our donor seem to have calmed down. He and his partner have bought a new place and are moving about a half hour away from us. It may minorly complicate things since they won’t be 10 minutes away anymore, but I think it’ll just take more planning. It’s more likely that we’ll have to be all be in the same place for a while instead of being able to make “pickup runs” on days that we’re trying. I don’t know that we’re actually going to be using him for that much longer anyway so I’m not going to stress about it.

Our next appointment with the Reproductive Endocrinologist practice (but with a new doctor this time) is in a few weeks. This doctor is the one who primarily coordinates shipping and transactions with the Cryobank, which we will have to start using if we are going to switch to IUI. We have some donors “favorited” in our account online, but we’re not purchasing or making any significant moves until after we talk to her. The wife and I have actually been discussing going straight to IVF and I’m looking forward to talking about that with the doctor a little. The possibility of it not working and the costs scare the crap out of me, but I’m worried about doing month after month of unsuccessful IUI only to deplete our funds available for which we could have just gone ahead with IVF. I really don’t know what to do. I like the fact of possibly having frozen embryos available for another egg transfer down the road in a few years if we decide to do this again. Part of me is actually thinking that could end up costing less in the long run…Thoughts? I know a lot of you have been through IUI and IVF already and it’s not a cut and dry decision. Do you have regrets about not trying IVF sooner? Talk to me in the comments.

As far as this month’s efforts we’re about halfway through our two week wait right now. One more week and I’m sure if we find out something positive, you’ll be hearing about it! To be honest, I don’t feel anything “different” and am not too hopeful for this cycle so far. Maybe it’s just my mood lately, who knows…the universe could surprise us. That would be nice!


E & The Mrs.

One Whole Year Later and Starting All Over

2 May

Yes, we’ve been at this an entire year already…

When we started this process, I never actually thought that 12 months later we wouldn’t have achieved a pregnancy yet. I knew the statistics and that it could take a while but didn’t really think that would happen to us. Sure, I understand setbacks, miscarriages and tragic things can happen but I honestly never expected to see no progress at all.  I feel betrayed by my body, which no one actually seems to be able to find anything wrong with. I realize that I am lucky. The hand I’ve been dealt could be much worse and I am grateful that it’s not. However, an entire year of failed attempts is disheartening and frustrating and I’m grieving that a lot the past few days. I’m trying to find strength in the fact that when our baby does come along it will be so special because we endured for it. Our efforts were never without extreme thought or care and when we prevail we will be better mothers for that process.

Regardless, it’s hard to remain strong every day. The past few weeks have been really emotional ones and some days my disillusionment and pain shows no matter how hard I try to tuck it away.

First, we got another negative test result. I felt that I had more symptoms than ever last month was really hopeful that we were going to get our positive result. It was pretty shattering when I found out I wasn’t pregnant. That was immediately followed by one of the most painful periods I’ve ever experienced. It just felt so cruel.

Next, we worked through some issues with our donor and found out that although he does want to move out of the area, it may not end up being as immediate or as far away as we were originally told. Basically, he and his boyfriend don’t know what they are doing yet but they had made grandiose announcements of packing it all up and whisking away very fast without talking to us first and that was pretty devastating. We told them they really need to please just communicate with us more so we’re not caught so off-guard. We concluded that they’ll probably end up being around for at least the next 3 months. I hope. No promises there.

Lastly, we went to the Reproductive Endocrinologist to discuss our next steps after my HSG test. I expected to talk about starting Clomid or other fertility drugs to chemically enhance our chances of pregnancy by making me produce more eggs. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the result at all and instead we were told that since there’s actually no dysfunction with my ovulation cycles, that he will not prescribe any medication to add on to our method. The RE said that he would not use drugs to help us boost our results unless we were doing IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) or IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) under his care.  Then he basically recommended that we move on to one of those methods and stop trying at home on our own. If we didn’t change our plan there was nothing more he could do for us.

This was NOT what I wanted to hear and it felt like it kept getting worse. We would not be able to continue using our donor unless we went through several thousand dollars of tests (again) and processing to get his semen screened, cleaned and stored at a cryobank. With IUI, a thawed vial of semen would be placed directly into my uterus at the time of ovulation and FDA regulations keep us from doing that with fresh semen from our donor with our doctor’s assistance. With IVF, we would harvest some of my eggs, fertilize them in a lab and put a few of the “good ones” back in to hope that they stick. That’s not an option using our donor’s fresh semen either.

The entire appointment was a bit surreal for me and I’m not actually sure how I maintained any composure because all I really wanted to do after hearing that news was burst into tears. I knew that wasn’t going to get us anywhere so I tried to keep asking questions to use our time wisely and postpone the emotions until we had more privacy. I did NOT want to be sent home in tears feeling like I didn’t know anything new. Information is comfort to me so we pressed on. We’re not sure what we’re going to do yet but I needed to know enough to feel like we were able to make a rational decision and not just an emotional one or like we were grasping at straws. I even pushed the issue a little more of trying fertility drugs with our current method and the doctor completely denied it again. I guess it was just really hard for me to let go of that because I was 110% sure that was going to be our next step.

So it was recommended that we move on to IUI or IVF but we probably can’t get all the logistics in place to start doing it until August at the earliest. I don’t know why it takes so long but then again, patience was never my strong suit. For IUI without any fertility meds we’d be looking at costs of about $2500 for each cycle with 2 actual inseminations occurring. (Right now we do 4 or 5 each month.) If we decided to use fertility meds for that process we’re looking at more like $3000-6000 per cycle. For women my age the general success rate for IUI is 20-25% per cycle. The success rate for IVF is more like 50% per cycle, which sounds appealing but it’s also a multi-month process which will cost more like $11000 per try. On top of that, you have cryo storage fees for embryos that can be saved for another attempt and for donor sperm units that have been purchased but not used. Making babies this way is expensive, people!

No matter which method we choose, it’s much more cost effective for us to work with a cryobank and order anonymous donor sperm than it would be for us to process our own donor, freeze his and use it. Of course, selecting a new donor brings a whole new world of options to us. It is kind of fun to think about being able to just call up and order half of your child’s genetic traits though. So, is your head spinning yet? Good. You’re caught up to where I was a few days ago.

It’s definitely overwhelming and I’m trying to take it all in as best I can. We’ve had increasing doubts about our donor arrangement lately and I feel as though this might be a little twist of fate pushing us in a different direction. I’m trying not to get too caught up on the dollar signs yet, but obviously that’s a major concern. Of course in the long run, whatever you end up spending is worth it but getting used to the idea of those bills is a big adjustment. Everything is an adjustment! We’ve really just spent the past few days beginning to wrap our heads around it and trying (unsuccessfully) to not let it stress us out.

For now, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. Our next appointment to discuss our decisions isn’t until later in June so we have some time. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing for at least that long and who knows, maybe I’ll get knocked up and all of this will have been for nothing. Neither of us think that discussing this with our current donor is necessary yet and we may not broach the subject until we have more solid plans or know that we’re done trying at home all together. (Some of you actually know him, so mums the word for now, k?) There’s just so much to consider that I can’t begin to possibly cover it all here, but that’s the big jist of the past few weeks. We have a LOT to think about and are feeling thoroughly overwhelmed by it at the moment.

The best part of the last few weeks was that I got very clear and positive ovulation test results this month. Sometimes in the past the tests never showed positive results and we just had to take our best guess. There was no guessing this time so hopefully that resulted in some very well timed inseminations. We are in our two week wait now so we still won’t know anything for a while. Lastly, we are still going to do the Q&A video I talked about in the previous post. I got lots of good questions but feel free to submit more because we still haven’t recorded it yet. Oops, we’ve been busy. There are certainly lots of new things to question!

If you’re still reading you deserve a big hug and I just want to thank you again for your continued support. I don’t know how I’d be getting through some of these days without the encouragement.


E & The Mrs.

Moving on to Plan B…

15 Sep

A while ago, I was doing some research and found some information about this at-home sperm count test.

I bought it from Amazon and it only costs about $35 and the reviews were reputable enough. Although it doesn’t tell you what the sperm count actually is, it does give you a good idea if you’re in the “normal” range or not. (A positive result indicates that the sperm count is above 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen.) All of this in about 30 minutes from the comfort of your own home. Since we are really trying to keep our efforts as low tech and non-evasive as possible we were sold.

Worrying that the “problem” is me every month that we don’t conceive has been agonizing. My doctor has told me that she will not do any fertility testing until we’ve been trying for 8 months. My lack of patience doesn’t help make matters any better.  Another big reason we were prompted to do this was that our donor had found out when he was at the doctors recently that due to a previous health condition that his testosterone levels were lower than normal. While it may not be a permanent condition for him, it was really bad timing for us and we needed to know if it was affecting his fertility.  I was excited and scared at the same time to find out what the results were because either way it meant we would probably have to change some of our plan.

Last night, our donor took the test home and promised to take it and text us right away with the results. It was late and there we were lying in bed clinging to our phones. We got a text, “It’s negative. I’m sorry.” and then he sent us a picture of it. Because it works very similarly to a pregnancy test, if a second line appears ever so faintly it’s still a positive result. Technically the darker the line is the better. But there was just…nothing. He called us immediately after that and was understandably disappointed. We consoled him and thanked him for his willingness to test.

Earlier as we were waiting for the results we had been discussing the “what ifs” of either outcome and our next steps. Luckily, we have been blessed to find not only one willing and supportive donor on this journey, but two. Our donor’s partner has already had all of the necessary medical testing and legal paperwork done and now we’ve decided to move on to our plan B donor.  Changing course is a little emotional for all of us but we are so grateful to have the option. We have not tested our new donor’s sperm count level but now that we’ve done this once, I think we won’t hesitate to try that test again in a few months if it’s not working out.

We feel good about this and in some ways it’s giving us a new wave of optimism. Here’s to hoping we’re on track and it won’t be long now.