Tag Archives: fertility

Planning To Start A Family

16 Jul

One of the best things about having this blog has been meeting and coming to know others who want to start a family and talk about that journey. In fact, I just got this from my ask box on tumblr:

Hey there. Through mutual fangirlness of Grey’s I started following your tumblr and twitter and from there found your blog about trying to get pregnant. Basically I am asking you for any advice that you have. Me and my fiancee are planning our wedding and we know that in the next 12-24months we are gonna wanna start trying to have a baby. We just want to know if you or your Mrs have any advice, anything we should think about before starting any preparation. Thank you.

It can be a very intimidating road and I have been asked by lesbian couples a few times where to begin. I decided to write a post with what we thought was some good advice. This is a very personal process and decision so undoubtedly your roadmap will vary but this should give you some things to think about.

Since I’m mostly asked by other lesbian couples, this is tailored to them.

Start Saving Money – It is never too soon to start a “baby fund”. Really, never.  Sit down with your partner and look at your finances and figure out how you will afford getting pregnant, doctors visits, birth, adoption, legal fees, all of the things the baby will need and even child care eventually. Don’t overwhelm yourselves, but it’s a good way to financially commit to this decision. Even if you don’t earmark the costs specifically, trust me, you will be able to find some way to use that money and the earlier you can start socking it away, the better. Starting a family is especially expensive for same-sex couples and can be even more so if you live in a state where you cannot be legally married.

Live In A Stable Environment – Is there room where you currently live for kids? If you will need to move then that’s another cost that you will have to plan for. Some people feel like they need to own a home before they are ready to have kids, but I don’t necessarily believe that. You should know that you live in a place that will work to raise a family. If you start somewhere less optimal and get stuck there for an extended amount of time, it helps to know and like the school system that you are in. Think about your own education too. If you have educational goals that you are still working on, try to finish them before you start trying to conceive that way you can focus on your family when the time comes. It also goes without saying that you should feel like your relationship is stable and your partner is someone you want to raise a child with. Talk to your partner about marriage if you haven’t already done so. If one or both of you would like to be married or have a wedding before you have kids, that’s obviously another large cost you may need to plan for.

Talk About What You Both Want…A LOT – There are a lot of decisions to be made in this process and it’s intensely personal. Talk about why you each want a baby and if they are good reasons. You have to be ready to give up a lot and put your children’s needs first. Talk about the process: ICI, IUI, or IVF? Known donor or anonymous? Would you like your children to physically resemble you? Who will carry? Would you prefer to just adopt? We spent many evenings talking these things over and revisited some of them many times. You should know what is important to you and to your partner and what you can compromise on. A lot will depend on your budget and some things may not go exactly as planned. For us, we decided that we were going to start this process with the least evasive methods possible and take more aggressive steps forward in six month increments only as needed. Other friends I knew decided that IVF was a better choice for them and they began with that. Of course, you’ll need to work with a doctor before you can determine what your best course of action will be. You should have discussed these things enough to know your general preferences as a couple before discussing it with a Physician though.

Get A Good Lawyer – We found a great family law attorney and worked with her to get our medical power of attorney, wills and living wills in place years ago. If you do not live in a state where you can be legally married, these are very important to secure your rights and wishes. You may want to find an attorney that specializes in gay rights and adoption. We also used our attorney to create legal agreements between us and our known donor. These protect him as well as us and our child legally to the best of our ability and we would not have dreamed of trying to conceive without them. It’s likely that you’ll need a good attorney to complete an adoption or second-parent adoption for you in this process as well. Some lawyers specialize in adoption only. If you know same-sex couples in your area that already have kids, they are often the best to ask for a referral.

Educate Yourself – Read books and surf the internet to try to find resources. One of the best books I read early on was The Ultimate Guide To Pregnancy for Lesbians. The book has a lot of other resources listed in it and it will give you A LOT to think about. If nothing else, it was a really good tool to get us asking ourselves those important questions about what we wanted. As we talked about our choices, my curiosity about all of the options grew deeper. Learn about artificial insemination methods, sperm donors, adoptions and pregnancy as much as you can now. You’ll be glad you took the time to become informed proactively when you have to start calling the shots.

Create A Supportive Environment – The internet became my best friend. I found comfort, support and a lot of good advice in the blogs of other couples who were going through this process. Often, I found links from there to other blogs (I’m a bad blogger and never set that up, but they are out there). Talk to others who are going through it. I also created a good little support system for myself on twitter and that has been amazing! We ended up having a community that was rooting for us and picked me up on some pretty dark days. It was nice for me to have a bit of anonymity sometimes so that I could be honest and vent. But, there’s a dark side to the community too. You will inevitably watch others reach their goals before you do and that can be hard. I liked using the internet because I could turn it off when I had to escape. Some people prefer the comfort of talking to their family and friends about the conception process instead. I would just caution you to choose your audience wisely. Not everyone may approve, understand or have positive words for you and you should trust your gut about who will listen and be supportive in a way that you need when you are fragile. Communicating how I felt at times was very cathartic and some days when I was depressed about it I just couldn’t stand friends asking me how it was going. But everyone reacts differently. I wanted to tell my Mom what I was going through but I didn’t want her to know too much so we could hopefully surprise her with news one day and I was SO glad that worked out. I guarantee you will go through so many more emotions than you can anticipate. Find those who you can come to on good days and bad alike.

Get Healthy – If you’re planning on getting pregnant, or supporting your partner through a pregnancy you should be healthy first! Your body mass index should be in an optimal range for your best chances at fertility and if you have weight to lose or gain, a year in advance is the best time to do it. Try to achieve your optimal weight (and stay there) for at least 6 months before you start trying. If you smoke, quit now. It’s one of the best adjustments you can make for your whole families’ health. If you plan to quit drinking coffee and soda while you are pregnant, wean yourself off the caffeine about six months beforehand too. The morning sickness will be enough on its own without the caffeine withdrawal.  Start taking prenatal vitamins 6 months to a year before you plan to conceive to prevent birth defects and find out if any medications that you are on are safe to take during pregnancy. If they aren’t, try to find ways to get off of them in that year prior. I also found it was helpful to find out your blood type if you aren’t sure. If you are the one trying to get pregnant it’s important to get familiar with your menstrual cycle. Track it and try to learn about your body’s ovulation signs. Maybe even buy a basal body thermometer and start taking your temperature or use ovulation strips. Anything that helps you get the hang of when you will be most fertile. I found that keeping the info in a fertility app on my phone was easiest. Getting in shape goes for your mental health too. If you have baggage or emotional issues, consider getting therapy and working through it. Be the best person that you can be before you start bringing more people into this world.

Find A Good Doctor/Practice – You have to be comfortable talking to your doctor about your relationship and your plans. If you want to get pregnant, you should make a preconception appointment with your OBGYN (or take time during your regular appointment) to talk about it. If you have irregular periods, I’d advise doing that a year out. My doctor put me on birth control as an attempt to help my endometriosis subside and give us better chances before we started trying. That was a six month process and if I hadn’t gone so far in advance, I would have felt a little disappointed by the setback. It’s also a good idea to have regular STD testing done even if you think you have nothing to worry about. Most insurance covers them anyway and they will probably be required before any type of insemination. If there is anything to find out and treat, you’ll be glad you did it early. Talking to a doctor that doesn’t specialize in same-sex families can be a bit awkward at first, but you have to be willing to speak up and you should have a good feeling about your doctor and their bedside manner before you decide if you want them to handle your pregnancy.  This all makes sure that you have your ducks in a row and it will ease that transition from TTC into pregnancy when the time comes.

Make A Baby Bucket List – This process can take a while and sometimes, there is just nothing to do while you wait. We found it helpful to make a list of things that we wanted to do before we had kids and things that we wouldn’t be able to do for a while after. Go to Vegas, jump out of a plane, stay in bed all weekend, etc. (Okay, so I chickened out on the jumping out of a plane thing.)These are just examples of things that helped me feel like we were doing something for us that didn’t directly involve, doctors, lawyers or trying to get pregnant. Enjoy your lives, have fun with your partner and bond while you check things off your list. You’ll be able to look back one day and treasure that time before you were Mommies. I promise, doing those things will give you an escape and help you feel less overwhelmed. They’ll also make you feel even more ready to start your family.

Change Your Lifestyle – There was a time when we used to spend every Friday and Saturday out drinking with friends and dancing at the club. Even though I got very bored of “going out” I felt like if I was sitting at home on a weekend, I was lame. That may not be your speed, or maybe it is right now but you may want to work on changing that before you end up pregnant. Sometimes this just happens as you get older anyway. We started making a conscience effort to stay in watching movies at home on Friday nights if we didn’t already have plans. We spent more time with our own families and friends that already had kids and things naturally calmed down. It shouldn’t be nearly as much of a culture shock for you if you adjust slowly. We felt as though we had a group of friends in our lives that focused heavily on drinking and created more drama than they were worth so we sort of intentionally drifted out of that scene. We made new friends and we know that they will be there and want to spend time with us, even when there are kids in tow. Look at who you keep around you and if it fits into what you want your life to be.

Give Yourself Time – You have to be ready for anything once you start trying, but also patient enough for it to take a long time, especially if you are dealing with reproductive issues as we were. People are having kids later and later now and some of them fear that dreaded age 35 when your fertility begins to decrease. Find the balance that works best for you and don’t rush. The bottom line is that nothing teaches you patience and to expect the unexpected like having kids. Know what you want but try not to set unrealistic expectations. It can be a hard and scary process and I learned that sometimes things that you think won’t happen to you, do. It’s also the single most rewarding thing you might ever do with your life. Try to relax and enjoy every step of the way.

We hope this helps you and send our best wishes for starting a happy, healthy family!

E, the Mrs & Sprout 🙂


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… 🙂


It looks worse than it is

12 Jun

So, the witch got me again this past weekend. May was just not our month. Surprisingly, this really does get easier. Not that I like getting negative results or anything, but it’s gotten easier to take and it doesn’t feel nearly as eventful anymore. I guess that’s the silver lining.

Yesterday was my first acupuncture appointment and I really enjoyed it and like my acupuncturist a lot.  The only thing that I was a little weary about was that she didn’t really explain what she was doing and since I was trying to relax, I experienced some unexpected sensations. Nothing was really bad or painful though. In fact, I had really hellacious cramps when I went to my appointment and within about 10 minutes of her beginning to place needles, all of my abdominal pain was gone. It stayed gone for about six hours and I was very happy with that. We’re talking some serious pain relief. I’ve never experienced anything like that.

She talked through my medical history with me and asked lots of questions while she worked. It was astounding how many ailments she could tell that I had in just a few minutes from some light massage. After she treated my cramps she moved on to some stress relief and did a lot of work on my general circulation. Apparently one of my biggest issues is that my body doesn’t circulate blood properly, which makes sense, I’m ALWAYS cold. My hands and feet especially. She did some work on my back using some negative pressure therapy to increase my circulation with a technique called fire cupping. It creates areas of suction on the skin that stimulate circulation as well as relieve tension and even release toxins. In my case, it also left some pretty gnarly looking hickey marks on my back. The good news is that it wasn’t painful when she did it and it’s only a little to the touch in spots today. When I came home and took my shirt off my wife was pretty surprised though. I assured her that it was fine, didn’t hurt and they’ll be gone in a week. Then someone noticed my back at the gym today and ask if I had been using cupping therapy recently, then we got into a whole discussion about it. I guess I’d better plan on wearing t-shirts to the gym for a couple of weeks cause that really cut into my workout time.

Apparently this look is quite the conversation starter

After that, she looked at my basal body temperature charts and said that she does not think that from my “symptoms” and looking at my charts that I am actually ovulating every month. This sort of confirmed my suspicion and she didn’t seem shocked when I told her that I am not able to get clear ovulation test results every month. She recommended that I start taking some chinese herbs for fertility (Tao Hong Si Wu Wan) for a few days and we made a follow-up appointment for next week. Hopefully, she can have my hormones a bit more balanced in about 3 months, but we’ll monitor my cycles for at least that long. I’ll probably be seeing her weekly and I definitely won’t mind that frequency if the initial results are any indication of what is yet to come. I felt so calm and relaxed afterwards and just very clear-headed. My wife even commented about that, that I just seemed “soothed” and she was totally right.

I’m still very much looking forward to our appointment at the RE’s office next week. Figuring out what our next steps will be will bring me a lot of peace of mind but the acupuncture and Chinese medicine gives me hope that we may not need as much drug intervention with the process as I have feared lately. I’d like to keep it as natural as possible and I’m optimistic about that!

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.

The RE and this month’s results

30 Nov

We had our appointment with the Reproductive Endocrinologist last week and it went really well. He’s a good listener and seems to have a great sense of empathy for his patients. That seems so hard to find these days, doesn’t it? At the appointment we talked a lot about what our methods are and how the process has evolved for us so far as well as our philosophies on medical intervention and fertility drugs. He agreed that we seem to be doing most everything right and made a strong recommendation to change the pattern of days that we try. Initially we were inseminating every day for 5 days and then I was told to change that to once every other day for a span of 5 days. This RE suggested that we try once a day for three consecutive days beginning maybe a day before ovulation if we can time it that way. Apparently the every other day technique is more of a recommended strategy for heterosexual couples that are TTC with intercourse, not through insemination. (Cue *eyeroll* that the advice had come from this doctor)

Above all, I was really happy that this doctor heard my plea that I felt as though it was time to take action. I was happy that he was willing to make suggestions to modify our method, but I really needed to know that we were on the track to solving this. If we’re dealing with infertility and it’s me, I need to know. He recommended that we do some blood work to check my hormone levels about a week after ovulation and get our donor’s sperm count lab tested and go from there. Luckily, it was exactly one week since I’d ovulated that day and we could do my blood work on the spot. The control freak in me cried “Hooray!” and I walked out with a pretty pink band-aid and a follow up appointment in a month. So we went on with our life and our two week wait. To tell you the truth, I hoped that we’d tempted fate and that a positive pregnancy test result would be followed by the bill for those blood tests in the mail in about a week. It’s like finding the thing you were looking for right after you’ve gotten home from buying a replacement for it.

Thanksgiving came and went. My Mom THOROUGHLY stressed me out over stupid crap and just when things seemed to be calming down, I went to the bathroom Friday afternoon and noticed that I was spotting. I couldn’t believe it. Typically some light spotting 6-12 days is usually thought to be implantation bleeding and weird as it may sound, it’s a pretty good sign. The bleeding occurs because the fertilized egg is implanting itself into the uterine lining and about 4 days after that HCG can become detectable (which is the stuff that makes a pregnancy test turn positive). This type of bleeding isn’t rare, but only about 30% of women experience it. I never had before and therefore was never really looking for it anymore. We tried to keep a level head about things but admittedly, we were both pretty pleased with such a well-timed good sign.

I went crazy. My POOR wife. I thought my other waits had been bad and although this was not as bad as my very first one I wondered every single second if I was pregnant. On top of the spotting (which continued off and on through the weekend), I was tired, a little queasy at times and my temperature stayed up. I had experienced some twinges in the same spot in my lower left abdomen for a week. It wasn’t unusual to have them, but usually not in the same spot so consistently. We decided that we’d take a test on Monday morning since we were both off work. We knew it was early, but I thought  we might get lucky if we used a really sensitive test and could get a very faint line.

I woke up and took the test but no lines appeared. Despite the negative result, the symptoms continued though so we hung onto hope that it was just a little too early. That afternoon the spotting continued and I was still feeling pretty bummed about the test so we went to the gym hoping I’d get a little endorphin pick-me-up from it. I teach spin classes regularly so through this whole process I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing how hard I can push myself so I don’t risk overexertion while we’re TTC. With a full class, the spin room got pretty hot so I took it easy and hydrated a lot but found myself getting abdominal cramps towards the end of it. I eased up even more but it didn’t seem to help. After class I realized I had really started bleeding quite heavily and had gone from spotting to heavier than a normal period. It stopped for a few hours when we got home so I went to bed hoping that the worst was over and planning to try to take another test again when I woke in the morning. I still had 2 days before I expected to get my period anyway so I hoped it was just intensified bleeding from all the activity.

I went to bed last night and woke up again less than an hour later and was really disoriented. I remember feeling like I didn’t know what was going on or where I was but my wife said I was asking a lot of questions and just looking generally confused. I think I was in some sort of between-dream-and-awake place but I was drenched in sweat so she turned a fan on over our bed and encouraged me to go back to sleep. I don’t know if that was related to what was going on but it wasn’t a regular occurrence for me to wake up like that. The heavy bleeding had returned by this morning and I woke up with strong stabbing cramps. It was much worse than my heaviest period but backed off by midday but the cramps still have not. I’ve had a couple bouts of hot flashes today that last 5 minutes or so but then they go away. I’m near launch for a HUGE project at work right now and while I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a very stressful time. I had to do an hour presentation today to about 30 people in the room and about 50 viewing online. Being in front of people was just the absolute last thing I wanted to do today but on the bright side, the day flew and I had no time to think about much else other than my work.

So it appears that we’re out this month. I’m not sure if what I was experiencing earlier was actually implantation bleeding and then something happened? Did we have it, then I lost it? Could this be from stress? I certainly hope it didn’t have anything to do with the spin class since I do them regularly and I’m pretty cautious about my limits. We try not to get our hopes up but it feels pretty devastating when something like this happens. We felt so close and now back at square one again in just the span of a few days. We are comforted by the fact that we already have another appointment on the books though. Hopefully, in a few more weeks we’ll be able to shed some light on the situation and figure out if we are achieving a chemical pregnancies and how we can make them stick.

I also just wanted to give a big THANK YOU to those reading this and still following our journey. I can’t express to you how awesome it is to know we have a supportive group of people behind us when it feels like the world is against us. There are some days (like today) when knowing that you guys are rooting for us and thinking of us really helps pull me through and keeps me from melting down. We’re determined to have our family and are so grateful for the energy and motivation you provide. WE LOVE YOU GUYS!

Dr. Runaround

3 Nov

I’m about a week-ish late now. Pregnancy tests have confirmed that I’m definitely not pregnant. I’ve been feeling really tired, crampy, super irritable and started spotting so will probably be counting either today or tomorrow as day 1 of another cycle.

I never heard back from my doctor so I called them again yesterday. It perturbs me that I got NO explanation as to why she hadn’t called me back for 5 days. Basically I explained that I had talked to her several months ago and she told me we had to be trying 8 or 9 months until I could have my fertility assessed via blood work. Now that we were going on 8 months, I wished to go ahead with that…and that now I had experienced some cycle irregularity too. She obviously read my tone and said that my cycle variation could very well be stress and that that wasn’t something she would refer me for until we had been trying a year. I was really starting to grow impatient with her dismissive nature. Now the magic number was A YEAR?!?

She started to ask me a bunch of other questions and when one of my answers involved the words “donor” and “insemination” she said “Forgive me, but why are you going about it this way, again? Does your husband have a low sperm count?” UM….WHAT? I could tell based on other information she had told me that she must have been looking at my records or chart or something. I can’t say I was too comforted by having to explain our situation all over again. “I’m in a same-sex relationship and we are working with a known donor.” I told her. “Oh, oh, oh…that all makes much more sense now.” I think she was a little embarrassed but she seemed more willing to give me the damn referral after that. Sidenote: I’m seriously considering switching doctors over the last few interactions I’ve had with her. I just don’t feel like she’s got her shit together or has shown a reasonable amount of compassion for us.

I got a referral though and our appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist is on the 22nd. We should be able to get some blood work done and figure out if my levels have been high enough to ovulate. I’ve suspected in the past that they aren’t when I have trouble getting a positive ovulation test. I was sent to this doctor before for some ultrasounds and was very happy with how he explained things and talked to us.  The thought of stepping it up to the next level is scary. We always wanted to keep things as simple as possible but we’re at the point where we’re willing to introduce fertility drugs and deal with a bit more evasive techniques if it’s likely to result in a pregnancy.

In the mean time, I’m just going to sit here with a heating pad applied to my cramps and hope that my body decides to chill out and get back to normal soon. Hopefully some answers are on their way.