Tag Archives: ttc

We now return you to regular blogging…

10 Apr

Sometimes this process is tough and the past few months have been no exception. I got frustrated and was dealing with some depression over the whole TTC thing and this blog definitely suffered. My apologies for the silence. I’m usually a pretty glass-half-full kinda gal but a lot of perceived rejection can bring you down a bit. I still tweeted about our experiences sporadically, but I hope to be getting back to it here more regularly from now on. It’s much easier to convey what’s going on. I’m really starting/trying to feel more positively about things again. Maybe I just hated winter. I dunno.

We have still continued to try to get pregnant with the exception of one month (more on that later). I felt at times that a break might have been important for us emotionally, so I cut back on some other stressful things to find enough balance to get by. I stopped teaching spinning classes for a while, but I’ll be returning to those later this month. It was a welcome reprieve, but I have really missed the designated exercise time in my schedule. I know I need that again. The largest project of my career launched in December and that is finally beginning to run smoothly and quiet down now as well.

One of my close friends that was pregnant had her baby and somehow, that was a relief. I think that circumstance was particularly hard because we had been friends so long and had so many mutual friends and family intertwined. It was really difficult to see their excitement focused on her pregnancy and then get asked “So how’s this going for you?” in the next breath. I’ve spoken about feelings of jealousy before and although the green-eyed monster is hard to avoid, it’s a little easier for me to stand when I get to hold my friend’s cooing daughter.

This cutie lives right down the block from us now

This cutie lives right down the block from us now

So we didn’t get any positive pregnancy results in those past few months but we certainly have had some ups and downs. Our biggest trouble has been communication with our donor and his boyfriend. We knew that at some point they were going to be doing some traveling across the country for a few weeks and we had conversations about how they might try to work that around my ovulation schedule. Basically, that didn’t happen. When it came time to leave, all of a sudden we were faced with their decision to now take a 6-8 week long trip possibly taking us out of the game for 2 months. Due to circumstances out of their control, they had to come home and we only missed one month but it still caused a lot of doubt and some “are we still doing the right thing?’ conversations between us.

I tried to look at the whole thing as an opportunity instead of a loss. I went to California during March and had a lovely few days with friends when I would have otherwise been sitting at home probably stewing and over-thinking things. It was a great time and I’m really, really grateful that I got to literally leave all of my cares behind for a short time. My wife was so understanding of my need for that distraction then and I’m incredibly appreciative of that.

When I returned from my trip, I went for a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test that we had been discussing with our reproductive endocrinologist since December. Basically, it’s a test where they place a catheter through the cervix and inject contrast dye  until it fills up the uterus and fallopian tubes while performing an xray at the same time. This allows us to tell whether I have uterine deformities or fallopian blockages and was the next step the doctor recommended to make sure we are not dealing with an infertility issue on my part. The good news was that the test was completely normal. The bad news, they do it while you’re completely awake and “this may hurt a little” was a bit of an understatement. Ow. Fortunately from what I’ve read and been told, this test also serves the sub-purpose of “clearing out the cobwebs”. Even if there are no major blockages to be found, the rate of pregnancy 1-3 months after having the test is a  bit higher afterward.  So then we planned to try again a  few days later. Cue the next dip in the rollercoaster…

Our donor and his boyfriend had returned from their trip but had been invited up to a mutual friends cabin to go camping for the weekend…the same weekend I was ovulating. Luckily, they know what we’ve been up to and they invited us along so that we could continue to try that weekend. I was grateful that it was much more of a house without cable or internet in the woods than a real rustic cabin and I could be pretty relaxed and comfortable for the weekend. We realize that the guys are doing us a favor by working with us so we really try our best to be accommodating, but this whole “let’s-go-camping-AND-try-to-make-a-baby” road show is really getting old. We asked to please really not have to do it again. Nonetheless, we survived it and got a few tries in that weekend.

Not too shabby for a “cabin”, eh?

So, that was a week and a half ago and we’re closing in near the end of our two week wait to find out if it worked. Our policy is that we don’t test until I’m late, so we still have some time and I’m trying to think positive thoughts since this month is statistically a stronger one after the HSG test.

Unfortunately, we’ve hit another snag though and the guys are talking about moving away. Pretty far away, actually. They have said they are and then they say they aren’t or they aren’t sure and emotionally, that has been pretty tough for me because I am a planner and I like to know what’s going on (three months in advance, preferably). We’ve had a talk already with them about communicating their plans to us so that we can work with them, but it seems they continue to disregard that plea and in some cases, we’ve found out (and been hurt) in rather roundabout ways. The bottom line is that we’re going to need to have another talk about this soon and figure out if this the path we are really going to continue on. Tough decisions. I’ve really loved the idea of having a known donor but the hassle of making it work has grown considerably since we started.

Lastly, I’ve been thinking about doing a little Q&A video in the near future about us and our journey so far. I’d love it if you would send along questions that my may have for us. Pretty, pretty please? I thought it would be a fun way to sort of get back to the blog and a bit more fun than just reading responses on a screen. Anything about us or how we’re doing this or feeling is pretty much okay and we’ll answer as many as we can. You can either ask us in comments, tweet me (@elyima) or if you’d like to ask anonymously, you can do that here (just keep it clean/appropriate please).

Hopefully, we’ll be back with news and a video next week! Thanks for sticking with us. We’re determined to become Moms one way or another!

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Dear Body, WTF are you doing?!?

1 Nov

So, I’m 4 or 5 days late. (It depends who you ask if they count the first day or not. I do.) I am never late. Since I started tracking my cycles so that we could conceive, I have not been late by more than a few hours. The day that I ovulate has fluctuated a few times, but never the arrival of my period.

At first, as you could imagine we were really excited about this. This past weekend we were out of town and I packed a few pregnancy tests just in case I would be late. Can I just say that for some reason, having to take a pregnancy test in a hotel room feels kinda slutty? Anyway…Our policy is that we don’t test until I’m late so I don’t often get to take a test. I bought some huge bundle of cheap ovulation and pregnancy test strips from Amazon a while ago. The store brands get expensive and the reviews were reliable, so we decided to give them a try. The ovulation strips had worked out just as well for us as the pricier ones so we were happy with them.

On the first day that I was late, I took a test. It was negative.

On the second day that I was late, I took another one of those tests…again, negative.

I was kind of freaking out and didn’t take a test on day 3.

I started to wonder if these tests were not as accurate as the ovulation ones. When I got home from work yesterday we ran some errands and I wanted to pick up some of the more sensitive home pregnancy tests. I like the First Response Early Results test. You’re supposed to be able to take one before your period is late and it can detect lower levels of the HCG hormone. I had never been this late before so I don’t think I had been that nervous to take a test since our first month. We got home and I took it but it was also negative. I even let it sit for an hour LOOKING for another line to appear….Nope.

Today is day 5 and I knew that it’s common to get the strongest test results first thing in the morning. It’s when the most HCG would be present for a pee test, so I did that. Well…

So then what is actually going on with my body? This is completely frustrating. Is this because of stress? My diet, exercise routine and other major factors in my life are pretty much the same. I have a call in to my doctor already so I’ll mention this when I talk to her.

A few months ago I requested to have my levels checked and she said that’s not something they do until we’ve been trying for 8 or 9 months to get pregnant. Well, this will be month 8 so I’m pushing for that. I’m just getting increasingly concerned that if it’s taking this long and now with irregularities in my cycle, something else could be wrong. I hope she calls today and I get an appointment to start talking about what our next steps will be. This does not feel like progress at all.

In the mean time, life has actually been getting really stressful and I’m going to have to cut some things out and draw my lines in the sand. Management has changed at the gym where I teach spinning classes and the environment has grown really negative in the past three months there. The classes are a great way for me to make some extra money and work out while maintaining a free membership, but I’m just not enjoying it and they’ve been stressing me out a lot lately. If it comes down to it, I guess I’ll have to resign. My health is much more important.

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.

When you pass this many milestones, you’re going to end up with some cramps.

14 Sep

I’m having a rough week. There are ups and there are downs during this process and I have definitely been feeling a bit more melancholy about the whole thing lately. This upcoming week will be our sixth month of trying. SIX…Wow. I really tried to prepare myself when we started down this road that it could take a while. I felt braced to deal with it for a year but here it is six months later and I’m already so disappointed that it hasn’t already worked. My wife does such a great job of trying to keep things positive but I really just can’t believe that we’re actually here.

In the meantime, my coworker (that I share an office with) has been on maternity leave since mid-July. Life at work has been stressful and crazy but having an office to myself definitely didn’t suck. I really got used to having that alone time every day and I think it really helped me process my feelings and clear my own head a lot better. Blogging definitely helps too (thank you, readers) but I felt like I didn’t have as much time to do that. I was definitely overworked but somehow a little more emotionally balanced. Until now. This week she came back and I was NOT expect to be thrown so much of a curve ball. She’s here…but she’s not and she’s definitely not the same person she was when she left. I understand that she is going through a crazy amount of adjustment and I have been super supportive of that. So far she’s been spending most of her day upset over the separation, getting the sitter to put her baby on skype video calls, making phone calls or disappearing to a vacant office to use her breast pump. I haven’t said a word about her having no interest in taking her workload back from me yet because honestly, the baby stuff has been weighing on me much more. I feel like everything is in my face again and it’s starting to make me crazy. When she got pregnant I guess it was somewhere in the back of my mind that by the time she had her baby, I would probably be pregnant too. That didn’t happen. When she had the baby, I hoped that I’d have some happy news by the time she returned from maternity leave. Again, no dice. I guess I just feel like I’ve watched her go through the entire process now with nothing to be able to relate to and emotionally, I’m flailing.

On top of that I feel like everyone else is either getting pregnant or breaking up because of it. Two lesbian couples that I know have announced their recent successes and it’s extremely hard not to be jealous. (I really should just stay off Facebook. Those pregnancy announcement bombs really are damaging.) At the same time, another lesbian couple that we are close to is dangerously close to ending their marriage. The catalyst seems to be that they were finally at the jumping off point to start trying to conceive and the pressure crushed them. Holy shit. This is stuff that breaks people up! Strong people. People that I thought were very happy. That’s so scary that it has rendered me into an embarrassingly clingy wife. (Thanks honey for not minding.)

…and the final milestone I’m struggling with a bit: next week is my 30th birthday. While it’s giving me something to look forward to (I would not go back to my early 20’s if you paid me to) I’ve somewhere always thought that I would have a kid or at least be pregnant by age 30. I know it’s a stupid expectation that women put on themselves and age is just a number. But 3-0 is a daunting number. There’s an alarm in my brain going off saying “five more years until pregnancies will be in a whole other risk category because of  your age.” Twenty five felt like yesterday so 35 has to be mere blinks away, right?

But for now, I’m going to stop, try to catch my breath, manage this stress and focus on everything that I’m grateful for. It’s very easy to get caught up and I think these are important triggers that I need to note for my own self-growth and for others going through this or planning to in the future. I’m trying to let go and let myself enjoy this milestone and celebration of life. We will be fine. I am going to be fine. (and 30…YIKES!)

The fun stuff - We went to see Hair on Broadway a few weekends ago and danced on the stage afterward. What an awesome, carefree time!

 

 

 

Wingin’ it

20 Jul

We’ve just gotten back from a pretty relaxing long weekend at the beach with great friends. It provided some very much needed rejuvenation on my part. Sand between my toes washes stress away like nothing else, ya know? I’m trying like hell to hang onto that serenity.

A few months ago we realized that July could prove to be a very challenging month for us. Mrs E had some travel that was planned far in advance it looked like she wasn’t going to be in town during my fertile days. We were conflicted. I wanted her to be here to inseminate me but I didn’t want her to cancel her trip for it. Our other option was for her to go and for me to try on my own. She was adamant that she didn’t want me inseminating myself without her. She wanted to be present and responsible for the conception of our first child. I get that, but I was plagued with “what if this is our month?” thoughts. I didn’t want to give up the opportunity because no matter how I get pregnant, this will still be her kid too. For a few days we were at an impasse. Eventually I warmed up to the idea that July would be our month off and I was okay with that (but not happy about it). It would give me a bit of an emotional break from this roller coaster.

A few weeks later we learned that all of our agonizing didn’t matter because our donor had planned another vacation to be out of town during the same time. I assure you, between this and the whole camping trip debacle we went through in June, we’ve worked this all out and there will be no more trip conflicts if we can at all help it. July would be our month off and there was nothing I could do about it.

Then June happened. I had a really bad cramps and a period that resembled those when my endometriosis was much worse. We began to worry that it might be creeping back and decreasing our chances of conceiving. On top of that, I wasn’t actually able to get a positive ovulation test result in June. I was worried and I called my OBGYN to ask about getting my progesterone levels checked and if I could find out if my fallopian tubes were blocked at all. She told me that these were pretty common procedures for endometriosis patients and to let her know if I had concerns after we had been trying for a few months. I was very disappointed with her response that she would not send me for these tests until we’ve been trying for 8 or 9 months. I don’t handle waiting well. Have you gotten that yet? I took a deep breath and listened to her other suggestions to increase my fertility chances in any way.

Turns out, we feel like if we have an opportunity at all in July, we’re going to take it. I’m checking every day for my LH surge again and although it seems like I’ll ovulate while our donor is out of town, I might try to inseminate before he leaves town and as soon as they return. Mrs E will be gone for both and the timing may not be completely perfect. I’ve just got to figure out how the hell I’m going to do this on my own. It may not be the best technical attempt we’ve ever made but it’s better than none, right?

TTC Week #1

3 May

Last week was kind of a whirlwind. We tracked my ovulation, we had a loose plan and then Wednesday night, it was our first time trying to get pregnant. Go figure, the evening went awry…Our donor’s evening had some spontaneous disruptions and we decided to make the best of it and go have dinner with my parents at their house. It ended up that he was on his way to our house with his donation and we were rushing there at the same time to meet him. My notions of a nice relaxing evening to calm my nerves were out the window. It all worked out but the first time wasn’t exactly as I had anticipated.

I think a lot of my nervousness had to do with my own perceptions about the actual semen. I’m going to be pretty honest here and say that I was down right grossed out by the “stuff”. I think for fear that I would end up pregnant as a teenager, I was given the impression at every turn that semen was “disgusting”, you could catch nasty STDs from it and just that it was generally dirty and bad. Sure, under certain circumstances some of that can be true but not in this case. I’m sure that being much more interested in women sexually didn’t help me dispel any of those impressions. We needed it and I needed to learn to respect it and the fact that it was going to help us start our family.

The exchange was a bit awkward, “So, here’s your cup of stuff. Have fun!” was basically the conversation that took place. We thanked them and gave hugs. Our donor’s partner remarked that he could hardly believe that this was actually happening. Yeah, me either. We were on our own after that.

We tried to make it as romantic as possible. Everyone kind of hopes for that, right? Mrs. E’s job was to fill the oral medication syringe (we had about 3-4mL of semen each time to work with) find my cervix and slowly deposit it in that general neighborhood. I’m not sure what I expected it to feel like, but it wasn’t what I thought. I’m going to expand on this though because I was asked to describe it. I could feel that something was entering that area and that it was a slightly different temperature than I was. At one point I did sort of feel a hot kind of flash sensation rush through me hit up through my torso and shoulders. I don’t know if this was just nerves or what but it was definitely there and I felt it each time. I had read that it couldn’t hurt to have an orgasm afterwards, since it helps the cervix “pick up” more of the semen so we made that happen. Really, I didn’t mind. Then…we just wait for about a half hour with my hips elevated.

We did that again, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon. Each time we did it got easier. We developed a routine, the exchange felt less and less awkward and the more we talked about it with our donors the better everyone felt. By Saturday I was actually able to relax. I used the instead softcups that I bought for the last four tries. They did seem to help keep everything in much better and I just felt cleaner.

We’re considering this month our “test run”. We got all the jitters out and now know what to expect. I feel so grateful that we were able to do it with actual product and so many times. Some couples only get to try once or twice a cycle tops. We are SO lucky. Of course we would love for it to work this time, but if it doesn’t it was just our test run. This is one of the reasons we chose to do it this way, to alleviate my stress and pressure that I would put on myself to know that my junk works.

This kind of goes without saying because Mrs E is always fabulous but she was REALLY great this past week. Just so caring, considerate and CALMING when I was all stressy and anxious. We managed to actually have some nice very tender moments and “We’re going to have a baby” whispers that I’ll be happy if they end up a part of our actual conception. It really reminded me in that moment of why I want to have kids with her. She’s going to be an amazing Mom. Are you puking from cuteness yet? No? Good….

It wasn’t all bliss and sunshine though, we did have some bumps in the road. Saturday I started feeling exhausted and stuffy. Like could-not-keep-my-eyes-open exhausted. I took two naps and slept at least 4 extra hours that day to try to stave off whatever I might be coming down with. I can’t take any cold meds now so I hoped that sleeping more would just help me fight it. I started to feel better today and I was grateful to have more energy to get through teaching my spinning class after work. For some reason the spinning studio was extra hot today. A few people left the class because of the heat and even though I tried not to over-exert myself and drink water, I ended up feeling queasy and having some scary stomach cramps. They went away after a few hours and I’m hoping I was just dehydrated. I’ve pretty much stayed in bed for the evening just to be safe and get some extra rest. I’m not going to lie, it has be a little freaked out. Tomorrow is a new day though.

Ok, so sorry I know this is kind of a book already but I also wanted to answer some questions that I got on twitter about this whole thing so here goes:

How was the first experience? – From Heidurmaria
That was pretty much what those paragraphs up there were all about. If there are details you want to know that I’ve left out, just ask! I tried to be specific. I apologize if I grossed some RL friends out in the process, sorry guys.

Do you want a boy or a girl? – From Tori6Talks
We would like to have one of each. Mrs E really doesn’t care about gender so much. I would really, really, really like to have a daughter at some point.

How did you decide who was going to have the baby? – From Tori6Talks
There’s 19 years between us and Mrs E is a bit beyond her safe childbearing years. She’s never really felt a strong urge to be pregnant and it’s always something that I’ve wanted to experience so that pretty much settled it for us.

How did you decide on a known donor? -From Heidurmaria
Our friends had seriously offered us the option several times starting a few years ago. Their desired “favorite uncle” arrangement fit with what we wanted and they were easily willing to comply with everything we threw at them. They’ve been fabulous about the legal agreement and the more real this got, the more accommodating and  excited they got. I really liked the idea of knowing the person that was the bio-father of our children.  I wanted to KNOW this was a good person with a good heart…and also have access to a full family medical history. I realize that it doesn’t work for everyone and that it can be really scary but it works for us. I’m SO grateful that we get to do it this way. It’s our ideal situation.

Did you learn anything interesting in the process? – From Araremuse
I did. I learned that this is absolutely not something to rush into. I know, duh but really. We spent about two years knowing what our timeline was, reading books, doing research and getting everything on track. I feel so much more confident that we did it that way because although it felt like this day would never get here, it is and none of our decisions were rushed. We did everything exactly the way we wanted. For those of you out there thinking about doing this, it’s NEVER too early to start the research.

…and last but CERTAINLY not least
When will you know if it worked? – From…a lot of people. Everyday.
Guess what? I SUCK at waiting. Majorly suck. If I am not patient and I take a prego test too early then it could be a false negative. There’s just not enough HCG in your urine sometimes to trip the trigger yet. Mentally, I’m not sure I can stand up to a lot of that yet so we’re going to wait as long as she can possibly contain me from buying one at a drug store and rushing home to pee on it. She’s got quite the task ahead of her. I should be able to get a positive test any time after the 8th…but I’d like to wait til I’m actually “late” which would be after the 12th and a much better chance of a good reading…So, *fingers crossed*!

Oh and really, really last this time…Did you really make it this far? Wow! Medals for everyone. Our neighbor’s baby was born yesterday around noon and they’ll be bringing her home in a few days. I can’t wait to hold little Gia. She can be my seven pounds and two whole ounces of baby fix.

Thanks for reading! Next time I plan to talk about our legal donor agreement. Tweet me or leave questions in the comments if you have them. ❤