Wilkommen! (New Beginnings)

Wow,

Moving overseas with four pets is HARD!

Of course, not AS hard as it would have been with children as some people have been kind enough to remind me…

I hate those people.

Yes, I have been in the middle of an overseas move to Germany. I have had virtually no time to write which has taken a real toll on my anxiety. We are here now though! We move into our new house next week, and our things should start arriving shortly after that.

Not having a real home or our belonging has been tough. Driving through Winter Storm Jonas (started in Florida, ended in Maryland) to catch our flight was tough. Flying with four animals and dealing with delays was tough. However, none of those things were as tough or as frustrating as the delay in my fertility treatment, caused by this move.

My last shot at treatment was at the beginning of January. I had planned to do my first IUI the first week of January, but my body had other plans. Not only was I not able to do my IUI, but I couldn’t even do a medicated cycle with timed-intercourse due to a large cyst found on my ovary during my baseline exam.

I thought I had gotten lucky this month despite not having medical assistance and being under heavy stress. I started spotting a week before AF was due to arrive. My hope gave way when that spotting turned into a full blown period.

So now what? I wait. Again.

Waiting is hard enough when you know you are doing everything in your power to conceive. It is even harder when you are at a complete standstill.

I now have to wait for an appointment with my provider, wait for them to get me a referral to an RE, and the wait for said RE to have an appointment available. I am basically starting completely over, hopefully sans diagnostic tests (please don’t make me do another HSG).

In the meantime, I am focusing on the few things within my control. Our lifestyle has taken a bit of a downward spiral since we have basically been living on the road since mid-November and dealing with a lot of stress. Our eating habits have fallen by the wayside, and I am sad to admit that with no other real outlet for my anxiety, I have picked up smoking again.

Now is the time for salads, nicotine patches, and waiting. Wish me luck!

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Cycle Two

I have had so many things that I wanted to share with everyone recently, but it has been a bit of weird time for me.

My TWW (which ended last Wednesday with the arrival of AF) was riddled with some pretty severe anxiety/depression. I am not currently being medically treated for either of those conditions, so sometimes I just have to ride it out.

Writing often helps, but I was in such a funk that I couldn’t bear to even try. I am feeling much better now, so I wanted to give an update.

On Friday, I began taking 5mg of Letrozole again, making this my second medicated cycle. I will be taking it for two more days, and then baby dancing the rest of the month.

This cycle brings a lot of excitement and apprehension. Excitement, in the hopes that about a month from now I will be seeing two pink lines. Apprehension because this may very well be the last medicated cycle I have for a while.

My husband and I will be moving overseas at the end of January, so if I am lucky I may get to sneak in a third cycle (assuming this one doesn’t result in pregnancy)

The idea of taking a hiatus, after waiting so long to get to this point fills me with dread. I will essentially have to start this process completely over, with the added stress of getting settled in a foreign country.

Here is to hoping this is my cycle. I will be disappointed if it isn’t, but I know I will find a way to deal and press on.

Back in the Two-Week Wait

I am officially in the TWW again. I have been trying to keep busy so far, but I just feel off. I have started two other posts that I haven’t been able to finish for some reason.

Tomorrow I have an appointment to get my CD21 progesterone level tested. I am hoping for the best, but this cycle just hasn’t felt right. Maybe I am being pessimistic. I try my best to stay and think positive, but can’t seem to get out of this funk lately.

I firmly believe that tomorrow will be a good day. If for no other reason than the fact that I have several appointments, so I won’t be stuck in the office all day.

Hopefully, I can get it together and get those other posts done tomorrow. I hope everyone had a lovely weekend, and I hope you are all staying strong through this fertility struggle we share. 

Taking The Next Steps

May of this year marked the one year anniversary of my miscarriage. This may sound strange to those of you who have experienced pregnancy loss, but it was a milestone I had anxiously awaited.

May meant we had been trying to get pregnant for one year. It meant that I could finally get my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) referral. Most couples who are TTC (trying-to-conceive) dread this, but I had been expecting to have trouble conceiving. Unfortunately, even with my history of reproductive issues, I still had to run through the “try for a year” gamut.

At the end of May I made an appointment with my primary care provider, and she gave me referral to an RE. I was able to get in to see them in mid-July, and we began all the tests. I was quickly diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I was already aware that I had this disorder, but my OB/GYN at the time refused to acknowledge/diagnose it.

Things were starting to look up! I had a doctor who was listening to me, and a diagnosis. A diagnosis meant a treatment plan. I began to get excited, but started running into issues. The clinic would cancel an appointment without telling me, and then couldn’t get me in for another month (aka: a wasted cycle). On one occasion, after waiting an hour for my HSG test, I was told the machine was not working, and there was nowhere else I could get it done (another wasted cycle). It would take me forever to get a hold of them, and they would take ages to return my messages. After speaking to several other women, from several different clinic, this seems to be an issue in the RE/Fertility Clinic world.

Finally, this month is my first medicated cycle. I took 2.5 mg of Letrozole (Femara) on CD 3-7. I am extremely sensitive to most medications, so I was pleasantly surprised that the side effects I suffered were minimal (hot flashes and nausea). We chose to forgo IUI (intrauterine insemination) for at least three cycles due to the cost, and the fact that we are getting ready to move to another country, so we are using the Letrozole in conjunction with timed intercourse.

We were instructed to start taking ovulation test and having intercourse every other day beginning with CD 10. It is currently CD 16 and we have been following directions, but for some reason I have no expectation of anything working this cycle. Maybe the last year-and-a-half of disappointment is what has me down. Part of me thinks the lack of side effects from the medicine means it didn’t work. I haven’t had my positive OPK yet, but I am not expected to ovulate for another 5 days. I suppose only time will tell, but sometimes I get so sick of waiting.

Four Words I Didn’t Know I Needed To Hear

I try to talk to my Grandmother every Sunday. She is going to be 83 in about three months, and as dark as it may seem, I know I don’t have much time left to talk to her. She truly is an amazing woman. I don’t always agree with her, and she certainly has some quirks, but I adore her.

A few months ago, during one of our Sunday conversations, she began to tell me about my cousins pregnancy. I groaned internally, but dutifully “oohed” and “awed” in all the right places. At some point she mentioned that they didn’t know the gender, and were going to keep it a surprise. I told her that I loved that idea, and that I wanted to do the same. Her response?

“Are you expecting again?”

That short sentence left me speechless for a brief moment. For some reason those words made me feel so much better. Once we were off the phone, and I was able to process my thoughts, I realized exactly why her response had meant so much to me:

She acknowledged my baby.

Until this point, no one had really acknowledged that I had in fact been pregnant, and that I had in fact lost my baby. It wasn’t something to talk about, even though I desperately wanted to talk about it. I had nothing of this pregnancy to hold onto except for my memories, and that’s how my experience was treated: as nothing.

I don’t know if my Grandmother even gave a second thought to what she was saying, or how much it would mean to me. She could have simply said “are you expecting” without giving the nod to my previous pregnancy, but she didn’t. Her subtle salute to the little one I lost helped me to feel validated. She made me feel like my baby mattered to someone, in spite of its brief existence.

I am so grateful to be able to call her my Grandmother. Hopefully, one day, I can live up to be half the woman she is.

Infertility And The Age of Social Media: Happy Halloween!

Dealing with infertility is a daily struggle. If you are going through it, you know that there is no “taking your mind off of it”. There are constant reminders everywhere: TV commercials, the billion pregnant women who seem to be shopping at the same place and time as you, the seemingly random people who just need to know about your reproductive choices. The biggest offender, in my opinion, is social media. Baby pictures and pregnancy announcements galore!

Now, most of us know which days to stay off of social media. Our “trigger days” if you will. These days include due dates, loss dates, Mother’s Day, the beginning of the school year, etc. I hadn’t anticipated today being one of my trigger days (let’s just say I’m naive).

I have always loved The mysterious and the occult, so naturally Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I must not have been on social media much this time last year. If I had, I wouldn’t have been so unsuspecting this morning while logging on. Facebook was a full on assault of all of my friends little cuties dressed in their costumes. As I scrolled through my feed of smiling, excited children my heart was breaking. While Twitter wasn’t nearly as bad, it had a similar effect.

I don’t want anyone to think that I should be shielded from pregnant women, babies, and children at all times. That would be unrealistic and crazy (and I am certainly not crazy…). I have simply learned that, for the time being, Halloween is one of those days of which I will need to take some extra precaution in guarding my heart.

I hope everyone is having a safe and fun Halloween!

In The Face Of Loss

As Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month draws to an end, I am left remembering my miscarriage, and the months after. I remember feeling incredibly alone in my grief.

If you have read my previous posts, you know that I didn’t know I was pregnant for very long before I lost my pregnancy. My husband knew for an even shorter amount of time. While he was supportive, the loss didn’t hit him very hard at all.

The only people who knew were our very best friends, my mom, and my boss. I would later tell others, when the topic came up naturally, but it was always with apprehension. The apprehension stemmed from the very real, very awful, things that people have said to me regarding my loss.

In the months after losing my pregnancy, I became very depressed. I felt like my body had failed me, and that I had failed my baby. I didn’t want to leave my house. In fact the only reason I left, was to not lose my job. I don’t think I went grocery shopping for over a month.

The pregnancy hormones seemed to take forever to leave my body. For two weeks my breasts ached, and each pain was a reminder of what no longer was. My period took two months to return. I gained weight (no doubt from the fast food my husband was providing in the absence of groceries). I was constantly fearful.

See, with my period taking so long to return, there was a chance I could have conceived immediately after losing my pregnancy. The doctors told me it was possible, and a quick google search would reveal that many woman had experienced this phenomenon.  Now, something I haven’t mentioned is that the day I miscarried, I had run a 5k early that morning. I haven’t mentioned this because logically, I know that it played no role in my loss, and I don’t want to spread misinformation, but in the time leading up to my period coming back I was terrified to exercise. I didn’t know if I was pregnant or not and in my mind exercise=miscarriage. This wasn’t and isn’t true, but sometimes your emotions can get the best of you. Even after we began to try again, I had the hardest time allowing myself to exercise during my TWW.

We are still trying and waiting for our rainbow baby. While processing my loss has become easier with time, it is still something I carry with me, and it still causes pain from time to time. I wish that I had had someone to talk to in the months after my loss. Someone who understood what I was going through, and could tell me that I wasn’t alone.

I am glad that we have Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, but please don’t forget that this remains a problem for the other 11 months of the year. No one should have to go through it alone.

For those who know someone experiencing  a loss: Please be supportive.

For those going through it: You are not alone.