Monday, June 30, 2014

New Things

800mg Vitex + 100mg B6. That was the plan for this month to try to lengthen my luteal phase. Well, it’s CD22, and I’m still a few days away from a positive OPK. Like it will probably be positive on CD24. Just like last month. So the Vitex and B6 did nothing to move up ovulation. I’ll have to wait and see if it will lengthen my luteal phase on the other end, but I kind of doubt it.

I know neither one of these are supposed to be short-term solutions. Most people agree that Vitex works after about 3 months in your system. But just once, I’d like to be the Amazon reviewer or baby forum commenter that “took/used _____ and got a BFP the very first month!!!!”

I’m never that person. 

I was also planning on adding progesterone cream after ovulation, but I didn't get it ordered in time. Maybe next cycle that will be our new thing to try that can work in the first month!

We’re out of PreSeed (another conception aid we’ve been using for over a year with no luck. I was planning to add it to our babymaking regimen and conceive the first month! Didn't work out.), and I was trying to convince Bobby to pick some up at Walgreens while he was out picking up our dinner and movie on Saturday night.

He scrunched his face up at me. “I have to get it? That’s embarrassing!”

“You don’t think it’s embarrassing for me to pick it up every few months for over a year?!”

“No...you’re a girl. It's weirder for me. That’d be like you...buying condoms.”

“I’m always the one who buys the condoms!”

“Yeah...I know...”

We used the cheap, non-sperm-friendly lube that night. I have a hard time believing it really matters at this point. But I suppose I’ll pick up the PreSeed on the way home from work tonight. 

You know, just in case that’s what makes it work this month.

I have more things to write about—deeper things. Like the whirlwind I went through over my plans for teaching and coaching next year. My upcoming summer vacation to Up North, Minnesota. Our last two childless friends’ wedding last weekend—and predictions for how soon before they have a baby (my guess: less than a year). But those will all just have to wait.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Plan

I married Bobby when I was 22 years old--that had always been the plan. I was ready to settle down after finishing college.

I worked at a comfortable, well-paying job for a few years after marriage, and Bobby did too. We were able to save money, buy the perfect starter house for our family and go on many fun adventures. While working at this comfortable, well-paying job, I also found the time to write and publish my first book. While not a New York Times Best Seller, the book did well. We agreed we were stable enough for me to quit my full-time job and focus on writing. But first, we decided to have a baby.

And since baby-having is as easy as deciding, of course we conceived easily. During my easy, perfect 40-week pregnancy, I worked from home on my second book. We were living comfortably off the royalties and I was able to write freely, exercise at will (of course I only gained 12 pounds during this pregnancy!), and add to our perfect little family.

The baby was born with no complications. We loved having a newborn. My second book was met with great success, so I was able to take a complete break from working and raise our child full time (naturally while keeping up with my exercising and writing for fun). Nine months later, we'd decide to conceive again--wanting our first two children to be close in age.

Our second child was born exactly eighteen months after our first (of course, we planned for a summer baby), and our little family of four was beautiful. Since I was an absolute natural at motherhood, both children slept through the night from day one, took naps on schedule, and ate like champs. Once the baby was six months old, my parents graciously offered to watch both kids two days a week so I could work on my third book, keep my house looking spotless, grocery shop, and plan our immaculate dinners.

After three years family bliss, we decided to add a third child. After conceiving (easily, of course), we realized we'd need a bigger home. We bought a 1860s farmhouse just outside of town with some land, pasture, and out buildings. It was gorgeous, and the perfect setting for our children to grow up in. We had barn cats, a pot-belly pig, and some fainting goats. Our huge St. Bernard moped around outside, always begging to be let in the side door off the porch. Sometimes we conceded, and let him drool all over the house.  After all, what's life without a little whimsy?

Once Baby Number 3 arrived, we easily settled in to our new life. The older children were attending pre-school and learning to help around the house. My parents still cared for them a few days a week, and I began writing Book Number 4. We had game nights with our friends, play dates, and still found time to go on fun adventures over the weekend.

A year or so later, we conceived Baby Number 4--and then decided to close up shop. After all, I was over 30 years old! It was time spend more time on myself. Being a mother of four easily fit into my life of running, coaching, writing, and anything else I wanted to do, 

Several years later, when the oldest kids were nearing the end of high school, and the youngest kids just beginning, we decided it was time to adopt. We were such good parents, why wouldn't we want to share our life with needy kids? We'd started a small fund early in our marriage, always intended for adoption--and now we had plenty of money. We had the opportunity and budget to add a few more kids to our family--plus explore the possibility of becoming full-time foster parents--since it was all so easy for us, after all. We were in no hurry, so we could take our time with the paperwork and the waiting was no big deal. Whenever an agency or birth parent decided to pick us, we would expand our family for whatever new members we chose to add.

This is tough to read, right? It was tough to write. I want to say that it's really just the rambling of a dumb teenager--exhibiting obviously naive expectations for my future life and family. But really, up until a few years ago, I truly believed this is how it would all shake out. I never imagined that we would have issues conceiving. Of course, I'll admit I occasionally had doubts about my qualifications of being a good mom, but I would work it out. My kids may not sleep perfectly through the night or be champion eaters...but surely I would at least have kids...right? I may not lose all of the 12 pounds (ha!) of baby weight instantly and my body shape might change...but at least the weight and stretch marks would be scars of a body growing another human--not excess weight from the stress of trying to have a baby.

I'm not going to have four kids (and four published books) by the time I'm 30, give or take a year. At this rate, I'm really, really hoping to have one kid before 30. It would be a miracle if I had two (like a call-the-Vatican, immaculate-conception-type miracle).

So...what was your life plan? Was it as ridiculous as mine? No? No one could possibly have thought something as ridiculous as this? Yeah, that's probably true.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Code Red

I'm calling it. This cycle is dead.

It's not officially CD1 yet, but it's either today or tomorrow. I spotted on and off yesterday, and even a little bit on Saturday. So I, of course, googled "spotting in early pregnancy" for about the millionth time. Even though every period I've ever had since I was 12 years old started with a day or two of brown spotting. It should never be a surprise. It's never a pregnancy symptom. And yet I still google that every. single. month. The top google return for me should just be YOU'RE NOT PREGNANT! STOP GOOGLING AND GO OUTSIDE. Instead, it's some babywebsite forum with tons of women confirming that they spotted right around five weeks and they were TOTALLY PREGNANT. And someone chimes in with some statistics about a huge percentage of women spotting in early pregnancy (it's just getting rid of some leftover blood from last month - totally normal!) I'm an idiot.

My temperatures are hovering at a taunting mid-range. They're lower than the original surge and subsequent spike, but they're higher than my normal baseline temp and period temp drop. They're like the NSA - refusing to confirm or deny anything.

I started taking both Vitex and Vitamin B6 this morning. Bobby commented that I'm much too young to be taking this many meds (these are in addition to the Prenatal vitamin I've been taking for two and half years and the Baby Asprin also sitting on the counter). I almost laughed. These aren't even close to the number of meds many IVF ladies take--and those are in addition to shots! But I'm going to keep that world a secret from him. He'd faint at the idea of injecting me.

I sort of felt like I had cramps this morning, but they disappeared. I really only ever have one day of cramping--but I know Vitex can help with that too. I guess I'll take that as a bonus.

I promised myself an enormous, over-sized iced coffee with extra shots of espresso on Cycle Day 1. I'm not officially there yet, but I'm sure I'll be sipping that drink soon enough.

Back to square one.

P.S. Sorry I left you all hanging over the weekend. I didn't think anyone would really care, but my pageviews for the last post were crazy high--so I guess at least a few of you were checking in on me. I was planning on posting as soon as something happened. But I was stuck in limbo all weekend with nothing to report. My temperatures weren't indicating anything, and I wasn't bleeding yet either. I was never planning on testing until at least today--but now that seems unnecessary.

Thank you all for your kind words and support. This is horrible as it is, but it would be so much worse without all of you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Help?

Well, I need some help. Or advice. Or tough love. Whatever your specialty is, I need it. 

Yesterday I had pretty much resigned myself that this cycle was a bust. I was only 8dpo, and my temperature dropped significantly. Which means it's over; my period will start in a few days. I was disappointed, but prepared. 

This cycle had been sort of a long shot. I starting using OPKs for the first time in over a year. Since my cycles are much more regular now than the last time, I figured I'd give it a try again. On CD24, I had a very clear positive on the OPK. We had lots of sex that day and the next day (and luckily, the day before as well). It seemed like we covered all our bases. Three days later, my temperature spiked, officially confirming ovulation (okay, semi-officially).

And then yesterday, when my temperature dropped, I realized I might be officially dealing with a LP defect. Some other bloggers made some excellent comments and suggestions on my last post about this, and they are totally right. My luteal phase is short. Maybe not official-defect short, but it could definitely be hampering implantation. I’ve been doing all kinds of research about how I can naturally lengthen my LP. I’ve ordered some Vitex and I’ll be picking up some Vitamin B6 later today. Back when I saw my doctor in January, she suggested taking baby asprin to improve overall circulation to my uterus, so I may as well add that to the cocktail of pills. I feel good about this plan.

EXCEPT...this morning my temperature was back up to its post-ovulation level, the exact same level before the drop yesterday. I was feeling some cramps last night when I went to bed, assuming I was starting my period. This morning, I realized it feels way more like muscle pain—which makes sense since I’m doing T25 and did the Ab Intervals video yesterday. I know I was snippy and short with Bobby all day yesterday. And while I hate, hate, hate the PMS excuse, I assumed that’s what was happening. But...he was also pushing my buttons. Since junior high, Bobby has known exactly how to annoy me—and he was firing on all cylinders yesterday. And while I love the man more than life itself, it was really starting to grate on me. But, I know I was also a little crabby and disappointed that this cycle had failed. PMS or just general marriage spats? We haven’t had sex since the marathon around ovulation. And Bobby gets annoying when he needs to get laid. This could all be totally unrelated to what’s happening inside me.

So...what the heck? How can my temperature take a huge nosedive and have me convinced the cycle is over, and then shoot right back up and take all my hopes and dreams right with it? The obvious answer is that one of my temperature readings was incorrect. While I’m inclined to say it was probably today...I don’t want to. I want to believe that yesterday’s was the error and my temperature is still soaring and I’m still “possibly pregnant.”

This morning I temped a little early. I woke up around 5:30 a.m. and knew I wouldn’t get back to sleep so I shoved the thermometer in my mouth. My temp alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m., so my reading today was a little early. BUT whenever I temp early, the reading is generally lower than normal—not higher, like today. BUT I was also really warm when I temped this morning. It’s still getting colder overnight, and Bobby likes to keep the windows open. So I wake up feeling like I’m camping—it’s absolutely freezing around me, but I’m warm and sweaty under a mountain of blankets. So, I was feeling warmer than usual, which may have contributed to the high temperature.

So here I sit at 9dpo, desperately hanging on to the thread of hope that I’m still in the game for this cycle. When I temp tomorrow morning, I’m sure it will confirm that today was an error, and my period is due to arrive any minute.

So...help—has this happened to anyone? Advice—what should I do next? Tough love—do I need to stop being delusional and let go of this cycle and hope the cocktail of pills can fix my LP in the next few months? How do I get through the next 18 hours without going crazy and strangling my husband?

The waiting is the worst part.

**Edit: Since Toni asked, I'll post my chart (well a terrible screen shot of it, the app isn't cooperating to letting me update, so these are just partials of the important part).

This is the chart in question. There's an obvious ovulation spike, it remains elevated for three days and then dipped yesterday before spiking again today.

This is last month's chart or comparison. The ovulation spike, it remained elevated and then dropped. I got my period a few days later.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Wait

I'm waiting.

Is anyone else waiting?

It's CD29 and 6dpo for me. My cycles have somewhat regulated themselves into 33-35 day cycles, which I suppose is good because I didn't ovulate until Day 24. My temperature spiked on Friday to officially confirm ovulation.

It's almost pathetic how good I feel about this cycle. Everything went perfectly--there's no way it didn't work, right? Wrong. There are many, many ways that it didn't work. Because as good as I feel about this cycle, I'm equally confident that I won't get pregnant and my period will show up any day this week. Because it's me. And I don't get pregnant.

To make matters worse, I had a baby dream last night. But it wasn't one of those warm, fuzzy, idyllic baby dreams. It actually kind of sucked. We seemed to be at some sort of cabin (I just got back from Up North, cabins are on my mind) at some sort of family reunion. Lots of people had children there, including us. We had this baby--with this perfect round face, chubby cheeks, and just a tiny brush of blonde hair. She had pale skin, so perfect it could have been porcelain and big blue eyes. But she was screaming. A LOT. And I needed to change her diaper, but there was this little tiny cupboard where all the families kept their diapers, and I had to practically crawl inside the cupboard to get anything out and I couldn't find one small enough for her. She was so tiny, like only a few months only, and I could only find size five diapers and pullups. And she just wouldn't stop screaming. I was trying to soothe her, and I was talking to her and telling her how I was going to get her changed and then we would take a nap together, and asking her repeat to me what I just said (I don't know why I did that, she was obviously too little to talk, but I make my volleyball girls do it constantly). I was thinking about how frustrating this was and just how awful the screaming was and I was sure it would never stop. But I kept looking at her and kissing her head--she was just so beautiful--and even though everything was awful, I was still so happy to have this tiny baby.

And then I woke up and realized I had shut off my alarm and only had 20 minutes to get to work.

I'm not great with babies in reality. Apparently Dream Lilee isn't any better. I'll admit, I have serious doubts about keeping a screaming baby alive full time without totally losing my mind. In fact, I probably would be against ever bringing a baby into my home if it weren't for my baby whispering husband. If we ever manage to get pregnant, I'm seriously considering putting him on baby duty and I'll take over at about age three. Or you know, 15. I do pretty well with high school kids.

We endured quite a bit of "when are you going to have kids?" talk this weekend as we attended Grandma Susie's memorial service (probably a whole post on that coming...I'm not sure yet). It was depressing. Bobby keeps insisting we should tell people we can't have kids just so they'll back off. And if we do get pregnant, we'll be overly obnoxious about our Miracle Baby. I told him I'm going to tell people we can't have kids because Bobby got a vasectomy when he was 16 because he was such a player.

But it's nice to see he's equally annoyed by people's nosiness. And to be clear, these aren't just kind-hearted strangers casually asking if we have any kids. These are his family members and people at church who ask us EVERY TIME THEY SEE US when we're going to FINALLY start having kids. So while he thinks we should tell people we can't have kids, he means it as a joke. He honestly doesn't believe we're infertile. He's absolutely convinced it's just going to work one of these months, and then we'll be pregnant. No medical intervention, no REs, no drugs, shots, pills, nothing. I do appreciate his faith, but this wait is waaaaay worse for one of us. And it's not him.

So who else is waiting with me? A two-week wait? Or waiting for ovulation? Waiting for an appointment? Medication? Your next ultrasound? A new IVF round?


We can wait together.