Saturday, December 19, 2009
From previous posts you might have read that once I met with my RE I felt so much better, like we had a plan if the natural route didn't work or if I did in fact have a luteal phase defect.
Now that I am pregnant there are a couple things that truly made me appreciative of having a fertility doctor.
1) Her whole job is to get you and keep you pregnant. She has more tools at her disposal and knowledge than a regular OB/GYN whose primary function is keep you healthy and help you deliver a healthy child. OBs pretty much can offer you clomid. But many REs feel that clomid should be used with IUI because of the affects of the drug on CM. An OB can't perform IUIs.
2) The level of responsiveness is unparalleled by any doctor I have ever dealt with. You can get your doctor on the phone and in my experience she remembered me, or at least was courteous enough to review my file before calling me. You can get in the same day for blood work (betas, progesterone) or an ultrasound need be and results usually came a couple hours later for me.
3) My first month trying after surgery, my progesterone was tested 6dpo and it was high but at 10dpo I started spotting. I called her 11dpo. She personally took my call and said it was an unusual way to present but wanted me to get checked out before she put me on progesterone moving forward. I went in the next day and it showed I did have a problem. She wrote me a prescription that day to start using the next month after ovulation. It wasn't a fight about the use of progesterone. I wasn't forced to go on Clomid either.
4) Here is the biggie. Even though I conceived naturally, I was still in the care of the RE. As her patient, she insists (and I happily obliged) to do an ultrasound every week until the 9th week. At that time a healthy heartbeat has been sustained and you get released to your regular OB. Again this comes back to my theory that an RE is all about getting you and keeping you pregnant and an OB is all about your health. When you go in, there isn't a weight check, urine test, blood pressure screening. It is just an ultrasound. She would always ask me how I was feeling, but it wasn't like I came in with a big list of questions. She also did the ultrasounds herself, not a tech, which made me feel better. She was very understanding of my anxiety and my spontaneous explosion of emotion the first time I saw the baby's heart beating. Once you go to your OB, it is more about you. You get tested and checked but it isn't fun because you aren't seeing your baby. One more point, it is truly an unbelievable experience to have 4 ultrasounds in successive weeks because the sixth week it is a little blob where you can see the heartbeat. The seventh week you can see tremendous growth and hear the heartbeat. The eight week I saw legs. And at the nine week appointment, which my DH joined me for, we saw our little baby kicking. A normal OB won't allow you to have so many ultrasounds.
All in all, for me and many, it was a big psychological hurdle to go to a fertility doctor. I think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. What is the point of putting it off because of pride? Just because you go doesn't mean they are going to push you into fertility treatments. They first will check if you have an underlying problem (or you man) and then gauge how aggressive you want to be.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It is all about sleep training. Essentially after about 8 weeks the baby should never be up for more then 2 hours at a time and it also helps to get them to only wake up once during the night. One mom said she was militant and it is really hard because you can't leave your house much while doing it because you live and die by the schedule. For both they said it took about 6 weeks.
I am starting to believe this book is a cult classic because the day I told my sister-in-law and brother-in-law I was pregnant both said we needed to read this book and luckily they had 2 copies so gave me one. The irony is, their eldest slept through the night at 3 months but the little one, who is honestly the sweetest best baby ever, still doesn't and is 8 months old.
I am going to start reading it today.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Lucky and unlucky for me, I am not one of those girls. As I said, the only weird thing I had was a heavy feeling in my uterus on 7dpo for half a day. That's it. The month before, when I convinced myself I was pregnant and was going to surprise my husband on his bday, my boobs killed and grew. Well when I really was pregnant, there was no pain, no growth.
At about 4 weeks 6 days my boobs got a little sore, but honestly nothing compared to my false alarm in September. This last about a week or two.
Around 5.5 weeks I started feeling tired. And from about weeks 6-8, I was queasy. I would wake up queasy and it would last until about 1pm, everyday for 2 weeks. And then it went away. I never threw up once.
The only two things that have been consistent are pure exhaustion and not sleeping through the night. A couple times a week, I wake up around 2 or 3am, like it is daylight. I am so awake I could prepare my taxes or clean the house. I stay up for about 2 to 3 hours, then fall asleep.
So in all, I have been exceedingly lucky. The downside is after my experiences with miscarriages, I wanted some symptoms, just to let me know everything was ok with the baby. You can always explain away exhaustion (it is gloomy out, I might be coming down with something). Then on the birth club boards people are writing how they lost 15 pounds from throwing up and I didn't have any food aversions. Also, I had food aversions with a previous pregnancy that only lasted 6.5 weeks, so that freaked me out too, that my hormones were stronger with a doomed pregnancy.
Truly every pregnancy is different and if you are lucky like me to need a few naps and not become intimately acquainted with your bathroom floor, they rock on and don't brag to your friends who did lost 15 pounds those first three months.
Since I was gearing up to go to Italy I had a lot to consider in terms of testing early.
I was leaving at 10dpo, still very early for an HPT.
I was planning to definitely test at 13dpo, because that day we were going wine tasting in Chianti, so I needed to know if I would partake. I also would test on 14dpo because I had to know if I should stop taking progesterone
If I did get a BFP early, I could leave behind my monitor, thermometer, and AF products
Then there were the symptoms or complete lack there of.
On 7dpo, I got this bizarre heavy feeling in my uterus, like a weight was attached to it and I felt very bloated. I knew it was my uterus because it felt similar to how I felt after fibroid surgery when I would go on a long walk. Not pain, just discomfort.
I remember seeing a post on babycenter.com called "heavy feeling in uterus", which is how I would describe what I was feeling. So I checked it out and the vast majority of posters ended up pregnant.
Other than that 8hr stance of weird uterus feelings, I have had zero symptoms.
I had been very tired and having extremely vivid dreams, but I knew this is from the progesterone.
So I thought back to the 2 times I was pregnant and I didn't have any symptoms until my 5th week.
On 8po, my temperature dips .3 degrees, the bare minimum to be consider an implantation dip.
On 9dpo, my temperature returned to my 7dpo level, proving I did have a dip of some kind.
I took a dollar tree test (the Pee-in-a-cup kind) and was about to pass it off as negative, when I kinda sorta saw something, a second line. It really was as faint as a line should be. But it was there.
So then I went to get my luggage, where I had packed my First Response Early Result Pregnancy tests.
Luckily, I had used a cup. At the end of the test window I looked. At first glance, you wouldn't see anything, but when you held it just so, a second line appeared.
Part of me thought I made it up, but part of me knew I never made it up before and I have had many many many months of BFNs
What to do:
Given I won't be on American soil for 48 hours, I can't get two beta tests to see if my numbers are going up, but I did want to confirm it so I knew I wasn't crazy.
I called my RE's office on the nurses line.
I got called back an hour and a half later.
I have to say, the nurse was mean. She told me I should postpone my trip because they highly recommend not traveling until the baby is confirmed to be growing in the uterus and doing well. It could be etopic. I really hadn't been worried about it. She said four times there was no point of me going in to confirm pregnancy since I won't be heeding their warning by staying in town, which would allow them to see if my numbers double.
I finally convinced her to let me come in today for a blood test. On the phone I made it clear I was 9dpo so I tested very early.
Later that day, she called back and said, "You are pregnant but your number is very low, 22, so expect to miscarry." I said,"But I am only 9dpo, so that is a good number right?" And she said, "it is very low".
Sorry, but what a bitch. You work for a fertility doctor, anyone who is seeing you has been through hell already in this department, so don't be a world class bitch. I remember I had written a post about early pregnancy betas on my blog so I pulled it up from my phone and my numbers were totally normal. Also, most tests don't test below the number 25 which are designed to be read at 14dpo if not a day or two before, so clearly 22 wasn't a bad number.
I put a call into my doctor and she said since I conceived naturally have no worries about going to Italy and enjoy myself.
Back to the lines, it was really so light that I came out of the bathroom and said, "I might be pregnant". I really thought it could have been bad lighting.
I am 13.5 weeks and doing great. I want to thank you for emails, comments, and support along the way. And please don't think I am abandoning those trying because I will never forget my fertility roots.
Here is the brief recap and then I will do more posts on specific things like what to expect at different points.
The day before we left for Italy I wanted to test because I didn't want to lug my monitor, thermometer, notebook for temps, and everything else needed to help me micromanage my fertility. I was 9dpo and used a Dollar Tree test it was a super faint positive (more to come on that) and I then took a First Response Early Result and it was also super faint. I went to the fertility doctor for blood work and got confirmation that day.
Knowing was both exciting and scary. I was very worried it would turn out be a chemical pregnancy. So I was really on edge until that Sunday, when my period was due. Also I was on progesterone, so on one hand it was comforting, on the other hand, I thought my body would keep the baby even if it wasn't going to make (not sure if that was true, but you know how my mind works). The best part about knowing was that we were alone and no one else knew. We spent our days walking the cities and brainstorming baby names.
About 4 days into the trip we decided to table the naming discussion because we cannot agree on anything. He thinks names I like are newfangled, not withstanding them being biblical. But I digress.
When I got back I had an ultrasound at 5 weeks and 5 days. I was worried it would be an empty sac, but I actually say the heartbeat. Tears started streaming down my face and in all honestly, it wasn't joy, it was sheer relief. I then went back every week, to the Re's office for an U/S until 8 weeks and 5 days. At that point she had me go off progesterone and released me to the regular OB.
I had to wait 4 more weeks until my next U/S which was last week where they do the first trimester screening (will explain more in a different post). I was such a wreck going this. I was petrified the baby would have been dead for weeks. Most people think this is irrational but this is exactly what happened to my cousin. Luckily all was good and the baby was kicking up a storm not to mention flipping and punching. It is unreal that this is all going on inside and I can't feel any of it.
So in addition to commenting on the latest wives tales about how to get pregnant, I will share what to expect when you do get pregnant.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Up until my foray into the world of obsessively TTC, I had never even heard of a chemical pregnancy. Essentially, it is a very early miscarriage. Typically it occurs right around when your period is due. Back in the dark ages, when our parents were trying to have us, they had no clue they were even pregnant. But with early home pregnancy tests, we can find out we are pregnant almost a week before our period is due.
This is one reason some women are against testing early, because you get a positive test, do the happy dance, tell your parents and best friend, and then a couple days later your period arrives.
The most common cause of a chemical pregnancy is a chromosomal abnormality, meaning the baby couldn't have survived. Other reasons are hormonal problems (luteal phase defect), uterine lining abnormalities (such as fibroids), or inadequate uterine lining.
I haven't been able to find in my search what the beta levels are in a chemical pregnancy. One site said a chemical pregnancy occurs when a baby isn't able to be seen on an ultrasound (nothing in the sac). I know from my experiences that my doctor likes to wait until your beta reaches 3000 to do an ultrasound. So by the transitive property I learned in geometry, perhaps a pregnancy that doesn't experience levels of 3000 is considered a chemical pregnancy. This is just my middle-school conjecture, though. It does seem for the ancedotal posts I have read online that numbers tend to be much lower than 3000.
Regardless of how, why, or when it happens, a miscarriage is a miscarriage. The upside for those who have experienced a chemical pregnancy is the knowledge that they can get pregnant. But let's be honest, it still sucks.
Last night I was watching something on CBS and I saw a PSA that was a huge departure from the don't drink and drive and don't do drugs of our generation. I don't want to butcher the words, but it was essentially, "Do you want to do something special for your woman this Christmas? Schedule her for a pap smear. Give her a gift even Santa can't give her."
I thought it was so out of left field, I called my husband over and replayed it. He had a horrified look on his face. It looked like a commercial you would see on Saturday Night Live spoofing public service announcements.
I went to Youtube to find it. I didn't find the one I saw but did find the Hanukkah version. So check it out and maybe send it to you man. In case he was thinking of getting you diamond stud earrings this month, he can now get you an even better gift, a pap smear appointment.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Last night at dinner he point blank asked me if I had been given the green light to try to conceive again. It was nice to be able to honestly answer yes, and not feel weird or like it is some big secret. I cut him off as he was asking his second question, when I quickly add, "and no, you can't be in the delivery room". Foiled again.
Later in the night I was talking to another of my husband's friend about my reflexologist. He want going to see her because of some chronic pain. I asked why he didn't end up going since he had been very interested. Someone else jumped in and asked why I had a reflexologist and I just said, the fibroid/miscarriage thing.
These questions would have sent me into a tizzy 6 months ago. But I have to say being open was way more refreshing and didn't make me uncomfortable.
Coming into the holiday season, I think we might all be faced with some inappropriate or way too personal questions. I will never forget going home one time and my aunt's mom, who has the most adorable Cuban accent, loudly lamented, "Why you have no baby? Next time you come, you bring me the baby!" She was dead serious. Not that this is out of character. Years ago, when I had been dating my now husband for years and years without a ring she woefully chanted in her melodic cadence,"Why you no married, it's time, no?" I said, throwing my cousin under the bus,"Why don't you ask Mikey, he doesn't even have a girlfriend." She stops, thinks, slaps him on the chest and confesses, "Him, I don't worry about, you, I worry".
People just want to the best for us, but sometimes these questions just echo the ones we have in our heads. I guess we should all be thankful that we have people in our lives that care enough to ask the inappropriate question or two. Tact would be nice too, but we can't get greedy.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Apparently, on Craig's list, they have a best of section. This is one very aggressive TTCer. I respect it and the ice cream sounds enticing.
seeking menstruating short-term friend - w4w
Hi there. I am looking for a friend one who is currently or will soon be on her period. Mine is two weeks late and, while I know I'm not pregnant, I would like to kick-start mine to get back on my normal, lovely schedule. I would prefer it if you have a history of being dominant in these matters (i.e. do you have a history of setting other women's cycles?) so the chances are maximized. Must be willing to spend lots of time in a somewhat small space with me (we can watch cheesy romantic comedies in my walk in closet. or... maybe the living room) so the pheromones (that is the leading theory for why this works, right?) are sure to, uh, transfer (or whatever they do). And if you happen to know a bunch of other women who're also menstruatin', bring them too.
And I know it's hot, so I'm offering to provide as much haagen dazs as it takes to make it through the heat.
At different times during this past year and a half, my husband has asked if it is really a good idea for me to spend so much time on these sites. I always defended them vehemently saying it isn't easy to get pregnant and it is helpful to learn as much as I can. Also, I never would have known what Luteal Phase Defect was and my OB sure didn't diagnose me, so now I am being treated for that.
But there are things I have learned that have added anxiety. Like what I refer to as symptom stalk. People will be 3 hours past ovulation and write they are nauseous and must be pregnant. This makes me batty because I might be 12dpo and feeling nothing. And the implantation spotting, don't get me started on how it seems everyone in the world has that pregnancy sign but me. I started to feel that either the people on that site are exponentially more in touch with their bodies than I am, are reading into nothing, or I don't have a shot of being pregnant.
So in these situations, I feel like this information overload gets the best of me.
After the miscarriages, I found I needed a break from it, and signed off for a couple months. Which tells me that not all interactions with these sites are positive.
What's your take on it? Have you ever needed a break from these social networking sites?
Monday, October 26, 2009
I think this needs a well-crafted response. It is easy when you aren't to say, "no" or something more self-pitying, like "yeah, right, like that would ever happen to me?". But you need to tread more carefully, because when you are in fact pregnant and not wanting to share, you feel like either you will have to fess up or lie. And then a part of me feels like a lie will doom the pregnancy.
Here are some ideas.
"That would be nice"
"From your lips"
"Did my mom put you up to this?"
What do you have in your arsenal?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I did a little investigation into this and the CDC and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists both strongly recommend vaccination. In fact, on the ACOG website, they actually wrote out a script for OBs to tell their patients. This bothered me. I was hoping for an honest response from my doctor, but I feel I will get a canned answer. I actually have a call into my doctor to hear her take on the the H1N1 vaccine.
Because of the Jenny McCarthy army, they are in development of a vaccine without thirmerosal, so it wouldn't contain mercury for doses given to expectant moms and children. I think this is interesting since researchers say mercury doesn't lead to autism.
Here is what the medical community is saying. Pregnant women are at an exponentially higher risk of dying or having serious complications once they contract H1N1 the the general population. Also, infants can't take the medicine until 6 months, so they can at least get in in utero or through breast milk. The medicine is supposedly created the same way the seasonal flu shout is made every year.
I am leaning towards getting it but want to know if I can get the version without thirmerosal. You know, since I get all my medical advice from former Playboy playmates.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I completely abandoned my Atkins eating. What's a day without pizza and gelato? We walked so much I was able to justify it. In typical male fashion, my charming hubby lost 8 pounds. Who the heck goes to Italy, eats exclusively pizza and pasta and drinks way more than normal and loses 8 pounds? I didn't gain and thought I pulled off a major coup.
Venice was the most beautiful place I had ever seen in my whole life. We did a gondola ride which was the highlight of the trip for me.
What I always forget about when traveling abroad is the cigarette smoke. I have a theory that when a kid turns seven, they shove a cigarette in his mouth and give him a Vespa. I really want to do research on lung cancer rates in Italy, because if the research is true that cigarettes=lung cancer, and I have been raised to believe it is, their occurrence rates must be sky-high.
Even though a Furla store was directly across from my Florence hotel, taunting me with amazing handbags, I really didn't get anything but a belt at the leather mart. Greg bought a bunch of wine.
So what did I miss? Any BFPs?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I won't be able to post while overseas. Feel free to send me comments/emails about topics/products you are interested in having me blog about.
I hope I return to many BFPs from my readers and a bambino on board of my own.
Will keep you posted!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I am so happy I did, because I left with two things: hope and a plan.
There are generic questions that I think everyone should ask and then some more specific questions about your own situation.
When you meet, your doctor will take a very in depth history of your TTC struggle. Make sure to have you OB fax over or deliver a copy of all test results to date (everything from thyroid to blood clotting disorders).
Here are some things to discuss:
- Hours of operation: Let's face it, once you go down the assisted reproduction route, you will have lots of appointments. If you have a full-time job, this can be difficult to run out everyday during lunch to see if you sprouted follicles overnight. Many clinics offer testing at 7am and after work hours. Weekend hours are also critical because your ovaries don't take Saturday and Sunday off just because your doctor does. My doctor has morning and evening hours as well as limited weekend hours.
- Blood test results: My regular OB takes about 36 hours to get blood test results. As many of you know this is agonizing. At my Fertility Doctor, if you take a blood test by 9am, you get results by 3pm the same day. If you are like most TTCers, this is a huge benefit.
- Success Rates: How successful has your doctor been with IUI, IVF, etc. Also, make sure they are citing live births, not just BFPs.
- What tests will she run: My RE ran more thyroid tests than my OB had. She also did a genetic screening for diseases, she tested progesterone levels 6dpo and 12dpo, and a second HSG. This is particularly important if you have unexplained infertility.
- Accessibility: My doctor prides herself on speaking to you the day of your call. In fact, she asks that you leave her a message when you go in for blood tests, so she can call you as soon as results are in. It is also fairly easy to get a hold of her nursing staff.
- Costs: Like me, many people have no fertility insurance. Get an idea of what procedures cost. My doctor didn't let me get to far ahead of myself so we only talked about the costs of Clomid+trigger+IUI, which she thought with all the monitoring would be around $1000 with no insurance. Find out if you pay upfront if you get a discount or if they have payment plans.
- What's her plan for you: My doctor had a clear plan, try for four months, if not pregnant, we will get my husband tested, start clomid (IUI if I wanted) and if that didn't work after a couple months, we would do IUI. After the discovery of my Luteal Phase Defect last month, the plan has revised. We will try for a total of two more months naturally + progesterone after ovulation, and if that doesn't work, clomid+IUI+progesterone. You want to leave knowing how many times you will try each step until moving on to your next options.
- Does your doctor trust your gut: All along I felt I had a luteal phase problem and my OB attributed it to poor ovulation. My RE respectfully disagreed and I was proved right last month when I started off with a great progesterone number and it tanked. My OB would have forced me to take clomid while the RE said let's try supporting the Luteal Phase with progesterone before we put clomid in the mix.
- What else can I do to help me get pregnant: she might suggest baby aspirin, b-6 vitamins, progesterone, lose or gain weight, more exercise, less exercise, a specific diet
- At what point do I go back to my OB: For me, as soon as I get my blessed bfp, after calling the Chicago Tribune and my third grade social studies teacher, I will call my regular OB to let her know that I am pregnant and set up a 12 or 13 week appointment. My RE will keep me until 9 weeks when she can confirm my baby has a strong, healthy heartbeat.
- How do you treat recurrent miscarriages: If this has been an issue for you, find out if you will get additional screenings and what she does to try and sustain pregnancy.
- How does she feel about pregnancy reduction: This is a good question to ask yourself and discuss with your man. It is proven that carrying multiples increases the risk of health problems for mom and babies. Some doctors don't want a mom to carry more than twins while others will feel comfortable with you carrying many more. Discuss her stance. This is a reality you will have to discuss since many fertility drugs stimulate the creation of multiple follicles.
This morning I was on the phone with my sister-in-law. She was two weeks behind me in pregnancy with her second. Obviously, mine didn't work out. I have a beautiful baby niece now. As we were talking, I could hear my niece making the cutest sounds enjoying cereal, her new found food. It is times like this where it just hits me. The baby I was pregnant with last year would have been 6 months old and in all this time, I am not even pregnant.
So if you are on the fence about going to the fertility doctor, I say what do you have to lose other than months of frustration. While it might be scary to hear there is something wrong with you or sometimes worse, we can't find anything wrong with you, it is important that you have this ally. A fertility doctor is dedicated to getting you and keeping you pregnant, simple as that.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
How it works:
- He collects a sample. Depending on distance from lab, you might be able to collect it at home and bring it in immediately (within one hour). They don't want it getting too cold or too hot. It is recommended you hold it against your body to keep it at the right temperature. The lab might insist he provide a sample in their office. They will give him a private room to "collect" himself.
- Your OB or Fertility Doctor can write the orders for the semen analysis. Otherwise, he can see a urologist.
- He might be asked to abstain for ejaculation for 2 to 5 days prior to the test. His doctor or lab will provide specific restrictions. However, they typically want you to have sex within two weeks of the test to insure the sperm are active.
What it shows:
- The results will show if he has a healthy quantity and quality of sperm.
- Volume of ejaculate (how much semen is present in one ejaculation): 2.0 ml or more
- pH (the acidity or alkalinity of the semen): 7.2-8.0
- Sperm concentration: 20 million per ml spermatozoa or more
- Total sperm count (amount of sperm in 1ml of semen): 40 million per ml spermatozoa per ejaculate or more
- Motility (percentage of sperm that can move forward): 60% or more with forward progression
- Morphology (percentage of sperm that have a normal shape): 30% or more with normal forms
- Vitality: 7 5% or more live,i.e.,excluding dye
- White blood cells (white blood cells normally aren't present in semen): fewer than 1 million per ml
Terms used to discussed results:
- normozoospermia: results are normal
- oligozoospermia: low sperm count
- asthenozoospermia: poor sperm motility
- teratozoospermia: sperm have more morphological defects than usual
- oligoasthenoteratozoospermia: signifies disturbance of all three variables above
- azoospermia: no sperm is semen
- aspermia: absence of semen
Bad results, now what:
- The information from the semen analysis will help your fertility doctor determine the best way to treat. Some situations require surgery, however drug treatments or assisted fertility (IUI, IVF) might just do the trick.
People take different approaches to dealing with this pregnant people everywhere I go phenomena (or what I will refer to as PPEIGP). I personally found handling the PPEIGP was easier for me when people knew my story on my own terms. If I had told them about the miscarriages and surgery, I felt like, okay, it is out there. In these situations I feel mostly at ease.
However, when it isn't on my terms, I want to run and hide under something fertile. Such as last week. I was at my in-laws house for a family get together. I had asked my MIL not to tell the family about my surgery and miscarriages. She forced my hand at telling her sister-in-law. I begrudgingly gave in with the stipulation that her SIL not tell her kids and daughters-in-law. Well it was very obvious everyone knew and no one said anything to me. Awkward. Then my MIL's friend's daughters came in, both pregnant, and the entire focus of the crowd turned to kids and pregnancy. It literally gave me a headache. Everyone was saying how fun for sisters to be pregnant together. Seems my entire family all forgot I was pregnant at the same time as my sister-in-law, 2 weeks apart. This time, I just wanted to bolt.
If you haven't guessed, I am pretty much an opened book. I appreciate that not everyone is the same way. So I would recommend telling people that you feel comfortable with who can help steer conversation in such situations.
For me, it also depends how supportive a friend has been prior to their pregnancy. My best friend has been truly the most supportive friend in the world during my year of drama. She got pregnant her first shot and I don't feel an ounce of jealousy. It is really because I can still say anything to her. I can make comments about everyone in the world getting pregnant on their first shot, how insensitive so-and-so was, and every other thought I should probably keep to myself. She told me within 12 hours of getting her BFP. It wasn't like some dramatic announcement where she was trying to break the news. This I appreciated.
Tips for dealing with PPEIGP:
- Be a hermit in moderation: It is okay to remove yourself from situations that might be upsetting (a girls night in where everyone is pregnant but you) but don't make it a habit. If you just found out your husband has no sperm and you have the eggs of 65 year old, all in the same day, take a breather. Otherwise, don't shut out all your friends because they are happy.
- Think Ahead: Try to remember that you very well could be pregnant next month and then you would feel happy for your friends, so feel happy for them now, and your time will come.
- Enjoy the things you can do and they can't: drink, have caffeine, eat tuna to your heart's content, plan a romantic weekend, sleep in, and enjoy a whole movie without having to take 3 bathroom breaks.
- Stay off Facebook: This one has helped me immensely. People from high school are announcing their second and third pregnancies. Others got married 6 months ago and are already telling 300 of their closest friends that they are expecting. Also, the constant pregnancy symptom updates and polling of other moms for opinions puts me over the edge. One girl posted pictures of herself sitting on a stool in a hospital shower- part of her natural child birth. I am not making this up.
- Fake Fun Till you Make One: When a friend tells you she is pregnant, it probably will sting. Put on a happy face if one doesn't naturally spring forth. Act the way you would want someone to act when you make your announcement. When you have time alone, get upset. Talk to your husband, mom, or your best friend. Is it selfish? Yeah. But is it completely understandable? Of course. And the three people that love you most will get it too. In my experience, moms and best friends understand it much more and I mean much more than husbands.
- If it is too much, say something: If you have a friend that can prattle on about every detail to the point you want to stab her eyes out with an OPK, say something. Just say that you are so happy for her and her husband, but you have been having some trouble and it is a little hard to hear. Obviously you want to be there for her and know all the big milestones, but the daily play by play is a bit too hard to handle. And end with, "I am sure you understand." What can she say to that?
- Awkward is a Two-Way Street: If you have disclosed to your friend that you are having trouble and she has a modicum of social grace, she might feel unsure of what and how much to tell you. You might be fine hearing she and her hubby had a screaming match in Babies R' Us over espresso or white furniture but knowing he is calling the fetus "schmoopie junior" could be a bit much. Have one uncomfortable conversation to avoid 9 months of them. Or just ask specific questions about her pregnancy journey so the information comes on your terms.
- It is Okay to be Sad: You are entitled to be upset. I remember countless times I put on a happy face when hanging out with pregnant friends that had no idea what I was going through. As soon as we got in the car, the sadness would just hit me. My husband didn't get it and thought I was a bad friend. But it wasn't about them. It was about me and things not working out how I had hoped. Take the old dumping standard, "it's not you, it's me" and apply it to the feelings you are having now. In you heart of hearts, you don't really want a friend to be having fertility problems, you just don't want them yourself.
- Keep the faith: Just know your time will come. Even if it means fertility treatments or adoption, you can and will be a mom. It just might take longer than you expected.
While pregnancy is the only known cure for PPEIGP, I am hopeful these tips can help you deal with ever-expanding pregnant population.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Some people fret because they don't create enough EWCM. Those who take clomid might notice their cm dries up or becomes thick, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. TTCers have thought of any and everything to combat such problems. One of the more interesting approaches is cough medicine.
It makes sense to me. When you have chest congestion or a cough, you take cold medicine to break up the congestion, or mucus in your lungs. There is an ingredient in cough medicine that is responsible for this: Guaifenesin. This is an expectorant that thins mucus in the lungs, allowing you to cough it up. The medicine can't distinguish between lung or cervical mucus. It works systemically, so it will affect all mucus membranes, including cervical mucus. This ingredient causes CM to thin out and become more stretchy, allowing sperm better transport through the cervix.
Not all cough medicines are created equal. Per my research, you want the only active ingredient to be Guaifensesin. I can't stress this enough because other ingredients can actually dry up CM. I looked at a ton of Robitussin and Mucinex products and they are not interchangeable. Some cough medicines don't contain Guaifenesin at all. Some have too many active ingredients that can dry up CM. Others don't contain enough Guaifensin. According to the cough medicine wives tale, you need 600 mg of Guaifensin. I could only find Robitussin up to 200mg, while the Mucinex has 600mg per dose (take 2 a day). Also, Robitussin is a syrup and Mucinex is in pill form. I personally would be more inclined to try the Mucinex for this reason alone.
After researching this, the only product I would recommend is Mucinex Expectorant with 600mg of Guaifensesin. I included a link at the bottom of this entry.
From my reading the recommended dosage is to take Mucinex daily for the 5 days before your expected ovulation and stop the day after ovulation. Typical daily doses are 1200mg for the day.
If you have high blood pressure, thyroid issues, or take medicines you think might have a negative interaction, you might want to check with your doctor before trying this approach. In general, it is a good idea to check with your doctor before taking "unnecessary" medicines.
Friday, September 25, 2009
It is said that this tasty fruit contains an enzyme called Bromelain, that breaks up proteins that inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg. Now it is important to note that following this pineapple regime is not exclusively centered on the juicy goodness of the whole pineapple, you also have to eat the pineapple core, which contains a higher concentration of Bromelain.
This tentative theory includes specific instructions of when to eat the pineapple based on the method of conception. Here goes.
- IVF: divide a whole pineapple into 5 portions. Eat a portion a day over five days, beginning on the day of your embryo transfer.
- IUI: divide a whole pineapple into 5 portions. Eat a portion a day over five days, beginning on the day of your IUI.
- Old-fashioned Intercourse: divide a whole pineapple into 5 portions. Eat a portion a day over five days, beginning on the day after ovulation.
Apparently, it is important not to eat pineapple prior to ovulation because it is acidic and can affect your CM.
I couldn't find any scientific studies centered around the pineapple-pregnancy link, but did discover yet other uses of the multi-tasking pineapple. It may induce labor, clean wounds, and tenderize meat.
I am all for non-invasive ways to help TTC but this sounds like an old wives tale. If you swear by the Pineapple Pregnancy Theory or have tried it and alas, the spiky fruit didn't result in a baby, I would love to hear.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Calculation Notes: this is based on where I currently am in my quest for baby. At times, I was using 20 sticks a month for my monitor given my long cycles but now I am basing on 10 since my cycle is short. However, now I will be using progesterone and will be getting multiple blood tests at the doctors, not covered by insurance. Previously I was seeing the Reflexology 2 times a week at $65 a piece, now I see her every 10 days. Also, I am using supplies I had previously bought, but have since found better prices on products (that I have shared on links throughout the site) so in the very unfortunate event that I would need to try again after this cycle, I will have some savings there.
- Prescription Pre-natal vitamins: $10
- Prescription progesterone 20 day supply: $20
- Home Pregnancy Tests (2): $20
- Clearblue Easy Digital Ovulation Kit: $39
- Clearblue Easy Monitor Sticks (10 of 30 used monthly): $14
- B6 Vitamin: $3
- Calcium with vitamin D: $2
- Baby Aspirin: $2
- Reflexology (3 Sessions): $195
- Blood tests at Doctor (haven't seen bill for 3 tests last month so estimate): $100
- TOTAL: $405
This comes out to almost $5,000 a year. I certainly have paid more than that considering my HSGs, MRI, countless blood tests, doctor appointments, costs associated with surgery. This doesn't even take into account costs that I might one day need to pay for IUI, trigger shot drugs, and monitoring. I am so incredibly hopeful it won't come to that.
I never really sat down and thought about the actual dollars it was costing us to try to conceive. We have definitely paid an emotional toll and made concessions in our lives about things we won't do (travel) or for me eat/drink (diet coke with lots of lemons, bad carbs, and anything that could remotely give me a buzz).
Looking at my list of expenses, I am not willing to give anything up. I could forgo the OPKs since I have the monitor, but I like to make sure I know when I am ovulating. I could cut back on the reflexology, but I do feel like it is helping.
The conclusion- I should buy stock in ClearBlue Easy and shield my husband from the reality of what it is costing us to get pregnant. I could just use one HPT a month, but who are we kidding, there isn't a chance in hell I could hold out until 14dpo. I might have to make a trip to a Dollar Tree. I hope there is one within city limits. I guess TTC is good practice for having a kid- they are expensive and what a bonus when I actually am pregnant. We can sock all this money away for the Pottery Barn furniture I have been using to decorate the nursery in my mind for the last two years.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
A conceptionmoon is relaxing, romantic getaway you plan with the hopes of conceiving on the trip. A babymoon is the trip you take once you are pregnant, before the baby comes, as sort of your last hurrah as a couple.
While there is a clear upside to baby and conception moons (fab trip), there are also many detractors.
Babycenter.com did a conceptionmoon survey and reported that 40% of respondents got pregnant on their conceptionmoon. What I find most astounding, and maybe this is because I have an irregular cycle, is how people were able to plan their trip in advance around their ovulation. They found couples typically spent $1700 for the trip, but felt it was worth it after an average of 8 months trying to conceive.
I came across a blogger who was outraged by Babycenter’s study. First, she pointed out that it was sponsored by Clearblue Easy and second, she felt it perpetuated the myth that if you just stop stressing, a baby will be magically implanted in your uterus.
A couple weeks ago, I saw on CNN, that a resort was offering couples who conceive at their resort a free stay the following year.
This post is quite timely for me. In April, when we found out that I lost a second pregnancy, would likely need surgery, and might have to wait up to 6 months to conceive afterwards, we decided to plan a big trip. For the last year, we had put travel plans on hold, because I assumed I would be pregnant and didn’t want to be on a cruise, doing something adventurous, or being too far away from home. When we got this bout of bad news, I told my husband that I needed something to look forward to instead of dreading those 6 months.
We decided to go on a big trip and go all out. We are going to Italy for 10 days in October. We are starting in Florence, then Venice, and ending in Rome. I cannot begin to tell you how excited we are. We figured we wouldn’t be able to take a trip like this for years. We wouldn’t feel right about leaving kids with our parents for 2 weeks and we wouldn’t want to take kids to Europe until they were at least ten and could appreciate it. Even still, it will be a second honeymoon for us.
I have already explicitly told him that I think he should re-propose to be on a gondola in Venice. I keep saying it and saying it and I think he thinks I am joking, but no, I am not. I am that sappy and needy.
Even if conception and baby moons are just the latest ploy from the suffering travel industry, what’s the harm? Worst case scenario, you don’t end up pregnant but have a fantastic trip.
As for my trip, I am looking at it like a babymoon. This will be the last big trip we take before having kids. It would have been great if it coincided with my fertile period, but it won’t. I will find out in Italy if I am pregnant. If I am not, it will be an easier blow to take when I can go wine tasting in Chianti or eat unpasteurized cheese to my stomach’s content. Plus by the time I get home, I will have only one more week to wait to try again. Of course, I would much prefer to come back with a bambino on board.
People swear by it. My friend used it and got pregnant the first time. Personally, I have never tried it. It is particularly helpful for people on clomid. Clomid changes the chemistry of your CM, making it thicker and harder for the sperm to travel.
Customer comments on Amazon are very favorable but some people caution it isn't a magic baby pill. People like that it is easy to use (comes with applicator) and doesn't feel sticky. There are a good number of people that say they got pregnant their first shot using Pre-Seed . One person wrote she had been trying to conceive for 5 years, even tried clomid in vain. She used Pre-Seed and fell pregnant. Another person wrote on drugstore.com that she tried for a year, and then used Pre-Seed and got pregnant. The majority of posters said they got pregnant with Pre-Seed.
In terms of price, I have seen it cost as much as $19.99 however, I found this link for just $16.50. This comes with 6 applicators. So it seems like a month's supply.
Based on the testimonials I have read, if you have been frustrated and are contemplating more invasive steps (clomid, IUI) then this might be an easy, cheap thing to try first. Also, if you tend to not have a good amount of fertile CM, this might be exactly what you need. Based on the testimonials, I am more inclined to use it than before.
Let me know if you have used it and did or didn't have success.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Since my latest round of bad fertility news last week (progesterone levels crashed in luteal phase), I have been in an overly-indulgent, self-pitying, whoa-is-me funk. For the first time, I started questioning if it would ever happen for me. After going through so many obstacles, I felt like I had a clean bill of health and would get pregnant first chance I got. Since clearly this isn't the case, I allowed myself to get negative and let me tell you I was in the weeds.
And then last week, bad things started happening around me. My friend's dad died. My other friend's sister died along with the baby she was carrying who would have been born next month leaving behind two kids. My friend who lost her father has two kids. I realized I would much rather be in the situation I am in than the one she is facing.
Last Friday, I was speaking to my friend and she said that there have been many times where she questioned why is she single when everyone else is married. She thought I am a good person, I do charitable work, and I deserve it. She said she would cry herself to sleep many a night. And then she met her husband and they are perfect for each other.
I, too, have articulated the same thoughts to my husband. I am a good wife, a good daughter, a good friend, I volunteer, I am kind to strangers, so why me? Why can't I have a baby but crack heads and people who are conniving or mean-spirited are blessed with children?
I am just as guilty as anyone to think someone has it made because they have a kid. Just as my insightful friend thought all of her married friends had it made. But there is almost always more to the story. My dad, in an effort to cheer me up said, "Dana, kids are great, but they aren't the end all be all. They require work and patience. It isn't all rosy." I like to think he was talking about my sister (sort of kidding).
But he had a point. It is near to impossible to have a real phone conversation with my friends with kids. They are constantly putting me on hold to scold one of them, to comfort a crying child, or in an alarmingly quick voice say, "I have to call you back", because someone just got hurt. We don't have to worry about getting or paying for a sitter on a weekend, staying out late, or sleeping in. There are benefits to not having kids. Our approach should be to relish this time, because kids will soon be in tow.
This certainly wasn't the path I thought I would be on to motherhood, but it will make me a better, more appreciative mother. It has revealed to me the strength of my relationship with my husband, though I admittedly have driven him nuts. He always tells me we aren't trying to meet a deadline. He is right. I can't stop life to create one.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
As of the day I published this, every single respondent, myself included said, "All for it, but he thinks I am a bit crazy about TTC".
I started thinking why is this? And I realized for the first time that woman are fertile about a day or two a month. Men are fertile every single day. Right off the bat this disparity puts a lot of pressure on the woman. It is easy to jump to conclusions that there is something wrong with you if you aren't pregnant within a couple months. Since fertility is so fleeting each month for women, some of us become militant about having well-timed intercourse. I have seen much advice dispensed about just initiating and not telling him you are in your fertility window.
This doesn't fly for many and definitely not in my relationship. There is about 0 to 2% chance I could actually keep from my husband that I was peaking. And with my luck, if I were playing it all coy, he would be too tired from work and refuse my advances. Then I would have a melt down and we would end up having awkward, perfunctory, baby-making sex. So for me, honesty is the best policy. While we don't want to make our men feel like baby factories, there is a bit of planning required to get the job done right.
I have had friends text me at 1 in the morning filled with ire because their husbands wouldn't man up during their peak and this resentment spills over into their everyday lives.
Another area that causes tension is when getting pregnant is taking longer than you expected. It is easy to blame yourself and I think a lot of woman fear their husbands will blame them. Also, some men are very resistant to getting a sperm analysis or even IUI or IVF because they want to physically deliver the sperm.
Finally, the next area of baby-making tension is financial. The idea of starting a family can be daunting for a man. In addition to another mouth to feed, big decisions need to be made, such as should one of you stay home with the child, day care or nanny, public school or private school, bigger car, college... I could go on and on. This pressure tends to way heavily on the minds of our husbands.
Here are some tips to keep things harmonious while trying to conceive:
- Manage expectations: Have a discussion that TTC can be a long process. Both agree that you will give it a set amount of time before you start getting tested (i.e. 6 months, 1 year, etc) and getting crazy with the whole process.
- Set a game plan: Determine if it came to it, what would you both be comfortable doing. Discuss Clomid, IUI, IVF, Surrogacy, and Adoption. If you both know you are want a biological child more than anything, than you can feel more secure you have science in your corner. If on the other hand, you know both of you prefer to have a child naturally, but if it can't happen, you are both happy to adopt, that can take a lot of pressure off. Are you comfortable with twins? Triplets?
- Don't forget your marriage comes first: When you got married you weren't handed a certificate entitling you to a baby. You married your man because you loved him and enjoyed his company. Don't look at your husband as a means to an end.
- Give him a science lesson: explain to your husband that there is a fertile period and a short window of time each month. Unless you normally have sex every other day, just leaving things up to "what happens happens" isn't going to make the zealous TTCer comfortable. Get commitment upfront that your DH is willing, tired or not, to have sex during your peak times.
- Spare the details: guys don't want to know you have your period, your egg has been released, and you are having cramps. Keep some boundaries.
- Make a budget: look into how much day care/nannies cost in your area. Scope out some furniture you like on the web and talk to friends to see how much preparing for a baby cost. Look at your salaries and see what you can afford (staying home, day care, nanny). If you can show by the numbers that you can afford to have the baby, it might put his mind at ease.
- Laugh with each other: Learn to laugh at how crazy you get about TTC. If you can both laugh at it, it will ease the tension.
- Accept that it is different for you: Even though you both want a child, odds are you want it more than he does. You are willing to do whatever it takes, and he has no problem skipping a month. He isn't going to be mopey for 3 days after you get your period. It is just different. Don't judge him for not caring enough, it is a battle he can't win.
- Enjoy being just a couple: Go on that fabulous vacation you haven't had the chance to take or something more local like dancing or cooking classes together. Go to concerts or fancy dinners, because pretty soon you will be paying a babysitter for a night out on the town and you will fill guilty dropping the kids at your mom's for two weeks so that you can tour Europe.
- Tell him what you need: Guys don't necessarily know how to make it better. If they say, "it'll happen one day" we think they don't care enough and if they say "I can't believe it didn't happen this month" we think they are insensitive and doesn't he know that is only going to make me feel worse. Tell him what will comfort you, "There is no rush, it will happen, we will have our baby". My husband asks me, "does it really matter if we are 50 or 51 when our child goes to college?" That is a good perspective because right now it seems so dire, but when you project the situation 20 years in the future, it doesn't seem like such a big deal.
- Tell your husband what kind of dad he will be: Help him share you vision by telling him what a great dad you think he will be. I picture my husband being a great little league coach. We often fight over which subjects we can help our kids with in school. Though we are both academic nerds, Greg was admittedly a slightly, and I mean slightly better student. As such, he feels he is better equipped to handle history, math, and English. I was relegated art and music. Neither of us want science - our shared least favorite subject.
Now I just need to practice what I preach.
What tips do you have for calming the craziness and keeping the peace while trying to conceive?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Bleeding before you period could be taken as a bad sign (short LP, low progesterone, hormone imbalance) and a dip in temperatures could signify that progesterone is losing its battle with estrogen and your period is on its way.
Perhaps reading into luteal phase spotting or temperature declines helps ease are minds during the TWW.
There is however, scientific evidence that some people do experience implantation signs. Implantation is defined as the fertilized egg attaching to the uterine wall.
Here is the what, why, and when.
- What: A drop in temperatures during your luteal phase
- Why: Progesterone is the predominate hormone in the first part of your luteal phase. It causes your body temperature to go up. During the course of the luteal phase, estrogen kicks back in, causing temps to decline, but if implantation occured, the corpus luteum is rescued, and progesterone is back in charge. This brief balance of power causes the temperature dip. It is typically defined as at least a 0.3 drop in temperature for just one day.
- When: Typically 7-10dpo (this is an average so could be earlier or later).
- What else you need to know: Just because you have a temperature drop during this time frame, does not mean you are pregnant. Charts that have temp dips are more prevalent on charts resulting in pregnancy versus just ovulatory charts. On the flip, just because you do not have a dip, does not mean that you won't be pregnant. According to a study by fertilityfriend.com, the most common days for a temp dip are 7-8dpo and 23% of pregnancy charts had an implantation dip.
Implantation Spotting (AKA implantation bleeding):
- What: Light spotting for a brief period of time during the luteal phase
- Why: A result of the fertilized egg burrowing into the uterine wall
- When: Typically 8 to 12 dpo
- What I need to know: Like luteal phase temperature dips, spotting in the luteal phase does not mean you are pregnant, it is just a pattern more common on pregnancy charts than ovulatory charts. If you don't have implantation, you still have a great shot of being pregnant. Implantation spotting occurs in about 1/3 of pregnancies. Typically it is pinkish or brown in color, although it could look like blood. It is lighter than menstrual bleeding. It generally lasts for one to two days. Often it is mistaken for a period because it occurs close to the time your cycle should start.
I haven't found research about what comes first, implantation spotting or implantation dip. I looked at myriad charts in fertilityfriend.com's chart gallery and what I discovered was often they occured the same day. Implantation dips were more likely to precede implantation bleeding.
Once the fertilized egg implants, it starts creating HCG, the pregnancy hormone that pregnancy tests check for. I have tried in vain to find a definitive answer as to how soon you would get a positive pregnancy test. From what I found, it runs the gamut from 2 days to 1 week. The majority of sites say wait at least 4 to 5 days. The agony of waiting!
I would love to hear if you had implantation spotting, dips, and how long you needed to wait to get a BFP!