OK, I have been a very bad blogger as of late. Completely MIA for the past few weeks, nary a peep. I’m sorry but I promise I have good reason for it! Upon returning from my lovely vacation touring around BC a few weeks ago, I checked my work email and found one telling me I would be travelling to New Jersey and Toronto for the following 8 weeks. Starting the week after that. So I’ve been gone from the virtual world because I have been gone from my physical one as well. I’ve been in 3 different provinces and 2 states over the past 3 weeks, spent 40 hours at home and am writing this from the airport as i head back on the road. It has been very long hours and very exhausting but one of the good things I just realized – doing this work stuff has almost completely distracted me from our baby stuff. It’s been nice to immerse myself in something other than cycle days and tracking my temperature. I know this will all change very soon as we have our appointment on Friday to make our final decision about our plan but in the meantime, I will enjoy being exhausted by something other than making a baby!
Well, we don’t *quite* have a plan but we are getting closer! We had our follow-up appointment with our doctor today and got the results from all of our tests. The first result is that – I get to go and do MORE TESTS! Hurray! Well, not really especially since it is bloodwork at 6:40am tomorrow, but it will all be worth it in the end, right?
But onto the more positive stuff. From the ultrasound, the doctor said that she could see 9 follicles on one side and 15 on the other! This is great news! She said that they like to see at least 10, combined, so I think that 24 is pretty good 😉 Other than that, it looks like the biggest factor for us in our infertility is my husband’s anti-sperm antibodies. We got some clarification and the doctor said that 98% of his sperm have them somewhere (head/tail), which is quite high. I know he’s sad about that and is feeling like he’s broken but I’m working to make him realize that we’re in this together and that even if everything ‘works’ it doesn’t guarantee getting pregnant. This is our journey and it’s nobodies fault.
So where does this leave us? We still have to talk about things but I continue to feel like IVF is the way to go for us. Our doctor said that we could go for Clomid and IUI but even then the success rates are low. On top of that, if we did decide to ultimately go for IVF, we would then have to take a couple of months off from the Clomid to really start from scratch, so that would be additional waiting time. I know we’re not out of time but, as our doctor said, IVF is the best chance of getting pregnant quickly and is our best option if we want a larger family. If we were to go with IUI and were successful, our chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby for number 2 would be lower simply due to being older when attempting our second, while if we do IVF and are able to freeze some embryos, they would be my age when they are retrieved.
Ultimately, we still have to talk things out and say 100% what our plan is but I’m seeing IVF in my future (unless we magically get pregnant in the next couple of months). We are very lucky that we have been able to save the money for it, so I feel like we should just go for it and give ourselves the best chances for success. If we go for IVF, we can also go for ICSI (where they put the sperm right into the egg) which gets around the antibody issues.
The next step is talking it out with the hubby, which we have on the docket tonight. We’ll see how that goes 😉 Then, we have the IVF information session on September 3 and our FINAL decision will be made on September 4. If we do get a move on things, we could theoretically be starting treatment in October/November and maybe even pregnant before the end of the year. I know that lots can happen and lots can go wrong but it’s at least fun to dream about it a little bit. I’m feeling excited and encouraged and working to keep thinking not about *if* we will have a family but *when*. Heck, a little positivity is always a good thing.
We have our follow up appointment at the fertility clinic tomorrow. It has been 6 weeks since we had our first appointment; 17 months since we first started trying to conceive; over 10 years since we first started dating. It is funny how time changes. The past 6 weeks have felt so long. The two week waits are always an eternity. And yet the months have flown by. Our time trying; our time together. We are here, at the doorstep of our plan, our appointment. I don’t know what to expect but I am hopeful. And nervous. And scared of the diagnosis and having to keep waiting. I just want a plan, something to hold onto, a way to move forward. I guess we shall see what tomorrow will bring. Wish us luck!
Through this, I’ve read some blogs on how to survive infertility and not get totally consumed by it. I figured that I may as well add another to the blogosphere while we sit and wait to find out the results of our tests. Note: these are the things that have worked for me and while I hope they may bring someone else peace, they may not. We’re all just doing our best, right?
1. Get yourself some knowledge. I am still shocked by how little I actually knew about my body. Understanding how things worked did help me feel like we weren’t just blindly throwing darts at a target. Obviously, this should be done early in the TTC journey but is still a helpful step. I recommend Taking Charge of your Fertility and if you do end up having troubles, The Infertility Cure for an Eastern perspective on things.
2. Get a thermometer. Use it. Throw it away. After getting myself some knowledge, I got myself my thermometer and started religiously tracking my temperature. This was very helpful, for a while. It helped me understand my cycle better and provide more information the the professionals who had been helping me. I tracked it for a few months and then ultimately stopped because I really felt like I was getting obsessive about it and not in a good way. I’m sure that some people can do that and not go crazy about it but I am not one of those people. I started looking for explanations every time my temperature changed or didn’t when it was supposed to. Ultimately, I felt like I had gotten the information that I needed and it was hurting more than it was helping, so I stopped. I always know I can start again but I am liking not having the daily reminder about where I am at in my cycle.
3. The little things. I know, I know, I sound like a broken record. But taking time to look at the little things in life does provide a reminder that there is a life beyond TTC and that it is worth living.
4. Hobbies. A lot of blogs talk about the benefits of having things on the go outside of TTC and I would agree. While I sometimes had moments of feeling like gardening was a waste of time in comparison to being a mom, those hobbies have provided a welcome distraction to just sitting and waiting for things to happen. It gives you things to do, a sense of satisfaction, and other things your mind can focus on while procrastinating at work!
5. Positive self talk. OK this one sometimes feels a bit awkward but it really has helped. So much of this journey is plagued by negative emotions so I have tried to counteract this by forcing myself to think positively. When I see a pregnant woman, I can’t help but feel some jealousy but then I follow those thoughts up with ‘and one day that is going to be me’ or ‘I can’t wait to be in her shoes.’ By making myself say those things when the negative thoughts start to creep in, it gives them less time to take hold and I ultimately spend more time thinking about the positives. It takes some time to get into that habit but then eventually it starts to happen automatically!
6. Talking about it. I am an over sharer so this comes naturally to me and others may not want to do the same but talking to my friends and family really has helped. It means I can talk openly about the tests and appointments I have on the go and will hopefully have set the stage if we do need to go through more involved programs to be able to talk to them about that too. I have also talked to my family about it, which has allowed me to talk to my mom about the struggles she went through in trying to get pregnant. An added benefit is that they don’t bug me about whether we are pregnant yet.
7. Blog about it! Blogging has provided me with a forum to get out those thoughts that had just been rolling around in my head about this stuff and even better, provided a community of support. It has helped me find other blogs that serve as inspirations and is actually another distraction from this all. I find I’m focusing on how to write about things instead of just obsessing about it. Then, after I write about it, I also find I am able to move on better than I had before. And, of course, having people write words of encouragement is pretty awesome too.
8. Feel sad and then fight for happiness. All of us experiences negative emotions at some point on this journey, whether it’s the disappointment of getting your period or experiencing miscarriages, so being sad is unfortunately going to be a part of things. For me, I have tried to really feel it when I’m in it. I let myself cry, be sad, be angry, be disappointed. I wear it like a sweater and just give in to my feelings. But then, at the end of the day, I start to fight for my happiness. It is hard and can be tough to shake that tornado of emotions but I put on my armor and start to gear up to get back to being me. I force myself to look out my window at the beauty in the world; I ride my bike to get the endorphins going; I buy a new pair of shoes to treat myself; I give my husband a big hug to remember our love and how lucky we are. Even though these things may at first feel awkward, I keep forcing myself and fighting to get out of my funk. Although I know I have every right to those negative feelings, I remind myself that they ultimately don’t help and that wallowing in my funk will make it that much easier to make those feelings my permanent address. So I keep fighting and eventually I always manage to pull myself out of it. Fake it till ya make it, am I right?
So these have been my strategies. They have worked (so far) to keep me relatively sane. Any others I should add to my repertoire?
One of the biggest strategies that I’ve used for keeping a positive outlook through all this (well, positive all things considered…) is to really focus on the little things and to see the joy in the world (wow, so cheezy). It is just so easy to be sad, frustrated, and angry so I’ve worked really hard to keep my eye on those things that make me happy. While I still have my down and my really down days, reminding myself of how good life can be and how awesome things are ultimately helps to pull me out of my funks and keep me feeling good. So, I’ve decided to start blogging on the things that I think are AWESOME out there! Kinda like the Book of Awesome but my own personal version. Here’s a start!
1. Getting out of work early on a Friday. Extra hours to do NOTHING! Or hang on a patio. Or check on my garden. Or make an awesome meal for my hubby. Or take a nap. Really, it feels like endless possibilities. It also makes Monday seem extra far away.
2. Pet friends. They are kooky, and weird, and scratch my couches, and sometimes leave hairballs, but pet friends are just so awesome. They add life to my home, they provide companionship, they have their strange little personalities. Less awesome – sleeping right next to my face.
3. My king-sized bed. I don’t sleep well, never have, so anything that helps with my quality of sleep is awesome. Between my really tall hubby and my 2 awesome pet friends, I found that I wasn’t left with a lot of room left to roll around and sleep on my stomach with my knee up to my ear. Cue king-sized bed. I vow to never go back to anything less. Seriously – go out and buy one. Like right now. I’ll be here when you get back…
4. Summer storms. Living in Calgary means that we are treated to some wicked crazy weather and one of my faves are the summer storms we get. It will be bright and sunny one minute and then you will turn around to a sky full of blackness that looks like it came from Mordor. And then ridiculous hail will sometimes rain down on us. And huge fork lightning. I am lucky to have a great view from my house and one of my favourite things to do is just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. I love it.
5. Vacation! Because who doesn’t love a break from the everyday; a chance to relax; moments to reconnect and rejuvinate; and just generally not having to wake up super early to commute to work.
And speaking of vacation, I’m outta here! I’m headed on a road trip through BC to enjoy the great outdoors. Have a great week everyone!
Perspective can sometimes come from unexpected places and at unexpected times. I got together with a friend the other day and was provided with a healthy dose of perspective. You see, she is pregnant with number 2. Normally, that would make me feel a pang of jealousy, but not this time. It turns out that she is having some pretty serious marital problems. As in, probably would’ve left him if she hadn’t gotten pregnant. As in, went to counselling and it never really went anywhere. She’s not quite using the ‘D’ word but definitely sounds like she is getting really close to that. And now, here she is, pregnant with number 2 and feeling pretty stuck; feeling like she doesn’t have a choice but to stay.
In hearing my friend talk about the challenges she is facing, I couldn’t help but feel lucky, which is a welcome change to the ‘feeling sorry for myself’ that I had been doing for much of the past year. I felt lucky because even though my hubby and I are facing a tough situation, at least we are in it together and (generally) not fighting at each other. We are facing this head on and helping each other through it. It reminded me that even though it took us 9 long years to actually get married, I found the right guy and that we really are a great team. Being with him has made the past year that much easier because he has been my rock when I’ve been sad and I’ve tried to do the same for him.
So with that perspective, I continue to look forward. I look forward to what is in store for us and am optimistic that our path will start to lead in a different direction, away from all this infertility business… And I know that I am lucky that we will be on this path together, facing the bumps and dead ends together.
It’s Friday (which is good!) but I feel like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed…. Uggghhhh…. I feel like I’m fixin’ for a fight and that’s never a pleasant mindset to be in. Already got chippy with the hubby over what we’re having for dinner, although in all fairness we are headed on vacation tomorrow and I want to use things in the fridge! That makes sense, right? Luckily, I have no meetings at work and my office-mate is even working from home so hopefully I can sit in my windowless box and procrastinate the day away. Pinterest, anyone?
Honestly, I’m guessing this is just PMS, which also sucks because it means another month of not pregnant. Although we have gotten into the fertility clinic and have started that journey, I’m still hopeful that we can make things happen on our own (and potentially save ourselves a crapload of money). So now I’m not pregnant and in a shitty mood! Hurray!
Maybe it’s time for a frappucino to make things all better…