Trying Hard Not to Obsess in the TWW


For some reason this cycle’s TWW is really hard.  Maybe they all are challenging and I block out each month how hard they are for me or maybe it is because of it being a 35 day cycle instead of the usual 27 day cycle I’m pretty certain that I was pregnant and it didn’t stick.  Regardless, I feel like this cycle’s TWW is impossibly difficult.

All of the symptoms that I was having continue: extreme exhaustion (I seriously could have slept all day yesterday if I didn’t want to see my husband); really vivid dreams (at least one but more often two a night); being continuously hungry and thirsty (I bought a pink BPA-free, plastic cup with a lid and straw to drink out of – MH wonders why I can’t drink out of a normal glass and come to think of it, I wonder that too); a weirdly stuffy nose.  I have a new “symptom” that I actually suspect could be related: my belly, uterus seems to be stretching.  I feel it more this cycle than others.  It could be gas or it could be cramps but I don’t think so.  It’s stranger than gas or cramps – it’s a feeling that I’m not used to but comes and goes throughout the day and has for the past two or three days.  Oddly enough, I felt it happen a lot during the night last night.

I realize that I could be jinxing myself but I also just feel that my body is different.  It’s like it’s really trying this cycle to make it happen.  And, I know that it can happen.  I have faith that whether it happens naturally or through IVF that we will have a baby in our arms – just hopefully sooner rather than later!

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If you’re here from ICLW, welcome!  If you’re here just by chance, welcome too!  Here’s a brief look into our journey so far.

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Drinking in the TWW


Yes, I told you all the other day that I think that I’m pregnant.  I appreciate your hope and good thoughts too.  But, I also know that I often think that I’m pregnant only for my period to arrive.  After my miscarriage and up until recently, during the two-week wait, I often abstain from drinking alcohol, exercising, eating the foods that I should avoid if I were pregnant, etc.

But lately, I wonder why?  It clearly doesn’t help me get pregnant so why do it?  I’m sacrificing so much and it never gives me the result that I want so I’m saying f’ it.

Don’t judge me but last night I went to dinner with a friend and I had a glass of wine.  I know that I’m clearly in the TWW and I’m having some pregnancy symptoms but I just don’t care anymore.  I don’t want to stop having fun and enjoying myself.  I decided that one glass of wine with a meal is OK.  It won’t hurt anything at this very, very early stage of the game.  If and when I get a BFP, I’ll stop having glasses of wine with dinner and all of the other things….Plus I’ve had friends when I was younger who weren’t TTC and drank for weeks before finding out that they were pregnant.  Their babies turned out fine.

What about you?  Do you drink during the TWW?

Definitely In the Two Week Wait


I’m pretty certain that I ovulated over the weekend.  Thanks to all of you for your comments and recommendations to take the OPKs at least twice a day during the prime fertile times to catch the surge.  I’ll definitely do it next month.

But, in possibly jinxing myself, but this is my blog and my journal, I’m going to say it: I feel pregnant.  I have no true symptoms but I feel like I am pregnant right now – if I am, I hope that it sticks.  My belly has a lot of twinges, I’ve been needing to eat more frequently (small snacks).  I had a dizzy spell when I was sitting down last night.  I’ve been having CRAZY dreams during sleep.  I’ve also been EXTREMELY tired.  I’ve been falling asleep on the couch at 8:30pm almost every night since Sunday and I am having the worst time getting up in the morning.  I feel like I could sleep all day.

I know. I know.  These all could be pregnancy symptoms but they all could not be too.  I’m probably jinxing myself but I’ve learned that I can say that I am and I can say that I’m not and what I say has nothing to do with what the pregnancy test will say at the end of the TWW.

I can’t pinpoint exact ovulation but I think we’ll know by Thanksgiving what is going on with my body.  I’ll be thankful either way for my health and the love and support of all of my friends and family – including all of you, my virtual friends!

Colorado in the winter?


I’ve been doing some thinking…in spite of CCRM having the best stats in the country or at least some of the best, I’m becoming a little hesitant to sign up for CCRM at this time of year.  By the time we start to cycle there, it will be the middle of winter.  That means snow.  And, potentially a lot of it.  I would hate to add the layer of weather to the stress that I will be facing while cycling.  Is it completely ridiculous for me to think about this as a potential reason against CCRM and one more mark in the pro list for Oregon?

So silly but I can’t help but think of ALL of the various reasons even those not fertility related.

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I’m pretty certain that I ovulated over the weekend.  I’ve been getting my post-O crazy dreams.  Last night’s was about a dragon and my mom.  We saw one in the river along a city walk (I think in DC) and my mom thought it was cute so she wanted to get into the water and swim with it.  So ridiculous, huh?!

 

 

Quick check in..


My mom and I are having fun. She took me shopping today for my birthday and christmas. We’re having a lot of fun with Winston too!

As requested, here are some Winston pictures. These show you what he does all day: sleep and play. And I try to slide in some potty training!!

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I still have yet to get pregnancy symptoms. I haven’t tested for two days. MH is bringing home some digital tests tonight for me. I’m convinced that I am having an annovulatory cycle.

Tomorrow is my call with ORM.

Hope you all are doing well. I just haven’t had time to read blogs this week and will catch up soon!

An Idea…


But first…I got another negative HPT this morning and still no sign of my period.  I’m now getting super frustrated.  I’ve never had a cycle this long without getting my period except that one (now a miraculous) time that I was pregnant.  I also have no more pregnancy tests as I only bought a two pack.  So I need to go buy more…I might just wait to see if my period shows up and if it hasn’t by Thursday morning, take another test before my consult with Oregon.

Has anyone had an annovulatory cycle?  Do you know why they happen?  Is it normal?  What should I do?

I ordered a new BB thermometer and it should arrive on Thursday so I can check and see where my temp is if AF hasn’t shown up…

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I do a lot of work in the world of oncology (cancer).  I used to be the director of communications for an international non-profit supporting people with cancer and I currently do PR for various companies and non-profits in the oncology world.  If one is facing a cancer diagnosis, there are organizations and people to help you navigate the challenging decisions that come with a cancer diagnosis – which doctors, which treatment, how to pay for it, etc.

Over the past week or so, as we’ve thought out how we should or shouldn’t move forward with SIRM and looking into Oregon and Colorado, I’ve realized that it would be so much help to have someone who has done all of the research, understands the science and what novel treatments are available, etc.  Someone who will lay out the choose your own adventure path so that I can see what is ahead for me if I choose A, B or C…I want a patient navigator and there isn’t anyone who currently exists.

It might be my next brilliant idea that I put into plan.

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We have decided NOT to move forward with Dr. Sher at this time.  The pressure that I felt just isn’t a good feeling.  I’ve decided to hold out and see what ORM and CCRM have to say and try one of those two first.  I’m leaning towards CCRM and I have the earliest appointment possible with them on Nov. 22 – Dr. Schoolcraft is not available until the end of December so I’m going with one of the other docs – Dr. Gustofson, who looks really young but if he’s on the CCRM team, I’m sure he’s good!

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Gluten-free eating is still happening but keeping a food diary got tiring 😉  Still no hives!

Winston is so freaking cute.  He slept in my lap this morning while I took a conference call.  He’s now napping in the kitchen.  He slept all the way through the night and woke up at 6:15 to go potty.  He’s now completely paper-trained.  I’m so proud!

Either Annovulatory or Pregnant…


I broke down this morning and took a digital pregnancy test.  I figured it’s CD30 and depending on when I ovulated, if I ovulated at all, it is 13 or 14dpo.  This morning after I took care of little Winston’s needs, I POAS and it said “NOT PREGNANT.”  I’m not surprised and also like normal I’m not too upset (yet).  It’s after my period starts that I fall apart…hopefully, it’s just too early to tell.  Also, I POAS with 2nd morning’s urine.  I was up at 4:30am with Winston and wasn’t up for testing at that time.

Of course, I never got a true confirmation of ovulation this cycle so it is very possible that this is my very first annovulatory cycle as far as I’m aware.  How will I know?  What happens in an annovulatory cycle?  How long can they last?

When I got pregnant last year, I didn’t test positive until 15dpo – though I might have tested positive earlier, I just didn’t test on 13 or 14dpo.  So, it is certainly possible that I’m pregnant and it’s just too early to tell.

So, I wait…and see

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Winston is so freaking cute.  We’re realizing that he’s a country dog now in the city and freaked out.  He doesn’t like the noises of the city and has a very hard time eliminating outside – actually even on a newspaper in the house.  He finally went on the paper in the kitchen this morning and we praised the hell out of him.  We have paper towels covering little spots where he went all over our living room.  We’ve decided to confine him the kitchen for the time being until he learns.  I’m also going to get a bell so that I can train him to ring a bell when he needs to go.

If parenting a puppy is anything like parenting an infant, I’ve learned at least two lessons:

1) I woke up at 3am because Winston hadn’t made any noises yet and thus I decided that he was dead.  I decided that “they” would never let us have another dog because we failed Winston and couldn’t even keep him alive for 24 hours.  Finally, in between MH’s snoring, I heard him whimper in his sleep and then was able to fall back asleep.

2) I’m the stricter parent.  MH is definitely the one who will play and let our little one(s) just goof off and not follow rules.  I’m the one who will be the rule enforcer and make sure that he gets housebroken, etc.  It doesn’t help that I’ll be the one to train Winston and clean up after him while MH is at work…

Anyway, I’m super happy to be a Dog Mommy aka “Dommy” – which MH thinks is so dumb. LOL

Join Me In A Fantasy


It’s still dark when I wake up to pee and I stumble around in the bathroom to grab a HPT in the darkness – I can’t bear to turn the light on yet.  I’ve taken so many HPTs that it’s easy for me to pee on a stick (POAS) in the dark.  I finish doing my business and wait in the darkness until I think the time is up.  I stare at the test results – is that a Pregnant?  I think it says it but I turn the light on immediately.  YES!  It says that I’m pregnant.  Tears are running down my cheeks.  I didn’t think that it was true but it is….I walk quickly and quietly into the bedroom and slip back into bed next to MH.  My side of the bed is already chilled even though I was out of bed for less than 10 minutes.  I snuggle up next to MH and I whisper into his ear, “We’re pregnant!”

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This didn’t happen this morning nor did it happen yesterday morning.  It’s my fantasy.  I’ve been hoping, praying, wishing that I’ll get a positive HPT and confirm pregnancy so I don’t have to make a decision about which IVF path to take.

I’m currently on CD29, which is the longest cycle I’ve had except when I was pregnant.  I have no real idea of how many days past ovulation I am – dumb thermometer for failing on me mid-cycle, dumb OPKs for not giving me a REAL confirmed positive.  But I do know that even if I did ovulate late, my period should be arriving at any moment.

But, I’ve had ZERO PMS this cycle.  No sore b.oobs.  No blemishes appearing on my chin.  Nothing.  Except I’m very emotional and moody – like usual (I watched Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed get married on TV and I cried my eyes out, sobbing.  I don’t know them, they don’t know me. I’m crazy!).  I’m also usually fairly constipated during the LP until right before my period.  I’m still constipated, which means it is still at least 12-24 hours until my period shows up.

I’m afraid to test.  I don’t want to see a negative and so I won’t test.

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THANK YOU! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your advice, your thoughts, your ideas.  I was completely overwhelmed two days ago and now I am in a much better place.  We have decided NOT to go with the Sher Institute for now.  I even emailed Dr. Sher and asked him some follow up questions.  We’ve decided to first try clinics with higher success rates – I have an appointment with Oregon Reproductive Medicine on Thursday and I have an inquiry into CCRM to schedule a phone consult.

I didn’t feel good about the pressure that was being put on me to make a decision.  We’ll see what happens….maybe my fantasy will come true – though I realize that it may not.

I love you ladies for being here for me.  I know that we probably will never know each other in real life but if we were to meet, I know that I would hug you close in comfort knowing that the struggle that we have in common is a bond that will tie us together for life.

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In a couple of hours, MH and I will get in our car and pick up the newest member of our family.  Yes, today, we go get Winston!!!  I’ll post another photo of him later this weekend.

Overwhelmed…what would you do?


In spite of the wonderful news that MH and I do not have to contend with alloimmune issues (thank you to everyone who offered me advice and a shoulder to lean on, if we were facing those issues), I’m overwhelmed.

My dad is a physician and is licensed in the U.K. though doesn’t practice only in the U.K. – my parents live in Europe, if you didn’t know (I grew up in the States).  My mom encouraged me to share the test results from Dr. Sher with him and after a lot of wavering I decided to do so.  Granted, he is NOT a fertility specialist but I trust my dad and his knowledge and he has access to A LOT of medical resources including my uncle who is a very well-known and respected OB/GYN in Europe (he delivers celebrities babies…people whose names if I posted them you would recognize but I won’t to maintain my anonymity and respect his privacy) that said, my uncle is just a OB/GYN and NOT a fertility specialist.

On a side note, I’ve tried to keep my dad out of the whole medical piece of our journey because I like to maintain a normal father/daughter relationship with him and not go down the path of the doctor dad and daughter – we’ve done it before and it isn’t fun.  He gets all technical and medical and is less supportive of my feelings and more distant doctor…

Anyway, my dad reviewed our test results and doesn’t see anything wrong with them.  Yes, I have elevated natural killer cells but he says that most people do as that is what helps fight illnesses like cancer – so you want to have them in your body….He believes that the treatments that Dr. Sher is recommending (along with IVF) are not clinically proven and have more potential harm to me and a potential fetus from the side effects than are worth the risk.  He sent me this article that helped explain his rationale: http://www.hfea.gov.uk/fertility-treatment-options-reproductive-immunology.html

Dad said that his recommendation is to go to the fertility specialist who has the highest success rates and not the one with the innovative treatments.  Dr. Sher’s treatments are still in a clinical trial phase (though there don’t appear to be any formal clinical trials that he could find) and have no proven positive outcome (primarily just anecdotal).  He says we should try IVF a few times before going to Dr. Sher – and by then, if we’re still not pregnant, we can do more research on intralipid treatments, etc.

As you might imagine, after reading this article and speaking with my dad, both MH and I are much more hesitant to move forward with Dr. Sher (thinking of him as more of a last resort).  I scheduled a consult with Oregon Reproductive Medicine in Portland for next week.  My mom who has been visiting friends and family around the U.S. for the past month is arriving early next week for a visit with us.  She and I might take a little road trip together to Portland (along with Winston, who MH and I pick up on Saturday!!!!).

I’m also going to give the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine a call (probably today) and see if I can schedule a phone consult with them as soon as possible.

So, I know several of you have gone to SIRM and have had positive experiences as well as good outcomes using Dr. Sher’s methods of treating NKCs.  I respect your experiences and I am definitely not taking his recommendations off of the table.  However, I’m leaning more to saving his recommendations for a last resort.  I think I want to try IVF but try it in either Portland or with CCRM.  The success rate for ORM in Portland for my age range is 50%.  The success rate for CCRM in Denver for my age range is 59%.  Both of those stats are pretty compelling.

To be fair, SIRM-LV, does not report their numbers to SART but they do to the CDC (as required by law).  Their numbers are much lower – I think 27% for my age range.  Granted Dr. Sher may accept more challenging cases…something to consider.  Dr. Sher gave me a 50-60% success rate within two IVF cycles.

I’ve taken all of the Seattle centers completely off the table – the success rates while good are not as high for my age range.  The only reason why we’d choose one in Seattle is for convenience and I think at this point we’re going for making our dream come true instead of convenience.

Oh, did I mention that we need to tell SIRM by Monday at the latest?  They said that they’ll allow me to wait until my period shows up (I said probably by Monday) and that they’ll squeeze me in – which could or could not be true – as the deadline is actually tomorrow to make a decision and put down my deposit.

That’s a lot – clearly I’m processing.  Sorry for the novel!  For those of you who have been there before me, what would you do?  Would you skip straight to what I’m considering our “last resort” – Dr. Sher with the risks that are mentioned in the article and by my dad?  Or, would you try plain old-fashioned IVF at a fertility center with great results?

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Today is CD27.  Historically, I would get my period today.  Tomorrow, CD28, at the latest.  Because my body was so wacky this cycle (no positive OPK, no temp rise followed by broken thermometer), I don’t 100% sure know when or even if I ovulated though I think I did on CD 16 or 17, late for me, I don’t know when to expect my period.

What do you think – will by cycle be longer because I may have ovulated a little later than usual?  I don’t feel my body yet getting ready for it except for my usual extreme moodiness compounded by the stress of trying to make a decision about where to do IVF.  When should I expect it?  I don’t have a HPT at home, so there’s clearly no early testing for me!

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Yesterday was day three gluten-free:

Breakfast: same boring breakfast – I need new breakfast ideas

Lunch: corn and peas heated up, chicken breast, potato chips (I finished the bag so no more chips for me!)

Dinner: pasta (GF brand that was surprisingly very tasty but needed to be cooked longer) with home-made sauce made by me; salad

Snacks: popcorn, peaches

 

Today’s day four gluten-free menu will be something like:

Breakfast: same old, same old – definitely need new breakfast ideas!

Lunch: don’t know – I’ll probably run over to Whole Foods, which is around the corner from our apartment and VERY dangerous 🙂

Dinner: roasted chicken breasts with sauteed spinach and garlic and corn