Friday, September 26, 2008

We Have a Consensus

So far, the logical order for our infertility journey, based on how far we're willing to take things, has looked like this:
1. Clomid
2. Clomid w/ IUI
3. Injectibles w/ IUI
4. IVF
5. Adoption
Currently, we are in phase two of the treatment plan. Unfortunately, #4 is not really an option due to our financial / insurance situation. It is just too damned expensive. Also, to me, donor eggs or sperm seem a little pointless - if genetic material isn't the point, then why not just adopt? Skipping directly from #2 to #5 seems a little premature, but until last night, I have had my reservations regarding #3. This is due mostly to the fact that there is a high risk for high order multiples with option 3.

Wait, let me go back. I am very pro-choice. I feel like all mentally capable people should have the right to make their own decisions when it comes to reproduction. If I have the right to pursue treatment for infertility, any other woman should have the right to pursue treatment for unwanted fertility.

My husband has a different view. He is morally opposed to abortion, and feels it is wrong. He's okay with it in cases of rape, incest, or risk to the mother, but that's it. He especially doesn't like it when it is used by women as a form of afterthought birth control. Although I seriously doubt he would vote to make abortion illegal, he is fairly rigid on the topic. His view differs from mine, but I respect it.

So, back on the topic of injectibles... I am okay with the risk of high order multiples, because I am okay with selective reduction. The risks associated with high order multiples are just too great to ignore. I would not be willing to try injectibles if selective reduction was not an option, which I was afraid that it might not be, because of Brad's views on abortion. I would not do anything that he wasn't okay with, because it's his child, too.

Anyway, last night I finally got up the nerve to ask him about his views on selective reduction, should the need arise. I was afraid to ask, because of what his response might be, but ask I did. We needed to discuss this anyway, just so we could know where we stand. Of course, as usual, my husband never ceases to amaze me. He said that he is okay with selective reduction, because the risks to me and to all of the babies is just too great. Why try to keep six, only to have them all die in NICU when they are born too premature to survive, when you could have made the hard choice early on, and wind up with two healthy babies in the end.

I underestimated him, and he surprised me as always. It just reminds me why I love him so much. Folks, we have a consensus, and along with it a better understanding. I'm a lucky woman.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yep, This Cycle is Thoroughly Messed Up

Today I went back to the RE. They wanted me to come in to check if the two of the larger follicles had done anything. No such luck. The largest one just peetered out, and the next one in line only grew by about 1mm. My lining was still thick. So my doctor wrote me a prescription for Provera to bring on my period, and raised my Clomid dosage up to 150mg. She said to call on CD1, and come in for an ultrasound on CD12, to see how we're doing. Hopefully the higher dosage of Clomid will work.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yet Another Effed Up Cycle

Yesterday I went to see the R.E. I typically have been ovulating around CD 16-17, so when I hadn't gotten a positive OPK by CD 16, they had me come in for an ultrasound, since I managed to miss the surge last month (the doctor thinks I did ovulate last month, since I went on to have a period at the right time, but we didn't do any bloodwork to confirm). They said, "We'll see what we find, and most likely write you a prescription for a trigger shot. You go home, trigger Thursday night, and we do the IUI on Saturday morning." Well we got to doing the ultrasound, and the biggest follicle we can find is only at 12mm and the next biggest is at 8mm. At least one has to be 20mm or more to trigger. In addition, my uterine lining was super thick. With one angle she measured it at 18mm, and with another angle she measured it at 23mm thick. That is way too thick for this point in the cycle, unless I already ovulated really early, before I started doing the OPKs. But the estrogen that is making the lining thick has to be coming from somewhere, and she said that it could be an indication of very early pregnancy. So I went in for labwork to test for hCG and Progesterone. The hCG was zero, like I knew it would be, and the progesterone was 0.6, which indicates that I did not ovulate early. So she said to keep doing the OPKs for another 5 days or so, just to be sure, but that I probably am not going to ovulate this month, especially with that weird super-thick lining. And what's really great is that whether I spontaneously start my period or not (which would mean Provera) the thick lining will likely make for a miserable awful period. If I have to do the Provera, of course it will be worse. It always is. And to top that off, they're going to increase my Clomid dosage next cycle. Toro! indeed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Queen Anne's Lace

So I have cast on for the Queen Anne's Lace shawl. It is a circular knitted shawl that I fell in love with the moment I saw the picture. It is a free pattern available by joining the Yahoo group MMarioKKnits. Here is a picture provided as a sample.

I am using a yarn I got at a yarn swap held by our local weavers and spinners guild. It was originally on a cone, and the label on the inside of the cone had some numbers and the words "Made in Peru." It is a light fingering weight, and it is either llama or alpaca. It's a little scratchy, but not too bad, and should soften up when I wash it. Here is a pic of the yarn after I wound it off the cone. It is comparable in weight to KnitPicks Palette yarn. 
The pattern is fairly straightforward, but it took me like eight tries to cast on, as I wanted to use an invisible cast on. And really, the cast on wasn't that hard, it was getting the eight little stitches distributed to four long pointy needles and knitting the first few rounds without making a tangled mess. I tried and tried, and when I was just about to give in and cry, my knight in shining armor comes to the rescue. The double pointed needles I was trying to use were just too long and unwieldy for me to work with, so my wonderful husband spent hours over a grinder making these:
They are short double pointed knitting needles. To be exact, they are US Size 3, 4.5 inch stainless steel double pointed knitting needles.

Here's a comparison of the length of these vs. standard DPNs. Some of my really nice Skacel stainless DPNs are even longer than the Boyes. They were just too long for what I needed to do. So my wonderful husband got out his stash of stainless wire he keeps for making chainmail, and made me exactly what I needed.

I was able to cast on successfully on the first attempt with the shorties. Hallelujah! Here is a pic after round 6:

And after round 8:

After round 13

And my current progress, at round 32. I have slowly been working up from the size 3s, and now I am on a size 7 circular.
I am making good progress, but I haven't really had a whole lot of time to work on it. It doesn't look like much yet, but it will, eventually.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricanes and Bowling Balls

Today we took our class to the bowling alley for Special Olympics bowling practice. What normally turns out to be a logistical nightmare turned out to be a relatively pleasant trip. My one-on-one student was exceptionally well behaved all day long. She bowled and got a score of 90, which was one of the highest of the day, and about as good as I would have been able to do. It made the morning go by very fast. It was tiring, though.

This afternoon, we had a pep rally because they moved the varsity football game to tonight in preparation for Hurricane Ike. Tomorrow, they are going to release school early. Our campus will release at 12:30, so that the buses can get the students back home safely, as Bastrop is on one of the main evacuation routes for Houston. While I don't like hurricanes, getting out of school early is cool, and we could use at least a little rain. And I should have an easy day of it anyway, because I think Shelley's mom is just going to keep her home tomorrow, rather than send her for half the day. I think a lot of parents will be doing that, instead of having their kids stuck on a long, miserable bus ride in traffic. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Uncontrollable Rage

This is what the clomid makes me feel like. I am the bull. Also hot and cold flashes, and terrible headaches. It is like some crazy Mexican is constantly waving a red cape in my face and yelling, "Toro!"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Of Tunnels and Hope

I've spent the past couple evenings reading the blog of a fellow infertile Texan. I saw her blog listed on Cyclesista, so I stopped by, and her first few posts caught my interest. I like to have the story from the beginning, so I went back and read her archives from the start, and one of her posts really hit home with me. Her blog is the Happy Not-So-Newlywed, and the post I am referring to can be found here.

The following is the exact quotation that has stuck with me since I read it:

"I have to know that if we aren't successful this month, I can brush it off and say "that's ok, because I know what we're doing next month." If there is constantly light at the end of the tunnel then you are never in complete darkness."

To me, that is just beautiful, and it sums up exactly how I get through this whole infertility thing. I may not be able to control everything, but I can do it one step at a time, as long as I know where I'm going in the end.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fertility, Friends & Football

I went to the doctor on Wednesday, and had a baseline ultrasound. No cysts, so I started Clomid last night. The Dr. thinks I did ovulate, and we just managed to miss it somehow. She kept the Clomid dosage at 100mg on days 3-7. She did say that my ovaries have the classic polycystic appearance, though. Big surprise there. So I'm supposed to do the OPKs, and if I haven't gotten a surge by CD17 (I usually don't ovulate until CD16 or 17), then I go in for a trigger shot.

In other news, one of my best friends from high school is pregnant. I found out today through her mother, who is like a second mother to me. Her mom and I work at the same high school, so we see each other frequently. This friend of mine lives about an hour and a half from me, and we only talk once every few months, but I still consider her one of my best friends. I'm kind of hurt that she hasn't called to tell me, especially considering that she is already around 20 weeks along. If I were pregnant, she would be in the top 5 non-family calls I would make. I really hope that the fact that I am dealing with infertility is not what has kept her from calling me. I am excited for her and her hubby, whom I have known since we were kids. It's great news, and my infertility doesn't keep me from being happy for her. Jealous, yes, but it's okay. I'm not too fond of baby showers right now, although I never really was, and pregnant ladies do make me a little jumpy, especially when I see them doing things that are not good for their baby, but that's okay, too. I will probably call her in a little while, and tell her a little birdie told me she has good news.

Tomorrow, I get to take the younger of my two nephews to his PeeWee football game. Here in Texas, we start 'em out young. Jack is 6, and it is his second year playing football. And I'm talking full-contact tackle football, not any of that wussy flag football shit. It involves helmets and pads and cleats, and is so much fun. Hell, there are even little bitty cheerleaders. My older nephew, Cole, is almost 10, and he has a game tomorrow, as well, but his is out of town. My sister is taking him to his game, and Brad and I will be taking Jack to his here at home. This is Cole's fourth year of football. The boys love it. It keeps them in great physical shape, teaches them teamwork, and runs out all their energy. Their behavior is so much better during football season than it is during the off season. During the off season, they just have too much restless energy. This year, there is only one weekend (homecoming) where the two boys have their games at the same location, so Brad and I will be doing football duty quite a bit this season. While I love going to their games, these first few games are hell... literally. It doesn't start to cool off around here until at least October... or later. Tomorrow, we are going to roast. The high is forecasted at 97 degrees, and I think the game is at noon. What fun.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

IUI w/ Clomid #2, Round #2

Sorry I never updated at the end of August. I never ovulated, either. At least not that I could tell. I did the OPKs but never detected a surge. Either I missed the surge somehow, or I didn't ovulate at all, so we of course didn't get to do the IUI. Now September will be IUI w/ Clomid #2, Round #2. Today is Cycle Day 1. Maybe this cycle will go better. I am scheduled for a baseline scan tomorrow at 9:30am. What fun. I'm going to ask the Dr. if she wants to up my Clomid dosage from 100mg to 150mg. Maybe that would produce a stronger response. We'll see what she says.

I will admit, I'm starting to get a little frustrated. Well, I was frustrated about a year and a half ago, but now it's getting bad. I don't have a clue where to go from here. We're going to keep trying with the IUI's for a while, I guess, but where do I draw the line? I already know that I will likely never be able to afford IVF, and I don't have a problem adopting, but at what point do I scrap my plans, and say enough is enough? Because here's the deal: I have always planned on adopting. Ever since I was a small child, adoption was part of the plan. Probably because a lot of the people in my family are adopted, it has always seemed like a normal thing, and like the right thing. I know I am capable of loving any child, whether I spit it out or not. But here's the problem: My plan has always been to have two children, and then to adopt two children. Why is this a problem, you ask? Why not just adopt 4 children? Because I want at least one of them to be a baby. But I will not adopt babies. It goes against everything I believe to wait around to adopt a baby from a private agency, when there are so many older children out there in state care who need homes. Let the babies go to the people who are even more infertile than me. There are older children who have to sleep on cots in the Child Protective Services offices at night because there are not enough homes for older children. So my plan has always been to have two babies of my own, and then to adopt two older children, most likely a sibling group.

So, stopping fertility treatments for me would not only mean giving up on the idea of having a child of my own, although that was never really the issue, since I planned on adopting at some point anyway. Instead it would would mean giving up on the idea of having a baby, since I am not willing to adopt a baby. It would mean giving up the first few years of all my children's lives, and not getting to take part in those formative years at all.

I don't know how long I can keep going with the treatments before I give up on them, or the money runs out, but even if they don't work, nothing will stop me from having kids. But I may still slap the next person who asks me, "Why don't you just adopt?" I plan to, but on my own schedule, and if I choose to try to spit out a couple before I do, that's my business.

Ok, rant over. Enough for now.

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