“Relax, it’ll happen”

So.. that’s stupid advice. I’m all for reducing the stress in life. But trying to say that the reason you’re not pregnant is because you’re too stressed? Bull*$#!.

My data point – of all the months, the one time I have a positive pregnancy test is one of my craziest months. During the week of my IUI and the couple after, I was in crazy interview mode with something like 3 interviews a day!

It’s happening!

So.. apparently it worked! I know this sounds weird, given that I’m going treatments but I actually didn’t expect a positive outcome. I think after several years of counting days and trying to time it, only to start my period or not get it because of PCOS issues, I just.. expected it to take a while and see more negative results.

It took a while to confirm – HCG levels were low at first and had to go back every couple of days to get tested to see if they were rising. Last check, they were at 120 which is definitely pregnant! We’re scheduled for an ultrasound soon to make sure everything is ok. And then I get handed off to OB? How exciting – I’ll be a normal person again!

For now we’re cautiously optimistic. It’s obviously still early but this is further than we’ve come before so regardless of what happens, there’s progress.

I have to say, I’m definitely feeling different. I’ve been feeling on and off bloat-y in my lower abdomen (presumably this is my uterus doing..things?). And I’m taking comfort in the weird feelings – it feels like proof that things are progressing and doing ok.

Funnily enough, this is pretty much the worst timing career-wise for me. All these years we’ve figured that when it happens, it happens and we’ll work it out. So.. we’re working it out. I’m finishing up grad school and hopefully starting a new job in a couple of months. But FMLA benefits definitely don’t kick in until you’ve been there a year. And even short term disability kicks in only at 6 months of working so it’s a bit of a race for me to finish and start somewhere early enough. Have I mentioned how stupid this country’s maternity policies are? Isn’t it better for everyone if there’s time to recover from the birth and time for both parents to develop a bond with the baby? And don’t get me started on the ‘mommy-penalty’ in jobs.

For now we’re taking it a day at a time and seeing what happens. *crossing fingers* for ultrasound.

Maybe baby?

So.. IUI went well. All the blood tests and ultrasounds were normal. Lining thickens up nicely (so no clomid side effects). Procedure was smooth if uncomfortable.

And now I’m back to an inconclusive pregnancy test. HCG levels are higher than normal but not enough to call a pregnancy. So off to doctor I go again in a couple of days…

IUI #2

Obviously (from the title), the first round didn’t work. To be honest, I’m a little relieved – I spent a lot of last cycle sick and as much as I tried to avoid medication, I was still going through a fair amount of tylenol and asthalin. As much as I check with the doctors and tried to minimize consumption — well, I had to breathe.

This cycle is already different from the previous ones. Follicles plumped up much faster and there are two pre-eggs ready to go! *cross fingers*

IUI #1

I really hope the count on this doesn’t go too high.

In the end, it was a rather simple procedure. It’s not even done by the doctor (which surprised me at the time but in retrospect I suppose it makes sense). It’s not exactly comfy but then neither is a PAP smear. The worst was actually the trigger shot. How do single women manage? The instructions on it were so confusing between mixing and changing needles and positioning. I ended up asking a friend who’s a doctor to give it to me (which was really useful). The best is getting instructions to cut out anything strenuous for the next two weeks (this includes yoga and laundry and walking). Walking’s rather extreme but anything that gets me out of housework, I’m all for! Also, no caffeine. I’m not a coffee or tea drinker but ever since being banned, I’ve been craving them like crazy. So weird.

I’m pretty sure I ovulated – I’ve observed my cycle enough now that I can tell. But I suppose its much to early to tell anything else. Doesn’t mean that I’m not antsy and impatient about it!

I think the waiting in this whole process is the most anxiety inducing. I’m in the process of job hunting as well so that’s just more waiting. Can I fast-forward to.. oh, I don’t know, March maybe?

Eggs be growing..

i.e. clomid works. Sometimes I wonder if I ever ovulate normally on my own – I mean, at least half of my periods are non-induced. But no one’s ever told me whether “if you get a period, then you have ovulated” is true while I’m pretty sure the converse is true.

Anyways, lining is good and while there’s only one follicle at a good enough size, one is all it takes. *cross fingers*

Finally starting!

I’m finally starting my first IUI cycle (and second medicated one). Yay! I’m nervous (do we really know how to be parents?) and excited (finally!) all at once. I’m also worried — what if my thyroid numbers could have been better? What if I get gestational diabetes? But I will cross those bridges when I come to it – it’s not like I can do anything else anyways.

I had a few scares about not starting the cycle (because honestly, this whole process seems like one delay after another). My endo wanted to test my sugar levels and it’s borderline. So he wanted me to tell my RE in case they chose to go with metformin rather than clomid+IUI. My RE eventually said, this is fine, let’s go ahead with clomid. And then right after my day 3 blood tests + ultrasound, turns out that I didn’t have insurance approval. Even though I had it two months ago. And I had called (both my clinic and insurance) to explicitly ask. Apparently it expired (which is weird when I didn’t even use it). So I ended up starting clomid a day late but that seems to be a standard protocol too.

I don’t know if it’s the extra hormones or just the general stress but I’ve been feeling more.. raw lately.

For instance, I went to the pharmacy to pick up my meds. They gave me one packet with the clomid and then three more. As far as I knew, I needed only 1 more – the HCG trigger shot. And then had to ask for clarification (the remaining turned out to be the needles and syringes). I asked the pharmacist how to administer them and they were just “well, we don’t know, the doctor usually does it.” So no help there. The instructions also seem non-trivial – there’s a couple of different vials and they have to be mixed and then there are strong admonitions about bubbles. I’m just asking a friend to do it (she’s a doctor). But this is the type of situation where I wished I had more guidance with the day to day stuff. On top of it, the whole way home, I just felt like crying. I mean, I’m glad that I have access and opportunities to medical advancements but oh, I really wish I didn’t need it.

Yesterday threw another curveball – one of our close friends announced their pregnancy. For various reasons, I guess I just didn’t expect it. At least they told us by text first so I had time to compose myself before a skype call. It’s not that I’m not happy for them. But I just couldn’t not cry. I ended up sobbing all the way home. We ended up taking a ‘mental health’ evening – bought takeout and watched a chick flick. It’s just hard to take when for some people things come so easily. Meanwhile, we’re hitting 2 years of trying and no progress.

I think each announcement of our friends breaks my heart just a bit more. For some, I know I’ve become a worse friend. It’s shitty of me but I feel that’s the price I needed to pay to protect myself – by just cutting myself off from certain friends. I had a blowout with my mom a while back when I said that I just don’t want to know anything about my cousins kids. I don’t wish them harm. I just don’t want to know anything – not that they’re expecting, not that they had a girl/boy, not that the kid is walking – nothing.

Some part of me can’t help but think this is karma. So many other things in life came easily to me – I was always a good student and loved learning, I have a good job, I found my life partner so young and frankly, with minimal drama, I have a wonderful family and great friends. Maybe this is my payback for that.

One last end-of-year kick in the pants

That elevated HCG level — mostly a chemical pregnancy. And so I’m sending off a tumultuous year with one last negative. And hopefully, my work and life paths for 2017 are smoother.

It’s seems like such a matter of fact thing – it’s so common that most people don’t even know it’s happening. But some part of my wants to take a little time to cry and mourn. But work beckons and other commitments await.

Still waiting…

I haven’t updated in months. Why? Because there was nothing to update about. The last several months have just been this huge back and forth between my endocrinologist and my RE about the thyroid. My endo is fine with my starting treatments as long as I’m taking synthroid. RE is super particular about TSH levels. And all this was complicated by some really strange results where my TSH levels doubled in two weeks (which I’ve yet to find a convincing explanation for).

Anyways, I finally got the go ahead for treatments (yay!). And wouldn’t you know, thats just when my PCOS kicks in again. I’m now several weeks late but of course before inducing anything, they wanted to run HCG levels. And it was slightly elevated. Not enough to confirm anything but not low enough to rule it out either. So now I’m waiting. Again. (Personally, I think it’s negative. Me being me, I spent the next several days scouring the research on what these HCG levels mean and frankly, it seems to be much too low to be indicative of a pregnancy. Low enough that I don’t even know why they want to retest).

I wish someone would have told me how slow this whole process is. Any of my other friends who’ve gone through infertility seem to have had a relatively easy time – 1 month testing, a couple of cycles of treatment and boom! they’re pregnant. Not to mention my countless friends who just went off birth control and a couple of months later, surprise! But my story has just been.. slow. I’ve been seeing a doctor for more than a year now. And with all that, I have almost no new information at the end of a year (I mean, how many times do I need to get tested for PCOS), and only 1 treated cycle. Anyways, I really do hope that a new year will bring with it new possibilities.

I hate waiting..

I finally had my RE appointment. There’s good and bad news. On the plus side, the only issue is the PCOS (other hormones are normal, including sugar; no physical issues). So at least it’s only one bug to troubleshoot (and the computer science nerd in me comes out).

The bad is that the RE won’t start treatments until my TSH levels come down (normal is <4.5 but for fertility purposes, they aim for <2.5 or so). And while mine is normal, it’s significantly above the 2.5 threshold. Ordinarily, this is a simple case of just taking synthroid for a month or two but since I had a weird reaction, off to the (non-reproductive) endocrinologist I go. And of course, there wasn’t any open appointment so we’re waiting (again) to meet the endocrinologist to then have more thyroid tests and then start meds again. I’m a little worried that this is indicative of a more serious issue but common sense tells me to calm down and that it’s probably nothing.

Still, I have to say, I like this RE. He’s pretty aggressive in treatment – at least compared to my obgyn (understandably). The plan: start with clomid+IUI and then if that doesn’t work after a while, go straight to IVF. Since we already know that I have a good reaction to clomid, chances are that I won’t have to go to the stronger meds to induce ovulation. And I guess IUI adds a few percentage points probability to each cycle (I’ll take what I get). Based on the probabilities he was quoting, there seems to be ~60% chance of getting pregnant with first line treatments. Still, it doesn’t really matter what the chances are if you’re on the wrong side of that probability.

Mostly, I’m trying to take a step back and internalize that a few months delay waiting for the thyroid to stability isn’t really a big deal. It screws up my ideal maternity leave plans but honestly, most of the this country functions without good leave so there’s no reason to think I can’t figure out something. I guess, given all the effort I’m putting into making this baby, I’d rather have the time to spend with the baby once he/she is here.