Saturday, December 29, 2012

CD 4: An Attempt to Uplift

I just read through all of my previous posts.  Talk about depressing.  So, in an attempt to lighten the mood and cheer myself up a bit, I decided to make a top ten list... The Top Ten Reasons Why I'm (Somewhat) Alright with Not Being Pregnant Quite Yet. Ahem...

1) I have more time to spend with my husband as just us, a family of two (or four if you count the fur babies).

2) Unless I go into labor super early, I'll have more time to get my classroom routines up and running next school year before maternity leave begins.

3) I need to lose weight.  Seeing as how I'm not pregnant, I have more time to accomplish this task.

4) We have additional time to save money.

5) Traveling can be much easier when there are no children to worry about.  In case I'm not pregnant by this summer (or not very far along), we'll likely travel some place new and exciting.  Currently the Domincan Republic and Hawaii are on the list.

6) People won't constantly be trying to pat, rub, or poke my belly.  Talk about an invasion of personal space. No thank you.

7) I like my sleep.  Like, a lot.

8) Speaking of sleep, I really like to sleep on my stomach.  Kind of difficult to do when you are pregnant.

9) Alcohol.  Need I say more?

10) I don't have to deal with morning sickness.  Or (more) stretch marks.  Or constipation.  Or any of those other not-so-fun pregnancy symptoms.  Although I would gladly suffer through them every single day of a pregnancy if it meant I'd finally be a mother.

CD 4: Hopeless

Currently, I'm on CD 4, which obviously means yet another failed cycle.  It doesn't matter how many negatives I've seen on pregnancy tests or how many times I've cried myself to sleep after CD 1 or how many times I've begged God to let this be our cycle... I always get my hopes up.  Every time.  I don't know why I do it to myself.  The higher I get my hopes, the further they have to fall before crashing painfully into the ground.  Maybe I'm more of an optimist than I thought?  I don't know.

This time I really, really let my hoping get the best of me.  It was our first treatment cycle.  I was taking 50 mg Clomid, and I had my HSG this cycle before I ovulated.  Everything I read stated chances for pregnancy were heightened in the three cycles post HSG.  My Synthroid had been upped, so that was once again under control.  Not to mention, we had phenomenal timing... which was extra difficult this cycle considering J was out of town, but we made it work, each driving two hours to meet and get the job done.  Definitely not the most romantic moment, but somewhere in the back of mind I was thinking putting in the extra effort would give me the end result I had been diligently praying for over the past year.

Then, of course, I somehow managed to even pay attention to the more superstitious things this cycle.  1) That time J and I had to meet up? Yeah, the date was 12-12-12.  2) We had Chinese at the beginning of the cycle, and my fortune cookie held the most magical words: A long term goal will soon be achieved. That just seems like a cruel joke now. 3) If it was successful, we would possibly be able to know on Christmas.  What an incredible gift that would have been...

Clearly I am beginning to lose my mind.  I'm not normally one of those people who looks for signs that all the stars have aligned.  And even if I was, I know it has no relationship to our likelihood of being pregnant.  But I let myself be hopeful anyway.  Probably more hopeful than I had been on any previous cycle.  Now, I just feel hopeless.

Friday, December 28, 2012

CD 3: Imperfect

Imperfect.  It really describes how I feel about myself at the moment.  Not that I've ever actually thought I was perfect, but with all of my recent infertility related medical revelations, it seems like such a fitting word.  Perfect makes a much better match with the way I envisioned my life looking at this point.  I think everyone imagines potential timelines for significant life events.  At least, I know I did.  You know how it goes... finished with college by age 22, married by age 23, and a baby to call my own by age 25.  Well, at least I met one of those goals.  J and I were married in 2009, when I was 23 years old.  It sounds young, but at that point we had been together for almost 6 years, so it was time.  Just as it feels like it's time now for us to be parents.  I'm almost 27 now and have clearly missed my so called deadline for having our first baby.

Technically, I guess I actually met 2 of the 3 goals, as I finished my undergraduate degree in elementary education in 2004, when I was 22.  Last year at this time I had finalized everything for my enrollment in graduate school to become certified as a reading specialist.  My plan, though quite lofty, was to complete the program in one year's time.  Despite the many, many long hours of reading various articles and chapters in textbooks and writing numerous 20+ page papers (while also teaching full-time at a new school and in a new grade level), I was able to accomplish this task with flying colors, ending up with a 4.0.  Heck, I think I only missed one point on an assignment the entire time.

I couldn't wait for graduate school to be done, because I just knew this feeling of relief would wash over me, gently lifting the heavy burden from my shoulders and freeing me from the stress of its weight.  A funny thing happened, though.  I don't think I ever felt that sense of relief.  Ever since I've finished, it's like I have this incessant need to always be doing something... anything and everything I can think of to fill up the time so that I don't have to think about the imperfections and lack of child inside me or in my arms that now constantly invade my thoughts.  My most recent mind filler has been reading... maybe because when I read the words revealing the stories of the characters, I am able to get so lost in their lives - their problems and devastation - that  I am finally capable of forgetting my own.

Sometimes I wonder why this is so incredibly difficult for me.  So many people suffer because of infertility.  I ask myself all the time why I can't be stronger.  Why can't I move past this? Why does it make me feel so hopeless?  Then it hits me.  Maybe it's because I am a perfectionist, and I'm so used to setting goals and achieving them - even blowing past them at full speed, wondering why I didn't challenge myself more.  But this is different.  It's something I can't control, no matter how hard I try.  I feel as though I'm a passenger being held prisoner on a ship in the middle of the ocean during the most tumultuous storm imaginable, and it's being steered by someone else other than me.  People always say my plans aren't my own, to have faith in God, and it will happen when it's time.  I believe this, I really do.  But in the mean time, while I'm still battling the rain, that belief doesn't make this any easier.  It doesn't make it hurt any less.  Most of all, it doesn't make me feel any less imperfect.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Have a What?!

Having the HSG was not a pleasant experience.  Once I was finally moved into the x-ray room after sitting behind a curtain in the hallway wearing nothing but a hospital gown and a sheet draped around my waist, I was just ready to get it over with and go home.  I laid there on the table, my eyes glued to the screen so that I could get the first glimpse in case anything was wrong.  I watched the dye fill my uterus, and I remember thinking it didn't look quite right. I heard my RE say some medical mumbo jumbo to the x-ray technician, and it was in that moment that I knew for a fact something was wrong.  After the technician left, and as I lay there, shivering more from nervousness than being cold, my RE told me I basically had half of a uterus and one fallopian tube.

Immediately I began to sob.  Of course, I thought the worst.  Half a uterus? One fallopian tube? That can't be a good thing.  I just knew it meant we would never get pregnant.  I thought I was doomed to be childless for the rest of my life, never knowing how it would feel to hold my own child in my arms.  To my surprise, though, my RE assured me that it didn't have an impact on my ability to get pregnant.  Now, four days later, I still can't quite wrap my mind around it.

Do I have two ovaries? One? I really don't know yet, and won't until I have an ultrasound.  Apparently I may also only have one kidney, because the kidneys form at the same time as the uterus during pregnancy.  I remember asking my doctor what exactly this congenital birth defect would mean for me. He explained that it will likely result in two things: 1) early labor by approximately 2-4 weeks and 2) a breech baby.  Both of these are due to the limited amount of space in my uterus.  

I know this diagnosis isn't the worst possible thing that could have happened.  I know there is much worse news I could have heard.  Despite that fact, I still feel crushed.  I feel somehow as though I am less of a woman.  Maybe that's silly, but it's how I feel.  Currently, I am praying that what my RE told me is correct. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Just the Beginning

For as long as I can remember, I have looked forward to having children, and I think working as a teacher and being around kids every day has only further fueled that desire.  Before J and I officially started trying to conceive, I had this fear that I would be one of the unlucky ones - one of the ones who suffered from infertility and would struggle to get pregnant.

In the beginning of our journey, I told myself I was being completely irrational.  I had no real reason to think we would have any trouble getting pregnant, besides my previous diagnosis of hypothyroidism.  That was under control, though,  thanks to a daily dose of Synthroid.

Of course, it seemed as if once we started trying, some switch turned on (or maybe off?), and my cycles decided to get a little bit crazy.  In fact, over the past year, my average cycle length was 42 days, my longest cycle a whopping 55 days long. Luckily, I was able to confirm ovulation through my obsession with OPKs and temping each morning, and we always had great timing.

Excellent timing didn't seem to matter much when cycle after cycle, test after test, was negative.  After a year of trying, my worries suddenly weren't feeling quite so irrational, and I made an appointment with an RE, hopeful that we would figure out what, if anything, was wrong.

My first appointment went great.  They took about a million vials of blood, looked at my charts, and ordered a bunch of other tests - semen analysis, post-coital test, and an HSG.  The blood results were normal, but my Synthroid dosage had to be upped a bit. We are still working on getting the other tests completed, but I did have the HSG test on Friday.

I was hopeful going into it.  I thought more than likely everything would look fine.  At the very least I figured maybe one tube was blocked.  What I learned was probably the most shocking thing I could have ever expected to hear... I only have half a uterus and one fallopian tube, otherwise known as an unicornuate uterus.