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Sunday, December 22, 2013

12 Days of TTC Christmas: But No Pressure, Y'all...

"Venture" LOL Grandma
We wanted to share some of the Christmas cards with best wishes on our TTC journey.  But no pressure guys. ;)  In honor of the holidays...

On the twelfth day of Christmas my TTC gave to me- 
12 phlebotomists with the shakes.
11 months of poking (heh) & prodding.
10 Clomid ugly cries.
9 stirrup leg cramps.
8 pics of my ovaries.
7 new fad diets.
6 awkward Google search histories.
5 sketchy OPK bathroom testssssssssss.
4 letter word yelled at a speculum.
3 B-uterus compliments.
2 legs in the air.
And a vial of sperm & a testing stick no one can read.

Monday, December 16, 2013

BFN: Tryin' to Be Positive About Being Negative

So, in all honesty, we couldn't wait to test.  We tested Saturday morning and Sunday morning.  Both were BFN, or to translate, Big Fat Negative.  But we've talked to friends who experienced the same thing and when they took the blood test they were, in fact, positive.  So, aside from the fact I was late (my cycle was late I mean) I was hanging onto that.  The TWW (two week wait) is one of the hardest things to go through.  As we chatted before, It's All Sequins & Legs In the Air: Surviving the Two Week Wait & TWW From a Wife's POV & Why Craft Store Stocks Shot Up.  You kind of go through the stages of grief in a way.

1. Denial and Isolation: For the first few days I treated myself like the "boy in a bubble".  I reduced my workout schedule to just walking and legit got nervous if I hit a bump in my car- "What if that shakes the egg!?!?".  I nested hardcore.  I also immediately cut out alcohol, lunch meats, most seafood, caffeine... it wasn't pretty the first few days.  I skipped a company holiday party that was at the gorgeous Liberty Hotel because a) there was an open bar I couldn't make friends with b) I was leery of being out and about- what if someone's sick?  What if someone bumps me???  #crazy

2. Anger- Why the hell are all of my friends getting pregnant???  And why are all the symptoms of pregnancy the same as the symptoms you get right before you get your period?!!?!  And why did "West Wing" end?

3. Bargaining- I feel like my boobs are getting bigger.  Are they?  Can I ask Meg to compare?  Is that weird?  Should I ask a stranger to compare?

4. Depression- I just got a call (thanks RSC New England for not making a girl wait) and it is negative for pregnancy.

5. Acceptance- I got the call in between a fun-filled packed day of quarterly business presentations with my client which is kind of a blessing in disguise.  It made me put on my big girl pants (even though I'm down 17 pounds- sorry- gotta find a silver lining somewhere) and suck up the couple of tears I felt well up and talk about oral care (it's my job, but it's also a great opportunity for 'that's what she said jokes' and, yes, Meg is still thrilled about this <sarcasm>).  The nurse was very sympathetic and offered the
option to take a break.  My first thought was, "Are you kidding me?!  We gotta keep going."

So, we start over.  Wait for my next cycle to start, take an upped level of Clomid (oh good, let's jack up my emotions over the holidays- sorry everyone), wait for ovulation and do another IUI.  A couple of things I did learn from my chat was that our reproductive center calls shenanigans on daily temping.  This is a method used by many women to help predict patterns in their cycle by taking their BBT (basal body temperature) first thing in the morning.  Spikes and drops are supposed to tell you when certain things are going/did happen.  RSC believes, as do I now after 9 months of doing this, that this isn't reliable.  They feel that OPK testing is best.  I expressed concern that even though I don't have full blown PCOS I do have one particular issue tied to it that I don't ovulate normally.  They offered an option called monitoring which would involve me having blood taken on a regular basis after menstruation ended so that blood work could confirm ovulation instead of relying on an over-the-counter test.  My initial thought is- If we are making sure we are going at this 100% since the start with every test I've gone under, why not ensure the most important part is actually happening?  These will be things that Meg and I will discuss tonight and you know we'll keep you updated here.  Meanwhile, I'm gonna half-ass the rest of this day, go home and get a little sloppy.

Friday, December 13, 2013

TWW From a Wife's POV & Why Craft Store Stocks Shot Up

Posted by Meg:

As I often say to Kate in situations that are not at all about me: “Not to make this all about me, but…”

Now that our first two week wait (TWW) is almost over, I thought I would share what it’s like from the partner’s perspective. Though we’ve been approaching this process and this blog with levity, this stuff
parks and rec, ron swanson
really isn’t that much fun and this post probably won’t be funny. I hope that it will be not be too much of a downer and that other partners of women trying to conceive might find it informative.

During this TTC (trying to conceive) process, and often in our relationship, Kate is the doer and I am the thinker. I will research and buy the chairs, she will put them together. I will research and plan out a trip, she will buy the tickets and book the cab to the airport. In the case of our TTC journey, she has
jlaw, jennifer lawrence
gone through a battery of tests, gotten inseminated and (fingers crossed) will get pregnant and carry our baby. In the meantime, I have done the research. I thoroughly scoped out Kate’s insurance coverage, our sperm bank options, and most importantly, our sperm donor choices. I like having a purpose in this process, because what else can I really do? I can’t endure the tests in Kate’s place, I can’t pee on the ovulation strips day in and day out for her, and sadly I cannot provide her with sperm (darn). What I can do is research.

nervous, that's so raven, raven simoneSo what’s an analytical girl like me to do during the TWW?  There are many, many things to scrutinize (Is a headache a pregnancy symptom? Is she extra sleepy because she’s pregnant or because she’s just...ya know...tired? Was that a twinge? What does a twinge mean?? Etc.), but there’s really not a lot to research. Trying to research the previously mentioned  “symptoms” via the internet will not help. I repeat: WILL NOT HELP. Does that stop us? Of course not. But for the sake of anyone in the TWW there are no definitive symptoms.  None.  You just have to wait.

pinterest, pinterest gone wrong, pinterest failSince Kate is actually feeling each of the symptoms (or lack thereof), it’s impossible for her to stop thinking about it. She tosses and turns at night, she’s distracted at work, she is always thinking about it. This is natural, I suppose. I, on the other hand, physically feel nothing and I am quite sure I am not pregnant. This, and perhaps my A-type personality, make it easier for me to compartmentalize and block out some of the obsessive thoughts/guessing/wondering/anticipating that would otherwise take over my brain. For this coping mechanism I am both grateful and guilt ridden. If she can’t sleep at night, why should I? If she is overcome with worry, shouldn’t I also be hashing out every possible scenario? Kate would surely say no, that it’s a good thing that I can put it out of my mind sometimes, but to me it doesn’t always feel good.

Instead of thinking about it, I try to distract Kate with crafting projects, TV marathons and house-cleaning endeavors (unexpected bonus?), but mostly I just feel completely useless. That’s the thing nobody tells you when your partner is trying to get pregnant (ok, there are lots of things). You will feel useless. You will, in fact, be mostly useless. I can research, I can distract, I can support and love and nurture. But I can’t make the TWW any easier for her. That’s the truth, and it stinks. I’m ever so hopeful that this is our first and last two week wait, but I realize that is unlikely. Wow this post has gotten long. In short, this process is much, much harder for the person actually trying to get pregnant, but it comes with a host of challenges for the partner as well.
hunger games, hunger games salute, three finger salute

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's All Sequins & Legs In the Air: Surviving the Two Week Wait

I now get the things my friends talked about when they were trying to conceive.  I understand how it seemed perfectly rational to "feel" something 24 hours after being inseminated. Medically impossible?  Yes.  But you know what?  So was Michael Jackson's nose and that was a real thing.  You spend a lot of time kind of wanting to do this for the next 2 weeks.

You start to count down each day even though you already know how many days are left.  You try to avoid the internet, but I work
when harry met sally
on the internet all day.  And you swear you feel something that might be a pregnancy symptom. Then you google it and you go down a spiral surrounded by other women online that post things like "10 days past ovulation and I think I feel a kick." Or you're constantly (secretly) testing your boobs for sensitivity, which makes you look like a self-stroking 80s band serenader.  As I write this I'm on calendar day 7 which is the beginning of the window to see implantation, which is the very early stage at which the embryo adheres to the wall of the uterus (sorry male readers, but we're trying to educate on this blog in between gif parties).
pregnancy, baby names
And then you start to get ahead of yourself.

the grinch, jim carrey
In the meantime I just need to keep busy.  I, personally, can't stop crafting.  No.  Seriously.  It's a problem.

when harry met sally, meg ryan, billy crystal
arts and crafts, easy holiday crafts, christmas crafts

Monday, December 2, 2013

My First Insemination: It Only Felt Like a Little Prick

Hey team.  So after seeing our positive ovulation predictor test I called the clinic immediately (Saturday at 7pm).  They are "open" 7 days a week, but over the holiday weekend they had someone (wo)manning the phones that are checked periodically.  We waited and waited and didn't hear back until 10:30 Sunday morning.  Which, in reality, is fine because you have a 24-36 hour window of time to inseminate after getting a positive ovulation test, but in medicated/trying to conceive land you are Whitney Houston/Alice Ripley/Kirk Cameron crazy. You turn into that person that calls a number a billion times with varying emotional messages ranging from 1 to Chris Brown.  And then they call you and you profusely apologize for being the crazy girl in the room.  They scheduled me for insemination Monday (12/2) at 9:30am.  So Meg and I did exactly what one would do before getting sperm injected in you.  I ate sushi (a pregnancy no-no), a hot dog (who knew? not allowed.) and had a gin and tonic.  Then we binge watched "Nurse Jackie" and decorated the Christmas tree.  What can I say?  We go hard or go home.

I woke up this morning feeling like I was about to take an exam and for those that don't know me, I don't test well.  I get all nervous and make horrible jokes and start talking in nonsensical sentences. In other words, I become Fox news.  So anyway, we sat down in the clinic waiting room and waited to be called in.  Eventually a nurse pulled us into a small office and informed us that the first vial of sperm they thawed had a low motility count (below the guarantee from the sperm bank).   I felt a wave of disappointment hit me- are we going to have to do all of this again another month without even trying???  She then said that they could thaw another vial and combine the two for an even stronger shot and we would be able to contact the donor bank for a refund on the low motility one anyway and we could do this in about 30 minutes.
When you have spent a large chunk of your savings on all of this I was delighted to hear about the refund. We'll see how that goes. Perhaps a post for another day?

We went back to an exam room and met our insemination nurse practitioner, Paula, who- first of all- is a DE-light.  Secondly she informed us that she is nicknamed the "Lesbinator" as she always tends to end up doing the inseminations for same sex couples.  Her patients have even made her a superhero sketch.  I CAN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP.  After having Meg write that down and proclaiming, "I'm SO blogging about this!" she had me lay back into the stirrups.  The whole procedure took about 5 minutes and the only tough part is the speculum.  For anyone that is not familiar with a speculum and what it does, it's basically like this but on your lady parts:
And if you're lucky they warm it up first.

After she was all done I hung out for15 minutes with my hips elevated. We ended up talking to the nurse about what types of cheese to avoid while I might be pregnant (and when I am, of course). Now we wait 2 weeks and do a pregnancy test.

Also.  They gave us the (totally cleaned and sanitized) vial that the sperm came in so we could deal with the sperm bank refund. My head started to fill with ideas for a baby book and making it into an ornament...anyway, I threw it into my purse on our way out.  Then, to keep tradition alive, I went to Panera because I "deserved" a grilled cheese and tomato soup.  And guess what I grabbed first when I was reaching for my wallet?  Yup.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

It's Like Dating, But I Don't Have To Fake That I Don't Read

Today we want to celebrate two things.

1. We have had over 10,000 visits to this blog.

2. Our good friend (and Meg's old roommate) Brit came over for taco night. Yeah, yeah, get it out of your system.  

And I decided to do an ovulation predictor test: 

My test came up positive for ovulation and we are set to go in sometime in the next 24 hours for our first insemination.

Don't worry team, there's gonna be a whoooooole other post about that experience.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

That's What the Pilgrims Said?

Legit email we received from California Cryobank, a sperm bank we decided not to use:
Screw it.  I'm going with it.
Happy Turkey Baster Day from our family to yours.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ovulation Testing: You'll Study More Than You Did for the LSAT

Starting on day 3 of my cycle they had me start taking Clomid (what that experience was like):
Kate sees this: sad puppy, puppy, dog
Then she starts to do this:dawson's creek, dawson crying

Then on day 10 (today) they will have me start testing for ovulation.

You can test every 4 hours which means I'm gonna spend a lot of time in the bathroom at work and most likely will become "that girl".

Most tests take 3-5 minutes to show results.  So to anyone entering the stall next to me and leaving before I do, it will appear that we were in a (to quote my cousin) "poop off".  My co-worker said I need a separate pair of nondescript shoes to wear when I go take a test... or I could suspend my feet off the floor.  It'll be great for my abs.

You have to catch it at the right moment AND be able to read the ROYGBIV color spectrum that is the testing strip.  Let me lay it out for you...
reading an opk, ovulation test, ovulation test funny, how to read an ovulation test

You also can't provide too much of a sample as it will null the test.  Or if you get a dud tester you have to wait another 4 hours.

Women have, typically, a 24 hour window for when an egg is released and able to be fertilized.  So you have to test and test as you patiently wait for the quasi-matching lines to appear- sometimes asking complete strangers their opinion while showing them a poorly lit picture you took on your iPhone. (Not me, specifically, but I've heard).  As soon as we get a positive, we'll call the clinic (must be before noon so the sperm can defrost.... I will never be able to defrost chicken the same again) and go in the next morning for insemination.  Not only will we have a short amount of time, but so will the sperm.  Fresh sperm (ew) can live in a woman's body for up to 5 days.  Frozen sperm only has 2 days, max.  I really hope someone reading this right now wins final Jeopardy with the above facts because that would make my damn day.  The one advantage we do get is that we are doing IUI so the donation is placed directly into the uterus (or my Bea-uterus- thank you Brian D. aka future manny) so it "bypasses getting stuck on Storrow and just takes the Pike" (Mass-holes get it).  I can only describe this process as such:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blame It On the Clomid: A Story of Hot Flashes and Weep-fests


I'm totally grateful for how positive my test results have been through this whole process, but this journey is seriously taking forever. BUT I did start day 1 of my cycle, aka I got my period (sorry Dad, gay boyfriends, etc!) on Monday and contacted our fertility clinic for next steps.

They have recorded my new and improved weight (BAM) and confirmed that they did receive the shipment of donor sperm....
friends, gif

...and started me on Clomid, which is a pill prescribed for woman who experience irregular cycles. It's supposed to assist in ovulation by toying with your hormones.  Let me put it in a way that's easy to understand.... Clomid helps get your baby party started by increasing the chances you will ovulate and strengthens your ovulation.  AKA it gets this party started right.  It gets this party started quickly. C+C music Factory anyone?

tina feytina fey

So I have 5 days worth of 50mg of Clomid.  My level of knowledge about Clomid is equivalent to my knowledge of fixing a car.  Both, apparently, come with hot flashes though.  So I Googled it.  Legit research.  Some women said they felt like this:
tina fey, snl

But mostly I expect to feel a constant amplified version of what you felt when you saw these cinematic nuggets that, now as an adult, you feel were completely inappropriate for young kids to see:
lion kingland before time
my girl

And maybe being a little overly sensitive:

So far the only thing I have experienced was during my drive to work today.  I was listening to the holiday station on my radio (shut up- I went shopping at Christmas Tree Shop last weekend and it went down hill from there).  Dean Martin's "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" came on.  So I'm listening and singing along and then about halfway through he starts just riffin' on this song.  So driving through Harvard Square I am yelling at my satellite radio station, "When in hell did we decide Santa has a German accent Dean!?!?  And who the hell are you to change the lyrics to "Rudy the Red Beaked Reindeer" you asshole.  You killed Christmas, Dean Martin.  You killed Christmas."

And then Nat King Cole's "Silent Night" came on and I cried me a (Charles) river.