Tag Archive | infertility

OPKs

As I type this, I am waiting backstage with several other members of the orchestra (while the chorus sings their a cappella part of the program).  I’m trapped here in a small room, listening to three people discover that they all have children around 19 months old.  They’re sharing cute, adorable stories about their precious little kids.  And there is NO ESCAPE.

Anyway, on to the real reason I’m posting.  Do any of you have experience with the Clear Blue Easy Digital OPKs?  I like to consider myself an intelligent person, but I’m continually perplexed by the results I get.  It’s supposed to show me my 4 most fertile days, with 2 “high” days and 2 “peak” days.  But every time I’ve used these tests, I get a big fat “0” for two days and then it jumps straight to “peak.”  

When I pull the test sticks out of the holder, I see a variety of things.  Day 1: one line, blue fuzz on the other side.  Day 2: two lines, no fuzz.  Day 3: back to one line with blue fuzz.  The Clear Blue directions say that you can’t tell anything from the lines on the test sticks.

Since my hormone levels test similarly to pre-menopause, I’ve wondered if the OPKs are just kind of useless for me.  With that in mind, we started the sperm depositing yesterday, which is approximately Cycle Day 9.  Historically I’ve ovulated on Day 12, so starting early should be good, right?

Cycle Day 1: Stinky Cheese is a Pitiful Consolation Prize

It’s Cycle Day 1. Again.

[Actually, I got too busy to finish this post, so it’s Ovulation Day now. But I’ll pretend it’s still Day 1 because in the last 3 years, it has been Perpetually Cycle Day 1, something like the movie Groundhog Day.]

This (9/13) is the first Cycle Day 1 since my miscarriage on August 12th. As usual, my emotions are all jumbled.

Of course I’m terribly disappointed that I’m not pregnant. Every time that first speck of blood shows up, I want to cry. Sometimes I do cry and other times I just stare at it for a really long time. Everyone says “you won’t get pregnant right after a miscarriage.” As if that could possibly make me feel better when I wake up 4 mornings in a row to a BFN. I still had my hopes up because I did ovulate and we did have sex at the right time.

My nickname for Kyle is The Man With The Golden Sperm (which must be sung to the Bond movie song, of course) because the IVF lab measured his sperm as having 100% motility. (The nurse could hardly contain herself when she told us this. The norm is somewhere around 40-50%. Thanks for rubbing it in, nurse.) Suffice it to say, his little guys go straight to their target. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. While I am glad that his superhero sperm make up for my “special needs” eggs, it does make me feel even worse about myself whenever a pregnancy doesn’t happen because I know it’s my fault. My body betrays me and I fail Kyle.

The other day Kyle brought up his worry that maybe my eggs and his sperm are fundamentally incompatible. What a horrible, depressing, frightening thought. And there’s nothing I can do to prove otherwise.

On the positive side of this whole Cycle Day 1 thing, I’m relieved that the countdown to ovulation can start again. Luckily my cycle usually resets itself pretty quickly. How sad is it that I know what my body usually does after a miscarriage? The ovulation predictor kit told me I had an LH surge just 15 days after the miscarriage started last month, only a day later than usual. Good job, ovary! Next time, send that egg out with a sexy dress, a few cocktails and directions to Hotel Uterus.

Yes, I’ll have two more weeks to enjoy eating deli meat and stinky cheese, drinking margaritas, taking allergy meds and pain relievers, and generally not worrying about whether or not I might be pregnant. But those things are pitiful consolation prizes. Stinky cheese can go f*** itself.

With the start of a fresh new cycle comes another wave of anxiety and self-induced pressure to GET PREGNANT THIS TIME. In 10 days I’ll start in with the $60 ovulation predictor kits– what a freaking rip-off! Pregnancy tests are ridiculous, too. You cannot tell me that it costs more than 50 cents to make a pee stick, yet they’re sold in boxes of two for $16?

Another precious egg wasted, washed out with the blood. Sadness. Hopefulness. Ending. Beginning. Panic. Relief. Frustration. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Facilitator, Translator, Defender (Or, The Best R.E. Ever)

A few days after they said they’d donate their DNA to help test our embryos for Fragile X, my parents reneged until my husband Kyle and I could have a conversation with them.

The problem was, I was not emotionally capable of having the kind of conversation I knew they wanted. They’d want to challenge me about whether or not life begins at conception. I was afraid of telling them that I had made peace with the fact that our baby’s life would begin in a Petri dish and we would have to discard our unhealthy embryos. So I wrote a long email explaining why I felt it was OK. I tried to answer my dad’s questions and anticipate any future toughies, too. I spent so much time on it and my logic really seemed air-tight to me.

So when my dad wrote back saying that I hadn’t answered any of his questions, I was confused.

It was right around that time that my parents called my reproductive endocrinologist and grilled her about her religious beliefs. How the hell they managed to get ahold of her during the day like that, I have no idea, because I certainly cannot! But wow, Dr Avery was a champ. She grew up in a serious Catholic family herself so she understood these questions. They asked about her views on abortion; she said that while she personally does not perform them, she believes there are definitely many circumstances that would warrant one. They asked her how she could reconcile IVF with Christianity; she quoted, “Be Fruitful and Multiply.” They expressed exasperation that I wouldn’t talk to them; she explained that infertility is so emotional that sometimes a person just can’t talk about it.

My parents gave their blood samples and cheek swabs the very next day.

Dr. Avery received a very large gift basket from me that same day.

“Well, I can see why you have trouble talking with your dad,” she said. “He’s a pretty intimidating guy!” And she meant it. Dr. Avery: Ass Kicker, intimidated by MY dad?

More like Dr. Avery: Translator from English to God-speak.

The Struggle to Find Support, Part 1: Friends

My friends are the greatest. In the first year or so of this Fragile X journey, they listened to me until I was blue in the face and their ears had fallen off. I found incredible support from my close friends, and so often I would find a kindred spirit in someone who originally wasn’t a close friend.

However, when the same issues stretch on, as they have for almost 3 years now, I feel guilty for burdening them. Childless friends get tired of hearing it. All but one of the women I bonded with over fertility issues have babies now, so now both of us feel badly when we talk about it. Then there are the people who don’t agree with you; those friendships are so tricky to navigate.

So Kyle and I vowed to stop sharing anything except with one couple, both of whom have been supportive of every fertility decision we’ve made. And even with them, we barely talk about it. They are willing to listen but not be nosy or throw a pity party.

It’s been liberating to go about my day without someone calling, texting, or emailing me to ask how many eggs we retrieved, how many days until my pregnancy test, or in my parents’ case, if we’ve tried X, Y, or Z adoption agency instead. At long last, there are long stretches of time when I’m not thrown back into the abyss of our fertility struggles every 5 seconds.

While we did shut out potential support from our friends and family, we also shut out the external pressure and judgement that make this journey even harder.