Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pregnant Dreams

I had a pregnant dream last night- one where everyone BUT me was pregnant. In the dream my fertility clinic was located in the children's clothing section of a department store (because that makes total sense). Upon leaving my appointment, I noticed a girl I had gone to high school with shopping. I did everything I could to avoid her, but she singled me out saying "you must be pregnant!" She pointed to her own belly knowingly, where a pregnant pooch had begun.

Pregnant Prom Queen?

Suddenly, I was circled by girls I had gone to high school with, ALL with huge pregnant bellies. I vividly remember seeing the multiple outie belly buttons outlined against too tight shirts. It was mortifying and suffocating. I was about to burst into tears when....

There they were. Katie Holmes and Suri, browsing the racks. Thinking to myself that Suri was a bit homely in person, I used the distraction as an opportunity to escape.

Thanks ladies! Suri, sorry you were so homely in my dream.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dear Estrogen: Me and My Right Ovary Love You

I had another appointment with Dr. V this afternoon. This morning's blood draw (which was very tolerable- yay!) showed that my estrogen levels jumped from 230 on Friday to 738 today! Those hormones must have been partying all weekend long.

My right ovary is lovin' all that estrogen as well, as seen in today's counts:

Right ovary: 13, 13, 13, 10, 9, 6
Left ovary: 10, 10, 8, 6, 4
Estrogen: 738

My left ovary is apparently feeling lazy this cycle. My theory is that since I normally ovulate from the left side, that ovary is happy to take a break, sit on the sidelines, and let the right side shine. When I said something along those lines to Dr. V he said "maybe the right side will be the one that finally gets you pregnant!" Love that optimism, and I'll take it!

Not so optimistic? Fibroid Franny's fate. As Dr. V's sonogram brushed past her "look at me NOW!" girth, he mumbled "it is really growing against your uterus" (uh, we already determined that...) along with "it is really low and would be hard to reach- have you ever heard of robotic surgery?" Yeah. Not something I really want to be thinking about right now, and hopefully not something we need to consider for MANY, MANY months. Franny: lay off the estrogen. That stuff is meant for my follicles, and we don't need you feeding & festering any further.

The best news of the day? My exponential estrogen jump gets me out of having to do any more blood draws this cycle, since we now know my levels are good!!!

In summary:

Loving the estrogen?
*Me and my right ovary. May she continue to grow fantastically fertile follicles.
*Franny (damn her!)

Not digging the estrogen?
*My lazy left ovary and my boobs, which are starting to slowly but surely get their Gonal-F swell on.

That's about right

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slow and Steady (Wins the Race?)- Injectables Day 8

At my visit with Dr. V on Friday, my follicles made it clear they were in no rush this month. I had hoped with 4 days' spacing between appointments that they'd be farther along, but Dr. V seemed just fine with the pace, as we don't want more than 3 lead follicles taking over at any given time (cue an impatient sigh over here). So much for less total blood draws this cycle!

Here are my current counts with 8 days of Gonal-F injections under my belt (literally):

Right Ovary: 11, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 7, 6, 5
Left Ovary: 11, 8, 7, 6, 6
Estrogen: 230

I can't help but feel like a case study in "Diminishing Marginal Returns." Way back on my first innocent cycle of Clomid, my body had an awesome response and produced 3 good sized follicles. On subsequent months with the same dosages (amazing how quickly I lose track of the numbers- I think I had 3-4 total tries with Clomid, 1 with Femara?) I never again produced more than 1 follicle.

Likewise, on my first cycle of Gonal-F back in November/December, I was on the exact same dosages I am now, but those follies and estrogen levels progressed a whole lot faster. I didn't even finish my 1.5ml pen that round, whereas this month's pen has maybe one more draw in it, and I still have days of injections remaining.

Case in point, these were my counts from day #8 on my last injectables cycle:

Right ovary: 16, 14, 14, 14, 8, 7, 6
Left ovary: 12,11,10, 8, 7
Estrogen: 582

It appears my ovaries are onto us- the gig is up.

And yes, I know it isn't about how fast those follicles grow, rather that 2-3 eventually reach that critical 20mm size. But I still can't help feeling a wee bit disappointed that the troops seem sluggish this round.

I had scheduled an energy clearing session today to remove any residual "muck" from my system toward The Great Release of 2012. About an hour before my appointment I got a call from what sounded like a frog - it was D saying she was sick, had lost her voice, and had to cancel. So now I have to just trust that my system is still open & clear and ready to embrace another pregnancy? Say what?

Patience and trust. Patience and trust. Truly believing this can happen. Trusting in the (oh so SLOW! Why is it so SLOW?) timing of it all.

And the journey continues.....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Injectables, Round 2

Today marks day #6 on this month's injectables cycle. I am experiencing (and remembering from last round) Gonal-F's side effects, to include:

*Feeling extremely short tempered & impatient the first few days on the hormones (which was super awesome last Friday night when BC was also in a bad mood. We opted to cut date night short, lest we end up at each others' throats).

*A substantial appetite increase. Gotta feed those growing follicles!

*Using the restroom a lot more frequently, but sadly, not for, AHEM, regularity. Those follies are pushing on my bladder while also stopping me up (I know, TMI, but at this point, Dear Readers, what else would you expect?)

*Very mild heat flashes

*Great energy levels- than goodness for something positive!

*Migraines. I woke up with one Sunday morning that taunted me throughout the day, and yesterday evening before dinner it came back full force. 

*Bloating: my lower abdomen feels like it is stuffed with grapefruit. I feel so heavy down there, which made yesterday's Pilates class extra challenging, and possibly the last for awhile (9-10 months?!).

I saw Dr. Vaughn for my Follicle Roll Call yesterday, and I am on almost the exact same trajectory as my last injectables cycle. Oddly enough, Trideca-Mom over here again has 13 lead follies jockeying toward The Great Release of 2012!

Day #4 Roll Call:

Right Ovary (in mm): 10,8,7,7,6,6,5
Left Ovary: 11.10,9,7,7,6

I feel ya, buddy

Dr. V thinks we'll likely trigger over the weekend toward IUI's early next week. If there is one thing I do really appreciate about these injectables cycles, it's how quickly they move along. I also appreciate that  Dr. V is spacing out my blood draws/visits every four days instead of 3 (given we now have a bit of history to know how my body responds)- which hopefully will amount to one less blood draw overall. 

The next check in is Friday to find out when The Great Release of 2012 will occur. Go Baby Lambies, go!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Meet Franny

I had an appointment with Dr. Vaughn this morning. You know you are a fertility patient when a month going by without seeing your doctor leads you into withdrawal. I was happy to be back in the saddle again!

During the exam, as Dr. V moved the sonogram wand around, right to left, it was clear that growth was taking place!

Sadly, that growth was my fibroid.

Since it appears she wants to be acknowledged, I shall call her Franny. Franny has been a part of me since my first sonograms with Dr. Vaughn. During my laparoscopic surgery last June, Dr. V had elected NOT to remove her, as she didn't appear to be in a place that would affect fertility. Also, if he had taken her out, I would have had to stay overnight at the hospital and my recovery time would have increased from 3 days to two weeks. Hence Franny stayed.

Maybe out of sympathy that nothin' else is currently growing inside me, she's decided to up her anty. Unfortunately she is growing toward my uterus, and starting to push into its left side. So what does this mean? It means if a wee Lambie baby attached to that section of my uterus, it would be as if there was extremely shallow, nutrient deficient soil there, and that little one wouldn't be able to grow. Of course I asked Dr. V if he thinks that might have been what caused our miscarriage, and he said it was unlikely, but not impossible.

The choices go like this:

1. Leave Franny alone and keep her monitored. Proceed full steam ahead with another round of injectables, and should a pregnancy occur, fingers and toes crossed that the little one implants anywhere but the lower left side of my uterus. Franny could be a bit uncomfortable with a pregnancy, but shouldn't pose any risks to the baby.

2. Remove Franny now. This would entail another laparoscopic surgery, an overnight at the hospital, 2 weeks off work for recovery, and a "100% guarantee" (according to Dr. V) that once I did get pregnant, I'd have to deliver by C-section. This is because part of my uterine lining would be cut with Franny's removal. Dr. V assures me they patch everything up extremely well, and that the lining should hold fine for a pregnancy, but likely couldn't withstand labor.

Given these choices, it isn't hard to see which way I'll go. Tonight begins ROUND TWO OF INJECTABLES! The prayers are going to be off the charts this month, b/c if we don't conceive this round, there is a really good chance Franny will have to come out (especially if she continues growing). I think I may go back to this years' vision board and specify that the words "birth" and "deliver" are meant for a BABY, not a FIBROID. Clarity of intention, people.

Ah, Gonal-F, we meet again. Please be as freakishly friendly & fertile as last month!



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 Vision Board

I created a vision board for the first time ever last year, and it proved to be an unexpectedly fun outlet for me.  I almost never make time in my daily life for arts and crafts, so this is a great opportunity to be purposeful both in accessing my creative talents AND in working to manifest what I want to bring into my life for the coming year.

Last year's board can be seen here. Looking back, the items that pop off the page to me are the $$ signs and the Star Power!, Express Yourself, and Babies! words/phrases.
**$$$: I did have a fantastic 2011 in Real Estate (up from a tough 2010 when Austin finally felt the recession's effects). Check.
**Star Power!: I filmed an episode of HGTV's House Hunters (which should be airing soon- eek!) Check.
**Expressing Yourself:  I worked oh so hard on finding my voice last year, working to become authentic and direct in my speech and release passive aggressive tendencies. Check.
**Babies!: I even squeaked in a December pregnancy at the 12th hour! Check.

I desire much of the same for 2012:
**In the finance department I want to enact more financial freedom, independence, and balance. This may be one of my last full time years in Real Estate before children come, and I want to make it count!
**Star Power? Not needed again on the National level- but I do sincerely hope to be a Rock Star to all the lovely clients I am lucky enough to work with this year.
**Expressing Myself- still a HUGE one for me in 2012. I want to continue to release fear around speaking my voice- fear of authority, fear of conflict -and commit to abandoning any residual passive aggressive tendencies.
**Babies? YES PLEASE. Let's get them to come and stay this year.

Creating my vision board ends up being a week ++ event for me, broken down into several parts.

1. Collect all my US Intellectual Magazines and start cutting out photos & words that catch my fancy
  **I would cut things out between work emails/calls. Cue me to being absolutely mortified one day when my broker called me on FaceTime--running into our living room to take the call, lest he see the mess of magazines scattered over my client files!
2. Purchase poster board & a glue stick
3. Create the first layer of the board- the background
  **I was shocked -yes, SHOCKED- to find myself being drawn almost exclusively to shades of turquoise and blue for the background. I never gravitate toward blue for anything (clothes, decorating, etc) so was curious about this sudden desire. I then had my "AHA" moment when I made the connection that BLUE was the color associated with the throat/5th chakra, which is completely related to expression and finding one's voice. 2012's lesson was loud and clear!
4. Scatter all pictures and images around and arrange them on the board according the the Bagua Map layout.
5. After pictures are in place, scatter all the words around and group them into phrases that speak to 2012's goals.

Here is the evolution in pictures:

 2012- The Year of Blue

 Images emerge

 My oh so helpful assistants thoroughly enjoyed the process

 Those circles near Otis' rear are all 5th chakra symbols

 Organizing words

 Behold! May these visions become reality.

Exhausting work

I do realize this kind of thing isn't for everyone, and how "frou-frou" it can all seem. This was highlighted to me when an acquaintance stopped by the other day to drop off some paperwork. She took one look at the explosion of images/words on the floor and asked what was going on. I took her to view last year's vision board on the wall, to which she noted all the words pertaining to "babies." I then awkwardly word vomited all over this unsuspecting girl, something along the lines of "yeah- we've been trying to get pregnant for a long time and actually did get pregnant last month but sadly miscarried. Hoping to bring those babies back this year!" 

That poor girl could.not.leave.fast.enough. Whoops. At least I was authentic and direct in my communications, right? 

Bring it, 2012!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Kardashians to the Rescue

I had a doozy of a day yesterday.

Admittedly, I woke up frustrated and angry. A last minute canceling of plans the previous day was still stewing with me energetically, and as I made my breakfast, I tried to dissect and release those feelings.

Then I spent the bulk of the day being micro-managed & insulted (unnecessarily, I might add) by an agent I am currently working with. The interactions were so intense that upon an 11am phone conversation with said agent, I got an instant ocular migraine. I just loathe when another person splatters their 'stuff' onto me, and am always disappointed in myself when that 'stuff' seeps in, coloring my entire day with stressful shades of melancholic gray.

I've also been totally out of tune with my cycle this month. When I got my typical signs that ovulation should be 2-3 days out - around cycle days 14-15 - I started taking my OPK tests. They never turned positive. As cd19 and 20 rolled around,  I decided to temp in the morning and discovered I had elevated temperatures. Historically this means ovulation has already occurred- but when? I am wondering if perhaps I didn't ovulate at all this month- and if I did, I totally missed the mark. Not entirely surprised my body is a bit out of whack, due to all the hormones, a pregnancy, AND a miscarriage that happened within a 30 day period last month.

I have been having mild heat flashes again in the past week, and had an intense need (don't laugh) to make chocolate chip cookies 2 nights ago. These were some of the suspicious signs from last month, so of course deep inside I remain hopeful for this cycle. Only time will tell, and now that I have no idea where I am in my cycle, I'll have no idea when to expect AF.

2012 is definitely highlighting the lesson that there is a higher plan & power at work, and that I need to continue to work on releasing CONTROL. And release it with abundant amounts of self-compassion & trust. I've started working on cutting out words & pictures for this year's vision board, and find that I am being drawn to words like "release," "flow," "discover," "allow," "inspire," etc. All words pertaining to softening & opening, being more gentle with myself.

So last night before bed, I ran a sea salt bath with the conscious intention of releasing all negative feelings from the day into those waters. I may or may not have also written the agent's name from earlier that day on a piece of paper with a few added choice words and burned it in a nearby candle (hey, I'm only human). As I fell asleep, I deliberately opened my heart space toward the agent, working on feeling forgiveness & release while requesting that I grow & learn from today's events. What else can you do?

And my subconscious gave me a lovely escape in dreamland: I got to hang out in the Kardashians' mansion, eating delicious foods, laughing, feeling tickled that I was allowed there. A perfect, silly contrast to an otherwise crappy day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Fertility Journey in Books

I was looking through all of the books I've acquired in the last 2 1/2 years of our fertility journey. They definitely speak to the crazy roller-coaster ride we've been on, with all its ups, downs, & unexpected turns. So here they are, presented as a sort of literary auto-biography.

The Optimistic Pre-Conception through First 6 - 8 Months TTC Phase:

                               Because I thought we'd have this luxury!

                                  Learning to chart & observe my cycles

See? So optimistic!

The "Unexplained Infertility" Fear Based Phase- Months 12-24
(These are incredibly embarrassing to buy in person, which is why many were found online and much of my research on this realm happened through TTC forums)

I know, I know- corny. But they have also struggled with infertility, and write about it in a very raw, candid way.

The "I Don't Want to Think About Fertility" Phase, interspersed throughout Months 12- Current:

LOVED this collection of essays by all different moms- helped me get forward thinking toward my life and occupations, and out of my fertility PRE occupations

The Searching/Spiritual Phase: Months 18-Current:

 Love love LOVE this book and actually had a session with it's author before his passing

I am looking forward to a whole NEW pile of books making its way into our home- books pertaining to pregnancy, baby's names, child development, etc. Until then, I have vowed not to pick up any more "Infertility" books, as I am committed to moving beyond the Fear Based Phase.  I'll continue to have about 5-10 different books in my nightstand at any given time- a mix between the "I Don't Want to Think About Fertility" and "Searching/Spiritual" Phase selections.  : )