Monday, February 20, 2012

One Cyst, Two Cysts, Red Face, Blue Fists

Man oh man am I getting tired of sad days.

I actually did have a "sunnier" day yesterday- figuratively AND literally (the joys of living in Austin!). BC and I had late afternoon queso and margaritas at one of my happy places- Guero's. I was giving myself the weekend to be off my much stricter "no drinking/no caffeine" regime, and Guero's fit the bill perfectly.

It looks like I may have awhile to stay and play on the "now I can drink again" regime.

I saw Dr. Vaughn today with the full intention of wanting to start another injectables cycle tonight (the 3rd time is ALWAYS a charm, right?). My ovaries, however, had a different idea. Not only did I have a big 'ole cyst on my right ovary (the one that worked oh so hard last month- but gave me nada)- but the left side decided to follow suit and also produce her own cyst. Awesome. Two cysts = definitely no injectables for me this cycle. There will be no November baby coming this year, that much is certain.

Unfortunately April's cycle is likely out for us as well, given BC just booked a much needed work trip to Mexico (which of course looks to fall JUST when I'd be fertile. No December babies for us either).

So now what? Possibly another laparoscopic surgery. Like soon. I am having Dr V's office look into the costs to go ahead and get Franny out- figuring if we are out for the count for one, maybe two months anyway, it might not be a bad idea to get this surgery over with. It would be a requirement before being able to consider IVF, so having it done will open up those doors to us. This is also the surgery that will guarantee any future Baby Lamberts will have to be born via cesarean section. Although obviously not ideal, I am OK with that. The only part I genuinely don't like about that option is the whole choosing your baby's birthdate- seems to take some of the magic out of it.

We are renting out our house for Austin's SXSW festival from March 9-20th, and will be staying in a small B&B cottage in Wimberley on 35 acres (with the cats! If they only knew what was coming). Timing wise, this might just be the perfect environment to rest & recover, celebrating Franny's eviction from my body. My plan would be to schedule surgery the week before we left for the cottage, so I'd be in my own bed for the worst of the recovery, and hopefully be somewhat mobile once we got to Wimberley.

This fertility stuff is EXHAUSTING. Maybe it isn't such a bad idea to have a couple months off, though the thought of having to wait months before trying again really bums me out. I am not the most patient person, so 2 months of waiting feels like FOREVER. This is where that "trust" stuff comes in. To persevere, I have to trust that there is a greater plan; that all of these efforts are part of the story we'll someday tell our children. It's so, so hard.

Hoping someday I'll be a yellow fish too

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sunnier Days

I've felt so manic depressive the last few days- mimicking the title of a previous post "On/Off, Hot/Cold, Hi/Lo".

Thursday: Negative pregnancy test = sobbing/blue. It was a sad, sad day. I am continually grateful that I have the ability to 'sleep things off'- meaning that almost always after a blue day, I can trust the next day will be sunnier.

Friday: In an effort to make sure today was sunnier, I declared it a "me day." I didn't have any set work appointments in the morning, so I treated myself to breakfast at a coffee shop, a massage, & some online shopping (I have never been an emotional eater, but emotional shopping? Yes please!).

Friday night was our House Hunters premiere party at Haddingtons- such a BLAST! It was surreal to watch myself on National television. I didn't think my voice sounded at all like it really does, and of course I scrutinized every single camera angle they shot. Overall? Adorable episode! My clients were so cute, and it felt amazing to be in the presence of about 25-30 friends/clients watching together.

 It tickled my heart to know my girlfriends in Wisconsin were having a viewing party, and made me giggle to hear my grandmother had made my aunt call her (sadly deceased) brothers' church, to make sure all the patrons knew Chuck's great-niece would be on TV (I am sure all the church patrons were rushing to their televisions! Ha.) I was so genuinely honored and humbled by the excitement of friends, family, & clients toward the show.

Scenes from the viewing party. 
We had folks cheer for the house they thought my clients would choose- 
and we fooled almost everyone! 

Saturday (this morning): I did NOT sleep well last night. Since I haven't been having any caffeine lately, the Red Bull I treated myself to around 5pm yesterday had me tossing and turning for hours. I started my day with a migraine AND period cramps. Babycakes woke me with kisses, saying that I needed to check my Facebook page because many people were posting sweet things about the show there. I felt elated & excited- still soaring on the high from the night before.

Then BC said he had something else to share with me. He had just seen my cousin announce on FB that she was pregnant, and wanted to tell me before I scrolled through & discovered it myself. Ironically she is due right around when I would have been had we not miscarried in December.

Immediately starting to sob, I felt angry (at no one in particular) about BC's timing in telling me (I had JUST put on mascara! I wanted to luxuriate in the afterglow of the night!) I felt so unstable going in seconds from House Hunters joy to deep grief about this month's failed pregnancy endeavors. I choked out things along the lines of "why does everyone but ME get pregnant? It's so unfair! I will never be pregnant." I was a hot mess- flushing from the niacin I'd taken for the migraine, flushing more from my sobs, all the while feeling the cramps that cruelly announce "HERE COMES YOUR PERIOD- NOT A PREGNANCY!"

I can no longer predict what pregnancy news is going to knock me down, though it seems lately that almost all news (most especially family news) ends up magnifying the fact that we still aren't pregnant, which ultimately leaves me feeling lacking, blue. I was so grateful this afternoon to speak with another cousin of mine, who was able to fill my heart with laughter, love, & hope- even through my sorrow. I love how life brings you exactly what you need when you need it the most.

And I'll just have to trust that tomorrow, again, will be a sunnier one.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The F Post

F the Gonal-F boobs 
F the psychics who all made it sound like a baby would come by years' end next year
F my left ovary for under performing this month
F Diminishing Marginal Returns
F Susan Miller's February forecast which really had me hopeful
F not having cocktails and caffeinated beverages 
F the nightly sweat fests
F all the $$$ spent on acupuncture to "maximize conception"
F Franny & her menacing ways
F not going to Pilates
F all the vitamins I take daily
F my faulty intuition which was giving me a big "YES" to conception this month (though admittedly when I checked in yesterday, I heard a faint "not yet" with the yes. Dammit)
F the daily shots & blood draws that didn't result in anything
F my seeming inability to conceive
F this morning's home pregnancy test which was glaringly negative
F the fertility clinic that still wants me to do bloodwork tomorrow to confirm what I already know

Looks like I'm out this month (at 13dpo a test should show positive). And my overall feeling, obviously, is anger (which always cloaks sorrow- the tears finally started to fall as I wrote this). I am having serious doubts about my own intuition, spirituality, & fertility. 

The thoughts that are soothing me:

*Making reservations for a 5 course wine paired dinner at Wink with BC next week (this was something I'd said I wanted to do all month if we got sad news. Indulge in my favorite food/wine experience).
*Our House Hunters premiere party tomorrow night at Haddington's (I had been hesitant last week about setting this up, knowing how tender this time was, but am SO glad we did- b/c it will be a lovely distraction. And now I can partake in my favorite cocktail- the Corpse Reviver #2)
*Taking myself out to breakfast this morning, where I intend to have a fully caffeinated cappuccino

This sucks. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On/Off, Hot/Cold,"Hi, Lo!"

Babycakes and I had a sweet, low-key Valentine's Day. I put on my birthday Princess dress and we headed downtown for a delicious steak dinner at III Forks. They had a red carpet laid out for arrivals & a live jazz band to set the mood. They even had a photographer taking free photos of couples! Perfect. We took the time to share what we appreciate most about each other, and both agree we feel lucky to have found one another.

Monday my mild hot flashes began. Starting Monday night they were no longer "mild" hot flashes- I'd call them full out sweat fests. The past two nights I have been waking up several times soaking wet - as if I've just run a marathon (and if sweating like that does burn a similar amount of calories, I"m all in!). I'll mop off my neck, kick off the covers, breathe deep, and within minutes be chilly again. On and off, on and off, hot and cold, hot and cold. 

At acupuncture yesterday I asked if they could do points to clear some of that heat? Nope. Apparently they will not do that during this time of my cycle (I was 11dpo) in case I am pregnant. Your body needs that heat to keep cooking the baby.  I sure hope that's what my body is up to!

I also had my first dream last night with a little girl that was clearly our daughter. I knew this because I called her by name (we know what our first daughters' name will be- let's just say it's Lo for "Little One"). Lo was about 1 1/2, 2 years old with brown curly hair. There was a woman with us whom I was asking about my hot flashes- and she indicated those were definitely a sign of pregnancy. I said to Lo "Say Hi, Lo, to the lady." She took out her pacifier and said "Hi, Lo!" It was pretty cute. There was also an odd unspoken understanding that Lo would have a nose piercing at some point in her life (there's got to be something funky in a dream. And if that's true, not until you are at least 18, Lo!)

Such is the stuff of life. Ying/Yang, On/Off, Hot/Cold.... hopefully leading to the ultimate balance that will have us officially saying "Hi, Lo!" to our new child.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nest Much?

Babycakes caught my allergies.

Which obviously means I was mistaken and (luckily) still have not succumbed to Austin's notorious allergies. Rather, it seems I've been suffering from a full fledge, nasty cold. And as I inch bit by bit closer to recovery, BC is sadly just starting the ride- complete with endless sneezes, congestion, & body aches. I feel awful for inflicting this on him- we've been so careful this week about not kissing/etc, but I suppose when you share such tight space with someone contagion is inevitable.

My ability to breathe for the first time in 5 days had me buzzing about with renewed energy. Couple this with the guilt I felt about getting BC sick, and I decided that today I was going to cook chicken soup from scratch! Homemade stock and all! I would heal us from the inside out and eradicate those unwanted germs.

And you should know, Dear Readers, that I am not very adept in the kitchen. So this was a huge undertaking.

To illustrate this point, I bring you a sampling of items googled during the duration of my cooking adventure (which began with research at 10am and finished with soup at 6:30pm):

*Chicken soup with vegetables recipe
*Best chicken soup from scratch
*How to make chicken stock
*Do you leave the gizzards inside the chicken when cooking stock?
*Do people eat chicken gizzards? (apparently they do- eww)
*How to make matzo balls
*What are leeks?
*How to cut and clean a leek
*How to store matzo balls
*What are parsnips?
*What do you do with the chicken after making the stock?
*How do I know when an onion has gone bad?
*How to use a cheesecloth
*Can you wash a cheesecloth?
*How to clean a cheesecloth
*Are colds more common in early pregnancy? (yes yes- not cooking related, but a good snapshot into my ridiculous psyche these days).

I think I did pretty well for my first foray into homemade chicken soup. It did take a long time to prep & make (the stock itself took about 4-5 hours total), but overall it really wasn't that difficult (thank goodness for google and my sister-in-law Julie, who coached me through some of the steps by phone!) I'd give the finished product a solid 7.5/10.

I was also proud of myself for ad-libbing a bit, which isn't my usual style. This manifested in additions of mushrooms, spinach, & matzo balls. I knew from the beginning I didn't want to use pasta, so the matzo balls were a nice compliment in texture and flavor (and I always joke you can't take the "JU" out of "Ju-lene." I've had an interest in and love of Judaism that began in college with a series of Jewish boyfriends- I figured if I married a cute Jewish boy there would be no fighting over whose family we spent Christmas with!)

While the soup cooked away, I started a load of laundry and broke out my new Swiffer Sweeper, finally addressing our dust bunny infestation. I uploaded a new listing to my website, played multiple rounds of "Words With Friends," cleaned out and organized our bathroom drawers, & clipped the cats' nails. I was non-stop!

And I wasn't the only one in nest mode.

Despite his diminishing health, BC completed the first phase of our garden-to-be today! Behold the beauty:

He xeriscaped & tiered that entire side of our yard & hand built the garden boxes. Come spring (which in Austin is only weeks away!), we look forward to actually starting to grow some of our own vegetables. An added bonus? It was lightly snowing in Austin today! Super magical (and unusual), and made the day even more delicious.

It felt so good to be nurturing our home & ourselves today. We were in full nest mode, and are very much hoping to have some little buddies soon to share these kinds of cozy, domestic days with.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Austin's Allergy Forecast & Other Ramblings

Did you know that our city's allergens are so bad that we have a daily allergy forecast?

When I first moved to Austin in 1999, I heard rumors about these notorious allergies. People said that it often took years to develop them, but eventually, most locals would become goners.

I think my time has come.

I woke up yesterday morning with a sore, scratchy throat and was a bit alarmed that I might be getting sick. The rest of the day was spent in a sneezy, snotty haze. Today all of those symptoms have been joined by nasty muscle aches- which found me googling if tylenol was OK to take during the first trimester (I am assuming and acting as though we are pregnant during this two-week wait). Seems "ash" has been high the last couple of days- wondering why that didn't come up during my awesome allergy screening back in October? I doubt that dust mites have suddenly exploded out of control (though there are obscene numbers of dust bunnies in our house right now. My trusty Swifter Sweeper bit the dust and I've been too lazy to replace it).

And in other news- my boobs are totally OUT.OF.CONTROL- again. Gracious. They are needing to be physically held while going up and down stairs, can't have ANY pressure against them (hugs, cats on the lap) and are bursting out of my bras. Admittedly they look awesome, but good Lord. As I did back in December, I am fully attributing this to Gonal-F- yet at the same time remaining hopeful that maybe there are other reasons at play for their blow up. Time will tell.

My acupuncturist confirmed that it was probably best to lay off pilates during this TWW. And because of these allergies, I am avoiding outdoor walks as well. So what's a girl to do at the absence of her regular exercise routines? Here's my plan:

Eat homemade chocolate chip cookies:

 If I can't shrink my behind, might as well add some deliciousness to it

Read through my newest Frou-Frou book additions:

I am fascinated by the whole "we plan our life ahead of time" concept.
  I am hoping the lessons in this fertility struggle are learned and conquered ASAP!!

Ponder the purchase of this Anthropologie dress that I've tried on for two days in a row now:

Can't quite justify it, but dang is it cute!

I have a 2 day real estate class tomorrow and Friday, and would like to officially apologize to all those unlucky folks who will be in the class with me. I shall be a sneezing, snotty mess- but hey! I'm not contagious- it's just those awesome Austin allergies.

Here's to the forecast changing soon- something along the lines of "sunny with a good chance of babies" would be nice. ; )

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Where Did My Flow Go?

And no, I am not talking about AF.

I had my 2nd IUI yesterday- with an additional 58 million little Lambies swimming toward their target (and those follicles had GROWN! Right side had 28, 22, & 19, left had a 15mm). When I remarked to Dr. V that BC's sample wasn't near as high as yesterday's, he said I should follow him around some day to see how many samples never even reach the minimum 10 million they like to see, and that 58 million was still a great number! Noted, Dr. V, noted.

None of my follicles had released as of the appointment yesterday, so Dr. V said if I was curious I could come back Saturday for a "release check" sonogram to see how many had launched. I had the sense it might be wise not to do this, in the event I didn't like the results, but I AM that girl who makes the nurses copy all of my IUI sheets & follicle pictures -intensely curious- so I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity.

Cramping started around noon yesterday. It isn't like the usual AF cramping, but more like strong muscle pulls that make it a bit hard to walk. I took that as a good sign that those follicles were starting The Great Release of 2012!

This morning I headed back to Dr. V's for my release scan. My normal route through town was blocked due to a parade, so I had to circle through a 15 block detour (no green light flow for me today). Dr. V did the sonogram, and when he was done he said it looked like one follicle had released an egg.


I did not go through all these hormones & blood draws to have only ONE egg release. The whole point of injectables cycles are to increase your odds by having hopefully at least two, if not three eggs release. On the last injectables cycle where we got pregnant, it appeared that 3 eggs released. And hence my case study of Diminishing Marginal Returns continues. Blah.

Sitting there feeling a bit depleted, I asked Dr. V if there was any way to up the odds on subsequent cycles of more eggs being released? He said the only way was through IVF, where they had more control over how many fertilized and were then placed for hopeful implantation. And then he handed me an IVF informational booklet.


So basically what I deduced from this mornings events are that we have ONE egg that released (which, by the way, I do by myself every month). If this ONE egg does not get fertilized, the future plans get complicated. Seeing how my body didn't respond as well this injectables cycle, I can only predict it would respond even less well on another cycle. So that leaves us with IVF. And before even considering IVF, a surgery to remove Franny would likely be necessary.

Had I not done the "release check" this morning I would still be feeling so hopeful & optimistic for this cycle (should have listened to my intuition on that one). Now I just feel really sad. BC tried to cheer me up by saying we must have one SUPER egg! And that it only takes ONE to get pregnant! Very sweet of him (and true), but it still couldn't curtail the blue that has seeped in. I am remembering how excessively sensitive these hormones make me, and am just trying to be gentle on myself and allow these feelings to move through & be acknowledged. I trust I'll feel better tomorrow, but for now I'm going to lay low, as it seems evident today is not meant to be in flow.

And in an effort not to leave you Dear Readers on that down note, I bring you "Homebirth" by Ryan Gosling (thanks to Abby & Matthew for their original posts on this! Hilarious):

Thursday, February 2, 2012

In Which I Take Everything As A Sign

Last night I decided to cash in on my frou-frou tendencies and check out my February horoscope at Susan Miller's Astrology Zone (well respected in the metaphysical world).  I was secretly hoping to see something relating to February 17th, or at the very least, fertility. And lookie what I read as part of Scorpio's February 2012 forecast:

With four highly fertile planets in your fifth house of pregnancy and birth, you have the single best month of the year to try for conception or, if you are pregnant (or your partner is) and near term, to welcome a baby into your family.

How's THAT for an awesome dose of optimism!

And this morning, I couldn't help but notice how everything flowed. Typically when I feel life flow like that I take it as being in exactly the right place -the right path- at the right time (this happened in abundance with the purchase of our current home). I suspect the universe knows we are ready for babies (ya think?) so I am taking EVERYTHING as a good sign.

It started with some beautiful scheduling Gods. I've had a dentist appointment booked for a month now that was to take place at 9:45. Dr. V wanted me to come in for my IUI at 10:15, so something had to give. Happily, my dentist was able to push me up to 9:30, Dr. V to 10:30, and thus the flow had begun!

The visit was purely cosmetic. I have two eye teeth that are still babies (never lost them! Hereditary- Mom still has hers as well) and MOODY little suckers. I'd had them capped about 5 years ago but my left side's cap (what is up with the LEFT side lately? Ovary, I'm talking to YOU) has since fallen off, leaving a tiny tooth with a dark notch (see- moody!) at the top. Since I have another set of clients in final auditions for House Hunters, I decided vanity had to prevail and it was time to take care of business.

From Moody (and gross)

To mahvelous, dahling (minus the double chin)

As I left the dentist with half my mouth numb & droopy, I proceeded to cruise through every green light on the way to Dr. V's. One of my all time happy songs came on the radio, one that I love for its ability to always relax me (which isn't always easy in this TTC world). To top it off? President's parking spot at the fertility clinic!

Me and my beautiful tooth could get used to this

In keeping with the flow, BC's troops were A-MAZING today. The clinic likes to see at least 10 million motile sperm for these inseminations- and Babycakes'? 241.6 million motile! That sample rivals the best one we ever had last September. We are on fire.

Tomorrow is our 2nd IUI and ovulation day. May the good flow continue! Susan Miller agrees that this is a great month to bring on the babies, and that's good enough for me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Here We Go- Again!

At my monitoring appointment with Dr. V today, he greeted me by saying "let's see if we have any 16mm follicles!" He is so pumped up about this sloooow and steady growth.

As he moved the sonogram wand around, two things were evident:

*My left ovary continues to be very, very lazy.
*My right ovary is apparently picking up the slack for the left, and seems to have exploded (in a good way) in the past two days!

Today's counts:

Lazy Left Ovary: 12, 10 (Dr. V stopped at that, as it was clear there was nothing to see over there)
Rockin' Right Ovary: 22!!, 19, 17.5, 10

And like a crazy fertility patient proud mother, I had the nurse make a copy of my top two follies' sonograms:

First photo! Aren't they precious? May they become babies who are equally as precious.

Dr. V and I were both shocked by how fast those right follicles had grown in 2 days- to the effect that he asked me if I'd been sneaking extra medicine (I have to admit I'd thought about it; alas, I've been an A+ patient, administering 37.5 iu of my prescribed meds Monday, 75 yesterday). I did feel the need to mention I'd had sweet potatoes to eat last night (in a batch of West African Peanut Soup- YUM!), which, you know, are known for being high in estrogen? This was met by blank stares & a small chuckle. Hey, it's all I could come up with to explain this rocket speed growth (that and my all day every day prayers & visualizations, but I didn't want to freak Dr. V out too much with my frou-frou ways).

So tonight is TRIGGER TIME with good 'ole Ovidrel! We'll have our back to back IUI's tomorrow and Friday. I am grateful we're squeaking them in before the weekend- I suspect my right ovary is crushing on Dr. V and wanting to make sure it is he who assists us this cycle, not some random weekend on-call doc. I'm totally on board with that- thanks, ovary!

February 17th will prove to be a monumental (and hopefully auspicious!) day indeed; not only is it the day my House Hunters episode premieres (link here), but it is also the day I'll do my blood work to see if this month's endeavors were successful and Baby Lambert is on his or her way.

Your prayers & baby dust are welcomed and appreciated... here we go- again!