Commence TWW

Hey guys, I updated my IUI #3 on my menu, with all the details and drama of the last 2 weeks (with updated drama and stats from insemination day). I have to go back and edit to include all the drugs and supps I’m taking–including the prednisone–aka prednisolone if you wanna act British (or if you are actually British). Yes, Dr. Angel kindly obliged my request for more drugs. He really melted my heart when he suggested to begin Heparin after a positive pregnancy test–love this guy–now that’s one less thing I need to badger him about (I hate badgering people). I believe (I choose to believe) that I ovulated within a few hours of my IUI yesterday, and it was confirmed (via dildocam) that I did ovulate within the 24 hours post-insemination. And today I will begin progesterone suppositories. And now I wait.

I’m a “pro” at taking corticosteroids. I’ll take a moment to explain how they work in case any of you were wondering. First off, people confuse corticosteroids with anabolic steroids–they are TOTALLY different. Corticosteroids (most commonly prednisone) stimulate your adrenal glands to secrete cortisol and adrenaline. This, in turn, suppresses your immune system. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone”–it is secreted when you are stressed–which explains why you are more likely to become sick (like, with a cold) during times when you’ve been under a lot of stress for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, while cortisol is prodigious at quieting your immune system (and suppressing inflammation) it has a host of sh*tty side effects that you’ll notice if you take it over a period of time. One is that you feel *stressed* (cortisol) and another is that you feel *anxious* (adrenaline–your ‘fight or flight’ response hormone). Also, you probably know (from Dr. Oz or from some commercial) that cortisol causes you to retain fat in your midsection–this is a fact. Corticosteroids actually do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what anabolic steroids do–corticosteroids screw you over ROYALLY because they preferentially break down your muscle and use it as energy, rather than using your fat. And if that wasn’t bad enough, corticosteroids encourage your body to store any carbs or fat that you eat as bodyfat (especially on your stomach), rather than using them for energy. You all know that eating protein builds muscle, right? And we’ve established that corticosteroids ‘eat’ your muscle and store any carbs and fat you eat (conveniently) in your midsection, right? So then, it’s imperative that you eat A LOT of protein and as little carbs and fat as possible when you are on corticosteroids long-term. Currently I’m only taking 10mg, which is not much, but when I’ve had to take 40mg a day for extended periods (months), I couldn’t afford to eat poorly because of the consequences.

Anabolic steroids are the kind that bodybuilders use to add muscle and cut fat. Your doctor will never prescribe you anabolic steroids (well, incredibly rarely). So, if any of you have a reason to take corticosteroids, now you’ll understand that they WON’T make you bulky like a bodybuilder, and in fact, they will waste your muscle and add fat to your midsection with a quickness if you don’t eat properly (high protein, low carbs/fats). Corticosteroids also make your face puffy (it’s called ‘moon face’) and I get that even on 10mg. But I don’t care if I have ‘moon face’ in Myrtle’s wedding pictures, if it means I’m pregnant at her wedding. And, I am careful to take my prednisone in the morning, so that I can take advantage of the adrenaline and have a nice burst of energy to start my day and the cortisol doesn’t affect me too much. DO NOT take corticosteroids at night if you can possibly avoid it, because you won’t be able to sleep and may find yourself rocking back-and-forth and crying on the couch all by yourself at 4am (why yes, that has happened to me, MANY times). Don’t know if y’all wanted to know any of this stuff, but I just felt like sharing it. XO

Hail Mary, Full of Grace…

I’m practically grinding my teeth right now. I don’t know what possessed me, but I decided that I needed to look for scholarly articles about “pregnancy outcomes in women with positive anti-nuclear antibodies”, because ever since my first miscarriage I’ve felt that everything traces back to my fickle (auto)immune system and I cannot stand the thought that I would have to fail another IUI or have another miscarriage before anyone will treat my issue–the treatment is corticosteroids, which are immunosuppressant drugs, and docs do not prescribe them lightly, however, due to my autoimmune issues I’ve taken boatloads of steroids so I’m not your average girl.

Let me back up to say, that I tested negative for anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA’s) in November of 2012. But I tested HIGH POSITIVE with a ratio of 1:160 post-miscarriage in February 2013 (just over a year later), and I had elevated liver enzymes (which is related). A couple months post-miscarriage my ANA’s fell to 1:80, which is still positive (and really, once you’re positive, having a lower number doesn’t mean much). Then, I went on to have a ‘chemical pregnancy’ (early miscarriage). I am 100% sure that my immune system “picked off” my first pregnancy–the evidence points to it–but I can’t prove it because my (former) stupid OB didn’t have me “test the products of conception”. Since the chemical pregnancy I have been ttc for 6 months and 5 of those cycles have been medicated–3 of them are IUI’s with injectables (though this third one doesn’t count yet because I’m in the middle of it now). It’s quite suspicious that I haven’t conceived by now, in my opinion, given our heroic efforts and the fact that we conceived twice naturally. What I’m pointing at is this: antibodies get ‘smarter’ and ‘faster’ each time they are exposed to a “pathogen”–you know, like when you build up immunity by being exposed, like chicken pox, and each time you’re exposed your immunity grows stronger. Well, I believe that my anti-nuclear antibodies are getting more keen to my pregnancies, and “picking them off” before they can even implant. It explains my pattern.

And guys, I just can’t bear the thought of losing another pregnancy–another baby. I can’t bear the thought that I might fail IUI #3 and waste more time and have to pay for MORE expensive tests at an RE’s office and be shoved toward IVF, when I could simply take 10mg of prednisolone and baby aspirin (I’d prefer Levonox as a prophylactic, but the baby aspirin should work with ANA’s). It simply drives me mad to think there’s something else to be done that isn’t being done.

And I really feel like my angels (particularly my Mom) were gently pushing me to look for scholarly articles on pubmed today, so that I can show them to Dr. Angel and make a case for the prednisolone. I hesitantly suggested it a week ago, and he said he’d consult with his RE, but he hasn’t had a chance. Plus, this RE doesn’t know me so even if he’s aware of the connection between implantation failure, miscarriage, and positive ANA’s…he may tell Dr. Angel it’s not a necessity. But what I’m seeing is that it most certainly IS a necessity. I’m going to post the abstracts from the articles I looked at. And I want you to tell me what you would do if you were me? Would you move heaven and earth to make sure you had the damn steroids? Cuz I feel prepared to do that. In fact, I think I’ve said it before: there’s nothing I WON’T do to have a baby. There’s nothing I WON’T do to protect my baby…from myself. And really, 10mg of prednisolone is child’s play compared to the Remicade I was on, so what’s the harm? I can’t keep doing this. I PRAY Dr. Angel looks at these abstracts and agrees to give me prednisolone. I really feel like this might be the magic ingredient for me and I feel like I have everything to gain and nothing to lose by taking it. I didn’t properly cite these (like, for you aspiring professors out there).

So, here’s the abstracts if you’re interested–this first one even suggests that my poor ovarian response may be linked with having ANA’s:

Immunol Invest. 2012;41(5):458-68. doi: 10.3109/08820139.2012.660266. Epub  2012 Mar 19.

Antinuclear antibodies predicts a poor IVF-ET outcome: impaired egg and embryo development and reduced pregnancy rate.

Abstract

To investigate the impact of anti-nuclear antibodies (ANAs) on the outcome of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET), 66 (96 cycles) infertile women positive for anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA+ group), and 233(285 cycles) infertile women negative for ANAs (ANA- group) were enrolled. The clinical characteristics and IVF outcome were compared between the two groups. In the ANA+ group, the proportion of MII oocytes and two-pronuclear zygotes (2PN), cleavage rate, number of available embryos and proportion of available embryos, number of high-quality embryos and proportion of high-quality embryos were significantly lower than those in the ANA- group. In addition, the pregnancy rate and implantation rate in patients positive for ANA was markedly lower than the ANA- patients (28.1% vs 46.4%, 15% vs 25.7%, respectively). Thus, our findings suggest that the presence of ANAs significantly interfere with the oocyte and embryo development, as well as reduce implantation and pregnancy rate in patients undergoing IVF treatment.

J Reprod Med. 2005 Jun;50(6):383-8.

Results of prednisolone given to improve the outcome of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer in women with antinuclear antibodies.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the association of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) with outcome of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) as well as the effect of short-term immunosuppression with prednisolone on implantation, clinical pregnancy and live birth rates following IVF-ET.

STUDY DESIGN:

The study group consisted of 120 women, 22-42 years old, in whom IVF-ET was performed and whose ANA could be measured. Prednisolone (15-60 mg/d for 5 days) was administered starting 1 day after oocyte retrieval to some women with or without ANA, without randomization. The 223 IVF-ET cycles were divided into prednisolone-nontreated ANA-negative cycles, prednisolone-treated ANA-negative cycles, prednisolone-nontreated ANA-positive cycles and prednisolone-treated ANA-positive cycles. Retrospective analysis of rates of implantation, clinical pregnancy, and live birth were evaluated in the four groups.

RESULTS:

Overall, ANA positivity was noted in 20.0% of subjects (24/120) and 25.1% of cycles (56/223). Implantation and clinical pregnancy rates in the prednisolone-nontreated ANA-positive group were 0% (0/41 transplanted embryos) and 0% (0/15 cycles), significantly lower than in the other groups. The live birth rate in this group was significantly lower than in the prednisolone-nontreated ANA-negative group and non-significantly tended to be lower than in the other 2

CONCLUSION:

Implantation, clinical pregnancy and live birth rates following IVF-ET were low when ANA was detected. Implantation and clinical pregnancy rates were improved significantly by prednisolone, but the live birth rate was not.

Fertil Steril. 1998 Dec;70(6):1044-8.

Prednisolone plus low-dose aspirin improves the implantation rate in women with autoimmune conditions who are undergoing in vitro fertilization.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the effect of prednisolone plus low-dose aspirin (PSL/LDA) in women with autoimmune conditions who were enrolled in an IVF-ET program.

DESIGN:

A retrospective clinical study.

SETTING:

In vitro fertilization unit, Niigata University Hospital, Niigata, Japan.

PATIENT(S):

Three hundred seven women who underwent IVF-ET between January 1996 and December 1997.

INTERVENTION(S):

Prednisolone (10 mg/d) and aspirin (81 mg/d) were administered to the women with autoantibodies who chose to participate.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Pregnancy and implantation rates with IVF-ET.

RESULT(S):

Women undergoing IVF who had positive antinuclear antibodies, with or without antiphospholipid antibodies, had significantly lower pregnancy and implantation rates than did women without autoantibodies (14.8% versus 21.7% and 6.8% versus 10.4%, respectively). The administration of PSL/LDA to women with antinuclear antibodies significantly improved the outcome of IVF-ET (40.6% pregnancy rate and 20.3% implantation rate).

CONCLUSION(S):

A high proportion of women who are undergoing IVF-ET have autoantibodies, which are associated with poor IVF outcomes. The administration of PSL/LDA to these women may improve their implantation rate.

 

 

More Rain Before The Rainbow…

pink ribbon

Uh, hey guys…I, uh, well…*looking down, hands behind back, kicking dirt*

Fuck it.

My Mom was diagnosed with terminal Breast Cancer that had metastasized to her lungs at age 55 in 2006, and she passed away at age 59 in 2009. And now her Mom, my Maternal Grandmother, has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer this week at age 83.

I HATE CANCER. I FUCKING HATE CANCER. ESPECIALLY BREAST CANCER.

Both my Mother and Grandmother were cigarette smokers and both diagnosed after age 50, but Dr. Angel still thinks I should be tested for the BRCA gene. Regardless of the presence of the BRCA gene, I am still at higher risk of Breast Cancer given my family history.

But that is really far from my mind right now. My Grandma is my last living grandparent. We have a close relationship. She still lives with my Dad and helps my sister run our family daycare. Grandma and I stuck together during my Mom’s illness–I didn’t talk to my Dad for 2 years, though I have since forgiven him and seen a change in him that lets me know that he has been exorcised of his demons and won’t do me any more harm in his lifetime. My sister is a different story…we have a volatile relationship and she is bittersweet…sentimental one moment and heartless the next…probably the most fickle human being I’ve ever known. My Grandma stood by me during my Mother’s illness, while my Dad and Sister picked me apart as their grief manifested as rage. Grandma and I went to church and prayed for those assh*les to wisen up and stop being miserable and vomiting their misery onto everyone else. I really believe that praying for them to gain wisdom and compassion has manifested change in both of them, but I still don’t trust my sister–I’ve been screwed over too many times.

I wept to the social worker during my Mom’s illness. I was having a complete mental breakdown because I had had this vision of my family coming together and supporting each other and lifting my Mom up in her time of need…and what happened was a Jerry Springer episode gone horribly wrong. I was treated as an outsider, as I had been living in Hawaii for several years, and ultimately I became the target of all my Dad’s and my Sister’s anguish. The social worker said that terminal illness causes one of two outcomes in families: it either brings them together or tears them apart. And there’s nothing I could do, except try to support my Mom–and they made it VERY hard for me to do that. I had put all this behind me and moved on to have healthier relationships with my Dad and Sister, but I’m having PTSD now…my Grandma is going to die the same way as my Mother did in our family home…I can’t help but harken back to those dark days…and after 2013 has beaten me to a pulp with marriage difficulties, chronic illness + health crisis, 2 miscarriages, Infertility…I’m afraid that I don’t have the strength to endure going 10 rounds with my family if they decide to regress and act the way they did during my Mom’s illness…I’m literally sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

I am very active with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and I fundraise for a memorial team in my Mother’s memory. It’s cathartic for me, to feel that in some way I am fighting this disease that will ultimately claim the two most important women in my life. And when somebody asks me what they can do, all I can say is “fight for a cure“.

In other news, I’m currently in the midst of IUI #2. But I know you’ll forgive me if I don’t feel like talking about it. In fact, I don’t feel like talking at all. I love you guys, and I’ll be keeping up with you, but if I post and comment less consistently it’s not because I don’t care. It’s because I care too much. XO

**Edit**I’d like to add that I’m relieved to have my Mr. MLACS at home with me as of yesterday–I didn’t have him when I went through this ordeal with my Mom and he is a great source of comfort and stability for me. I’m still hopeful that I will be able to introduce my Grandma to our rainbow before she leaves this world. Also, I talked to my friend who’s dating Dr. Angel’s son (she intro’d me to Dr. Angel) and told her I was overwhelmed by anxiety and depression post IUI #1. So I’m sure it was no coincidence that Dr. Angel pulled me aside today after Mr. MLACS walked out of the office and said “I forgot to mention that the hormones can cause or amplify any issues like depression or anxiety, perhaps you’ve experienced some of this?” to which I replied “Oh. Well yes I have.” And Dr. Angel said “Well that’s normal and if you need to talk please come and see me.” He really is my Angel, this guy. My cat slept on my head last night and is currently cuddled next to my butt on the couch–he missed me for the 36 hours I was away, and I missed him too–he is definitely my baby. I know I sounded morose in the above paragraphs, and part of me is–but the better part of me is still optimistic and grateful. XOXO

86% More Hopeful Than Yesterday

Click HERE for the Attain Success Rates webpage….

As I’ve been (obviously from my ‘FML’ posts) fighting anxiety and depression like it’s my job (thanks hormones) and I’m determined to see the mf*ing sunny side of life again, I began searching for statistics. I don’t expect things from God–I pray more for understanding, acceptance, and comfort than I do for outcomes–so when I want to believe that something will go my way I look for a statistic that is in my favor. And as luck would have it (or God, maybe God was throwing me a bone here) I found some very encouraging statistics via Google search! I would like to thank Attain fertility for providing me with HOPE that I may yet find success with IUI’s…because according to Attain there is an “86% chance of pregnancy with multiple IUI’s”. It doesn’t say percentages like 40% pregnancy within 3 IUI’s or 60% pregnancy rate within 6 IUI’s…and I don’t f*ing care if this 86% includes people that have had 100 IUI’s to finally get pregnant. Obviously this statistic does not account for live births, but before I even worry about that I need to believe that these IUI’s and all the mf*ing hormones are going to open the door for me to begin to worry about the RPL factor…This 86% statistic calmed me and helped me to stop hyperventilating about this upcoming 2nd IUI and stressing about the future (IVF, childlessness), and I will be forever grateful to Attain for posting this (possibly fabricated) statistic so it was there for me to reference in my time of need. **And if this is a skewed statistic and your RE tells you it’s BS…PLEASE DON’T TELL ME…I need to believe in this like a little kid needs to believe in Santa Claus…I’m clutching this statistic like a little safety blanket and if you try to rip it away from me I’ll bite you. XO

New Age

According to Wikipedia (yes, I’m quoting wiki, this is not a term paper)

“The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as “drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics.”[2] The term New Age refers to the coming astrological Age of Aquarius.[1]

I realized today that I don’t need medicine, I need healing. I need someone to help me break the chains that I’ve been dragging around these past months and revive my body AND spirit. I already had a masseuse that I LOVE who I think of often but haven’t seen since I moved back to my hometown–he’s amazing. First thing I did was call him and I’m going to see him this Friday. But I was talking to my friend ‘X’ the other day and she said “Why don’t you talk to our friend ‘Star’ and see about doing acupuncture with her? She specializes in fertility and the chiropractor she works with is also wonderful!” I had actually told ‘X’ that my current chiropractor (who ‘X’ used to babysit, and she is my age, so that’ll tell you he’s a very young man) has never addressed my UC or my fertility concerns with his treatment–at the initial visit I told him everything and he seemed compassionate, but ever since then I just feel like I’m a punch in his timecard and he could give a sh*t less about why I’m there and if I’m getting what I need out of the treatment. Sure, he asks me how I am and what I’ve been up to, but then when I ask him he always responds by telling me about his pregnant wife (they’re having a BOY!) and even though I was am genuinely happy for him, how stupid is he to keep droning on about how “we never go out but I’m happy to stay home with my pregnant wife” to a woman who has professed herself chronically ill and infertile??Actually, he’s not stupid, just naïve I think. Regardless, I don’t ever want to see him or his pregnant wife (or their eventual baby) ever again. The thought of him nonchalantly asking me what I’ve been up to and chastising me for canceling my last 4 appointments just makes me want to puke. So I’ll be moving on. And it’s fate, I’m sure, because I had a long conversation with Star today and she was amazing–she said ALL the right things…she didn’t make me feel like a bad person for the arsenal of meds I’m on (though she did say she’ll want me to take a particular probiotic and a particular brand of aloe juice). She said my EXACT words, which are “Eastern and Western medicine can and should work synergistically” (FYI the word ‘synergy’ is one of my most favorite words ever). I knew she was the right one for me. I’ve known her since we were little girls although we haven’t been in close touch as adults, and I know her nature–she is gentle and kind. I told her that I feel guilty about all the meds I’m taking but that I’m doing the best I can to try to balance meds with lifestyle (ex: gluten free) and supplementation (ex: fish oil), in hopes of “patching myself together enough so my body can be a good place for a baby to grow”. She is also a doula, so I told her I’ve had to let go of my dreams of an entirely holistic lifestyle and a water home birth–these just aren’t options. I told her I’m not opposed to chucking all my meds and healing my autoimmune issues with lifestyle and supplementation, but that given what I’ve been through it’s impossible to imagine. I told her that I wish to have a baby this year in the hospital where I was born, with her by my side as my doula–this would be my dream come true. I told her that I am having a hard time believing that this can and will happen, after this past year (of chronic illness and miscarriage). She was very comforting without being too “touchy feely” and she asked some good questions too, so I feel she’s caring and also competent. I told her I’m about to do another IUI and that I’d follow whatever plan of treatment she recommends, and she asked me if I could come in on Monday or Tuesday?

And I told her Monday, because Monday is my birthday, and it’s a very good day to start something new. And I’ve been crying on and off all day ever since, just letting it out–it needs to come out. I just realized that I’ve been falling and getting up and dusting myself off all year long…and I’m tired and I need to heal, or I won’t be a good place for a baby to grow.

I’m conflicted about doing this month’s IUI, because it might be good for me to take some time off of the hormones and focus on my health and rebuild my sense of wellbeing. But I don’t want to wait. And moreover, Mr. MLACS’s schedule is changing in January so he’ll be gone when I’m ovulating and I’ll have to use ‘spermcicles’ and that makes me nervous. So I want to move forward this month, but first I want to shake these feelings of grief, humiliation, inadequacy, shame, pessimism…get rid of all these bad feelings and replace them with good ones like hope, confidence, self respect… I’m ready for a ‘New Age’, both literally and figuratively.

I am 100% Sagittarius

I am 100% Sagittarius

CD1

Yep. I got the call from Dr. Angel that my beta was negative and stimultaneously felt the unmistakeable pain of AF making her appearance a day early. It’s actually a blessing in disguise to be moving on from grieving to hoping so seamlessly. Also, that would partially explain why I was so morose yesterday–PMS. But y’all really showed up for me yesterday and I truly felt embraced and comforted by your kindness, warmth, and tenderness–I really felt our kindredness and unity and it gave me strength when I was weak. You are such amazing women and I’m privileged to know you–I don’t need to know your names, addresses, or occupations–I know the best part of you already–your brave hearts. Bless you all. XO

10dpo, 11dpiui Update

I don’t have much to report, but I figured I’d update you guys because I get frustrated when others of you go for treatments and then don’t update in the tww. I definitely have symptoms but I’m not going to post about them unless I get a BFP, because haven’t we all done the symptom-spotting posts and then felt stupid afterwards when we got the BFN? I feel like crap at the moment, I’ll say that much, but my UC is ‘flaring’ at the moment so I don’t know how much might be attributed to that. It sucks to feel like you have to have a bowel movement, and then not be able to go, or only be able to go a little and then have a bunch of blood (yes, TMI, sorry). I blame the weather, as it flip-flopped from 70 degrees to 20 degrees in a matter of hours and has stayed very cold the last 3 days. Oh, and maybe my hormones are responsible, because I had an HCG trigger shot last week and it only just left my system yesterday at 9dpo, and each time I had a miscarriage my UC ‘flared’ afterwards so maybe it has something to do with having the HCG trigger shot and then having the HCG leave my system–I have no idea what the connection is but I believe there is one. I only wish I knew exactly what the hell inspires my colon to revolt.*Sigh*

So here’s the rundown so far:

7dpo slight positive on Walmart brand EPT (looks like an evap)

8dpo slight positive on Walmart brand EPT (looks like an evap, same as the day before)

9dpo totally negative on Walmart brand EPT

10dpo (today) negative on a FRER

All of these tests were taken with FMU and I just POAS as opposed to collecting the urine in a cup and dipping the stick.

Oh, and my ex-boyfriend, who is still a friend of mine, texted me tonight that his sister is pregnant again! He told me first before anyone else! Lucky me! No but really I’m pleased for his family to welcome another child and I only wish it was his child because I know how bad my ex wants kids and what a good dad he’ll be. But still. Here I am feeling like crap, and then I get that text. Awesome.

Oh and guess who else is having a baby?! A 20-something year old druggie prostitute, and the “sperm donor” has a girlfriend and couldn’t care less about her! Yes, this is some gossip I got from a friend of mine earlier today. Oh, and the girl already had at least one abortion that we know of. Brilliant!

Ok, I’m done being sarcastic. Really I had a pretty good day–got my Christmas cards in the mail (all 100 of them)–I hand-addressed each one last night. Hung out with some friends, shopped, and watched football. Came home and had (all natural, nitrate free) hot dogs for dinner…I just can’t stay away from the damn hotdogs. WTF. But anyways, I feel very fortunate. XO

The Hardest Thing I Ever Did…

I just wasn’t ready to write about this before now…I’m f*ing bawling and I haven’t even started…

Ok, so on February 4, 2013 I woke up and took a perfunctory HPT and almost died when I saw two lines. Totally unexpected. I was totally terrified because my Ulcerative Colitis was ‘flaring’ and my doctors had cautioned me time and again to “Be sure my disease is under control BEFORE I get pregnant because it will most likely become worse in pregnancy”. I thought my body was smart enough to know better than to get pregnant when I’m already bleeding (from my anus). I also thought that I wouldn’t get pregnant since we’d only had sex ONE time all month (due to my health issues). I told Mr. MLACS not to get excited because I was worried this wouldn’t work out. I felt sick–I was freezing cold and exhausted and fuzzy-brained and my colon was bleeding (I later found out I was suffering the symptoms of hypothyroid in addition to my UC). So of course, he went out and told EVERYBODY at his work. I was apprehensive but decided to treat the pregnancy as though everything was going to be fine.

For Valentines Day, Mr. MLACS gave me a gift certificate to a pregnancy spa for a prenatal massage, along with several sessions of prenatal yoga. I went to one session with a friend who was 32 weeks along at the time, and the yoga instructor looked appalled when I told her I was only 6 weeks along–she acted like I was crazy for coming to the prenatal class. I understood after I took the class, because it was so easy that a brisk walk would’ve been more useful to me. But I got the distinct feeling the yoga instructor was also intoning that I should be concerned about miscarriage and that it was too early to embrace my pregnancy. After I had my miscarriage at 7w2d, I understood…

So, hopefully you’ve read the story about my friend, Dee (click ‘Dee’ to read) becoming pregnant quite soon after my miscarriage. It hurt. We both lived in the Southwest and met because our husbands work for the same company and were working on a project together–we were both strangers in a strange land. But though I trusted her, she was hard to get close to. We were talking every day and then after my miscarriage I hardly talked to her and never saw her…only later I found out it was because she was in the first weeks of her pregnancy. Then a couple of times she went home to visit her family in the East Coast and didn’t call or text me at all while she was gone (for a month each time), even though I tried to keep contact with her. I knew I wasn’t being rejected, but still, how could we go from talking every day to no talking for a month? Anyhow, I sucked it up and would hang out with her and her pregnant belly. I felt sorry for her puking ALL DAY (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) EVERY DAY through her second trimester. I offered to keep her son (who I adored) when she went to prenatal appointments. I went shopping for baby clothes with her. I didn’t stop her when she gushed about all the great stuff she scored at the baby swap meet, or her nursery theme. And to her credit, she listened to me lament my health issues and talk about trying to conceive–she encouraged me.

I felt like maybe I should give Dee my prenatal massage gift certificate…but then I thought “No, Mr. MLACS wanted me to have it” and “I should be pregnant before we move so then I can use it”. I mean…I got pregnant by dumb luck once, so, it should be easy, right?

I did not get my second BFP until the end of July. The line was veeeery faint, and I was cautiously optimistic, and I thought “Statistically this pregnancy should work, odds are in my favor”…but alas, my beta was 5…how the hell did I even see a line? FRER’s are amazing, IMO. I started my period right on time, but it was THE most painful period I’ve ever had, worse than my first miscarriage, so I call my “Chemical Pregnancy” a Miscarriage…Also, I went to see my RE for a scan before starting Clomid …he saw a sac in my uterus…I wish he had never told me that he saw something. I had already been reading IF blogs because my friend Steph Mignon writes one. Also, Steph had just done her first IUI and fallen pregnant! I KNEW, that we could not possibly be so fortunate as to enjoy our pregnancies together. My life is full of hubris. The blogs I read told of nothing but heartache and failure (although almost all of the bloggers I started reading 9 months ago are pregnant now). I realized that my journey to motherhood was not “normal”, and I was (as per usual) in the minority statistic of women who struggle to conceive and carry a baby. My head hung low and my heart was broken–I felt broken.

I now had to come to terms that we wouldn’t be conceiving before we left…well I’ll just say it..Las Vegas. I had purchased a little onsie on Freemont Street that says “I’m What Happened In Vegas!” as a gesture of optimism that we would conceive while living in Vegas and I imagined holding it across my pregnant belly in our pregnancy announcement (this was before I started resenting pregnancy announcements). I realized that I would not need that prenatal massage gift certificate…THAT broke my heart…remembering how excited Mr. MLACS was when he brought it home to me…how he’d kissed my belly and rubbed my feet and told everyone in his path that he was going to be a daddy…I had been clutching that gift certificate with the belief that it was meant for me and my rainbow, but I was moving 1,482 miles away with no prospect of a rainbow…

And of course I knew, that the only right thing to do was to give it to Dee, because she was 7 months pregnant and also moving across the country WITH a potty training toddler…she deserved it. But GOD was it hard…I was jealous of her…then I felt guilty…but it’s SO unfair…what if I just threw the gift certificate away, as a symbol of throwing my dreams away…giving Dee the gift certificate felt like I was handing her MY dream…and wasn’t she already beyond blessed???

I was with Dee in the car one day and she mentioned getting a prenatal massage…and I took a deep breath…and I said “Well, you know Mr. MLACS gave me a gift certificate….and I’m not going to use it…and I wanted to get you something anyways…so I’d like to give it to you as my gift.” And I was so awkward and heavy with my words…Dee urged me that I could still use the massage even though I’m not pregnant, but I said no, that I was already getting a massage somewhere else and I wanted her to enjoy it. And I got out of her car. And I walked in my house. And I fell to my knees on my kitchen floor sobbing so hard no sound would come out. And I couldn’t stop crying for hours. And I talked to my dear departed Mother, and I talked to God, and I hugged my cat, and Mr. MLACS came home to find me crumpled on the couch.

Giving Dee that gift certificate was the hardest thing I ever did, and I’ve done A LOT of hard sh*t. I’m pretty hardcore actually.

There are two good things that came of this experience:

1. Making this sacrifice made me feel like I have good character.

2. I did something nice for my friend Dee, and even though I didn’t tell her how I felt, she knew it pained me and I know she appreciated that I gave it from my heart.

And now, at 7:30am EST on December 5th, 2013, her daughter will enter the world via C-section. And I’m happy for Dee. But it brought up this story, which I had meant to tell you about already but just never found the strength until now.

XO

 

Damn You Mittelschmerz!

Mittelschmerz = Technical term for “painful ovulation”

1:30am

I started having cramp-ishness in the evening circa 6pm, and by 7pm I was walking hunched over. I was in bed by 8pm. But then Mr. MLACS woke me up as he was settling into bed at 11pm, and I tried to go back to sleep but eventually pacified myself looking at FB and blogs. Then…I started to feel like my uterus was trying to be ripped out of my a**hole…and now here I sit on the couch in my pink fuzzy bathrobe, hunched over the laptop with a cup of hot tea (may I recommend Celestial Seasonings Apple Cinnamon) and my Kleenex close at hand…it seems unfair that I’m in such a horrible amount of pain and I have a bathroom cabinet full of painkillers and muscle relaxers, but for purely procreational purposes I’ve limited myself to Tylenol Extra Strength (I haven’t even taken cold meds this week). I’m sitting here rocking back-and-forth because it mildly helps the pain, but standing or laying down is uncomfortable–how the hell am I supposed to make Thanksgiving dinner like this??! This sh*t (injectables + iui) had better work…Lord have mercy…

6:30am

After passing out on the couch with a pillow between my legs, Mr. MLACS woke me up at 6am and I paged Dr. Angel to be sure he was available, he was, and I said I’d be at his office by 6:30. Mr. MLACS helped me load the Thanksgiving odds-n-ends that I needed to take to my family’s house to dress our turkey straight away after the appointment, and off we went. Dr. Angel was ready for me and asked me if I had any pain, to which I replied “Oh gawd YES, it’s been awful”, and I think he noticed that I cringed when he took out the dildocam–I’m still so tender that the thought of it turned me off. But as soon as the image of my left ovary appeared on the screen, I knew it was good news and Dr. Angel confirmed it when he exclaimed “They’re all GONE!” And then we admired the large amount of fluid accumulated between my uterus and anus (no wonder it felt like “someone trying to rip my uterus through my butt”–I didn’t say that out loud though). I also noticed when Dr. Angel tipped me backwards in his ‘fancy chair’ that my boobs are bigger today. I’m a little worried because Dr. Angel intoned that he is not afraid of twins–but a little concerned because the last time he did this protocol it ended in triplets…OMFG, I could handle it but I surely do not wish for it. Dr. Angel surprised me by saying I could test this next Wednesday or Thursday, which seems awfully early but you don’t have to tell me to POAS twice, lol. He also tells me that I ought to have sex again today…which makes me want to cry…

7:30am

Arrive at my family’s house and dress the turkey using this recipe (click ‘this recipe’ if you’re curious). This is the first turkey I’ve made for my family and I have grand delusions of them applauding me and telling me it’s the best they’ve ever had.

8:15-10:30am

Leave family’s house and go home to shower and grab a few more things we need. Mr. MLACS insists that we follow Dr. Angel’s instructions to have sex once more, and I begrudgingly remove only my pants (remaining in my sweatshirt and large fuzzy socks) to signify that this is business and not pleasure–gotta hand it to Mr. MLACS, the deed requires absolutely zero effort on my part and he is very efficient. After the “business” is handled and I’ve fixed myself up a bit, we head to the dollar store to buy a few last minute tupperware containers to cart our portion of leftovers home with us (Mr. MLACS refuses to shop on Thanksgiving because his mother is vehemently opposed to stores being open on Thanksgiving, so he is sworn to secrecy).

10:30am-3:30pm
Cook insane amounts of food, with Mr. MLACS as my trusty sidekick and my Grandma trying to help. My turkey and my ham both turned out beautifully, as did the potatoes au gratin, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. Grandma made the pies (pecan and lemon meringue) and my sister made green bean casserole. I set the table with a poinsettia, matching red cloth napkins, and our family’s good china–it looked the way it used to when my Mom made our holiday dinners (legit). We all had plenty to eat and my family was appreciative of my (and Mr. MLACS’s) efforts, and that makes it all worthwhile. Plus we have tons of leftovers! I’m freakin’ exhausted–but grateful–very, very grateful.
Turkey Time
I hope you all had/are having a wonderful Thanksgiving (and for those not celebrating, happy Thursday!) XOXO

Gobble Gobble (I’m Basted)!

turkey baster

It occurred to me how timely it is that I got “turkey basted” just in time for Thanksgiving…

Here’s the last 2 days events:

Yesterday (Tuesday):

  1. Saw Dr. Angel yesterday morning for dildocam monitoring and was happy to see that my follies measured ’21’ and ‘19.5’ and my uterine lining is circa ’12’. Got the HCG trigger shot!!!
  2. Came home yesterday after seeing Dr. Angel and tossed around the idea of having sex (against doctor’s advice)…finally Mr. MLACS was like “Screw it, we ARE DOING THIS”, and so we did “it”.
  3. We ate at Gordon Biersch and went to go see “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” at a badass movie theater with leather reclining seats–first ‘date night’ in a month!
  4. On our way home I just felt awful–headache, bloating, my Ulcerative Colitis was ‘flaring’ pretty hardcore…I’m thinking at least part of this is due to the HCG trigger shot (do you think so?). And of course, I still have my head cold–I look like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

Today (Wednesday):

  1. Woke up at 7am (even though I had intended to sleep in a little) when Mr. MLACS had to get up to go give his “sample”–he went without me but I couldn’t fall back to sleep!
  2. Mr. MLACS came home after giving his sample and picked me up (while the sperm was being ‘processed’) and then we went back to the fertility clinic to pick up the sample. (The reason we had to pick it up is because we were doing the IUI with my OBGYN, Dr. Angel, but had to have the sperm processed in the fertility clinic at our local University Hospital, then retrieve it and take it to Dr. Angel’s office.
  3. Sperm Stats**Total Count: 412 million  Post Wash: 160 million (80% motility) Final Specimen: 51 million (100% motility)
  4. My Husband is the biggest Cock-A-Doodle…literally…he’s SO proud of his sperm he’s strutting down the street practically crowing like a rooster *eye roll* But I will say that I find him entertaining when he’s like this.
  5. Dr. Angel’s office wasted no time getting us in a room and Dr. Angel almost walked in on me sans sheet and “naked-from-the-waist-down” (I have heard this phrase no less than 20 times this month, and not from my husband). Dr. Angel made quick work of the insemination and left me to “marinate” for 20 minutes while Mr. MLACS acted giddy and poked fun at me while I was in a compromised position. Again, I want to smack him when he’s obnoxious BUT I can’t help but laugh.
  6. After 20 minutes Dr. Angel ushered us to the “dildocam theater”, where we were able to admire my 2 lovely follies, which had grown to 21.5 and 21, and my uterine lining was still  a plush 12. Needless to say, Dr. Angel, Myself, and Mr. MLACS were practically high-fiving and congratulating each other on our jobs well done. I have to add, Dr. Angel was in rare form today and made us laugh with stories about his residency and some of his colleagues (who are batsh*t crazy btw). I giggled the whole time we were in the office! I just LOVE me some Dr. Angel. Seriously.
  7. Dr. Angel instructed us to go home and have plenty of sex, but what really happened is I went to make a bank deposit and buy some probiotics in hopes of pacifying my vagina and colon (Thanks Emily), and while I was gone Mr. MLACS passed out on the couch and now he’s snoring while I’m blogging–there is no ‘sexing’ going on. Oh but I promise you that we will get a session in the next couple of hours, even though I think our bases are covered between yesterday’s sex and today’s ‘basting’.

So that’s all for now folks. I have to wake up at fuggin’ 6:00 in the morning and page Dr. Angel (lest he may be delivering a baby or whatevs) and meet him at his office at 6:30am for a dildocam appointment to see if I did ovulate. I freaking hope this works! Then, I will go straight to my family’s house and prep the turkey and put that sucker in the oven–and pray that I get a nap in before dinner. Mr. MLACS (and me, sort of) are optimistic…last night while we were waiting to be seated at the movie theater he was googling strollers…it’s SO adorable…please God let this work so I don’t have to see his face crumple like a little kid who just found out Santa Claus isn’t real (again). Amen.

HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING LADIES!

XOXO