Wisehubby and I had been TTC for a while and, on a hunch, discovered his severe male factor infertility--basically, he has an army of mutant sperm. I'm also mutant; I have a clotting disorder: Factor V. We were on the IVF with ICSI track, and I gave birth to a beautiful boy after IVF #2. We've tried varicocele repair, too--ugh. Our frozen embyro transfer ended in miscarriage at 9 weeks 1 day. We don't know where the quest will take us from here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our visit to the ball doctor, and the new plan

Our Visit to the Ball Doctor

Today we visited Wisehubby's urologist, our third Dr. B (b is for balls?), for a follow-up to months of hormone therapy and our IVF cycle. So, it has been a day filled with ball jokes, one of the only ways that Wisehubby can get past the disappointment he feels in his body. #balljoke

Surprisingly, our failed IVF was informative for Dr. B(alls). He basically said that losing so many of the embryos and having neither of the transferred embryos take means that there is likely something else wrong with Wisehubby's sperm, something that you can't see under the microscope. This poor quality is, according to his theory, what caused our early pregnancy loss and the lack of good embryos for freezing.

Dr. B(alls)'s solution is to do a surgery to close off the extra veins that are "backing up traffic"--his words, not mine--in Wisehubby's testicles. All that extra blood is super-heating and mutating his junk, so that is no good. Dr. B(alls) says that, in his experience, even if the sperm doesn't look better under the microscope afterward, the rate of pregnancy with IVF goes way up.

The recovery for this surgery takes about seven days before the pain subsides.  For optimal results, Dr. B(alls) said that we need to wait six months before trying IVF again. This, of course, bumps up against what we had talked to the male Dr. B about, which brings me to the second half of this blog.

The New Plan

After our WTF follow-up visit with the male Dr. B, we started to formulate our new plan for conceiving our Wisebabies. The male Dr. B suggested that we were unsuccessful in our IVF cycle because "there is some element of chance." He would change very little about my protocol if we were to try again. Dr. B would reduce the initial doses of stimulation drugs, and add menopur, a hormone to support stimulation, just in case. We're also double-checking that I do not have an autoimmune disorder, a precaution that required seven vials of blood.

The male Dr. B did talk with us about how to afford further treatments, since being a public school teacher is not exactly lucrative. That was very helpful.

We tentatively decided to do our second IVF cycle over our fifth wedding anniversary next June because the time seems to be right with our work schedules. This now conflicts with the proposed surgery to correct Wisehubby's rogue veins.

Luckily, Dr. B(alls) offered to squeeze Wisehubby in for surgery next week, which is the last time he'll have available to take a week off to rest post-surgery for while. That means that we'll likely be able to do our second round of IVF next July. Here's an even better scenario: Next July, we will be able to try artificial insemination because Dr. B(alls) delivered on his promise to improve Wisehubby's sperm quality.

Regardless, we've got a plan that we're comfortable with. Thank goodness we're still moving forward, because, for the last seven weeks, I've felt like I have been spinning my tires.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I am a woman.

At a women's group luncheon at church, we were doing some visioning because we have a female pastor on staff for the first time in years. The women's group has fallen apart a bit, by and by, and so we were discussing what we wanted out of it. This naturally lead to a discussion of the importance of not making it something available only to one generation, but to get women, especially younger women, to participate. Then, someone posed the question of what we were defining a younger woman to be. Then came the answer that I least wanted to hear: Someone who has young children.

What does that mean for me? Am I not a woman? Does my childless status somehow disqualify me as being a real woman?

I am sure that the woman didn't mean offense, but there is this sense that a woman is not really fulfilled until she has a child. That her life somehow lacks purpose or meaning. That she is not a woman. She's still just a girl in a grown-up body.

Well, I'm fucking sorry that my grown-up body rejected the only baby that my husband and I have managed to make in our five years of marriage. I'm sorry that despite shelling out $16, 000 for invitro fertilization, all I have to show for it is a fridge full of meds, a box full of needles, and a picture of two blastocysts that were washed out of me by a river of blood nine days after they went in. Oh, yes, I forgot that I've also got a heart that's been broken three times over.

I wanted to scream and shout about it at church, but that wouldn't have been very proper, so I am doing it here.

I am a real woman.

I am not defined by my womb.

I am not childish.

I am devestated.

I am surviving.

I am childless.

I am tired.

I am.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Inspired by grief

I had the opportunity to meet Jordan Sonnenblick, the author of several moving novels for young adults including Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie and Notes from the Midnight Driver this week at school. He gave my students a talk about how he was inspired to write his first two novels. Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie was inspired by a student of his whose brother was sick with cancer. Her experience, though challenging, was positive and moved him profoundly.

Notes from the Midnight Driver, on the other hand, was born of a few challenging situations. Sonnenblick had an eighth grade class from hell that gave him grief. In the midst of struggling with his students, he reflected on his dark times as a teenager, while his parents were getting divorced, and how his grandfather was his rock. As an adult, his grandfather was slipping away slowly because of Alzheimer's. Sonnenblick took a combination of those dark situations in his life and created a beautiful novel about a kid learning to move beyond the shit in his life that he couldn't control.

Afterward, I made a point to introduce myself to Sonnenblick. His novel, Zen and the Art of Faking It, is what inspired me to start writing my own novel for young adults, something that I've set aside a bit during my IVF struggles. I mentioned it ever so briefly to him, and he made a point to encourage me to keep writing.

Most of all, I was encouraged to hear him talk about how powerful it is to write about the nasty crap that is going on in your life. That's what this blog is all about, the fall out from the uncontrollable reality of our infertility. That is what my novel is about, the fall out from the untimely death of my brother. Writing can be a healing process.

I'm stricken with grief because of infertility, but I'm inspired by it, too.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stepping away for a bit

As Wisesister told me, sometimes you just can't think about your grief because you have to keep moving. I've been on a vacation from my grief for the last couple of weeks. Between Thanksgiving vacation and a trip to Austin, it has been tough to keep up with my Twitter feed and blog.

So you know, I'm down, but not out. I'll probably just take a break between now and our December urology appointment so that I can get through the next nine school days without murdering a middle school student. I'll get you all updated on our WTF appointment and plans for the future at that time. Until then, Merry Christmas and let's all start praying for a much happier new year.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A case for coming out

A lot of people struggling with infertility are reluctant to share their problems for one reason or another. Wisehubby himself is extremely private and initially had no interest in telling anyone. Luckily for me, he loves me a ton, and so he has grinned and bared it as I have told a whole network of people in real life and online about our trials.

Coming out about our infertility has been a blessing for me. I haven't told everyone, frankly, because it really isn't everyone's business. As need and occasion has arisen, I have shared my story. I refuse to lie when it isn't necessary.

At work, I consider it necessary to keep this part of my life mostly private. I have shared our struggles in general terms with my boss, simply so that she knew that I wasn't ditching work for fun. During my IVF cycle, I told people who asked at work that I had a gynecological procedure. That stopped most of the questioning dead in its tracks. Since I work in a middle school, I do not feel it is appropriate for me to discuss my reproductive life with my colleagues; since I work with my husband, I owe him this privacy.

In general, I have told my friends when it has come up. When I had to explain why I may miss my tap recital at the city rec center, I admitted to a friend that I was going through IVF and had no clue about when my body would be ready for what. When another friend asked why she hadn't seen me smiling lately, I let her know that it was because we have been struggling with infertility.

I haven't regretted coming out to a single person, not even the friend who once told me that she thought it was unethical to pay for fertility treatments when you could adopt a child (side note: UGH! that's not fair at all). She was sensitive and supportive. She may or may not change her feelings about fertility treatments, but she knows now to lay off of the topic in my presence.

Instead of regret, I've really appreciated the huge support system that I have surrounding me. My friend from tap class came and spent an hour visiting with me on the day after my transfer, while I was on bed rest. My pastor has sent encouraging emails every few days. My mother-in-law has made dinners and given the best hugs. My dad called me a few nights ago to let me know how much he loves me. My mom has been fighting tooth and nail to make things right, even though she knows that she can't really fix anything. My sister has been beside herself trying to be sure that I'm doing ok. She even tried to pack up her toddler and drive an hour to see me on a week night last week--I stopped her. My closest male friend has known to be more supportive of Wisehubby. The list goes on, and on.

If you're dealing with infertility, you're going to have a really rocky road ahead of you. This road is going to be made worse because people don't know how to deal with it. People won't try to figure out how to be sensitive about infertility if you don't give them a heads up about needing extra TLC. You might as well let your friends and family know what is going on.

If people cause you to regret your decision of honesty, then you know that they were never worthy of your friendship. Probably, though, your friends always were good friends, and you'll be happy that they are on your side, armed with information.

Friday, November 18, 2011

This is miscarriage

This is miscarriage:
A pink line blossoms and fades,
A life never lived.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Into the fire we went: Our marriage

Last Tuesday, Wisehubby and I had come to the devastating conclusion that we weren't going to be getting pregnant with our first IVF cycle. I had peed on a stick several times, and there wasn't anything going on. I felt decidedly not pregnant, and we began to reflect on what this meant for us.

We've not moved on to our next step; we haven't put away our picture of the Wise-embies that we lost. We haven't even gotten up the courage to call and schedule our follow-up meeting with our RE to talk about what went wrong.

We have decided on a couple of things though. This process, in its own strange way, has been a little bit good for our marriage, which is now at the four and a half year mark. We had a pretty easy go of it until last year, so we have been forging our marriage in the firestorm of infertility.

Wisehubby and I met in college, at a time of relative peace and happiness for both of us. We had both struggled with difficult family situations in high school--he was caught in a particularly nasty custody battle; my brother killed himself. By the time we met, we were both pretty happy to have put some distance between ourselves and our dark pasts.

Don't get me wrong--we've talked about our pasts, but we've generally been living happy lives. Wisehubby graduated first and got a job as a school teacher. We got engaged the summer before I graduated. We married when I was just twenty-two, a newly minted college graduate. I got a job soon thereafter, and then we bought our dream home. We adopted a puppy and later got a new car.

That's about time the firestorm started. If you want to read details of it, might I suggest the following posts: Male Factor Infertility, Out of Control, and Darkest Day.  We've been struggling with our infertility now for a while, and we finally sat back and talked specifically about what it has been doing to our marriage.

Wisehubby and I agreed that, while our lives have been full of frustration, disappointment, and loss in the last year, our marriage has become a deeper partnership. We have made concerted efforts to understand how we both deal with darkness in our lives.

Wisehubby has learned to open up and create a network of friends and family for support, largely because he knows that I would collapse under the weight of it all if I didn't. He's graciously allowed me to tweet and blog, and share my story with many more people than he would have chosen to tell. He even stood there with me while I gave myself every shot. He has been my rock.

I've learned to give Wisehubby some space to process before instantly making him talk about things. He doesn't always know what he feels or wants to say right away. He may need a day or two of chilling, playing NCAA Football 2011 or watching Stormchasers, before he can meet me half-way and talk about stuff.

What I can say after coming out of the other side--at least for now--of all of our disappointment is that our marriage is stronger than ever. This last year has bonded us together in new ways that we couldn't have anticipated when we were young, carefree college students falling in love. Let's just pray that we're tough as steel since we've got a long fertility road ahead of us yet.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life after IVF

I actually had a pretty great first day post IVF. I started the morning without a shot for the first time in over a month. At work, I drank all the caffeine I wanted, and heavily medicated my sinus headache. I plotted with my friend to overthrow a committee. After school, I headed to meet a new bride for my wedding planning business. She's going to be such an easy going person to work with, and I can tell that she needs the support that I can offer her. I even looked awesome in a power dress and my black leather pumps. I painted my nails fresh and put on my wedding pearls.

On my way home, I chose to drive through Taco Delite for a taco plate. This local fast food chain is a sure winner in my book, and I knew that it would be the perfect end to a good day.

Then, I saw it. Sitting in the dining room of Taco Delite was a young couple, happily absorbed in their baby--well, and their tacos (they ARE delicious). A pang of incredible jealousy and sadness rushed through me.

So, I'm not doing great, but I can still take pleasure in my life. At least I got to wash those conflicting feelings down with a beer tonight.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Complete Quest For Wisebaby Timeline

I'm going to simplify my time line that is in my sidebar, but I want to keep track of my shots (42 for IVF 1, 368 for IVF 2) and countless other sticks, prods, and procedures.

April 2009--Quit birth control
May 2010--Actively started TTC
November 7, 2010--Positive pregnancy test
November 17, 2010--Miscarriage
June 2011--OB/GYN visit regarding our struggles TTC, referral to RE
June 2011--Blood tests for Wiselady, normal
June 2011--Sperm analysis for Wisehubby, abnormal morphology
June 2011--HSG for Wiselady, normal
July 2011--Meeting with RE, discuss IUI and IVF with ICSI
August 2011--Second sperm analysis, low-count, low motility, and low morphology, Meeting with RE, IUI ruled out, IVF with ICSI plan developed
August 2011--Office hysteroscopy for Wiselady, normal
August 2011--Transvaginal sonogram for Wiselady, normal
September 2011--Mock transfer for Wiselady, normal
October 3, 2011--CD 21, Start IVF cycle with transvaginal sonogram (two small cysts on right ovary) and lupron start appointment for Wiselady
October 4, 2011--CD 22, Lupron injection
October 5, 2011--CD 23, Lupron injection
October 6, 2011--CD 24, Lupron injection
October 7, 2011--CD 25, Lupron injection
October 8, 2011--CD 26, Lupron injection
October 9, 2011--CD 27, Lupron injection
October 10, 2011--CD 28, Lupron injection
October 11, 2011--CD 1, Lupron injection
October 12, 2011--CD 2, Lupron injection
October 13, 2011--CD 3, Lupron injection
October 14, 2011--CD 4, Lupron injection
October 15, 2011--CD 5, Lupron injection
October 16, 2011--CD 6, Lupron injection, Follistim injection
October 17, 2011--CD 7, Lupron injection, Follistim injection
October 18, 2011--CD 8, Lupron injection, Follistim injection
October 19, 2011--CD 9, Lupron injection, transvaginal sonogram and blood work for Wiselady, 17 follicles on left ovary, 17 follicles on right ovary, blood work good, dosage lowered, Follistim injection
October 20, 2011--CD 10, Lupron injection, Follistim injection
October 21, 2011--CD 11, Lupron injection, transvaginal sonogram and blood work for Wiselady, a lot of ripe follies on both ovaries, Follistim injection
October 22, 2011--CD 12, Lupron injection, transvaginal sonogram and blood work for Wiselady (both on target) , Follistim injection
October 23, 2011--CD 13, Lupron injection, Follistim injection
October 24, 2011--CD 14, Lupron injection, transvaginal sonogram and blood work for Wiselady (both on target), date set for egg retrieval, Ovidrel injection aka the trigger shot
October 25, 2011--CD 15, A rare day off--no meds. no appointments!!
October 26, 2011--CD 16, 33 eggs retrieved, 25 eggs fertilized, Wiselady's 26th half-birthday
October 27, 2011--CD 17, 1 DPR, 15 embryos growing, our wait begins
October 28, 2011--CD 18, 2 DPR, progesterone injection
October 29, 2011--CD 19, 3 DPR, 2 progesterone injections b/c Wisehubby mistakenly drew only 1/2 mg and didn't notice before he stuck me, 4 excellent embryos, 7 good embryos, 2 average embryos, and 2 poor embryos
October 30, 2011--CD 20, 4 DPR, progesterone injection
October 31, 2011--CD 21, Embryo Transfer of two beautiful embies, progesterone injection
November 1, 2011--1 DPT, progesterone injection, bed rest, no embryos for freezing
November 2, 2011--2 DPT, progesterone injection, AM bed rest, back to work
November 3, 2011--3 DPT, progesterone injection
November 4, 2011--4 DPT, progesterone injection
November 5, 2011--5 DPT, progesterone injection
November 6, 2011--6 DPT, progesterone injection, HPT BFN
November 7, 2011--7 DPT, progesterone injection, HPT BFN
November 8, 2011--8 DPT, progesterone injection, HPT BFN, Spotting
November 9, 2011--9 DPT, progesterone injection, pregnancy blood test, BFN, official fail/end of IVF w/ICSI #1
November 13, 2011--CD 1, first period after failed IVF cycle
November 28, 2011--WTF appointment with RE, no real answers
December 19, 2011--Follow-up with the urologist, decided to do varicocele repair surgery on Wisehubby, seven vials of blood drawn to check Wiselady for autoimmune disorders
December 28, 2011--Varicocele repair for Wisehubby
January 2, 2011--Emergency follow-up for Wisehubby, things don't look "normal" on one side, but Dr. B(alls) thinks that his testicles are functional
January 9, 2011--Post-op with Dr. B(alls), normal recovery on L, abnormal and slow recovery on R, things are improving

January 31, 2012--Follow-up with Dr. B(alls), abnormal recovery, but function is fine
February 22, 2012--Wiselady diagnosed with Factor V clotting disorder
April 10, 2012--Wisehubby is put into a holding pattern because of no improvement post-varicocele repair.
July 7, 2012--Wisehubby's semen analysis shows normal counts in all measures except morphology, which is still 0% normal. Holding pattern continues.
September 5, 2012--Wisehubby's final semen analysis leads to this advice from his urologist, "At this point, I've done all that I can. I'm sending you back to the male Dr. B with the recommendation of IVF with ICSI."
September 5, 2012--IVF Planning meeting with RE
September 18, 2012--Mock transfer and cervical dilation
September 25, 2012--CD 1
September 26, 2012--CD 2, FSH blood test, birth control pill, lovenox injection
September 27, 2012--CD 3, birth control pill, lovenox injection
September 28, 2012--CD 4, birth control pill, lovenox injection, a visit to the hospital to welcome my nephew into the world!
September 29, 2012--CD 5, birth control pill, lovenox injection
September 30, 2012--CD 6, birth control pill, lovenox injection
October 1, 2012--CD 7, birth control pill, lovenox injection
October 2, 2012--CD 8, birth control pill, lovenox injection
October 3, 2012--CD 9, birth control pill, lovenox injection
October 4, 2012--CD 10, birth control pill, lovenox injection
October 5, 2012--CD 11, birth control pill, lovenox injection
October 6, 2012--CD 12, birth control pill, lovenox injection
October 7, 2012--CD 13, birth control pill, lovenox injection
October 8, 2012--CD 14, birth control pill, lupron injection, transvaginal ultrasound, lovenox injection
October 9, 2012--CD 15, birth control pill, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 10, 2012--CD 16, birth control pill, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 11, 2012--CD 17, birth control pill, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 12, 2012--CD 18, birth control pill, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 13, 2012--CD 19, birth control pill, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 14, 2012--CD 20, birth control pill, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 15, 2012--CD 21, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 16, 2012--CD 22, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 17, 2012--CD 23, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 18, 2012--CD 1, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 19, 2012--CD 2, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 20, 2012--CD 3, lupron injection, lovenox injection
October 21, 2012--CD 4, lupron injection, menopur injection, follistim injection, lovenox injection
October 22, 2012--CD 5, lupron injection, menopur injection, follistim injection, lovenox injection
October 23, 2012--CD 6, lupron injection, menopur injection, follistim injection, lovenox injection
October 24, 2012--CD 7, lupron injection, transvaginal ultrasound, 12 follicles growing in each ovary, blood draw, follistim injection, menopur injection, lovenox injection
October 25, 2012--CD 8, lupron injection, menopur injection, follistim injection, lovenox injection
October 26, 2012--CD 9, lupron injection, transvaginal ultrasound, blood draw, menopur injection, follistim injection, lovenox injection
October 27, 2012--CD 10, lupron injection, transvaginal ultrasound, blood draw, follistim injection, lovenox injection
October 28, 2012--CD 11, lupron injection, follistim injection, lovenox injection
October 29, 2012--CD 12, lupron injection, transvaginal ultrasound, blood draw, ovidrel injection
October 30, 2012--CD 13, a rare day off!
October 31, 2012--CD 14, retrieval of 19 eggs, lovenox injection
November 1, 2012--CD 15, 19 eggs were mature and fertilized using ICSI, 13 show signs of growth today, lovenox injection
November 2, 2012--CD 16, crinone gel, lovenox
November 3, 2012--CD 17, crinone gel, lovenox, 8 excellent, 2 good, and 3 poor embryos
November 4, 2012--CD 18, crinone gel, lovenox
November 5, 2012--CD 19, transferred one AA blastocyst and one AB blastocyst, lovenox, bedrest
November 6, 2012--CD 20, 1 DPT, crinone gel, lovenox, bedrest
November 7, 2012--CD 21, 2 DPT, crinone gel, morning bedrest, lovenox
November 8, 2012--CD 22, 3 DPT, crinone gel, lovenox
November 9, 2012--CD 23, 4 DPT, crinone gel, lovenox
November 10, 2012--CD 24, 5 DPT, crinone gel, lovenox
November 11, 2012--CD 25, 6 DPT, crinone gel, lovenox, POAS BFP!
November 12, 2012--CD 26, 7 DPT, crinone gel, lovenox, POAS STILL BFP!
November 13, 2012--CD 27, 8 DPT, crinone gel, lovenox, POAS SERIOUSLY BFP!
November 14, 2012--CD 28, 9 DPT, crinone gel, pregnancy blood test BFP! (112 HCG), lovenox, POAS for fun
November 15, 2012--10 DPT, crinone gel, lovenox
November 16, 2012--11 DPT, crinone gel, beta blood test (260!), lovenox
November 17, 2012--12 DPT, crinone gel, lovenox
November 18, 2012--13 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 19, 2012--14 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 20, 2012--15 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 21, 2012--16 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 22, 2012--17 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 23, 2012--18 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 24, 2012--19 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 25, 2012--20 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 26, 2012--21 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 27, 2012--22 DPT crinone gel, lovenox
November 28, 2012--6 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
November 29, 2012--6 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
November 30, 2012--6 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 1, 2012--6 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 2, 2012--6 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 3, 2012--6 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 4, 2012--6 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 5, 2012--7 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, obstetrical ultrasound (heart rate 131 BPM and measuring 10.58 mm), lovenox
December 6, 2012--7 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 7, 2012--7 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 8, 2012--7 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 9, 2012--7 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 10, 2012--7 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 11, 2012--7 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 12, 2012--8 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 13, 2012--8 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 14, 2012--8 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 15, 2012--8 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 16, 2012--8 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 17, 2012--8 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 18, 2012--8 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 19, 2012--9 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, first visit with my obstetrician, vaginal exam and culture, lovenox
December 20, 2012--9 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, visit to my GP for an upper respiratory infection, Z-pack, nasal spray, lovenox
December 21, 2012--9 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, Z-pack, nasal spray, lovenox
December 22, 2012--9 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, Z-pack, nasal spray, lovenox
December 23, 2012--9 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, Z-pack, nasal spray, lovenox
December 24, 2012--9 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, Z-pack, nasal spray, lovenox
December 25, 2012--9 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 26, 2012--10 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 28, 2012--10 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 29, 2012--10 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 30, 2012--10 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
December 31, 2012--10 weeks pregnant! crinone gel, lovenox
January 1, 2013--10 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 2, 2013--11 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 3, 2013--11 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 4, 2013--11 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 5, 2013--11 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 6, 2013--11 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 7, 2013--11 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 8, 2013--11 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 9, 2013--12 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 10, 2013--12 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 11, 2013--12 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 12, 2013--12 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 13, 2013--12 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 14, 2013--12 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 15, 2013--12 weeks pregnant! lovenox
January 16, 2013--13 weeks pregnant! Trip to OB, first doppler (148 BPM), blood draw (anemic), lovenox
January 17-22, 2013--13 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
January 23-29, 2013--14 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
January 30-February 5, 2013--15 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
February 6-12, 2013--16 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
February 13, 2013--17 weeks pregnant! Trip to OB, doppler (142 BPM), lovenox  and iron
February 14-19, 2013--17 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
February 20-26, 2013--18 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
February 27, 2013--19 weeks pregnant! Trip to sonographer (11 ounces, 142 BPM, it's a boy!), lovenox and iron
February 28-March 5, 2013--19 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
March 6-12, 2013--20 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
March 13-19, 2013--21 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
March 18, 2013--OB appointment, 148 BPM
March 20-26, 2013--22 Weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
March 27-April 2, 2013--23 Weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
April 3-9, 2013--24 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
April 10-16, 2013--25 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
April 17-23, 2013--26 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
April 18, 2013--OB appointment, 150 BPM, glucose test (good), blood test (anemic)
April 23, 2013--Bizarre headache with sparkles in vision and speech aphasia, resolves itself
April 24-30, 2013--27 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
May 1-7, 2013--28 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
May 6, 2013--Second bizarre headache sends us to the emergency room where we learn that baby is doing great
May 8-14, 2013--29 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
May 8, 2013--Neurologist confirms that bizarre headaches are just weird migraines.
May 15-21, 2013--30 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
May 16, 2013--OB appointment, 132 BPM
May 22-28, 2013--31 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
May 29-June 4, 2013--32 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
May 30, 2013--OB appointment, 134 BPM
June 5-11, 2013--33 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
June 12-18, 2013--34 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
June 13, 2013--OB appointment, 146 BPM
June 19-25, 2013--35 weeks pregnant! daily lovenox shots and iron
June 26, 2013--Start of maternity leave because the school year finally wraps up
June 26-July 2, 2013--36 weeks pregnant! twice daily heparin shots and iron
June 27, 2013--OB appointment, cervical exam, head down, 1-2 cm dialated, 80% effaced, guessed to weigh 6 lbs.
June 28, 2013--lost mucus plug and packed suitcase, started heparin
July 3-7, 2013--37 weeks pregnant! twice daily heparin shots and iron
July 8, 2013--37 weeks 5 days pregnant! one heparin shot, iron, 10:45 AM doctor's visit, 4 cm dialated, 90% effaced, 4:15 PM water breaks, 10:15 PM delivery of a healthy baby boy
July 9-August 19, 2013--First 6 weeks as a mommy! daily lovenox shots
June 16, 2014--FET planning meeting
July 2, 2014--FSH blood test, normal
July 7, 2014--Hysteroscopy, normal
July 21, 2014--Mock transfer for FET
July 28, 2014--Start FET cycle with estradiol and lovenox 
July 28-August 8, 2014--Daily estradiol pills and lovenox
August 8, 2014--Transvaginal sono
August 9-15, 2014--Daily estradiol pills, lovenox injection, and progesterone in oil injection
August 15, 2014--Frozen Embryo Transfer of one beautiful day 6 blast that had just started hatching
August 15-September 2, 2014--Daily estradiol pills, lovenox injection, and progesterone in oil injection
September 2, 2014--HSG Blood Test, levels good
September 4, 2014--HSG Blood Test, levels not rising fast enough
September 8, 2014--HSG Blood Test, levels not rising fast enough
September 10, 2014--Sono shows a slow growing gestational sack
September 24, 2014--Sono shows a fetus with no heart beat
September 2-24, 2014--Daily estradiol pills, lovenox injection, and progesterone in oil injection
September 25, 2014--Stop all medicine to invite miscarriage
September 29, 2014--Began to miscarry

A quake and its aftershock

I've got family and friends who live in Oklahoma, and so I have been keeping an eye on the earthquakes they've been having there this week. That entire state is going through mother nature's sick, twisted games.

Last weekend, they had a freeze, earthquakes, and tornadoes all in the matter of three days. This is in a state that never quite recovers from the last devastating fire/drought/ices storm/tornado/hottest summer on record before mother nature unleashes the next surprise. The earthquakes are definitely the shit sprinkles on top of their shit cupcake of natural disasters.

My life has been a lot like Oklahoma in the last year since our miscarriage, and I keep thinking that I'm going to catch a break just around the next corner. I was practically perky during my IVF cycle, which I don't think is a normal emotional response to being constantly prodded in your uterus, stuck with needles, and pumped full of hormones. My positive attitude was a direct result of thinking that I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Instead, we had another earthquake yesterday morning. On my potty run in between Student Council and first period, I noticed that I had started bleeding; my world was shaken apart. It turned out to just be spotting, but, combined with three big, fat negatives (BFN) on home pregnancy tests, I knew that my hope was unfounded. This was not going to be a happy ending. Our Wise-embies didn't take hold in my uterus. Our family is going to be just two people for another year.

The aftershock came today. I had to go into my RE's for a blood test anyway, even though I knew exactly what was going on with my body. "Well, you need to complete your file. Plus, you never know," says the unhelpful nurse.

So, in between our end-of-the-day tornado drill and practice lock-down drill--what is our world coming too?--I finally heard back from the RE. Sure enough, it's a negative. My world was rocked, but just a little. I'm not even shocked.

So, I texted my support group, which grew leaps and bounds throughout the process, to let them know what was up. I arranged for Wisehubby to eat dinner with my in-laws, since I have to go to my graduate class, where I happen to be typing this blog. I found Wisehubby before I left for the day, told him the news, gave him a big hug, and left him still shaking.

What am I going to do after my earthquakes? Maybe I'll weep and cry and gnash my teeth. Maybe I'll come up with a new action plan.

Let's just hope that a tornado doesn't blow through.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

6 Days Post 5 Day Transfer

It's six days after my day five transfer (6dp5dt) of two blastocysts into my womb. I feel tired and emotional. I feel wiped. I don't feel particularly hopeful.

This morning, I caved and took a home pregnancy test (HPT) and it was a big, fat negative (BFN). I know that it was early, and I could get a positive by peeing on a stick (POAS) tomorrow or Tuesday or in my blood test on Wednesday. However, I just feel incredibly defeated. It doesn't help that we're creeping up on the anniversary of my miracle pregnancy and miscarriage. The feelings I'm having are bringing back a whole host of nasty feelings from last year, too.

I'm trying to focus on my head, which says there's still a chance. I'm not being very successful at convincing my hormonal heart, though.

After my BFN, I decided to go back to bed. I had dreams about positive pregnancy tests that felt real. I almost got up and POAS again to see if maybe I had just done it wrong the first time. It was a little devastating.

At church, there were two baptisms and confirmation, both milestones I hope to celebrate someday with my children. The closing song was "This Little Light of Mine". I couldn't choke out the words, lest I burst into tears in the fourth row of a very crowded sanctuary.

I am going to take a nap, get my work down, and pray that tomorrow morning will yield two pink lines.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Tale of Two Wise-embies

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times; it was the time for making babies; it was the time for emptying our wallets.

On Wednesday, my half-birthday, with the help of an anesthesiologist, I took a nap while my RE used a big needle to suck thirty-three eggs out of my swollen ovaries. Meanwhile, Wisehubby braved the ubiquitous man-room of the fertility clinic.

The nurses gave my eggs and Wisehubby's man stuff to a helpful lab rat. She washed and sorted the man stuff to find the best, albeit misshapen, sperm. She used a tiny needle and a powerful microscope to inject twenty-five eggs with sperm for fertilization.

Wisehubby took me home and put me to bed, as I was sore and achy. He pampered me and worried as we waited for a phone call from the lab.

At work the next morning, in the midst of teaching precocious seventh and eighth grade students, the lab rats gave us a call. Fifteen of our embryo babies (embies) were growing, safe and warm in a Petri dish just a few miles away. We were elated, but we couldn't celebrate just yet. Work has a pesky habit of getting in the way.

On Saturday, we received a call that graded our three-day old embies, which were about eight cells big. Four of them were excellent, seven were good, two were average, and two were poor. Wisehubby and I felt relieved, what infertility overachievers our embies were proving to be!

On Monday, we went back to the fertility clinic for a transfer of two embies into their new home, my womb! The nurse gave me a Valium--a first--so that I would stay relaxed during the process. The head lab rat brought us a picture of the two best embies, our Wise-embies ready for transfer. He showed us how the one on the left was stronger than the one on the right because of a stronger outer shell of cells.

Wisehubby and I put on hair nets and our gowns for surgery over our street clothes. I laid down on the bed, and Wisehubby helped the nurses push me into the operating room. They got me all positioned and turned on a monitor for Wisehubby and I to watch the transfer live.

First, they showed us our embies in their dish, all ready to go. The bottom of our dish was labeled with our last name--thank goodness, because Wisehubby was really worried that they might give us someone else's embies. Then, they zoomed in so we could see our embies floating placidly in the dish.

The moment of truth was upon us. They switched to the ultrasound view, and inserted the speculum,
**Side note: I think is that is the WORST part of the whole IVF process. I hate speculums.*** The RE inserted a catheter, which you could watch snaking into my uterus on the screen. Apparently, my bladder was too full and pushing on my uterus, so the RE was struggling to get the catheter in position. Out went the first speculum and in went a second, BIGGER speculum. Ouch. The RE repositioned the catheter and it really was the moment of truth.

The lab rat brought in our embies and gave them to our RE. I was a little bothered that someone without an MD--he's a PhD--was allowed to see my lady bits, but the Valium and the impending transfer of my Wise-embies kept me from protesting.

We watched the grainy screen for about ten seconds, but nothing seemed to change. The RE claimed it was over and removed the catheter and the speculum. Luckily, he had the sonographer rewind and show us exactly the moment of transfer. She was right; there was a little flash at the end of the catheter. Our Wise-embies had reached their destination.

Now, all we can do is stare at our picture of our Wise-embies and think longingly about baby names until we take our first pregnancy test.

Let's just hope this Tale of Two Wise-embies ends happily with them deciding that my womb would make a good home for nine months. Then, it really will be the best of times.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Transfer T minus 1 hr. 40 minutes

My RE should transfer two embryos into my womb in less than two hours. How are we coping with this? I am grading papers as I realize that the mountain of papers that I am buried under won't get better if I don't tackle it. It will be harder to tackle it in two hours when I am on bed rest.

Wisehubby is stomping around the house looking for his portable CD player from 1997. I asked if he had headphone splitters so that we could listen to an audiobook together while in recovery this afternoon, but his stress has taken this to a new level. Poor guy! He's just so excited that tonight there will be five of us in bed--Wisehubby, Wiselady, Wisedoggie, and two embryo-sized Wisebabies!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

IVF Update and Baby Names

1 Samuel 1:20--So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”

Wisehubby and I were driven to distraction this morning waiting for our update phone call from the endocrinology lab. I wasn't the world's best teacher today; I didn't feel well and my mind was preoccupied. If I worked a job that didn't require elaborate sub plans and an abandonment of 11-14 year old students to the hands of often incompetent subs, I would have stayed home, curled in the fetal position.

We did get the call right at my lunch time. They retrieved thirty-three eggs yesterday and injected sperm into twenty-five of them. Fifteen beautiful embryo Wisebabies were growing in the lab, as of this morning. We'll know more about our count on Saturday. It will probably go down again.

With our transfer on Monday, Wisehubby and I are really feeling positive about this IVF experience. For the first time in a year, we feel like we have reason to hope.

On Tuesday, we chose to share our struggles with our pastor, and he directed me to the story of Hannah. I was touched by her willingness to give her unborn children up to God; it's a feeling that I've had since we've started trying. Like Hannah, I have dropped to my knees in prayer in the last year, asking for my heart's desire, children, in exchange for raising a family dedicated to God's good work.

For a long time, Wisehubby and I have know what we would name our first son and our first three daughters--Wisehubby wants a gaggle of daddy's girls! All of those names are meaningful, beautiful, and old fashioned, my top criteria. With the distinct possibility of twins on our horizon, I have been wracking my brain for a boys name that meets those criteria and hasn't been given to one of my eight uncles or thirteen male cousins. With our new found sense of hope and the inspiration of God's word, we've settled on Samuel as our second boy's name.

Why? Because we've asked the Lord for these Wisebabies growing a few miles away from us, and we pray that He's been listening.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I'm done with a major step of our IVF process. This morning, over 33 eggs were retrieved and are in the process of being fertilized in the lab. Tomorrow, we'll hear word about how many embyros are growing under the watchful eye of the lab. God willing, there will be plenty, and we'll have a day 5 transfer on Monday. It's a waiting game.

I feel great. I have already had apple sauce and a big bowl of broth and egg noodles. I'm going to use today to milk all of the care out of Wisehubby as I can, though. :-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Calm Before the Surgery

Tomorrow is my egg retrieval. I'm a little nervous, but I'm actually looking forward to a day of with Wisehubby where I can guilt him out of any form of work. We've not watched much of our Monday or Tuesday night TV, so it should be a pretty good little afternoon.

I've had nasal surgery, orthoscopic knee surgery, a patellar realignment, and my wisdom teeth removed so far. This will be my fifth time under anesthesia in my life. It will be interesting walking away in what should be equal to less discomfort than walking in. I am sure glad that I won't leave on crutches.

I'm mostly worried that we'll forget a consent form or not be able to pay. After all, this is the first surgery that I am responsible for financially.

I couldn't get to sleep at all last night, so I hope that tonight is better. Regardless, I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning, shower, and head to the RE's with anxious, hopeful anticipation of the children who we hope IVF will bring into our lives.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Male Factor Infertility

With our egg retrieval scheduled for Wednesday, I've thought a lot over the last few days about our infertility. It's male factor, which is a blessing and a curse.

What does our male factor infertility look like? 
Well, Wisehubby has the double whammy of hormonal imbalance and varicocele veins.

What exactly does all of that mean? How is that a curse? 
The hormones lower his count and motility. These things are treatable in the short term with hormone therapy using Tamoxifen to lower estrogen production. Unfortunately, this is not a great long term solution as fertility treatment is not covered by insurance. Furthermore, the hormone treatments have increased how much sperm he produces and how well it swims, but we have another problem.

Wisehubby's varicocele veins super-heat his man factory. This is what gives him 0% normal morphology, our real problem. Abnormal morphology means that the sperm is misshapen and cannot penetrate the egg. Corrective surgery has only been touted as a serious option by one of three consulted medical professionals--of course, that professional was the doctor trying to sell Wisehubby the surgery. Female-centered fertility treatments are also limited for couples with such poor morphology. Cheaper alternatives like IUI and drug therapy do not address the core issue: how do you get the misshapen sperm into an egg?

Do I consider myself an infertile?
Yes. God blessed me with a sound reproductive system, but I am also bound in Christian marriage to Wisehubby. I have been given just this one person to build a family with, and we are determined to be parents. For as long as we both can remember, having a stable, happy family has been our number one goal in life. His infertility is my infertility. His sorrow is my sorrow. If I have to give myself shots everyday for weeks and undergo two separate surgeries to conceive his children, then my pain is his pain.

So, what's the blessing part of all this? 
That all sounded pretty terrible, huh? Well, male factor infertility has some of the highest success rates for IVF, especially with ICSI, a technique that involves injecting good sperm into eggs in order to bypass the morphology problems.

My uterus is young and healthy, and my ovaries have been overachieving by everyone's standards throughout this IVF cycle. My womb is going to be a happy healthy home to our embie babies, and I have a lower chance of miscarriage than if I had one or more of the issues that plague so many infertile women.

Plus, I'll never have to take birth control again. Since I hated what the hormones did to my body and libido, that is wonderful news.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

High pain threshold

I've felt a little fatigued and had a few headaches since we started our IVF cycle, but I'm not entirely sold that it is the injected medicines.

Mind you, I don't particularly enjoy shooting myself up. Wisehubby has been pushing the plunger for the last couple of days to help him get up the courage to stick me. He accidentally made me bleed two nights ago by pulling the needle out crooked.

The Lupron burns when it goes in. The Follistim has given me gas--or has it been my fall diet of chili and jumbo?--and a hyper awareness of the presence of my ovaries.

I'm pretty sure that the fatigue and headaches are still within the realm of normality. I was at the ENT about potential sleep apnea because of my giant tonsils and fatigue before all of this started up. I don't have sleep apnea, so my ENT pointed out that it is probably just my idiosyncratic need for 8-9 hours of sleep at night. Head aches have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I get sinus headaches from my chronic rhinitis. I also grind my teeth pretty wildly at night, and that isn't at all helpful. I have woken up with  a headache about 2/3 days for my entire adult life.

What has changed is my ability to take my favorite regime of OTC meds. I know that many of you have heard me harp on this, but giving up Pregnancy Class C drugs has been a battle for me. All that is left in my arsenal is Zyrtec, my antihistamine. I've given up Sudafed, my decongestant; Mucinex, which loosens my mucus; and Ibuprofen, which reduces swelling and kills pain.

This has all been a challenge, but I haven't felt too bad. Wisehubby gave me a piggy back ride to cheer me up the other night. At Walmart last night, I even ran when I returned my shopping cart because it was cold. I'm feeling fairly normal, despite the fact I can feel my ovaries.

My high pain threshold has probably come from years of frequent dislocations of my kneecaps and joint pain. After you knee cap ends up in your thigh, you take uterine cramps like a champ. Another explanation may be that our infertility is 100% male factor. I'm very blessed to be doing this without endo or PCOS like so many of my infertile Tweeps.

I guess that I will have to wait and see before claiming that I am above all of the pain that most women claim during their IVF cycles. Until then, wish me luck!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stir (stim?) Crazy

Today, I organized for six straight hours leading up to my first stim injection--stim meds are what cause you to grow lots of follicles for egg retrieval (ER). I thought that the anticipation of my first injection ever would be the worst, but I now realize that each milestone will bring on new levels of anxiety.

This morning at church was stewardship Sunday--you know, the one where the pastor tries to guilt you into tithing. About halfway through the sermon about paying unto Caesar what is Caesar's, I started to feel panicky. Oh my bills! I haven't even begun to pay for IVF, and the front corner of our house is sinking because the clay soils of North Texas were not meant for home foundations.

One of the results of our trials in the last six months has been cutting off our regular offering at church. We've given all we can for the time being. We've got to stay solvent in order to pay for our mortgage, Wisehubby's graduate school because we didn't qualify for financial aid, our car, our new electrical panel, our foundation, and IVF. I am normally a compulsive charitable giver, but times have been a little tough for us Wisepeople lately.

Anyway, those concerns launched me into a stir crazy mood that lasted all day. I cried on the way to Sunday family lunch when Wisehubby suggested we sell our tickets to the OU-Texas A&M game to help off-set the cost of foundation repairs. My Wiseparents are normally great lunch time company, but there was a distinct down vibe today.

Then I got home, and I let my stir crazy mood out to play. I cleaned the kitchen, folded the laundry, put away the laundry, organized our mail, shredded documents, organized our medical bills and other papers, and generally put my life in order. I'm not one for organizing anything, so this was a majorly weird string of events.

So, I'm stimming in earnest, and I think that the anticipation of moving forward with IVF is the root cause of my sudden panic today. Luckily, I've worked through the problem that triggered my panic in the first place.

I think that I'm going to adopt the attitude that I'm just participating in a different type of financial stewardship. Instead of giving a large percentage of my paltry teacher's salary to the church, I'm giving it to the Quest for Wisebaby. When we've got a Wisebaby (or two?), we'll give him or her to God's service. You can't give a better gift than that!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

On coming out

If infertility has rocked your world and kept your dreams from happening, then you've had an experience similar to what I had on Friday at lunch.

I'm sitting in the teachers' lounge eating lunch with my co-worker friend who is pregnant. Another co-worker, who is eating lunch with us for the first time in over a month, is talking about how she doesn't want to get pregnant until she can convince her husband to move back to Kentucky to be near her family--as if she is guaranteed the luxury of deciding when and where and how she can conveniently conceive a child. Then, my friend asks, "So when are you and Wisehubby going to try? You seem so baby happy whenever you're around them."


"Well, it is really between me and the guy upstairs," I say; it's my typical circumlocution. I'm not entirely pleased with the evasion tactic, but I decide that I don't really feel talking about it with the other co-worker present. Plus, Wisehubby is decidely more private than I am, and he works at the same middle school.

Then, it dawns on me that my friend thought I meant Wisehubby when I meant God as "the guy upstairs." After all, Wisehubby was literally teaching one flight of stairs above the teachers' lounge.

I'm forced to reevaluate my response and decide to go for a more direct response. "Well, we had a miscarriage last fall, and we haven't had any luck since."

My friend was polite and said that she was sorry she hadn't known. She talked about how a friend had lost her baby, and that it was very hard. I could almost see her regretting every conversation she's ever had about being pregnant with me.

I didn't come out to her to make her feel bad. I didn't come out to her to make her more sensitive. I came out to her because I just can't tell lies about my hopes and dreams.

I'm not going to pretend that Wisehubby and I haven't been praying for, trying for, dreaming of a baby for a while now. I'm not going to pretend that it doesn't break my heart watching my gentle, kind, loving husband hold other people's babies or play with other people's children with the focus and care that I know he'll give to our Wisebabies someday.

Coming out isn't the easy thing to do; it is the honest thing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Out of control: On home repairs, flossing, manicures, and infertility

Wisehubby and I keep ourselves pretty busy.

We're both in graduate school and teach middle school full time. We play in our church's orchestra and volunteer for a local grief support group for children. We have two special needs dogs that require specific behavior plans to keep them from aggressive tendencies; one even takes thyroid medicine. We take our job as Godparents to our niece very seriously, and she lives an hour away on the other side of the Metroplex. We are very close to our families, and maintain close friendships and a healthy social calendar.

As you can see, our plates were quite full before we started living daily with "ghosts of unconceived babies."

My OB, the female Dr. B, broke the bad news of Wisehubby's male factor infertility to us in June. Since then, we've struggled to feel in control of our lives.

Now, in our defense, we've had a string of bad breaks on the home repair front. First, our front yard was flooding, and we had to replace a bit of piping. As it turns out, the clay soil crushed our main waterline.

Then, moisture got into our electric cook top and blew the breaker to the entire house. We had to replace our entire electrical panel. In case you were wondering, that is a very pricey home repair.

This was sandwiched by our pool pump breaking, turning our backyard oasis into a swamp. This was our cheapest repair, but also our most time consuming, as Wisehubby did it himself. To complicate it, the local pool supplier had a warehouse fire, and it took two weeks to track down the correct starter to replace our broken one.

Finally, Wisehubby started to notice the jamming doors and cracking walls in one corner of our house. At first, I thought that he was allowing his fears of infertility to manifest themselves in phantom house sinking. Then, he showed me a crack that ran horizontally away from a closet door frame for a foot and a half. I was a believer. Today, we found out that we'll need 10 steel piers to lift the northeast corner of our house the 2.5 inches it has sunk since we bought it in 2008.

Today is also the day before we start stimming in earnest. Tomorrow, I will start injecting myself with hormones that stimulate my ovaries in rather unnatural ways. Tomorrow, I get my October pay check. This is the paycheck that we will use to pay for our IVF cycle in cash.

So, we've had a lot going on in our lives that has made things feel out of control. The night when I blew the power out for our entire house, I bawled for two hours on the phone to Wisesister about how awful and out of control and disappointing my life was. It's been a rough year since we miscarried our first Wisebaby.

What does all of this have to do with flossing and manicures? I'm an easily distracted person, and I've never been one for habits of any sort--well, discounting my Facebook and Diet Coke addictions.

However, since finding out about Wisehubby's infertility, I've started trying to control my life when I can. So, I've started painting my nails to make them look decent, and then removing the polish before I look like a moron--something I've struggled with in the past. I've also started flossing. My dentist will be so proud! As it turns out, flossing is pretty satisfying, and I can minimally guarantee good gum health on my horizon.

This has all made starting IVF both exciting and peaceful. We've pretty much bled ourselves dry financially between our infertility and our house, but we're starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that a thousand things could go wrong that I haven't anticipated, but I am not going to let that pessimistic outlook control me. After all, I learned to floss, didn't I?

Counting my blessings

I'm on the brink of starting injections of Follistim that will stimulate my ovaries to grow follicles for retrieval. IVF is about to get very real, and there is a chance that I'm about to go out of my mind from the hormones in the meds. Just in case, I am going to write about counting my blessings before it it's too late.

Wisemom had me over for a final glass of wine and a long talk a few weeks ago before I started my meds cycle. She presented me with a little purse-sized notebook and pen in a handy carrying bag. Inside was a lovely letter asking me to count my blessings during the trying times that were before me. She started each page of the notebook off with a way in which I had blessed her life. I bawled like a baby, and it was one of the happiest moments that I've had in a long time. Wisemom said that I could lean on her words when I was tired and crabby, even if I couldn't think of blessings of my own.

I've tried to add at least one blessing each day. Today, I even sat down and listed my closest friends and the ways that they have enriched my life. One girlfriend, in particular, made a point of asking me if I was doing ok yesterday; she had noticed that I had been blue the last several times she had seen me. It surprised me pleasantly that she cared enough to notice that, especially since I try very hard to put on a happy face.

Anyway, I write this to encourage anyone else who is struggling with infertility or other disappointments to try to do the same. The blessings don't cancel out my problems and struggles. Counting them just makes it a little bit easier to see beyond my uterus.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Things I thought I'd never do...

Today, I was filling in my dear mother-in-law about our IVF cycle. She's been super supportive, and has shared with me her struggles with a tubular pregnancy and TTC Wisehubby and his baby sister. I was telling her about the meds when my dear father-in-law came in. I kept talking because I feel comfortable with them, and it is such an important part of my coping process to talk about what I am going through with multiple people--it helps me unload my stress.

"I couldn't do it," he says in reference to self-administering shots.

I replied something along the lines of, "It's really not too bad," but I wish that I had said this:

There are a lot of things in my life I thought I couldn't or wouldn't do--some of them insignificant and some of them terrifying. I've ended up doing a lot of them anyway.

When I was a kid, I thought that I couldn't ride a roller coaster that went upside down. Wisemom drug me onto the Shockwave when I was in the sixth grade; she didn't want to be stuck constantly waiting at the bottom of the ride with me. I cried--nay--I wailed all of the way up the climb hill and down the first drop. I started laughing in an uncontrollable giddy frenzy part way through the first loop. Wow, it was actually fun to ride these roller coasters that had scared the tar out of me. Now, I drag Wisehubby on roller coasters that have him using words that are normally not in his vocabulary. The new Texas Giant caused him to attempt to become one with his seat with the death grip to end all death grips.

I write about this not to compare shots to roller coasters. No, I don't particularly enjoy giving myself the shots that I thought I couldn't give myself when I used to watch my diabetic grandfather stick himself on a regular basis.

Life is the roller coaster in this clumsily drawn metaphor--what can I say? The IVF meds make me sleepy. There are thrilling ups and terrifying downs. Sometimes, your world will go topsy-turvy. In the end, the attitude that you have about it will determine your ability to see the pleasure in your life.

Hopefully, when the loops are thrown in your way, you have a supporter like Wisemom forcing you to keep going and a partner like Wisehubby riding next to you, for better or for worse.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Darkest Day

My fear of infertility didn't rear its ugly head until last November when I got pregnant--Pregnant you say? Oh, then why the blog Wise Lady? Just wait...

Anyway, I had been peeing on those early pregnancy sticks for six months, each time they had turned into one pink line, not two. I felt a little sad each time, but, hey, there is always next month.

Then, finally, it turned into two beautiful, faint pink lines. Pregnant! Yippee! I gleefully told my parents and called my sister. I cut back on my caffeine and gloated.

Nine days later, I started to feel like I was cramping. I freaked and called my mom on my way home from my night grad class. I stopped on my way home and took a pregnancy test at a restaurant. It was still positive.

I woke up bleeding the next morning. I was terrified. Wisehubby and I work at the same public school, so he put in for my sub and called my mom and went to work.  It's a challenge to take off at the same time without arousing suspicion. Plus, we were only three days out from Thanksgiving Break, so we couldn't take off on Friday without providing documentation, lest we get our pay docked.

I called my OB/GYN's office no less than five times trying to get an appointment. I took a pregnancy test and saw that the pink line had begun to fade. I cried.

Mid-morning, I was squeezed into my doctor's schedule. I found out that I was indeed miscarrying our first Wisebaby. My OB/GYN patted me on my knee and comforted me with the idea that this meant we could get pregnant--little did she know that this was probably our only natural pregnancy, our one in a thousand chance.

I went home and watched the entire mini-series Pillars of the Earth in a daze. Wisehubby rushed home, and I gave him the grim news.

The next morning, still in shock, I got up, put on my school t-shirt, and taught middle school all day long. I know I could have, and should have, taken the remainder of the week off, but then I would have had to have explained myself. Besides, what would I have done all day alone and miserable at home?

It all makes me wonder how many of my teachers taught me while slowly losing the life they had grown to love in such a short period of time. How many of my colleagues have been through the same experience?

That was our darkest day. Yes, we've had some bad days since then, but losing a baby, even one just a few weeks in the making, breaks your heart in two.

Wisehubby, the needle-phob, part one

Wisehubby is a bit of a needle phob. He shudders at the mention of shots. He will man up and get them, but he's not going to like it.  Wisehubby is also the most gentle man on earth. When we have Wisebaby, he'll be the person to refuse to pull through tangles.

These things being said, Wisehubby has the unfortunate job of giving me progesterone shots here in a few weeks after my transfer. These are the big, scary needles that must be plunged forcefully into my tokus. I have this image in my mind of him tentatively trying to poke the needle in.

What's my plan, Stan? Well, this week I am making Wisehubby watch me give myself shots. This way he can see that I'm not scared of the needles. Next week, I'm going to make him give me a couple of the baby belly shots of Lupron. The needle is smaller and the target is softer, so hopefully that will help him get over his fears. If that doesn't work, I guess that is what Wisemom is for.  :-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I made it into some sort of online newsletter that collects Tweets and blogs about #IVF! WOW!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Cheerful Griever

11 years ago, I lost WiseBrother in to a sudden and senseless death. I struggled during my formative years to overcome the crippling grief that I was living with, but I did learn at an early age what my grieving style is. I like to think of myself as the cheerful griever.

I'm a firm believer in mind over matter. If you have an intentionally positive attitude about things, you can generally enjoy life. Life--you see--is a series of miserable problems linked together by brief moments of peace, so it is important to cling to the good stuff in order to avoid crippling depression.

Mind you, I've had a long streak of miserable problems. In 1999, my WisePapa, the grandfather who watched me everyday after school, died. 9 months later, in 2000, WiseBrother managed to take his own life--whether he meant to or not, we'll sadly never know. In 2003, WiseMom was diagnosed with kidney cancer during my first semester of college. In 2007, WiseMom was diagnosed with breast cancer during my last semester of college. In 2010, Wisehubby and I got pregnant and rejoiced for 9 glorious days. Then, I miscarried our first Wisebaby at week 6. In 2011, we discovered--after dogging our OB/GYN for answers--that Wisehubby and I weren't getting pregnant because he suffers from several male factor infertility. Oh, yeah, please throw into that mix severe knee cap dislocations and surgeries in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2011.

Sometimes, it has been trying to stay cheerful. Sometimes, I've stayed cheerful in an artificial way that has hurt myself because of its dishonesty. I try my best to only let positive things exit my mouth about my life, because speaking something makes it so much more real. When asked, "how are you?", I generally answer using the following scale of answers: I'm alive; I'm fine; I'm ok; I'm alright; I'm good; I'm great; and I'm pumped.

If you ever hear from me "I'm alive" or "I'm fine", you should probably take some time to talk to me. If the best thing that I can say about my life is that I am alive, you can bet that I'm teetering on the brink of implosion, If the best thing that I can say about my life is fine, then I am lying to you in a major way. My life isn't fine; it feels out of control.

I'm the cheerful griever, which makes me more socially palatable. Unfortunately, it also makes mornings like this morning so much harder for my friends and family. This morning, there were thirty minutes in which I struggled to pretend. I wanted to shout at the crowd assembled about the disappointments of my life. I wanted to vent and rant and gnash my teeth. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to crawl into a corner and leave life to other people.

My friends didn't get it. They are used to cheerful Wiselady. They don't know how to react to the Wiselady that has nothing to say. Wiselady is usually so full of words. I can't even face them when I feel like that. They just let me sit by myself this morning; I don't even know if I would have liked company.

I write this to say this: Being a cheerful griever has ups and downs. You can generally improve your mood by trying to see the good in a situation. However, you're not a superhero, so you're bound to have bouts of uncontrollable depression. Unfortunately, the cheerful griever may not find the support she needs when she decides to have a melt-down--unless, of course, she calls Wisesister, and then she's got a listening ear who understands exactly what it is like to grieve when no one knows what to do.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Selective Jealousy OR why I hate some pregnant women and not others

I almost had a meltdown at my cousin's baby shower on Saturday. Bitch had the nerve to get pregnant and invite me to her baby shower (I do actually love my cousin. I'm just in my crazy place).  I struggled just to pass around the gifts without snickering along with my awesome grandma, who couldn't understand why someone would need a book about breastfeeding. Grandma Wiselady raised six babies; she knows!  The only thing that kept me from throwing an epic, pre-school style fit was that my 15-month-old niece kept running up to me to say, "Hey Tia!" and giving me hugs.

Side note: I am incredibly proud of my gifted, sweet, and easy going niece and goddaughter. No jealousy there!

Anyway, I eat lunch every day with a work colleague and her husband, who are expecting their first in December. Occasionally, I feel a little pang of jealousy, but mostly I am happy and excited for them. They're both so cute, and their baby will be adorable.

Why does it seem that I am uncontrollably, unpredictably jealous? I'm not quite sure. Thoughts?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How many to "put back"?

Today, on my way back from shopping for bigger pants--stress eating much?--with my mom, she asked if we had made a decision about how many babies to try for. This is a complicated, challenging, and hard decision to make.

Basically, when you're in my position--healthy, young, dealing with male factor infertility--you stand a fairly good chance of conceiving through IVF, about 60-70% depending on the RE and your quality of sperm sample. So, the recommendation for how many embryos to "put back"--this is a strange choice of terminology that seems to be consistent among the community (odd?)--is 1-2 embryos. There are some major advantages and draw backs to both.

If you "put back" one embryo, you have a smaller chance of a pregnancy. The embryo may not implant, and then you have got to go almost all of the way back to square one. This involves another round of surgery, unfreezing of embryos, and injectable meds to support the pregnancy. You also have to pay for another round of IVF, which is no small mountain to climb, especially for a pair of public school teachers. Texas Teacher Retirement Service (TRS) health insurance only will pay to diagnose infertility. Once you know that you can't have kids, it is your problem. IVF will cost us about $15,000 when it is all said and done, and it has to be paid up-front without a guarantee of success. Whew!

If you "put back" two embryos, you have a greater chance of pregnancy; you could even end up with two babies. However, the embryos may split, and then you could have not twins, but triplets or quadruplets. Multiple births come with an increased risk of complications for the pregnancy and NICU stays for the babies. (Un?)fortunately, health insurance pays for stays in the NICU and other complications associated with multiple births.

In Ontario, Canada, the government noticed the public health risk and cost associated with the rise in multiple births because of fertility treatments. They now subsidize IVF for women who agree to single embryo transfer. This kind of makes me want to move to Canada. They saw the moral dilemma that most couples pursuing IVF face, and removed the financial complication. Kudos!

Anyway, Wisehubby and I decided to go the two embryo route. We want a family, a big one, and we don't know if we can afford it another way. I'd like to give my children the best possible lives, but our hands are tied by the reality of living in a red state and working in the public sector. We love being teachers, so we have to consider that as a major part of our life and decision.

I applaud women who can face the risk and still just transfer one embryo. Unfortunately, it's not for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We're not alone. You're not alone.

I don't exactly have a booming audience yet; I have had 20 page views. I am pretty sure that 10 of them have been mine and most of the rest have been my sister's. I like to look at the color scheme because it's the color scheme of my fertility-challenged alter-ego. The Wise Lady everyone else knows would have gone with red, but that is neither here nor there.  There have been three page views from Russia, so that's exciting. If I knew a Russian greeting, I'd use it.

Anyway, I write this to say--if you are out there--please know that you're not alone.

Wisehubby and I have felt a bit like we're the only twenty-somethings out there struggling with fertility issues for a while now. Sometimes while waiting at the RE (reproductive endrocrinologist for all you fertility newbs), I feel the other--older--women burning holes in my uterus with their mind lasers. I get it; I probably look a little fresh faced for fertility treatments, but I'm there--so deal.

Anyway, I found out tonight that a dear friend of mine from college is dealing with almost the exact same issue as us at practically the exact same time. I'm not sure what made me call her, but I did. It was hard to come out and tell her about our infertility, but she lead with, "Oh, God, you're not calling to tell me you're pregnant; are you?" I had a feeling that my message was about to land on sympathetic ears.

Turns out, they've got some several male factor infertility that's not related to environment or injury, too! Don't get me wrong, I am NOT happy to hear this. I am a bit relieved, though. Dear-friend was, too. She suggested that our hubby's could support each other. I don't know if that is going to happen, as Wisehubby is very reluctant to open up about this stuff, but I am happy to know that he now has the option. Sometimes, the choice is what makes the difference.

It will be interesting to see how our paths diverge. We're headed towards IVF with ICSI like an express train, and I think they're looking at the urology side of things first. I'm just happy to know that I can pick up to phone and talk to someone who knows exactly what I am going through. She even liked my crack about asking for a print out of my next vaginal sonogram. Success!

Let me recap for you the moral to this really rambling story (no, I haven't been sleeping like I should): WE'RE NOT ALONE! Good news, you're not alone either.

Come join Dear-friend and I in the club of women who are sad about their empty uteruses and the fact that they can't seem to do anything to make their husbands feel better about it. It's a small club, but I'm trying to keep things exclusive.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

TTC since 2010

I wish that I could say that my worries about infertility started with my miscarriage or at the time Wisehubby and I decided to try for Wisebaby, but I have deeply and thoroughly feared infertility for much longer. After my brother died when I was fifteen, I realized just what a profound thing family is. While the ground shifted underneath my feet, the one thing that I knew I could count on was my family. Although I continued to have many aspirations for my life, family shifted firmly into a first-place lead. All I have wanted since the day my brother died was a chance to expand our family and provide to my own children the love that my parents gave to me. It’s a kind of pay it forward approach to life that I believe in down to my bones.

When I was eighteen, I worked at a summer camp. This experience changed my life in so many ways by allowing me to work with children, meet exciting young adults, and experience life away from home while being financially autonomous. I met a beautiful young woman who was a twenty-year-old sophomore at Louisiana Tech University. She wore sorority letters and carried herself with grace. At my age, she seemed so worldly to me.

Halfway through the summer, I fell ill with a serious case of tonsillitis. She was sick at the same time with cysts on her ovaries. We spent a lot of time resting in the staff lounge together, and she explained to me all about her chronic reproductive problems. At twenty, she knew that she would never have her own children. It was then that I began to understand the profound sense of loss that accompanies infertility. I felt powerfully sad for this woman, and I knew that I would be devastated if I ever struggled with infertility myself.

Fast forward eight years, past a happy honeymoon period of marriage. Once Wisehubby and I were comfortable financially, we stopped using hormonal birth control. It killed my sex drive, and we could afford to stop playing it safe. A year after that, we decided to try to conceive in 2010. 

I come from a long line of women who do not struggle with getting pregnant, so we thought we could be one of those couples who times their pregnancy to land the perfect amount from the end of the school year. That way, I could enjoy a super maternity leave from my teaching job. 

Now, over a year into my saga, I have had to face infertility. One of my worst fears has become my reality. Of course, as with anything, it did not take the shape or form that I had dreaded, nor am I dealing with it in a way that I thought I would. More on that later...

Quest For Wisebaby

My life has taken a pretty crazy turn in the last year and half, and I feel the need to write about it. I may not have any readers other than my sister, especially since Wisehubby likes the privacy, but I don't care.