Not Dead..Again!

I've been holding off posting for a bit, in order to let some information sink in and get verified.  And though I'm not 100% percent sure of who reads this blog that I may actually know in person, I'm throwing that caution to the wind and proudly stating that this panda *FINALLY* has a cub in utero. 

Yes. A BF-mothafuzzin-P! *insert girly squee's here*

Here's the math behind that BF-MF-P:
Fertility drug-o'rama round #6   +
13 pounds of weight gain that come with Clomid failures  +
Femara round #2  +
4 Big Follies   +
6 days of relentless BD'ing (distant echos of whip cracking)  +
1 cup of pee =

2 Beautiful lines.  So beautiful in fact, that I threw the stick across the bathroom and proceeded to scream   "don't you be lying to me bitch!" at 8 in the morning.

Since then, I've had two betas.  The first at about 11-12 DPO was 71.6 followed by (two nerve racking days later) a 179.2. And since then then I've had an ultrasound where our beautiful asian baby blob was nuzzled into the side of my lady cave, with a flickering heartbeat going at about 197. (Though I wasn't exactly sure if he said 197 or just 97. Turns out I was so confident of myself at the time I didn't say anything, but then the doubt started to kick in after I got home and I had no idea what was what. Womp, womp) At the time I was 7w3d based on LMP, but the RE said it looks like we were measuring a week off.  Which was normal, because I really didn't ovulate until day 18/19, so that was no worry. He couldn't give me any measurements or our actual due date because he had to go and calculate them himself, and he said at our next appt we'd get all that good stuff.  We got a picture of the panda cub which I'll upload later when I feel like messing with it.

Our next u/s is in about two more weeks.  If all is good then and the baby is still doing bean-size baby things, we will graduate to an OB.

In light of all the good news, I have been struggling with not being overly paranoid that something will go wrong.  Every twinge, pain, cramp, spit bubble, funky growth...all immediately shout to me "OH GOD...AHHHH!"  That first week I had at least 3 miscarriage dreams, so much so that I didn't even want to sleep anymore for a fear of another one.  After seeing the heartbeat, I've had a much easier time with it.  I've been focusing on the milestones, on what's next, what fruit the baby is this week, when the next appt is, when to tell people, so on, so forth.  I thank the bamboo Gods every day that I've gotten to this point, and I find comfort in that even in the worse case scenario of something going downhill, at least I was able to get pregnant, and that's a hell of a stepping stone in itself.

Cautiously proceeding with optimism, one day at a time.

<3 Panda

Peace, Love, & Bamboo


Moving on up: Boxmaggedon

Well, we have officially moved into our new place!  And so far, I'm pretty in love.  There is so much more space here I don't know what to do with myself (other than roll around on the carpet, naturally.)  We're still not all of the way out of the other place, but there is only bits and pieces left.  I hope that this is the place where we can bring a baby to! :)

Speaking of,  we did in fact do another round of Femara again, same dosage.  This time I had four follicles on CD12...a 19, 15,14, and 11 mm.  Weee! :)  The doctor I saw this time was actually the head of the IVF department for Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center.  He told me I really didn't need to come back and do ultrasounds since we know for sure it is working, and his recommendation was to do 6 more rounds of Femara before whatever the next step was.  This was contrasting to what the nurse case manager told me, as she said we'd do this round, then one more round, and if we weren't pregnant then we'd have to set up a consult.  He also said there was no point to IUI, but didn't say squat about injectables.  He wasn't my favorite doctor so far. :/ He didn't even let me see the screen when he was probing my ovaries.  He was nice though, which I still rank higher than that first bitch we saw who made me wait three months for nothing. >:(

So right now I'm in my second TWW ever, and having zero symptoms of anything.  Last time all the fun stuff started around 5DPO, so I'll have to wait to see what the weekend entails.  :)  This time I made SURE we BD'd enough, even to the point where my husband was like, "....Aaagaaainnn? whiinnnneee"  Arn't weiners supposed to like booty every five minutes? I am excited to get some recreational love time this weekend though.  I've had my fill of, "Is it hard? Ok, quickie, GO!"  Momma needs some love love time! >:)

My only other milestone I can think of at this late hour, is that a few weeks ago I confessed to my mother and grandma that we were going to see fertility doctors regarding my less than stellar lady parts.  Mom could have given two shits less, but grandma was super excited.  The one thing I miss about being back home is living with my G and getting to spend so much time with her.  Now we're reduced to early morning texting about how crazy American Horror Story is getting.  <3 Her!


Missing the Egg

Where does the time go?  Let's play catch up and find out!

We're officially done with Clomid! At our mid-cycle u/s for 150mg, the biggest follicle I had was a 10mm.  No beuno!  At that time due to my poo quality lining, my RE instructed me to go ahead and start on Femara/Letrozole that day and to see what would happen.  I came back a week later (approx. CD11) and to my extreme surprise, we had one big and beautiful 17mm follie! I almost cried right then and there.  It was beyond words to finally have made some sort of response to an ovulation drug.  Two weeks and a positive opk later, I got further confirmation of ovulation with my progesterone being a glorious 18.79.  However, it seems that first egg was too illusive, as BFN after BFN came, and now today I feel the semi-familiar knocking of mother nature on my uterine doorstep.  I guess this will mean a call to the RE's office tomorrow to see what the end of the year will bring.  I'm guessing another round of Femara since I did so well with it this time.  Time will tell. :)

Other than that, not too much has been going on.  J and I had our faux wedding a few weeks ago to commenerate our anniversary, as well as bring our marriage out of the closet for the families.  It's such a big relief to not have to watch what I say anymore, remember to take my rings off during visits, and hide my drivers license when I'm ordering margaritas.  I'll post one of the pictures when I get home today!

We're also mid-moving to a new place.  We're upgrading from our one bedroom matchbox to a three bedroom townhouse.  I'm so beyond excited for all of this space, I don't even know what to do with myself.  Ahh, <3

I guess I should get back to work now...maybe.



I've taken up charting as mentioned in my last post, so if you'd like to stalk it, feel free!

I can has ovulation? Plz?!


Panda where art thou?

I guess it's been a month now and we can end the suspense of what I've been doing for the past few weeks.  Are you ready? Let's go!

Our 1st Medicated Cycle:

The first round of Clomid had it's ups and downs, and while it was a fail, it was interesting.  While taking it, I had zero side effects.  I think I had one hot flash and one "If I had a knife I'd stab you" moment with DH.  Alas, he lived to tell the tale.  After Clomid, I began a short decent into hell.  I had cramps, abominal cramps/gas/painful stabs that almost sent me to the ER, spotting, and nausea every day, all day. It was awful.

The best part? I went through it solo.  On CD12, Hubbo had to go out into the field for work (which I know he could have gotten out of easy, but he's too nice to ask.)  I was already content mentally with the fact that even if Clomid did work, it would have been a failure because my sperm buddy was gone.  I got my progesterone drawn on CD22, and it was a .3.  No O for this chick! That made me feel a lot better about the husband being gone situation.  It wouldn't have mattered if he was here or not, no babies were being made in this uterus! My RE called and said that she still wanted me to wait until CD43 to start provera again.  I was not happy about this....this was putting us at September for starting round two. Ugh.  But then....a miracle happened.  Dearest AF came to visit me on CD35!  This being the first self made period I've had for as long as I can remember, you can imagine all the crazy ranting to myself I did in the bathroom...haha!

So now we're on Round 2, ding ding!!  The RE thought that I just O'd late (too late) so we moved onto 100 mg to see what happens with that.  I have one more pill to take tonight, and then I'm back to OPK madness this week.  I started temping this round too. Apparently I'm part vampire and my temperature is usually around 96 in the morning.  I hope this makes me more appealing to Edward Cullen. Just thought I'd throw that out there..haha.

That's all that's going on in my world!  Work is work, the zoo is never content, and our AC broke again last night so it's a million degrees and asses are sweatin' up in here.  Here's to the next post, which will occur sooner than the one month mark this time, swears.


An Open Letter

I'm stealing this from Em. I think this is an accurate reflection of the inner workings of infertiles. I know to me personally, it's like someone looked into my soul and wrote it down. I encourage everyone to take the time to read it and to share it with others. We're all in this struggle together.


I want to share my feelings about infertility with you, because I want you to understand my struggle. I know that understanding infertility is difficult; there are times when it seems even I don't understand. This struggle has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings in me and I fear that my reactions to these feelings might be misunderstood. I hope my ability to cope and your ability to understand will improve as I share my feelings with you. I want you to understand.
You may describe me this way: obsessed, moody, helpless, depressed, envious, too serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic, and cynical. These aren't very admirable traits; no wonder your understanding of my infertility is difficult. I prefer to describe me this way: confused, rushed and impatient, afraid, isolated and alone, guilty and ashamed, angry, sad, loss of control and hopeless, and unsettled.

My infertility makes me feel confused. I always assumed I was fertile. I've spent years avoiding pregnancy and now it seems ironic that I can't conceive. I hope this will be a brief difficulty with a simple solution. Surely if I try harder, try longer, try better and smarter, I will have a baby.
My infertility makes me feel rushed and impatient. I learned of my infertility only after I'd been trying to become pregnant for some time. My life-plan suddenly is behind schedule. I waited to become a parent and now I must wait again. I wait for medical appointments, wait for tests, wait for treatments, wait for other treatments, wait for my period not to come, wait for my partner not to be out of town and wait for pregnancy. At best, I have only twelve opportunities each year. How old will I be when I finish having my family?

My infertility makes me feel afraid. Infertility is full of unknowns, and I'm frightened because I need some definite answers. How long will this last? What if I'm never a parent? What humiliation must I endure? What pain must I suffer? Why do drugs I take to help me, make me feel worse? Why can't my body do the things that my mind wants it to do? Why do I hurt so much? I'm afraid of my feelings, afraid of my undependable body and afraid of my future.
My infertility makes me feel isolated and alone. Reminders of babies are everywhere. I must be the only one enduring this invisible curse. I stay away from others, because everything makes me hurt. No one knows how horrible my pain is. Even though I'm usually a clear thinker, I find myself being lured by superstitions and promises. I think I'm losing perspective. I feel so alone and I wonder if I'll survive this.

My infertility makes me feel guilty and ashamed. Frequently I forget that infertility is a medical problem and should be treated as one. Infertility destroys my self-esteem and I feel like a failure. Why am I being punished? What did I do to deserve this? Am I not worthy of a baby? Am I not a good sexual partner? Will my partner want to remain with me? Is this the end of my family lineage? Will my family be ashamed of me? It is easy to lose self-confidence and to feel ashamed.

My infertility makes me feel angry. Everything makes me angry, and I know much of my anger is misdirected. I'm angry at my body because it has betrayed me even though I've always taken care of it. I'm angry at my partner because we can't seem to feel the same about infertility at the same time. I want and need an advocate to help me. I'm angry at my family because they've always sheltered and protected me from terrible pain. My younger sibling is pregnant; my mother wants a family reunion to show off her grandchildren and my grandparents want to pass down family heirlooms. I'm angry at my medical caregivers, because it seems that they control my future. They inflict discomfort and sometimes pain on me, pry into my privacy, sometimes patronize me, and sometimes forget who I am. How can I impress on them how important parenting is to me? I'm angry at my expenses; infertility treatment is expensive. My financial resources may determine my family size. My insurance company isn't always cooperative, and I must make so many sacrifices to pay the medical bills. I can't miss any more work, or I'll lose my job. I can't go to a specialist, because it means more travel time, more missed work, and greater expenses. Finally, I'm angry at everyone else. Everyone has opinions about my inability to become a parent. Everyone has easy solutions. Everyone seems to know too little and say too much.

My infertility makes me feel sad and hopeless. Infertility feels like I've lost my future, and no one knows of my sadness. I feel hopeless; infertility robs me of my energy. I've never cried so much nor so easily. I'm sad that my infertility places my partnership under so much strain. I'm sad that my infertility requires me to be so self-centered. I'm sad that I've ignored many friendships because this struggle hurts so much and demands so much energy. Friends with children prefer the company of other families with children. I'm surrounded by babies, pregnant women, playgrounds, baby showers, birth stories, kids' movies, birthday parties and much more. I feel so sad and hopeless.

My infertility makes me feel unsettled. My life is on hold. Making decisions about my immediate and my long-term future seems impossible. I can't decide about education, career, purchasing a home, pursuing a hobby, getting a pet, vacations, business trips and houseguests. The more I struggle with my infertility, the less control I have. This struggle has no timetable; the treatments have no guarantees. The only sure things are that I need to be near my partner at fertile times and near my doctor/clinic at treatment times. Should I pursue adoption? Should I take expensive drugs? Should I pursue more specialized and costly medical intervention? It feels unsettling to have no clear, easy answers or guarantees.

Occasionally I feel my panic subside. I'm learning some helpful ways to cope; I'm now convinced I'm not crazy, and I believe I'll survive. I'm learning to listen to my body and to be assertive, not aggressive, about my needs. I'm realizing that good medical care and good emotional care are not necessarily found in the same place. I'm trying to be more than an infertile person gaining enthusiasm, joyfulness, and zest for life.

You can help me. I know you care about me and I know my infertility affects our relationship. My sadness causes you sadness; what hurts me, hurts you, too. I believe we can help each other through this sadness. Individually we both seem quite powerless, but together we can be stronger. Maybe some of these hints will help us to better understand infertility.
I need you to be a listener. Talking about my struggle helps me to make decisions. Let me know you are available for me. It's difficult for me to expose my private thoughts if you are rushed or have a deadline for the end of our conversation. Please don't tell me of all the worse things that have happened to others or how easily someone else's infertility was solved. Every case is individual. Please don't just give advice; instead, guide me with your questions. Assure me that you respect my confidences, and then be certain that you deserve my trust. While listening try to maintain an open mind.

I need you to be supportive. Understand that my decisions aren't made casually, I've agonized over them. Remind me that you respect these decisions even if you disagree with them, because you know they are made carefully. Don't ask me, "Are you sure?" Repeatedly remind me that you love me no matter what. I need to hear it so badly. Let me know you understand that this is very hard work. Help me realize that I may need additional support from professional caregivers and appropriate organizations. Perhaps you can suggest resources. You might also need support for yourself, and I fear I'm unable to provide it for you; please don't expect me to do so. Help me to keep sight of my goal.

I need you to be comfortable with me, and then I also will feel more comfortable. Talking about infertility sometimes feels awkward. Are you worried you might say the wrong thing? Share those feelings with me. Ask me if I want to talk. Sometimes I will want to, and sometimes I won't, but it will remind me that you care.

I need you to be sensitive. Although I may joke about infertility to help myself cope, it doesn't seem as funny when others joke about it. Please don't tease me with remarks like, "You don't seem to know how to do it." Don't trivialize my struggle by saying, "I'd be glad to give you one of my kids." It's no comfort to hear empty reassurances like, "You'll be a parent by this time next year." Don't minimize my feelings with, "You shouldn't be so unhappy." For now, don't push me into uncomfortable situations like baby showers or family reunions. I already feel sad and guilty; please don't also make me feel guilty for disappointing you.

I need you to be honest with me. Let me know that you may need time to adjust to some of my decisions. I also needed adjustment time. If there are things you don't understand, say so. Please be gentle when you guide me to be realistic about things I can't change such as my age, some medical conditions, financial resources, and employment obligations. Don't hide information about others' pregnancies from me. Although such news makes me feel very sad, it feels worse when you leave me out.

I need you to be informed. Your advice and suggestions are only frustrating to me if they aren't based on fact. Be well informed so you can educate others when they make remarks based on myths. Don't let anyone tell you that my infertility will be cured if I relax and adopt. Don't tell me this is God's will. Don't ask me to justify my need to parent. Don't criticize my course of action or my choice of physician even though I may do that myself. Reassure yourself that I am also searching for plenty of information, which helps me make more knowledgeable decisions about my options.

I need you to be patient. Remember that working through infertility is a process. It takes time. There are no guarantees, no package deals, no complete kits, no one right answer, and no "quickie" choices. My needs change; my choices change. Yesterday I demanded privacy, but today I need you for strength. You have many feelings about infertility, and I do too. Please allow me to have anger, joy, sadness, and hope. Don't minimize or evaluate my feelings. Just allow me to have them, and give me time.

I need you to be strengthening by boosting my self-esteem. My sense of worthlessness hampers my ability to take charge. My personal privacy has repeatedly been invaded. I've been subjected to post-coital exams, semen collection in waiting room bathrooms, and tests in rooms next to labor rooms. Enjoyable experiences with you such as a lunch date, a shopping trip, or a visit to a museum help me feel normal.

Encourage me to maintain my sense of humor; guide me to find joys. Celebrate with me my successes, even ones as small as making it through a medical appointment without crying. Remind me that I am more than an infertile person. Help me by sharing your strength.
Eventually I will be beyond the struggle of infertility. I know my infertility will never completely go away because it will change my life. I won't be able to return to the person I was before infertility, but I also will no longer be controlled by this struggle. I will leave the struggle behind me, and from that I will have improved my skills for empathy, patience, resilience, forgiveness, decision-making and self-assessment. I feel grateful that you are trying to ease my journey through this infertility struggle by giving me your understanding.

The author, Jody Earle, frequently felt the need for a brochure like this one during her own eleven-year infertility struggle. She experienced three pregnancy losses, one in each trimester and eventually, the premature births of her two sons. She continues to be a peer counselor for those working through infertility.


Misadventures in Radiologyland

Some things happen to the general population, but special awesome things the universe reserves for me. 

So yesterday was HSG day. We arrived at 12:30 for our appointment at 1. There were eight other ladies there to have the HSG done as well. My blood pressure was high....again. Every time I tell them I have white coat hypertension, the nurses never believe me. I think I'd know myself by now. Maybe. So after one, we all were ushered onward to wait in the clinic.  Naturally, we were second to last to be called...three hours later. I wish we would have been last.

They took DH and I back, gowned me, and got me up on the table. They had a med student there to observe/partake, which didn't bother me.  What did bother me was that I have a very high cervix, so that little boy cranked that speculum  around like he was playing Atari trying to find it. Po' vagina. So they got all one hundred things in there, which hurt like a bitch. I felt like I was getting poked with sticks, and then clubbed with a big stick. They injected the dye, started up the picture machine, saw it fill up my uterus, and BAM!!

The machine died.

Everyone was looking around with question marks on their faces. They tried to restart it, but it was a no go. Then they gave me the options (while I still had all of those things all up in my vajayjay): I could either opt to quit and come back another day, or they could reboot the machine while I laid there with god knows what shoved into my lady cavity. I opted to just sit and tough it out, after all I did NOT want to go through getting all of those things in there again. That shit hurt--don't let anyone ever lie to you about it. So I sat and waited....for 20 minutes. So at this point the story should end with.."and then the machine worked and everything was fantabulous!". 


The machine died....again.

So I could either cancel and come back again, or they could move me to the other room and we could do the whole thing again. The clamps, the speculum, the grenade, the spaghetti noodles, all of it. Christ almighty, why?! This is when the tech chimed in and said they could use a different, less painful catheter. I wish I knew then when I agreed that she was a lying bitch.

So they ripped all of my cooter accessories out (one word...OUCH! D:) and I waddled over to the next room. Everything was set up again, they spread me wide and went right back at it. That second catheter was a balloon one without the thing that clamps onto your uterus. I cried silently for my poor, poor insides as I laid on the table praying for the sweet release of death. But I didn't get death...I got a perfectly clear and normal HSG. :) No tubes blocked, no gnomes growing where they shouldn't be. Yay!!! 

 Everyone said I was a trooper for getting two HSGs back to back. F yes I was! And you can bet your sweet bottom I went straight to Chili's and downed a margarita like a lightning bolt! KA-CHOW!  They also told me had the first machine lasted 2 seconds longer they would have seen the spillage and I wouldn't have had to do it twice. Totally not comforting.

I'm still in pain from it. I guess getting doubled up with dye isn't setting well with my body. And I haven't even looked at my hoo-ha yet...I assume it looks like a disaster zone. Can I get FEMA to come down there? Hmmm..*ponders*

So HSG went well, I've finished my first cycle of Clomid, and now we're waiting to see if my ovaries will perk up and come back from their lifetime long vacation. Yea, wouldn't that be nice? Definitely, definitely nice. :)