April 2006

Archive of my old Blog:

View Article  Acronym of the Week: BD

BD – or Baby Dance – refers to sex. 

Well not really.  Sex is that wonderful thing you did with your most beloved husband before you were trying to conceive.  It was romantic and sweet, or passionate and sweaty.  It was spontaneous.  It made you sigh.  It made you giggle.  It made you scream (in a good way).

The Baby Dance is a whole new world.  BD is like filing your taxes.  It is compulsory.  You try really hard to make it romantic and passionate but there is no denying the elephant in the room…

This is not spontaneous,

This is scheduled.

Of course you love your DH and enjoy sex but it feels false because there is an ULTERIOR MOTIVE.  You can’t deny it.  All else aside, the only reason you are coming on to him is that your OPK (ovulation predictor kit) says it’s “go time.”  Now you’re caresses and moans seem (even if they’re not) contrived…acted out.  This isn’t about pleasure (even if it feels good) this is about getting sperm A into slot B.  RIGHT NOW.

Oh, yeah and then again tomorrow and the day after.  

It doesn’t seem to matter that your marriage is blessed with a happy and passionate sex life.  Even if you are insatiable sex fiends.  Even if you pull out all the stops to make it a night of explosive love making.

It’s not…

It’s just the Baby Dance.


View Article  Urology Day

We had our first Urology appointment today.  The doctor was very nice, spent a lot of time with us and answered our questions.  I stayed in the room the whole time which was embarassing for my DH (Darling Husband).   

Prognosis.  DH may have a varicolcele [veri kol’ seal] which is a varicose vein in the testes.  He has scheduled an ultrasound to look more at this.  Our primary problem still seems to be ASA (anti-sperm antibodies) and the doc ordered some additional tests along those lines.  

The worst part was that the doctor asked for a new sample.  Since I will “O” tomorrow we have been doing the baby dance (sex) for the past few days.  We actually tried to produce a sample (imagine how romantic that was in the examination room!) but no cigar!  Poor DH was very embarassed/pissed at himself.  I told him no apologies – when I’m in that brief fertile window I would much rather have the swimmers swiming toward my egg than the bottom of a sterile cup.  The sample will just have to wait a few days.  Besides the sample will be better after a few days of abstinence.

All in all everything went well.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t find a private corner in Border’s afterwards to cry my eyes out.  I didn’t want DH to see me because I didn’t want him to think I was upset about his lack of a sample.  I really can’t explain why I cried but I have cried after every appointment so far.  There is something raw about visiting these cold clinical rooms to ask for a baby.  The sense of injustice is overwhelming.  The sense of desperation – thinking “if only the doctor likes me” I will get my baby.  

It is irrational.

It is infuriating!

It hurts so bad…

Ok, going to go cry some more.


View Article  Advice from my eye doctor

So I’m sitting in the exam chair at my eye doctor and she asks “what’s up with you?” I, of course, spew the whole IF story like a drunk at happy hour.  Why do I do this?  It is always on my mind and I just don’t seem to be able to NOT SHARE. 

Anyway, she was nice.  Had some friends with IF exerience and mentioned that I might want/need to forgo contacts in my 3rd trimester when (if?) I get pregnant and while breastfeeding.  Apparently, this causes eye dryness and many women go to glasses during this t me.

It kind of justified my spewing.  I got some insight from the strangest place.  Who knows who else has nuggets of knowledge for me if I only ask.  Oh wait, most people’s ideas of knowledge nuggets are “have you tried putting a pillow on your hips?”  “does you hubby wear boxers?” and other such insipid redundancy!  

Maybe its best if I work on NOT SHARING!

 


View Article  An Unexpected Journey

AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
by Susan Zaremba
Never in my life
Had I imagined,
I would be where I am now.
 

I always thought the road would be
Smooth and easy,
When I made my wedding vow.

We would have a family,
Just like that,
Whenever we decided to,
At the drop of a hat.

Nobody around me
In my life,…   more »

 


 

View Article  Remember when…

Remember when you could do anything?  If you dedicated yourself to it, had a positive attitude, and worked hard – you could accomplish anything.  Dream it – dedicate yourself to it – and make it happen. 

This mentality got me through grad school…twice.  This mentality got me my dream job.  

This mentality is a lie.

There are some things that hard work, perseverance, and a positive attitude have no effect on.  Some things are beyond your comprehension or control.  You can do everything right and get everything wrong.  This is infertility.

How do you keep yourself from despair when your dream is out of your control?


View Article  Baby Dust Diaries Acronym of the Week – POAS

POAS – Pee On A Stick 

as in…”I know I should wait until my beta (blood pregnancy test) on Monday but I might POAS on Sunday night.”

OR

“It has been 2 dpo (days past ovulation); how soon before I can POAS?”

POAS refers to HPT (home pregnancy tests) whereby you test your urine for HCG hormone by holding a test stick in your urine stream for 5 seconds, waiting 3 minutes, and then desperately looking for a second pink line.  Repeat.  Daily. Until AF arrives.


View Article  You know you’ve been TTC (trying to concieve) for too long when…

…you talk about your husband and accidentally say “my DH”…you set your alarm for 5am on Saturday to take your BBT 

…you go to the doctor with your niece for a booster shot and tell the nurse, “no it hurts less if you do it like this…”

…your DH calls from business travel to ask how your CM is today

…you shave your legs for your RE not for your DH

…you worry about the appropriate “haircut” for an ultrasound

…someone asks what day it is and you almost say “cycle day 4”

…you loiter near the HPT at the drug store debating buying one (or three)

…the “big O” now means ovulation and not orgasm

…you plan your sex life around your next SA

…you visit the RESOLVE bulletin board more than 5 times per day

…you send an email at work and almost write “( ____ ments)” in the subject line

…your DH asks how your cycle buddies are doing

 


View Article  What doesn’t kill us makes us…grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe.
It’s then I have to remember, 
That it’s in the valley I grow 

If I always stayed on the mountain top,
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love,
And would be living my life in vain.

I have so much to learn, 
And my growth …   more »

 


 

 

View Article  The Two Week Wait

The Two Week Wait (2WW) is the agonizing period of time between the big O (ovulation – didn’t “big O” mean something much more pleasurable before IF?) and the expected arrival of AF/date when HPT can be taken.  The acute awareness of your bodies every bubble and ache is hard to describe.  Nature makes this a mockery by making symptoms of early pregnancy almost identical to symptoms of approaching AF.  During the 2WW you will feel with great detail exactly how your breasts ache or itch, how your ovaries and uterus feel.  Am I more tired than usual?  Am I peeing more than usual?  Oh my goodness!  I think that was implantation cramping!  Our minds swirl with images of the fertilized zygote (a few cells past fertilization) bouncing down our fallopian tubes, reaching the uterus, and safely attaching to the uterine wall (implantation).  We can FEEL it.  The excitement of feeling pregnant produces hope which makes you worry that you shouldn’t get your hopes up…which makes you nauseous with worry….which…hey! nausea! maybe I’m pregnant! 

The cycle is vicious.

It is no wonder the ordeal of peeing on a HPT stick is so agonizing.  We have built up so much hope in it that it is devastating to see only one pink line.  Worse yet, AF arrives before a HPT could be taken.  Most women hate AF but only the infertile will see it as unalienable proof that once again their bodies failed them in the worst possible way.  A whole month of hopes and dreams are washed down the toilet.  It is traumatic.  And, since it is repeated monthly the trauma accumulates.  

There is nothing to do but cry and cry and hope that next month will be better.


View Article  Poem

AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
by Susan Zaremba
Never in my life
Had I imagined,
I would be where I am now.

I always thought the road would be
Smooth and easy,
When I made my wedding vow.

We would have a family,
Just like that,
Whenever we decided to,
At the drop of a hat.

Nobody around me
In my life,
Led me to believe otherwise,
That I would not become a mother
When I became a wife.

But the road has been so long,
With lots of curves and hills
And bumps,
And things that just went so wrong…

When I thought I was at
The end of my journey
And my baby was meant to be,
Once again I crashed and was awakened
To reality.

So I continue on my travels,
I go on trying,
And hoping,
And crying…
As the story of my fate unravels…

At least I have found some peace in knowing
That along the way, I have meat others,
Who are on this journey to become mothers,
And I may have found a gift,
That God has blessed me with to share,
Until we all find our way there.

There– where we are not going in circles,
Or hitting a dead end,
But seeing the horizon ahead,
And then this empty hole will mend…

As our journey ends,
which we complete
with our new friends,
and on this road 
we will finally find
our children to hold,
and our grandchildren
as we grow old.

On this unexpected journey,
Which I never knew would be so long,
Or so rough,
Or so inspiring,
Or that it would make me so strong.

I’m glad I am now taking the scenic route.
I’m learning what it’s all about.
It will be worth it without a doubt!

 


 

View Article  Illness or elective?

Insurance coverage for IF treatments can be minimal or non-existent in some areas of our country.  This is a large issue and I recommend visiting RESOLVE.org to learn more.  The basic question comes down to illness or elective.  Insurance companies see having a child as an elective procedure – like a face lift.  They do not see it as a malfunction of a normal human body.  It can be frustrating to see better coverage for erectile dysfunction than for the inability to produce a new human life.  The thing that makes this more painful is that there are proven and very successful treatments for IF.  Lacking the money to participate in treatment leaves some with the dull ache of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel but being unable to reach it.  Beyond this, studies have shown that being diagnosed with IF has a similar psychological response to recieving a cancer diagnosis.
 

  

The psychological impact of infertility: a comparison with patients with other medical conditions

1993 J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 14 Suppl;45-52

Domar, A. D., Zuttermeister, P. C., and Friedman, R.

 

 

This poster put it succinctly on the RESOLVE bulletin board recently:

Growing up, from even before we started getting AF, motherhood was in our play time – in our toys – its always been a part of our lives. AF shows up, and we learn that we have AF so we can have babies. You got married – you had a baby. No one ever told us that we would have HSGs, HSCs, endometrial biopsies, laporoscopies, gyn oncology, sperm analysis, regular internal ultrsounds, E2 levels, miscarriages and loss, donor sperm, donar eggs – we never knew what we were in for. 

IF is harsh – its harsh on our bodies, its harsh on our souls – its harsh on our marriages. We wonder how we got here – we wonder what we are supposed to get out of all of this – how does IF and loss fit into the bigger picture of our lives – our goals. IF is full of ‘what ifs’, added to the normal what ifs of life… its harsh.

 


 

View Article  Hysterosalpingogram

A Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is one of the primary tests for female factor infertility.  This tests allow the doctor to see the basic anatomy of the uterus and fallopian tubes.  An HSG can identify problems with the uterus such as fibroids and it can identify if one or both tubes are blocked. 

The procedure only takes about 10-15 minutes.  It begins similar to a pap smear with the insertion of a speculum.  Then a device called a tenaculum is attached to the cervix.  This part causes cramping.  Then a catheter injects dye into the uterine cavity.  The doctor takes a series of pictures while the dye is injected and a final one that should capture the dye “spiling” out of open fallopian tubes.  If there is no spill then the tube(s) may be blocked.  

My HSG came back normal – open tubes no fibroids.

Learn more and see some pictures here.


View Article  Advice for the “fertiles” : how to be sensitive to your IF friend

How to be sensitive to your IF friend: 

You are not an expert in conception.  Having a viable pregnancy does not make you an expert in this.  Trust me, your IF friend has read more books and knows more about conception than you could ever hope to know.

RELAXING is not a medical treatment for IF.  

IF is a medical condition treated with a wide array of treatments none of which include a pillow under the hips!

Don’t offer us your eggs/sperm/uterus.  This is like me wanting a porsche and you offering to let me drive yours.  If I ever want to drive your porsche I’ll ask.

Don’t assume I will fall apart if you tell me our mutual friend is pregnant.  I might fall apart but you will only make it worse by going on and on about how “I didn’t want to tell you but…”  Just tell us like ripping a band aid off.

Forgive me for making excuses to get out of baby showers and other events featuring pregnant women or babies.  Sometimes it hurts too bad and a well planned excuse is just an act of self preservation.

IF treatments are intensive, sometimes painful, always emotionally taxing procedures.  This isn’t like getting a splinter removed.  If your friend has a procedure – CALL and ask how she is doing at least.  Flowers and chocolate are also appreciated.

Fertility drugs can make you crazy.  Erratic behavior is expected, please understand.  Imagine your worst PMS then multiply it by 1000 then imagine it is happening during a devistating time in your life like the loss of a loved one – this may get you 1/2 way to grasping the roller coaster her emotions are on.

The failure of an IF cycle is like dying a little inside.  Flippant remarks like “you can have my kid” or “don’t worry it will happen” is demeaning.  

How many pregnancy tests have you taken?  We’ve peed on hundreds of home pregnancy test sticks.  We have prayed over the stick for 3 minutes for 2 pink lines.  We have held the stick in the light and looked for even the phantom of a line.  We have cried over many sticks and taken another (and another) to be sure.  Our relationship with pregnancy tests are not the same as yours.

Our IF is NOT at all like the “agonizing 4 months” it took you to get pregnant.  We are not being impatient we are suffering from an illness (or illnesses).

Don’t say “you can always adopt.”  While adoption is a beautiful option and we may get there one day – don’t assume we are there now.  Giving up on our biology is a difficult process of loss.  Saying this to a couple who is not ready to move on is paramount to saying “you can always remarry” to a woman who’s husband has just died.  

Don’t ask us “are you pregnant?” every time we call.  For goodness sake we will let you know!  Your prayers are so so welcome but don’t ask stupid questions.   

Don’t say things like “I wish my house was as clean as yours, but we have 2 kids.” OR “Must be nice to sleep in on Saturdays, our kids get us up.” OR “You’re lucky you can afford manicures/pedicures/theatre tickets/other luxuries; but you don’t have kids to take all your money.”  Seriously, saying things like this is like punching us in the stomach.  We would gladly have a messy house, no sleep, and ratty finger nails to not feel the empty hole of childlessness in our lives.  

Do you want to support me?  Tell me that you can’t imagine what we are going through.  Tell me you don’t know what to say but that you are always there for me if I need you.

 


View Article  Semen Analysis

“Welcome to the Semen Analysis (SA)… check your dignity at the door” 

As a woman I can only think of this a justice for  years of pap smears but the SA is not a walk in the park.  With input from my partner, here is the story of an SA.

You must abstain for at least 3 but no more than 5 days.  Less than 3 days will decrease sperm count and more than 5 will produce “old” sperm.  If you are lucky enough to live near the lab you can “collect” a sample at home and take it to the lab while keeping it warm.  If you live more than 45 minutes from your lab you will have to collect in “the room.”  The room could be the bathroom stall or a small, closet-sized room with a chair and some magazines to “help with collection.”  The walls of this closet are paper thin and you can hear the sounds of the lab beyond them.  You are worried about producing the sample too quickly and looking weird.  You are equally worried that you will take too long and look weird.  What exactly is the socially acceptable period of time for masturbating into a sterile cup before handing it to a complete stranger behind the desk?  Someone should write Emily Post…

It will probably take a few days but you will eventually get results that consist of at least the following data (there are lots more sometimes):
Volume
Motility (percentage of sperm moving correctly)
Count (number of sperm per sample)
Morphology (percentage of sperm with the correct shape)

Each lab is different.  Our lab wanted to see the following
Volume:  2-5 ml
Motility >50%
Count > 40 million
Morphology >30% normal

Here were our results:
Volume: 5.6ml
Motility: 26%
Count: 78.4 million
Morphology: 4%
The lab noted that an antibody test is recommended and a referred us to a Urologist specializing in male infertility.


View Article  The language of IF

We talk in accronyms.  CD4 – cycle day #4 (four days since the menstral period began); 4 dpo – four days past ovulation; “in the 2WW” – the agonizing weeks between ovulation and waiting for AF (aunt flow – the menstral period) to arrive or the take the dreaded Home Pregnancy Test (HPT).  There are hundreds of shorthand ways to talk about IF.  Like learning a foreign language, the IF language can take some time to learn.  But, also like a foreign language, it gives those struggling with IF a common thread and a secret comardarie. 

Want to really show love and understanding to your friend with IF?  Tell him/her you are praying for their BFP – Big Fat Positive (a positive HPT or Beta (blood tes)t that tells them their wait is over!)


View Article  The cycle goes round and round

Human life is always segmented into discrete time pockets.  Maybe you work in sales and your life is driven in monthly sales goals.  Or you are a teacher and your life is divided between school time and non-school time.  For IF couples life is divided into cycles.  Ask a woman suffering from IF what day it is.  She may not be able to tell you the day of the week or the date but I gurantee she will tell you her cycle day – where she is in her monthly menstral cycle or assisted cycle (more on this later).   

Maybe she is charting her Basal Body Temperature (BBT) to determin ovulation through an increased temperature created by the hormone progesterone in her blood.  

Maybe she is taking hormone therapy injections multiple times per day so  her doctor can control her cycle.  

Either way she knows exactly where she is, what her ovaries are currently doing and what they will do in the next 2 weeks.  

What day is it for you?


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