Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Find a happy place!

I don't know what's wrong with me. I just cannot get out of this cloud of negativity. I'm dwelling and obsessing and feeling like a crazy person. It's so frustrating because when I'm staying busy, I feel totally fine and happy but then as soon as I have some free time my mood just plummets.The more time I have to think, the more completely out of control I feel. It's scary.

I need to stop thinking and feeling like I'm just wasting time waiting for the next three to six months to pass by. That's depressing. I want to actually enjoy my life, pregnant or not, so I thought it might help to try to focus on all of the things that I have to look forward to over these next few months. Hopefully this will help get me out of this rough patch and into a happier place. Maybe?

1. Halloween costumes for Binky and Bear
Look at that little guy! I think B&B will
be equally cute.
I was a little stressed out last year for Binky's first Halloween with us, so I never got around to finding costumes for them. This year I planned ahead and ordered (very cheap) costumes for them from Party City! They're both going to be Fire Chiefs. I'm can't wait until they're delivered. I'm sure Binky and Bear with love them.

2. Fito Blanko and Gocho mini concert
I mostly listen to Reggaeton/Latin pop these days and a few of my favorite songs are by Fito Blanko. He's a Panamanian guy who was raised and started his career in Toronto (any of you Canadians know of him?). This Saturday he's having a mini concert and I convinced Seth to go! I'm so excited. The opening act is the second to last game of the season for the Miami Marlins, so I guess we'll be watching a baseball game too :p

3. More classes
I received an email from my supervisor last week asking me if I was interested in teaching two more classes. Apparently one of the other adjuncts decided to move four weeks into the semester, so they need a replacement for two Earth Science labs. I said yes! It's awesome. It will be a little bit more work in terms of class time and grading, but I'm already doing all of the prep work for my other labs anyway. It's only a teeny tiny pay raise, but we can definitely use the extra money! And they asked me to fill out a schedule request form for next semester so I think there's a great chance I'll have a job in the spring too!

4. Wine
There are two chilled bottles of my favorite Cupcake wines in my refrigerator right now. I think wine will go well with the pasta that I'm making for dinner. I highly recommend Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.

5. Thanksgiving
We still have a lot of time before I really start getting excited for Thanksgiving but we just bought our tickets to fly home to see my family! I'm pumped. My parents came to visit for my surgery in August, but I haven't seen my siblings and my nieces since July. I think this will be the longest I've gone without seeing them (5 months). I'm really excited to see my nieces because T was only 9 or 10 weeks old in July - at Thanksgiving, she'll be 7 months! My other niece, A, will be 4 in December. She's definitely a little girl, not a toddler now :(

Realistically, I know that nothing is going to make my fear and sadness go away but at least I can find some ways to cover it up, at least for a few hours at a time.

I'll leave you with a little "Pegadito Suavicito" in case you need help finding a happy place too. This type of music always makes me want to have a dance party!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Planning for Failure

My good mood has fizzled out quite a bit over the past few days. I just can't shake the feeling and the fear that I'm starting the TTC process over again and that it's going to end the same way - lots of waiting and hoping and disappointment and more time "wasted".

It's so hard to balance the practical aspects and the emotional side of infertility. I know that it's possible that my fertility has improved because of the surgery. Studies show that pregnancy without help can happen after surgery. But emotionally, I just can't make myself believe that I'll be one of the lucky ones. I've been feeling really...flat lately. Just sort of resigned to the possibly that this isn't going to happen right now.

Seth and I talked again the other day about how we want to proceed over the next few months. I'm not sure if I can handle another six months of this, but I also don't want to spend the time, money, and emotional energy on treatment cycles if we don't need it. Then there's the odds to consider. Some people with endometriosis do have success with IUI, but in general IVF is a safer bet. A much more invasive and expensive bet. I asked Seth if he would rather try on our own for three cycles (1 down, 2 to go) and then try IUI or try for six and then move right to IVF. He surprised me by choosing six months and IVF. My practical side is ready for IVF, but I don't think I'm emotionally ready for it. I just don't know if it's the right choice for me. We still have a lot of research and talking to do before we make this decision, of course.

I hate that everything has to be so planned with infertility. The whole "just relax" and "try not to think about it" advice is such a ridiculous joke. You always have to be planning ahead. If you don't plan ahead, you don't get an appointment with the RE. You miss your window to have the monitoring required for a treatment cycle. If we decide to go through with treatment after three cycles, I need to call Dr. M to make an appointment this week because they're usually booked a month in advance. It's so hard to be hopeful when you're always planning for failure. We can always cancel later, but since we're 100% OOP now I don't want to go through with the appointment until we're sure about what we want to do. Every penny needs to count now.

A big part of me just wants to say fuck it all. Fuck the charting, fuck the OPKs, and let's just go back to the way our life was before we started TTC and just see what happens. Seth also surprised me by saying he would really like to keep actively trying. I guess he's right. It will be so much harder to move forward with treatment if I don't feel like we gave ourselves the best chance possible after surgery.

Ah well. At least it's Friday, right?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I'm Home!

***Just in case anyone needs a warning, there's some baby in this post.***

And exhausted. And super busy. And it's CD1. Cool.

We got back from Honduras ridiculously early Sunday morning. It was a nice weekend. Sort of. It was great to see my BIL and SIL and so nice to finally meet my niece, but things were a little bit weird. My SIL said the baby doesn't sleep during the day, but then they spent most of the time in her bedroom. Every now and then, they would pop out for a few minutes and then go back in for hours. Finally around dinner time, the baby would come out and we'd get to hold her and hang out with her but it was only for about an hour or so. I think my SIL just has a bad case of "first time parent" (jumping every time the baby coughs, bathing in hand sanitizer, etc). Maybe? I don't know, but if that the case I hope she's able to relax soon. I ended up spending most of my time with the dogs, which is fine by me - I'm a freak and I'm more comfortable around animals than most people anyway.

So other than the Rapunzel situation, it was a nice trip. Honduras (the tiny corner of it that we saw, at least) was pretty cool. It's a lot like Guatemala - kind of tropical and mountainy at the same time.

We fed some really aggressive ducks.

And saw tons of iguanas!

We also drove to the coast to have lunch on the water.

I learned how to make sushi.

 I made some new buddies. These pups were so snugly and I was so sad to say goodbye to them.

And of course, we met our niece.

That last picture breaks my heart a little bit. We look like a family. That's what our life would look like if we never had trouble TTC. But we did. We still are. Today is another CD1. On to cycle #17. It's still business as usual for us right now. We're definitely going to keep trying on our own for two more cycles. After that, who knows? Seth and I have a lot of pretty big decisions to make over the next few weeks, so I think we just need to take things one day at a time.

For now, I'm just trying to stay busy. That's not hard at all though. My new job is a ridiculous amount of work for only 5 credit hours - but I really love it! It is such an awesome feeling to actually like your job. It's such a nice change to not be absolutely miserable just thinking about being at work. In spite of the IF crap, I feel like a very lucky girl.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Adios Amigos!

Later tonight Seth are leaving to visit his brother in Honduras! I'm excited because my BIL and his wife just had a baby girl in the spring and it will be our first time meeting our niece. Also, this will be my first visit to Honduras.

My BIL lives in a city near the border with Guatemala. It's known as the "murder" capitol" of the world because it has had the highest murder rate for the past two years or so. Most of the top 50 most dangerous cities are in Central and South America in the drug traffic zone, but there are a few in the US (New Orleans, #17), the Caribbean, and Africa as well. The most dangerous city that I've been to so far is Guatemala City which didn't even make the top ten (#12). I don't think I'll make it goal to visit all 50 cities, but I think this will be definitely an interesting experience! And it's good to be reminded how different things are in other parts of the world. I know that I take a lot for granted.

Anyway, I really need to go pack now - I just wanted to let all of my stalkers friends and supporters know that I would be missing for a few days. Hope everyone survives the rest of the week and has a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

7 dpo - P4 Test

This morning I went to Dr. M's office to have my 7 dpo progesterone levels checked (the P4 draw). They told me that I could call at 3:30 to hear my results. I called at 3:33. As I understand it, a level of 5 ng/mL means that some sort of ovulation happened, 10 is what doctors like to see for a non-medicated cycle, and 15 is what they like to see for a medicated cycle. Justine's message said that my level was 24! She said that everything was progressing "normally" and she also wished me luck, which I thought was very nice. I'm pretty happy with that number. It's nice to know that if we do get lucky, my body is doing what it needs to do to sustain a pregnancy.

To be honest, I wasn't really surprised that my P4 level was decent. My chart looks pretty glorious right now. There's an obvious biphasic pattern and my temperature is rising. I've also had sore boobs and headaches for a few days now, which are typical symptoms of increasing progesterone.

I'm not really that worried about LUFs anymore either. Dr. M had mentioned it before I had the surgery, before we knew what was going on with me. He was concerned about my short cycles and early (possibly weak) ovulation. Ever since I switched to vaginal temping, my temp shifts have been really obvious which has been really comforting. And now that we know about the cysts and the endo, there's really no reason to believe that anything else is wrong. It's not worth worrying about it right now. If nothing happens in the next 3-6 months, then I'm sure we'll talk about it again.

Today at work, I ran into a friend that I haven't seen very often since I officially quit my job back in the spring. She told me that she was so glad to see me looking so happy. She said it was great to see me smiling so much. When she told me this I realized that I DO feel happy. I feel so much happier than I did a few months ago. Sure, some days absolutely suck. In general, though, I do feel really good. It's nice to know that, in spite of the IF and the issues I've had from surgery, I can be happy.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday! Friday!

Finally! I am so happy that today is Friday. I haven't adjusted to my new work schedule yet. Every morning when I wake up, my eyes are bright red and I feel like I only got one or two hours of sleep. I need about ten to feel normal. This is going to be me at 2:00 PM today:

As a bonus, my FIL's GF is taking me to get a mani/pedi this afternoon and then FIL is taking us to the Melting Pot for dinner! I am so pumped. It would be awesome if I could fit a nap in there too.

Oh and as a double (or triple?) bonus - FF gave me CH's this morning. 

Woohoo! My first two week wait since the surgery. I'm feeling pretty good, mentally and physically too. I had 2 or 3 days towards the beginning of my cycle where I felt the same sharp pain on my left side that I always have, but I didn't have any major pains around ovulation - just some minor, what I would imagine to be "normal", aches.

This should be a really easy 2ww too. I spoke to Justine yesterday and I'm going to have blood work done on Tuesday (7 dpo) to check my progesterone levels. Even though I know that doesn't rule out LUFs (which is more common in people with endo than those without) I think it will make me feel better if I have good results. Then on Wednesday, Seth and I are going to Honduras to visit my BIL, SIL, and my new niece! I'm so excited about that. We'll be there from 8 dpo - 12dpo so it will be a nice distraction as well. I'm considering leaving the HPTs at home so that I don't torture myself. We'll see though - I'm not making myself any promises yet.

I hope everybody has a nice weekend!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Breathe and Reboot

I apologize for being a bit of a drama queen yesterday. I've had time to calm down now and, honestly, I'm feeling better already.

Last night, I re-read (and re-read again) the article that reported a 44% chance of pregnancy for women with Stage 1 or 2 endometriosis in the first year after surgery. When I first saw that, it sounded really depressing but then I thought about it some more and I realized that I'm focusing on the wrong things. Those women - that 44% - were also the same women that fell into the 15% of women that did not get pregnant after 12 months of TTC. So that means that surgery DID make a difference for almost half of the women in that group! Or maybe it was just time that made the difference, who knows. Either way - I've had surgery and I have time. Maybe I WILL be in that 44%.

The article also says that most women were pregnant within 6 months after the surgery (Dr. M recommend we try for 3-6 months) and that "surgery and a prompt attempt at natural conception with sufficient time (at least six months) is advisable". That's nice to hear. It's not that I don't trust Dr. M, I just like to some facts or second opinions to back up what he is telling me.

I think the main reason that I was panicking yesterday is that I spent the past 3-4 months trying to come to terms with the fact that we would probably not be able to conceive without help. I had been trying to convince myself that it wasn't going to happen easily for me. When I heard that we were supposed to just keep trying on our own, I was still convinced that the odds were very much not in our favor. I felt like we were right back where we started. Now that I've had time to think, I know that's not true. We're not doing nothing. Surgery wasn't nothing. It's okay to be hopeful again. We do have a chance. Maybe not as good as a "normal" couple, but a still an okay chance.

Right now (and I say right now because I'll probably think of something else in twenty minutes) I'm thinking that this is a good thing. Seth and I might be moving in December. That's only four months from now. It would be great if I was pregnant by then, but if we're not it's not the end of the world. Maybe it will be good for us to just take it easy, keep charting and doing what we're doing, and then see what happens in December. We don't know where we'll be or what we'll be doing. Maybe it's better for both of our mental and emotional states to just sit back and hope for the best. If nothing happens, we'll have a better idea of what we can and want to do.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Official Post-lap Report

Today I was supposed to see Dr. M to check on my surgical site infection, but when I got there Justine said that he was going to do my full post-op appointment so that I didn't have to make two trips. I was nervous at first because Seth wasn't with me today, but I figured we had plenty of time to make decisions after I relayed the report to Seth.

First, Dr. M checked out my wound. He said it looks like it's healing fine which is great news. However, he still wants me to see an infectious disease specialist. He said that he doesn't have a lot of experience with MRSA and wants to make sure that I'm treated correctly. I'm glad that he was honest about it but I'm bummed that it's not over yet. My new insurance is a giant pain in the ass so I have to go see a PCP, get a referral from them, and then make an appointment with the specialist. Fun.

Next, we went to his office and Dr. M went over all of the results of my surgery. It was pretty much exactly what he and Seth discussed on the day of my surgery, with just a little more/different information.
  1. I had Stage 2 endometriosis (very abundant, widespread, blah blah). Dr. M said that there wasn't enough to call it Stage 3 (no adhesions or scar tissue!) but there was absolutely enough to cause fertility problems. Almost all the endometriosis was removed.
  2. A "strip of endometrium" (piece of tissue) and a small polyp were removed from my uterus. They were both benign. The "strip of endometrium" was pretty big, so now that it's been removed my uterus is nice and clear (thanks for the reminder). There were no other issues with my uterus.
  3. The cysts were not on my ovaries like I initially thought but on both of my tubes instead. A large paratubal cyst was "obliterating the span of the fimbria" on my left side. A smaller paratubal cyst was also interfering with the fimbria on my right side. They "were both removed hopefully to improve ovum pickup". The cysts were also benign - everything was just endometrial tissue.

Dr. M said that the surgery went really well. He said he found exactly what he wanted to find. I'd have liked to have not found endometriosis at all, but I know what he means. At least we know what the problem is. Then he said something that I didn't expect. He says that he recommends that we do nothing for now. No treatment. Just try on our own for 3 to 6 months or however long we feel like it. He doesn't think clomid is a good fit for me and since we don't have an MFI issues, IUI wouldn't really be worth the extra money. Dr. M also said that he felt like I had a 50% chance of getting pregnant in the next six months.

I felt really, really disappointed. I cried. I cried in the office and I cried on the way home. Shouldn't I be happy that he doesn't think I need any additional treatment? I know that surgery is a form or treatment, but everything I've read seems to indicate that it may not really improve fertility rates. One study showed that the natural conception rate for women with Stage 2 endometriosis was only 44% for the first year after laparoscopic surgery. Two other studies reported that, even with superovulation, conception rates were only 2-15% per cycle for women with surgically treated Stage 1 or 2 endometriosis. Even Dr. M's "50% chance" just sounds like he's covering his ass. Really? You're 100% sure that I'll either get pregnant or I won't? Good to know.

Maybe I'm depressed or maybe this is the "IF brain" that I keep hearing about, but I'm having a really hard time feeling happy. I know that the surgery was important and helpful, I'm just having a really hard time believing that I'll be one of the lucky ones.

So that's that. We're just going to continue trying on our for who knows how long. I hate to end on a post on negative note though, so I'm going to try to focus on the positive.

The positive OPK I got today. YAY for a "normal" post-surgery cycle! The little smiley face is very comforting.

ETA: To be clear, I will be THRILLED if we don't need any other treatments. Obviously, that's what we always hoped would happen - to just get pregnant on our own. I'm just having trouble believing that it will happen that way and I'm afraid of giving the endo a chance to grow back. I'm just terrified of getting my hopes up too high.