Phony Maloney

As I enter week 20 of my pregnancy, I have to admit, I feel like a bit of a phony. Was my journey to pregnancy a bit unconventional? Yes. However, it was nothing compared to what some women go through. I was so wrapped up in my own story and my own dark thoughts, I never stopped to think “I really don’t have it so bad”

Some women are told they will NEVER conceive. Some go through years and years of treatments before they receive their miracle. I would guess these women read my blog and think “bitch, you don’t even know”. And they are soooo right.

To those women- You are so strong. Do not let this journey break you. While I may not know your unique pain, I am here. I will be your listening ear, I will be your punching bag, I will be your shoulder to cry on. It is the least I can do after being a phony maloney.

 

Long 8 Weeks

When you try and try and hope and pray and try for something for so long, you have this beautiful picture of how it is all going to play out when it does happen. I had this picture of seeing those two lines, jumping up and down, and crying tears of joy. None of that happened. I wanted to surprise my husband, my family, my friends. None of that happened.

I’m here to say fuck that picture in your head, none of that is going to happen. Nothing goes as planned.

I’m sure I said in it one of my previous posts because I have said it countless times, “the next time I get pregnant I won’t tell anyone until after 12 weeks”.

I lied, that’s bullshit.

I couldn’t keep this pregnancy a secret! No way! I’ve wanted this for too damn long to keep it a secret. I want the people in my life to be on this journey with me, no matter what happens. They have been by my side through the ups and downs so far, they deserve to a piece of this joy.

The best part of this pregnancy has been telling other people, and seeing their excitement. Because I still have not found my tears of joy or jumping up and down.

Am I excited? Uhh yeah, duh. But its not that easy.

I found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks (I really wouldn’t wish that on anyone). Every trip to the bathroom after that was scary. I was convinced that I would be bleeding and that this dream would turn into a nightmare.

I did spot. A few times. People would tell me “Its normal to spot in the first trimester” Yeah well you know what? The last time I spotted in the first trimester it ended with me hearing the words “there is no heartbeat”. So that is what is “normal” for me. Every sign of blood led me into a panic. Just when I would allow myself to feel a little bit of excitement, I would start to spot. I would get kicked back down to that place of fear. Reminded that this can be taken away at any moment.

Its been a long 8 weeks living in that scary place. I know hitting 12 weeks doesn’t mean that anything is a guarantee. However, my wish has finally come true. My little miracle is here and its time that I believe that and start enjoying it. So that is what I am going to do, damnit.

 

 

 

 

Is this real life?

I know, I know, I know…you haven’t heard from me in a while.  I promise, it was for good reason. Let me get you caught up and then you will understand.

The hubby and I went in for round two of IUI on February 5th. We went through the same ol routine. He does his little deal in a cup, we go to breakfast, and then its my turn on the table. I noticed the nurse spent a little more time down there than the first time. I didn’t know at the time if that was a good sign or a bad sign. She didn’t say much, just wam-bam thank ya ma’am and we were out of there.

The actual procedure was the easy part. The two week wait that follows is 100 times worse. I AM NOT A PATIENT PERSON. By day 10 I am convinced we had another failed attempt. My temp had dropped, I had no symptoms. I just knew it, ya know, I could feel it. I told my husband, “Don’t get your hopes up. We are just going to get another negative test.”

I think really, I had lost all hope. I had pretty much given up.

Friday was day 12 of 14, and I had a complete fuck it attitude. I was ready to drown my sorrows in Busch Light. I woke up around 4am that morning and thought I might as well take a test and get it out of the way. Yeah, it was still early, but I knew. I knew it was going to be negative. So I pulled a pregnancy test out of my ClearBlue arsenal and took my wizz. I fell back to sleep after. I didn’t have to be up for a couple more hours and sleep is VERY important to me. When I got up to get ready for work I checked the test. I could not fucking believe it. There were TWO LINES. TWO LINES YOU GUYS! It was positive!

I was in shock. I had all these great ideas in my head of how I would tell my husband when the time came, but all I could do was stumble in the bedroom and mutter “Log, there’s two lines”.

No tears, not even really excitement. I couldn’t allow myself to get excited yet. I convinced myself that this was an evaporation line, the test had been sitting out for two hours. Not because I didn’t want it to be true, because I didn’t want to believe it and then have it taken away.

I went to work for one hour before I just couldn’t take it anymore. I ran to a local store and grabbed another test, and took it at work. There were two lines, but one was VERY faint. So faint I wasn’t sure if I was even really seeing it. I was not going to let my crazy mind trick me into something that wasn’t there.

I think I lasted maybe 2 more hours at work before I went to the pharmacy to get a digital test. I went to a friend’s house and took the test there. As soon as I pissed on the stick, she grabbed it from me. Kept it in her pocket until it was ready. A few minutes later, she pulled it out of her pocket and with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes she handed it to me. I didn’t even need to read it, but I did. And I’ll be damned, it said PREGNANT.

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I am freaking pregnant.

640 days, 2 IUIs, 7 round of Clomid, 2 rounds of Femara, 103(and counting) Progesterone suppositories, 15 blood draws, 23 doctor appointments, finally all worth it.

This is my 12th week of pregnancy. And I am still not confident sharing the news. For a couple of reasons:

  1. I still fear EVERYDAY that this is going to be taken away from me. However, I told myself about a month ago, “God dammit Traci, you were given this gift. Maybe it is only for another week, maybe its only for another month, maybe its forever. Either way you need to appreciate every moment of this gift.” So, that is what I am trying to do.
  2. I remember what it is like to be the one on the other side. I remember seeing birth announcements and wanting so badly to feel happy, but only feeling empty, angry, jealous. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to share my news because of the women who will experience that feeling. And to those women, I am so sorry. But as I said earlier, I need to appreciate this gift and I want to share it with the world. Please, think of this as a little glimpse of hope when you are feeling down. It is possible, do not give up.

 

I have had many ups and downs so far, and I will be sharing ALL of that with you. However,  I think this is long enough for now. I promise, I won’t keep you waiting long.

Here is our announcement. I might be slightly biased but I think its awesome

 

 

Just don’t….

I have a list of things you just shouldn’t do or say to any woman who is currently or has dealt with infertility. Many people probably don’t even realize these things might be offensive or might cause us to cry ourselves to sleep. So, I am here to help you. When these things pop into your head, you will think of me. You will say to yourself “Shit. I shouldn’t say that”.

 

  1. Don’t compare my story to your story.  Or your aunt’s friend’s cousin’s story. Or any story you may have heard. Each battle with infertility is so different. You do not know how I am feeling just because you know someone that has been through it. It will be very hard for me to feel sorry for you when you say “Oh, I know how you feel. We tried for 5 months with our second child”. Don’t get me wrong, secondary infertility is just as exhausting. But I don’t want to hear it right now and I might punch you in the face. No one wants that. Just don’t.
  2. If you don’t know what is going on with my story, don’t talk about it. If you havent heard it out of my mouth or on my blog, don’t go around and talk about it to all your friends. You know who looks like an asshole when you go around town and tell people “I think Traci is pregnant” and then I’m not. YOU. Just don’t.
  3. If I don’t ask for advice, don’t give me advice. I know people want to be supportive and helpful. I am so thankful for that. But be that, supportive and helpful. Listen to me bitch and hold my hand when I’m crying. Don’t think that there is something you can tell me that I haven’t already thought myself, heard from a doctor, or read during my countless nights on Google. Just don’t.
  4. Don’t tell me to relax. This is just an all around good piece of advice. You know what doesn’t help someone relax? Telling them to relax. “You know, I bet if you would just relax you would get pregnant in no time” Oh really, thanks Susan. Why didn’t I think of that?! Just don’t.
  5. This is something I have actually learned since I started this crazy journey-        Don’t ask couples when they are going to have children. Some couples just don’t want children, and that is their prerogative. Other couples may be trying and trying to start a family. Every single person who asks them that question is reminding them of their failure to do that. Just don’t.

 

I know I sound like an ungrateful bitch, but I am really just saying what so many other women have wanted to say. Trust me, this list could go on and on. 

I am not ungrateful. I am forever thankful for the kind words, prayers, and pep talks. I know everyone has only the best intentions. We hear the things on this list, ALL THE TIME. I have yet to punch anyone. I kindly answer them, put on a fake smile, and deal with the emotions later. That is what we are trained to do in this fucked up world of infertility. So help me help the thousands of others that may be dealing with this. Next time you think about doing anything on the list above, JUST DON’T.

I’m back, bitches!

We are fresh off our two month break and ready for our second round of IUI!

The break was great. I could do whatever I wanted with out having to think of how it was effecting my reproductive system. I only took my temperature when I was sick, I had zero hot flashes, and only yelled at my husband when he deserved it (not that he would ever deserve it, he is a god damn saint).

But I am so ready to jump back on this baby makin train. Bring on the mood swings, the poking and prodding, the sweating, all of it. BRING IT ON!

This is our second round of IUI. Which means, we only get one more chance after this if it fails and then we move to IVF. I know you are saying “You cant think that way! You need to think positive!” Take your positivity and shove it up your…..you know what. I need to be realistic. And I am. In the last few months my thoughts have changed from “when we get pregnant” to “if we get pregnant”. And that’s ok. I need to be ready for anything that is thrown at me.

Don’t get me wrong. I am hopeful. SO FREAKING HOPEFUL. I’m hopeful and excited and nervous and all that good stuff. I’m hopeful for the future and I hope that future includes a beautiful baby. I’m excited to get this ball rolling again and to be one step closer to some answers. I’m nervous for those answers. I am nervous that those answers won’t give me what I want.

No matter what happens, I know that I am going to be alright. I have the best husband and the most supportive friends and family. Wherever this journey takes me from here, I am going to be just fine.

Intrauterine Insemination

Am I the only one that thinks the word “insemination” is disgusting?!  It reminds me of a farmer with their hand shoved up a cow’s ass. I guess, I don’t know if that’s how it works, but that’s how I picture it.

My husband and I had our first appointment at the fertility clinic about 3 months ago. We were so excited when they told us we were a candidate for IUI. I had been waiting to hear those words. I knew IUI was the next step we needed to take, but my other baby doctor was not mentioning it. They prescribed me Femara (which is much like Clomid, well, has the same goal at least. It actually has fewer side effects and works differently, but you get the point.) and told me to start my ovulation tests on day 12. As soon as I get that big ol smiley face on my kit I was to call to schedule my IUI appointment for the next day. WHOOOOOOO!!!!! Exciting, right?!

The night before our appointment I was restless, anxious, excited, and nervous. All the emotions. We woke up at 6 am for our 2 hour drive to the fertility clinic. I was excited the whole drive, like a little kid on the way to a birthday party.

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The first appointment was actually Logan’s appointment. As you can see, he was not as excited. He had to go back to the “man room” to whack his willy.

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After the specimen was in the cup, they put the spermies through a little sperm car wash. This is to improve mobility and quality of the sperms. We only want the fast ones and the strong ones. This process takes about an hour so we had an hour break before my appointment.

This is when my nerves hit.

Does anyone else get the nervous shits? Well I do. You know when you REALLY don’t want to get explosive diarrhea? When you are less than an hour from having a stranger staring at your hooha. I was actually IN THE BATHROOM when they called my name to go back to the procedure room. Yeah, it was that bad.IMG_5892

(I know I skipped step 2 in the pictures, that was just breakfast)

The next step is to take a catheter, shove it in my uterus, and squirt those Michael Phelp spermies right up there by my ovaries.  First the nice lady comes in and reviews Logan’s sperm scores which seem to be fucking winners, if you ask me. She shows me the vial and I confirm, yes, that is my huband’s semen.

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I lay back and put my feet in the ol’ stirrups. She inserts the catheter and goes for the gold. The whole procedure literally took 5 minutes. Pretty much pain free, a little uncomfortable.

Before you know it we are back on the road for our two hour trip home.

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There wasn’t much pain after the procedure, just a little cramping. I went home and took a nap and felt like a million bucks when I woke up.

They tell you after the procedure to act as if you are pregnant. So that means; no drinking, lower caffeine, take all your vitamins, etc. I also started back on those wonderful progesterone suppositories, which I love so much. It is recommended not to take a pregnancy test for TWO GOD DAMN WEEKS after the procedure. Longest two weeks ever. I wish I could say I was a good girl and didn’t test before the two weeks was up, but then I’d be a liar. The problem with testing too early is you can get a false positive or a false negative. So, you never really know if its correct. I started testing at about day 12.

Day 12- negative. Day 13- Negative. Day 14- Negative. I was still holding on to a little bit of hope, as some positives do show up later. However, my positive never came. Was I disappointed? Yes. However, when you are dealing with infertility you prepare yourself for that disappointment, because you have felt it it for so many months. It’s almost impossible to get your hopes up, because they have been smashed SO MANY TIMES.

It was after this failed IUI that we decided to take a break.  I am so glad that we did. Did you know, I don’t even know what day of my cycle I am on right now.?!?!?! That hasn’t happened for a year and a half. I haven’t taken my temperature before getting out of bed for a month now!! This break is exactly what my husband and I both needed. We will be jumping back on the baby makin’ train in January. We get two more tries with IUI and then our facility clinic recommends trying IVF. I am excited to see where our journey is going to lead us next.

STAY TUNED BITCHES.

 

Give me a break!

After 7 rounds of Clomid, 2 rounds of Femara, 4 months of progesterone suppositories, and one failed IUI…we are taking a much needed break.

I bet you thought I was going to say I’M PREGNANT, right?!?! I freaking wish.

I have mixed feelings about this break.

It feels a bit hypocritical. I am constantly talking about how I want a baby more than anything, but yet I’m willing to take a couple months off from trying to reach that goal?

Yep. I am. Ya know why? I need this god damn break.
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These four small words perfectly describe the way I feel. I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. Its been 18 months of constant stress and disappointment. This disease has consumed my life for too long. My husband and I need some time to be ourselves.

We are taking just two months. Two months of no doctor appointments, no additional hormones, no sticking bullets up my hooha, no grabbing the thermometer as soon as I wake up, no ovulation tests, no pregnancy tests. Just live “normal” lives. I couldn’t be more excited. As soon we made this decision, I felt like I could breathe again. A weight was lifted.

It feels a bit selfish, but stress doesn’t help the baby making process and my stress level has been through the god damn roof.

Hell who knows, maybe those assholes who constantly say “if you just relax, it will happen”, will be right.

You want me to stick that where?!?

Todays subject?

PROGESTERONE VAGINAL SUPPOSITORIES

We found out through some blood tests that my progesterone levels were quite low. Progesterone is produced to thicken the uterine lining to prepare for implantation. It will also thin cervical mucus (yuck, such a gross word) which helps those spermies swim to where they need to go.

My doctor told me he prefers patients to have a progesterone level of 8-9. Mine was a measly 4. So he prescribed PROGESTERONE VAGINAL SUPPOSITORIES. The word suppository is bad enough, then add vaginal in front of it?!? Ick

Ick is a good word to describe the entire progesterone experience.

I was lucky enough to only have to take progesterone once a day. Some ladies have to do this 2-3 times a day.

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The suppository itself looks like a little bullet. That is how my husband and I refer to it. “Gotta go put my bullet in”. Some suppositories come with an applicator, mine did not. I tried using a tampon applicator but felt it didn’t get that little guy up there quite far enough. You want to get it as close to your cervix as you can. So you shove that bullet up there and then need to lay down for 20-30 minutes so your body can absorb the progesterone. However, your body does not absorb everything. So you know what happens to the rest? It constantly oozes out. And it feels disgusting. It feels like you are walking around with lotion in your panties.

My advice for anyone starting progesterone suppositories, stock up on panty liners.

Progesterone will also help prevent miscarriages. I was instructed to start my bullets 36 hours after ovulation and continue until either I get my period or I am 10 weeks pregnant. That’s a long time to have lotion in your panties.

I also found the progesterone lengthened my cycle and therefore also delayed my period. You know what is a terrible thing to do to a woman experiencing infertility? Delay her period. I was soooo excited the first month I started the progesterone. My period was 3 days late. I thought for sure that was going to be the month I was finally knocked up! Nope. Just these stupid hormones messing with my cycle. Progesterone is kind of an asshole like that. It mimics many pregnancy symptoms.

  • dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, tiredness;
  • headache, mood changes, feeling nervous or irritable;
  • stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation;
  • bloating, swelling in your hands or feet;
  • breast pain, swelling, or tenderness;
  • cramps, pelvic pain; or.
  • vaginal itching, burning, or discharge

Sounds like fun right? You’re gonna feel like shit, you have to shove a bullet up your whoo whoo every night, aaand walk around with lotion in your panties. Ah the joys of infertility.

 

Clomid

I did seven rounds of Clomid. So I like to think I know a thing or two about it….

Clomid is used to induce ovulation in those of us who do not ovulate or do not ovulate on a regular basis.

Every woman has a different experience with Mr. Clomid. A few of the side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Mood Swings
  • Hot Flashes
  • Abdominal Discomfrot
  • Cyst growth
  • Vision Disturbances
  • Nausea
  • Bloating

This list really does go on. For me the first round of Clomid was the worst. I think a big part of it was just not knowing what to expect. However, I am sure my husband would be glad to vouch for the MOOD SWINGS. I couldn’t even believe how bitchy I was. I was bitchy, and then I was crying because I was bitchy. And then I was laughing about how bitchy I was and how stupid I was for crying over it.

The next four rounds weren’t as bad. Actually, I think I just adapted to the side effects. I knew what to expect and how to prevent it. It didn’t get bad again until baby doctor decided to increase my dosage. This is when the visual disturbances and cyst growth began. I noticed the visual disturbances before going to bed on my second day of round 5. I was seeing “trails” of every thing I looked at. You know when you look at a camera flash and then that is all you can see? Yep, that. Only it didn’t go away. And it followed every where I looked. It got so bad I was dizzy and vomiting. I checked Google to see if I was dying. I wasn’t dying, but I read that you should discontinue use immediately. I really wanted to finish the medicine, I only had a few days left. I had also read on Google that most doctors will not prescribe Clomid for more than 6 months, so I really wanted to make this one count. I called my doctor and they said there was no reason to quit taking it, so I finished. As soon as I finished the symptoms eased. I still swear I see the trails sometimes, but that may be just in my crazy little mind.

I don’t remember now if it was that same month or the next when I got the feeling that something just wasn’t right. I was having cramping, worse than normal, and at odd times of my cycle. I was hoping it was just from the prenatal meds blocking up my pipes. After laxatives didn’t work, I decided to go see my regular doctor. She ordered an ultrasound, sure as shit, cysts on my ovaries. I’m not sure why, but this was a kick to the gut to hear. It just lead to a whole new list of “what ifs”.

Every F*cking Morning

Below, my friends, is a picture of the basal temperature chart I was speaking of in my previous blog

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Looks harmless, right?

Your basal temperature is your lowest body temperature, taken during rest. I was instructed to take my temperature EVERY FUCKING MORNING, before I even roll out of bed, and then go write it on this stupid chart. EVERY MORNING. My alarm goes off, I instantly grab the thermometer from under my pillow and stick the damn thing in my mouth. EVERY MORNING! I think you get the point. It is also important to write on our chart every time we have intercourse. Nothing says romance and spontaneity like charting your sex life.

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The picture above is why I hate these charts. These are my charts, the charts that have been running my life for months. You’ll notice none of them look the same. Looks a little bit like a roller coaster, right? Yep. It feels like a roller coaster. Every dip and spike in temperature means something. When those dips and spikes don’t come when they SHOULD, it feels as though another month has been wasted.

Although these charts are a pain in the ass, I would recommend them to anyone trying to conceive. They are soo helpful in getting to know your body and your cycle.

After eight weeks of being a good student, I returned to my baby doctor. I was optimistic that we would finally be able to take a step forward.

And boy did we ever, Clomid………