Saturday, April 30, 2011

National Infertility Awareness Week

April 24 - 30 is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).  I've been very active on Twitter this week in support of NIAW. 

For NIAW this year, Resolve has challenged the IF community to Bust A Myth about Infertility.  I've been contemplating this blog post all month, but for some reason I've been unable to sit down and write it.  I've written the post in my head, but when I try to write it, it's blank.  So be warned, I have no idea what's to come in the paragraphs ahead.

As many myths as there are about infertility, I really want to write about the Truths.

MYTH: Single women are not infertile, they just need a partner.

TRUTH: Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive.  If you are over the age of 35, the time of TTC is reduced to 6 months.  I started TTC at 38 and every cycle has been under the care of an RE.  I can't help but wonder if I had started years before if I would have struggled with infertility or not?  So many young couples experience infertility!  1 in 4 women in their late 30's and 40's will experience fertility challenges. 

MYTH: If you are infertile, do IVF, it always works.

TRUTH:  Infertility is a medical problem that can be emotionally, socially and financially crippling. IVF is unbelievably expensive with no guarantees, it does NOT work for everyone. And if the magic bullet (IVF) doesn't work, the heartbreak is extraordinary.  I've had two failed IVF's and I'm blessed with very good infertility insurance coverage.  Even with this coverage each cycle still has significant uncovered costs.  I would not be able to afford to continue treatment without my insurance coverage.  I'm one of the few lucky ones who are covered, most are not.

I had so much more to say, but I just don't feel like I'm doing the topic justice.  I'm on my second consecutive cycle with 0% chance of success (no treatments) which is simply frustrating. 

For what it's worth, I did post this week on Facebook for the first time anything related to my TTC/SMC/Infertility.  I didn't directly "come out" on Facebook, this is what I posted: 

"Infertility is a heart-wrenching, faith-questioning, relationship-testing, soul crushing, life-altering experience.  April 24 - 30 is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). Whether a friend, a family member, a colleague or yourself has fought through this difficult fate that MILLIONS of people are fighting day in and day out, post this as your status if you or someone you know has walked to Hell and back for the chance to be a MOM! Visit Resolve for more information."

Anyone who has followed my blog for any period of time knows the emotional toll infertility has taken on me.  They also know, I wont give up!

One last message, if you know someone who struggles with primary infertility (the inability to conceive their first child) please be very sensitive to them with Mother's Day coming up in a week.  For me, Mother's Day is the most difficult holiday and a HUGE reminder of my pain.

For more information on NIAW visit or 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A - Z of TTC (SMC/Infertility)

This is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).  If you follow me on Twitter, you know I'm tweeting all about it.  I plan to write my Bust a Myth blog post for NIAW this week, it's in very rough draft form right now.  True to the classic procrastinator I can sometimes be, I'm not ready to finish it... so look for it later this week.

In the meantime, I'm taking this format from Not Fat, Just Pregnant
and giving my A-Z list of TTC as a Single Woman diagnosed with Unexplained Infertility.

A. Age when you started TTC: 38 (after considering SMC for many years)

B. Baby Dancing or Sex: Neither.  IUI & IVF

C. Children wanted: For years I always wanted one, until I started TTC, now I'd love to have two

D. Dogs/Cats/Fill in Children:  2 dogs, two years old (a few months apart).  Rescues, Lab mixes.  Truly my babies!

E. Essential Oils/Vitamins/Snake Oils:  Prenatals, D3 (liquid), B6, Calcium, Fish Oil 

F. Fertility Meds I’ve taken: (In order) Clomid, Progesterone, Ovadrel, Femara, Gonal-F, Novarel Mocrodose, Estrace, Lupron Microdose, Low dose HCG, Saizen (HGH) - ALSO, BCP's, Vicoden, Methoprednozone, Doxycycline, Daisopam, Valium, and Xanax (Xanax for the stress of TTC/BFN's)    

G. Gain: Since TTC? 12lbs, in the last 2 years 32lbs

H. HSG (Hystosalpingogram): All clear! The test didn't phase me a bit

I. Infertile Pet Peeves: More than I'd like to admit, but I will in my NIAW post later this week

J. Job title: Change Manager

K. Kid’s names you’re afraid will be taken by the time you can use them: I'll name my child what I want when I know what the right name is, regardless of whether or not someone else has used the name

L. Length of time TTC: 1 year (working exclusively with an RE)

M. Miscarriages: None, thank God. Praying that answer never changes. I do believe I've had 2 chemical pregnancies that went away before they could be verified.

N. Number of times you’ve switched OB/GYNS, REs, FSs: Since TTC, 1 OB/GYN, 1 RE (but I see all 6 in the practice).  I have TWO second opinions scheduled in May.

O. Ovarian quality: Good for my age.

P. POAS or wait for AF: POAS.  I waited with IVF#1.  Sometimes I think if I POAS or wait it will impact the outcome, silly superstitions.  But if I didn't POAS, I wouldn't know about my two unconfirmed chemical pregnancies.

Q. Quote from an obnoxious fertile: "It will happen, in time"... (unless I go broke first, or insane).  I also can't stand when women say something and then follow with "only a mother truly knows"... I feel like I've been dismissed, deemed unworthy. 

S. Sperm: On my second Open Donor (one day I'll add up exactly how much I've spent on sperm alone $$)

T. Time you tried naturally: Does 1 unmedicated IUI count?

U. Uterus quality: Assumed it's fine.  Looked good in HSG & Hysteroscopy.  Next week's Endometrial Biopsy will tell more...

V. Vagina: If it weren't for regular visits with Wandy & the Speculum, my Va-jay-jay would be quite lonely

W. What baby stuff do you already have?: I bought a used glider shortly before my first IUI and donated the bedroom furniture to Salvation Army... now I feel like I jinxed myself.  Plus, my mom volunteers for a thrift store and I have 2 crates full of goodies.  I finally had to tell her to stop until a viable pregnancy is confirmed.

X. X-tra X-tra Hear all about it! How many people know the ins and outs of our crazy TTC journey? First it was close friends, then immediate family.  After continued struggles I decided it would be less stressful to share with other friends and even work (for IVF scheduling support and reduced stress).  This week I posted on Facebook, not "coming out" but an NIAW statement.

Y. Yearly Exam (do you still go in even though someone sees your lady parts most months?): I had to have a pap before IVF.  The pap was late (by several months) since I had so many appointments all year spreading my legs for the masses.

Z. Zits: Occasionally.  Usually around my period.

Care to share your A - Z's of TTC?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Cycle Shall Be Without A Purpose

Today was WTF day with Dr. T.  Let me back up...  Monday, AF arrived... only 23 days into the cycle. That's a new record, by far, for short cycles.  The cycle after IVF2.0 failed.

That should say SECOND FAILED IVF

  • I didn't cry.  I did blink back tears 2 - 3 times, but I didn't cry at all... this is progress.  Or numbness. Or getting used to feeling so hurt and lost.  But I didn't cry!
  • No cycle shall be without a purpose.  This is my request.  Whether it be a cycle reserved for testing, an IUI cycle or an IVF cycle, every cycle from here on should have a purpose.  Basically, if not a cycle for testing, every cycle will have greater than a 0% chance of conceiving my baby.
  • My IVF2.0 embryos were GOOD!  They were superior compared to IVF1.0 embryos.  The two 'runts' that we didn't transfer were blasts at day 6 (and the 4 superstars we transferred were nearly at Morela stage on Day 3).  
  • My Egg Quality. I absolutely should be able to get pregnant with my own eggs... it's just a question of how many times it would take.  Enter a comparison by my doctor to Celine Dion who had 6 IVF's before conceiving/delivering her twins with her own eggs.  Sure... because I have the same resources as Celine Dion.
  • Donor Egg Options.  Dr. T knew I had met with the DE coordinator last week so the conversation started with how this would be a good choice (70% live birth rate) for the most immediate results.  I didn't post about my DE Coordinator meeting yet, the waiting list is approximately six months.  Bottom line, I'll get on the list as I digest the idea while I continue to move forward with my own eggs.
  • Donor Embryos.  Dr. T also recommended looking into donor embryos, as there are good success rates and it's significantly less expensive.  My clinic does not have a donor egg program at this time but we talked about clinics that do.
  • My Uterus.  One of my biggest questions is about ruling out any potential problems with my uterus.  At this stage (6 IUI's and 2 IVF's), Dr. T agreed it's time to investigate potential problems with my uterus.  An endometrial biopsy is in order.
Next Steps:
  • Endometrial Biopsy this cycle.  I started Femara tonight, CD3.  We will use this cycle for the testing.  It will be minimal hormones, and a procedure to take a small sample from my uterus around 10 days after Ovulation.  It will be around 10 days to have the results.  I have more research to do about this process, I'm sure it will be the subject of another blog post.
  • IVF3.0 Immediately following this cycle.  In the interest of my determination that every cycle has a purpose, we'll go immediately into an IVF cycle after this 'testing' cycle.
  • Backup IUI cycle.  Should IVF3.0 fail, rather than taking a month off, I'll go into an IUI cycle.  The reason for the time off is that my RE goes by the practice of having 3 months between retrievals... so if I'm not stimulating or suppressing for a purpose, I'll have an IUI.
These are the highlights.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Short End of the Stick

This is a random thought that hit me on the acupuncture table today... which is odd because I rarely have negative thoughts in my state of relaxation.

How is it I drew the short end of the stick in life?  As a little girl, I never dreamed of my career, of being a rising executive at a major financial institution.  Big whoop!  Really??

I dreamed of having a child...  when I was 7, 8, 9, 10... somewhere around that age, I would pray every night that my baby doll, Olivia, would be a real baby when I woke in the morning.  I wanted to be a real mommy.

In my teen years and all through my 20's I dreamed of a true love, a man who would become my husband and the father of my children.

I watch my 40th birthday get closer and closer... August this year.  I've come to terms with not finding my true love (at least not one who could settle down and marry me)...

But seriously??? What Karma God did I p'off to do everything to keep me from my dream of being a mom, too?  Take my man but don't keep me from my child!!!


I know there is much greater suffering in life than mine, and that I am truly blessed in so many ways.  This is just one of those thoughts that it's hard to wrap my head around.