3rd Time’s a Charm?

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Well, it seems the time is upon us again. I thought I wouldn’t get a positive OPK until tomorrow, but it appears that last month wasn’t just a fluke early ovulation. After being so busy all afternoon at work I didn’t even have time to pee, I took my full bladder to the staff washrooms and peed on my little magic stick, and wouldn’t you know there was a little smiley face staring back at me.

So tomorrow is the day, the day of my last IUI and the indefinite (but not final) break to my fertility treatment. I’m feeling a bit more zen about it this time. I went to the gym tonight, by myself I might add, which is no big deal but I can’t usually get my ass to the gym unless J is prodding me, and he’s coming too. But I just needed to run some energy off, and feel good.

I can’t really do anything more now. J will do his part tomorrow, in it will go, and that’s that. I was really hoping that the IUI wasn’t going to fall on Wednesday because I am the 2nd closer at work, and they will be rather screwed if I’m not there. Plus I have a buttload of work to do, so I am not going to call in sick tomorrow, as much as I want to just take the day for me.

With my little superstitions, I can be glad tomorrow is an odd numbered day, I don’t like even numbers and last IUI was on Jan. 2. I know, makes no sense. I have a lot whirling around in my head right now. And I sort of messed with my head by testing with OPK’s again tonight, and I didn’t get a smiley face again, but I did get two equal lines on the standard test. So I don’t really know what to make of that. I am going to hope that even if I ovulate overnight, that little egg will be waiting for J’s swimmers by morning. Fuck. I hate not having any control over this.

Also side note, Lindsay (sorry, can never remember if you are “ey” or “ay”, hope I picked right!) at Awaiting Autumn nominated me for a Leibster award. My first ever blogging award, I feel so thankful, and loved as a part of this community. I will accept my award in another post, but just wanted to put that out there because it made my evening!

Ok, so I’ll recap tomorrow, now to relax with my dogs, have my cup of tea and get a good nights sleep. Please keep me in your thoughts, and send me lots of good juju vibes if you can!

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Relationship Challenge Day 12 & 13

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Ok, so apparently I am going to keep you in suspense about the daily relationship challenge by withholding a day and then doubling up. Seems to be a habit lately.

I am in the week of the IUI now. I started using OPK’s today, CD11 (negative), though I knew today would be too early. I am paranoid about missing it, since last cycle was my earliest positive OPK ever at CD12 (which happened to be the first day I tested). I think part of the reason is because I wasn’t really sure what to consider CD1 last cycle because AF came overnight. So I considered the evening before CD1 but I think that was a bad call and I started clomid too early and caused ovulation to be early. Luckily this cycle was more clearcut and I didn’t have to doubt it.

So I get to limit my liquid intake after my morning cup of tea, hold my bladder all afternoon and pee on a stick at work. Life is fun right now. I’m still trying not to get stressed out about it all yet, but my biggest thing is if the IUI falls on either Wednesday, or Thursday I am going to leave my office severely short staffed by calling in sick either of those days, and I feel bad. But at the same time, I feel like in the big scheme of things, isn’t my well being more important than a job? Or am I just being selfish?

I don’t necessarily need the whole day off but it will make me feel better to not have to rush to work afterwards and I am going to take it easy for the rest of the day in hopes it will give my body it’s best chance at making this work. Bedrest is recommended after IVF (I know this is not even close to the same thing) but it can’t be bad right?

So onto relationship challenge day 12 & 13

Day 12: Don’t Keep Score

One of my Twelve Personal Commandments—and one I struggle with constantly—is “No calculation.” This personal commandment is meant to remind me not to keep score, not to stint on love and generosity, not to keep track of who has done what.
It’s based on an observation by my spiritual master, St. Therese of Lisieux: “When one loves, one does not calculate.”
I have a real tendency to say, “I did this, so you have to do that” or “You had your turn, so I get my turn.” I remind myself, “No calculation,” when I find myself starting to start to bargain or trade or keep score.
It’s much more pleasant to feel grateful for a nice gesture, or to act out of love and generosity, than to squabble about the score.
Now, it’s true that every relationship involves some calculation. It wouldn’t be fair for one person to do everything, and the other person to do nothing. But if you’re in a relationship where things tend to balance out fairly, the atmosphere is much happier when you don’t keep score, when you don’t calculate, but just try to do the loving thing.
So remind yourself, “Don’t keep score,” and instead, act with love and generosity. 

This is so true. So so true. I don’t find that I do it as much, or at least not with big things. It’s more little things, like I cleaned the floor last time, or it’s his turn to make dinner. Minor things, but again, I shouldn’t be keeping score. But there was a time when we were in not such a good place and I would hold grudges. There’s the old adage that “holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha. And it’s so true, who is it hurting by me keeping tally of all of the bad things? I am much better at letting them go, and trying to think of all of the good things that I can appreciate.

Day 13: Ask for a Favor

As Benjamin Franklin recommended, “If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor.” Allow yourself to ask for a favor, for help, for advice, for suggestions.
Studies show that for happiness, providing support is just as important as getting support. By offering people a way to provide support, you generate good feelings in them. And on your side, asking for a favor is a sign of intimacy and trust. The fact that you’ve asked for a favor shows that you feel comfortable being indebted to someone.
So asking, and receiving, a favor generates good feelings on both sides.
One of my most helpful Secrets of Adulthood is “It’s okay to ask for help.” Asking for help is a very useful way of asking for a favor. I’m absolutely mystified by asking for help is so hard for me. So often, I can just solve a problem by asking for help—which is almost always freely and cheerfully given.
Resolve to “Ask for a favor.” It’s a surprisingly effective way to show affection and trust in a relationship.

I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense. I am a very independent person, and generally don’t like to ask for help unless I’ve exhausted all other options. But it’s funny because reading this tip makes me think of a reccuring occurance between J and I. I will be looking for something (usually in the kitchen) and wonder outloud where said item is. J will immediately jump up and help me look. And sometimes he gets in the way, or he looks places I’ve already looked, or would have no idea where the item would be anyways. So now, a lot of the times, as soon as the words, “where is …” are out of my mouth, I tell J “Don’t move, I wasn’t asking for help, I was just wondering aloud!”. Perhaps I should let him help me, I’m sure it would make him feel good to be my knight in shining armour.

It’s going to be a big week, so look alive people, we’re on positive OPK watch!

IComLeavWe/Relationship Challenge: Days 6 & 7

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I’m late, I’m late for a very important date! Today is the first day of IComLeavWe, and it is my first time ever participating. I’ve noticed some people give a little synopsis for those that come to their blogs for the first time through IComLeavWe, so I figure as a newbie, I would do the same. So here’s where I’m at;

My hubby, J, and I have been TTC for 18 months, we are on our 21st cycle, and due for an IUI around Jan. 30. I have had an HSG with no blockages showing, I ovulate on my own and have no major issues, besides having no EWCM (ever!) and I used to have a slightly short luteal phase (that’s been corrected with supplements). J has a low side of normal sperm count and motility and below average morphology. Our RE recommended 3 rounds of IUI to help combat our male factor issues. After that, if it doesn’t work, we will have to have another chat to discuss the next step. I am on 50mg of Clomid from CD3 – 7, and I am unmonitored. So I book 3 tentative dates for the IUI, and then use OPK’s. Once I get a positive I go to the clinic the next morning and away we go. This will be our 3rd IUI attempt and our last cycle of trying for an indeterminate amount of time.

We’ve decided to call it quits for a year (or two) if this cycle doesn’t work. I know that seems crazy to some people, but fortunately I have (a little) time on my side, being only 26 (well 27 next month) years old. Though I would prefer that I was a younger mom, and that I already had a baby if that’s not going to be the case then I need to take my life in another direction for a little while. J and I both want to move cities, and luckily his job could take us virtually anywhere in the world, but ever since we’ve started TTC we have been paused in life, stuck in limbo at a fork in the road. So we are taking back control so that we don’t lose our sanity.

So that’s me in a nutshell, hopefully some of you ICLWer’s get to know me a bit more throughout the week. I am also currently partaking in a relationship challenge through Gretchen Rubin’s website for the Happiness Project. It is an email that gets sent to me daily with tips and ideas that I can use to strengthen and improve my relationship. I feel that J and I are very strong, especially after all we’ve been through but marriage takes work (I never understood this until I was in one) and I am a keener. So I figured if we’re adding stress to our relationship with our TTC efforts I could work on counteracting that! Therefore I present you with Relationship Challenge: Day 6 Dig Deep & 7 Abandon Your Self-Control  (I’ve been a little busy lately and missed yesterday, posting every day is hard!);

Dig Deep

“As part of my Happiness Projects, I’ve identified my Twelve Personal Commandments—the twelve overarching principles I use to guide my thoughts and behavior. (If you’re curious, you can read them here.)

“I read your personal commandments,” a friend told me. “I came up with my own commandments, but I only have four.”

“Oh, what are they?” I asked. I loved hearing other people’s commandments. She listed them: “‘Reach out,’ ‘Love your mother,’ ‘Show and tell,’ and ‘Dig deep’.”

“Those are really good,” I said admiringly. “I especially like ‘Dig deep.’ I’m going to adopt that resolution myself.” 

In my case, I especially need to dig deep with my children. Too often, I speak sharply, lose my patience, or make my (supposedly terrifying) mean face. Controlling my quick irritation is something I struggle to do every day.

We can’t yell and nag our way toward the loving, peaceful, tender atmosphere that we all want to foster at home. 

Resolve to “Dig deep” to react with humor, with patience, with calm. Easier said than done, right? But it’s worth the effort.”

This one takes constant vigilance, you have to always think before you speak, no snap reactions of snark or bite. I always feel so awkward when your with another couple, or a group of people and two people start getting sharp and terse with each other. I hate being that person, and it happens rarely in front of other people but it happens more than I would like in the privacy of our own home, or car. A sharp word, comment, or look really hurts my feelings so I try to stay calm, even when I am really annoyed. It’s a good thing to remember, especially in times of difficulty. I need to gain support, not push J away.

Abandon Your Self-Control

“Instead of working to strengthen your self-control, consider abandoning your self-control, by using the strategy of abstinence. Perhaps surprisingly, for many people, one of the easiest ways to resist temptation is to give something up altogether. 

For “abstainers,” it’s easier to decide that something is off-limits, and never indulge. For abstainers, abstaining requires no self-control; indulging in moderation requires enormous self-control. You spend too much time thinking, “Today, tomorrow?” “Does this count?” “Don’t I deserve this?” etc. As an abstainer, it’s easier to say, “I never eat French fries.” 

On the other hand, some people are “moderators” who do better when they act with moderation, because they feel trapped and rebellious at the thought of “never” getting or doing something. If you’re a moderator, it’s easier to say, “I can have a few French fries.” 

There’s no right way; different approaches work for different people. Recognizing which one suits your nature provides a very helpful strategy for resisting temptation.

The abstainer/moderator split affects relationships, because often a person of one camp will try to persuade a person in the other camp to convert. Abstainers tell moderators, “You should go cold turkey!” and moderators tell abstainers, “It’s not healthy to be so rigid, you should get more fun out of life.” Moderators don’t understand why abstainers don’t want to keep cookies in the house, and abstainers don’t understand why moderators seem to keep breaking their own rules.

Resolve to “Abandon your self-control.” Identify the strategy that allows you to forget about exercising self-control, in order to boost your self-control. And when people in your life are trying to abstain, or to be moderate, don’t interfere with the strategy that works for them.”

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p>Ok, this one really spoke to me. I am totally a moderator. If I tell myself that I absolutely cannot have something, I want it more than ever. I’ve tried to give up soda cold turkey and I just. can’t. do. it. I can manage for a few days but the fact that I have to think, “oh no I’m not allowed to have that. I’ll have to choose something else” it just makes me constantly think about what I’m denying myself. I’ve also read that if you exercise self control for one thing, you will have less of it for other things. It is like a muscle, it can only stretch so far, and then you have to release it, let it snap back and take a break.

I just can’t understand these hyper vigilant dieters who won’t touch carbs for years. No way. But at the same time I can see how to those types of people it is a slippery slope and they’d rather just not chance it. I, on the other hand, could buy a bag of chips/chocolate/insert your vice here and just have a little bit. It doesn’t take much to satiate me, so I can have a little treat and then leave it at that. Dr. Pepper is still my downfall though, and I just can’t deny that. Sometimes, you just have to allow yourself that one thing.

So welcome ICLW, don’t be lurkers, I’d love to hear from you!

D-Day

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Yesterday I decided I should probably go out and buy some OPK’s because it was CD12 and I had an IUI schedule for today (I am supposed to start testing the day before my first scheduled IUI), but I have never ovulated earlier than CD14, and it is usually CD15 so it was really just a mere formality at this point. I had booked off work Friday morning (CD14) because that is when I ovulated last month.

I got a smiley face at 4:15pm yesterday afternoon. Fuck. Didn’t see that coming. Cue a little bit of a freak out, because I thought I had at least one more day to…I dunno prepare? So immediately J and I are a little on edge.

My RE’s office says to use the Clearblue, non digital tests but I sometimes have a hard time deciding if the test line is darker than the control (I had a bit of a freak out last month when I wasn’t 100% sure if it was positive or not. And I’m pretty sure I was off last month). Sooo, I decided to use my good ol’ smiley face tests. Then when I got a smiley face I doubted whether those tests were accurate enough. So I went out and bought the Clearblue non digital and peed on it at 9:45pm, as well as another digital test. Just to make sure. Both positive, definitely. Awesome, I just spent almost $100 on something to pee on and throw in the garbage. And if I get pregnant this month, the rest of the box will be useless. Yay me. On the bright side, one of the test packs came with a bonus pregnancy test…

We were the first appointment of the day which was one positive of the day, because it meant less waiting and I could still get to work on time. So we check in, J went off to give his sample, and I settled into the waiting area and tried not to vomit/pee my pants. I have a touchy stomach, and a nervous bladder when I am really stressed out or worked up about something so I was not feeling well. When J came back he looked like he had seen a ghost. He sat down and informed me that there was blood in his “specimen”. What. The. Fuck. Well isn’t this just an awesome start to IUI #2. So we had to wait the 45 minutes for the nurse to wash the sample, and for her to talk to the Dr. and see if it was even going to be useable. In the meantime I went to the bathroom fifty hundred times. J was shaken, stressed, and I don’t blame him. This has never happened to him before, so he was very shocked.

We waited, and waited for what seemed like an eternity. Finally they called us back, the nurse advised us that the Dr. said it would still be fine to use. It was fresh blood (ok…) and that it would be ok even though the sample they were putting in me was a light red due to the blood. I know I swap bodily fluids with him all the time, but it was still a bit heebie jeebie. We asked what could have caused there to be blood, and the nurse said it could have been a superficial wound, dry cracked skin, a million other reasons. But then she says, “if this happens more often you definitely want to get it checked out”. Thanks for the heads up Einstein. And how does one know that there is blood in their semen if it normal ends up in my va-jay-jay?

The numbers sucked too. I can’t remember all of the details because they rattle everything off so fast, but I believe it was 24 million total in the specimen, so 12 million post wash, but with the motility of 44% it ended up around 13 million in the 1ml sample. That might not make a lot of sense, but the end number of good swimmers post wash was 13 million. Half of what we had last time post wash. Booooo! At this point I’m thinking well this was a waste. But I mean, we’re here and I did the drugs, he produced the spooj (sorry that’s a gross word) so here we go.

It was a lot more uncomfortable this time. The speculum was freaking freezing. They have warming pads for them, but apparently it wasn’t working. Sweet. Stick that ice cold sucker up in there. The catheter was a lot more pinchey and pokey and when she pressed the plunger down and emptied out the chamber there was a fair bit of cramping and discomfort. Even now, in the evening, I am still a bit crampy and bloated. Maybe it’s partly due to my ass kicking ovaries cranking out some little eggies?

So overall, I think we’re fucked this cycle. We’ll still have our “prescribed intercourse” tonight, just to get some more swimmers up in there, and I went to acupuncture tonight, because I may as well go full on. I asked about injectables for our next cycle (if there is a next cycle…the pessimist in me says there will be). The nurse said we would have to see the Dr. about that, and he’s booking into April so I guess if we do one more cycle it will just be my old friend clomid and my two boxes of OPK’s. We made the appointment for April, just in case we decide to continue to pursue more treatment right away (not likely, I would like off this hellish ferris wheel, thankyouverymuch!).

I wore purple underwear, a purple top, my toenails are currently purple (that’s just pure coincidence/laziness that I haven’t repainted them) for luck (I considered making J wear some purple as well, but drew the line at keeping the crazy to myself). I had my charm bracelet on, my fingers, toes and eyes crossed but I don’t know that any of it will help us. Hoping there is some sort of voodoo magic on my side! So now, I wait. I am hoping this wait won’t be as difficult purely because I already think it’s probably failed. Which is a pretty shitty place to be in. So I am going to try and keep busy. Try being the key word, most likely I’ll just be lazing around watching the clock, crossing the days off my calendar.

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I Can’t Even Make This Sh*t Up

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I swear infertility is stalking me now, permeating every part of my life, even those areas I thought were safe. Last night I joined J at his boss’s house for their department Christmas get together, just a small gathering with around 10 or so people. Almost none of these people have children (actually come to think of it, I don’t know if any of them do…), so there were no kids around. Just a group of adults having a nice evening together. When I arrived they were just starting to play a murder/mystery game, one of those things where everyone gets a character and there are scripted interactions,  to lead your through and at the end you have to guess who is the murderer (kind of like a real life version of clue).

Throughout the game there are clues to add suspicion to some of the characters. Well one of the clues happened to be a prescription for fertility medication that one of the characters, “Tara”, had taken to get pregnant by her fiance’s twin brother. (I know, it was a weird game). It was funny because the fake prescription even had legit instructions on it like, take from cycle days 3 – 7…ect. But, the weirdest part, is that my dear hubby was playing the character of Tara’s fiance, who was unable to get her pregnant, which is why she was sleeping with his brother. So. Strange. When we got home later that night I mentioned to J how weird it was, and that as soon as the clue mentioned fertility meds, and the instructions did he not immediately think, oh Clomid!

Seriously, it was like a weird omen or something, because today is CD1, and I start Clomid on Monday. So, just as I suspected our cycle of “not trying” did not magically get us pregnant. As Lindsey at Awaiting Autumn says, it’s going to be a “Clomid Christmas”. Luckily last time I took Clomid it didn’t send me for a loop or anything, but I did have a lot of headaches. How fun for me over Christmas. Naaaawt! 

So I called the clinic today to book my IUI appointments for Jan. 2, 3, and 4. I have to use OPK’s and I only go in the day after I get a positive. I spoke to the nurse about in what situation would I have follice monitoring, and she said only when you are on injectables do they do that, and then the Dr. will trigger ovulation, and book your IUI for the appropriate day. I asked at what point do they recommend this, as I am only using Clomid and OPK’s at this point. She said usually they do 3 unmonitored cycles, and then move to something else (ie. injectables, IVF, whatever). Which is sort of what the Dr. M said, is that we would try 3 cycles just with Clomid (the stats for success decline drastically after 3 cycles of IUI) and then go from there. He didn’t say what would come after those 3 cycles, but I don’t really want to find out. I said to the nurse that using injectables probably gives a better chance as it is more accurate then? She said it is more accurate in pinpointing ovulation, because it is triggered and then they know how many follies we’re working with as well. She said that I could talk to the nurse and possibly my Dr. about doing that for my 3rd try (if we get to that point).

So I am glad I asked, and am taking charge. If we are setting a limit on ourselves to take an extended break from TTC to pursue other things in our lives after the 3rd cycle then I want to know that we gave it our best shot. Even though I am scared sh*tless about having to use injectables (and the possibility of multiples, dear gawd help me if that happens). So we’ll see where that goes. I know it is pessimistic to be thinking past the cycle I just started but I’ve got to think about these things, so I can stay on top of it all.

Also, interesting side note; I asked the nurse about how to count my CD if my period starts very late in the day/overnight (like it did this time) and she said if it starts after 4pm, the next day of full flow is your CD1. Good to know! On to cycle #20…

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