Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We made it!

Thankfully Ben arrived in Maple Grove about 10am today, so Descartes and I picked him up on our way out of town just a bit later.  They seemed to get along fine, though Boo wasn't sure why the new guy got the front seat.

Took a lonnnnnng lunch and drove up to get a jump on the storm, then worked late from here.  Definitely a good move - the last 10 miles was pretty much a white out!  Got to the parents' place with perfect timing... Dad had just gone uptown to mail something, so I could sneak Ben into the bedroom.  Mom thinks it's hilarious but Dad... hello, awkward?!  Now just waiting for the surge to trigger and, well, try to get knocked up in my childhood bedroom.  My life never ceases to amuse me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weather permitting

If you were traveling from Spokane, WA to Maple Grove, MN, would you go through Memphis, TN on the way?  Well apparently that's what Ben, my latest potential baby daddy, has chosen to do.  FedEx shows him "in transit" in Memphis at 4:23pm, along with the disclaimer Inclement weather conditions at Memphis hub may cause some service delays and disruptions within the U.S. today.

Meanwhile, here in Minnesota, we're expecting a wave of freezing rain to hit in the morning, followed by snow the rest of the day.  And I would be driving up north tonight to avoid it... if I didn't need to stick around here waiting for Ben.  Sure wish I would have thought to have him fly directly up to Pequot and meet me there.  These long distance relationships can be tricky, but I'm optimistic that we'll make it work.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


We've had our first big snowstorm here in Minnesota.  While the shorter days the change of seasons brings can be hard to take, I love the look of the snow on the trees after the first snowfall.

Not sure if it's the fun of the snow or what, but I've taken the BFN I got this week much better than the previous two.  After the first, I was terribly sad; the second, angry.  This time, I was more annoyed than anything... "ah come on, can't I just be there already?!"  Somehow I think just in the past week, the idea that if it's meant to happen, it will happen, has truly sunk into my conscience.  I also got some good news this week - my insurance company responded to my appeal and agreed with me (I'm amazed!), so I get another $900 in coverage for this year, plus I can count on a full $2000 next year.  So that helps ease the anxiety a little too.  I can't predict how long I'll feel this way, but it sure beats the blahs I've felt the last couple months, so I hope it lasts!

I did figure out that my timing the next couple months is a little precarious.  If my cycles continue as they have the past few months, I should be ovulating right over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday breaks.  Methinks my clinic won't be open... not to mention that fact that I want to be up north with family, not sitting around my house waiting to bug a nurse on call to go in for an insemination.  So, I thinking I'm going to make a change and try another route the next couple months - ICI, or intracervical insemination, at home.  I also found another sperm bank that has less expensive options than the local one I've been using, so going to look into that. Sorry Orlando, it's not you, it's.... well, maybe it is you, maybe it's a lack of chemistry, but you're just not getting the job done, so I need to move on.  Who knows though, I come back to you in January if I'm still at this and go back to the more conventional clinic process! 

Okay, off to take my pooch for a walk in the snow.  Wishing all of my friends and family wonderful Thanksgiving holidays, stay safe and warm!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Money matters

"I wanna be a billionaire, so... fricking.. bad" (Travie McCoy)

I'm a firm believer that money does not buy happiness.  But it sure makes the journey down that path a little easier if you have some.

Had a rude awakening this week in the form of claims denials from my insurance company.  Long story short, it turns out what UHC calls $2000 of "coverage" counts many of the dollars paid from my pocket while still meeting my deductible.  I've already met my "maximum" even though the insurance company has only paid $1123, because that first $897 that I paid all counts toward the "coverage limit".  Even though I paid it.  $2000 is such a small amount of coverage for infertility benefits to begin with, and then to find out I only get half of what I expected made me pretty sick. The only reason they even paid that much is that I'd already had about $600 out of pocket expenses before TTC.  When the new calendar year begins, I'll be responsible for $1500 before my insurance will pay a whopping $500, and then cut me off again.  That doesn't even cover clinic costs for one cycle.   Doesn't help that I work for a company under the same corporate umbrella as my insurance comes from - hard to have a lot of pride when you're getting burned yourself!

So I sat down again, crunched all the numbers and came up with what I think is a decent new plan.  Fortunately I had saved a decent amount before starting all of this, so I do have the ability to keep trying awhile.  But it will run out, and it's hard not to have that hanging over my head as one more reason I want to get pregnant now, not later.  I also don't like the idea of having depleted my savings just in time to become a single mom, but I will have some time during pregnancy to build it back up a bit again (and then spend it again to get through my maternity leave!)  Sigh....

On a happier note, I've really enjoyed reading other SMC blogs lately.  Some of them have had the same struggles I'm having getting pregnant, and it definitely helps me stay hopeful to see them now enjoying the rewards that made this whole journey worth it.  I know that if I get there, I'll feel the same way.  I guess it's the fear that I won't get there that nags at me.  But here I am, on try #3, and all I can do is stay hopeful that this try or another one soon will work.  I'm doing 100 mgs of clomid again and had a day 3 FUS (follicular ultrasound) which looked good.  Pre-ov FUS will be next Friday afternoon, and I'll have just one vial of sperm shipped that day too.  Going down to one IUI per cycle to help keep the costs down. Also will not do a post-ov FUS this cycle.  The last two months showed that I've ovulating fine, so I feel confident enough that the eggies are dropping not to need that confirmation this time.  Hopefully the timing will be just right, the eggie(s) that drop will be welcoming, and Orlando will do his job! :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Round 2, another BFN

Well, didn't get the news I'd hoped for once again.  Handling it all a lot better than last month... still stinks, but was much more prepared this time.  Gradually absorbing the thought that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Of course making the money last the marathon is a little tricky, but I believe I'll figure it all out.  Have some ideas for this next try, one being going down to one IUI vs two.  I know it seems backwards to do less, but cost wise it makes a lot of sense, and from what I'm reading on the SMC-TTC boards, many people do just one IUI per cycle.  I'm also going to look into acupuncture, as I've read a lot about the benefits of this for fertility.  Trying to keep an open mind all around, definitely easier on some days that others!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ups and downs

I haven't been a good blogger lately, as pointed out by a couple of my friends!  I'll try to recap the roller coaster of the past few weeks; please excuse the long post.

I took the BFN pretty hard.  I didn't think  had gotten my hopes up, but apparently, I had.  That first week after was really emotional... every time I felt a little better, something would trigger another wave of sadness.  Even though logically I knew it was far from the end of the world, or even the end of this journey, I had a hard time getting out from under it. 

I did have a very cool experience that first week.. that Thursday, I went to see my favorite NPR guy Scott Simon speak at the Minnesota Public Radio studios.  Scott and his wife adopted two girls from China, and he's recently written a book about that experience - a book truly, as he calls it, in praise of adoption.  I bought a copy after the very moving presentation, and when he signed it "To Suzanne and future family" (on my request), we had a little chat about SMCs and my current journey and consideration of adoption, he was really encouraging.  Of course, in my fragile emotional state at the time, I couldn't get out of there fast enough to have a little meltdown in the privacy of my car:)  It was just a really moving experience to share with my "NPR dad", as Jodie calls him.

At the end of that week, I headed to Pequot for the weekend, and gradually felt my spirits lift and my head clear.  I went for some great walks, spent time talking with my mom and Jodie, and finally told my dad about my big plans.  (His reaction was subtle, as I expected, but I was happy to get it out there.)  By Sunday I felt like I was on a much better page and more enthusiastic about try #2, while feeling like I really would be more grounded this time.

Life likes to throw in twists, though.  Monday I noticed my back feeling really tight, right between my shoulder blades.  By Tuesday it was really uncomfortable, and when I drove back home that evening, I went straight to the spa and got a massage.  That felt great for a bit, then the tightness was back with a vengence.  The next few days were pretty dang painful, and by Saturday I went to urgent care to get it checked out.  The doc spent a whole two minutes with me and said I was having muscle spasms, gave me scripts for vicadin and a muscle relaxant and sent me on my way.  I noticed later Saturday that I had a little red spot on the right side of my chest, and through the next couple days, noticed more spots, turning to blisters, and a strange tingling and numbness throughout my right side back and chest.  The painkillers helped with the back pain, but by Sunday night I was pretty convinced - I had shingles.  Went to my doc Monday morning and my suspicions were confirmed!  I started on anti-viral meds right away, so hopefully the length and severity will be shortened and I'll avoid any long-term problems. 

I had an ultrasound Saturday morning, before my UC visit, and expressed to nurse Deb that I was nervous about going through with this cycle with the pain, wondering if pain killers would be contraindicatory with pregnancy, etc.  She (in her rather rushed manner) said it shouldn't be a worry, that tylenol and even vicadin was fine to use during pregnancy.  We found a few big follies, one already at 22mm, and she freaked me out when she made it sound like I needed to do insem that day or the next.  "Well I haven't ordered the sperm yet....", kind of an important part of the process.  Luckily I hadn't had the LH surge yet, and continued testing through the weekend without a positive surge.  Finally on Monday afternoon I did get a positive, and after deliberating throughout the day on whether to go through with another cycle, I decided to call up Cryogenic Labs and get another couple doses of Orlando SuperSperm delivered to my clinic the next day.  I had gotten the ok from the clinic to do IUI if I was up to it, apparently the anti-viral meds are totally fine with pregnancy.  So Tuesday afternoon at 3:30, and Wednesday at 8:30am, I got two more insems. 

I feel a lot more calm in this 2 week wait, despite the fact that it's in the midst of this crazy twist with the shingles.  I'm looking at this as a longer-term process now, and really believe it could be 6 tries or so.  To be able to afford all those tries, I'm going to have to back down from the protocol they have me on right now.  Two IUIs, at least two US (this cycle it was 3, an extra early on to check out the cyst they had found last month).. all of that clinic time adds up, not to mention two doses of sperm.  There's been a lot of discussion on my SMC ttc (trying to concieve) board about the value of doing 2 IUIs per cycle, and I'm starting to feel like just one would be fine.  My docs may not recommend backing off, but they're not paying for it! 

At any rate, while would be ecstatic to be pregnant this cycle, and know there will still be some level of disappointment if I'm not, I feel a lot more prepared for a negative this time.  Obviously I let myself get WAY too stressed out last time... shingles is brought on, in someone young and relatively healthy like me, by stress more than anything else. Can't be doing that to myself every month, that's for sure!  Anyone know a good yogi?? :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010


That was the reading on each of the home pregnancy tests I took yesterday and today.  Big Fat Negatives, better known as BFNs in the TTC world.  Not the news I wanted to get obviously, and gotta admit it left me feeling pretty dang negative all around.  It truly doesn't help that a person only finds out they're not pregnant when they're already deep in the trenches of pms.  Not exactly the time of the month for shiny happy thoughts as it is, and certainly compounded when that pending period causing the pms is exactly what you don't want! 

So I'm down, and I'm gonna let myself grieve a little, but I will get hopeful again before long.  Another SMC who recently also got a BFN after her first IUI attempt suggested our motto - Pick yourself up, Dust yourself off, and Start all over again.  And so I will.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First round done

Well I had IUIs yesterday and this morning, so if I'm becoming a mom this month, it's a work in progress!  Both seemed to go really well... the nurse was pretty dang funny.  She came in the room and said "Okay, lie back and let's get you pregnant!... I bet you never thought you'd hear that from some woman you don't know."  Had to laugh and agree with that.  She said Orlando's motility was great (go supersperm!) and my "fluid" looked really good.  Another thing I never thought I'd hear someone comment on. 

I'm continuing to be really hopeful and excited... yet realistic about the odds of this all working the first time around. Have an ultrasound and blood draw on Monday, to check the lining and see how my progeterone levels look.  Then a week later time for that big test!  Just going to do the best things I can for myself and keep breathing and hoping! :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We have liftoff!

Finally got the two dark lines on the OPK today - that means LH surge, woohoo!  I had already called and scheduled IUI appointments for 8:30am Wednesday and 8am Thursday.. thinking positively.  Gave myself the Ovidrel shot just a few minutes ago, so that should help ensure I ovulate soon.  Then it's just a hope and a prayer that tiny egg takes kindly to one of Orlando's SuperSperm in 12 or 36 hours from now!  Now I'm watching a Glee rerun, featuring gorgeous Mr. Shue singing "Dream On" with his old rival.  hmmmm... think I have something to think about during that rather awkward appointment tomorrow... I'm just sayin.

I've got a challenging couple of days coming up at work, but then a four-day weekend, most of it camping on Temperance River on the North Shore of Lake Superior with Susan.  I can't help but think the fresh air, friendship and fun will be a good influence on this process:)  Perfect place to put my prayers and hopes out to the universe.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Patience was a virtue

that I used to have in spades.  How else would you explain staying in a relationship that never quite led to marriage for almost 9 years, right?  But I've noticed my level of patience declining over the past few years.  In some ways, I think that's a good thing.  Being too patient can mean time wasted, or people taking advantage of you.  Certainly it takes a certain level of impatience to make the decision to pursue motherhood on my own, and I'm glad I reached that point when I did. 

I do know though, from the many moms I know, as well as the many hours I've spent around children myself, that mothering takes an awful lot of patience.  I'm beginning to see that even in the veeeeery early stages... while I'm just trying to create a little life to mother.  The past four months, I've been charting my temps and peeing on ovulation predictor sticks to learn more about my cycle.  Like clockwork, I got the "LH surge" on day 11 or 12 each of those months.  So who would have figured that now that I'm actually trying to DO something with this cycle, everything would decide to stall out?  Today was Day 12, and the line on the stick was very faint... definitely no surge yet.  I'm hoping for a different story tomorrow, and gotta think that it will come Wednesday at the very latest.  I was getting frustrated but then reminded myself that this is just the first of many, MANY lessons I'll be taught on patience.  This is going to happen in it's own sweet time, just like everything else concerning kids does.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Clomid fog

Clomid has the potential for some side effects, most of which I fortunately saw no signs.  The "mood changes" though... yeah I think I saw that.  Of course most of you know me well enough that mood swings aren't exactly unheard of, ha.  But the timing this week did seem to correspond, especially the last couple days taking it.  I've been off a couple days now though and feel much better.  Yesterday I had a FUS and I had a few follies that looked great, with the biggest being 13.2mm.  The NP said that most likely I'll see the LH surge on Monday, which means IUI Tuesday and Wednesday.  The great news was that she was the same NP that will be on call this weekend, and she would prefer to come into the Maple Grove office.  So we had the tank delivered there, and she gave me her cell phone number.  As soon as I see the surge, I can give her a call and we'll plan the time to meet in there, if it does happen early.  And then if it's not until Tuesday, it's sooo much easier to go into MG in the morning before work.  Worked out slick!

So after my appointment, I went straight to my phone and ordered up 2 vials of SuperSperm, and it's waiting just a few miles away from me now:)  Bonus discovery was that either semen isn't taxable or the fees on the site include tax, so the total turned out to be a little lower than I had planned.  Not cheap mind you, but every savings counts! 

While I was in the "clomid fog" as I've heard it called, I felt a lot of grief about letting go of "the dream".  That dream that so many of us girls and women have of finding a great guy, falling in love, getting married, and starting a family together.  That illusive dream that the romantic comedies help convince you is out there for everyone.  And I for one, still want to believe that a version of that dream is still out there for me... it's just going to happen in a little different order.  For me, being a single mom by choice means choosing to become a mom even though I'm single... not choosing to be single by preference.  I'm working on getting to that place where I can embrace being an SMC and get past the feelings of regret for what didn't happen in my past, because I would never want my (potential) child to feel like I had any regret related to her/him.

I emailed my SMC "newbie" group - a group of about 12 women or so who are thinking about, actively trying, currently pregnant or have recently had babies as Single Mom's by Choice - asking if others could relate to some of that grief.  Some didn't seem to go through the same struggle, but others could definitely relate.  All of them were really encouraging about the prospect of dating after the baby is in the picture - not that it is "easy" necessarily, but that it takes a lot of the pressure off and in some ways is the best filter you can have for a "good" guy.  Some also pointed out that not everyone who finds "the dream" ends up all that happy.  A few who already have babies stressed how much joy they have with them now.  And a couple emphasized that yes... this could definitely be the clomid talking:)

I think maybe I had to grieve a little more too, but now I'm back to thinking positively, and getting so excited to start trying!  I continue to try to walk that line between being hopeful, and getting my hopes up.  I would so love to get pregnant during this first cycle, and that it's totally possible... yet I know this could take several tries... and might not work at all.  But I also believe that positive energy can work wonders, so I'm going to channel all of it that I can, as well as prayers, into each and every try. 

Now it's time to go enjoy this beautiful day on a long hike with my pooch!  Thanks for "listening";-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Coming up...

Now that I'm officially in a TTC cycle, here's what's in store.

Day 3 - today - start on clomiphene, 50 mgs days 3-7

Day 9 - Friday, Sept 3 - Follicular Ultrasound (FUS) scheduled for 7:30am at the Maple Grove clinic.  They'll see how my follicles are developing, and if things look like they're moving along like they should be, we'll order the "tank" to be delivered to the Edina office later that same day. The "tank" will be holding two doses of what I hope is some major SuperSperm from my #1 donor pick, affectionately known as "Orlando". The sperm specimens are stored in liquid nitrogen which keeps them appropriately chilly until they're needed, or for up to 7 days.

After Friday, I'll be taking ovulation predictor tests at home, and when I see the "surge" of LH (luteinizing hormone, which tells me I should be ovulating soon), I'll call the clinic to schedule IUI (intrauterine insemination) for the following two days. I'll also have the joy of sticking myself  with a needle to inject Ovedril the same evening as I have the surge... unless I'm lucky enough that Nurse Julie is available to help me with that task. Dr. Cheryl would be welcome to help me, but she's a little too far away;)  Ovedril is used to help follicles mature and trigger the release of mature eggs from the ovaries... commonly called a "trigger" shot.  For women who have infertility troubles, it helps correct them.  Even though I don't know of any troubles, we use the trigger shot in my case because we want to make sure ovulation happens in a timely manner, so the egg is there, ready for the SuperSperm the next day.

The clinic has Nurse Practioners (NPs - they're the ones who will do the actual inseminations) on-call on Sundays, and since that Monday is Labor Day, that day as well. If this cycle behaves like the last few, I'd be going in to the Edina office for IUI Monday and Tuesday, or Tuesday and Wednesday. There's also a chance I could go Sunday/Monday. The Edina office is less convenient for me in general, but they only have access to that location when on-call, so it's best to plan for that.

So, assuming things go as predicted - as they have the past few months - I'll begin the "2 week wait" by Wednesday Sept 8th.  Since they missed testing my progesterone last month, I'll go back in for a blood draw a little later in my cycle to get that checked.  And sometime later in the month, around Sept 20th or so, I'll either... take a pregnancy test at home or at the clinic and get some fabulous news; or get my period and cry, then start preparing for TTC round #2.

Trying to Conceive... and Trying to Blog

Today is day 3 of my first TTC cycle.  One of the many acryonyms that I've added to my vocabulary in the past several months of reading, thinking and researching about this journey, TTC means Trying to Conceive.  I decided that it might be a good idea to have something else to focus on during this process, so I'm also attempting to create this blog.  I have friends with blogs, and have recently experienced the value of hopping from site to site, reading posts from other people going through some of the same things I'm facing.  There's  definitely comfort in community.  I know this won't be Pulitzer work, but it seems like a fun idea, and a good way to keep some of my closest friends and family updated on my antics.  It feels a little odd to talk about some of the more personal... and um, biological... details on a website, but I've read enough blogs now that spill it all to make me feel a little more comfortable.  And this process involves a whole lotta' personal, so not sure what the point of the blog would be if I tried to avoid it!

I just took my first of five doses of clomiphene, which I'll be taking 50 mgs of days 3-7.  I had some spotting through the last part of my last cycle, which is likely due to the HSG procedure I had to check my tubes.  The HSG looked great, but it's fairly common to cause a little bleeding because they inject a dye into your uterus, pushing it through the phallopian tubes to make sure they're open.  The spotting still made me a little nervous though, and since my doctor really recommends everyone use clomid during the IUI process, just to help get more bang for our buck, I decided it was the way I'd go. 

Clomid, or the generic clomiphene,  helps to induce ovulation, to correct irregular ovulation, to increase egg production and to correct a condition known as luteal phase deficiency, where the progesterone levels in your body are too low so the lining is insufficient to allow the embryo to implant.  All good things when you want to get pregnant.  My worry about it, and the reason I didn't decide to take it right away, is that it does include an increased chance for twins.  As much as I want to be a mom, being a single mom is going to have some pretty obvious challenges... and being a single mom to twins sounds, well, insanely tough.  But the odds aren't THAT high (I've read anywhere from 5-10%) and I also have to believe that if that's what's meant for me, than I'll be able to do it.  I'm also a little worried about the side effects I may experience, but I decided that the pros outweigh the cons, and it's worth trying.  I am on the lowest dose, so hopefully it will all work out fine... and the end result will be a healthy little baby about 40 weeks from now!