Cycle #5

mountaintop_optI kept myself very busy during my last two-week wait. I snowshoed six miles with friends and had a mountaintop seder and slept overnight in three-high bunks. I traveled to a great conference at my alma mater. I made adorable invitations for the baby shower I am throwing for my sister next month. Then I get a negative pregnancy test and my period started.

I decided to explore IVF, and so I am in the midst of what I expect will be my last IUI cycle (#5). If I was younger, I might give it a few more tries before switching gears. But, at 42, I need to be more proactive more quickly. I hadn’t looked into IVF much in advance, figuring I’d learn more when I needed to. Well, now I need to and I’m astounded at the cost and the lack of insurance coverage. Years back, I saved a chunk of money in case I decided to ttc one day on my own. So, I have enough to cover one round of IVF already in an account for just that purpose. But I’m anxious about what I’ll do if that investment doesn’t result in pregnancy. In the meantime, there is hope that this cycle will be my last because I’ll conceive and no IVF will be necessary. Fingers crossed!

The ovulation predictor kit gave me the smiley face on day 12 this cycle, though it usually comes on day 14. Two days isn’t such a big deal, and other signs indicated that it was ovulation time. I had the IUI on Friday and as of this morning, Monday, I still haven’t seen a big jump in my temperature. It is a little higher than is typical for the first two weeks of my cycle, but it’s not yet over 98 which is typical for my luteal phase. I’m nervous, but am also aware that the signs are actually all good. I always have the “stair step” temperature increase, and my temp is definitely up a step. I’d just hoped it would be up another step by today. The fact that it’s creeping up at all does probably indicate that I ovulated yesterday or maybe even the day before.

For now, I’ll wait, and will wonder if I should forego my daily cup of tea or if it’s safe to keep drinking it while hoping for fertilization and implantation.

IUI #4: I think I’m going to Boston

I just had my fourth IUI this afternoon. After much stressing yesterday about the best timing, and being told by a nurse on the phone that “anytime Tuesday” was fine for the appointment, I chose 1:15. When the nurse (not the same one as yesterday) walked in, she implied that a morning appointment would have been preferable. She explained that she thinks 24 hours post LH surge detection is best. My anxiety levels have been high the past two days, and this information got me a bit worked up. I was worried I had missed ovulation and that we were pointlessly tossing all those wriggling sperm into my uterus to swim around in vain.

After the IUI, I rested on the table for 10-15 minutes. To calm my nerves, I decided to listen to music. I chose “Boston” by Augustana. Well, I couldn’t have made a  better choice. It completely lifted my spirits. The lyrics seemed to be written for this exact occasion!  As you read some of the lyrics below, think of me, in the northeast, hoping some sperm from California will meet up with my egg and grow a little one inside me.
Boston

I think I’m going to Boston
I think I’ll start a new life

I’ll get out of California

I think I need a sunrise
I’m tired of a sunset
Here it’s nice in the summer
Some snow would be nice, oh yeah

There I was on the table, listening to this perfect soundtrack for the Californian sperm zipping around inside me. First I just smiled at this new meaning the lyrics had taken on, and before long I was laughing so hard I was afraid I’d push those poor guys back out (not possible, I know) if I didn’t settle down.

It was a perfect mood-lifter, and I like to think this cycle will be successful and that I can play that song for my little one someday.

Also, I’m completely within the recommended 24-36 hour post-surge window. All hope is certainly not lost.

And so the two week wait begins….

Timing is everything

This morning I got the little smiley face that indicates the LH surge, and my IUI is scheduled for mid-day tomorrow. I am feeling a bit more anxious than usual this time. I initially scheduled the appointment for 8am, but then started reading scientific articles about the best post-surge IUI timing. It appears that no one really knows. I did notice, though, that in a few studies the conception rates were highest when the IUI was done 24-36 hours after the LH surge was detected. The studies indicated no statistically significant difference in conception rates between the various time differences studied, but the differences were significant enough for me, so I postponed my appointment by a few hours.

In my first cycle, the IUI was done the same day as the LH surge. And, in that cycle, I had some very clear implantation signs. But then I got my period. This early almost-success with a same-day IUI has me wondering if the best timing for me is different than the best timing overall. Perhaps a day-of IUI is best?  That said, I did not actually get pregnant that cycle despite the promising signs….so it might not be wise to base future decisions on that early experience.

To add to my nervous energy, there is a Handsome Stranger staying in my house this week. HS arrived after I went to sleep last night and left before I woke up this morning. We’ve been exchanging texts and handwritten notes, but have yet to see one another in person. HS isn’t a complete stranger, but certainly is handsome. It feels silly to admit, but this is giving me cold ttc-feet. Part of my brain tells me that being a single mom will cut me off from all potential romance. No more first dates, first kisses, and all the rest. Another part of my brain (along with my dearest friend) remind me that perhaps finding a partner will come more easily when I’m living the life I want to live as a parent. Maybe there’s another Handsome Stranger out there in the form of another single parent whom I’ll meet after starting my own family.

So much uncertainly and so little control. Good practice, I suppose.

Living it up

I’m in the first two weeks of cycle four. I’m done with this cycle’s letrozole, and I am using the ovulation predictor kit each morning to check for the LH surge. These are my two weeks of living large in my not-pregnant state: hot baths, the occasional glass of wine, a fully-caffeinated cappuccino.   Yesterday I went all out and got my hair highlighted.  I’m a regular bon vivant!

 

Running

I ran x-country and track my freshman year of high school, years ago now. I was slow. I didn’t really like it very much. One coach said he could tell I felt sorry for myself when I ran. I was embarrassed to know it was so obvious. I do remember enjoying it at first. My mother came with me to my old elementary school and timed me as I ran around and around the 1/2 mile perimeter of the playground in the summer evenings. I also remember enjoying how hungry the running made me and how much I enjoying eating and eating and eating to satisfy that hunger. I was a skinny kid with a huge appetite already. The amount of food I could put away was a point of pride, and my increased metabolism was a bit of an ego boost.

After that one year of running, I never went back. I hated the competitive aspect of it, always coming in last or nearly last. I didn’t realize that running non-competitively was an option. I’ve identified as a non-runner ever since. That is, until the summer of 2013 when I somehow got the idea to give running another try. My then-new iPhone and my new-found love of apps played a factor. I downloaded a “Couch to 5k” app, bought a long leash for my dog that I could tie around my waist, made a running playlist of upbeat songs, and hit the rail trail for 30-minute run/walk sessions. I became obsessed with the stats the app gave me, and I loved comparing my distances and speeds after each workout. I remember how amazed I was the first time I ran a full mile WITHOUT STOPPING! Then the first time I ran 20 minutes, then 30.  I’d hated running for so long, that each and every time I ran I marveled at the fact that I was doing it….doing it and enjoying it. I kept it up all through that winter with weekly running dates with a friend. Then this past fall I ran two half marathons.  I had become someone else. Someone who thought a 2 mile run was short, and that running 6 miles was an ideal way to spend an hour after work on an early autumn evening.

Then January 2015 came and I started trying to conceive. The whole process was new and very special feeling, and I felt so protective of my body. After my first IUI I felt so cozy and nurturing and like I just wanted to curl up in a warm little cocoon and try to protect the potential new life inside me. My life was busy with other things, too, and the winter was incredibly cold. Also, I developed a concern that running would mess up my hormones or somehow shake the embryo loose. Basically, I was afraid I would “mess things up” and so I let the running slide.

By the time of my third unsuccessful IUI, the process of trying to conceive was more familiar. I still get a very special feeling after each IUI, but I’m more pragmatic the rest of the time. And I miss running. I miss the muscles in my legs. I miss the endorphin rush I get afterwards. I miss my running buddy and our weekly get togethers. I miss the pride and freedom I feel from running. And I also am done worrying about the exercise being damaging to my fertility. Honestly, I’m a “jogger” more than a runner. I push myself distance-wise, but I’m not going for speed. And so yesterday my friend and I resumed our Tuesday afternoon runs and it was wonderful! I did more walking than I would have a few months ago, but not much. And the rest of the day I was in such a good mood and already planning my next run.

I expect I’ll have my next IUI in about a week, and will at least take that day off from running. But I’m likely to head out for a run the next day. It keeps my spirits up and my stress levels low–always important, but especially so while going through the uncertainties of trying to conceive.

Maybe the rumors are true?

It turns out that rumor about the HyCoSy resulting in increased conception rates might have some validity to it. At least according to this study in the MIddle East Fertility Society Journal. It’s scholarly and peer reviewed!  So there might be some truth to their findings that pregnancy rates were significantly higher in the HyCoSy group than in the control group–about 10% higher.

Fingers crossed.