Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No O in Sight...

Well, I'm on CD14 of my rest cycle and I'm still getting negative OPK's and haven't had a temperature rise as of yet. CM is looking scanty as usual despite the addition of Guaifenesin.

Wondering if this will be a wasted cycle vs. a rest cycle?

If no O by CD20, then I will call the RE for a script to start the next cycle.

Or maybe... O will happen in the next day or two. I'm using the OPK 3x daily because I seem to have a short Lh surge and don't want to miss it.

DD is getting tired of all this BD spacing. . . I'm not sure how long I'll be able to hold him to it!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Naturally Increasing the Odds...

This week I've started on Maca, Royal Jelly (w/ pollen & propolis), Spirulina, and Red Raspberry Leaf tea. I'm still taking my Raw Code food based prenatal vitamins and getting bi-weekly acupuncture treatments.

Since CM is still an issue for me, despite the surgery to open up the scar tissue closing my cervix... I'm thinking of starting some guaifenesin today until ovulation. We are spacing BD out and will begin using PreSeed on CD10 until ovulation is confirmed. We know that daily BD depletes the sperm count, so our goal is to increase the count to a healthy level AND not miss our window of opportunity prior to ovulation. We are taking a BD break on CD8-CD9, CD11 & CD13. So, BD will be CD10 (72 hour break), CD12 (48 hour break), & CD14 (48 hour break). If ovulation hasn't occurred, we will continue with every other day spacing until we are sure I've ovulated. Then DD can go back to his voracious appetite. :-)

This cycle, I purchased the First Response Daily Ovulation kit. This kit tracks your personal LH level so it will detect the surge even if it is lower than established values (common, especially in women like me with PCOS). I'm having ovary discomfort already (started on CD8) so I expect a CD13-14 ovulation.

I'm also considering a mostly plant based diet (lacto-ovo vegetarian), my husband balks at this, so I'm sure we won't be 100% vegetarian around here plus I'm a WAPF follower and truly believe that a healthy diet should contain all whole food groups. I am hoping to replace the majority of our meals each week with meatless, plant based options. I'm thinking quinoa, artichoke, and sun dried tomato alfredo. . . who'd miss the meat in that dish? Tonight, we are having cheese & veggie pizza (homemade) with a giant garden salad and baked apples (it is Lent, so tonight must be meatless). When we do have meat, it will be local & grass fed.

We will still consume lots of eggs (our staple protein) and the best quality dairy we can get. I'm going to try to replace most baked goods/desserts (except maybe one a month) with fruit options... baked apples or pears, berries & cream, fruit parfaits, etc. . .

I feel like breakfast is already a pretty good meal in our house... we have scrambled eggs w/ gluten free oatmeal (or whole grain toast for the non-gf peeps). I limit cereal to once or twice a week with eggs. I'm weaning the children I didn't give birth to off cold cereal and it's a challenge. I think we can amp this up by adding in fruit and/or veggies.

I'm also going to get back into full baking with almond and coconut flours, alternative/low GI sweeteners, and coconut oil.

I have broken my one modern food addiction- coffee shop Snicker Mocha's (can you say sugar overload?). Coffee is the one thing I consume that isn't whole food/nourishing, so this was a big deal for me. I gave up caffeine months ago, but I was still addicted to the sugar.

If nothing else. . . the dietary changes will help keep me busy and give me a sense of empowerment through this time of rest from conventional treatments.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cycle 4 FAIL ... Time to Rest

Cycle 4 came to a screeching halt this past Thursday. I already knew we weren't pregnant, but like every infertile, I was holding out hope until AF showed.

To add insult to injury... DD and I were at a marriage conference at a beautiful resort this weekend. I had "my friend" the entire weekend... UGH. AND every single session of the conference, no matter where we sat in the ballroom... I was surrounded by pregnant women.

I'm happy for these women... I really am. I don't know a single thing about their stories. Did they conceive the first month of trying after spending their entire adulthood avoiding pregnancy? Did they struggle with infertility? Were they "surprised" by this pregnancy? Wanted, unwanted, planned, unplanned, 1st baby or 12th?... they all have what I long for. I feel guilty for being jealous of their pregnant state.

Sometimes, I feel unjustified in my hurt over infertility. I did bring 3 beautiful children into this world and I gained 2 more via marriage to Devoted Daddy. I am the Mama to 5 kiddos... I will always be insanely busy... I will never have to make the choice to "live child free"... I fit in during the parenting sessions of the conference... I'm an infertile with a full nest.

And I'm still incredibly sad. I long for a child that I can look at and not see my ex or DD's ex... a child that I can look at and see the reflection of this man I love above all else. This man who is my glorious gift after so many years of destruction and heartbreak. I long for a child that will provide all of our children with a joint sibling... a child that will "close the circle" between His and Hers. I would desire these things even if I didn't absolutely adore children... if I didn't love the feeling of being pregnant (even though I was violently ill every time)... if I didn't believe that children are a blessing...

Devoted Daddy is convinced that we will have a baby together in time... I'm losing hope. I know that God is real... and that He is good. I also know that we live in a fallen world where bad things happen. Maybe God's plan for us is to love the orphans... to foster and adopt children that are unwanted... maybe God's plan is that I need to learn patience and that things don't come in my timing...

Or maybe, we just have the rotten luck of faulty plumbing. I've put my reproductive organs through all kinds of trauma since my first bout of (resolved) infertility.

In other news, I asked to be added to our clinic's embryo adoption program. The wait is long (two years or more) because there are many waiting families and not many embryos available. DD and I know that enlarging our family via embryo adoption would mean that the resulting child(ren) would not be of our DNA, but we would be granting life to a child suspended in time... and we would love that child(ren) with every fiber of our being. The irony is... we can go through a FET with adopted embryos for $3800 whereas a round of IVF would cost us $8850 + $2-3,000 in meds.

On my mind... IVF. It was something I wasn't sure I'd ever seriously consider. BUT, here we are... four failed cycles later. We are resting for at least this cycle, maybe two depending on finances. I've crunched the numbers... we have about $2500 left in insurance benefits and on October 1 our FSA account starts over. We could increase that to the maximum which is $5,000 (annually). This would enable us to have $7500 toward the $8850 cost of IVF in October (two months prior to my dreaded 35th birthday). IF (and it's a big IF) we can save the remaining $1350 and start rounding up the medications... maybe, just maybe... we could give it a go. If round one doesn't work BUT we have embryos remaining, we could wait a couple months and pay $1250 for a FET.

I know without a doubt, that even if we conceived triplets on IVF #1, we'd have to proceed with FET of any remaining embryos at the earliest possible time. I cannot allow the start of life to stay indefinitely suspended in time or be destroyed. We'd have to give every embryo (no matter the quality) a shot at life. Our only other option would be embryo adoption... but I think I'm one of those women that is attached to my eggs and would have a great sense of loss over allowing them to be raised in another family... and if none became children, I'd wonder if they would have had a different outcome if I had chosen to transfer them... Because I'm crazy like that. :-)

I have a prescription here for 10 vials (75iu) of Menopur + 15 clomid pills + 10,000iu of Pregnyl. I can buy the Menopur cheaply via for $187.50, this is about a fourth of the cost of an American pharmacy. My clinic recommends the generic HMG and even gave me the order form, so I am comfortable using it.

However, I have to make a decision... try Menopur + clomid + HCG (in April or May) with IUI and potentially waste another $1500... or wait and save... and pray and hope...

Either way... I'm taking March off. Who knows, maybe we will get lucky on our own. I started the OPK today (First Response Daily), I like that this kit watches (and remembers) my personal levels of LH to detect my surge... since I have a short (and possibly weak) surge this is a good thing. I'm also diligently tracking my BBT, cervix position and CM. By taking March off, I can skip the day 3 ultrasound at my clinic and shave $470 off the next cycle. My RE only requires baselines in back to back medicated cycles.

Our next cycle will consist of a call on CD1 to let them know my new cycle started... clomid days 3-7, Menopur (if we decide to use it) CD7-12+, a monitoring scan on CD12 followed by a trigger (if my eggs are ready to go). Technically, this could be a tad cheaper than my previous cycles because of skipping the baseline scan... but if my scan on CD12 reveals follicles that aren't ready to trigger, I could end up with another scan (or two) before we can trigger.

Honestly, if money weren't a factor right now... I'd be forging ahead into the next cycle as we speak.

Monday, March 5, 2012

POAS Obsession...

I'm pretty sure every infertile has it (and plenty of those without IF issues)... I really tried to be more patient this cycle...

But I caved... I tested at 10dpIUI and got a negative... 12dpIUI negative again.

I know there is a good chance that I ovulated those three eggs between CD13 & 15 (IUI was on CD13, trigger CD12 AM), so my brain understands that this may have been too early to test... but the practical side of me is assuming I'm not knocked up and planning what comes next.

What I learned today...

Our Medical FSA will be exhausted after we pay for our current cycle until October 1 (new plan year). We have approximately $1500 left of insurance coverage for IF (paid at 50%). I called the clinic to get a coded list of all the billings since this journey started AND I called the insurance company to get a detailed list of EOB's since January 1, 2011. This way, I can compare all the IF payments and make sure we don't lose out on any benefits due to improper coding.

What else I learned today... One cycle of IVF is $8850 + meds ($2-$4K). A frozen embryo transfer (FET) is $1250.

In hindsight... I could have jumped in with one shot at IVF... between our insurance coverage and what we've spent so far, we could have funded ONE IVF cycle... If only we could know these things in advance... at my age, in my health, with my stats... I'm an "excellent" outcome for IVF so the chance of one shot working is high. At this point, we just can't afford it. Maybe, if we save our kiesters off we could afford a cycle in a year. However, by the end of 2012, I will be 35 and my success rate will drop dramatically.

I just don't see it ever being an option for us... neither is private adoption because the cost is insurmountable in our current situation. We have other things that all our extra money MUST go to in the next 12 months in order to avoid selling our home when the co-owners want bought out (looooong story) early next year.

If I had the option, I would increase my work load to net as much income as I could in the next several months... however, I'm regulated by the state and can't increase my load. Since DD is a teacher, his salary is capped (not to mention the pay cuts he's taken each of the last three years). So, barring a miracle this may be the end of the road for us.

I know that technically we aren't out until AF shows up (this weekend... while we are at a much needed weekend retreat).

Symptom wise, here's where I'm at:
Skin breakout, HOLY CRIPES. My chin is a cystic volcano mess. Ouch.
Heartburn (constant)
Slight cramps here and there (since 3 or 4dpIUI)
Sore breasts
Lots of watery and creamy CM
Sensitivity to smells
Not emotional (this is very odd considering the hormonal drug induced rage I normally have at this point in my cycle).
Craving LEMON, this has never happened before. It's been unbearable for the last 3 days. I bought a giant bag of lemons at Costco...

Barring the negative pee sticks on 10 and 12 dpIUI, I'd swear this lady was knocked up... given those tests I'm thinking this is all drug induced (and perhaps related to high progesterone from 3 follicles forming CL cysts).