Friday, December 30, 2011

Mission 2012...Operation Thicken Lining

Let's start with a brief picture of my day:

As I was walking out of the RE's office, I of course reached for my phone to tell Mr. GG the ultrasound results.  But no phone.  After going to my car and digging through my small purse until I was satisfied it was really not there, I walked back into the office and found it inside the Vogue magazine I was reading.

Then I drive to a new pharmacy that sells fertility drugs at good prices.  It's in a huge medical center and is not easy to find.  After walking in circles for a few minutes I finally find it on a map.  Then I realize I left my parking ticket that needs validation, in the car.  Ok...back to car.  Then I finally find the pharmacy, give my prescription, etc.  I wait for a long 10 minutes and finally get called back up.  I dig in my purse for my wallet.  Not there.  Palm to forehead, I took it out when I was looking for my phone.  So back to car (far away), back to office.  Finally get everything.

That's it...it just gives you a truer picture of how things are going for me today.
.....................................................................................................................................

And the reason I've been so lax about blogging during vacation: grading.  I've literally spent the last 3 days straight at my dining room table grading mounds of essays.  Some stupid AP teacher had her students write 7 different essays in 7 different modes on the same subject.  It takes me nearly 4 hours to read 20 (which times 7 is 140 mind you).  At least a couple of kids wrote about Harry Potter : ).

.....................................................................................................................................

Back to the real story.  Today was my CD11 ultrasound on my second round of 50mg of Clomid.  To recap; last month I had three follies ranging from 17 to 23 and a lining of 6.

I was really lucky that the actual doctor, not a nurse or NP was in today and performed the ultrasound.  He is such a nice man.  He reminded me why I put complete faith in him the first time we met.  It was really great timing too because I was feeling a bit neglected and rushed by the staff that performed my last 2 appointments.  Let's give the Dr a name, shall we?  How about Dr. Hummingbird?

So Dr. Hummingbird first measured my lining which was 5mm.  He didn't say much at this point and I mentioned to him that it was 6 last month.  Then he found a 13mm follie in my left ovary and a 19mm follie in my right.

**Sidenote**  My follies have always been kind of oval-shaped rather than a perfect circle.  I asked him about it and he said that the shape doesn't matter much and that the largest measurement is the important one.

I also mentioned to him that I didn't get an LH surge last month until CD14 in the afternoon, but that I had already ovulated by the next morning when we did the IUI.  He thought that was strange and said that maybe we just did everything right near the end last month.  At this point he had me sit up (Thanks Doc!) and then said he thought we should take more control of things this month.  Great! Please take lots of control!  He told me to get dressed and he'd meet me outside and explain the plan.

Plan:
  • starting CD11 take 3 Estradiol 2mg pills vaginally  - not sure how many days...I need to email and check
  • Take Ovidrel trigger shot CD12 at night - Should I take it at the stroke of midnight?  It IS New Year's Eve...
  • IUI on the morning of CD14 - Right when I wanted!  I feel very relieved having a set time instead of worrying everyday about finding a surge.  Also, they are closed on the 1st which obviously would not work.  AND, I don't go back to school until the 3rd (Tuesday).  Ideal scenario IMO!
This may sound like a disappointing appointment, but I'm feeling pretty good.  Sure, I was hoping everything would just be magical and Clomid would immaculately knock me up, but nothing in this process has been ideal so I not too surprised.

The last few days I've been really frustrated feeling like I don't really know why it hasn't been working, etc.  But I do know why...my lining doesn't support a bebe.  We fixed the progesterone issue with Clomid (it was 19 last month), now we need to fix my lining.  IVF still won't work if my lining isn't thick enough.

So Mission 2012...Operation Thicken Lining is a go!

By the way, acupuncture went well.  I will write another post about it.  I will continue with it to keep trying to work on the lining - but it obviously didn't miraculously work in just 1 session 5 days ago...no surprise there.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Resolution #1: Eliminate Baby-Brain.

This is the first in a series of New Year's Resolutions posts.  I'm not a big resolution-maker since I will break anything I'm not really determined to do.  These resolutions are different because I've been thinking about them for months.  Therefore, I think they are needed changes that will happen.

#1 - Stop Thinking about Babies!

I can't stop trying.  And I won't stop the medical interventions I've started.  So the trick is...how to stop thinking about it all the time.  I'm not totally preoccupied or overwhelmed with babies, but I'm right around a tipping point and I need to figure out how to step back a bit during the process.  I think it's going to take a multi-pronged approach.

Step 1 - Acupuncture



I'm SO excited for my first acupuncture appointment tomorrow!  (Although I probably shouldn't have looked up picture of needles in people's faces right before going.) I've been thinking about starting it for about a year, but I'm not great at just doing things...I just never looked into it and never made an appointment.  But I knew there was an office across from my RE and I figured they probably know a thing or two about infertility.

But I never wrote down the name, and was too lazy to look up my RE's address, so I just Yelped "Acupuncture Fertility" and found the most amazing place.  Two women run two offices that entirely specialize in acupuncture for infertility and they deal mostly with clients in IUI or IVF.  They even do treatments during embryo transfer for IVF.  Their reviews are fantastic.  They have extensive education in Eastern Medicine.  And I can't wait to check it out!  It's tomorrow so expect that post soon.  And...it just happens to be the place next to my RE.  Funny.

Step 2 - Charting Changes

When I was on BC, I never took the placebo pills.  I felt like it was my little "break" from having to take a pill every day of my life.  So when I get my period, I usually stop charting for a few days.  Lately those few days have turned into a full week or more.  And during that time I really feel more relaxed and removed from the baby-making.  So...

Each month I won't start charting until CD11 and the most important part and the much harder to stick to...I'm going to stop charting after I've confirmed O.  So about 3-4 days after my temp rise.

I do think this will be a little hard but I also think it will be great.  We'll see how many days I decide to go before testing this month, but I very much think it'll be close to 14.

Step 3 - Yoga



This one is last because I've been talking about wanting to do yoga more regularly forever now and it still hasn't happened.  I'm pretty determined though so I'm optimistic I can follow through.

I don't think it'll happen if I just hop around different studios' Groupon deals, so I'm looking for one studio in a convenient location, where I can buy a long-term membership.  There's a tiny studio right by my house that I want to find some reviews for or I might just do a big chain like CorePower.

I hold all of my stress in my muscles, my shoulders especially and I know that yoga will help immensely.

And that's it.  Those are my 3 Stop Thinking about Babies Steps.

I realize I did not say that I will stay off of all baby-related message boards, but I've been cutting down and I will keep trying to continue.  That one's NOT a resolution.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The BRAT Diet

I don't know why the acronym needs to sound like a spoiled child because this "diet" is awesome.

It's Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast.



And these are the ONLY foods that sounded moderately appealing to me for the last day.

And NO, it has nothing to do with morning sickness.

On Tuesday, I got food poisoning for the first time in my life.  I have always prided myself on having a strong stomach. But OH MY GOD I nearly died.  I went out for food twice on Tuesday, both to places I have been before that serve hundreds of people.  I think lunch was the culprit though, because Mr. GG and I shared everything for dinner (and I was already not very hungry - totally not normal for me.  I need to eat like every 3 hours...drives Mr. GG crazy.)  Anyway I had the "Fall Salad" for lunch at a Thai place known for it's chicken.  It had beets, arugula, chicken, and some kind of sauce.  I'm thinking it was the chicken.

By the time I got home from dinner with DH, I had a headache.  That quickly progressed to feeling like I was gonna die and laying down on the coach.  Which within a half an hour progressed to expelling every ounce of liquid and food from my body.  I will spare most of the details, but I will say that I used one downstairs bathroom for things coming up and another for things going down.  At one point I had to use a trashcan because they both were happening at the same time!  Disgusting.  I didn't even know that was possible, but I guess it's happened to most people before.  I didn't know there was that much liquid anywhere in my body and I doubt I've put back even half of it...gotta keep drinking!

Yesterday was supposed to be cookie baking day with my sister and my mom.  I made it over to my mom's 2 hours late, but then slept on the couch while they baked all of the cookies while listening to inanely loud Christmas music.  Anyone remember Billy Gillman?  I wanted to kill that little kid.


Anyway...my sister mentioned the BRAT diet after I asked for some toast and then I remembered that I had actually been craving a banana. Applesauce, yes please!  But no rice.  One of the bacterias I looked up was from boiled rice which I had with dinner.  No thanks.

So yesterday I ate most of a slice of toast, 3/4 of a banana over about 5 hours and then a little bit of broth and a couple bites of applesauce for dinner.

And I lost 5 pounds! (Humor.)

Today I feel much better, but I'm starting slow...

Posting may be light over the Holidays...depends on how I feel.  But I'm saving up some really good posts for after the first.  So if you are taking a blogging holiday yourself, don't forget to come back!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, or insert your own.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Finally, a verdict...

Sorry ladies, not pregnant this month.  What's new?

How am I doing?  Not bad.  I did treat myself to a BFN treat.  Even though it's super cold outside, I had my favorite ice cream shake for lunch.  Maggie Moos Sweat Cream ice cream with strawberries and fudge.


I think I would have done everything the same way this month.  I took 4 tests; from 10-13dpo and all were negative.  This definitely kept me from getting my hopes up which was good.  I spotted just a tiny bit on 13dpo and then my temp dropped to my "period temp" of 97.2 this morning, 14dpo.  AF hasn't totally started, but it's close.  Each morning I decided whether or not to test based on my temp.

Because I now have a normal LP thanks to Clomid, I might wait a few days longer to test next month.  But I know that if I hadn't tested at all, I would definitely have convinced myself that I was in fact pregnant.

The hardest thing for me when AF starts is delayed-phantom-symptom-spotting-syndrome.  (I made that up.)  When I feel twinges, or smell things, or have a headache, or do something stupid, I can no longer blame it on maybe being pregnant.  It's hard to notice these things for 2 weeks and then turn it off immediately.

I did email the RE's office on Friday because I had no idea what happened next if I got AF.  Here's the deal.  Because of how I responded, I will be on the same 50mg dose of Clomid.  This makes me feel pretty good.  It makes me think everything worked as it should have, we just connected the wrong sperm and egg...so next month we'll connect the right two.  So I refilled my prescription at Target today and will start on Day 3.

My insurance doesn't switch until Jan 1 so that makes the decision to stay with the private RE easy.  So another $505 for this Clomid cycle.

Then, while I was driving around Christmas shopping today, I remembered my bright side for this month.  (Every month I try to come up with a reason that it was good not to get knocked up, quite yet.)  This month's bright side is work related.

As a teacher, I go back to school in late August.  During the first three days back (before kids come) there is a ton of professional development time lead by me.  Last cycle's due date was August 29th meaning I basically could not be department chair next year.  A late September due-date will be A-ok : ).

Mr. GG and I did decide that if we weren't pregnant by January that we'd try some new things.

2012 Fertility Resolutions Coming Soon!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Verdict Still Out

So my temp rose a lot, which it NEVER does on day 10, which gives me a lot of hope.

But the test was a BFN.

I feel ok about it all because I think the temp is really important so...verdict is out for now.

Oh, and I may have taken the test with me in the car on the way to work so I could keep staring at it.  But I realized I couldn't throw it away in my classroom or my students would see it and I didn't want to just leave it out in the car, so I put it in the center console.  Yep.

Here's my chart:



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Post before THE POST

So I realize that this is my 3rd cycle since blogging, but THE (results) POST is feeling a little more daunting today. 

It's like I don't want to disappoint everyone when it doesn't work out : (.  Nor do I want to disappoint myself.  But I can feel myself slowly starting to imagine the white space where the second line is supposed to show up.  Oh, the minutes I've lost straining to see an imaginary pink line...

I vacillate constantly between believing I'm definitely pregnant and doubting everything and figuring this will turn out like every other month in the last year and a half.

And I'm worried about how everyone will respond.


If it's a BFP...

I'm going to be happy, yet extremely, extremely cautious about getting excited.  The road is not smooth nor guaranteed.  BUT...I will be slightly more confident because of the Clomid.  I hope it's made my uterus a happier place.  Therefore, big emotional congratulations will kind of fall on deaf ears. 

If it's a BFN...

I'm the kind of person that likes to turn off the TV right after my team loses (and kind of pretend it never happened.)  I will try to move on immediately and deal with the wanting to quit, it'll never happen thoughts later.  And I will tell you I'm fine, that it's not big deal and it won't be right at that moment.

And I do want to share it with you all!  But I'm worried!!

I will check my temp before I decide whether or not to test.  If it's up, I'll do it.   But a part of me wants to wait until Saturday so my chances of a false negative are smaller.  It showed up at 10 last time, so it should this time too, right?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thanks and Please Vote!

I want to take time out from the TTC blogging for a second to thank all of you who come and visit me everyday!  As my readership has grown, I've really been inspired to come up with new and better ideas and make this blog really worth reading.  It's been an amazing distraction to blog instead of spending hours looking for comforting tid-bits about "early pregnancy" on Google!

I submitted my blog to be included on the Stirrup Queens blogroll and while rummaging around the site, came across the Creme de la Creme Blog Awards. 



I want to submit an entry, but after reading through a bunch of posts last night, I just couldn't decide.  I will also be totally honest and tell you that I found a type in each and every one!  Bad English teacher!

So if you would be so kind as to vote for your favorite entry (poll on the right), I would greatly appreciate it!

Lots of love!!!

Mrs. Green Grass

Don't worry, will update on this month's progress soon.  No news is good news, right?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

C Cups and a Trip to Peru: Symptoms

So I don't pregnancy symptom spot anymore because after googling every twinge, headache, and emotion, I realized that everything that people who may be pregnant feel, people who are not pregnant also feel.  And tons of people who are pregnant have no real symptoms.

Today I'm 7dpo and I'm feeling:




That is, hopeful and excited and trying not to get my hopes up too much all together.
This month I am feeling a few physical things that I've never felt before.  But remember, I took Clomid this month, so I attribute most of the symptoms to that.  Either way, I'm thankful to have some of these symptoms that other people seem to have and that hormone-devoid me has almost never had.

#1 - Sore nipples - I almost never have boob pain and I'm pretty sure my nipples have never been this uncomfortable.  Of course I got hit in the nipple with a soccer ball at my game on Friday night and it felt like I was being stabbed by a knife. (No exaggeration.)  This started on 3dpo but lessened at 6 and 7.

#2 - Full breasts - I think it's relevant to say that I'm a B/C cup.  I think I'm wearing all Cs now, but after being a B forever, I haven't quite adopted the C mentality : ).  Either way, my boobs are not huge...I always figured maybe this is why I never had any pain here.  And I thought it was weird when people described breasts as feeling full or heavy.  But now I get it!  I totally have full breasts right now, since yesterday (5 and 6dpo).

#3 - Vivid dreams - I occasionally have dreams that I can remember.  But Sunday morning was ridiculous!  First, I was in the classroom discussing a project with my students.  Next thing you know, I'm in Peru as a student like I'm in one of their groups for the project.  The dream covered multiple locations in Peru (where I have never been).  I also remember driving on a bus on a mountainside and being completely freaked out that we would fall over the side of the mountain because the driver was going so fast (also in Peru).  I can still picture exactly what it looked like and feel exactly how I felt on the bus (12 hours later).  Totally strange!

#4 - Hot face? - I felt flushed on and off on Sunday, but do not feel even slightly sick.  My temp was very elevated this morning (for me), 98.2.  I'm sure it could be fever, but I don't really think so.

So the verdict is that I am definitely experiencing more hormonal symptoms than ever before.  Thank you Clomid!

Today's temp is still high, but I'm totally doubting whether or not any of this points to pregnancy.  I think that's in the nature of protecting my fragile feelings.  Will test on Thursday I think....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Making Babies: Diagnosis, Tired

I love questionnaires.  I don't know why.  Maybe because I often get bored of the sites I usually peruse on the internet.  Maybe because I like taking tests and finding out results.  Whatever the reason, I was excited to take the Making Babies Fertility Typer questionnairre after it was recommended by JHoller and Running Elley over at Weddingbee.

Before I get to the results, let me give a tiny bit of background on Making Babies. Full Disclaimer: I have not read this book; I've just read reviews.  If anyone would like to guest blog about it, send me a message! 



The super basic summary is that this book approaches infertility through a collaboration between an infertility doctor, Dr. Sami S. David, and an Acupuncturist/Herbalist, Jill Blakeway.  That's all I will say since I don't know much more!

I am totally curious about Eastern Medicine, acupuncture, and herbal supplements.  But I am also extremely hesistant about taking pills and trying herbs as well as a bit too lazy to actually schedule an acupuncture appointment.  Maybe trying these things should be part of my New Year's Resolution if the IUI doesn't work.

Back to the Fertility Typer.  I was a bit surprised at the length of the questionnairre!  It's extremely detailed.  I definitely saw some questions that fit me to a T, like "Frequently has tense muscles."  But other questions were hard for me to answer because I can go both ways.  I also thought it was kind of stupid to answer questions like whether I prefer hot or cold beverages.  I love tea, but it's cold outside right now.  I probably would answer cold beverages in the summer time.

My result was "tired" which gave a me a good laugh.  I'm a sleeper.  If I could get 10 hours of sleep I night, I would and I'm often tired.

Here are the recommendations for my type:



SYMPTOMS:Often feels weak or lethargicProne to getting sickGets out of breath and sweats easily, gains weightPoor appetiteProne to bloating, gas, and loose stoolsLow sex driveShort luteal phaseFeels cold: hands, feet

Comments: I've got 5 out of 7.

WESTERN MEDICINE:HypothyroidLow progesteroneLuteal phase defectMetabolic disorders

Comments: I've got 2 out of 4.

TCM PERSPECTIVE:This type is called kidney “yang” deficiency in TCM, and reflects a broader hormonal imbalance going beyond reproductive hormones and encompassing the thyroid, adrenals, and pituitary gland. Weakness in these systems affects metabolism, circulation, and thus reproduction.

Hmm...Not really sure about this one.

ADVICEMore animal ProteinAvoid raw and cold foodsAlcohol in moderationConsume warming soups and stews, and spices: cinnamon,ginger, cayenne, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, cuminRegular moderate exercise

Comments: I love soup.  Cumin, cinnamon, giner, yum!  I probably do need more protein.  Thank goodness it doesn't say no alcohol.  But I will not give up my ice cream or veggies!

SUPPLEMENTS:Royal jellyWheat grassChromium (boosts metabolism by enhancing the action of insulin)L-arginineChasteberry (helps sustain post-ovulatory progesterone)

Comments: Yeah, don't really see myself taking these.  Royal jelly sounds gross!  Maybe chasteberry?  More research needed here.

Overall, I think this is interesting.  I'm not sure whether or not I feel the need to read the book, but I do like having something additional to think about. 

I know a lot of you take stuff.  What herbs do you swear by?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Money Talk: IUI Cost

I was inspired to write this post after reading an old post at A Miracle in the Works.  When I was considering whether or not to go to an RE (on my own dime) I really wanted to do proper research and figure out how much everything would cost.  It seems that most of the published information is regarding IVF, but I just wanted to know how much and IUI would cost.  It was really frustrating and I didn't get very good information.  Also, it looks like the price varies quite a bit from clinic to clinic, but here's my story. 

(I think I got a pretty good deal!)

FYI: I go to a private clinic in Southern California.

My initial consultation was $275 and we met with one of the primary doctors for about 45 minutes.

We decided to move to a Clomid cycle next and I had to buy some pills, all purchased at my favorite place, Target.


Clomid +
200 Folic Acid 1 mg pills +
3 50 pill bottles of Low-Dose Aspirin (Target brand), $23

I did not have to do any additional blood work and my initial Day 3 blood work was covered by insurance.  Shocker!

Mr. GG had to get tested for STDs.  These 5 blood tests are required by law before an IUI.  I'm not sure yet whether or not it was covered.  Will come back and edit if it was not.

I also needed OPKs to check for my surge.  I got a Clearblue Easy Digital 7 pack on sale at (you guessed it!), Target, for $18.

My clinic has a package deal for a Clomid IUI cycle of $505 which includes:
  • 1 ultrasound (on CD11) 
  • 1 office visit (I guess this is the IUI visit?)
  • 1 interuterine insemination (top of uterus)
  • 1 intracervical insemination (one additional syringe of the sample into the cervical fluid).
It also included the sperm wash for the sample.

If I would have needed a trigger shot, that would have been $90, an additional office visit with ultrasound would have been $275, and an additional IUI a day later was $205.

So our grand total for Clomid IUI cycle #1 is less than $1000; $546 without the inital consulation, $821 with.  I was really surprised!

I really hope that if you need to do an IUI that you can find reasonable services, but I know that other places charge closer to $2-$3,000.

We could have waited until January to have this covered by new insurance, but after we spent the initial $275 to check out this office, we decided to stick with them because I felt so comfortable and well-taken care of there.

Hope this helps some of you!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Turkey-Basted!

(That's what Mr. GG calls Interuterine Insemination (IUI).)

I'm 1dpo today!  IUI #1 (and hopefully the last) is done!  I got my OPK smiley face yesterday afternoon.  DH took his "sample" in at 8am and I went in at 11am for my portion.  Romantic, huh?

I think this two week wait is going to be extremely difficult.  It's a lot of extra pressure to have gone to this much effort to make this month work.  Hopefully the Holidays will distract me from going insane.


For me, the IUI was worse than the HSG.  For both, a catheter is inserted through the cervix.  The nurse today said that my cervix curved or something so she had a very hard time inserting the catheter.  Eventually (after some wincing on my part) the catheter went in.  The rest of the procedure took just minutes.
 
She inserted the majority of the sperm at the top of my uterus near the fallopian tubes and the rest in my cervix to hang out in the cervical mucus. 

Mr. GG's count and motility were really good...I congratulated him : )

I laid on the table with my knees up for about 10 minutes and stared at this.  Better than ceiling tiles I guess.
 

I have to take 3 doxycyclene pills tonight and tomorrow to prevent the small chance of infection and then I have to get my blood tested in 7-10 days to check my progesterone and see whether I ovulated.

Sidenote: my cervical mucus was great this month, definitely stretchy and clear although maybe slightly stickier (rather than slippery) so I definitely am in the majority who respond well to Clomid.

You probably know that I was worrying about timing after my last post, so we had sex on Sunday night which should up our chances.  Also, my temp already spiked today, so I must have ovulated yesterday.  I think it's ok that the IUI was the day after though...
I sincerely thank all of you for your support!!  To respect Mr. GG's privacy, I am only telling my sister and I didn't get a chance to mention it to her yesterday.  So lots of love to my internet family : )

Let's hope for the spotting devil to stay away and for me to make it past 13 days...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Stirrups.

Can I just shout to the entire gynecological world of doctors and nurses that telling me anything important while my legs are up in stirrups and I'm wearing paper around my waist is the most ridiculous thing in the world? 

DO YOU HEAR ME DOCTORS AND NURSES?


So I had my RE appointment for my first Clomid cycle yesterday. First, the nurse measured my lining, but I couldn't see the screen at the time.  I was most concerned about this since my lining was already thin before Clomid.  Afterward, when I asked about it, she said that my lining is a 6.  8 is preferred, but she didn't seem overly concerned.  I hope it's ok!

Next, she checked out my left ovary and found two follicles; one measuring 24 which is pretty big and one measuring something else, 17?  (Like I said, told to me while in stirrups.)  She found one more in my right ovary which was around the same size as the smaller one on the left side.

So three follies!  I don't want three babies, but I definitely like my chances of ovulating on both sides.

I am using OPKs starting this morning, continuing every morning and afternoon, and as soon as I get a positive, I call and schedule an IUI for the next day.

I like to give detailed info so you should also know that the ideal sperm for IUI should be between 2 and 5 days old.  Mr. GG and I basically quit having sex after O last month, so his stuff is a bit older than that right now...could be a good 3 weeks old... : /.  We're tired, people!  I honestly don't understand when I see charts where the couples have sex just about every day for the entire month!  Anyway, we took care of that last night to keep everything right on track. 

Today is CD12.  On Clomid you are supposed to ovulate around 7 days after the last pill which will be right around CD14.

Update on my guilt neurosis:
I was totally freaked out that I did things wrong this cycle because I was supposed to start using OPKs on Day 11.  For some reason, I didn't go back and read the pamphlet on Clomid cycles that the doctor gave me.  I imagined that I somehow missed it.  Hello Mrs. GG, Do you really think you're going to ovulate on Day 11 when it's never been earlier than 18?

Also, for weekend IUIs you have to call the morning before prior to 10 am so that they can schedule staff for the next day.  I didn't bother to get out of bed until 10:10 today, then freaked out, so I was praying that I didn't get a smiley face on today's OPK.  I'm hoping this afternoon is negative too.  How am supposed to schedule a Sunday IUI if I get a positive in the afternoon on Saturday and you're supposed to call by 10am?  Won't Monday be too late?  Arg!

It's kind of weird that Mr. GG and I will not be having sex on our own this cycle.

This is stressful, but exciting.  Will keep you updated...


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Drugs.

I'm a Just Say No, raised in the 80s kind of girl.  Well except for a couple times with that "gateway drug" in my 20s...full disclosure.  But I didn't like it.  I was a psych major and I like to know what's happening in my brain cuz I kinda like it the way it is.  I take pain medication, but in serious moderation.  My pain level needs to be about a 5 or 6 before I turn to Ibuprofen.  Mr. GG on the other hand pops 3 most evenings (he's old).


Granted to say, I was not eager to jump straight to drugs to deal with our conception issues.  But after a full year, some frustrating medical service (HMO-style), a chemical pregnancy, and finally some excellent medical service (private), I am ready and fully believe Clomid will solve all of my problems! Hmm..sounds like I'm setting myself up for disappointment.

I have been taking 7 pills a day for the last 5 days.
In the evening: Clomid 50mg, Target prenatal vitamin, 2 1mg Folic Acid pills

In the morning: 2 more 1mg Folic Acid pills and a baby Aspirin (Target Brand, 81mg)

More on Clomid:


Here's the quick version of what Clomid does:

The good: Clomid mimics Estrogen in the brain by blocking the Estrogen receptors (imagine puzzle pieces).
The body thinks it doesn't have enough Estrogen so the pituitary produces more FSH (follice stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone).  An voi'la...stronger ovulation.

The bad: Clomid also blocks the Estrogen receptors in other parts of the body like the uterus which can cause decreased, dry, or even "hostile" cervical mucus.  (Anyone else picturing CM with machine guns?  Just me?  Maybe it's because I'm watching The Kite Runner while writing this.)  It can also thin the uterine lining which is no bueno for implantation.  Because of these side effects, IUI (interuterine insemination) or the Turkey Baster as Mr. GG calls it, is often done with Clomid.  Apparantly around 30% of people who take Clomid experience these negative effects.

Random Fact: I learned through Googling that body builders also take Clomid!  Almost half of the sites I found linked to body building and/or steroids.  Weirdos.

I finished my last pill last night (you only take 5) and I have an ultrasound on Friday to check my lining and follicles.  Very nervous!  I really hoped it worked.

The only side-effect I had was night sweats a couple of times per night on 3 of the nights.  They were no big deal.

Anyone else have a Clomid story to share?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Liebster Love




Thanks to Mommy ToBe at A Miracle in the Works for giving me the Liebster Blog Award! 

It's kind of like a chain letter for blogs.  I am completely anti-chain letter (well at least since Junior high when we still did the paper versions), but this is a bit different since it's from one blogger to another blogger. 

The goal behind it is to give recognition to small blogs with fewer than 200 readers.  Liebster means dearest, favorite, or sweetest in German.  I'm proud to receive this honor : ) 

Technically you are supossed to nominate 5 blogs of your own, but since I don't like to follow rules (or chains) and I don't regularly read enough blogs to fully participate, I'm just going to give a shout-out to my favorite small blog: Carrie Stevenson's, Keep Calm and Carrie On. 

You can find it here:

Keep Calm and Carrie On

I love the idea of sharing blog love.  If you have a favorite blog I should check out, post a comment!

Friday, November 25, 2011

I survived Thanksgiving!

My family is small and we've always had small holiday gatherings, that is until my sister and I married our dudes.  I wanted to host Thanksgiving this year.  Why? Because I wanted to take my beautiful Royal Doulton Opalene China out of the boxes that it came in and use it!  Check it out...I smile every time I look at it : ) (It has a opalescent mosaic pattern on the outer edge; pictures don't do it justice!)

The original list was Mr. GG and myself, my sister and her husband, my mom and step-dad, and my uncle.  Within a short week the number jumped to 20.  How?  Well, we were going to just stick to my side of the family, but we thought we'd extend courtesy invites to Mr. GG's side as well.  Miraculously, everyone decided to show up!  Yay! : /

Segway: we've lived in our house for over 3 years and haven't changed a whole lot.  I decided that I wanted to redo the dining room.  On Monday, I shopped and designed with my mom.  On Tuesday, my sister and I painted and by night-time, it was done! It was a lot of work with a very hard and fast deadline, but I got it done.  Phew.  Mr. GG said he thought I added value to our house : ).

All day Wednesday, my mom sister and I shopped, prepped, cleaned, and set the tables.

But this post is about surviving Thanksgiving.  All of the above was stressful and took a long time, but it wasn't the hardest part.

Out of the 20 guests, 9 were woman, 4 of child-bearing age.  Two are pregnant: my sister at 10 weeks, and our good friend at 15.  One, my sister-in-law, is the mother of an18 month old and has just started trying for number 2.  And the last one is me.  Barren, child-less, Mrs. GG.  So it was entirely possible that I was the only female not pregnant at Thanksgiving dinner.  (That is assuming that my sister-in-law is already pregnant, but early on.  I would not be surprised.)

Don't get me wrong.  I am not slightly bitter towards these pregnant ladies.  My sister is pregnant after a miscarriage and my friend is pregnant through IVF after trying for 2 years.  I'm thrilled for both of them!

The problem was in my brain, well also a little, no a lot, due to my sister's mother-in-law who was also a Thanksgiving guest.  My sister had her first ultrasound on Tuesday.  So, when Sister GG's MIL, let's call her Carol, called on Tuesday to discuss dishes to bring, this is how the conversations went:

Carol: "Hi Auntie GG, it's Grandma Carol."
Mrs. GG: "Blech." I mean "Hi Carol..." (Eyes rolling into the back of my head)

Um. You're not a grandma yet.  Stop calling it a fetus. And this is beyond awkward to be talking with you about.

Later at dinner she made my sister and BIL take pictures with him holding her belly to send to all of her friends.

Cue refill glass of wine.

As I was trying to sleep Wednesday night, I imagined that the entire dinner would consist of baby talk, that "Grandma MIL" would incessently gush about her excitement, and that she would start bugging me about when I was having a baby.  Then, I would snap and go off on her and embarrass everybody.



Thankfully, none of this happened.  I drank my wine while the rest of the ladies sipped on ginger ale and grenadine and we had a nice Thanksgiving meal.

I am extremely fortunate to have a mom that is sensitive and thoughtful and friends who are the same way, but the next time I come across someone who's not, I've already decided what I'm going to say.

Mister GG and I have decided not to have children.  That should end it, right?

How was everyone else's Turkey Day?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The joys and perils of charting BBT

Confession: I let my temperature determine my mood for the day.

This isn't a problem during the beginning of the month, but it turns me bi-polar toward the end.

Example:  Yesterday, 8dpo, my temperature was about as high as it ever gets.  It doesn't have to be this high for me to get pregnant, but it's definitely not a bad thing.  So I was up and about in an instant yesterday, excited to start my day.


And then today my temperature was super low, like about to start AF low.  This is not normal for 9dpo.  And I did take it an hour early (because I never changed my bedroom clock after the time change so I thought it was 5:30 when it was really 4:30).  But even adjusted, it's way low.  Sure, this could be an implantation dip.  But I'm not really holding my breath.  On these days I just want to keep hitting snooze, not go to school, and be grumpy all day.



I really used to be a truly rational person.  And I used to get things done at work.  Now I just compare my charts to other people's to convince myself that I can still hope another day.  Even though I know that I really can't know anything for sure.  I have a whole other post planned about sites to read for hours on end during the two week wait...

Please tell me you are crazy like me! : )

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas Presents

On our way home from Vegas a couple a weeks ago (ah the luxurious life of the childless), Mr. GG and I perused SkyMall together.  SkyMall is good for a laugh or imagining who would buy the crazy over-priced wrist-band iphone holder that is more inconvenient than helpful.  Or the pillow positioner marketed for the elderly that looks suspiciously just like "The Liberator."  Same company? And then we stumbled upon something like this:


We figure we can just buy a few broze children for eachother for Christmas and scatter them throughout the yard and the house so that we will finally feel like a family. : )  We can name them and take care of them and live happily ever after.

Or better yet...we could buy "Corner Dolls."  I saw my first Corner Doll when while tailgating before a UCLA game at the Rosebowl in college.  As I was walking by the RV section where the rich people tailgate (you know - the kind who think drinking wine and eating cheese and crackers is tail-gating and have never heard of shot-gunning a beer), I noticed these "children" facing up against the RV.  It was the size of a child.  It was wearing children's clothing.  And I hope not to offend any of the Corner Doll fans among my blog readers, but these are honestly the creepiest things I have ever seen.  Here's one:



The actual website is even creepier!  This little guy is from the "Brats and Bullies" collection and he's been bad so he's in time-out in the corner.  Ew.

Maybe I will tell him to get me jewelry and I'll get him a watch instead.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cycle 15 Update: 4dpo

I'm feeling super positive about this cycle.  I'm planning on telling the story that once we finally decided to proceed with Clomid and IUI because of my inhospitable uterus : ) we (sorta) quit trying and it worked!  I say sort of because I can't quit trying, it's not in my DNA.

I started taking the 4mg of Folic Acid and low-dose aspirin at 1 dpo so maybe that will make a difference?  All I know so far is that I have more high temps than I've ever had 4 days in.  I also ovulated on the early side for me, CD18, the same day I ovulated during the cycle I got pregnant.  Maybe my body is angry that we're trying to bypass it and tried harder all it's own?

Here's my chart:
See all the 97.9's from the last 3 days?  I sometimes get one temp that high, but very rarely 3 or more.  my temp usually hangs around 97.6 or .7 through the mid part of the cycle and then I start to spot.  I'm hoping if it stays mostly high, maybe that won't happen.  I literally can't wait each morning to check my temp...I take it at 5:20, but don't read it until I really wake up.  (I've made that mistake before.  It flashes for literally a second and sleepy eyes often don't read that quickly.)

For me this is the positive-emotions, but crazy-lady part of my cycle.  I start to compare my chart to pregnancy charts on TCOYF.  I hope to get really tired and crampy around 7dpo.  I try my hardest not to symptom spot any further than that because I know that most symptoms don't appear until well after a BFP.  And then I wait patiently to get a new temp to add to my data set.  Oh, and I always check the possible baby's due date as soon as I O.  This maybe baby is due on --

OMG.  I just looked it up now and you won't believe it.  It would be due on my birthday!!  July 31st.  That would be super special. (I might be getting a little teary.)

I'll let you know how this cycle ends up in about a week.  Cross your fingers for me!

Now don't worry, this doesn't mean I'll be devastated if AF shows again.  Because we have a plan for next month that will make it different from this one.  But I'm going to keep hoping.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm a teacher and I LOVE my job!

Before I get to the good stuff, let me tell you a few things I learned about my students this week.

One kid's mom is a stripper, another kid's dad recently came from across the country to try to get custody of his son.  Another kid's dad was just convicted of killing his mom.  A girl was suspended for having pot at school (she said she was holding it for another kid).  A different girl told me she was raped last year.  And finally, my former gang member said he lives with his grandma because his mom won't let him live with her and wonders why he gets yelled at when he walks his pit bull without a leash.

Wow...putting that all together in a list makes it sound really bad!  I literally learned each of these facts in the last 2 weeks.  Most in the last 3 days.  And the saddest part is that this is only a snapshot.  There are so many more stories that I haven't heard.  And this high school is extremely average (if not above-average).  Middle Class neighborhood, 40% poverty (some busing), but high-performing.

I know this might sound like an odd beginning to my "I love my job" post, but this is exactly why I love my job.  The boy who lives with his grandma said I was "tight" after I made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.  I literally teared up when the girl who was raped (who was abused growing up) said in her college essay that her 9th grade teacher helped her realize that she had potential in life and inspired her to take more advanced classes in school and stop shop-lifting and lying.  Guess who her 9th grade teacher was?



But this is the final inspiration for this post, an email I got from a student who graduated last year.  She was a B/C student who hated English.  She currently attends community college.  Here's the email:

Hey Mrs. GG,
I know this is a little weird, especially since I probably wasn't that great of a student in your class last year, but I just wanted to let you know that your class helped me a lot. I've been receiving A's on all of my essays so far in my English class and as much as I hated annotating articles in your class, I find it so helpful now. I can't write an essay without doing so. Okay, just thought I'd let you know! Thanks for all you help when I was in your class. Hope you're doing well. Bye. 
-Student



I love teaching, and English, but even more...I love getting to know and help these kids turn into people : )


I know I don't have my own baby (yet), but I do have hundreds of student-babies.  That's a start.

Monday, November 7, 2011

And We Have a Plan!!

You guys!  I just had my first doctor's appointment that relieved stress rather than adding it!

Plan: Start Clomid; possibly with IUI

What we came away with:

  • Lab Order: "Law Tests" - HIV, Hepatitis B, C, and 2 others (required by law before man can give sperm)
  • Prescription: 4 mg Folic Acid - The Dr. said that you need a prescription for over 1mg so over-the-counter pill have less than that.  He wants me to take my regular pill plus 4 mg.
  • Prescription: Clomid
  • Pre-Natal and Baby Aspirin - Take 1 a day of each
How it at went down:
After we checked in we were escorted to the doctor's office.  It had a small round table and chairs as well as his desk.  He sat with us at the smaller table.  He started by listening (so refreshing!).  Then he said that we have 2 basic issues that need to be address (both of which we already knew).  And...he looked at my charts!  Woo-hoo!  I have been waiting for someone ot take them seriously.

1) Mr. GG's morphology is 4%.  Our Dr. said that almost no men meet the 14% normal morphology (sperm shape).  Most men will be at 8%.  Yes, Mr. GG's is lower, but the Dr. said not to worry, he's seen success with 1%...it just takes one.  He also told us that we can improve his morphology!  I have tried to research male infertility issues, but it's a bitch, really.  The prescription is simple:





  • Take a multi-vitamin.  (Mr. GG was already doing this, but on a semi-regular basis.)
  • Take a supplement of Carnitine.
  • Eat lots of foods rich in antioxidants: blueberries, acai, etc.



Also important; he agreed that staying out of the hot tub is extremely important.  And he said that spinning class (Mr. GG's new workout obsession) is not a problem.

2) My spotting.  He agreed that it is a problem and confirmed that it's usually due to an progesterone issue.  (The other option is fibroids or some other issue, but my HSG and an ultrasound ruled that out.)  He said that some doctors prescribe a progesterone supplement, but that he preferred to make the body produce more progesterone on it's own.  Solution: Clomid.  He really thinks Clomid will most likely solve all of our issues!  Why didn't my OBGYN say this?  Grr.

We did end up switching our insurance to an HMO that provides coverage, so we have to decide whether we can wait until February to do IUIs or whether we want to pay out of pocket to do it at this office.  
Cost: 
  • $505 for the IUI cycle including appointments and sperm wash
  • ($75) for trigger shot (can choose this or use an OPK to predict O)
  • ($225) for an additional IUI one day later
  • ($250) for additional appointments, if necessary.
  • $? Clomid - will talk to pharmacy soon
Basically it should be between $600-700.

Either way, I'm starting my 5 day Clomid course on Day 3 of the next cycle.  We just have to decide whether we want to add the IUI.

I am sooooooo excited to have a real plan!!!!!!!!!!

He also did an ultrasound which was also really cool.  He said my lining is a bit thin which is to be expected with my probable progesterone issue.  Then we looked at my left ovary which had a bunch of tiny black spots which he said are follicles.  It's healthy and fertile...yay!  At this point I mentioned that I should be ovulating soon.  He said that I definitely would not be ovulating from this ovary.  So we looked at the right one and voila!  Big black spot...my egg for the month.  It was measuring small, 11x17.  It's supposed to be 18 and over to be good, but that's ok.  Clomid should fix all.  All in all, it was really exciting.  I feel majorly renewed hope! : )

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fertility Foods: Green Tea

Change this month: drinking green tea every morning. 

I have always liked green tea, and when I read that it is good for TTC because it helps create more cervical mucus, I made sure sure to drink a lot of it.

My favorite: Starbucks Iced Venti Unsweetened Green Tea.  It's a little minty and very delicious.  And only 100 calories!

Yes, the picture is a grande, but you get what I mean : )

But somewhere along the TTC way, I became more and more addicted to my morning coffee.  I'm a lightweight with caffeine.  I pretty much feel hungover after one coffee, but I love how it tastes!!  Because of this I didn't have the ability to handle both coffee and tea in one day.

But this month, I'm back to the good old fashioned hot green tea.  Currently I'm drinking Stash.

I have an electric kettle and my favorite mug in my classroom, so there's no excuse to forget.

I can't say for sure it's the tea, but I definitely have a lot of CM this month. (Yes I felt a little weird writing that, so I abbreviated this time.)  I'm on CD14...about 6-8 before my average O...and my CM is abundant and the cloudy, lotiony type.  Hopefully I'll be seeing some egg-white soon!

Has green tea worked for you?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Cycle: What every girl needs to know.

Recently, a good friend of mine called me frantic and explained that she an her husband had forgotten to use a condom and was worried she could be pregnant.  They had sex (on their 3rd anniversary) 2 days before her period started.  She knew I had learned a lot while TTC and needed my expertise.  I told her that there was an extremely small liklihood that she could have gotten pregnant and saved the day.  (Then she called back 3 hours later to make sure I was really sure!)



My friend is a 31 year old, soon-to-be MBA, yet she knows almost nothing about her cycle.  From time to time before TTC I felt the same way and I had even more reason not to.  When I was in college, I interned at Planned Parenthood and taught sex ed classes to inner city Los Angeles junior high school students.  I knew all about preventing pregnancy, right?  I was terrified of getting pregnant for 29 years of my life (well... maybe not as a child) and took birth control for 11 of those years.  I understand why sex ed does what it does.  Teenagers need education about preventing pregnancy.  But the typical teachings also instill a lot of fear in girls (and women).  I wish I had known more of the real story.  I would have had exactly the same amount of sex, but would have protected myself by timing it and using protection against STDs and would therefore, have much less stress and fear about accidentally becoming pregnant.

I bet that many of you who choose to follow this blog do not need any education in this area.  But the TTC newbies, and I'm sure some of your own friends, need this info, so give them the link!

We've all heard that the average woman's cycle is 28 days.  But it is totally normal for your cycle to be shorter or longer than this.  Mine is around 33 days (range: 28 to 40).  Your cycle should be similar each month, but can be lengthened by stress or illness.

Your cycle:
The first half (before ovulation) is called the follicular phase.  This is the phase that may vary in length.
The second half is called the luteal phase.  This is most commonly 14 days long although anything above 10 is ok.  Your LP should be the same every month. (Mine is around 11, but varies - potentially an issue.)


Your hormones are constantly in flux throughout the cycle.  OPKs and the Clearblue easy detect hormones that surge before ovulation.

Conception basics:
From the fabulous Toni Weschler at TCOYF:

1. The woman's egg can only live up to 24 hours. Two or more eggs may be released over a maximum of 24 hours. So, in a vacuum, a woman is only fertile for about a day or two. But the man's sperm can live up to 5 days, so the combined fertility of the two individuals is about a week.

2. For a couple trying to get pregnant, the woman's fertile phase is as long as she has fertile quality cervical fluid, up through ovulation. That might be several days, or as few as one.

TMI? (Cervical Mucus):
Have you ever noticed something resembling egg-white when you (ahem) go to the ladies?  Growing up, I always thought this was the actual egg coming out after I had ovulated.  (In reality, the egg is MUCH smaller than this!)  It's actually the most fertile type of cervical mucus, a great indicator that you are about to ovulate.  Throughout the month your cervical mucus will go from dry, to sticky, to clear and watery, to egg-white, then back to dry.  If your CM is not clear, watery, or egg-white-like, then you are not fertile.  The other types actual kill sperm!

Tip: The rise in Estrogen causes the egg-white CM.  Many women also experience some about a week after they ovulate.  This is from the secondary Estrogen surge that you can see on the chart above.

This info is just scratching the surface, but I wanted to give it to you all in one place. It takes a ton of research to find reliable sources of information on your own.  Hope it helps!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Breast Cancer Gene

A note about breast cancer.

It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month after all...  I have a ton of breast cancer in my family: my mom (survivor), aunt (survivor), and Maternal Grandmother (deceased, lung and breast cancer).  My mom was only 43 when she was diagnosed.  Because of our family history, my mom got the whole genetic scan for the BRCA breast cancer mutations and was found to have a mutation on the BRCA 2 gene (or is it a chromosome?).   Since then my aunt, uncle, sister, and myself have all been tested for that specific mutation and we are all positive for it.  I really am totally fine with this.  Because of my family history I have always known that I have a very increased risk for breast cancer and the gene just confirms the risk.  The upside is that is qualifies us (my sister and myself - we got tested together and are following the same preventative treatment plan) for closer monitoring which is great.

There are 3 basic options for women like my sister and I. 

Option 1: prophylactic surgery
The most aggressive option is a prophylactic double mastectomy and oophorectomy. (Remove the breasts and ovaries before they have a chance to become cancerous.)   I know that some women choose this option, but it's not for me.  Although, I will have my ovaries removed after I have kids since cervical cancer is very difficult to detect. 

Option 2: chemoprevention
Taking one of the breast cancer drugs as a preventative measure has shown success.  But these drugs also have side effects and they haven't been studied over very long periods of time.  Maybe we will consider this when we are older. 

Option 3: increased monitoring
This is where my sister and I are starting.  We both had our baseline Breast MRI this past summer which we will repeat each year following.  Our doctor suggests this starting at age 25 for women who are positive for the BRCA mutation.

Mammography is not very successful on young women because our dense breasts make it harder to detect cancer.  The breast MRI is clearer, but has a high rate of false positives.  This is why women with a normal risk do not receive screening before age 40.

The bottom line: You are a better breast cancer detector than a mammogram or an MRI.  Check yourself at the same time each month and do not ignore suspicious lumps!

A final note.  I think it's great that so many companies support breast cancer research, but please make sure that you read the fine print before buying "pink" products.  I only buy products where 100% of the proceeds go to the cause.  It's not right for companies to be making money off of "causes" like cancer prevention.



Jennifer Anniston's shirt for Ford's Warriors in Pink is a great option.  100% of the proceeds go to Susan G. Komen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This post is dedicated to Giuliana & Bill

Wow...this woman really is inspirational.  It's hard to feel sorry for yourself when someone else shares their way more difficult story.



I knew Giuliana & Bill were going through infertility treatments, but never watched the show.  For some reason, I came across it last weekend.  The episode I saw is their first IVF treatment.  They are so excited to find out that they are pregnant.  I didn't know the exact outcome, but knew that this episode was in the past and that they are not pregnant now.  So I googled the whole story while watching.  I found out that this IVF would result in miscarriage during week 8 and that the next attempt will not work either.  Then on their third attempt, the doctor says she must get a mammogram first because pregnancy can speed the growth of cancer.  She is 36 years old and finds out that she has the early stages of breast cancer.  What more can this woman go through?

It was heart-breaking to see their joy, knowing the pain they were in for.  That's the scariest part of having this process take a long time.  When it happens, you can barely believe it.  you don't want to get too excited in case it doesn't work out.  I got a packet of info in the mail from the RE I will be going to next week.  And it in they explain that even if you go through IUI, IVF, etc., the risk for miscarriage never changes since it's the bodies way of making sure everything is right. 

Thank you Giuliana (& Bill) for being so open during this extremely painful process.  Sharing your story helps countless others going through similar situations.  Through the tears and the pain, we are rooting for you!

Giuliana went back to work this week after having a double lumpectomy and she still has future radiation treatment. 

I truly hope the Rancics are able to have their healthy baby soon!

*More Breast Cancer Awareness Inspired posts to come.*




Monday, October 24, 2011

Skincare while TTC

So when I went off of birth control, my face EXPLODED.  I mean I was walking around like an embarrassed 16 year old. And trust me; it's even worse when you are actually teaching 16 year olds every single day.  (Digression: when I was student teaching, an 8th grader left a note on my chair during class.  The note read: "Your armpits are sweaty."  My internal monologue: "Thanks kid. I know my armpits are sweaty!  Why do you think I've been trying to teach without lifting my arms.  Jerk.")  Kids are extremely honest and I was just waiting for a new note on my chair, this time about my face.  Luckily I teach high school and these students are slightly more tactful and respectful.  No one ever mentioned my disgusting face, but I worried about it every. single. day.



When I went to the dermatologist, I mentioned that I was TTC because I knew that many medications were not good for babies.  This was back in the days when I thought I would be pregnant any day...ah my blissful ignorance of the true TTC journey that awaited me...

Anyway, he told me that all medications are rated from A-Z on a safety level for pregnancy.  Accutane is a Z.  There is a warning on the bottle (and even pictures I've heard) about severe birth defects.  There are no medications that are an A.  But the doctor proscribed Clindamycin Gel for me that is classified as a B.  He said that he would be comfortable with his wife taking it while pregnant although he said I could always stop if needed.

It was slow, but my face really did clear up; at least the crazy oil sheen disappeared.  My skin had been clear and basically normal for about 11 years.  I often got compliments on it.  Coping with my "new skin" was really difficult!

Here's how I know it worked.  When I got pregnant last month, I stopped using the gel.  I didn't really think about it.  But a few days ago I noticed that my face was getting really oil and ridiculous again.  I thought maybe it's just the time of year, since it was September/October last time too, but then I realized...it's been a month since I used the Clindamycin.  Duh!

I also started using the cleanser/moisturizer combo of CeraVe.  My skin never really liked the uber-popular, Cetaphil and it's been really hard to find the right cleanser.  Also, I have very sensitive skin.  Many products feel like they burn and I get red easily.  I LOVE the CeraVe cleanser.  I have also tried 3 of their moisurtizers.  I like the PM moisturizer, do no like the AM moisturizer, and am unsure about the big bottle of moisturizing lotion.  Overall, I highly recommend CeraVe. It's a little expensive, but very gentle and worth it!



I was hoping my face would correct itself, but apparently not.  Thank goodness for dermatologists!

What's your face routine post BC?

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Life Outside TTC

I need to step away from baby talk for a day I think.

So I won't mention that I confirmed yesterday that both women at school who got married significantly after me are both noticeably pregnant.  Good for them : /.  And I won't talk about the fact that my temp dropped today and that this cycle is just about over.  Good riddance.  I hate this cycle anyway....

Let's talk about the fact that I am a Champion!  No, really.  My indoor soccer team won the playoffs last night.  It was quite exciting.  The first game was competitive but we won 2-0, a very low score for indoor.  But the second game was against our arch-nemesis the Yellow team!  I hate that team.  A lot.



They scored first and second, both on mistakes we made.  There were also 2 blue cards issued in the first 5 minutes (where a player is ejected for 2 minutes, kind of like hockey).  The second blue card foul was committed against me because this girl checked me into the wall.  Ouch.  I might have called her an F'ing Biyatch.  Whoops! (Totally out of character for me.  I was pissed!). 

By half-time, we were up 4-3 after scoring some awesome goals, one right after another.  I had the assist on one : ).  We worked super hard to keep them from scoring the tying goal, but we got lazy for a second and they scored with about 2 minutes left, which took us too....penalty shots!

I really did not want to take one of the penalty shots.  I can make them occasionally, but the last time I missed, I re-played the shot over and over in my mind for at least the next 24 hours.  I can be pretty hard on myself.  So the plan was for me to go last.  First shot, in!  Second shot in! Third and Fourth - not in.  It's now 2-2.  We make our last shot, they miss....AND WE WIN!!!!!  It is kind of exciting even though it's just a co-ed YMCA league.

Today I can't move my neck, I have turf burn on my thigh, a scrape on a bruise on each arm respectively, an ankle that is slowly turning blue....and a Champion t-shirt!  Woo Hoo!  Hopefully I'll still be able to play in my other league tonight!

Thanks for reading my totally un-baby-related stress-relieving recap : )

How do the rest of you stay in shape?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lots of Tears, a Latte, and a Blueberry Scone.

Those of you who know me from the Weddingbee Boards know that I am pretty rational and level-headed most of the time.  I've read other people's posts about breaking down in the doctor's office with a mix of pity and embarrassment.  Well, today was my day....


Yesterday, after writing a draft of my doctor rant and after calling the "scheduling line" once on Monday and two times on Tuesday and after not getting a call back, I decided to go to the office and talk to them in person.

This is bold for me; very bold.  I don't like to seem pushy because I don't want people to think I'm rude.  I don't like to get in trouble.  I feel like people are yelling at me when they are just talking about something serious.

So I show up, I'm super polite.  I explain the situation (for the 2nd time that day).  Seriously do those of you with infertility issues type up a card to have every new person read?  "We've been TTC for 14 months, charting for 7, I spot every month before AF, chemical pg last month, have done Day 3 labs, SA, HSG..." 

What I really want is a blood test to check my progesterone levels since I suspect they are low because I spot every month.  I think the old doctor might have ordered it if I had gone back, but you've read that story already.

The receptionist comes back and says that I can come in for an appointment tomorrow at 8.  I say thank you and find teachers to fill in for 2 periods of classes, then spend the rest of the night creating lessons that my students can do with out me.  Missing class is much more stressful than being there!

Almost to the point, stay with me...

So I get in there this morning and the nurse offers me a pregnancy test.  I'm 8dpo, this is totally against my rules, but I say ok, probably my first mistake.  Then the Nurse Practitioner comes in.  She's really nice and listens to my story, but basically all she has to say is that she can't do anyting and that I need to meet with an actual doctor. Um. Yes, I kinda figured.  But can't I at least have the blood test? (internal monologue)

Cue tears.  I was able to manage "I think I'm going to cry" and then just started bawling.  She felt so bad!  Of course I had to talk to 3 additional people through tears before I was finally out the door.  I got an appointment with the actual doctor (3 weeks from now, the doctor I wanted doesn't have anything until next year!), then they returned my copay since I should have never seen the NP in the first place.  Oh yeah, and then I had to pay the parking guy on the way out. 

I cried all the way back toward school to the Starbuck's parking lot.  I still couldn't decide whether I could handle teaching the rest of my classes today.  But after a long call with DH, I was able to finally calm down, treat my self to a decaf non-fat latte with one splenda and my ultimate indulgence, the 460 calorie blueberry scone and head back to school.

Want to know my sneaking deep-down suspicion about what caused the massive flow of emotion?  I was supposed to have my 8 week pregnancy check-up at the same office, with the same Nurse Practicitioner today. F.M.L.

Oh! And can't they treat those of us pariahs who can't have babies in a separate building so that we don't have to see pregnant moms and moms with babies at every angle while leaving the office crying? That would be nice, thanks.

Doctor/Insurance/HMO Rant. Grr.

**I wrote this post yesterday although it was long overdue.  I just hate this issue so much I didn't even want to deal with writing about it.  Well...you need a read it, because there's a lot more to come when I tell you about what happened at a last minute appointment I had today.**

Even though I am incredibly concerned about getting pregnant, I haven't had a doctor's appointment since July or August.

In February (6 months TTC) I had my last regular yearly exam.  I mentioned that I was TTC without success.  I had my calendar with all of my cycle info with me.  But he basically said there was nothing major to worry about and didn't really ask other questions.

In June (10 months TTC) I met with the same doctor again, this time focused on conception.  Again he did not look at my info or ask any questions.  I'm not sure how forceful I was about showing him my documents, but I remember being frustrated after.  I feel like an idiot when I walk out of a doctor's appointment feeling like I didn't say what I wanted to say.  I'm not a passive person, but I also don't want people to get "upset" with me for being pushy.  I don't know what happens.  At this appointment he also told me that he would be retiring.

We had another appointment two weeks later in June and I honestly can't remember why!  I think I wanted to talk to him one more time before scheduling the "infertility appointment" since I knew that I had no coverage for it and the appointment itself was $400!

In July (11 months TTC) Mr. GG and I went together for our first Infertility appointment.  The nurse told Mr. GG he was not the important one in this process, basically just an accessory, and that set the tone for our interactions with her.  More on that in a sec.  The doctor was pleasant and ordered the SA for Mr. GG, Day 3 Blood Tests for me, and an HSG.  He knew that we didn't have coverage and chose specific places for us to go (outside the system) for cost effectiveness.  I thought that was nice.  The problem with this appointment (again no looking at my calendar or the charts that I took two hours to recopy by hand) was that there were no real "next steps" beyond getting the test results.  I do remember him saying that basically the RE would be next, but I just felt unclear.

I got my test results online and they were normal.  But getting Mr. GG's SA results was a bitch!  The office he went to wouldn't release them to him because he's not a doctor and we couldn't get the results online because the original appointment was under my name, not Mr. GG's, so it was like they didn't exist!  Eventually the nurse called Mr. GG, but come on!  DH has a slight morphology abnormality, but it's not major.

Because the results were good, we weren't sure what to do.  We didn't want to go back and pay for another appointment if there was no need, but we needed more guidance.  After a series of emails with the nurse, I decided I never wanted to go back to that office.  She was never overtly rude, but I felt that she was intercepting my emails and answering them myself without consulting the doctor.  I'm sorry, but I don't want your opinion, I want the doctor's!!  When I asked her about progesterone testing, post-ovulation, she said that she had never heard of it.  Seriously?  It's not that uncommon lady.

Then school started and I did nothing.

Ugh.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Infertility Testing: The HSG

One of the first things your doctor will ask you to do if you are having difficulty getting pregnant is the HSG, the Hysterosalpingogram (you better believe I had to look that one up!).  It has to be done about 7-10 days after the first day of your cycle, when your lining is the thinnest.

The HSG is an x-ray test that is used to check the "plumbing."  The doctor injects dye into your tubes and then checks everything out on a screen to make sure there aren't any blockages and that everything is present.

I was totally freaked out about getting an HSG because I had heard some girls have major cramping during and after the test.  I put it off much longer than I should have.  I had forgotten that somewhere in my endless hours of Google research I had learned that the HSG can actually increase your chances of getting pregnant for the few months following the procedure.

Here's how it went: I got the test done at a place that only does radiography.  I checked in and paid my $300. (I will go over my insurance situation in another post.)  I wore a cotton skirt and shirt and was allowed to keep them on during the exam.  You have to put your legs up kind of like the OB/GYN stirrups, but under the knee and your whole leg is in the air.  There are two people in the room, just like during OB/GYN exams.  They insert something (like a speculum but don't remember exactly) then put a smaller tube through your cervix.  This part feels a bit weird.  For me it didn't hurt exactly, but it was not comfortable either.

KEY: Take 2 Ibuprofen before the appointment.  I did this and that might be why I had no problems.

After the dye is inserted it slowly makes it's way through your tubes and YOU GET TO WATCH!  It's totally weird but cool.  I had no idea that fallopian tubes are really long and look just like angel-hair pasta. They are super skinny and stringy.

I passed the test with no problem.  I had to wear a pad for a few hours for the dye, but honestly not much came out.  I had mild cramping but nothing too uncomfortable.

And...we got pregnant during the same cycle, so maybe it did clear something out?  Here's hoping it works the cycle after also!

Did anyone have a similar experience or was yours of the painful variety?