Tuesday, November 29, 2011


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. 

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.  
  • $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!