Scratch!

I cancelled my first IUI cycle. I took 100 mg Clomid on CD 3-9, but the follicles were SLOOOOW growing. On CD 12 I had 5 lead follicles ranging from 10mm to 13mm. On CD 14 I had 5 follicles ranging from 11mm to 14 mm. On CD 17 I had one good leader at 17mm, and the other four had stalled out around 12/13mm. Because I only have two vials of our donor, I decided not to spend one on a cycle with only one fully-developed follicle. The chances just seemed too slim.

Next cycle I’m going to try 150 mg Clomid, CD 3-9. I think that’s about the maximum dose. I responded really well to Clomid the first time around, and I had three viable follicles when we conceived my daughter. I think that there are two factors contributing to my lackluster response this time. (1) I’m 35 now, and I was 33 before. (2) I’m still nursing a bit, which is hindering the production of estrogen.

I’ve been really torn about what to do from here, especially struggling with whether I should wean my daughter, try to eliminate all nighttime feeds and just breast feed at bedtime and the early morning, or just delay TTC until she seems more ready to be done nursing. At the moment, my plan is to try to cut back the nighttime comfort latching and see how I respond to 150 mg. Maybe it will be enough to bump me up to having 2-3 viable follicles. I’d feel better about using a vial in that case.

I don’t feel discouraged, because everything about this cycle was truly fine – one good follicle, a great lining, etc. I just want it to be a little better. The nurse at the RE office was a little surprised, I think, because from an objective perspective, it seemed like a fine cycle. From the perspective of having such a limited quantity of vials from our preferred donor, it just didn’t seem quite good enough. Crossing my fingers that the higher dosage will do the trick! I anticipate that my next cycle will start around the 17th.

 

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CD 1, 0w0d pregnant

It’s finally here! We had to wait through 3 cycles for my opportunity to try for Child #2. That was after trying for a year to get my wife pregnant, without success. The first cycle I was still pretty actively breastfeeding, so I had to wean daytime feeds over a few weeks, which led into the next cycle. The third cycle we were traveling, so we could not try. This cycle will thankfully avoid any doctor appointments on Christmas. I had a pap/exam on Monday and got blood drawn for communicable disease testing on Wednesday. All of those results should arrive before insemination, which should be around December 29th.

I definitely feel more excited this time around than I did with our first tries over two years ago. It’s very familiar, and there are some things that haven’t changed at all (handfuls of vitamins/supplements every day, having a constant little string of thought wondering if it will work and what life might look like in a year, hoping, sticking to herbal tea and avoiding coffee, weighing carefully whether or not to have that glass of wine, etc.). In other ways, this time feels very different. There is a confidence that comes with knowing you can get pregnant. There is also a comfort in knowing what to expect. The unknowns were all pretty disconcerting the first time around.

I’m very familiar with secondary infertility, as I’ve known several people who struggled. I also know that I’m 35 now, and I was newly-33 when we tried the first time. I still have a lot of eggs, but there is no escaping the reality that age brings more challenges. I know it’s unrealistic to just assume it’s going to work, but I’m also trying to remain very calm, optimistic, and welcoming to the possibility that it might work.

This mindset might set me up for a bigger fall, but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. In the meantime, I’m starting my Circle and Bloom meditations and beginning the count…since pregnancy is counted from the beginning of the cycle, those first four weeks always seem to get shortchanged, so I’m going to give them their painstaking due! 🙂

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Just staying relaxed!!

New Year’s Resolutions

I know a lot of people hate resolutions, but I LOVE them! I don’t usually accomplish all of them, or even some of them, but I really like brainstorming ways I can improve my life in the next year. I welcome the opportunity to start fresh, mark a significant point in time with a new calendar, and at least TRY to uphold some of my goals for as long as possible!

Past resolutions have included some of the classic themes like running or working out more, eating better, going to bed earlier, etc. Sometimes I am more specific than others, like exercise 5 times a week or go to bed by 9:30 on weeknights, and others I’m a little more loose about the goal, instead focusing on the concept or theme and not being as rigid. Some years I go crazy and outline 20+ things I want to start or stop doing on January 1. I am fully aware how unrealistic that is, but sometimes it feels nice to just unload all of those things onto paper and hope for the best! I know the research promotes small, specific, measurable changes, and I believe that to be most successful, but sometimes it’s just more fun to shoot for the moon! For example, I’ve had years when I planned to: Take vitamins/supplements every day, drink 64+ ounces of water every day, donate to one charity every month, write paper birthday cards to all family members, bake cookies once a week, read 24 books in the year (2x per month), stop eating refined sugar, volunteer once per month, attend services 24 times in the year (2x per month), etc., etc., etc.! Did I accomplish them all? NO!! Did I accomplish any of them? NO!! Did I enjoy trying, get a little bit better at each goal, and learn a little bit in the process? YES!!

I also love that this opportunity comes twice a year in my world – January 1 and my birthday in July. It’s always been convenient that I have an opportunity to start fresh every six-ish months with some new goals. Or, I keep a similar goal and just try to carry my streak a little longer than the last time I tried it. It excites me.

Another element that brings me joy is looking back to see how last year’s goals went. I try to jot them somewhere. Sometimes I’m able to remember. Other times I have to scour my files to find where I put them. It gives me a chance to look back at what seemed important to me one year ago. And I get to evaluate what was successful about those goals and what was not. Sometimes I adopt the exact same goal again, and other times I tweak it to better fit my life while still prioritizing the same value.

That brings me to 2018!! I’m just beginning to plan my goals, but as I said before, I have a few repeats that I will be trying to do better on this year.

  • Use NO paper coffee cups. I did really well with this one in 2016. I managed to keep myself to one paper coffee cup per month, because I would either forget completely, or get kind of desperate. Then, baby was born in June and this goal went flying out the window! ALL THE COFFEE!! This year, my goal is to make it past June!
  • Drink 64 ounces of water or tea every day. I am so terrible at hydrating. My skin hates me for it and I try to make it up to my skin with lotion, but let’s be honest, that’s just not good enough for those internal organs. WATER in 2018!
  • Bullet Journal. Okay, so this might be a goal about managing my goals. Is that cheating? Redundant? An excuse to buy a cute new notebook? Probably, yes. I need to come up with a more specific plan for this one, but it stems from last year – I got the Best Self Journal. While I liked it and it was helpful, it wasn’t quite what I wanted in terms of organization. So, I’m going to
  • Something about races/walking/running. This goal is also in development phase. Past goals have included 1 marathon per month for 12 months (achieved), 24 half-marathons for 12 months (failed miserably), and just getting to some races. I’m not sure what this year’s goal will be, but seeing as though I have done NO running since my daughter was born almost 18 months ago, I want to get back into at least some 10K’s or half marathons. Since I could become pregnant this year, I can’t be unrealistic, but I want to stay active. I’ll keep chewing on this idea. Suggestions welcome.

Okay, I’ll stop there. For now. Until I drink some caffeine and get that surge of unrealistic optimism and set some more goals for 2018. Do you make resolutions? Do your family members? What do you hope 2018 will bring into your life?

An unremarkable update

As many of you have often expressed, you have a ton of thoughts floating around but no real “glue” holding together a post. So….bulletpoints it is!! I’m sorry to say they are not very interesting, and mostly serve the purpose of me unloading my mind.

-We traveled to Fresno to visit my wife’s family for Thanksgiving. To be honest it was sort of a long week. My sister-in-law and her son who is 2 months younger than our daughter live with my in-laws. Put simply, it’s a train wreck. Sister has no accountability or responsibility, in-laws are tired of parenting a toddler and yet don’t enforce any guidelines on either their daughter or grandson, baby-daddy is an ass who causes constant tension in the house, and the in-laws MAJORLY favor their grandson (read: son) more than our daughter, who they only see two or three times a year.

-I got REALLY sick of gender comparisons between the toddlers while we were in Fresno. Things like her being able to focus more because she’s a girl, him being stronger because he’s a boy, her being more patient, him being more destructive. It’s like, STFU – they are TODDLERS and PEOPLE who just do/like different things and have different skills. The comparisons in general drive me absolutely nuts.

-Our nanny quit. At pick-up one day I asked if I could wake our daughter up to ease the transition from nap to car. She sleeps upstairs in a travel cot. Nanny said no and blamed it on there being too much laundry upstairs. I stayed calm, but wrote a scathing email after I thought it through. She wrote an apology, but I made it pretty clear in my language that I was at a loss as to how to continue not knowing what condition her house was in without walking through daily, which would obviously be super weird. Historically, we drop off in the living room/kitchen where most of their time is spent, but I’ve only been upstairs to the bedrooms a few times. Anyway, it was time – she knew it and we knew it. I’m sad for her because she loves our daughter, and I’m sad our daughter will no longer be in this comfortable space that she knows and enjoys, but she will adapt.

-We are starting an in-home day care with three other little kids in January. We visited a few months ago and I nixed it because there are a LOT of beeping plastic toys. We visited a bunch of other options, and ultimately this one felt very safe, right location, very clean, good ratio, right price, and the most sensible decision. We’re eager for a new routine with more structure. I think our daughter will benefit. The caregiver’s kids go to Brown and another prestigious college, so I tell myself she obviously knows something about raising academically successful kids, at least? We’ll probably enroll in gymnastics and music classes again to help balance things out. Our daughter has spent a couple of hours there to become familiar, and she never wants to leave. She loves the big backyard and sun room, so I’m hoping for the best.

-We need to go down to one nap. For many reasons. I think she’s ready, but it’s so hard to tell. Some mornings she is tired and cranky at 9:30 a.m. Those days she naps twice. Some days she plows through to noon with no problem. I don’t want to force her, but we all need a little more consistency. I’ll try earlier bedtimes to balance it out, if necessary. [After I wrote this she regressed back to NEEDING a nap at 9:30/10:00 for a few days. Transitions are hard.]

-My in-laws are bringing the whole circus to visit us in one week. My own mother is fit to be tied that the in-laws are treading onto her Christmas. We had previously arranged alternating years to keep everyone happy. The in-laws decided to come here this year (their off year) and the drama ensues. Ay.

-Our daughter has been in physical therapy for 5 months. We love it. She crawled at 12 months (which is why we started PT) and walked at 15 months (results of PT). The therapist has recommended speech therapy. I have mixed feelings about this. Our daughter spontaneous but appropriately says Hi, Bye, Mama, Yes, No, Uh oh, Whoa, Eyes, Nose, and Nana (Banana) very clearly. (She’s 17 months, or 16 months adjusted). She also says Ball, Hot, Woof, Water (wawa), her name (sort of), YAY, Ear, and Down when prompted and less clearly. She says many other things that only we understand, but not usually on command to the therapist or others. On one hand, I’m all for support. On the other, I just have those instinctive defensive fear-based feelings to respond “there’s nothing wrong with her!!” I don’t know. She’s still small, but she consumes food like a champ, just mostly soft foods still – nothing with a serious skin. They think that she understands everything (this is true – she follows complicated instructions with incredible comprehension) but she isn’t trying out enough words of her own. She gets her point across with tone, pointing, facial expression, and body language. She has developed many of her own signs. We’ll see how the consultation goes.

-I’m feeling the pressure to get in ALL the Holiday Things and feeling like I cannot possibly succeed. Music, lights, gifts, parties. Aaah! I really love the holidays, but it’s been seeming more and more like an impossible task. I really just need an extra 2 hours every day when the world freezes to allow me to get stuff done.

-My cycle should start in the next few days. This means we’re about two to three weeks from my first IUI for TTC #2. The fertility clinic is already being giant assholes (we have to redo $1250 worth of communicable disease testing for the THIRD TIME, since our last tests were one year ago, and I had to pay $400 just for my fertility workup AGAIN.) I’m telling myself I just need to hand over my Amex and think peaceful thoughts. The IUI cycle will be another $700, but if it worked, I’d frankly feel like we got a bargain deal for a baby around $2500! (That doesn’t include the cost of sperm, which we bought two years ago.)

-My wife continues to struggle with the last year and 7 unsuccessful IUIs. We’ll be working through those emotions for some time. We both still hope IVF is in the future for her. We also hope I am successful quickly, so we have sperm left over for #3.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far! A few pics for entertainment value:

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Thanksgiving in Fresno where the trees were still celebrating autumn.

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Posing for a quick pic for Grandma’s Christmas card.

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Helping to decorate the tree…ignore the missing door trim…it’s a work in progress.

 

Prolactin

Just got my blood test results for pre-conception screening and my Prolactin was only 10.5! Woohoooo! I’ve been really worried that this would be the hurdle that prevents us from moving forward with IUI in December, because I’m still nursing our daughter at night. I have read nearly every scholarly article about it to try and figure out what a normal number would be at 16 months postpartum. Most things told me that 25-50 could be a normal baseline, and that would simply be too high for our clinic (they have no grey area on things like this). I figured that if this reading came back high, I would have to wean her completely and re-test next month. I cannot say what a relief it is to know I can keep secretly breastfeeding our toddler and still move forward with IUI. Of course, I’m putting tons of calories and nutrients into my body, and my cycles are now normalized, so I’m hopeful that I’m “fully” fertile. I also know that pregnancy can stop the milk from flowing, and I’m resigned to that possibility (word on the street is about 4 months in), but by that point she’d be nearly two and I would feel more at ease about weaning.

I SOOO wish we weren’t traveling for Thanksgiving, because we could try next month if we were here. Since we’re not, it’s looking like the IUI is going to be around Christmas day. Ugh. I hope that there is someone in the office to do the IUI at that time!!

Minor victory on a Friday afternoon. 🙂

 

TTC#2, Take 2

Well, I feel like I’m fully on board with the whole pregnancy thing again. 4-5 months ago, I was still in the “No way, not yet” seat. Then 2ish months ago as we embarked on our last IUI with my wife, I wondered if I should start to wrap my head around it as a possibility. About a month ago, as we realized that IUI was simply not working on my wife, I realized I needed to get my shit together, and quick-ish.

I’m back on the vitamin train, taking fish oil, prenatals, CoQ10, and calcium/magnesium. I should probably be adding Vitamin D and maybe E. My weight is where I would like it to be (10 lbs lighter than before my last pregnancy…thanks breastfeeding) and I think my vagina is as healed as it will ever be (?).

One of my major hesitations was whether or not I needed to fully wean my daughter. I’m still not 100% clear on that, but I’m holding my breath hoping that our current system is good enough. She nurses at bedtime (between 7:30 and 8), once or twice in the night, and one full nurse at about 5:15 a.m. Then I don’t nurse or pump again until bedtime. My body is telling me that’s fine. I just had a 30-day cycle with EWCM and a reasonably-long luteal phase. Before this I had three cycles all around 35 days long. This tells me I’m probably ovulating, and I probably have enough progesterone to support an early pregnancy. I’m going to do OPKs this month to “confirm” ovulation (I can’t use temps because I’m still awake enough in the night with our daughter that the reading wouldn’t be accurate).

My clinic wants me to be “fully weaned” for three months before trying. The nurse, however, told me that if I weaned now-ish, did my testing this cycle, I could try next cycle. So, I sort of weaned (day-weaned?) and I’m heading in to do my preconception blood work sometime in the next two weeks. The only number I’m slightly concerned about is prolactin. After much google research, I have to think mine will be pretty low, especially if I test around 11am, a full five hours after nursing and before I get any kind of natural letdown, which usually happens in the early afternoon.

If the numbers are all fine, I could technically try next month (November cycle), but we’ll be traveling for Thanksgiving, so this will likely be a Christmas try. I’m fine with that. I like September birthdays. It also gives me enough time to “fix” anything that doesn’t look great in my blood work…i.e. prolactin. I would fully wean if I had to – she’s almost 16 months. It would be heartbreaking for both of us, but it will have to happen someday. I truly hope I can continue night nursing her until she is 2, though.

So, I’m just 2 cycles away from trying again, approximately 60 days from the CD3 ultrasound and blood work. I’m excited, slightly nervous, and also sad for my wife. She wants baby #2 as much as I do, but it’s really hard to not have her in the doctor’s chair doing these things. By no means have we ruled out her carrying babies in the future via IVF. We just want to get her thyroid sorted out and do a little more testing and research to figure out why none of the 7 IUI’s worked. Also, saving money.

Cute kid pics from our weekend trip to Beaver Creek last week to make this post more interesting:image1(2).JPGimage2(1).JPG

 

Walking

Well our daughter is now clearly, officially, walking at 15 months (14 adjusted). She didn’t crawl until 12 months, because her head was too heavy for her tiny body to leverage. In the last three months, however, she has really taken off physically (and mentally…emotionally is another story).

She has wanted to walk since about 10/11 months, but our physical therapist reprimanded us for even considering that option before she was confidently crawling. She has been pushing her walker toy around (while squealing with glee) and scaling all walls, furniture, etc. for at least six weeks now. She has been walking with just one-finger assistance for about two months, and it’s been clear to me that the assistance was more mental than physical, because you can basically give her a “limp noodle” finger and she keeps walking.

We’ve been playing the game of having her walk from one mom to the other while we sit on the floor (usually 3-5 steps) and it has required some strong encouragement through much goofy laughter. I typically put my hand on her back to stabilize her and she gets just a few steps in before crashing forward.

Last night, after playing that game for awhile, she was cruising about the house (into and out of her room, where she loves to slam the dog gate), and she surfed her way out to the dining room table. She was naked at the moment, because we were in the midst of halfheartedly preparing for bed. She got to a dining room chair and she bravely set off into the room toward me, on the couch. I said “Look! Look! Look! to my wife, who was washing dishes” and I think I alarmed the baby (toddler?). She made it about 8 steps (4ish feet) before tumbling down, but we were so, SO proud. It was the first time she initiated leaving the safety of a wall or furniture (or human) and set out to walk.

Of course she wanted to keep practicing her newfound freedom and before long she bonked her head on the wheel of the walker toy, but she recovered quickly and wanted to get back after it.

I’m eager (and nervous) to know if she shows off her new skill to my mom today, who is watching her.

Night Weaning: Night 1

I’ve been reading the No Cry Sleep Solution, and I really like the book. It elaborates a lot of the things I struggle with regarding co-sleeping, nursing, crying it out, sleep training, etc. I have always considered myself a middle-of-the-road attachment parent. I didn’t start with any agenda or dogma, but I knew I wanted a strong relationship with my kid(s) and was willing to prioritize that. As the past 15 months have passed, these are the things I have found to be comfortable for me as a parent:

Co-sleeping, in my bed. I read the sleep books before birth. We had a crib in our room. I tried putting her to sleep in her crib, getting up to nurse her in the night in a chair next to the crib, then getting back into my own bed. It was awful. I have never been so exhausted. Within 3-4 weeks, I plunked her down into our bed between our heads and that was that. She slept happily there for the next 14 months.

Baby-wearing when comfortable and convenient. I wear her at least once or twice a day to walk the dogs, walk to the grocery, or get things done. I like it. She seems to like it. We also use strollers regularly, and she’s fine with that too. I don’t usually wear her for naps unless we’re hiking.

Extended (?) Breastfeeding. I hoped to be able to breastfeed and I was thrilled to have a good supply. In fact, I had an oversupply and a kid who would not drink from a bottle, so I was able to donate a few thousand ounces. I hoped to make it to six months. I then hoped to make it to a year. Here I am at 15 months, and while I am going strong, it now looks like I’m going to be doing some weaning to hopefully jumpstart my fertility. I would like to keep breastfeeding, but I’m happy with what we accomplished and proud of our journey thus far. I’ve introduced Ripple pea milk as a hopeful supplement/replacement. The jury is out whether my daughter is willing to tolerate it. Other than milk from the boob, she has previously only accepted water (since 10ish months) so any additional calories and calcium would feel like a win.

Anywho, back to the point of night weaning. I don’t like Cry It Out. I know it can work, I know it works well for some people, but I also STRUGGLE to hear my kid cry. I can ignore whining and fussing with the best of them. But the second I hear her start to have fear or sadness in her tone, I break. So I am not yet at the point of trying this, though I know it’s another option. In the meantime, I have a kid who wants to nurse back to sleep whenever she stirs. She isn’t always eating, and she isn’t even always awake. She just wants the comfort of the nipple.

I’m attempting the method of removing my nipple when she’s sleepy, but not yet asleep. Over and over and over. As soon as it comes out, of course she stirs and whines. I put it back, count to ten(ish) and then try again.

Last night she fell happily asleep by 7:30 (after nursing). She cried at 9:00, and I waited a long time to see if she could put herself back to sleep. She could not. I let her nurse, then started the nipple removal method, and she was frustrated but back asleep in a few minutes. At 10:15 she was up again, so I did the same thing. This happened about two more times in the night (I’m not totally sure when, because I was half asleep). At 4:30 she woke up because she actually wanted to nurse, not just comfort suckle. I let her, and I did pull away, but she may have been too soundly asleep for it to matter.

In summary, about 5 total wake-ups, two to actually eat, three to comfort nurse. At each wake-up an average of about 4 removal, root, repeats. Slept from 7:30ish p.m. to 6:30ish a.m. Overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars, not the worst, and not the best. Hopefully she gets better at having the nipple leave her mouth and being able to fall asleep without it.

 

No Luck and a Change of Plans

Lucky IUI #7, inseminated on 9/9 (my lucky number) was not so lucky after all. My wife felt a lot of pregnancy symptoms: what appeared to be implantation cramping, nausea, exhaustion, etc. But the tests remained a stark white negative from 11DPO through 14DPO. Her period showed up just one day late, likely due to the progesterone.

This one was a blow, because everything seemed SO perfect. Two great follicles, an incredibly healthy vial of sperm, a thick lining, seemingly perfect timing, etc. We both had to work hard to get our heads around the idea that it had not worked, because I think we both convinced ourselves that it MUST work. A little bit of salt in the wound is that this was the last cycle that would give us 2-year spacing with the kids (our ideal).

My wife is struggling. She is feeling defeated, sad, frustrated, depressed. It’s really hard. She has done everything right. But, as so many people here know, this appears to be a game where effort and merit are not rewarded, but rather, luck and chance win the day.

We originally anticipated heading straight into IVF, but it is clear that my wife is just not quite ready for that. She needs a break, and that’s okay. She needs to find herself again, step back from all the vitamins, hormones, supplements, decaf coffee, moderate exercise, and charting. This is a familiar place for many – it’s so easy to be all-consumed by this project, one of the most important and monumental projects that many undertake. She is an elite endurance athlete, and it has been slowly killing her to be sitting on the sidelines. She wants to race (triathlon) and she had anticipated having crossed the birthing item off her life to-do list when she returned to the start line. Like so many of us have learned, there is often no point in setting concrete plans when it comes to parenting…you can plan and anticipate all you want, but the reality may be something totally out of your control. In good news, she’s only 30, so time is on her side.

Another task on her to-do list is getting more information about her thyroid. She’s been on Levothyroxine throughout this journey, after the RE found her TSH elevated. Not by much, but enough that they wanted it lowered. We’d like to get to the bottom of that problem, and not rely on the band-aid fix of a pill. We will likely check in with a naturopathic doctor to run some more tests and get some more information. If we could iron out that problem, we might feel a little more confident heading into IVF.

Lastly, but not of little importance: money. We are attempting to choose a more responsible route and save some money for IVF before the procedure rather than take a loan for the bulk of it now and pay that off with interest. If push came to shove, either would work, but it seems like a better idea to get ahead of the cost rather than play catch-up with 2+ little kids at home.

She has said she wants me to try again. This brings a flood of emotions to my heart and mind, many of which I cannot burden her with at this time. On one hand, I’m thrilled at the prospect of bearing another child. I have always hoped (known?) that I would have one more opportunity. I’m 35 now, and my blood work in the past has indicated that I’m still fertile. We have three remaining vials of our daughter’s donor, and it would be wonderful to have a sibling with one of those.

On the other hand, my stomach immediately tenses at the prospect of weaning my baby. She is 15 months. I know it’s fine. I know that this is far longer than vast majority of women breastfeed. I know she’s getting her nutrition from solids. I know that my daughter and I will connect in other ways. It’s just…

I love nursing her. Mostly, because she loves it. It is SO clearly apparent how much comfort and security she gets from curling into me, pinching my skin and patting my boob, deepening her breathing, eventually falling asleep against me or with her back to me, secure in the knowledge that her nipple is there for her should she stir. My heart aches at the thought of taking that from her before she is ready.

I am having regular cycles. Despite EBF, I had an obviously-anovulatory cycle just 8 weeks post-partum. Then I had another at 6 months. Since then I’ve had a handful of cycles, and the last three have been around 35 days long. I’ve always had long-ish cycles, so 35 isn’t totally outside my normal realm. I’m pretty sure I’m ovulating. I get EWCM at around the right time, and I “feel” like my hormones are swinging in that direction. However, our clinic won’t do an IUI while I’m lactating. I have a call in to the doctor to ask whether they would do an IUI if my prolactin levels are normal and if I’m only nursing once a day. The nurse was pretty sure the answer is no, because they require that you wean three months before an IUI, but she’s asking for me.

On top of that, I’ll probably need CD3 bloodwork and possibly a pap (I think I’m just due). I may also ask for the HSG, because it’s free and it can obviously rule out a lot. Another thing that has to happen (per our clinic) is that we’d need to have our communicable disease testing re-done. For a third time. We just got “re-upped” 9 months ago when we started trying for number two. And now we’d need to re-test again, since we’re switching back to me. It’s infuriating, but I’ve learned just to turn the other cheek.

What this means for me is that I am going to spend the next two weeks night weaning the baby, hanging on to the 3:00 p.m. pick-up nursing and bed-time nursing (just two a day) for now. We’ll see if that lowers my prolactin enough to shorten my cycle and ensure I’m ovulating. I may spend next cycle crossing off the above tests, and we could potentially try an IUI in the November or December cycle. If it needs to be January, I can live with that (October baby?).

In an ideal world, if I can put my wish out into the universe, I would be able to get pregnant in December or January and continue nursing once a day (bedtime) until my daughter turns 2 in June. At that point, I would commit to fully weaning her (if she had not self-weaned already) and prepare for a baby to start nursing in the 4,5,6 months after that. In a slightly frustrating way, if we had the luxury of being hetero, that would be a very realistic goal, because you just start having unprotected sex. In reality, the cost of procedures and use of our last vials prohibit us from just “going for it” and require a much more calculated and deliberate plan.

So here we are, a little stunned, a little wounded, spinning new images of what our life and family will look like in future years. Piecing together some plans, asking a lot of questions, and hoping for a change in luck soon. It’s a little hard going into the holidays knowing that likely neither of us will be pregnant, when we originally hoped to have another full-grown baby this year! But, I’m trying to be at peace, trusting the universe, knowing that we have one awesome kid already and someday we may be lucky enough to have more.

May the Luck be [Finally] in Our Favor?

We went for IUI #7 on Saturday morning. My wife’s lining was also thin on IUI #4 (around 6+ I think?) and afterward, we regretted using a vial on that cycle, because it seemed like the poor swimmers never had a chance. So, I scheduled a lining check the morning of the IUI this time. If the lining was under 7, we planned to give careful consideration to using the vial. Due to scheduling, the IUI was scheduled for 11 a.m. That meant the vial had to begin the thawing process at 9 a.m. That meant we needed to know before 9 whether it was a GO or a NO-GO. The only time they had for an ultrasound that early was 7:15 a.m. And because it was a weekend, our local office was closed and we had to drive to South Denver to visit the “main office.” It was an early morning, but we’re hoping it was worth it.

The lining was above 8. There was still one strong follicle on each side, and the ultrasound tech said the “walls were irregular” which meant “something was happening.” It just looked like the follicle was not a perfectly-lined circle, but more ragged around the edges. I took it to mean that she had not yet ovulated, but it was imminent. After consulting Lab Tech Google afterward, it appears as though ovulation can occur in under 20 minutes, and the follicle appears “collapsed” afterward. Given that this ultrasound was at 7:15, and the IUI was at 11:00, I’m thinking timing was pretty great.

The other good news was that the woman at the andrology lab (where they thaw and wash the vial) told us that she had never seen a donor vial like this – it had a higher count than many fresh samples. It had 180 million count pre-wash and something like 38 million afterward. I made my usual joke of “we only want one!” but I was secretly proud of our semi-anonymous donor who we’ve nicknamed Luke. High five, Luke!

Between the ultrasound and the IUI, we went to breakfast and then puttered around a mall. At breakfast, my wife said “well, I don’t know what I could do to encourage ovulation to happen now.” I winked at her and said, well, I’ve read one thing can help… Now, we had our daughter with us, and we’re about 50 miles from home, so that gave us few options. I said, “After breakfast, M and I will wait for you at Starbucks…the car is parked in a relatively private place…” And my wife, who is such a team player, willing to do anything for the collective effort, did her best to encourage the eggs to set sail in the parking lot of the breakfast joint. Hahaha, she’d kill me if she knew I was telling this to the internet, but it’ll be a great (private) story if this is the round that works…

And now were 2DPO. Trudging toward another round of everyone’s favorite game: should-we-test-or-should-we-wait. This truly will be our last IUI (for my wife), so my wallet is quivering nervously in my pocket, wondering if we’re about to take on IVF. Per the acupuncturist’s guidance, we’re not discussing future plans – only focusing on this round. Cross your fingers and toes for us, please!

In other news, our daughter’s newest obsession is chapstick…putting it on you, me, mama, even the dog. Take the cap off, dab on lips, put the cap on, take the cap off, dab on someone else lips, put the cap on. She regularly inventories her chapsticks, and if she does not find all four…she searches and whines until the missing treasure re-appears and she can clutch them all in her tiny fists.

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