Hello Clomid, My Old Friend

We’re off on a new cycle. Yesterday was CD3 and I had my cyst check (all clear). I was supposed to start Clomid last night, but the doctor’s office somehow didn’t get my HCG blood test to the lab in time to confirm that I am not pregnant, so they didn’t call in the prescription yesterday. They called this morning to apologize and assured me that Clomid CD4-CD10 will be fine. I don’t really care about what days I take it, I just care that they’re not better at doing this job that I’m paying them a lot of money to do. It doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence, and this is not the first “whoops” we’ve had happen.

Anyway, I’ll pick up my prescription sometime today and start my sixth ever course of Clomid (two for my daughter, and this will be my fourth cycle for #2). I also got the all-clear from the HSG during my last cycle, and I was pleased to watch the dye flow quickly out of both Fallopian tubes, indicating that they are both open (for some reason, I’ve always had less confidence in my left side, which also happens to be the side that produces the most follicles). I’m hopeful that the procedure “woke up” the little hairs that encourage the sperm out to the egg and then the fertilized egg down to the uterus.

Our new donor has 30 vials waiting, so I just need the green light from our geneticist to order a vial for this cycle. It’s always such crap shoot wondering how many vials to ship. It’s cost effective to ship multiple vials at once, but then if you don’t need them, you wasted the money to buy them and you can’t ship them back.

Not too exciting around here, but it’s always surreal being back in the “trying” camp after even a short break. It was good to have the last month off, and I wasn’t sorry to miss the Christmas birthday window. Of course, if this cycle works we’ll have a January birthday, which can be a hard month for a birthday on the heels of the holidays, but we would be thrilled, of course!

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Traveling for Work

I generally travel to one out-of-state conference each year for my job. I get to choose the conference, and sometimes I’m able to choose a desirable location. For example, my first trip in this job was to New Orleans, then I went to Austin, Texas, when I was pregnant. Last year I kind of got stuck with San Antonio, but it was fine. I took my daughter and wife on that trip, because it worked out and was affordable. I’m due for my annual conference trip and I have a few options. The main question I need to tackle now is whether I’m ready to leave my daughter for three nights.

Some background, I spend almost all my weekend time (except for a few errands here and there), and weekdays from 3:00 p.m. to bedtime with her, so we’re together a lot, even though I work full time. I have put her to bed every single night of her life. She still nurses to sleep (though there really isn’t any milk), but then she sleeps in her bed until morning when either my wife or I go in to get her. I see her each morning before I leave for work, even if it’s just a few minutes while she starts a bowl of cereal.

My conference options are these:

(1) Columbus, Ohio before my daughter turns 2. Take her with me and buy a plane ticket for my mom to come so she can babysit while I’m at the conference. Roughly $400, some crappy flights, and not an ideal location, but at least I’d get to have her with me.

(2) Rochester, New York after my daughter turns 2.
(2a) Go alone. Three nights, two full days. My wife would be in charge of bedtime, meals, dogs, and daycare drop-off/pick-up. That is WAY more than she’s ever had to handle on her own.
(2b) Bring them both, for at least $1000. Location is not ideal for a family vacation, but upstate NY is pretty in the early summer. My wife would have to use vacation time.

(3) Skip my trip this year (2017/2018) and just plan a trip we all want to take next year (which starts July on the academic calendar). San Francisco in July is an option. Sonoma next spring is also an option. This doesn’t look great to my employer, because I’m turning down my travel budget for the 2017/2018 year and passing up training opportunities, but it wouldn’t be a big issue.

I’m pretty sure I’m leaning toward 2a, traveling alone in late June, but I have to admit it gives me a stomach ache. I KNOW she would be totally fine. My wife would rise to the challenge (I can even have my parents take our dogs to alleviate some pressure). It would probably be the end of her comfort-nursing to sleep, which I would both love and hate. It makes me sad to think I’m forcing it to end, but I also would LOVE not to be chewed on for 10-30 minutes every evening at bedtime. Of course, maybe I would come home and she would want to nurse again, which I would accommodate.

Words of advice? How old were your babies when you spent the night apart from them? I know this is inevitable and I logically know that everything will be totally fine, it’s just scary/sad for me to think about. As an aside, my wife has traveled on at least three trips for work since our daughter has been born – DC, Taipei, and New York City – but it’s a little different since she doesn’t nurse.

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“Scoot scoot”

New Years Resolutions, Quarter 1

Since I’m really just sitting around waiting for this cycle to pass (and hopefully the cyst along with it), I don’t have much to share on the TTC front.

A few of my New Years Resolutions have been going really well this year, at least for the first quarter. Specifically, I’ve only ordered/used one hot drink in a paper cup. No disposable cups was one of my resolutions, which I’m repeating from 2016. I’ve been really good about either bringing my reusable mug or skipping the coffee/tea. The one cup I used was an unfortunate last-minute blunder. I ordered two donuts at the best donut shop around, which only amounted to about $2.50. Debit card purchases required a minimum of $3.00, so I asked for a hot tea. I should have just ordered one more donut, but the tea was tasty. When I tried this resolution in 2016, I had one “oops” per month. So, one in three months feels like a success. It has also made me more aware of other disposable food items that I use and would like to skip. The brown boxes at the Whole Foods hot bar, cold drink cups, napkins, and straws. I might try to formulate a new resolution based on these things for 2019.

The other resolution that continues to go well is reading. I blogged a little bit about the first two books I read – Wool and Shift by Hugh Howey. I read the third book in the series in early March. The first was great, the second two were less impressive, but I wanted to persevere. By the end of the third, I was ready to be done with sci fi for awhile. I puttered for a few weeks, knitting more instead of reading. Then a few days ago I ordered Orphan Train Girl for my Kindle and opted for the audio add-on. This book is predictable, sweet, and easy. It’s been a nice change. Just listening to it on my commute to/from work and while walking the dogs, I’ve nearly finished it in about 4 days. I do recommend it for an easy read. It’s not life changing or anything, but it’s interesting and sweet. The writing flows very easily and the characters are likeable/believable.  I’m considering an audio book to qualify for my resolution, so I’ve nearly finished four books so far this year, toward my twelve book goal. Listening to an audio book was a nice change from staring at my phone screen. I would still rather prefer paper, but it just doesn’t fit in well with my current schedule.

 

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Next up is Outlander by Dianna Gabaldon. It’s approximately 10 times longer than the Orphan Train Girl, so it may take me quite some time to listen to it.

Donor Resolution

Well last week I joined the Donor Sibling Registry so that I could attempt to contact the families who had used the donor who donated 10 years ago. I was very candid about my search, saying that I have a daughter whose donor is sold out and I’m trying to find a similar donor so that my kids share some qualities. I mentioned that the donor they used looks very similar on paper but only has one photo, so if they were willing I would provide a few photos of my daughter and her donor and they could let me know whether they thought there might be any resemblance in the donor they used. Two families responded and were very gracious. One family had B/G twins who are now 8. It was very interesting to see how DIFFERENT the twins look. This should not be a surprise – many siblings look nothing alike. My brother is tall, heavy-set, blue-eyed and tan-skinned. I am more slender and have dark brown hair, fair skin, and green eyes. However, the twins were helpful, because one looks just like their mother and the other does not. That tells me she might look like the donor, and when I look at his baby picture, I think I can see a strong resemblance. The second family to respond offered to help. I sent them some photos, but I haven’t heard anything back. Of course I do not expect them to send me pictures of their kids (though that can be helpful), but I was hoping they could tell me if their kids have any resemblance to mine. The second family did share, however, that one of their two sons has dyslexia, and there is no history of it in mom’s family. This isn’t conclusive proof that the donor has dyslexia in his family, but it is interesting and it has obviously been an issue for the family, because they mentioned it without prompting.

After hearing from these families, my little internal voice pushed me to keep exploring.

Last night I shared with my wife the second runner-up that I had been considering (I sent her the profile last week, but of course she hadn’t had time to view it. She mostly tags along for my daily updates on the search over dinner). This is the 19 year-old who is very healthy but sounds like he’s 19. His face from the baby pictures really just kept coming back into my mind. One of the early reasons I wasn’t willing to commit to him was that his education/intellect didn’t stand out to me. However, I dug deeper into his extended profile and found that his ACT and SAT scores were both above the 95th percentile. I know full well that a good tester does not always mean high intelligence or that someone is a good student or has an inquisitive mind. I also know that this data is self-reported. Still, it made me feel better to think he has something good going on upstairs. Anyway, when I showed my wife the pictures, she immediately fell in love. We briefly combed through his profile (again) and listened to his audio interview and she felt very resolved that he’s a good choice. So did I. In fact, for the first time, I feel kind of excited about the prospect of using him, and not like I’m settling for a second choice.

So, barring any unforeseen issues, I’ve started the paperwork exchange between my clinic and the Seattle Sperm Bank. I’m still in the first half of my cycle, so now I’ll just have to sit around and wait. Or find something else to fixate on for 3ish weeks.

In real life, we’ve been doing a lot of hiking now that the weather has improved and continuing some home improvement projects. This weekend we finally hung five of the doors we painted over the last two (three?) weekends. I also finished replacing all of the light switches in the condo, because the originals were a mix of white and almond, some of them chipped, and all of them dirty. We have used the bigger, flatter switches and the screwless plates, so the visual impact is totally worth the ~$5 for each switch. Next up I’ll be doing all of the electrical outlets. There are 18 of them, based on my count yesterday afternoon. Our next big project will be to resurface the fireplace and mantle, because the bizarre 1980’s + 2004 tile is ridiculously unattractive.

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Who wouldn’t want to duplicate this?!

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She’s suddenly looking huge to me, like a real KID instead of a baby.

 

HSG

Since this cycle was lost anyway, I decided to get another HSG to just make sure everything looks good in there. It was a little bit of a mess scheduling, but it worked out that I took this morning off and drove down to south Denver to have it today, CD8. The test went swimmingly, and the dye spilled out both Fallopian tubes almost immediately. There did not appear to be any fibroids or anything out of the ordinary in my uterus. I didn’t anticipate any problems, but I wanted the added certainty that everything is functioning normally, since I didn’t get success in two seemingly-perfect cycles. The HSG itself was uncomfortable, but nothing like natural childbirth, so I just breathed through it. I’ve had slight cramping the rest of the day. One other note, the radiologist commented that he was not surprised I had success after my last HSG, meaning he knows they can help. That made me happy.

The donor search continues. I’m still considering one of the previous donors that I looked at, but I eliminated the cute skin allergy guy who looks so much like our daughter. There are two new contenders. One is adorable, healthy and young, but doesn’t exactly have the most impressive intellect or education. Granted, he’s 19 at the time of the donation, but he’s not like some donors that blow you away with their minds. The other new contender is interesting in that he donated 10 years ago. He has 10 diblings on the donor registry, mostly born between 2009 and 2011. That would make our kid 8-10 years younger than his/her donor siblings. This donor looks great on paper – smart, handsome, athletic, kind. The only problem is there is only one baby photo available, and it’s from a distance. I’m considering paying $99 to join the sibling registry to see what I can learn from the existing recipients. I would be candid about my role/exploration with them.

How irresponsible would it be to just randomly pick one of the leaders? They all seem to have pros and cons, which is true of any human.

In parenting news, I ordered a slew of summer clothes. Perhaps a bit premature, but I like ordering kids clothes. She does not love the feeling of sandals between her toes, but hopefully after she runs through a sprinkler, she’ll change her mind.

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We’re getting ready for summer over here.

Cyst

I had my cyst check on Friday, which was CD2. I had a large cyst on my left ovary, measuring 30mm. Theoretically, the follicle ovulated, and then filled back up with fluid to start producing progesterone, because the follicle incorrectly believed I was pregnant. That means I sit this cycle out and hope it resolves on its own, which is what typically happens. I honestly wasn’t surprised about the cyst. With so many mature follicles, it seemed likely. I also continued to feel the effects of elevated progesterone even after my period started. I was really hot, had a sore throat, headache, and was cranky. Interestingly, it meant I didn’t have any cramps like with a normal period. Flow was normal, so I’m sure it was actually a period.

I asked the nurse if I can have an HSG this cycle, since I cannot try, and she said she was sure I could. I told her that my insurance covers it and she would need to call the order in to my provider. She said that I should schedule it first, call the doctor to let them know the date, and then the doctor would write the referral. Of course, I called the imaging department to schedule, and they won’t schedule without a referral. So, now I’m waiting for the nurses to return my call to send the order.

I’m honestly not too upset about the delay, for a couple of reasons. One is that this cycle would produce a Christmas baby. I’ve always felt bad for people who have to share their birthday with such a major holiday. Plus, my wife’s family has a LOT of late December birthdays, so it’s already a super busy/crowded time of year. A second reason I’m not too upset about the delay is that I’m still very unsettled about donors. We temporarily settled on one, mostly because his baby picture looks so much like our daughter. He’s very cute, and the staff description said he’s very handsome. However, there is only one picture of him available. He is smart and has a scientific mind. He also takes three medications – one for allergies, one for cold sores, and one for what I think are anxiety attacks. He said he takes that last one rarely, and he mentioned public speaking. I’m not really sure what to make of that. He says the allergy is to “deep cuts/abrasions” which I did not know was a thing. He says the result is hives. From my research, it sounds like he gets Urticaria triggered by scratching or abrasions. I have sensitive skin too, so I’m thinking it may not be a great idea to doom a kid to that kind of issue. BUT, we love him based on his baby pic, in large part because he looks so familiar. Potential Donor #2 has a sweet personality and a scientific mind. He has beautiful eyes in his baby picture, looks like a cute pre-teen in a second picture, and then there is this third picture at about 8 years old with some kind of face paint on. It really throws me. I don’t like not really being able to see what his real features are and what is painted on…it’s like he’s painted to look like an old man – very amateur, probably Halloween or something. He’s otherwise very healthy, and one of the most compelling factors for me is that he is donating because a friend asked him to be her donor and he learned about the process. I like that a person who knows him in real life likes him enough to ask. He was excited about the opportunity. SO, I think we’re leaning toward #2, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t scoured the registries dozens of times looking for the perfect fit. I’m happy to read your suggestions, if you have any!

 

Nope.

I caved and bought a test on the way home from work, figuring that even if it was negative, I wanted to start processing options sooner rather than later. It was clearly negative. I started spotting about an hour later. I’m disappointed, a little surprised, and trying to decipher a lot of other feelings.

Last night I picked up my wife from work, we went out to dinner and I drank a beer, which made me buzzed, haha. Our daughter was kind of a pill, knocking over water, trying to climb onto the table, and pouring salt into the playdough I brought her to play with.

Partially as a coping mechanism, and partially to help us decide what to do next, after my daughter went to bed, we started browsing donors. My wife has offered that I can use the Last Vial, but I would prefer to save it for her, because I think it gives us a better shot of having a half-sibling to our daughter, since we’ll be doing IVF. We first spent $50 to browse the donors at our original bank, Manhattan Cryo. It just felt familiar, easy, and like a good first step. We’ve had fantastic service from them, and all of our vials were well over 20 million motile sperm. Unfortunately, we just didn’t connect with any of the donors. Next we turned to Seattle Sperm Bank…not sure why, but we love Seattle. We dropped another $50 to see their baby photos. The selection is a lot bigger, but the amount of information about each donor is much smaller. We have found a donor who looks like he could look a lot like our daughter. Similar features and face shape. Unfortunately, there is only one picture of him, which makes me a little wary. I’m caught between wanting to choose someone who will at least look a little similar, but also choosing someone who is a great donor for us…not just based on looks. I am well aware that the genetics can play out in a huge variety of ways, and there is no guarantee that they’ll look anything alike, which of course would be fine. I think it’s mostly an emotional reaction to look for something familiar, and maybe safe.

We’re going to spend the day pondering options. If we want to try this cycle, we’ll need to move fast, because we have to get the vial shipped next week.

If anyone who had to choose a second donor has any advice, I would be happy to hear it!

13DPO

I’ll be honest, I think I’m losing hope. I don’t have any symptoms of pregnancy, but that’s not too concerning to me. Rather, I think I might be feeling my period starting. It’s hard to say, but for some reason I just don’t feel hopeful or optimistic at all, really. I kind of wish I had tested this morning just so I knew.

One of the things really bringing down my mood is exhaustion. My daughter has decided to flip daylight savings time. Because the clocks moved forward, she should want to go to bed later and wake up later, right? Well, Sunday she woke up an hour EARLY, which means two hours earlier than her normal wake-up. She compensated by taking a morning nap for FORTY-FIVE minutes, which caused her to skip her afternoon nap altogether. That’s about 90 minutes SHORT of what she needs on a good day. Monday night she raged until almost 9:00 p.m., and this morning, she woke up at 4:30 a.m., and refused to do anything but eat cheerios and watch Little Bear. I finally got her into the stroller to walk the dogs (after much raging), and she slept for about 30 minutes. So, I’ve been up since 4:30 today, and I really haven’t recovered from the long hours I spent holding and rocking her when she was sick last week. In summary, I’m running on about 10 days of really crappy sleep with no caffeine.

This brings me to my next point. If this cycle didn’t work, I’m seriously chewing on the possibility of being done. This was my last vial of our donor. We have one more reserved for my wife to try IVF, which we’re planning toward the end of this year. I never thought I would be in this position, but I’m contemplating the idea that maybe I don’t need to carry another baby. I’ve always really, really wanted to. And of course, if by some miracle I do, I’ll be thrilled. But, I’m also pretty grateful that I got to do it once, that I got to breastfeed, and that I get to parent my kid. I may just be moping, so I won’t be making a real decision anytime soon, but this is the first time I’ve sat with this possibility. One of the factors is the sperm. If we had more vials, I’m sure I’d try again. However, choosing a new donor feels like a whole lot of work that I may not have the energy to do. Secondly, the thought of NOT spending hundreds of dollars every month on TTC sounds pretty appealing right now. We’ve been spending money (lots of it) on TTC nearly every single month for a little over a year. I have no idea what the total is, but somewhere in the ballpark of $15,000, just trying for baby #2. The thought of not spending that money is very tempting…thoughts of vacations, home improvements, and new furniture dance in my mind.

So, that’s where I am today. I don’t think my period will arrive today, as it would be early. I think it’s possible that it will start tomorrow or Friday. I still don’t think I’ll test unless it hasn’t arrived by Saturday.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer this morning…I think I’ll go get a breakfast sandwich so I can sniff the coffee fumes.

11DPO

I’m holding strong at 11DPO without testing. I haven’t had really any obvious symptoms either way, but I don’t think I really had any symptoms with my last pregnancy either. If I’m stretching, I’ll say that I have had a few bouts of very mild nausea or uneasiness that passes quickly in the mid morning the last two days. I was really only sort of nauseous at 6 weeks last pregnancy, and it literally passed in two days. I’m pretty skeptical that it could be pregnancy related, because even if it worked, the hormone levels would still be pretty low. I can chalk it up to the fact that I spent a lot of time painting door trim this weekend, so I was standing up, looking up, for long stretches of time. The other symptom I *might* be having is by throat and sinuses feel sort of stuffy when I wake up. My kid and wife have been SUPER sick with a head cold, so it’s possible that my symptoms are related to that, but it feels a little different than a cold. I remember it during my last pregnancy (again, further into pregnancy) that I would feel like I couldn’t quite breathe effectively through my nose when lying down. It’s not that it’s stuffed, it’s that the sinuses or tissues feel like they’re getting in the way of the air. So, that could be a symptom or it could be absolutely nothing.

I still don’t have any tests at home, which I think is good for me. I also haven’t been tempted to test. I really don’t want to see a negative. I’d rather see blood if that’s where things are headed. I’m still thinking of testing Saturday morning, because it is the day after my period is supposed to show up.

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The front door work-in-progress and someone waiting patiently to go outside and play. She stood this way for several minutes.

Outside of TTC, we spent the weekend finishing painting all of our interior doors and most of the trim. When we purchased our condo, the previous owner had painted ALL the wood a dark, dark brown. It was so awful. We live in the garden level, meaning we need as much light and space as we can get, and the dark brown just sucked away the light. We’ve always planned to do it, but never found the time until now. We took Friday off of work and left our daughter in play school so that we could work uninterrupted. We finished painting all the panel doors, which took most of last weekend and half of this weekend. We spent Saturday and part of Sunday painting the trim and door frames. Now, we need to paint three more door frames and install all of the doors. It has been a looooong project, but the result feels so worth it. I didn’t truly appreciate how much I hated the brown until it was gone. I’ll try to remember to post some pictures when we’re finished.

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Bossing around the chickens at my parents’ house while her moms work work work

Waiting and Illness

We’re trucking through the TWW, on 6DPO right now. The first 3-4 days always go quickly for me. Then during days 6-9 I think a LOT about implantation. It’s after day 9 that gets really bad for me and I fluctuate wildly between optimism and pessimism, resolve not to test and moments of weakness in which I pee on a stick.

I’m not experiencing any symptoms, as the trigger shot has worn off. One thing I have learned from being pregnant once is that the trigger shot REALLY makes you feel like you’re pregnant. I know this is obvious, because it a big shot of the pregnancy hormone, but it’s striking to me how it can make you feel bloated, slightly nauseated, exhausted, and famished, just like pregnancy does. Before being pregnant, I was not really aware of those symptoms from the shot.

One thing that is keeping me distracted from the TWW is my daughter’s awful cold. She had a slight fever on Thursday of last week, and she was whiny, clingy, and not herself. She was drooling a ton, so I assumed maybe she was getting some molars. She seemed okay on Friday and Saturday. Sunday, she was sneezing a little. On Sunday night, the wheels came off. She was congested, crying, coughing, and begging to be held. We kept her home from playschool and I took the day off work. Monday night was the same, and we juggled to cover childcare while splitting the day on Tuesday. It’s very likely just a bad head cold, but when they are so little and so ineffective at blowing their noses, it’s miserable. She coughs, which wakes her up and hurts her throat, periodically during the night. Then she makes the saddest, most exhausted cry. For two nights I basically slept with her, letting her sleep on top of me while I propped up on pillows. She really prefers to have her face pressed up against or in close proximity of mine, so I get to experience the raspy, sticky, mouth breathing up close and personal. I made her endure a serious Nose Frida-ing this morning, which she equates to murder, but I got a lot of thick mucus out, hopefully helping her breathe better. She’s back at playschool today, and we haven’t gotten a call to pick her up, so I’m hoping she’s on the mend.

Eight-ish more days to go for us to find out if any of the 4 (5?) follicles met their match and floated on the right current to the uterus. I haven’t decided when to test, but it won’t be before Wednesday, 3/14. I don’t want to test on the Ides of March, so it may be Friday, 3/16. Unfortunately, that would mean I have to wait all weekend for my betas. But, I won’t put the cart before the horse. I’ll just keep repeating my mantra this cycle, “All you have to do is keep moving forward.”

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Equipped herself for an adventure. (Before sickness) And we’re hoping we get new baseboard/trim this weekend!

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Enjoying nachos with her farm animals on the patio of the local brewery. Not sure why she wanted to put her helmet back on. Safety first?