are you my moms?

the musings of yet another lesbian couple on the journey of mother(s)hood

To Test or Not to Test October 31, 2011

Filed under: Two-week wait — areyoumymoms @ 11:09 pm
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I left my blood at the lab this morning, along with a positive thought and a few ounces of my dwindling patience.  Tomorrow we’ll find out if this 3rd attempt is the one.  […heavy sigh…]  We have always said we’d resist the temptation of taking a home pregnancy test, and would just wait for the guru to call with the official results.  At the end of a long 2 weeks, what’s another 24 hours?  A few people have advised recently that they used home pregnancy tests before taking their blood test.  Apparently everyone’s home and lab results have always matched up.  So then we’re left with 2 questions: Do we want to be the people whose home pregnancy test is positive, but are devastated by the reversal call in the morning?  And in reality, are we ready to know yet?  The luxury of the two week wait is that I might be pregnant the whole time.  It’s our only experience that the two week wait ends in disappointment, so why choose to expedite that ending?

The only answer that feels right for us is to just sit back and wait for the guru to call.  Parenthood takes patience…if we can’t survive this, how will we handle the everyday challenges that will face us when we’re moms?  Please don’t get me wrong.  If I was climbing the walls 6 days ago, I’m suspended from the ceiling by my pinky toe tonight.  So this isn’t some newfound state of serenity.  It’s more resignation and a little bit of fear thrown in for good measure. 

The plan for getting through the next 12-24 hours is simple: Halloween candy.  After the trick or treaters came and went, there’s just enough candy left that I can get pregnant with a little snickers baby, but not enough that I can do any permanent damage.  Chocolate coma, here I come…

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Baby Takeover October 25, 2011

Filed under: Two-week wait — areyoumymoms @ 8:39 pm
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Babies are everywhere.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re seriously surrounded by them; I’m starting to fear a global takeover by some tiny, diaper-wearing terrorist cell.  If you’re not ttc you might not have picked up on the threat.  You may think it’s a coincidence when 5 of your friends announce their pregnancies in the same week.  You might have been completely oblivious to the infants at every table in the restaurant last night, all of whom seemed to be cooing in your general direction.  And you may be totally unaware that children have somehow made their way into every home on your street while you weren’t looking.  If you’re ttc or have been on this journey yourself, you know all of this to be true, and you know it’s a form of torture.

For those of you whose insides don’t hurt when a baby enters a 2-mile radius of your location, let me try to put this in perspective.  Picture yourself hungry…the hungriest you’ve ever been…and now put yourself at the grandest, most beautiful buffet you’ve ever seen.  Your mouth waters when you see the prime rib carving station.  The savory aromas of the 300 side dishes meld into one beautiful fragrance that instantly fills your senses.  Just when you’ve turned your attention to the dessert table and have begun to plot your attack, the entire buffet is encased in bullet-proof glass.  The really annoying part?  Everyone else in the restaurant can still get to the food.  They fill plate after plate, and will even ask you to hold their food while they run a quick errand or tend to some other personal business.  All the while you just sit outside the glass case, your stomach growling at deafening decibels.

So as you might be able to tell, I’m kinda whiny and emotional today.  It’s just the progesterone and I know it will go away (or result in a baby, which will certainly make it more tolerable!!), but it totally sucks.  Please note that I’m not a complete tool – I am as happy for other ttc couples as I will be for us when we succeed.  My cousin just announced her pregnancy and I couldn’t possibly be more excited for her and her husband.  They will be amazing parents and have tried for a super long time.  I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t put me on the outside of the buffet for a split second, but I truly am thrilled for them.  On the other hand, when I hear that some teenager has gotten pregnant, or a couple has conceived without trying (or even wanting a baby!), I can’t help being jealous and angry on all our behalf.

One week away from getting the results of this cycle, and I’m climbing the walls again.  I’ve decided that if this journey requires a 4th attempt, I’m making a two-week-wait calendar – kinda like an advent calendar.  So send me your ideas for fun activities, inspirational quotes, jokes, distracting/time-sucking websites, or other fun reveals that would help to pass the time.  Otherwise the baby terrorists win, and we can’t have that.

 

3rd Time’s a Charm, Right? October 17, 2011

Filed under: IUI,Two-week wait — areyoumymoms @ 7:21 pm
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Lots of  things come in three’s.  Little pigs, wise men, amigos, Bee Gees, blind mice, notes in a triad, and of course the best threesome of all:

[It should be noted that I debated on which picture would get the spot above.  The billy goats gruff, Marx Brothers, and Witches of Eastwick were all in the running.  But then again so were bacon, lettuce, & tomato.  Joyce DeWitt’s coked-up-deer-in-headlights-look tipped the scales in their favor, in case you’re wondering.]

Trios don’t just appear in pop culture.  Our worlds are full of them: colors in a traffic light; rings in a circus; stop, drop, & roll; value packs of gum; rock, paper, scissors; and the honey badger’s favorite, three bean salad.  My mother has 3 brothers.  I sneeze in threes.  I’m 1 of 3 female children in my generation of my family.  The only kind of bike I can ride has 3 wheels (yeah…I said it, and I know I’m not alone).  And most important – as of today I’ve had 3 rounds of iui. 

I’m hoping our third attempt is all we need.  Everyone tells me that they (or their friends, hairdressers, sister-in-law’s real estate agent, etc.) got pregnant on their 3rd or 4th iui.  I learned last week that my cousin is pregnant with twins, conceived via their 3rd iui.  So here we are at attempt #3.  We’ve paid the dues associated with the first 2 tries.  I’ve spent the past several months describing this to friends, family, and the blogosphere as a “process” or a “journey.”  But the bottom line is that this journey has a finish line – or at the very least, a hard right turn onto the next leg of the trip.  And while it’s been a lovely ride thus far, I’m about ready to get there, please.  I’ve done my best to remain optimistic, trying to rebound quickly from the negative results, and looking for the silver lining in any little setback.  I’ve guarded my heart, viewing each attempt as just another step in the road instead of a real chance at getting pregnant.  If I can convince myself that it’s not going to happen this time, it will just be a  pleasant surprise when it does.  But here’s the thing: none of these little mind games makes it hurt any less when the guru gives us the bad news.

Screw it.  I’m going into these next two weeks with my hope on display for all the world to see.  I’m publicly declaring that not only do I desperately want to be successful this time, I actually have a really good feeling about it.  I’ve thought that letting myself be open like this would crush us even more if it didn’t work.  But it can’t possibly make our hearts ache any more than the last two letdowns if this attempt isn’t the one, so why not let ourselves be optimistic?  Our house has been a little gray for the past few days.  Every time the wind blows, a tuft of Winston’s hair blows through the living room like soft blonde tumbleweed, and one or both of us starts to cry.  So if acknowledging the possibility of bringing a baby into our house will lift our spirits, then I’m just going to admit it all. Here goes: I want this one to work.  I’ve prayed this one will work.  I want to move on to the nesting phase, making our house a welcome place for our new addition but I won’t let us do that until I’m pregnant.  Most of all, I want to make it to the final stop and hold our sweet little monkey.  My mind, body, and heart are growing tired, and we’ve only just begun.  I’m nowhere near ready to give up if this attempt isn’t the one, but I really want to be able to say we got pregnant on the 3rd try.  There.  I said it.  It may sound bratty, but that’s how I feel today.  Call me the Veruca Salt of the iui world, but I WANT IT NOW!!!!!  (Wow – I actually feel a lot better!) 

For those interested in the technical stuff, this round wasn’t any more “normal” than the last two.  We triggered on Saturday, cd10.  That morning’s ultrasound showed two mature follicles on the left side.  We went back on Sunday for iui #1, and the scan showed only one follicle.  As usual, my body wasn’t going to follow directions.  Awesome.  Doc could tell that egg #1 was released from the ovary and was awaiting sperm, so she inseminated yesterday.  She then prepared us for the very real idea that the leftover egg might still be around when we returned today.  She warned that if it had still been hanging out, we would’ve inseminated today and gone again tomorrow to use the back-up vial on a 3rd insemination, provided egg #2 released tonight.  Fortunately, even though I apparently ovulated early on Saturday, I ovulated again yesterday, as egg #2 was gone when doc checked this morning.  How’s that for ovaryachieving?  In the first two monitored cycles, we couldn’t even tell if I was ovulating at all.  And this time I did it twice in 36 hours.  Take that!!

So now we start the two week wait for the 3rd time.  Thursday I start the 3rd round of progesterone.  On Halloween I’ll take my 3rd pregnancy test.  And for the next 15 days we’ll be hoping that the 3rd time is the last.  Once, twice, three times an iui.  If The Commodores didn’t need to go to 4, then neither do we.

 

In Memorium October 14, 2011

Filed under: Backstory — areyoumymoms @ 5:07 pm
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One of the wisest people I know recently posed the following to me in an email: “wow…isn’t the spiritual energy of the universe a wonderfully mysterious and powerful connection.”  Yes.  Yes, it is.  That very wise person performed MKL’s and my wedding ceremony and has been full of sage advice for the dozen or so years I’ve known him.  When times get difficult, I frequently hear his deep, soothing, damn-near-hypnotic voice in my head and like anything produced in my dutch oven, he calms my soul.  Today was the kind of day that made me crave his comforting words, and I found them in that months-old email.

This morning we lost our Winston, and the world lost a truly fine dog.

Winston was so special that when MKL and her ex got him as a puppy and split up shortly thereafter, they shared custody of him for another 10+ years – shuttling him back and forth each weekend.  He was loved and is dearly missed by two families.  His other household includes two small boys, the older of whom will be told that Winston has gone to camp.  MKL and I have both grieved the fact that our child will never know the joy that was Winston.  We had already pictured him sleeping the guard shift in the nursery, and acting as both playmate and pillow to a toddler.  He was a prince among dogs, and a bit of a dandy.  He loved getting brushed, didn’t love getting dirty.  More than anything he loved people…his people, your people…any people, and particularly children.  When we went to the dog park, he’d run from owner to owner, imploring them to pet him and ignoring the 20 other dogs who wanted him to join in a tennis ball chase.  Everywhere he went, people called him “beautiful,” asked if they could pet him (if he gave them time to ask before he leaned on their leg and demanded their affection), and some even referred to him as “regal.”  I don’t know how regal he was, but I know he was the king of our castle. 

I didn’t grow up with pets.  Winston not only helped me get over a dog allergy, he made me love dogs.  Early in MKL’s and my relationship I was still a little wary.  But this sweet, gentle giant dared me not to fall in love with him.  I usually don’t back down from a dare, but he had me on this one.  Every morning while MKL was in the shower he’d climb into the bed and snuggle up next to me with his head on my shoulder.  Morning by morning, little by little, he stole my heart.   

Tomorrow we go for the profasi trigger shot, and have planned iui’s on Sunday and Monday.  And so my mind wanders back to our dear friend’s words about the mysteriously connected ways of the spiritual universe.  As we work again to usher a new spirit into our home, we also say goodbye to one that has occupied a huge part for more than a decade. 

For Winston, Calla, Sookie, Milli, Sophie, Cosmo, Tigger, Woody, Rivers, Zach, and all those other beloved spirits who will watch over us all.

 

The Ovaryachiever October 9, 2011

Filed under: Hormones,IUI,Meds — areyoumymoms @ 9:06 pm
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I’ve always been an overachiever.  As a child I won spelling bees and essay contests, got good scores at vocal competitions, and sold the most candy in the fund raisers.  I haven’t changed much.  The overachieving that saw me succeed academically transformed me into an adult with a burning need to be right, win arguments, and be the best at anything I do.  I’m not necessarily proud of this trait.  It has a nasty way of creeping in and causing trouble in every facet of my life.  Overachieving has its benefits, though.  It’s also what makes me good at my job and drives me to be a devoted wife and loyal friend. 

As it turns out, I’m also what we’re going to call an “ovaryachiever.”  [Note: this term was coined by my always-witty bff on the way home from the gym.  I hope you are all lucky enough to have a friend like her.  When I count my blessings she’s very near the top of the list.]  A trip to see doc and the guru Friday morning showed that both ovaries are in good shape for another treatment cycle.  Phew.  Doc gave us the lowdown on the menopur, told me to start taking the letrozole, and that was that.  While I was dressing, she and the guru were engaged in a rather intense debate about the size of my follicles and the impact of their growth rate on the scheduling of the menopur shot.  They’ve worked together for a long time and tend to speak a language all their own, finishing one another’s sentences and frequently leaving us in the dark.  I walked up on the conversation and could tell they were talking about me.  Doc picked up on my curiosity and tried her best to explain.  As she described, I’m an “early recruiter.”  Sure.  Makes total sense.  My ovaries are overachievers, too.

When the ovaries recruit eggs early, it becomes difficult to predict ovulation timing, which makes successfully scheduling an iui a bit of a challenge.  It also means that the menopur has to be administered early in order to have any kind of effect.  So tomorrow morning we’re back to doc for the menopur shot, and to measure the follicles.  Menopur is the same drug used by women going through in vitro fertilization, usually self-injected on a daily basis.  Since the point of ivf is to recruit and harvest as many eggs as possible, menopur is given in a very high dose.  With me, doc is just looking to ensure that I have more than one mature follicle that makes it through ovulation.  The more follicles present, the better chance that one of them will meet up with a swimmer or two.

We’ve also made one more change for this cycle.  We bought a 3rd vial of sperm.  Normally we just use 2 vials – 1 for each iui procedure.  But last month’s early surge made us question whether or not we need to have a back-up vial available.  So for this cycle, we’re trading acupuncture and herbs for a reserve cavalry of swimmers.  Lots of couples buy 6 or so vials when they first start trying to conceive.  This is usually done to ensure that their selected donor is available when they need him.  MKL and I have a short list of chosen donors, but aren’t “married” to any one guy.  This relieves some of the pressure of donor availability and also allows us to order vials on an as-needed basis.  The additional vial isn’t cheap, and we might end up selling it back anyway.  But if my body ovaryachieves again this time, we will be ready.

 

Round 2…notsomuch October 4, 2011

Filed under: IUI — areyoumymoms @ 8:14 pm
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The short answer: bfn.  Again. 

This morning was a test of our patience.  We passed, but just barely.  Last month the guru called us around 9:00 in the morning with the results.  So when we hadn’t heard from her by 10:00 today, I sent a gentle text reminder.  No answer.  Then 11:00 came and went.  And then it was noon.  During this time we wore a path in the floor, pacing around the living room in a state of suspended animation and jumping each time my phone made the slightest chirp.  When she finally called, the guru was all apologies for the delay, and then all apologies for the news: “Sorry, guys.  It’s negative.”  We both knew it a week ago.  Neither one wanted to say it out loud, but we both had a gut feeling that this wasn’t going to be the cycle.  I wish that made hearing the news any easier, but it didn’t.  We cried and cried, and reassured one another that we’re ready for round 3.

With each cycle that passes unsuccessfully comes additional stress.  We spend a lot of time trying to be strong for one another and cushion the blow for the other.  Try though I might, I can’t begin to predict how my body will react to the drugs or hormones.  But I’d be ignoring the elephant in the room if I didn’t acknowledge the financial strain this can put on your household and potentially your marriage.  We believe we are as financially prepared for raising a child as any couple can be, and we understand that the decision to have a baby will forever change our fiscal priorities in a way that affects all new parents.  But most couples don’t have to invest a year’s worth of junior college tuition into each attempt at getting pregnant… so there’s that…  If you live in a place where any of this process is covered by some kind of insurance, thank someone.  Write a politician, thank your parents for the fact that you were born there, pat yourself on the back for being smart enough to move, I don’t care.  But be grateful for it, if only for those of us who fund this journey 100% out-of-pocket, as MKL and I do. 

The guru taught us a new vocab word this morning: menopur.  Menopur is a hormone containing both fsh (follicle stimulating hormone) and lh (luteinizing hormone), and is the new addition to our treatment protocol.  In the first treated cycle I produced 3 follicles; last time, just 1 (but it was huge!).  This indicates to doc that my body is no longer responding to the letrozole.  So adding the menopur shot will hopefully increase the number of follicles produced, therefore increasing our chances.  What it will definitely do is add an appointment at doc’s (ca-ching), another butter churn (ca-ching), and a post-letrozole-but-pre-profasi shot (ca…wait for it…CHING!). 

Just like last time, I’m not sure what to feel or say…or say about what I feel.  “Disappointed” seems an understatement.  “Sad” doesn’t quite cut it.  Yet “grieving” seems a bit extreme.  For now I might settle on “scared.”  I am afraid of how my body will react to changes in the treatment protocol.  I’m scared of how another attempt will affect us both emotionally.  I’m frightened of the impact this additional pre-pregnant time will have on the honey badger’s ability to fill MKL’s head with guilt.  And the idea of hearing the guru say “negative” again chills me to the core.  I’m still not afraid that we won’t have a child, though.  I know it will happen, and I just hope it happens soon.

 

Test Day Blues October 3, 2011

Filed under: Two-week wait — areyoumymoms @ 8:10 pm
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There’s a rather dark cloud over me today.  I’ve spent a good majority of the waking hours crying, and hearing the guru’s voice in my head as she tells us the test is negative again.  No, she hasn’t said that yet.  I gave them my blood this morning but we won’t get the results until tomorrow.  For some reason I can’t hear her giving us good news, though.  I close my eyes (or on occasion they swell themselves shut…did I mention the crying?), and try to visualize the whole thing happening tomorrow.  The phone rings; MKL and I get in the same room; I put the guru on speaker, send MKL a hopeful, tearful smile…and…yeah, that’s where I lose it every time.  That’s when I hear her sigh thoughtfully and say, “I’m sorry…” 

I know this isn’t good for me.  Everything in my brain tells me that the point of visualization is to see everything turn out the way we want to.  So why is it that I can only picture the negative?  And why is today the hardest 24 hours in the two week wait? 

It should totally get easier with each day that approaches result day.  But it doesn’t.  In the first few days after IUI, everything’s gravy – you’re taking it easy for a bit (don’t want to jostle anything loose!), and it seems like the test day will never come.   As the hormones sink in, moods start to change and the pregnancy-symptom-fake-out-game commences.  That goes on for another 10 days, and then you reach test day.  Test day should be like Christmas Eve when I was 5.  I should be filled with anticipation at the gifts and blessings that will come our way in the morning.  Instead, it feels like the last day of summer vacation before I started my first day of high school.  We had just moved to a new school district and I was starting high school without a single friend.  I had my outfit picked out, got a new bookbag, and knew where the bus stop was.  But I lay awake all night, knowing there was a distinct possibility that neither the clothes nor the bag would be cool enough.  And I was quite sure no one worth hanging out with for my high school career would be met on the bus.  (For the record, I was right on 2 of 3 counts; the brown leather messenger bag remains a classic.)  I was filled with anticipation, just not the Christmas Eve kind.  And that’s how I feel today.  There is a chance that she’s going to start the conversation with “Congratulations!” instead of “I’m sorry,” just as there was a chance the cool kids would like my tight-rolled pants, paisley oxford and mary janes on that fateful first day.  That sleepless night was as much about my fear of my own reaction to rejection as it was about the fear of rejection itself.  The pit in my stomach today is as much about my memory of how defeated I felt when the last cycle didn’t work as it is about hearing the bfn.  I don’t want to feel that way again.

MKL and our merry band of supporters have been great today, as always.  And to thank them, I’ve spent 400 or so words ranting about how crappy I feel.  Nice, huh?  In honor of those who have tried to cheer me up, make me laugh, or give me some perspective, here is my top ten list of things that made me smile today:

  10. Leftover chicken soup.

  9. A gift from the boy MKL takes care of: it was a bulletin from church yesterday, folded in a very special way.

  8. The cell phone expert in the Conrad Murray trial who had to spend 30 minutes explaining to the jury how to read their cell phone bill.

  7. Seinfeld.  Mangos/fake orgasm episode.  Hilarious.

  6. My co-worker who referenced the “euphoric cloud of adrenaline that will practically float [me] to work tomorrow.”

  5. Listening to a bunch of white people on TMZ trying not to sound dumb saying “Waka Flocka Flame.”

  4. Chelsea Handler.  I’m reading her 2nd book and loving every word.

  3. Walking with BFF and her dog.  It’s not about the walk. 

  2. My dog, Stella.  She won’t leave my side today, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  She’s great at licking tears and even better at being the kind of clown I don’t find creepy as hell.

  1. The adorable daisies picked by MKL and brought to me in a silver bud vase.  So cute.  The flowers are, too.

Sometime tomorrow I’ll log back on and post our test results.  Until then I’m going to watch Dancing with the Stars.  Surely Nancy Grace and David Arquette will find their way to my smile-worthy list.  One way or another, the storm will pass tomorrow.

 

 
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