Well no definitive news yet. Peapod has decided to stop testing for fertility after the RE's nurse told her too. So, it was still reading positive last we checked, there are weird brown spots, but no red and no aunt flow. Here's hoping that everything is ok.
On the plus side (don't hold this against me I'm a guy!) her boobs are getting huge! Alright not really "huge" in size, but they also appear to be firmer and more sensitive. So... as I've told her this morning, until food comes out, they are a gift for me.
The current round of badnews is GERD (acid Reflux) has started up in a major way. If you've never had bad acid reflux, when you don't know what it is you think it could be a heart attack. Definitly triggered by stress and probably eating too many times right before bed recently.
Anyway, we're still waiting and we'll know on the 12th. Until then I hope I survive crazy family, stressful job, and acid reflux.
Just for fun.. Peapod is having occasional light amount of red spotting today. Just to drive us crazy and remind us that we are by no means in the clear. Per Dr. Google and the RE, this is occasionally normal and doesn't mean anything. If crampiness or pain gets worse and spotting gets heavier we are to call back.
I feel like I've won the lotto, against all odds my wife's HCG levels rose to 179 on Monday. We're still cautiously optimistic, but I've decided to not let all the negative things associated with IF plague my mind. For now I will just revel in the happiness of the moment.
For those keeping track, I've changed GS's name to Peapod since she has her own blog. Originally we were trying to keep our blogs seperate, although I'm sure some of the readers from both of our blogs have figured it out. So if you want the other viewpoint visit her at Adding Peas to Our Pod.
No Aunt Flo hasn't plagued Peapod and I yet. We're still waiting with a blood test tomorrow to see if HCG has risen. However, I had a sudden realization that I'm sure everyone else who has been in this situation before us has had. Infertility really steals the joy from a possible pregnancy.
If Peapod and I were a "normal" couple the moment we saw a faint line we would have celebrated. We would have told a few family members and friends and then started planning a trip to the OBGYN. The fear that this is all a giant psych out would probably not have entered out minds.
Instead of being joyful, we're now fearful and fretful. Every time my wife uses the bathroom, I feel terror in the pit of my stomach. Will this be the time? Will there be tiny red spots that means we've hit the end? When do I stop fretting? If the results are good can I then feel joy? Or do I start the next waiting period to 12 weeks when it's "safer" to feel hope?
Thanks to infertility issues, I am no longer ignorant of the perils of pregnancy, but I fear that it has stolen my joy in the possible pregnancy.
Sorry for the silence recently, too much family drama to take the time to sit down and write out what's been going on. Have at least 4 days worth of postings that I'll have to manage to squeeze into one. Family member is doing better and thanks for everyone's comments on how to cope.
However, since this blog is about infertility, back to the show.
Originally, I was planning on writing a snarky letter to women's favorite aunt. I was going to go into detail on that as much as it's great AF visits, she surely has a sense of humor. What a sense of humor too, wicked as all get out especially during IF treatments! Think about it, just as you get the one thing you really don't want to see you also get a fun rush of hormones and discomfort!
However, this was a weird cycle for Peapod. Instead of her normal menstrual flow she gets strange brown spotting. Sidenote... as a guy, I must admit hearing about her cycle still makes me feel uncomfortable, but I want to be supportive and helpful and so I just squirm a bit instead. The brown spotting proceeded slowly and heartbreakingly into red flow and put both of us into a pretty deep funk. I had a rotten time at work the next morning and just wanted to run away from all the stress and heartache and I know my wife did too.
We both mourned this IUI cycle quite a bit. We were, probably like most couples, overly optimistic on our first IUI treatment. After all she had pregnancy symptoms! She wants bacon, wow that's weird she hates bacon, maybe she's pregnant? She feels slightly nauseous, wow that's weird she's never nauseous, maybe she's pregnant? Her boobs grew larger, jackpot!, maybe she's pregnant? All that hope dashed by the arrival of an emergency run into Target for pads and other feminine hygiene products.
Peapod calls the fertility center, gets her meds refilled and we get ready to start the crazy pills again. Peapod in a fit of paranoia, stubbornness, or divine inspiration decides to take a non-digital pregnancy test just one more time. So the morning before she is about to start clomid, she pees on a stick as I make my lunch in the kitchen and get ready to go to work.
The results? The faintest shadow of a pink line. WTF!?!? What does that even mean! Why do women's bodies just really want to confuse the heck out of them? So in a fit of stubbornness Peapod goes in for a blood test on Thursday morning just to verify that we both aren't crazy.
Around 3:30pm I get a call from Peapod with the verdict. There is indeed an HCG level but it's very low; only a 13. I'm suddenly elated and of course confused (see there is a theme!) what does 13 mean? Why did she have her cycle and is that why it was so short? What is going on? However, the despair has lifted, after all something worked even if it doesn't stick. Why did she have a cycle and is still pregnant? (answer: major implantation bleeding from an embryo that either didn't stick or has had a tough time sticking)
Now begins another waiting game. Do the HCG levels keep rising? Am I in for comforting my wife's broken heart if her real cycle starts one morning? Are we pregnant? It feels like we're in limbo, half way between heaven and hell.
So I was hoping for something to distract me during the 2ww and boy was it delivered. One of my family members stepped up beautifully. Said family member has always been a bit erratic. So over the weekend I get a call that he's acting quite loony. He was talking about his apartment being electrified and it was magnetizing his brain. He became further and further erratic and eventually they managed to get him to an emergency mental health center.
Now I'm headed home and he's been diagnosed with a big case of Bipolar Disorder. He's still a bit funny in the head, talking about the fluoride in the water making his condition get worse. At least drugs can be used to treat the condition. However, this is a genetic disorder that runs in the family.
So it makes me wonder, with my particular infertility issues, with my families history of mental illness, and just general weird chromosomes, would donor semen be better? I know there is no guarantee, but would it be better to get at least half their chromosomes from someone taller, in better shape, with less craziness in their bloodline?
The weird things that infertility makes you think about.
The other day Peapod pointed out some of the acronyms on other blogs that I was unsure of. Things like DH (Dear Husband/Hubby), dIUI (doner IUI), tcc (Trying to Conceive), BFP (Big Fat Positive), BFN (Big Fat Negative), AF (Aunt Flo) and finally 2ww (2 week wait).
It seems to me all the big "moments" in the infertility cycle get an acronym. The one that puzzled me a bit is why 2ww was such a huge deal until we were in it. Now it's everything I think about when I'm not occupied.
To keep distracted we've taken on various gardening/house projects. Today I cleared out about 20 former border stones from a back corner that we're going to turn into a pair of raised garden beds. Peapod dug up some Hostas and Day Lilies and we moved them to the front of the house. I also finally broke out the lawn mower and took care of the lawn. Much to the relief of my neighbors I'm sure.
We'll be constructing the beds next weekend and plotting out the garden as well as mulching anything that moves.
Now, we had to do these projects anyway so they fall during a great time to distract us.
All of this in the vain attempt to avoid staring at her and constantly asking stupid questions like "Did your boobs grow?" or "Do you feel more tired then usual?". All the stupid questions that bring back the fact that we're in our 2ww again. What a sucky stage.
When I first started this blog I titled it Crazy Pills for Her, Vitamin C for Me because it seemed to me that women got the hormone treatments while males received pseudo placebos. However, today was our first IUI and wow was I wrong.
This morning started off like most mornings, except instead of going to work I kicked my wife out of the room and spent some time getting to know myself better. Now this may sound like a lot of fun, but it's not really. Aside from chafeing due to the "No Lube or you'll kill all your swimmers" you also have to time when exactly you get out the cup. Too early and you have to go back to work and catch back up, taking more time, too late.. well lets not think about that.
The deed was done, I handed the specimen jar to my wife to keep in a warm place and cleaned up. I met Peapod at a nearby bookstore after she dropped off my sample and we spent the next hour waiting and talking. We walked around the mall a bit and then headed to the fertility center.
Before we walked into the fertility center we stopped by the ART lab and picked up my washed sample. Now in my head I was wondering how few viable sperm I would have. After all, washing gets rid of the bad ones.. of which I have a lot. If I used the results from my last analysis I would go from 13 million total, to 4 million that are swimming in the right direction. I might improve from a 1/2 to a solid 2.
Wow was I ever surprised, I felt like I won the lottery. 35 million buggers per ml and 40% swimming. It's not quite superfertility land but that's almost normal. After washing I even had 17 million left with 88% motility and grade 3!
Now I'm sure there are many reasons for this. Hormonal cycles, change in exercise, change in seasons, etc.. Heck it may even be that it's because I haven't nuked my lawn in RoundUp in about 6 months. However, I'm pretty convinced the vitamin C hand something to do with it. It's the biggest change I've made recently and it seems to have worked.
Now of course I'm strutting around after I see this and am half in disbelief. What's funny is I can't contain myself and I saw at least one couple in the waiting room with us roll their eyes at my excitement. I'm guessing they're new to IF or they wouldn't be so hard on a poor fellah!
Anyway, Peapod had her first IUI. It was a bit weird, the doctor appeared to be peering up her lady bits like it was a telescope. Then weird words left his mouth like, "Oh I'll have to straighten your cervix, this will pinch" and then he squirted my washed and readied fertility champions.
I don't know if this will work but I hope so. However, since the results where so good this time, if next time is the same Peapod and I will go for 3 IUI procedures instead of the two we had considered. Now granted, we don't know the morphology.. for all I know there are 35 million that have tails on either side or heads shaped like question marks but the volume is at least close.
I still am a bit shocked though.. Vitamin C really works.
Tomorrow morning at 8:30 am sharp I and/or Peapod will arrive semi-nervously and plop a clear plastic container "filled" with my mostly defective seed. I always laugh when they give you this enormous container. Maybe if I was an elephant....
Tomorrow is our first IUI procedure. Per the fertility doctors.. they're going to run my boys through an obstacle course. Then only the best of the best will be loaded up in a tube and shot into my wife. Weird and completely uncomfortable.. yucky almost. Plus.. I've never been good at obstacle courses, what if my boys aren't and we don't get any?
Honestly, the thing that actually bothers me most about our situation is that it's "my fault". Oh I'm not really blaming myself, but every result for Peapod is perfect. She has great lining, she has wonderful follicles, etc.. etc... Peapod has the reproductive equivalent of a DaVinci painting. In the meantime my active sperm count is around 100,000 guys that are good to go. I'm much more of the Edsel of sperm production.
We reached the stage where the urologist, Dr. B, stated that it's genetic and there isn't really much that can be done. Essentially, I'm a Mutant, but not one that would make it into Professor X's academy.
There are solutions to our problem, and I do have some swimmers which gives us hope, but all the solutions involve torturing my wife with hormones, needles, and weird medical instruments. I mean, if I'm broken shouldn't I have to go through the discomfort? The weirdness of it all? At best.. I get some alone time and feel slightly awkward as I let the always female receptionist know I'm finished. So I take my multi-vitamin, wear boxers, and chew down on vitamin C.
I'm not the most religious person, but I pray that this procedure works. Not for me, but for Peapod. I really hope this IUI works, and if not this time the next time. I don't want her to go through the pain of IVF and the high chance of it not working.
Infertility is one of the crappiest mutant powers you can get.
It seems the way that all blogs start are a little about the author, and what the heck the blog is going to be about. I've often wondered, does the first post determine the longetivity, the audience, or the reach of the blog? Well I'm not sure it matters in the long run, but I need a small place to call my own. Where I can write down my thoughts and feelings and possible celebrate a few triumphs.
Ladies and Gentleman.. this blog is about infertility. Specifically male-factor infertility and from the male point of view. I'm Me, just turned 33 and mostly, but not entirely, infertile. She's Peapod, I won't tell you her age, and we've known each other for 5 years and every day has been wonderful.
My wife and I have been married 3+ years. Like most couples we wanted to spend a couple of years settling down and then get to work having kids. We received our MBA degrees, moved 600+ miles away from friends and family and started our life together. We bought a large house in the suburbs anticipating kids and then.... nothing.
16 months ago, we made the decision to stop birth control and expected to start planning baby showers, painting rooms in calming yellow, and assembling cribs. The months passed, close friends got pregnant and we kept trying. Every time she was tired for more then a day in a row we would become hopeful and... nothing. She cut out soda, coffee, and sushi and started taking pre-natal vitamins and... nothing.
6 months ago we finally gave in, we had tried for 10 months and Peapod had learned to pee on numerous strips, sticks, and plastic doo-dads. Peapod was getting close to "that age when fertility starts to decrease" and after several invasive procedures she was declared all clear. Then I did my first incredibly uncomfortable semen analysis (more on that in another post) and spent the next week being incredibly impatient.
Then that awful phone call. I could use metaphors like "it struck me like a lightning bolt" or "it swept me under like a tidal wave", but truthfully it was worse than that and cliches do not explain how awful that experience was. The results shook me to the core.. low total number of sperm, low motility, and worse yet.. 100% defects. I was that most pathetic character in the rom-coms.. the man who can't get his wife pregnant.
What makes this worse is that I really didn't expect this. I'll go into more details later, but I was positive I was fertile. Sure I'm short, I can get my haircut with Friar Tuck, and my six pack was closer to a party ball but I always knew that at least I was fertile... except now I wasn't.
As promised I'll post more later, but a few months later brings us to today. Today my hands trembled as I injected my wife with Ovidrel. I hate and fear needles with an almost phobia like intensity. I've learned to suck it up for the myriad necessities of modern medical medicine, but giving Peapod a shot? Ugh.. awful.
My hands shook, she jumped a tiny bit as the needle pierced the skin on the top of her thigh, and the deed was done. The part that bothers me the most about this is the lack of options to treat my condition and the crazy things Peapod has to go through. As the title says, Crazy Pills for Her, Vitamin C for Me.