I'm not sure if this due date is exactly right, because my IUI was only on the 12th; I'll find out for sure next week when I see Dr. Lu and will update it accordingly then. For now, I'm just thrilled and hoping for a happy, healthy pregnancy!

Thanks to Triple_Phoenix for the cool LJ icon. I just noticed how perfectly the blue lettering matches my LJ background!
enduringplum: (Come Hither Gaze)
( Jan. 24th, 2008 12:23 pm)
I took another urine test this morning and today the line appeared darker and more quickly than it did yesterday, which is a positive sign; it could mean that the pregnancy hormone in my body had increased from yesterday (or it could just mean that my urine was more concentrated than it was yesterday). There's always the chance that the positive result has been caused by "trigger" shot hormones lingering in my system, but any of that should have diminished to almost nothing by now.

In any case, I scheduled my blood work for tomorrow at eleven, so that I won't have to go through the entire weekend wondering. Hopefully I'll get the news I want.

enduringplum: (Blush)
( Jan. 23rd, 2008 11:29 am)
Sensitive )

My OHSS is under control now. Dr. Lu gave me an anti-nausea medication to stop the constant vomiting and yesterday checked my lungs for fluid because I was having severe shortness of breath; there was no fluid in my lungs, but there is a lot collected around them, which is why breathing has been difficult. I've started losing some of the water weight I gained (about nine pounds), so overall I feel much better, although I still can't fit in to my pants. My ovaries are still very enlarged, but the left one has begun to get a little bit smaller, so that's another positive sign that they're recovering from being hyperstimulated, and they are no longer causing me pain or difficulty urinating. :)
enduringplum: (Default)


( Jan. 16th, 2008 06:55 pm)
I've only really been dealing with OHSS since Sunday and I'm already so ready for this to be over! The bloating is freaking me out a little bit, but not as much as the weakness I feel after not drinking Gatorade every few minutes. Also, I have not been able to make a bowel movement since Sunday.

I called my doctor's office yesterday and felt comforted by what the nurse practitioner told me. She told me to weigh myself and call back if I gain any more weight, and to take chlortrimeton to help relieve some of the bloating, in addition to continuing to drink at least a liter of Gatorade a day.

The good news is that my weight did not increase from yesterday, but I'm still going to call them back tomorrow, I think, because I'm really just not feeling right and I think it's dehydration.
My IUI went pretty much as expected, although I could definitely feel the catheter as it was inserted through my cervix and it was not exactly pleasant; still, it was a quick procedure and the pain was only a little more intense than getting one's naval pierced. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be that lucky couple who conceive from their first IUI!

Dr. Lu didn't perform the procedure himself, so I had to sit through another doctor trying to talk me out of it due to the risk of multiples and OHSS, but Carl and I told her that we understand and accept the risks and that we are open to selective reduction if I conceive high order multiples. I really think she and the other doctor who tried to convince me to cancel the cycle are being alarmist, because there's still an eighty per cent chance that I won't get pregnant at all from this IUI and I'd rather risk high order multiples than cancel the cycles.

I didn't really believe I would develop OHSS (it was one of those stupid, "Oh, that won't happen to me things"), but, sure enough, I developed distinct OHSS symptoms the next day. It's not a serious case and I'm staying hydrated as Dr. Lu's nurse advised. The bloating, painful ovaries, and difficult urination have been annoying, but it's really not a big deal, especially not after I read up on severe cases! I'm fortunate it's mild, because I have almost all the risk factors for developing OHSS. Until the bloating goes down and my ovaries stop hurting (and they're already much less painful), I'm just going to take it easy, only do light activities, and work ahead on my class work since I can't do too much else. Walking around isn't painful, but because of my somewhat bloated stomach, it is slightly awkward and uncomfortable, so I'm moving slowly.

In a way, the fact that I developed OHSS is slightly reassuring, because women who conceive are more likely to develop it than those who do not. At the same time, it still means nothing until I pee on that stick in two weeks; I can hardly wait for that!

My chart is fairly useless this month, because my temperatures are all over the place from being sick for four or five days; I either didn't get much sleep due to the runny nose and congestion, or I had a fever, so I couldn't get any accurate temperatures for those days.

Oh, Dr. Lu did prescribe a progesterone supplement, but it's in pill form! I'm happy I don't have to deal with suppositories.
I had more blood work and another ultrasound this morning. My ovaries are hugely enlarged and pressing against my uterus, which is pressing against my bladder, so that explains why I've been going to the bathroom so frequently, but my small follicles have not continued to develop and my estrogen levels have fallen, so Dr. Lu is ready to go ahead with our IUI!

Earlier today I took another (95 dollar) shot of Ganirelex and tomorrow morning between seven and nine I will take the HCG trigger shot! Then all we have to do is wait until Saturday morning, when Carl will provide a "sample" that we'll bring to the lab to be prepared, and finally we'll go in to the office so I can actually undergo intra-uterine insemination.

Because we waited for so many days for my estrogen levels to begin dropping, some of my follicles are now a little past mature, with the largest being 22 millimeters. I felt a little sad that it probably can't be fertilized, but it is just a single cell, so I haven't been dwelling on it.
enduringplum: (Come Hither Gaze)
( Jan. 8th, 2008 03:41 pm)
I had more blood work and another transvaginal ultrasound this morning, which has gotten to be pretty routine. As I left, the ultrasound tech jokingly said, "Well, I'll see you tomorrow!" but she actually will see me tomorrow, because Dr. Lu ordered more blood work and yet another ultrasound. He still plans for me to undergo IUI this week, but would like to see lower estrogen levels before I take my "trigger" shot.

Dr. Lu has no intention of canceling my cycle and expects to do the IUI on Thursday or Friday. He agrees that it would be a waste of time to cancel the cycle, because the odds of me becoming pregnant are no greater than the odds a "normal" woman has of conceiving naturally, which is about twenty per cent. If I do conceive, it is still more likely that I'll conceive one baby, rather than two, or even higher order multiples. Another point Dr. Lu noted is that many women who produce a large number of follicles produce poorer quality follicles that may or may not survive fertilization and implantation.

I'm glad Dr. Lu is willing to play the odds and go through with this cycle. I feel he has a good understanding of the emotional strain infertile women are under during the process of trying-to-conceive, because he expressed his feeling that any of his patients would prefer to be the mother of multiples rather than cancel and lose an entire cycle.
enduringplum: (Geisha)
( Jan. 7th, 2008 07:16 pm)
I went in for more blood work and another transvaginal ultrasound, which was hardly painful at all thanks to the prescription muscle relaxer I took about an hour before my appointment; of course, when I got home I wound up sleeping the rest of the day and I still feel sleepy, because I'm very sensitive to muscle relaxers and prescription pain killers.

My blood work was basically fine, aside from a high level of a "stress" hormone. The doctor who saw me today asked me if I was under any stress and I had to laugh like hell; I replied "Not anymore than anyone else in New Orleans!" Honestly - what a stupid question! If he had suggested I try to reduce my stress level I think I might have walked out of the examination room, pants or no pants.

By the time he asked me that, I was already annoyed beyond belief with this doctor and right now I'm feeling very thankful that I'm seeing Dr. Lu instead of him! You see, I have a huge number of follicles on both my right and left ovaries, but only three on each are mature or close to being mature, yet he insisted that I cancel this cycle! At one point he said, "I'm glad you're being so understanding about this," and I replied, "Well, I don't know if I'm going to be understanding about this or not," but he completely ignored that and brushed aside anything else I had to say. I understand that I run the risk of conceiving multiples, and I understand that I could experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), but I am absolutely not willing to cancel this cycle and waste all the time, money, and emotion I've invested in it so far!

Dr. Lu's nurse took me aside when he was going over the post-coital test with me to supposedly talk to me about OHSS, but once we sat down in a private conference room she laughed and said, "Well, Dr. Lu isn't going to cancel your cycle." I asked her and apparently this older doctor is always very conservative; in fact, he suggested that I was one of those women who will be fertile in to her forties, so I have plenty of time to try to get my ovaries to ovulate on their own with just metformin and clomid! I was bewildered and appalled by the suggestion! I explained that none of the women on either side of my family have ever had children beyond their mid thirties, but my family history was not going to change his mind about canceling my cycle and switching back to clomid and metformin, on which I have already failed to ovulate.

He also tried to convince me to move on to in-vitro fertilization and was shocked when I explained that it was too expensive. He wanted to know why I didn't have insurance that would cover it, so I explained that my health care is provided through the New Orleans' Musicians Clinic and that I am otherwise uninsurable. Because he was so quick to advocate in-vitro, I have a feeling that he was more interested in getting more money from us than in giving us a healthy pregnancy, or else that he just does not understand PCOS and insulin resistance as well as he should.

Fortunately, Dr. Lu reviewed my chart as well as the other doctor's notes and has not chosen to cancel my cycle, despite the large number of follicles on either ovary. He had me take a shot of Ganirelex (to prevent ovulation) tonight and wants me to go in for more tests tomorrow morning, because he'd like to see my estrogen levels rise fall before attempting IUI (intra-uterine insemination).

We would have just attempted to time sex correctly, but my cervical mucus is apparently hostile to sperm (somehow I'm not really surprised), so IUI just makes better sense for us.

I should undergo IUI sometime this week!
enduringplum: (Sperm)
( Jan. 4th, 2008 07:51 pm)
Things are progressing slowly, but positively and I'm getting a little more excited and (cautiously) optimistic with each visit to The Special Man's office. The transvaginal ultrasound this afternoon was fairly painful, although the technician was obviously being as gentle as possible and was very personable; the usual technician was off today and I liked this one better. The ultrasound showed that my endometrium has thickened to 7.5 mm from about 3.0 mm and that my largest follicle now measures just over 11 mm.

My protocol is going to remain unchanged (200 IU of Follistim between four and six o'clock in the evening) until Sunday, when I will add an injection of Ganirelix to the mix, which will also be injected in to my belly. The Ganirelix will prevent me from ovulating early and ruining this cycle.

On Monday morning I'm going in for a post-coital test (so the nurse advised me that I should have "relations," yes, she actually said "relations") the night before, which shouldn't be a problem. I'm sure I'll also get more blood work and probably also another transvaginal ultrasound, to which I am not looking forward; if the amount of pain it causes is proportional to the size of my growing follicles, then it will probably be even more painful than today's, so I may take a muscle relaxer before my visit and ask my mom to drive me in.

The post-coital test is necessary to see if my cervical mucus creates a hostile environment for Carl's sperm. If it is, then we will use IUI (intra-uterine insemination). If it's not, then we'll just use timed sex.

Like every woman who has ever plodded through her battle with infertility, I'm deeply hoping that this will be the cycle.

Keep sending us positive thoughts, good vibrations, all that!
enduringplum: (Sperm)
( Jan. 2nd, 2008 06:41 pm)
My visit to The Special Man's office went pretty well, although things have not advanced quite to his satisfaction. They took my blood, then went I went in for the transvaginal ultrasound, which is really the most important step right now because these ultrasounds are monitoring how my follicles (the structures that contain the eggs) are developing; it turns out that I have four or five follicles on each ovary, but none of them are close enough to being mature to advance, so I'm going to be taking an increased dosage of Follistim (200 IU instead of 150 IU) today and tomorrow, and then I'll go back for more blood work and another ultrasound on Friday.

Hopefully I'll be feeling better by my appointment Friday afternoon. Like my dad and so many others right now, I'm sick with a cold or flu. I was feeling pretty good this morning, but as the day wore on I began to feel worse and worse. Now my sore throat is back, my congestion hasn't let up, and I'm having muscle aches and chills. The neti pot my mom bought helped relieve my congestion a lot and I didn't really expect it to work at all, but that thing is wonderful! I'm going to use it again in a little while, because it does a better job than any of the decongestants I've been taking. If nothing else, I think I do feel better than my dad, who has been staggering around the house in his tighty whities in a NyQuil stupor when he's dragged himself out of his bed for whatever reason; he's got a lot of congestion in his chest and is obviously feeling downright dreadful.

Surprisingly, it's supposed to freeze tonight! We brought all the cats in, even Sterling -- and he is not pleased with us at all.
We had our Road Home Program closing today and the money should be transferred in to our bank account in three weeks or less. I won't feel safe until we've bought a house with it, but progress is always encouraging.

My Follistim should arrive tomorrow and I take my first injection on the thirtieth, followed by additional injections on the following two days, then I go in for an ultrasound and blood work.

I tried learning crochet last night and I was pleased to see that the basics are very easy, although I'm not quite sure I was joining the links correctly after I moved on from creating the basic crochet chain.
enduringplum: (Come Hither Gaze)
( Dec. 4th, 2007 11:00 pm)
Well, it's no wonder I was having so much pain in the region of my right ovary, because I have a cyst there that dwarfs the poor, little ovary to which it is attached. I did expect them to find cysts/follicles and I thought I might have a rather large one on my right ovary because of the pain it's been causing me lately, but I did not expect anything quite that disturbingly large.

Because of the cyst we have to wait to go ahead with injectable drugs, so this month I'm taking my temperature as normal, continuing taking my metformin, and taking a birth control pill in an attempt to diminish the cyst and just generally calm my ovaries down.

I go back for another ultrasound in eighteen days or so. If I come up without any large cysts and my bloodwork is okay, we can probably move on to injectables.
enduringplum: (Cinderella)
( Nov. 12th, 2007 02:52 am)
I'm in a lot less pain this week, so my mood has improved a lot and I can finally address the class work that built up when I was feeling so bad. I tried to contact my student advisor last week in regard to taking an "Incomplete" for this course so I can finish it later and still get a decent grade, but I had to leave a message for her and never did hear back (what great student services you offer, Art Institute of Pittsburgh!). I'm going to call again tomorrow until I am able to speak with a human being; I wasn't feeling well enough to deal with that before. My next class is going to begin soon, so I need to make arrangements to make sure this one gets wrapped up well and will not interfere with my next class too much.

I should have done some knitting while I was feeling so bad, because it woud have been cathartic, but I wasn't able to bring myself to do anything remotely satisfying, which isn't exactly healthy. Therapists in the past have advocated "activity therapy" for me in the past, but when I'm hurting and depressed, it's often difficult to recognize the value of engaging in soothing, fulfilling activities. If I hadn't been in classes, I think I would have been more willing to go through the trouble of making myself knit, journal, whatever, but because I was supposed to be doing school work, I felt too guilty about not being able to complete it to engage in something mindless and soothing, like knitting garter stitch. Now, of course, that way of thinking doesn't make very much sense to me, but I'm feeling better now and thinking clearly.

I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but I got my Ravelry invitation! I'm JackieSixty on Ravelry and have an ever-growing queue that I'm not going to begin on until I get around to finishing Doug's Dr. Who Scarf. I think my very next project will not be the scarf I planned on making, but a dish rag or two, just because they are small and quick.

I still haven't gotten my period yet, so I'm going to take the Prometrium tomorrow after a pregnancy test. I don't think I'm pregnant, but my doctor recommended taking one before beginning the Prometrium if there is any chance whatsoever, and I suppose there is an extremely small one; some women who are generally anovulatory do spontaneously conceive (I just don't feel that I have). After taking the Prometrium I should begin my period in about a week and once that happens I'll begin the injectable drugs I wrote about before.
enduringplum: (Come Hither Gaze)
( Nov. 7th, 2007 01:30 pm)
I'm struggling with a particularly bad and sudden bout of depression right now. Looking back, I think I saw it sneaking up on me, but I never realize it until it hits me hard. This is the only time I start wishing for the magical pills the psychologist can prescribe, but the long term side effects are never worth it to remain "med compliant." I've been diagnosed with major depression and bi-polar disorder, so it's clear to me that none of my doctors have really understood why I go through this; I think it's more closely related to my out of whack hormones than anything else, because I first began suffering with depression during puberty, whereas other manic-depressives I've known have been severely afflicted with their mental illness since they were young children - Maybe I should take my left over Clomid as a mood enhancer.

Other than feeling depressed, I'm trying to keep up with my class work, but I'm falling behind, I'm continuing to learn new songs so I can keep subbing with the Pfister Sisters, but I'm also apathetic about that, I'm urging Carl to keep working on getting us pre-approved for that home loan because I don't think I can work on it myself right now, I'm pursuing outside financing to help with our infertility treatment costs, and I'm just waiting on my period so that I can begin those treatments. I have a long cycle, but it's later than usual, so I may have to take the Prometrium my ObGyn prescribed to induce it; I'm going to wait until next week to see if it will come on its own, because I dislike taking drugs unnecessarily.
My preliminary visit with The Special Man, Dr. Peter Lu, went well. He's personable, vibrant, very communicative, and very optimistic that I will conceive within one or two cycles on injectable drugs; if I do not conceive within one or two cycles, then we will investigate the possibility that my fallopian tubes may be blocked, but he does not believe this to be the case, or Dr. Bone would probably have noted that when she did my laparoscopy several years ago.

He made a point to mention that, because of my age, I should expect a multiple pregnancy when I do conceive. I think I can handle twins if that's how things work out, but I can't even imagine how overwhelming and impossible triplets would be, nor would I want the extra worries of a multiples pregnancy. However, if I do conceive multiples, I certainly won't complain or intervene unless the number is just ridiculous; I will not be one of those crazy women who has six children at once! Dr. Lu is going to be giving me regular ultra-sounds to ascertain that I am not releasing too many eggs at once, because, as he said, "we're not trying to break any records here."

The treatments will be expensive, but I suppose that's just something we have to deal with as we progress, and the office is giving me a substantial discount that they do not offer to their insured patients; that's reassuring to me, because it means that they must get quite a few uninsured patients.

In the mean time I'm going to look in to a discount program that may alleviate some of our expenses and I'm going to try to find out whether Wal Mart has begun offering fertility medications for two dollars yet, which was something they claimed they were going to begin; I hate Wal Mart, but I have to try to save money somewhere!
I've made my appointment with The Special Man. I'll be seeing him at ten-thirty in the morning on October thirtieth, which I feel is an auspicious date and time; I feel there's something very special about seeing him on that day, when the veils between worlds are at their thinnest, the day before Samhain, which is a very transformative day.

The cost of the initial appointment is a bit painful, at two hundred dollars, but as Leela would say, "You gotta do what you gotta do." It most bothers me that I have no idea what the following treatments will cost or if every visit will cost us a cool two hundred dollars; I don't think that will be the case, but I suppose it's possible.

My mom did raise the point that I am technically homeless, so I should bring that up to see if they're able to offer me any discounts. At the same time, because this is a fertility specialist, I don't know if I want to bring up our tenuous living arrangements because then he may not feel I'm ready to begin treatment with him, which is far from the truth; people just so often misunderstand.

On a different note, we've found a house on which we plan to make an offer. It needs a ton of work, but it's on a great block in a good neighborhood that had minimal flooding and no flooding in any of the homes. This week we're trying to get the estimates for the work we'll need done on the house and pursuing state bond money, for which we are eligible.
And when I do see the special man, Fate needs to just say, "Let 'em have it!" and BOOM! There would be conception!

The results of my last progesterone blood test are back and there has still been no ovulation on behalf of my lazy, lumpy ovaries; after receiving that news (which I expected) I have been feeling more than a little defective, so I ate more cookies-N-cream ice cream than I should have. Now that I'm sufficiently bloated, I can consider the next step: a specialist.

I have hope that injectable drugs will work and that they won't be too much for our budget, so tomorrow morning I'm going to make an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist. In the meantime, I will continue applying to various insurance policies in the hope that they will approve me despite my various reproductive dysfunctions. We have neither the money nor the desire to undergo extreme procedures like in-vitro fertilization, so we have to hope that my holistic approach and the injectable drugs of Western medicine will work for us.

I have to admit that I am disappointed (with so many things), because I have pictured myself as a mother (albeit a single mother - men have never factored prominently in to any of the equations of my life, they're only supporting cast members, I'm afraid) since I was twelve or thirteen. At the same time, I know I'm not one of those women who will be utterly devastated if I can't have biological children, although I will be deeply sad if that is a part of life which I can't experience first hand, and I know that I would love any adopted child as much as a biological child; I'm not so vain that only "my own" child will do - any child I bring in to my life will be my own.

It would just be nice if it would be easy, but I've never been known to do anything the easy way.
It seems odd, but I think that taking Clomid has improved my overall mood. I have often struggled with depression in the past and last month was no exception, but this month I am again chipper and pleasantly motivated. I feel that way naturally sporadically, as is the case with most people, but I always feel cheerful and energized when I get close to my period, so I think my elevated mood is strongly connected to the Clomid and the associated hormones. At the same time, I'm also more emotional; usually only touching stories about the loyalty of dogs will make me tear up, but I've found myself tearing up from just thinking of something especially sweet or if a particularly sad song comes up on my playlist.
enduringplum: (Geisha)
( Oct. 6th, 2007 06:04 pm)
Because rose quartz are one of the semi-precious stones said to enhance fertility, I went by The Bead Shop on Magazine Street to buy some stones and beads to make myself some rose quartz jewelry. This afternoon I made myself a pair of fun, funky, sparkly chandelier earrings with faceted rose quartz, tiny round rose quartz beads, and Swarovski crystals in silver and black.

It's difficult to see the facets in the stones because of the picture quality, or to make out the spangly-ness of the silver beads, but they look great in person.

I have a lot of leftover beads, because I bought them by the strand rather than by the bead, so I imagine I will be making some rose quartz gifts for Yule. Unfortunately, not many of my friends are fans of the color pink. I could always make some additional pieces for myself, which I probably will, but giving can be so much fun! Especially hand made gifts.

I'm very interested to try combining beading with knitting, but I'm not really to the point where I could add beads to a very interesting knit pattern. For a beginning project I'm thinking of something like a slinky, black scarf with shiny black and silver beads included sporadically in the knitting; I think it would be very pretty and "witchy."

Herbs and Aromatherapy for Fertility )

Now I should probably get to my homework assignment...
enduringplum: (Cinderella)
( Oct. 1st, 2007 05:54 pm)
Yesterday I began my third cycle of Clomid, which I am taking on Cycle Days 3 through 7 at 150mg a day. I was supposed to have done my third cycle last month, but the pharmacy filled a lower dosage and then failed to fill the correct dosage before I left town for Dragon*Con. It's just as well, really, because I've had a lot of interstitial cystitis pain all this month, so having sex every other day would have been difficult and stressful for me; I'm hesitant to take the muscle relaxers Dr. McSherry prescribed because they are extremely relaxing, so much so that I feel wobbly, dizzy, and weak. It was also just nice to have a break from taking my BBT each morning, peeing in a little cup every afternoon, and all the general pressure of trying-to-conceive.

We're trying again this month, without any idea what the future will bring, but I still feel comfortable with the decision to try to conceive now, rather than later, for a multitude of reasons that I won't re-examine right now.

On a different note, I really want to make cinnamon rolls! I found a couple recipes on All Recipes that I think I can modify to be less sugary and with fewer carbohydrates, but still delicious. I think I'll try the home economics teacher's recipe first.


I'm taking a perspective class this semester and I need to buy myself a graphics tablet for it, but I have no idea what brand I should purchase or what size, so I have a lot of research to do before I can start doing my class work. I'm going to order my text book tonight, so I can at least start my assigned reading as soon as possible. The more "real" assignments won't be due until the second week of classes, to allow the students time to collect all of their materials.


enduringplum: (Default)
Enduring Plum


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