BFN

There is a great debate in our household. Whether to test before aunt flow and know you’re not pregnant prior to it, or just wait and spare yourself the double devastation. I land on the ladder side of the debate. Why waste the time and money to pee on a stick if cramps and a period will tell me the same thing? I’m not pregnant.

Tomorrow we have our phone meeting with the IVF clinic. We’ve been here before so we know basically what to expect. It’s essentially a fluff meeting, explaining processes we already know about and filling us with perceived hope again.  This time we will be with the female doctor who was recommended to us by our primary. This gives me a little bit more peace of mind, but I am not really sure why.

The following Monday I have an appointment with my therapist. It has been nice to have someone to bounce all of this off from. Especially someone who is somewhat neutral, but is still “on my side.”

I have a small hope that because my day one is either going to be today or tomorrow, that we can get going with baseline labs and ultrasounds straight away this month already.

TTC in the times of a Pandemic

So… when March hit and the inevitable COVID-19 came with it we had to put our TTC journey on a halt. Our donor lives in one of the hot spots for the stinky little virus so we opted to take a break. Our clocks still ticking however I began to thing up solutions and reached out to one of my co-worker friends, let’s call him Paul.

I have always felt a strong connection to Paul. He has literally stood in front of me so I wouldn’t get assaulted at work. He has also tackled a patient who was attempting to throw a chair at me. But our connection goes beyond that. I overall think he is a fantastic person, and have (if I do say so myself) an unrealistic, fantastical “girl crush” on him. Not that I would pursue anything of the sort, I am a lesbian after all.  I just love his heart, who he is, and genuinely care about him as a person. All the feels. More feels, I suppose, when I reached out to him (despite the awkwardness of the situation) to see if he would be willing to be our donor and he responded positively.

We have been trying with him for the past 2 months. Both Megan and I. HUGE sample. I hope this is a safe place to say that. Almost didn’t all fit into the syringe. He’s young, and in great shape so there are no worries about health issues. Megan and I have been working hard on maintaining our healthy vessels both with diet and alcohol. We’ve been sober for the most part for the last 2 months of trying with him. No success yet, but I can’t help but daydream about the possibility of him being our baby donor.

We have also come to the realization that if this doesn’t work soon, we’re on our way to IVF. We have an appointment scheduled for next month at the IVF clinic to go over things again since it’s been over six months since our last visit there.

I have also started therapy. Mind you I’m only one session in, but I am a no-bullshit kind of person so I dove right into my concerns. My therapist said that I am “very articulate” and she has hope to help me resolve or come to peace with a plan for my concerns very quickly.

Just thought I would update. I hope to be more frequent here. It’s always the intention. Life just has its way of sneaking in.

Fingers crossed and baby dust if you please, looking at at insem on Saturday. I peak quickly so it’s tough to pin point at times.

BFF… and other sea men…

That misspelling in the title is intentional. I mean semen, but it seemed crass to use in a title.

  • BFF provided us with several more samples, but clearly none of them worked. I would have loved to have been successful with him, but it started to strain the friendship so we opted to give him a break. It addition to the strain, I am not entirely certain his samples were viable. As I mentioned before his lifestyle isn’t entirely conducive to producing active swimmers.
  • We purchased a special syringe to help those swimmers out. It’s supposed to mimic the natural flow of fluids into the correct spot and give them a sort of head start. It’s also a whole lot less messier than using a soft disc. We still weren’t having much success and it was becoming clear BFF was getting increasingly uncomfortable with the arrangement.
  • We found a match close to us on the known donor site. Well actually, he found us. I created our profile in a rage after we decided to step away from the clinic. The donor saw our profile and reached out to us. He was able to provide us with current documents on his motility, count and STD testing. He also has a bunch of successes and those folks have created a community for themselves. He introduced us to an app for better tracking and saving pictures of our test strips. It has really helped with accuracy and detecting the correct window.
  • We are hopeful and grateful for his flexibility. We have done mutual insems, insems in a hotel and drive by insems exchanging fluids in a gas station parking lot. All in all we have each tried with him 3 times.
  • We’ve also had the conversation that if this doesn’t happen within a year of trying (if our donor is up for that) We need to come to the realization that despite the doctors not being able to find anything wrong with us, that WE are the problem in this journey. We’ve started to discuss what we would do… pursue IVF (which has a small success rate itself) or foster care or adoption (even with all of the horror stories we have heard of and experienced due to our jobs.) More on that later.

Our experience with IVF-a bullet point saga

  • I left you at the start of our pursuit of IVF. We made an appointment. Got excited for the appointment and then a day before the appointment (literally one day) we get a call from the clinic. The physician we were scheduled with had some “unforeseen circumstances” which will put her out of the office for several months. Read: maternity leave. I knew almost on instinct because, isn’t that how things always go? But this instinct was confirmed when we attended our rescheduled consult a month later than our first cancelled one.
  • Consult goes well. The doctor says we are two healthy individuals whom he feels he can get the process of IVF started in “3 months.” We give blood that day for genetic testing, “just to be safe.” We leave with instructions to call on day 1. We get excited and schedule an appointment for a baseline ultrasound for Megan as soon as her day 1 shows up.
  • Much of the baseline appointment was identical to the ones we experienced during our IUI attempts. Save for a special type of technology that mapped the flow of blood through the uterus. Soon after, we schedule the baseline for Amanda, or myself so as not to speak in the third person unnecessarily.
  • I can’t quite recall why, but this day was rather hectic for me. I needed to cancel some engagements. I also needed to run from one errand to the other quickly. I think I also needed to use a sick day at work. I went in, got my blood drawn. It was at this time I learned of the cause for the challenge that is drawing my blood. I have thin rolling veins. A phlebotomist’s nightmare, but at least I now know why blood draws are awful for me. After the draw, I return to the waiting room to listen for my name to be called back for ultrasound. I am, by nature, a patient person, but it was some time before the receptionist meekly approached me. She said, with a smile on her face, something to the effect of “emergency surgery requiring the ultrasound team” and “needed to wait an hour, or reschedule your baseline ultrasound.” This is where the relevance of my hectic schedule comes in. I couldn’t wait, and didn’t really want to reschedule…hadn’t I waited long enough? Hadn’t we had a plethora of set backs already? Naturally, I was devastated. Cried in the parking lot.
  • We haven’t been back since. We received the results of our genetic testing in the mail. Although neither of us are genetic specialists, we can get the general idea from the report there is nothing concerning with out results. We read between the lines of the several set backs to the beginning of this IVF process and heard “you can do this on your own.” We agreed we would continue to try with BFF. That IVF stuff is for the birds, there is provably nothing wrong with us, we can do this on our own. Bye, Felicia.

Reboot

Its been a year and some days since I last wrote here.

I wonder if the image I’ve conjured of myself sitting in this precise spot with this same computer one year prior to today is an accurate one. What’s that saying about some things changing and somethings staying the same? Envision that sentiment.

I’m here again because I have feeeeeeeeeelings…hahaha and this is easier and cheaper (and honestly probably what I need more), than therapy. Though therapy is not shameful or off the table.

 

A sense of urgency

A week before Christmas, Megan’s dad had a heart attack. He is okay and back home but in the wake of that, we are both extremely motivated to make this baby thing happen ASAP.

BFF is still willing to donate. After his brother (who is also a good friend of ours) educated him that trying to have a baby takes some time and not to suggest things that aren’t helpful, he is still on board.  We aren’t going to be that passive though.

While we continue to try with BFF we are going to start the process of reciprocal IVF. Megan’s mom has offered in the past, and the offer is still on the table, to fund IVF for us.  This is something I have been resistant to for multiple reasons. It feels a whole lot like taking advantage of privilege. What happens to my body autonomy when I’m carrying bab(ies) my MIL paid for. What about parenting child(ren) she paid for? Will parenting be mine and Megan’s decision making independently or will my MIL feel entitled to inserting herself into that as well?

My MIL is great with boundaries. I have no reason to believe she will overstep her roll in any way. The way I was raised however, gifts, especially gifts of that caliber, always come with strings attached. It’s something I am going to need to get over I feel.

2018 showed me many times in varying ways that my in-laws are more my family than my own. This fact is difficult to digest as I have only known them for 5 years. I think the hardest component of accepting them as my primary family is knowing Megan will always be their number 1, as she should be, she is biologically theirs. I just don’t feel there is anyone in  my corner if you will. When it comes to family conflicts between Megan and I, parenting, family dynamics etc, I know they will choose her side, as they should. It still doesn’t take away from the fact my in laws have been more “family” to me than ever since I knew them.

Anyway, that’s where we are. Continuing to try with BFF while we prep for IVF. Megan’s buns my oven.

The wait is over

I peed on a stick this morning and it was negative. No signs of AF yet, but she’s due tomorrow.

We told BFF of the results and he said he wanted to “discuss some things.” Upon pressing from my wife he asked how many times we wanted to try and if we have “considered adoption b/c we could really change a kids life.”

It felt like a slap in the face. I know I am emotional (this is an emotional roller coaster) but seriously we’ve tried twice with him. As I have mentioned before he’s done nothing to change his lifestyle (drinking all the beer, smoking all the cigarettes, eating all the fried food) and, with his apparent frustration that this hasn’t worked yet, I assume he feels his seed is magic and should just work on the first or second try. Newsflash! Most people try at this for about a year!

I signed up for the known donor website in an emotional rage. Im navigating it slowly. Sad news is, there seems to be no donors near us here in MN.

In any case, we were going to skip the next cycle. I am meant to Ovulate on the 25th and, well with the holidays, that just wont work.

I’m feeling very defeated…

Day 1

Period started late last night. If I was a normal person who worked regular shifts I wouldn’t have noticed it until this morning. Today will be the first official full day, day 1.

On my period tracking app it’s adjusts my previous cycle to line up with adjustments as they occur. When I entered today as day 1 it adjusted my ovulation from last cycle forward into Nov a couple of days. Which probably means we inseminated too early last cycle.

Honestly the OPKs and me listening to my body were right. So more of that next cycle, less relying on an app.

We’re hoping to tell BFF a range of a week when we’ll call on him. Pee on plenty of sticks and listen to my body and inseminate when it feels right and looks right vs planning it all out.

Ultimately, I think we needed a good practice run to get the jitters out anyway.

Usually I reward myself, or offer myself condolences with, a libation or two when my period shows up. This time, I’m not going to. At least not overboard. I’ll have a glass of wine at thanksgiving dinner, but not much after that. My thought process with this is mostly. “I can’t control the amount of subtancing BFF does so I’ve got to control my own.” Also “I need to treat my body as if I am already pregnant. In all the ways I envisioned treating myself when I get that positive, I need to do that now.”

And besides these notions will help me move into the next phase of my life. I’ve been feeling it coming, but not stepping over into it. It’s time to step over now. For myself and my future maybe baby.

Results

My period was due yesterday so obviously I POAS, negative, but no period showed up. No signs of a period either. None today either… if still no sign by this weekend I’ll do another test. It’s just like my menses to mess with me like this…

Keep you posted.

Well that was awkward

So we insemed this past week.

I have been tracking my cycle on my fit bit app and it has been pretty accurate. I also POAS. Working with advise we have received here and with other research we have done we decided go time was when the faintest of faint second lines showed up. Giving the little swimmers a bit of a head start to get the egg when she actually makes an appearance.

He came over after rush hour. We tried to have normal conversation, but we were all so anxious knowing what we were actually there for, it was no use to attempt to make this “normal” hanging out.

I explained the process, went into my nurse educator roll and shoved those awkward feelings aside.. We used pre-seed lube, both for him and for me. We also used a soft cup both as a receptacle and as an insemination device. With what I have read, this combo is the ticket. Less transfer of the spoof and therefore more safety for the lil guys.

While BFF was upstairs, I was laid out in our bedroom attempting to get in the mood. Megan got the spoof from BFF and said her giggled goodbyes. Then transferred the spoof over to me.

I don’t have a lot of experience with the stuff… there was a lot more and it was a lot less viscous than I thought… but Megan said, from what she has experienced, it seemed pretty normal to her.

I opted to hover over the edge of the bed in a sort of squatting position to get the soft cup in. From videos I have seen on the soft cup itself, this is the surest way to get it over my cervix and in the proper position. As I was inserting it, when the last little bit went in, some of the spoof splashed over and onto my hand… GROSS! Next time, if there is a next time, we must have a towel ready for that. After my initial grossed-out-ness passed, I worried that it ALL splashed over. Still, once the cup was in place, I managed a quick O and then hoisted my hips into the air for about 15 min, then re-adjusted (nothing spilled out during the move BTW)to upstairs and was hips in the air for about another 20 min, before I couldn’t stand it anymore. I kept the cup in for 12 hrs. When I took it out there was nothing in it. Part of me is worried it did all splash out, and another part of me is hopeful that at least some of it manage to find its way to the right place.

I continue to POAS as I was worried we did it too soon. My line keeps getting darker, so that is promising. We were only able to do it that one time, I had hoped for at least one more, but with our schedules and the awkwardness, Megan and I were happy with just one for this cycle.

And now we wait.

 

More love, more life, more everything!