Good News and Rockin' CM

I have some good news!

I responded well to the 225 dose of Menopur and have five mature follicles!  Well, one of them is on the small side at 15mm, but the rest are 17-21mm.  I self-administered the trigger shot right there around 10:30am in the doctor's office.  S and I will be back there bright and early tomorrow morning - he will do his part at 8:15 and I'll close with the IUI at 10:15.  Maybe we'll have breakfast in SF in between appointments.

This cycle has been different than my other injectable cycles in so many ways:  first, I actually had to have two monitoring appointments before triggering, whereas I've only gotten to one in the past before my follicles ballooned up.  Second, I had follicles growing and keeping pace on both ovaries, when previously I had the synchronization problem and ended up triggering with only a couple of them mature.  Third, I'm doing the IUI on day 11... I'll have to go back and look, but I think that's at least a day or two later than previously.   Soooo, fingers crossed.

The other odd thing I wanted to share - which really may be TMI, and I will not be offended if you tune out now - is that, for the first time ever, I had the experience of egg-white CM literally "falling out" of me!  I had read about this in books but never experienced it.  On Tuesday night, as I was getting dressed after showering, I felt something, reached down, and caught it.  Yep, the stringy, egg-white stuff.  Crazy!  I was told it's presence is simply due to increased estrogen from multiple follicles, but, despite this scientific explanation, it still seems like a good sign.  S and I BD'd that night and Thursday night for good measure, so I guess it went to a small bit of use.  Does anyone know if CM matters at all with IUIs?  I'm thinking no... maybe just that my estrogen level is good?

Anyway, hope you all have a good weekend.  It's getting hot here; at least hot for Nor-Cal.

p.s. Congratulations to Jenny at Sprout!!!  Her and J's little guy, Seamus, has finally arrived!  Please send good thoughts that his jaundice resolves very soon.


Roller Coaster Weekend and TTC Report

S and I had a jam-packed weekend with some ups... and some downs.

I'll get the downs over with:  Sunday afternoon was pretty much all down.  It had a the potential to be fun, but in reality, not so much.  We took BART down to the Giant's game and had a small fight on the way.  We were both stressed (he about his e-book, which is being impacted by Obama's climate change announcement, and me I don't know, maybe about the crappy weather? I was just in a mood.).  It was one of those dumb little fights about something someone says that hurts the other one's feelings or "triggers" them in some way. 

We got past that, exited BART, and actually had a fun little adventure riding in a behind-a-bike cart to the stadium.  Once we sat down, things were fine for a while - drinking beer, eating hot dogs, etc. - until I said a snipey comment that got S upset again.  Basically, I was a little irritable to begin with, as mentioned, and S was in his "jovial" social mode - which is great, but yesterday was just making me more irritable, I'm embarrassed to admit. 

So,  when S mentioned in conversation with his brother that I had been in the marching band in high school, I said something like, "That's a random comment!"  S was just trying to be nice and give me kudos, but my snipey self popped out.  I immediately apologized quietly to him and tried to smooth it over, but he was bothered and then brought it up again about 45 minutes later.  I thought at that point we had moved past it, so I was upset to learn he'd been stewing on it for so long.  Then, because people returned to their seats, we sat there in tension for a while before finally having an opportunity to talk about it again.  It just sucked to be in an already somewhat tense situation hanging out with family members I don't know well, and then to have S mad at me.  I ended up losing it and crying when we were almost home.

We did have a good conversation about it, which is something I really value about S and I (our ability to talk things through and try to grow), but I was worn out by that point.  Unfortunately, we had to pull ourselves together and head off to an evening commitment with a group - some friends and some new acquaintances - who are talking about forming an intentional community together.  I was leading exercises and basically co-facilitating, so I needed to be there.  I freshened myself up a bit, grabbed some apricots off the tree for the potluck, and we headed out.  It ended up being a good meeting so I'm glad we went.  S and I ended the evening with some pre-O, make-up baby dancing, so the day was not a complete flop. ;-)

The ups mostly happened on Saturday:  We first drove down to Santa Cruz for this event called "Woodies on the Wharf," which is a festival of old wood-paneled cars and surfboards.  S's dad is actually a famous old-school surfboard maker so he was carving a board and talking to fans. 

We took Zoey, which was CRAZY with that many people.  At first, I was super stressed out and regretting it, but it seemed like she mellowed a lot as we went along.  Our stop to eat and relax, while she was tethered to our table, helped out a lot.  She greedily gulped down water - it was a hot day - and even got to meet another Boston named "Bernie."  It was so cute to see them interacting, as he was older and liked meeting her but would growl a bit to put her puppy shenanigans in their place.  I have to admit, it's a relief to hear that Boston's tend to settle down a bit every six months or so.  I love Zoey, but she can afford some settling! 

Anyway, we had a good time at the wharf, then had a beautiful drive up the coast to an activist friend's party in SF.  The peeps there were generally younger, but nice, and we had a couple of drinks and snacks chatting and hanging out in the lovely little backyard.  One of the guys was a skateboarder and was super impressed when he heard about S's Dad (their company made skateboards, too); I think that was a nice moment for S to answer questions and talk with him.

We headed home finally in time for me to give myself my second Menopur injection.  S has helped me along, and tonight I think I'm ready to sail through it on my own.  I'm using Q caps this time, which help so much!  But adds a little bit in terms of needle switching.  I have my next monitoring appointment on Wednesday, so fingers crossed that I have three or more lead follicles! 

I guess it's clear by now that I had no cyst at the appointment on Friday.  Unfortunately, not a lot of apparent antral follicles, either - maybe six - but I'm still hopeful.  I apologized to the doc for being crabby on the phone about hearing the downer speech again, and he apologized, too, saying that sometimes he forgets who he's talked to about different subjects.  Kinda funny. 

He reiterated that there was a very low chance I could have gotten pregnant naturally, due to my curly-q cervix.  He added that maybe one percent of S's swimmers might have gotten through.  It's kind of sad to think back to all those months of trying naturally and how low the odds of success were.  The thing is, I know a pregnancy started a couple of times, based on really clear symptoms/cycle differences, so I guess those were exceptional months of trying!

I'll let you know how the Wednesday appointment goes...


And another cycle begins...

Wah wah wah.  Turns out, at least in this instance, no signs are not good signs.  My luteal phase was the perfect and average length at 14 days.  Hormonally, my mood rapidly improved, so that helped cushion the blow.  Thanks for your supportive words.

I have my first monitoring appointment of this cycle tomorrow afternoon at 2pm.  I had a disheartening phone conversation with the doctor today, in which he again felt compelled to tell me about the ultra-low success statistics.  Yes, doctor, if I didn't get it the few times I heard it previously, the message is now indelibly imprinted in my brain by your heavy-handed third sharing of it. 

S, on the other hand, is being very supportive.  We're planning all the logistics of the medications, as well as re-committing to a more disciplined fertility-friendly diet.  No fried foods or simple carbs, and more greens!  We're going to plan our next day's eating the night before.  He's doing it to support me and because he wants to lose a little weight. 

I was curious if any of you ttcers out there felt like changing your diet contributed to fertility, or whether you tried to address food allergies?  I know I'm mildly allergic to dairy, and I especially feel it when I eat sour cream, ice cream, lots of cheese, etc.  I had actually been eating more of these foods since I'd heard that full-fat dairy helped fertility, but I'm questioning the benefits for me at this point, if it's making me phlegm-y.  S and I might even see a nutritionist/dietician friend of mine together.

Regarding the protocol:  Assuming I have no cyst, I'll do three ampules of Menopur, up from two the last cycle I did.  I keep hearing of various more complicated sounding protocols, but he seems to just think this simple approach is dandy.  In my first medicated cycle, I used Lupron, and the second I started with Femara, then did Menopur.  So, I guess just using Menopur at the higher dose is a somewhat new approach.  I'll take any positive thoughts you can send.


11 dpo: All Quiet on the Uterine Front

This is the hardest part of a two-week wait, at least for me.  You are trying to sense any pregnancy signs, even when you tell yourself ten times not too, that it's a futile endeavor.  You know that if something's going to happen, it has likely started, but there's no way to know until a few more days pass (unless your taking an HPT, which I'm not).

I wish I had more encouraging news to report.  I've felt nothing of consequence in the uterine region.  The only clear signs I've felt so far are all common complaints of progesterone supplementation:
  • Breast soreness
  • Headaches
  • Irritable/emotional moods
I didn't feel the breast soreness until 9dpo, which is around when I started getting sinus-type headaches, too.  For those of you who were on progesterone, was this a common timeline for you?  No headache today but pretty bad on Friday and Saturday.

If my cycle doesn't start by Wednesday, I've been instructed to go in for a blood test.  If this cycle is a no go, then we'll see if I'm cyst-free for the next cycle.  If so, then S and I will go forward with injectable medication plus IUI.


On the other side...

Writing this post from the other side.  Another IUI on the books.  Outcome yet unknown.

Everything went as well as it could have, I would say.  I went for the ultrasound Monday, still not having seen my LH surge.  The doctor saw two dominant follicles, one on the right and one on the left, and one smaller.  Measurements were 23 and 26mm, definitely triggerable size.  There is a chance that the one on the left was the cyst, which had grown some.  The doc thought it was likely new, though.  I gave myself the trigger shot that night at 11pm, having still not seen a surge.  IUI scheduled for Wednesday morning.

It was going to be at 11am, but I had a lunch meeting scheduled with a group of my birth mom's high school girlfriends, which was important to me and I wanted to try and make if I could (I will share about that visit in another post).  The fertility center was kind enough to move my appointment up to 10am and S was kind enough to get into the office to make his deposit an hour earlier, at 8am.  Thanks, baby!  He was so nervous about the whole thing, it was endearing.  Maybe I'm jaded after have done several of these.

I did get a little nervous the morning of the IUI... part of the reason is the importance of timing in a natural cycle.  S had to be on time, or else my procedure could be delayed.  I had to be on time or it might be detrimental to the sample.  We never saw each other, but our actions were very coordinated and interdependent!  We texted back and forth the whole morning.

The IUI went like clockwork.  I was told the doc I had trained most of the ObGyns in the East Bay.  I wouldn't be surprised because it was the quickest, most efficient IUI I've ever received.  Before the procedure, they made me look at the vial three times.  For some reason, I didn't want to see it!  I kept thinking, "Just get it inside of me!" lol  It was such a small amount, too, I was surprised.  I guess they separate out the swimmers from the fluid, so it reduces down a lot.  They told me that the numbers were great (120 million, and they want a minimum of 20 million) and that S gets an "A."  I told him, and he obviously felt good about it. :-)

I have a question for those of you who have had IUIs: Did they encourage you to lie down for a while afterwards?  I did with all my other IUIs, but at this place, they didn't seem to give much value to this practice at all.  He was like, "You can stay for a few minutes if you want, but if you have somewhere to be..."  I didn't actually end up staying too long but it was at least five or 10 minutes.

As I'm writing this, I just remembered I have to take my first progesterone pill tonight.  I'm not looking forward to the side effects, but I know mine has been low so I'm happy to have the help.  Here's hoping!


Coming Out - plus TTC Update

Before I get to my ttc update, I wanted to share what's been going on in another area of my life...

Sooo, the last few months I've been working with a Coach, who is helping me reach out to potential clients as an independent Career Counselor.  My idea is that I will continue working with a community college or colleges, and have a few independent clients, as well.

Working independently versus under the umbrella of a school or an organization, feels newly liberating.  I had three independent clients at the end of last year/beginning of this year and worked with a few people when I lived in San Luis Obispo, as well.  When I met with them in independent counseling sessions, it allowed me to truly focus on the their current needs and allow the trajectory of their process to guide us in our work.

The only hitch to doing more of this work is that I needed to actually generate more of this work!  Marketing is not my forte, nor something I enjoy doing.  I am a bit shy with people I don't know, and I prefer deeper conversation to making small talk - a label which I think applies to most efforts to sell yourself or promote your business.  Handing out my business card to everyone I meet?  Ack, sounds incredibly awkward.  Can't people just find me by telepathy or osmosis or something?

Anyway, I've been working on developing confidence and overcoming my anxiety, which tends to block forward momentum.  In the last three months, I have scheduled meetings with my coach every couple of weeks.  My experience has been that in between our meetings, things tend to get done, even if I end up cramming and getting them done the day before.  Accumulating these successes had helped to build confidence.

Today, for example, I put the finishing touches on my "Coming Out Letter."  I hope I don't insult anyone referring to the process this way.  I know it's not nearly as life altering and potentially terrifying as coming out as gay (I saw a couple of my friends go through this and it was a huge life event), but it does feel vulnerable and like I'm exposing this new part of myself that is raw and sensitive.

We also did a visualization exercise, in which I connected with my "Captain," the part of me that is unconditionally loving, compassionate, clear, confident, and supportive.  Not surprisingly, another part of me that I call my "Sabateur" came up and tried to figuratively shank my Captain with negativity and judgments lol, but some significant insights and guidance came out of the process.  *As a side note, my Captain looked like a non-blue female Avatar, wearing animal pelts.  She was pretty cool.

In any case, I committed to send my letter out to at least a dozen friends, and I thought I might share my letter here with this community, as well (see below).  I would love to hear your thoughts before sending it out later this weekend.  Please also feel free to pass it on to anyone you know who needs career counseling.  I work over the phone, as well as in-person, and can be reached through this blog.  I have a website I can then share with people, too.  Thank you for your help!

Dear Friends,

I am writing to let you know that I’m doing it: I am hanging out my shingle as a Career Counselor!  I’m excited to announce that I’m accepting new clients. I would like to offer you - and anyone that you refer - half off your first session.

As many of you know, my background includes over a decade of working in community colleges and non-profits as a Career and Academic Counselor.  My favorite part of the job has always been working with people to figure out what they most love to do and then helping them focus and use these passions (and package their related skills) in the work they do in the world. 

I wanted to share a little about what turns me on most about working independently... Working with people on my own allows me more freedom and creativity than when I work under the umbrella of a college or organization!  When I work with clients through my business, I feel that “magic” can happen as I follow insights and their inspiration to the next step, and the next, as they pursue their dreams.  Also, we are not held back by any government or grant requirements, and can set goals together based on their priorities and needs.

The clients I’m looking for include:

  • Recent Graduates
  • People in career transition needing guidance and someone “on their team.”
  • People wanting more independence or inspiration in their work life

In a bit more detail, my services include:

  • Providing assessments like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the True Colors assessment to help my clients see and appreciate their strengths . . . which are then integrated into a dynamic counseling process connecting them, not just to their next job, but to their calling.
  • Experienced guidance repackaging and adding to a client’s work experience in order to launch them in a new, more inspiring direction.
  • Job search tips and strategies to save time and increase employer responses.  Includes resume review and editing.
  • Increasing client’s personal resiliency through building multiple income streams and a broad awareness of diverse skills and talents... as well as how these skills and talents can be combined to meet market/community needs.
  • Green career counseling:  Providing information and guidance on careers that help people and our planet thrive.

My session fees are reasonable and include a sliding scale fee structure.  In addition to the introductory offer mentioned above, for the next three months, I will also offer 20% off the total if clients sign up for three or more sessions.  Due to the cumulative effect of our work together, and depending on a client’s goals, I suggest a minimum of three sessions, and up to 10 or more for longer-term transitions and support.  I’m also happy to meet with someone one time, as well.

If you need support and direction in a career transition, or if you want to feel more inspired in your work, please contact me.  Also, will you consider sending this note on to anyone you know who might be interested?  I really appreciate your support. 


Kristina B., MA
Career Counselor

I'm on Day 9 of my current cycle, in which I took Femara again Days 3-7.  As mentioned in a previous post, S and I decided to try Femara again because I had such a good response to this dose last time.  I have purchased the Ovidrel trigger and the progesterone supplements, as well.

I was going to go out of town this weekend for S's nephew's graduation in San Diego, but if I would have gotten my LH surge on Saturday or Sunday, I would have had to go to a random fertility clinic in So. Cal.  Doable but awkward.  Also, we decided we wanted to save our money for ttc and a trip we're taking to DC to see his daughter at the end of July.  So, I'm on my own this weekend, with plans to meet a friend Saturday for lunch and go dancing Sunday morning, but the rest of the time plans to work on creative projects, read, and lay in the sun.

Starting today (Friday), I am testing every morning with my new digital OPK.  Wow, I will say it IS a lot easier with that little circle or smiley face reading.  Very clear.  When I get the positive, then I call Pac.ific Fertility Center and go in for an ultrasound.  If I don't get a positive until Monday (or later), I definitely go in mid-day Monday for my scheduled ultrasound.  I will likely do the trigger shot that day, with IUI to follow on Tuesday.  S is nervous about the IUI.  He's trying to follow all the rules to prepare and asking me about timing etc.; it's cute.

Finishing this post up on Saturday, Day 10.  No smiley face this morning, which is a good thing.  The earliest we would do the IUI is Monday, so S will not be at risk of cutting his family visit short.  I hope tomorrow is a negative, as well, so I don't have to go in for a monitoring appointment tomorrow morning by myself. 

We are definitely excited to be trying some new things this time.  I don't think I mentioned, however, that I went in for the first monitoring appointment last weekend and the doctor saw what he thought was a cyst on my left ovary.  Damn left ovary.  But he thought it would likely resolve, and that there was no health risk to going forward, so we decided to keep on keeping on.  I hope the risk pays off, but there is a chance the IUI will be cancelled if the cyst interfered with ovarian stimulation.  Fingers crossed!