Once More, into the Meds…

Tomorrow I start round four of Letrozole. No huge surprise that round three didn’t end up working out, I was quite sure a few days before my period arrived that it was en route. On the plus side, my own body awareness has gotten pretty amazing.

In addition to the Letrozole, I have also started acupuncture and am taking the herbs that the traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturist suggested. I struggle a bit with the science behind the acupuncture and meridian/water/fire/balance conversations around it, but there is research backing up the use of acupuncture in conception, so I figure it’s worth a try.

Next Tuesday we go back to the fertility doctor. I suspect that we will go through a round of IUI sooner rather than later. I kinda wish it would just happen, before the procedures get exponentially more invasive.

I don’t have any updates regarding my little sister – she has a tendency to only tell me snippits of whatever she is thinking, so other than knowing she’s stressed out, I don’t know what she will decide to do. And I don’t know what I would suggest that she do – 19 is young to have a baby, especially without any significant family support or any interest from her baby daddy to be a parent. But I can’t imagine that having an abortion or carrying the baby to term and then giving it up would be easier. The whole thing is compounded by her uncertainty of how far along she is – from what she described to me it sounds like she’s in the latter part of her first trimester. Add to the some hardcore christian values, and who knows what she will decide to do.

So, here we go again!

-Me

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Irony – Allanis style

I’m having a rough week. I will know in a few days if I am pregnant or not from round three, but if i’m honest, I think not. It’s a roller coaster of hope and frustration, and we go back to the fertility doctor on the 20th of March.

Mostly unrelated, for the past half decade or so, I’ve worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I met my first little sister when she was 14, and we built a solid relationship, so as she entered adulthood and aged out of the program, we have stayed close.

Today she told me she is pregnant, by accident, with a BF or three months, without resources or means, or planning. Because that is what young fertile people do. I am being supportive. I am being helpful. And I am dying inside.

There is a For Better or For Worse strip that basically says “fertility doesn’t come with foresight”.

I have no words.

-Me

OPK

I first tried ovulation prediction kits, or OPK, about three years ago. The ones I bought off of Amazon.ca were out of stock, so the company sent me a different version, which were more complicated to use (they required an eyedropper) and I suspect were defective, because it didn’t matter when I tested my pee, the test was always positive. Basically they were useless, so I stopped using them… and then stopped making a conscious effort to get pregnant for over a year, so they sat in the cabinet and were ignored. For the past two cycles (since starting letrozole), I’ve been relying of daily sex around the time I would likely be ovulating to cover the bases. Although initially enthusiastic, by day five or six neither my Husband nor I are over eager.

So this month I ordered another set of OPKs (from a different company), and they arrived in time to use. On day 14 I had the clearest positive result I could possibly imagine – like, textbook clearly a positive result, it could be the photo next to the ad for what the test should look like if it were positive. So I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we timed everything perfectly this month – and that my body probably did produce an egg.

I’m torn between thinking using the OPK was a good idea – it is good that we know our timing is spot on, and since we go back to the fertility doctor March 20th, if this cycle fails we have more valuable information for him. But in knowing that we have timed everything perfectly, the remainder of the month is gonna be torture waiting to find out if we have finally succeeded. April will mark a full five years since we started TTC. It would be sweet to know that we finally did by the time we hit that anniversary.

As I let my brain run away with me, the timing could not be more perfect for us: My masters should be done by July, our mortgage is locked in and doesn’t need to be renewed for another four years, we bought a place with a spare room, both my work and my Husbands are picking up and offer flexible hours, so we could likely manage childcare between the two of us without having to find and pay for daycare…

C’mon baby, it’s a great time, come and join us!

-Me

Letrozole Round 3

So round two failed, which… sucks, but not shocking.

As I round the corner of having completed my third bout of letrozole, I am noticing an interesting and frustrating side effect: Absentmindedness. I’m not normally particularly forgetful, and I don’t often misplace things. But in the last month, I have completely forgotten conversations and the plans that were made in them on several occasions, and left my rowing gear at the club after practice twice. Along with that, I can’t do my normal standard of multitasking, and when my Husband talks at me when I’m doing some school stuff I have no idea what he’s said or how to respond. Granted, it would be nice if he waited until he had asked for my attention before starting to talk, but that didn’t used to be an issue, so it’s hardly surprising since it’s a new problem.

I’m not really sure what to do about it, the options are basically to roll with it and accept that I’m going to be an airhead for the duration of fertility treatment, or to stop treatment and hope my brain comes back.

I’m a little nervous about being able to finish the last two courses of my masters with limited mental capacity, not to mention the social issues with friends who I miss/forget plans with – there are only so many times you can apologize before the behaviour becomes tiresome/unforgivable.

So, we shall see. Each round of medication seems to bring a slightly different set of side effects as it slowly builds up in my system. The first month I was more mellow than I have been in a long time, the second one brought irritability and the start of the brainless factor, and this round? Well, I’ve just finished the meds, but we shall see how it goes.

-Me

 

Letrozole, Round 2 Update

Soooo, It was not one of the listed side effects of letrozole, but some wandering around the internet tells me it’s not an uncommon experience: Irritability bordering on blind rage. Silly traffic issues, people looking at me sideways, minor social ineptitude and infractions… And I am having to force myself not to react in angry outbursts.

I’m not a terribly level person all of the time when i’m not on this medication, but this is a whole new level of flying off the handle. Well, I say that, but I have yet to actually do so, I’m just having to suppress a lot.

Honestly, it’s making it more of a struggle to do my job –  big part of what I do requires empathy and caring about people, and when everyone and their dog is making me angry (well, no, not the dog, I love dogs…) it is much harder to be the type of professional I want to be. This is way worse than last month, so I am hoping it’s just a weird fluctuation that will change next month. But if it doesn’t that may require that I stop this treatment option.

-Me

Crying

I cry in my car a lot. More than I do anywhere else combined. There is something about the feeling of being in an isolated space by myself, that despite the fact that my windows are untinted and I’m not actually invisible, I am alone with my thoughts.

I think part of it is i’ve noticed most people in traffic are hyper self-involved and not paying attention to what is going on around them. Even if they happened to glance over and notice my tears, they won’t cause any more than a passing curiosity, a minor blip on their radar.

I prefer not to let my Husband into my daily grief/pain/darkness. He already worries about me enough, I don’t really feel the need to give him more cause.

All that being said, I broke down and let him into everything last night. I feel bad, because he looks utterly helpless when confronted with my distress. I find the active trying to conceive, the knowledge that in theory we have improved our odds with the medication, harder than not trying. I will know whether this round has been effective in about ten days. We go back to see the doctor again in March – we should have three full rounds of letrozole under our belts by the time we see him again.

On top of the infertility and stress of the medication, i’m really frustrated with my weight. I know, without stepping on the scale, that it’s up. I’m finding it hard to have the motivation to be as active as I usually am, or, for that matter, to eat well. Being unhappy with my body does not help the rest of my mental state, but at least it’s something I can hold onto and actively work on. So I’m signing up for a 5km run, adding two rowing workouts to the 2-3 I was managing over the December/January period, and limit simple carbs. I need to get this back under control, because it feels like very little else is mine to do so with.

I don’t want to track calories, that tends to mean I feel entitled to eat more to compensate for my exercise calories. I just need to find some much needed balance.

-Me

Random Update

So the thing I have avoided talking about, thinking about the source of a lot of my anger in the last month or so…

My sister told me early this month that her husband had smashed his head through their bedroom door because he was angry, telling her that “it had been a choice of his head or hers” and that he had decided his head was the better choice. He’s always been violent and broken things. Years ago, my Husband and I shared a house with them when they were first married (They married two years into their relationship, 11 ish years ago – we married eight years into our relationship, eight years ago). I vividly remember one time when My Husband was working away for a month – i hear my sister and her husband fighting, tried not to, and then heard something break. So I went to investigate, and found a chair shattered, and my sister cleaning up. In a fit of rage, her husband had broken a chair. I thought that was unacceptable at the time, but didn’t read too much into it. I, We, grew up with a father who, although he had a lot of redeeming qualities, had a temper, and occasionally lashed out and damaged things and on very rare occasions us, so it wasn’t outside my, or her, experience of normal (I would have been 20 or 21, she would have been 23-24). Over the years, she mentioned an occasional violent outburst, but it was rare, and around the time my younger niece was born, 7.5 years ago, I was under the impression that he had stopped his outbursts and seen them for the inappropriate behaviours they were – especially where his children were concerned.

So fast forward to this month. Finding out that my brother in law has been increasingly violent and breaking things on an increasingly frequent basis. It culminated in that fight I mentioned above – him shoving his head through the door – twice. Did I mention that my 4.5 year old nephew was on the other side of the door?

I’m torn as to what to do. As i’m older and wiser, I recognize that a lot of the things I accepted as normal as a child were, in fact, abusive. I think my parents did the best they could, but that’s what happens when people have children in their early 20s- they don’t get the chance to be fully formed adults and they have the learn on the job. Dad slapped me once, when I was about 9, and he looked so ashamed. It was a one time event, but he hit me so hard I dropped to the floor, and he looked so ashamed.

I am afraid for the wellbeing of my sister, my niece, and my nephew. I am worried about their long term happiness, and the volatile quality of my brother in laws temper. I want to believe that he is capable of changing, but from the moment he threatened my sister, he lost all positive interactions I have tried to send his way.

I do not believe he will hurt my family. I also no longer consider him among that membership.

Abuse is no small thing, and I worry about my Munchkins future. If we do get to have children, we have known for years that we would never leave them alone with the brother in law – he can’t be trusted. But how long is it going to take for my sister to see that?

-Me