One more Failure

IUI round 1 didn’t work. On the plus side, knowing that we had two viable eggs, the sperm in the right place, and the timing perfect meant I realize, finally, that this is not my fault. For five years each month our failure to conceive has felt like all my fault – like my body failed, and couldn’t make it happen. This month we gave it everything we had, and every opportunity we could, and still nothing happened.

According to all the fun google has to offer(including google scholar), 3xIUI is the max, then you need to move on, so we still have two more. But we need a month off. We need to have a month where sex is for fun, and my joints don’t ache due to a fertility drug that started as a cancer chemo treatment.

This month will be devoted to self support: exercise, diet, school, and not timing every physical interaction.

On the other hand: Life is not fair. Fertility isn’t fair. Being angry about it is a useless waste of time

Doesn’t stop me from being angry.

-Me.

Impending IUI

Unsurprisingly, I am not pregnant after round 4 of letrozole, so we are on to the IUI end of things. I have another trans vaginal ultrasound on the 20th of April, then i’m assuming the procedure will happen a few days later. I don’t know what i’m feeling right now, I wrote a final exam (the last one for my masters, my final course is all assignments, no exams), and now I have wine… since I cannot possibly put a fetus at risk, i’m thoroughly enjoying my Reisling blend.

I am nervous about IUI – it is by no means the most expensive thing, but its a whole other intervention step beyond just taking a medication.

I’m scared, I’m worried, I’m sad, I’m hopeful.

-Me

Doctors Appt

We had our second appointment with the new (improved) fertility specialist earlier today. I feel like such a failure when I admit that we are not pregnant, that the first three rounds of letrozole were ineffective. Apparently letrozole alone has about an 8% rate of fertility, but if we add IUI we move up to 25%. That is different from the stats I understood from the research I read, but it is possible that they were based on the whole sample over 6 months – if 25% of them got pregnant over the full 6 months of treatment, that may make sense statistically. Stats have never been my strong point, and my time working in a research lab only made me understand how much they can be manipulated to avoid a null result. I tend to think most published research needs to be taken with a grain of salt/understanding of bias.

I know that things are no worse now than they were this morning, I know that we already had all this info, and I know we already knew the next step was IUI and that we would likely need to go there. I mean, technically, we could still get pregnant this round – I should be ovulating in the next week. The timing is not great, I have to be away this weekend, but I think we can make it work, cover the spread, so to speak.

Oh language, you’re funny and frequently dirty sounding.

Basically although nothing changed because of this appointment, I feel worse. I just want to melt away for a while, and not exist. Even though I know it’s not something I can control, I still feel like a failure on a very basic level.

We will probably do our first round of IUI in April.

-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