Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pity Party: Table For One?

Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel down on yourself.  The gunk in the air, a strange January thunderstorm may be to blame or it could be that I don't talk about it enough.  I've been staring at this blog post, cursor hovering over the 'Publish' button, wondering if I'm over-exaggerating or opening a can of worms that I should just keep sealed, but then I wonder if there is a woman somewhere like me who needs to know she's not the only one.  Maybe this can help.  I warn you, I'm about to host a pity party.  You're invited, but I'd understand if you didn't want to attend...there are no party poopers at a pity party.

For nearly two years, my husband, AJ and I have been trying to have our second child.  I know some may read this and think, 'two years, big whoop'.  I've spoken to women who tried to conceive their first child for four to nine years.  My two years is a blink compared to that. Some couples are still trying and like my husband and I, struggle with infertility.  In my mind, though it only took us about five months to conceive our first child, Landon, I figured it would take us just as long if not a little longer to have a second child.  In my mind, it happened once.  Why can't it happen again?  What's the big deal?

After about 18 months, I was urged to see an infertility specialist by my physician.  When you see an infertility specialist for the first time, you're basically entered into a pool of tests to go through.  I had to have blood work done, twice.  I had to have an ultrasound to check the consistency of my endometrial lining (the sides of the uteran wall) to ensure it was thick enough for an egg to attach.  I also had an x-ray to see my fallopian tubes.  Sometimes, woman who have c-sections, like I did (my son was 10lbs 2 ounces, 21 and three-quarters inches long when he was born...there as NO way I was pushing that beast out!), the fallopian tubes can get moved around, even pinched in the mix of things.  The x-ray determined that the tubes weren't blocked in any way.  I even took an at-home ovulation kit to ensure I had an LH surge (LH stands for lutenizing hormone.  It's the hormone that signals the ovary to release an egg during ovulation...Human Biology...I paid close attention to the reproduction system unit).  I came out looking good on ALL of the tests.  I have good uteran lining, I ovulate, my tubes aren't blocked, and my thyroid was fine, according to my blood work.

Oh, did I forget to mention AJ's little swimmers were tested and they passed with flying colors too?

So again, what's the big deal?

The next step were the infertility treatments.  They start off with a drug called Clomid which is a crap ton of estrogen in pill form.  Estrogen is a hormone that signals the uteran lining to thicken in hopes of implantation of a fertilized egg.  It also signals to the hypothalmus (the hormone control center of the brain) to increase the amount of LH being produced.  So the affect of Clomid is more estrogen = a bigger LH surge = more than one egg is released during ovulation, increasing the odds of fertilization/implantation, but also increasing the odds of multiples (bet you didn't know you'd get a biology lesson when you decided to attend my pity party).  So you take the Clomid for five days starting three days after the first day of your period.  Then, you start your ovulation kit shortly after the Clomid is done.  Most women ovulate on the 10th-14th day of their cycle, given the first day being the first day of your period.  When the ovulation kit signals an LH surge, artificial insemination commences.  They spin down the semen to help it reach maximum potential and then they take and very very very tiny tube and 'insert'? 'inject'? the semen in past the cervix.

Seems like a sure thing, right?  You're ovulating, which means an egg is making it's way to the baby-making factory.  The swimmers aren't deluded and can roam freely in search of the egg.  What could go wrong when there's nothing wrong with either of us to begin with?  Something obviously can go wrong because I'm still without child.  What it is exactly that can go wrong, I have yet to find out.

So here we are, one round of insemination failed, another coming our way, but what happens if that doesn't work?  Blow our savings on in-vitro which again, isn't a sure thing.  It's more than frustrating when you know something is working right, but it's not working.

An old classmate of mine was blogging about her journey as a surrogate.  She'd made plans to carry a child for a single male.  They were implanting the fertilized eggs, but she wasn't getting pregnant.  It wasn't working.  So they did an ultra sound and it turned out she didn't have any uteran lining at all!  Her and her husband had naturally conceived twin boys so they didn't think there would be any trouble with conceiving again.  They're in the same boat as AJ and I.  Secondary infertility.  She was devastated.  She'd met the man who's child she'd be carrying, they were all very excited about their journey, and then it was over before it even began.

I'm at the point where I'd be okay if I couldn't have another child.  I'd get over it if I could never get pregnant again; if they told me it wasn't possible.  Tell me what's wrong and why it went wrong and I'll wash my hands of it and move on, but when all signs to point to success and I only come up with failure, I go friggen crazy!  Isn't that the definition of insanity, performing the same task over and over while expecting different results?

The thing I have the worst time getting over is finding out my friends, family, or acquaintances are getting pregnant.  I know it's not fair to take out my frustrations out on a loved one during their time of excitement.  It's not easy.  It's not easy to watch someone celebrate what you're trying so hard to have.  I feel like a bad person for resenting their happiness.  I don't know how to get past it all.

I wrote a short story, semi-autobiographical laced with a bit of fiction, for a biggest fear contest on BookRix.  No, I didn't win, but I sparked some interesting perspectives in the comments.


Anyway, I'm going to shut down this pity party.  Hopefully, I'll be in a better mood next post.

- Jess

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