Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Miracles do happen

Well, dear blogworld, miracles do happen.

I got an email today from a friend I haven't heard from in awhile (she lives several states away). We had each discussed infertility at length because she and I both suffered from it in various forms. Last Fall, she and her husband adopted a baby boy, and they radiated with joy.

I had been thinking about her lately and wondering how they were doing. Then today, I got an email from her that said she is pregnant and in her second trimester. The baby is due in January, and they couldn't be happier.

This is just evidence, to me, that God has a plan. They've been married for seven or eight years and have dealt with a lot of years of infertility, but finally, their family is growing. She once said that when they began their process of adoption and also went through training to be foster parents, they were just trying to open as many doors as possible for God to create their family. And, in His time, He is creating it.

I think I am limited by my planning. I think, if we do this now, then we can do that later, and then by such-and-such time we can have this many kids. All of my plans have failed. I'm wondering now what kinds of doors we need to open to let God have His way in planning our family. Lord, enlighten me, because I am in a rut of confusion.

God bless my friend and her growing family!! I am SO HAPPY for them.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Always an infertility case....

As I was perusing my notes from the recent conference I mentioned in the last post, I was struck by a thought that occurred to me as I read one of my notes. One of the physicians had stated that "infertility is a cummulative, chronic condition". This means, of course, that infertility is usually the result of a number of factors (not just one), and that you don't just "cure" it.

In other words, infertility (subfertility) is something that I will never escape.

Let's say, for instance, that my husband and I decide to adopt. Once that child becomes a part of our family, we would no longer be a "childless couple", but we would still face infertility. Pregnancy announcements from friends/relatives/coworkers will still be received with mixed emotions. We'll still be faced with the fact that, while some friends and family members are able to build large families with no difficulty, our family will grow only slowly and with much financial investment if we continue to adopt.

Let's assume that we are actually able to give birth to a child. That would be a wonderful blessing, but it is MORE than likely that we would return to subfertile conditions after the baby is born. The factors that are working together against pregnancy aren't (likely) just going to disappear. We'll be dealing with a lot of the same issues when we try to continue to build our family.

I guess one of the things I've had to come to terms with is the fact that, in all likelihood, our family will probably not be nearly as large as we had once planned.

When we first started talking about getting married, my husband and I talked about family size. He and I both have big families...not huge, but lots of siblings and cousins for each of us. We imagined that we'd have four or more kids. We liked the thought of having lots of little ones around. I especially imagined this as I have many, many friends with large (6 + kids) families.

Now, I would be extremely happy with at least one healthy pregnancy. Feeling strongly that the best gift to give your child is a sibling, we'd probably adopt a second child if we couldn't get pregnant again quickly, or adopt at least two if we can't get pregnant at all, but that is a much smaller family than I had expected.

I'm starting to be comfortable with the idea, though. Who knows what blessings God will bring us in all of this...but if we are a small family, we'll be OK. Maybe there's a reason for all of this that is ultimately for our own good. But I will always feel a little bit of melancholy when I see a pregnant mother or a family with lots of little ones and wonder what that must be like.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some clarity, some hope

Well, I'm six days into Clomid Cycle # 4, but I have new reasons to have hope.

Last week, I attended the annual AAFCP meeting. I've been a FertilityCare Practitioner (teacher of the Creighton Model FertilityCare System) for six years now, and this is the first time I was able to attend the annual meeting.

It was enlightening, to say the least. I learned all sorts of things about the relationship between hormones, diet, low grade infections and fertility.

I also had the opportunity to meet up with my Ob/Gyn, who was also at the meeting. We discussed my insanely long post-peak phase, which by that point had stretched to 18 days. We came to the following conclusions: I either had a persistent luteal cyst or a luteinized unruptured follicle. Either of these could push my post-peak phase to abnormal lengths. Either could be/probably is a side effect of the Clomid. Which probably means the dosage is too high.

So, we are DECREASING Clomid dosage even more (to 12.5 mg) this cycle, AND we are going to test hormones at Peak + 7 as well as two days into premenstrual spotting (which I did have again for several days). There is a possibility that we'll need to start supplementing progesterone, as it is normal at 7 days past peak but then, I think, must be bottoming out around day 12 post-peak.

We also have plans to do a few more diagnostic things, but one thing at a time so we can focus on what's working and what's not.

This all gives me much hope, and I definitely needed to be at this conference to hear these things. It is also giving me the motivation to re-focus on diet and exercise to get my body into healthy working order. It's still a mystery to me why many drug addicts, morbidly obese women and teenagers are able to get pregnant at the drop of a hat, but maybe my body is just more sensitive than most. And then there's the complicating factor of my endometriosis history to deal with...so I guess I just need to be patient and pray.

I'm not so good at the patience thing. But at least we have a plan. I can work with a plan.

In the meantime, I have had many opportunities to observe the blessings in my life and give thanks. For example, I am married to a fabulously caring and loving husband, for whom I am eternally grateful. I am afraid I am too quick to point out his shortcomings and do not recognize often enough how amazingly wonderful he is and how well-suited we are to each other. I feel like I have become selfish, many times, in putting my wants and desires above his and not thinking about how that affects him. Lord, help me to daily recognize the amazing gift that my husband is.

Yesterday, on a quick trip to a neighboring town to drop someone off at the airport there, my husband stopped by a shop that sells Catholic items and bought me a tiny pewter statue of St. Gerard, patron of mothers, expectant mothers, children, and often recognized as patron of those struggling with subfertility. I wear a St. Gerard medal around my neck, but I haven't spoken much about it to my husband. He noticed it once, and I told him about his patronage, and he remembered that one discussion and bought me the statue. He also had it blessed by a priest friend of ours before giving it to me.

But the sweetest thing of all...he said that it wasn't a gift for me, but a gift for us, since my subfertility (and it is mine...his fertility tested fine) is OUR cross to bear together. Wow.

So I sign off today, still not pregnant, but gratefully aware of the amazing gifts I already have. God is good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The rules have changed...

I feel totally in the dark now. Clomid has completely changed the rules of the game. I mean, I thought everything at least had a pattern...my mucus had changed, but at least the spotting was consistent...if not pregnant, I would spot for many days prior to the next cycle.

So today is P+15, and I've still had NO spotting. Nothing. No symptoms of any kind, cramping, moodiness, NOTHING!

And yet, I had a negative pregnancy test yesterday morning.

I have no idea what is going on. I'm leaving tomorrow for a conference, and I'm taking both pads/tampons AND a spare pregnancy test because I really don't know which one I'm going to need.

Oh, patience...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Just wait...

Geez, it's been forever since I've blogged. This cycle's fertility was very spotty. One day fertile, one dry, then two fertile, then two dry...blah, blah. But I'm strangely very hopeful. I'm probably just setting myself up for major depression, but I'm on P+10 and have had NO spotting so far, which is extremely unusual for me. Not even a hint of spotting. So here's hoping.

My husband asked me last night where I was in my cycle. Since he doesn't pay close enough attention to how this all works, he also asked how soon I could test. I said "anytime, but my typical length post-peak is 14 days...so maybe day 12 or past". He said "NO! Wait until day 14 or 15. No sense in wasting a test. After all, if you ARE pregnant, you'll have like 36 more weeks to be excited, so missing 4 more days of excitement is no big deal." O...K....

Anyway, my P+7 blood tests showed Progesterone at 35.1 and Estrogen at 239. Both of those are well above the expected levels stated on the lab result sheet for mid-luteal phase. Does that mean anything? I don't know. All I know is, last cycle my levels were Progesterone - 20 and Estrogen - 301. So Progesterone is showing significant increase. Oh, one can only hope and pray...

So, my anticipated test date will be Monday, P+15. Just gotta get through a few more days...