Thursday, March 31, 2011


Sorry I haven't posted in a week! I've had family here from out of town, and the weather the past few days has been amazing. I have been busy working in the garden, planting lots of colorful flowers to take care of over the next few months, and hopefully get my mind of the baby train! Yeah right!

Tonight I watched Army Wives episode from last week (Season 5, episode 5). You can view it on if you are interested.

Anyway, in this episode a mother loses her son. It was really emotional to watch. I recently lost my sister in a car accident and I cannot tell you the amount of pain such a loss causes. Tonight, when the show finished I hit my knees. I prayed that I would never have to bury a child. This must be the most devastating of all losses. To grow a child in your womb, protect them inside of your body, and attempt to protect them on the outside and then lose them. My heart melts thinking of the crater that now resides in my mothers chest, "ain't even grey but she buries her baby." - The Band Perry

Teardrops aside, I have a point. Someday I will get pregnant, I know I will, I have faith I will. Then what? Worry. Right now I am worried about conceiving a baby, once I do that I will be frantic worrying about miscarriage, then once I feel the little one moving inside me I will start worrying about labor. When I finally have the baby I will worry about him or her non stop, everyday, always. As a parent I know you have to sit back and let your child find out that their heart will get broken, friends will hurt their feelings, they will at any given point feel sad, their not good enough. Is there a book on this?

Aw, I have so much to learn.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Kokopelli is a fertility God. He was founded by the Native American culture in the southwest of the United States. Hopi legend says that this humpback flute player carries unborn children on his back to distribute to women. He also takes part in marriages, and supports agriculture by using his flute playing to chase away winter and bring in spring.

                                                                     (not my photo)
My sister loved the Kokopelli symbol. When she was 16 she tattooed a pink and black Kokopelli on her shoulder. The following Christmas I bought her a silver Kokopelli necklace with a turqouis stone in the middle. Unfortunately, she passed away unexpectedly this past September, but during what turned out to be our last phone conversation Kokopelli came up. My sister knew my fertility troubles, and she knew how badly I wanted a baby. She had only recently (yes, AFTER getting the tattoo) learned what Kokopelli meant. My sister said, "I don't want kids, and you really want them, so I am going to send the necklace you gave to me back to you, so you can wear it and hopefully it will bring you a baby." We laughed about it, but I was willing to try anything. Unfortunately she never got that necklace in the mail, but when I went to her room after she died it was hanging on the wall. So I put it on.

My sisters dad found a great hand painted and etched Kokopelli tile on his travels to attend my sisters funeral. He felt like it was a sign from her saying "I'm OK." Weeks later he gave me the tile, told me to put it under my bed and get to work on making that baby! Here's the tile:
It still lives underneath my bed, and I still wear the necklace from time to time. But, I am still waiting to hear the sound of that flute.....

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Final Exam

There comes a point in everyones ferility journey (I think) where you realize that you have become completely sucked in. There isn't anything you wouldn't do to get answers that will lead you to your baby. Period. Though this crossed my mind during the crimson ultrasound, and during the countless moments of trying to decipher whether or not my ovulation predictor stick was in-fact positive, it was the final exam that confirmed my obsession, my willingness to go as far as I needed to go for answers.

The final exam was not for me to complete, but for my husband. The dreaded semen analysis. The rules were laid out very clearly:
1. no sex for 2-5 days
2. masturbate into the cup with NO lubricant (no saliva, nada)
3. label exact collection time on the container and get to the lab within 30-45 minutes.

Simple enough right? Ha! Haven't I taught you all anything? So, the lab in the small town we live in does not do semen analyses, apparently the person who performs the analysis is pretty special....
The nearest lab: 30 miles away. Average driving time from our house to the location: 35 minutes. I called the lab to make sure this was sufficient, otherwise we were going to have to make something happen in their parking lot. They said to keep the sample warm and get here as fast as we could. Warm? Hmm...Our mission was clear. We needed to get this test done during a certain time, and the day that worked for both of us was a rainy Thursday. I had the day off work, and my husband said he could collect the sample before he left for his work day.

We had a master plan....ha ha I said master and it regards to masturbation....I'm so funny! Anyway...after giving my husband a few minutes head start I started my car. A few minutes later he came out and handed me the specimen. I got in the car thinking to myself "ok, gotta hurry, hmmm, warm, warm" so I did what any responsible semen transporter would do. I put my seat warmer on the lowest setting and placed the cup in between my legs. I was driving along, taking note of how ridiculous this situation was, I mean, really? But there I was, desperate to get this sample to the lab for processing.

As I was driving I decided to text my friend to let her know what was going on, cause it was just too ridiculous to keep to myself, but then I stopped because I thought, "If I get pulled over, how will I explain this? Um, officer, I have my husbands semen in a cup here between my legs so I really have to get to the lab, could we reconviene at another time?" No dice, so I put the phone down.

When I got to the lab there were probably 16 people in the waiting room, I went up to the counter and said that I had a STAT lab (thats what they told me to say). The receptionist looked at me and said "what kind of STAT lab." Mortified, I handed her the slip and pointed to the ordered test. After turning 4 shades of red she took my insurance information and sent me on my way.

The test was normal, my husband has ample sperm with good motility. The hurdles were cleared and it was time to sit down with my doctor and move on to phase two.

Friday, March 18, 2011

HSG: horrible stupid girltest

The next test I needed to have done was a hysterosalpingogram or HSG. This test checks for uterine or tube anomalies, and checks for tube patency. Scheduling this exam was one of the most frustrating things to date because the facility where I needed to have it done was completely disorganized. But, finally on January 4th 2011 I had the HSG. This test is done under fluoroscopy (a type of xray), and a radiologist performs the test. Basically they take a small catheter and place it in your uterus....Anatomy lesson: this means up the vagina, into the cervical canal, and into the uterus. Ouch! Then, once the catheter is there, they take dye and shoot it through the catheter into your uterus and then hopefully out of your tubes into your pelvic cavity. This would mean a normal test.
The dye flowed out of my left tube just fine, but the doctor had trouble seeing any dye in my right tube at all. With all of this crap "in place" I had to turn back and forth on the table to try and move the dye while having the worst cramps I have ever had in my life. I was actually doing yoga breathing during the test to keep from calling out. Tears were rolling down my cheeks from the pain, and then the technician opened her mouth. She said, "just think, labor pains are similar or worse than this."
Fuck you lady. I'm sorry, but really? I mean the end goal of all of this is baby, but was now the appropriate time for her to talk to me about labor pains? I was livid.
After the test was over, THANK GOD, the radiologist told me he wasn't sure that he could see dye flow through my right tube. His conclusion until further evaluation was that it was blocked.
I left the test crampy and defeated. One patent tube? One? Thats 50% of my fertility gone. Basically, (though it varies somewhat) you ovulate from one side one month, and the other side the next. So one good tube means 6 cycles a year instead of 12.
A week and a half later my husband and I sat impatiently in the doctors office waiting for a plan. When he came in with the final report of the procedure it said "bilateral patent tubes with free spill." This means that the test was normal.
I had been absolutely devastated for a week and a half thinking that I had one tube. No, wrong again, now the report said normal, so I did have two tubes, then what was the problem?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Testing 1, 2, 3...

So it began with aunt flow. In fertility world: AF. Simply put but not over descriptive. Then on cycle day 3 (CD 3) I went in for blood work. Holy mother did they take a lot of blood. Not to be crude, but I was already hemmorhaging from other places...did we need to take a quart more? Whats even more fun, I had to fast. So here I was, a rainy Saturday morning, no food, already loosing blood, on my way to give some away. 6 vials worth. Cool. Awesome.....I thought I was going to pass out! But after a mocha and a large egg and sausage scramble I was ready to begin my search for answers!

Here is a link if you are interested in what they tested my blood for: They also checked a complete blood count, and metabolic panel for my electrolyte levels and kidney function.

On CD 5 I went in to the office for my early cycle ultrasound which I now know should be called the crimson ultrasound (I'll explain). First off, good news, all my labs came out fine. Great! No hormone imbalances thus far. I remember the doctor saying to me, "this is very promising." Then, we proceeded with the ultrasound. I was hoping for a large glob of goop on my belly and then a easy start. Nope, these ultrasounds must be completed transvaginally. Yep, up that-a-way...on day 5...when things aren't at their best. Cool.

The ultrasound device looks like, well, a really long vibrator. And, to make it sanitary they cover it with a very long.......c'mon you can guess....condom! Alright, now we're getting into the nitty gritty. To make an amazingly inappropriate story short they spent the next twenty minutes looking at my uterus, and both ovaries. They expected to see several maturing follicles on each ovary. This is called "recruitment phase" because many follicles (aka eggs) are developing at this point. In another week or two a dominent follicle takes over, and that becomes the egg that is released during ovulation. My uterus looked good, a nice little home for a fertilized egg if one should come its way.

Everything looked fine so far, which was good news. But, if nothing was wrong....why weren't we getting pregnant?

After I ovulated (which I tracked with ovulation predictor sticks) I went in for another blood test. Its called a progesterone test. Progesterone is what sustains the second part of the menstrual cycle. It is what allows time for an embryo to make the journey down the fallopian tubes and implant in the uterus without being evacuated too soon with aunt flow. So, if you have low progesterone after ovulation, you can begin to spot or start a new cycle before 10-12 days past ovulation, thereby preventing successful pregnancy. Also, progesterone is used to detect ovulation. Since progesterone peaks 5-8 days past ovuation it is drawn then. For a natural cycle the level should be above 10. Mine was 17. Good, I ovulated. The only thing a little different about me is that I didn't ovulate until I was around CD 22, making my cycles longer. This isn't the end of the world, but could be a factor in our problem.

I did not conceive this cycle, so it was on to more tests....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Infertility Etiquette

RESOLVE is the National Infertility Association. While puttering around their website I found the following page and thought it would be a good one to pass on. Whether you are aware of it or not, someone in your life could be struggling to read on.

Infertility Etiquette:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


For nine months I tried different combinations of tracking ovulation without success. By summer I was antsy to say the least. I had gotten pregnant in four months before, what was going on? My due date for that pregnancy was July 24th. That was a rough day. It really affected me, I yearned for labor (I know totally deranged) and the following elation of holding that baby. But once the day passed I was relieved. I was so worried about what that due date would do to me, that once it was over I felt better. Like that pregnancy had come to a close, it had expired, its date had passed, it was time to move on.

Finally November 1st I went to an obstetrician that specialized in fertility issues. I asked for help. I brought charts that I had done to monitor my temperature, ovulation tests, ect. For the first time, someone was impressed with my obsessive tracking. My family and friends thought I was nuts, but he appreciated my detailed work, so I knew we would get along. I knew this doctor was a keeper when I said to him, "I'm so tired of everyone telling me to relax, I wish I could relax but I can't." His response, "and you're not going to, once you've tried and tried and have not succeeded, its going to consume you. But think of this, you came to me to figure out why you are not getting pregnant. And to fix it. Thats what I'm going to try and do, so leave the planning to me, and just follow through with my plan."

I liked that, I didn't have to own this anymore. My doctor was going to take the lead, and I was going to follow directions. HELLO! This is my job description, carry out orders from a doctor, no problemo!

We developed the plan:
- early cycle blood tests to check hormone levels
- early cycle ultrasound to assure follicles are developing and check for uterus or ovary anomalies
if these are ok...
- Hysterosalpingogram to check fallopian tube patency
- Semen Analysis for my husband

I have to touch on the financial aspect of all of this. I have good insurance, but my insurance does not cover anything for fertility. Many insurance companies do not. I knew all of this was going to be expensive. My husband decided after this appointment that we would do the ordered tests, and pay the bills as we could. We chose to (at least for now) not quote the tests for cost, just get them done.

Finally a PLAN! I'm a planner, and seeing a schedule of events laid out really got me excited. So we pressed forward, hoping for answers.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tracking the big O

Mid February we started trying again. We began trying after two cycles post surgery, against doctors orders, because I couldn’t wait any longer, and to be honest I really didn’t think I’d get pregnant right away, which I didn’t.
Cycle 1 was February. I did ovulation predictor sticks to find out when I was going to ovulate, so we could be sure and have sex at the right time. If you unfamiliar these are like pregnancy tests, but for ovulation. They detect a surge in LH, or lutenizing hormone, which is the hormone that makes your ovaries pop out an egg. Theoretically you ovulate 12-48 hours after your “LH surge” so once you get a positive test, you need to have sex frequently to maximize your chance of conception. Easy enough right? HA.
I took one test a day, in the morning and never got a positive. I was convinced I was broken, and it really upset me. It wasn’t until I posted on a message board with some women I had met online though and ectopic support group that I found out you cannot use morning urine for an ovulation stick. Ovulation tests need to be taken with your afternoon or evening urine for best results. Good to know, jeez. It didn't say that on the box (I looked) how are women supposed to know these things? This is when I realized that a ton of women were gathering together on's community. I was not alone.
The online support groups I have been a part of and am a part of to this day are full of women who range from just started trying to have a baby yesterday, and those who have been trying for several years. Its a great support, and a wealth of information, so if you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or are a mom I suggest you look into an online community for support, laughs, and advice.
Back to the OPK's (ovulation predictor kits). These damn sticks have become my best friend and worst enemy. Because all but one of them are completely open to interpretation.
Let me explain:
You start taking these tests on whatever cycle day is your last cycle length minus 17 days. So if you have a 31 day cycle you'd start testing on cycle day 14. Most companies state testing once a day is fine, you should catch your surge of LH, but women who are trying to conceive are obsessed, and most of us test twice a day. Again....USING YOUR AFTERNOON OR EVENING PEE....not morning!
Here are some results that you could get :
(not my photo)
(not my photo)

Ok, so everyones confused right? A positive OPK is when the two lines are either equal, or the test line (left) is darker than the control line (right). Look back, each picture has at least three tests that could be positive. And, the top picture has a positive test after the surge seems to of occured. See why its confusing? For months these damn tests made me nuts....until I discovered clearblue easy digital ovulation tests. Clear Blue People, I love you.
On these tests if you are not surging, the test window gives you a circle. If you are you get this:
That, and get to it!

The other complication of these tests, you have to held your pee and restricted your fluids for awhile to concentrate your urine. Personally, I don't hold my pee. I wish I could, but I cannot. So asking me to not drink anything all afternoon in hopes of getting a "good sample" is torture! But, we have to do what we have to do.
Many women do these sticks and keep track of some of their bodies signs to ensure plenty of sperm are around for the big O (ovulation not orgasm). Cervical mucous turns from creamy to watery when a woman is most fertile, then turns to an eggwhite consisentency when ovulation occurs. This is friendly cervical mucus....thats right, that crap coming out of you is keeping sperm alive, so they can swim and find the egg. Checking your cervix texture and position is also a way to track ovulation, but I will let you google that one :)
Also, many women chart their BBT (basal body temperature) to track ovulation. This means that each morning before you so much as exhale you have to reach your arm out and take your temperature at the same time every day. Every day, no exceptions. I did this for a couple months and it sucked cause I had to get up everyday at 5:15am to take my temperature, since this was the time I get up for work. My husband hated it, I hated it, so I forewent that effort, you gotta draw the line somewhere. Here is an example of a BBT chart:
                                                                   (not my photo)

As you can see the temperature drops at ovulation, and then spikes after. So, if this is the only thing you are doing, you aren't going to get warning that you ovulation, you'll just know that you did. This is why women use all of the above to track ovulation. So they are warned when its coming, and when its over....and in husbands terms: when the frequent sex starts and ends.

Friday, March 4, 2011

You Know You're Baby Crazy When:

There is more to the story. But I feel like the last couple posts have been kinda sad, so today I am just going to act like I'm at a Babyholic's Anonymous Meeting and say, Hi, I'm a babyaholic.
Here's how I know.
Yesterday a friend and I went out shopping, and had lunch at PF Changs. The dining room fabric shown below is obviously fortune cookies. However, I saw something different.

Do you know what I see? Babies butts. Yep, thats right. I see cream and purple colored babies at a fifteen to eighteen week ultrasound that are giving their moms and dads a "toilet seat" view of what gender they are. Effing crazy right? I know. But its what I see. It's what consumes me everyday.