26w6d – Feeling Thankful

Every Christmas I try and think of all the things I’m thankful for, and at New Years I try and think of all the things I look forward to. They’re not something I have made myself do over the years, they’re just something I find myself thinking about or doing when S is finally home for Christmas and the festivities truly begin. Other years, it’s usually been around 3pm when I’m crammed full with Turkey, had a few glasses of Vino, and I’m cuddled on the sofa with S watching Home Alone/White Christmas/Hook/All of the above.

Over the past few years however, although I am always eternally thankful for all the things we have; a beautiful home, an amazing family, wonderful friends, and, of course, each other, it was always difficult to think of new things to be thankful for over the year as the only thing we had wanted and worked hard for throughout that year was a baby. Sure, we still enjoyed Christmas but there was always something missing.

This year, however, it’s all change. Beansprout isn’t even here yet and they’ve sure as hell already made a difference to the Christmas festivities! Not that I’m complaining, but this year I will be without the following:-

But as much as I jest about what I’m missing out on, I really couldn’t care less. I’d give up all the Smoked Salmon in the world (and I frickin’ LOVE Smoked Salmon) if it meant gaining a Beansprout. Likewise, all my Smoked Salmon in the world is not enough to say thank you to those that have been there throughout our journey – some even making this journey possible! So without further ado; trying not to sound like an Oscar’s speech, I have made a very small but thorough list of all the things I am thankful for:-

Our Donor
Quite a big one here – without them we literally wouldn’t be where we are right now. We’ve had our fair share of rubbish Donors and seen several who we’ve been thankful for NOT getting involved with. Over time we thought we’d never reach our goal, we thought “The Perfect Donor” didn’t exist, but then this one came along! They’ve been with us through ever necessary step, making the journey a whole lot easier and certainly a lot less stressful – again, something we didn’t think was possible. We are so very lucky to have found them. We probably won’t ever be able to repay him the gift that he’s given us.

Our Kinesiologist
Some say that they were just doing their job, but for us they opened up doors we didn’t even know were locked and bolted shut! We went in blind when we went to see Kate, we really had no idea what a good Kinesiologist was and what a bad one was – we didn’t even know whether I was fixable! On top of this, I cannot emphasise enough how little we could afford if TTC didn’t work for me – it probably would have been the end of the road – IUI/IVF was not an option financially so getting in touch with Kate was our last hope – and are we glad we did! She really did fix me and 3 tries later we have a Beansprout. For this we are thankful for the recommendation given to us, and of course to Kate.

Our TTC Community
Our TTC journey really wouldn’t have been the same if we didn’t have this wonderful community around us, and we are so very very thankful for being welcomed into it with open arms. It really does give you hope knowing that you’re not alone in this harsh journey.  To those that have given us advice, who have given us virtual hugs when we were at our lowest, and to those who have just listened – Thank you.

If you’re just starting out in the TTC journey, I urge you to communicate with others in the same boat – whether it’s via a forum, a blog, or even via Twitter/Facebook. The community is not only a wealth of knowledge and experience, it’s a shoulder to cry on if it doesn’t work the first, second, or even fifth time – these guys will understand wholeheartedly when others may not.

So there we have it. Only three things, I know, but to us these three MASSIVE things are what we are thankful for this year.

K

The Week That Wasn’t Even The TWW

If you follow us on Twitter, you would have seen that last week was one of the most confusing and stressful weeks. It started on CD12 (01/06) when we saw the flashing smiley face of hope. Everything was going to plan, we had 3 donations arranged with D for CD12, CD14, and CD16 which, according to our Fertility App and previous cycles, this was the week I was due to ovulate. Perfect!

The donations came and went, but I still hadn’t received a positive OPK. I’d started to receive 2 faint lines around CD15 and CD16 but not the strong lines I usually get every cycle. Every other sign had appeared; EWCM, Ovulation pains, and a slight dip in my BBT, but no positive OPK. By CD16 I had seen 5 smiley faces by now which was odd to say the least, but no solid smiley face and no positive OPK. Now I was starting to shit myself worry. We had everything planned, this shouldn’t go wrong! But alas, it was.

I burst into tears around CD19 when S looked at my BBT that morning and advised me that I hadn’t ovulated. I was shell shocked, disappointed, and angry. Why was this happening to me – I never “not ovulated”. That was my thing, the one thing I could guarantee. I know I have plenty, if not tons, of Oestrogen running through me, it was the Progesterone that was the problem! Clearly the powers that be did not want me having a baby. It wasn’t fair.

CD20 then came round and just for a laugh I did an ovulation test as I was still having ovulation style pains and I had started to get EWCM again. So after waiting for just over a minute, out of no where, they appeared; my two favourite lines (if you could ever have favourite lines). YES! YES! YES! So that evening, we text D and asked whether he was free – he was – so we dashed over to his and had one last donation. With any luck, CD16’s boys may still be alive, especially if I was forming EWCM again – but I’m hoping this donation will do the trick.

The only thing I am anxious about is the fact that we didn’t have any Storks left, so we had to resort to our old ways of a syringe. Although I have no doubt about the boys travelling up there (hell, girls have had babies when the boys promised to “pull out” (yeah, I went to one of those schools)), the Stork is clearly much longer than the syringe and it sits directly on the cervix before shooting the boys up there, where as the syringe isn’t and, annoyingly, we didn’t have any extenders. I made sure gravity played it’s part for a good 30 minutes, so I’m hoping I did everything I could.

The next morning, CD21, two stronger lines appeared, and S notified me that I had had a massive dip in my BBT which is my signature move before ovulation. I had ovulated! YES!!! At least I know I ovulated now, which means my TWW began on CD21.

I still have no idea what the signs around CD14 were about. A few peeps on Twitter advise it could be related to a double release – which put S’s blood pressure through the roof (we haven’t accounted for twins) – but I doubt that was it. Perhaps I was a bit stressed which delayed the egg release but my hormones kept everything else going? Who knows. Either way, I’m happy knowing that I’ve ovulated after a well timed donation.

Let’s hope THIS one works!!!

K

Insem #9

I’m feeling really positive this cycle. I know I shouldn’t but, if I truly am fixed, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t work.

According to the fertility app, and previous cycles, I should ovulate between CD14 (03/06) and CD19 (08/06) so we have arranged for inseminations for CD12 (01/06), CD14 (03/06), and CD16 (05/06),

We’re currently using the advanced ovulation sticks by Clear Blue and, so far, we received two flashing smiley faces on CD12 (01/06) and CD13 (02/06) which means I’m fertile to say the least. Once I receive a solid smiley face, ovulation could happen within 8-24 hours after that, however I expect to actually ovulate around CD16.

On top of this, we’ve decided to finally use our Stork kit that we purchased at the fertility show last year. The reason we haven’t used it in the past is because a) we didn’t want to waste it on cycles we weren’t confident about, or ones that we were only going to get one shot, and b) it looked quite intimidating. Watch this…

Without going into too much detail, it was remarkably easy to use. The male part looks and was a bit fiddly according to D, but once he knew how, it went quite smoothly. Apart from it being a bit stiff – pardon the pun – it didn’t feel science-y at all. I think I expected something quite large and clunky, being the first of it’s kind, but it wasn’t. Even when it came to releasing cap, I expected something to punch me right in the goolies but I hardly felt a thing.

Although we don’t know whether it worked, I would highly recommend getting hold of a Stork kit if you have the chance. As someone who has been on the receiving end of the alternative way to inseminate, using the Stork was less stressful than other attempts. With the stork, you just stick it in (yourself) and go (although I still wanted to let gravity do it’s thing for a few moments – just in case). There was no lying on the bed whilst your partner is armed with a syringe, making sure the goods don’t drip, and that there are no air bubbles in the syringe (You can see how it would soon get stressful). S was happier also, as she had nothing to do with it (she had been worrying that she hadn’t been doing wrong over the past few months – this is nonsense by the way).

So as I said, I’m feeling relatively hopeful. I’m still waiting for the positive OPK. Once I get that, I will know when my TWW can start. If this one doesn’t work, I’m going to want to know why!

K

Donor v2.0

Last year we were very open about our donor albeit schtum about their identity, but that’s because we felt (and we still do) that they are an important part of the process who deserve to be included in our writings but this time we’ve thought long and hard and decided that we want to try something new.

There’s nothing to suggest that being open about the third person in our TTC party had a detrimental effect but like announcing something prematurely, you’re open to the elements and it hurts twice as much if it all goes wrong.

Certainly, announcing that we had a donor and that we were actively trying felt amazing – we were one step closer to creating a family, but at the same time; now looking back, it made us vulnerable and that we would have to announce our pain if we were ever to keep this blog up to date.

See, we wanted this blog to be an open blog in an effort to assist others in the process and to reassure others that they’re not alone, however having to announce that we were back to square one was a huge blow and we don’t want to do it again, or certainly not to so openly.

Sure, we’re still going to keep updating so that we’re not hypocritical and can accurately look back at what we’ve been through, it would be wrong of us to keep such an integral part hidden but perhaps this time we won’t go into great detail. If this sounds like we’re being hypocrites, fine, maybe we are but when we started writing we didn’t realise how open we would become and how many people we would meet along the way which meant that every announcement felt like a news flash to the world, making every negative announcement painful.

Without going too mushy, this change; to put it so purely, gives us an opportunity to announce one day that S and I are expecting to our family and friends without them knowing the build up before – making it as “normal” and surprising as possible. By “normal”, I mean un-“sciencey” (something that requires science, mathematics and super powers). Straight couples wouldn’t “announce” that they’re trying to their families, right? There would never be that scenario at a family gathering, unless you have one of those very forward Aunts, where you would be asked “So when are you having children?” It would be weird. Because of the “sciencey” (it’s not a word, I know) part of our process, as AI is very sciencey, we announced our intentions with my mums one day as we were super excited and wanted to share, but in turn this meant we were open to questions, taking the magic and surprise away if we were to announce, not that they would harass us but, understandably, they would ask us how everything was going in a gesture of support incase we needed to vent and, I guess, they were excited too but this in turn took the privacy away – something that we probably needed as much as possible.

So lets just say we’ve learnt and want to keep this one close to our hearts. This one is special.

K

So Here We Are Again…

The beginning of the year started really well, better than we ever expected, in fact. We found a new donor at the start of the year and they were able to start right away. We haven’t been able to write much as we didn’t want to jinx anything, plus, we wanted to be able to give a thorough update.

Without going into great detail, the insemination went well albeit a bit nerve wracking, but when isn’t it – you desperately want it to work, but I can honestly say that previous inseminations have either been super stressful because the donor’s been late or S and I had been arguing about something petty and insignificant, however this time the process wasn’t stressful at all. Whether this was because we were in a good place by starting a new year and mentally pressing our reset buttons, or the fact that our donor is amazing, I don’t know – I’m going for the latter.

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Jumping forward two weeks, I can sadly say that it didn’t work but I feel we were closer than any other TWW… Honestly!

The first week was like any other TWW, nothing particularly special happened, but at around 6DPO I started to feel dull AF-like pains (I don’t get AF pains until the night before she is due, and it’s been like this since the beginning of AF visits). My BBT was also starting to rise at great speed which, in comparison to previous cycles, never happens. Over the next few days, my temperature then remained at a peak (this is called a flat temp reading apparently) and then start to rise again every 2-3 days.

At around 12DPO my temperature was at it’s highest it had ever been since TTC, I was rather gassy (sorry, TMI), I could still find CF which usually dries up a week or so after ovulation, I felt intense ache and pressure down below and I was coming home from work shattered despite not being that active (I’ve also decided not to go to the gym during the TWW). I had agreed to avoid the internet and not symptom watch (which for some reason was easier this cycle!) but when I started to reveal things to S who has the painful task of noting things down for the sake of Fertility Friend so that we can compare cycles, even I was starting to believe. I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t help it.

My BBT plummeted dramatically at 13DPO and AF visited the next day. I was gutted. Why my body plays these vile games, I don’t know. I think what irks me more is the fact I have no answers. Why did I have out-of-the-blue AF pains a week before she was meant to visit? Why did my BBT rise so dramatically and stay there? Why was I so tired? I genuinely didn’t take any notice of my TWW this time which I feel can create symptoms in your head when you’re so desperate for something, but thankfully because I’ve been busy at work and our family household has grown by two boys (**shudders**) for the time being it’s kept me occupied so I don’t believe it was me creating this.

So onwards and upwards, I guess. We’ll be booking in our next try this week with the hope to try once before ovulation and once on or around ovulation day.

K

1 Year On…

It saddens me to realize that we are coming up to a year from when we first started trying for a baby, and we still don’t have a baby.

Although we have only really had 6 “successful” tries, by this I mean when D has shown up at the right time of my cycle, we are still a year on from when the decision to have a baby together became real. A whole year. It may not seem like a long time, certainly if you’re a couple who have been trying for years, but for me I expected this to have happened a lot sooner than where we are now, and that’s not me just being over confident, and verging on arrogant by the sounds of it – far from it. I also never expected it to happen first time or even our third time, but when we’re now at 6 attempts – it is starting to panic me.

There are no fertility problems reported in my family and I don’t feel that I am of a size that may affect fertility, I certainly don’t want to go looking for problems, but what angers and confuses me the most is that I don’t have answers or a reason.

I started this journey feeling relatively positive, but now I don’t know where I am. S and I have things up our sleeve (I will write about this soon) and for this I am able to remain positive but keeping this year in mind I don’t know how long my positivity can remain, especially if there are underlining issues. What sours the issue even more is S.

S, so far, has done a spectacular job every cycle, not to mention keeping track of all my data as well as pretty much being the organizer, but I still haven’t produced. Every cycle after getting that BFN or the arrival of AF, S has said nothing. She has remained positive, albeit saddened to know we have to try yet again; especially a particular cycle has been troublesome and stressful what with getting sporadic contact from D but as soon as he’s done his business nothing else has mattered. She has taken it in her stride on the outside, but I can see her brain ticking over – even if she doesn’t know it. I can see her thinking; “how many more BFN’s?”

So how do we move forward if I am the problem? Sure, we’ve discussed it but at the back of my head I never really contemplated it coming into play.

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The year hasn’t been a complete waste, we’ve learnt a few things about ourselves and how complex the donor process can be, and how frustrating donors themselves can be! During this year alone we found a Donor, we lost a Donor, we found a new Donor, and then finally got rid of them. On top of this, we have found several genuine people who I would now call friends. These include other couples in the same boat as us; couples who we can confide in and talk to, as well as those who have just leant a helping hand during the process, and for that I am very thankful. At least the process hasn’t been a complete waste.

Baby making aside, we’ve moved home and started a healthy eating regime which has seen S and I lose over 5 stone between us in just under 3 months! I’ve also been occupied with my gorgeous Nephew who came into the world just under a year ago but is growing up fast.

53687_253870378093501_1648255631_oHowever, no matter what has been accomplished, we are still as far away from our main goal as we were when we started a year ago, except perhaps a bit more knowledgable of the process. 

Looking forward, I am going to get serious and look into the possibility of fertility issues, and by this I’m going to start with getting myself tested for PCOS. As mentioned, I don’t want to look for problems that may not be there, and sure we’ve only been trying on and off for a year but I also don’t want to stick my head in the sand and continue trying for a baby when there may be issues. It will not only be a waste of our time, but a waste of time for our next donor.

It’s really heartbreaking, especially when I see dozens of undeserving people be given the gift of a child not knowing how damn lucky they are, but I guess I can guarantee that if it does happen for us, our children will know that they were wanted more than anything else in the world.

K.