Infertility · Trying to Conceive · TTC

Polyps Be Gone

My uterus got a very expensive makeover last week.  This all seemed a bit rushed and dramatic in my opinion, but better than waiting to get it done next month and missing out on two potential IUI cycles.  I was just a little miffed that I had to ask for a HSG for months, but when they want to drug me and tug on my uterus they’re making me come in ASAP.  “Hooray! You have something we can fix! AND WE WILL FIX IT NEXT WEEK!” How many times do I have to explain to them that I have anxiety?  You can’t just spring this stuff on me, I need time to digest it!! You’ve probably learned by now that I’m a big baby when it comes to any sort of procedure/out of the norm medical stuff.  I spend my pre-procedure time repeating, “OR…maybe I don’t need to have this done!” and then I’m stubborn as all get-out during the healing process.

There was just enough time between my SHG and the hysteroscopic polypectomy (say that three times fast) for me to mildly begin to accept that my tubes like to play uterus, and my uterus likes to grow polyps like fungi.  Why can’t there ever just be something wrong with my arm?  I also had the perfect amount of time to finally get truly, insufferably angry over this late discovery.  I asked for an HSG after the ectopic.  I can understand not wanting to aggravate tubes (or women) that were just under a lot of stress, but I’m pretty irked that it wasn’t offered after the Twelve Week Wait.  Why not get confirmation that your tubes are open after an ectopic pregnancy? And check that your uterus didn’t decide to flourish with wannabe skin tags because they wanted to host the embryo?  Knowing I’m working with cleared tubes and a smooth uterus in Month 9, instead of Month 14, makes a difference.  I would’ve still be trying naturally, for one. I could’ve had a chance to finish up Year One with the super fertileness that’s promised after both procedures.  No one’s forcing us to do IUI next month, but I’m already in the fertility treatment mindset (I cried to my Mom about it and everything) and I know I’m not sane and confident enough to backtrack and cross my fingers that all I needed was a snip and a good flushing out.  I already feel like we’ve wasted enough months just waiting to get to this point – I had this potential issue all along and no one would just test me.


Doctor Kate thinks all this is JUST WONDERFUL though.  She keeps referring to this procedure as what might look like a step back, but is just a little hiccup and it’s so good we found this and blah blah blah.  If she doesn’t ditch the supreme optimist act soon, we’re going to have a problem.  I was told for the second time that there’s increased odds of conception for about two cycles post op, and I tried my darndest not to roll my eyes.  I’d love for that to be the case, but at this stage – I can’t afford to get my hopes up.

My pre-appointment instructions included lots of helpful recommendations – like wear comfy pants, and call your doctor if your uterus explodes.  I was also instructed to store two prescribed pills of Misoprostol in my cheeks hamster-style an hour prior to the procedure to soften my cervix.  The pills weren’t bad – I didn’t notice a single thing, probably because they took forever to dissolve in my cheeks, but I didn’t enjoy reading something else that actually said the pills would DILATE my cervix.  That seemed a little cruel. “Oh, you can’t have a baby? Well here’s the worst part about pregnancy in pill form, just as an added bonus!” Thankfully I didn’t feel like I was going into labor, so I had time to focus on my anxiety instead.

What I was most worried about (besides, you know, dying from complications) was if this completely restarted my cycle, considering this already felt like the longest month of my life and I had only been to three appointments so far.  

Me on CD10: Doesn’t it feel like it should be cycle day 28 by now?

My Husband: I literally have no idea what that means.

A lot of threads I read (yeah, I know…stay off Google…) said that the procedure reset their cycles, so I looked like an idiot when I double checked three times (so, triple checked) that it wasn’t going to change anything.  Once with the nurse, once with Doctor Kate before the procedure, and once again with Doctor Kate post op when she told me she scraped out my lining.  “No. This will not change anything about your next cycle, because we left the ovaries alone.” – Doctor Kate, wondering how a 28 year old woman still hasn’t figured out how periods work.  I know that the lining is involved with all this stuff too, so stop making me feel like a crazy lady! My second concern was how/when exactly I get dressed post op (yes, seriously), because the last time I was put under twilight sedation I was able to keep my clothes on, and I definitely don’t remember being moved into the recovery room at that time.  I was worried they would think I was coherent and so they’d leave me to change, and all of a sudden I’d be walking down the hall pantsless looking for my husband. In my nervous chatter, I asked Doctor Kate about being pantless so often that she probably thought I was being endorsed for how many times I said ‘pantsless’ until she finally said, “Yes, modesty.  You’re just going two doors down, and you have your gown and blanket.” (The blanket was clutch by the way, as I was freezing after I woke up.)  They probably weren’t excited to see what I’d end up saying once they actually gave me the good juice.  Basically, I need to find a new OBGYN now because I’m too embarrassed to show my face in there again.

One thing I did know at least was what the procedure would entail, because I thought it was in my best interest to watch a video I found on uterine polyp removal.


A small camera goes in to check out your polyps – which look a lot like that dangly thing (official medical term) in the back of your throat.  Then, they take little baby pliers to snip off the polyp and…well, I don’t know what happens next, because that’s where the video ended. So I was sitting there like ‘THEY JUST LEAVE THEM IN THERE?!’  I also didn’t get to see any ‘after’ pictures of my polyp removal, so I can only assume that it was left to lay on the floor of my uterus forever.

Here’s the other thing that I couldn’t find in all the blogs and threads I dug through: how are you lying during the procedure?  It sounds insane, but all I could keep thinking about was the image of me passed out on a table, spread eagle for Nurse, Doctor Kate, student who didn’t ask if I cared that she was there, and the male anesthesiologist to see.  It was such a ridiculous thought that I couldn’t stop giggling at how silly it must look. Turns out, it’s not a table: it’s a chair.  A chair with such a severe recline that I thought at one point they were tipping me back too far and I was going to slide out.  Wondering how you avoid flailing your legs around when you’re conked out?  Oh, they tie bands around your ankles to secure you to the chair.  Just another casual Wednesday!

When I woke up, the first thing I remember saying was, “Well, that was just lovely!”  It was a nice little nap, and besides my crippling anxiety – I didn’t feel much before or after the procedure (though I wasn’t given any of the strong pain meds, so I definitely felt things a few hours later).  Afterwards in the recovery room, Doctor Kate showed my husband and I pictures of my uterus (because we’re always looking for ways to be more open with each other) and we saw the one polyp that was actually in there.  One. Not even in the spot where an egg would usually implant.  I felt a little down as I asked, “So, did I not technically need to do this?”  She assured me that regardless it should’ve been done, which is easy enough to say when you’re getting paid $4,000 (TG for insurance) to play with tiny surgical tools.  I was again told that this was way better than a blocked tube, and I again refrained from saying, “But you said a blocked tube is okay too…”  Not to mention a blocked tube could be a reason for infertility, whereas a single (albeit hideous) polyp strategically placed in a non-implanting location shouldn’t affect anything.  Back to square one…

As with everything I do, the anticipation was worse than the procedure itself.  But my favorite pessimistic saying is that it’s always better to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised, than be optimistic and something goes horribly wrong!  Almost a week later and I’m still feeling some pressure/discomfort (it’s not too late to discover I have a severe infection with no symptoms and that my uterus is going to fall out!) – and I wouldn’t be mad if my chair at work had more of a recline to it (maybe I can pick up one of those snazzy vaginal surgery chairs!).  To sum it up: if you’re getting a polyp removed, you’re probably going to want to skip ab day for a while.


Now onto what will probably be the most uneventful, and longest, TWW of my life.  Tune in next month for: what new flaw is discovered that prevents me from going through with IUI and forces me to lose yet another cycle.

Infertility · Trying to Conceive · TTC

Don’t Call It A HSG

A sonohysterogram is actually a SHG, or I’ve heard some women call it an SSG, which seems like it isn’t correct but makes it a lot easier to avoid mixing up the two.  I can’t exactly figure out why you would do one over the other – except that my doctor only does SHGs and if you want an HSG you need to go to the hospital, and according to the cheat sheet of infertility pricing they gave me – an SHG is exorbitantly more expensive.  Basically, I’m looking forward to meeting my deductible this month. I also can’t seem to figure out if a SHG or an SHG is grammatically correct, considering ‘an’ sounds right to me, and ‘a’ seems to follow the rules of words, so I’m just going to bounce back and forth between the two before I decide what I think is best.

If you still don’t understand the difference between the two tests, considering I haven’t explained it at all, it’s that the HSG involves some sort of dye and an x-ray machine, and the SHG involves saline and an intravaginal ultrasound (if you start fertility treatments, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a day that doesn’t involve the up close and personal ultrasound).  Regardless of which test you get assigned, you’ve probably heard one major rumor circling and that is: it hurts.  I had read forum after forum where everyone said it was the most painful thing in the world, and then I thought about my friends who nearly passed out when they got their IUDs put in and I thought, “Oh my God this is like the same exact thing – I’m going to cramp out and want to die.”  I mean, objects aren’t supposed to enter your cervix OR your uterus!  Everytime I think about what this actually involves, it still makes me squirm.

Though I’m always in a perpetual state of anxiety, my nerves didn’t get the best of me until I walked into the ultrasound room and was greeted by this cart of supplies:


I didn’t want to alarm anyone, but I was pretty sure my uterus couldn’t accommodate for that amount of saline.  Also, what the heck was this giant syringe – and where were they planning on putting it?! Per usual, Doctor Kate was late, so I was left to stare at the supply cart and also wonder why I took my socks off for this.  Twenty minutes into my wait, I was ready to wrap the paper around my waist and step out into the hall calling, “Hi! Just wanted to let you know I’m ready!” How long do they think it takes to remove your pants?? During that time I even got a confirmation text for my second ultrasound on Monday.  To which I responded “Confirmed – can you please send my doctor in?” Their fault for opening up that line of communication.

I was so on edge that I was afraid my crotch would clamp down during the procedure and someone was going to leave this appointment without a hand.  It’s a good thing they have you lay down on what I can only assume is an actual pee pad, so that if you pee a little out of nerves, no one will even notice!  How are you not supposed to be freaked out about power washing your tubes?

When Doctor Kate eventually came in, she thought she was being helpful when she said that if a tube is blocked, my other tube could go over and grab the egg from the ovary and ovulate with it, but then I couldn’t get the image of my tubes just floating their arms around like those inflatable men at car dealerships out of my head.  


She also mentioned that the only other thing we’d have to look out for is if there’s anything in my uterus (helloooo, it’s only been super empty forever!) we’d have to take care of that before moving on with IUI.  I wasn’t even thinking about my uterus, or my left tube, I just wanted to see how righty was doing after it decided to try to host our first embryo.

Now might be a good time to mention that I was told to take 800mg of Ibuprofen an hour before the procedure, so that might be the reason for me saying: Yeah, I felt it, but it’s not that bad.  I didn’t have intense cramping during the wash – just felt OH that’s a qtip straight up brushing against my cervix (which is actually the only thing that made me cringe the days following the SHG), and AH that would be something entering my uterus!  (Afterwards though…HOLY CRAMPS! I was able to go back to work just fine, but for the next few days had the heavy ache of thoroughly worked out tubes.) The nurse who was in the room kept telling me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, which gave me something else to focus on besides what always looks like a mess of my insides on the screen.

I didn’t even have time to worry about if the saline would push through my right side when Doctor Kate exclaimed, “Oh!  Right tube is open – that was quick!” And righty pulls through for the win!!! I hate to say I wasn’t as proud of my left side for also being clear, but that’s like an A student getting another A – I expected success.  My uterus, however, let me down. One, two, THREE polyps that could’ve been fighting off potential eggs each month. So, not quite empty after all.

Doctor Kate and Nurse I-Didn’t-Get-Her-Name were both wildly optimistic about my flowing tubes.  I was kind of annoyed. I had literally just been told how a blocked tube doesn’t even matter, but that a blocked uterus does matter.  It seems like we should all be a bit more down about these results ladies!  Especially, ESPECIALLY because this now means I’m signed up for outpatient SURGERY to remove the polyps on Wednesday.  I was told I’d need a hysteroscopy which caused me to point out that there’s been some sort of grave mistake, as I would like to keep my uterus – no matter how bad it’s been.  Turns out, this isn’t a hysterectomy and just means they use tiny cameras and tools to take apart my uterus. Oh, and once again I was given a “no baby making” requirement. One step forward, two steps back.  

Nameless Nurse felt bold enough to say a lot of women get pregnant after the polyp removal, which I didn’t bother pointing out that a lot of women get pregnant before a year of trying, and a lot of women don’t have ectopic pregnancies, and that I clearly just don’t like fitting into these typical TTC roles.  I’m not thrilled about losing a month, or jumping from one new problem to the next, but it’s still more proactive than I’ve been in the past year.  I did get a potential diagnosis (and a free pad!) out of this so – worth it?

Trying to Conceive · TTC

The Answers Aren’t All In Your Underwear – and 9 other things you should know while trying to conceive.

1. Birth Control Withdrawal Is A Real Thing (that I made up).  One of my absolute biggest regrets from the beginning is not getting off of my birth control sooner, especially since I was already on the 90 Days of Fun prescription.  If you’re into wasting time and money, you may end up visiting your doctor for a preconception appointment where they will either tell you that a) you should have no problem conceiving immediately after stopping birth control or b) that it could take up to six months for your cycle to regulate.  My doctor is part of the (a) category, when I believe my body was leaning heavily towards (b).  Stopping the pill (or patch, or IUD, or edibles…I don’t know what they’re doing these days) is something that you can easily control on your own, and there are other ways to prevent pregnancy while you’re waiting to see how your body adjusts if you’re not quite ready for a baby.  This definitely doesn’t apply to everyone (as I know my fair share of women who got pregnant as soon as their husbands looked at them after stopping the pill – rude), and there’s contradicting information out there regarding whether the hormones leave your body immediately or if, like conceiving, it just takes time; but nothing taints the excitement of starting to try as much as an irregular cycle right off the bat.  The potential of a surprise pregnancy is better than endless weeks of searching “when do cycles regulate after IUD removal” (but that could be the twelve months talking).  

2. Being a Cycle Boss is Muy Importante. i-said-it-in-spanish-how-much-clearer-could-i-have-been 

Yeah, we all want to “take it easy” and “just relax” those first few months, but instead of feeling zen and preparing your womb for a healthy, stress-free pregnancy, you’re going to be calculating dates and assuming you’re pregnant, or broken.  I downloaded my first cycle app before I even got off birth control (that’s the extent of my pre TTC womb preparation)…and now I have a total of three.  If you’re going to track, please do me a favor and track the right way.  Apps go based off of algorithms and your average cycle length to determine when you ovulate – your ovaries however, do not.  To become a true Cycle Boss, one must determine their own LH surge/ovulation day.  Having this information on hand (or entered into your app) will show you lots of cool things (okay, just normal things), like: when you should be dragging your husband to the bedroom, how long your luteal phase is, and the best days to start testing (if you must).  If you’re using OPKs and never get a surge, or temp and never see it rise, then you may want to go to the doctor.  If you noticed your cycles are longer than 35 days or shorter than 21 days: go to the doctor.  If your luteal phase is under 10 days or you spot throughout your cycle or haven’t had a period in 8 weeks but all your pregnancy tests are negative, GO TO THE DOCTOR.  If you aren’t tracking and haven’t had any success so far, OPKS and an app might be the way to go – it’s all in the timing.  If it helps, you can always delete your app and redownload it every time that you get a negative test and feel like everyone else got pregnant that month.  Are we having fun yet?!

3. Every Month Will “Feel Different”.  Your boobs feel like sponges this month (what?), your cramps are more of a burny feeling than the usual tightness, you thought your essential oils smelled funky last night, which can only mean one thing: YOU’RE PREGNAAAANT (in Oprah voice).  You’re going to say it.  You’re going to think it.  But you damn well better not read too much into it.  After twelve months in a row of “this feels different”, I’ve learned that one of my main not-pregnant symptoms is simply: different.  What a thrilling adventure of symptom spotting each month!  It’s a bitch to feel like you have neon signs pointing towards Pregnantville when all your different symptoms resulted in the usual outcome.  I’m not going to be so bold as to say STOP SYMPTOM SPOTTING, because if you’re TTC it’s your new favorite hobby, but don’t be surprised when you’ve said “this month feels different” for nine cycles in a row.  You’ll get it in your head that you’re exhausted and starving, and then when your period shows up regret the tub of french onion dip you inhaled the day before “for your baby”.  I’m even gonna throw in a bonus fact here: 4 DPO Means Nothing.  Implantation doesn’t occur until 7-12 DPO, with 9 DPO being the most frequent day.  You aren’t experiencing any early signs of pregnancy, and you most definitely should not start testing.  If you ARE pregnant, you ovulated sooner than you thought.  Save the craziness for the second week of your wait when implantation could have actually occurred.  

4. Sharing Sucks.  


That’s right, I said it (says the girl about saying it who has only said it to about five people…huh?)  In general, I don’t get the thrill in stating to everyone you know, “We’re about to start having frequent, strictly scheduled intercourse in an attempt to merge our cells together!”  Yeah, that might not be exactly how you’re breaking the news, but that is what you’re saying.  Sharing that you’re trying is a personal decision, but remember that once it’s out there – you can’t take it back.  Expect people to boldly ask if you’re pregnant all the time (which you’ll love even less if it doesn’t happen right away), and to be watching you more closely than if you had kept it to yourself.  It’s easier to brush off questions when few people know that you started in the first place.  Plus, it makes announcing once you’re pregnant that much more exciting!  (Or so I assume…)  If you find that you really need someone to talk to, or that the friends/family you have shared with don’t seem to quite get it, there are a lot of online communities (or even your new Cycle Boss App™) where you can find women in your exact same situation who are always more than willing to discuss the struggle.  

5. The Answers Aren’t All in Your Underwear.  It’s like Pavlov’s dog – except instead of a bell, you’re pulling down your pants, and instead of drooling, you’re staring at your underwear.  But basically the same thing.  You’re going to notice a lot of fun (and by fun, I mean gross) things going on down there now that you’re trying.  Suddenly you’ll be using words like watery and creamy to describe your most intimate of fluids (yep) and will try to assign one of them to an impending positive pregnancy test.  Your new goal in life will be to experience the mythical EWCM – that is, when you’re not scouring for possible signs of implantation bleeding.  Please consider this your friendly PSA to stop shoving your face in your panties and over analyzing your findings.  I drove myself batshit crazy one month because I was SO SURE that I was experiencing implantation bleeding.  What was definitely a sign of my implanting embryo turned out to be a tiny red fuzzy (which I later noticed all over my sweaters and jeans – am I experiencing implantation bleeding through all my pores?!)  Surprise, I wasn’t pregnant!  And I’ve already discussed how CM itself isn’t a reliable source for determining pregnancy.  It’s okay to get excited if you notice spotting around the optimal time, but don’t turn every trip to the bathroom into a panty excavation.  Who knew that one day you’d feel repressed unless you went eyeballs to underwear while peeing?

6. Over Testing is the Devil’s Work.  


Not trying to brag, but I have had some of the MOST clear, crisp control lines that you’ve ever seen on a pregnancy test.  I’ve had many a day ruined by a negative test, and I’ve played the game of: would you rather…? more times than I can count.  Would you rather: wait around for your period to start and be crushed when it eventually does, OR see an insanely negative pregnancy test and cling to the hope that you could have a late implanter?  I had once convinced myself that if I tested every day in the second week of my wait, that it would turn it into a OWW (one week wait) and reduce my anxiety since testing would become a part of my normal routine.  I’m here to tell you: you will never have reduced anxiety when it comes to a pregnancy test.  You will never accept the negative result.  And you will never be okay with seeing one pink line.  Every negative you see will be like going through a bad breakup.  You’ll have the sudden urge to dye your hair and go out dancing with the girls while slurring, “It doesn’t even matter” all night.  Negatives are depressing enough to see, but frequent negatives can break you down.  You’ll start to understand why some women are four days late and still haven’t tested because they’re so terrified of seeing another lone line.  If you have to test, wait as long as possible to take one.  My qualifications for testing are: once a month, 10 DPO at the earliest, FMU only (so I won’t have the excuse of “but it wasn’t FMU, maybe it’ll turn positive!), and I’m not allowed to waste one if I’m expecting my period that very day (or the next day even).  If you can, take a break from the potential negative tests, and just wait.  

7. The 12 Month Rule is a Guideline. 


Don’t be a slave to the 12 Month Rule.  I cringe every time I hear a story where a couple waited the appropriate twelve months before they started any type of diagnostics, and then learned that his motility is concerningly low, or that she had what she thought were regular cycles but wasn’t actually ovulating.  I’m not suggesting demanding HSGs (even though I did just that) or invasive ultrasounds after three months, but a simple round of bloodwork for you and a semen analysis for him can tell you a lot about where this journey is going for you.  The Cycle Day 3 bloodwork that accompanies fertility treatments seems to give so much valuable information that I can’t fathom why it isn’t offered when you first start trying.  Cycle Day 21 (which will probably NOT be on CD 21 for most women) progesterone checks can give you a clear answer as to whether or not you’re ovulating – another important bit of information that would be helpful to know before a year is up.  Each piece of good news after one of these tests will feel like you’re picking up crumbs – because you’re still not pregnant, and you still don’t know why, but slight peace of mind at any stage is invaluable.

8. Your Man Isn’t Totally Useless.  Sure, he can’t take over peeing on sticks for you (or he can, but you’re going to be waiting on that positive for awhile, and like an addict – you probably don’t want to share your stash), and maybe he never empties the dishwasher, but that doesn’t mean he has to play such a small role during this process.  I hate that there is so much pressure and responsibility put on women when it comes to TTC.  Nothing will drive you crazier than your husband telling you to “just relax” during the TWW, considering he doesn’t have swelling breasts and twitching ovaries distracting him all day.  You might not be able to transfer your anxiety over to him, but you can involve him in other ways.  Ask if he could control the ‘baby dance’ days this month and only tell him when it’s your fertile week or when you get a positive OPK (and then completely scratch this idea of he gets performance anxiety).  You could even have him look up new things to try (pineapple, anyone?) or enlist him to hide your pregnancy tests so that you’re not tempted to test any earlier than you should.  Or maybe he’s just in charge of picking up the wine-infused ice cream when this month was a bust.  Even though the stress of trying is going to weigh heavier on your shoulders, you’re still in this together – don’t forget that.

9. Life Still Exists.  Unless you’re me and one of the more thrilling aspects of expanding your family is the fact that you’ll have the forever-excuse of “oh shoot, can’t, have to watch the baby!”, then you probably still want to “do life”.  Living according to cycle days and ovulation tests is stressful enough without removing all your vices (bye coffee! later alcohol! see you never, sugar!)  This sounds like a good idea at first, until eight months have passed and you haven’t seen your friends in weeks because you refuse to go to Happy Hour.  Trying to conceive doesn’t mean putting your entire life on hold.  Plan trips, schedule events, and drink till it’s pink (if you want)!  Don’t suddenly get wishy-washy on signing up for aerial yoga in a month’s time or agreeing to attend a bachelorette party because you’re still waiting on a positive.  If you are pregnant, you’ll find a way to handle these situations, but you’ll be much more upset if you miss out on a girls night just because you maybe possibly could be pregnant (and then definitely for sure weren’t).   

10. It’s Okay Not to be Okay.  I don’t want to say “you’ll probably have no problem getting pregnant within the year mark, or sooner” (like Doctor Kate was cruel enough to say to me), but the odds are really in your favor.  There’s a good chance you won’t share in any of my experiences, except for the disappointment of a lost month or two, but know that there aren’t qualifications for being sad, or anxious.  There’s no set month where you’re officially allowed to worry about your ability to get pregnant.  Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s only been two or five or eight months, as if your feelings aren’t justified because of the amount of time you’ve put in (or haven’t).  We’ve all been told how easy it is to get pregnant – you’re allowed to feel crushed when it doesn’t happen right away.  Take the time you need to recover each month that doesn’t end with a pregnancy.  Cry in the shower.  Spend a night in by yourself.  Smother your feelings with wine, if that works for you.  But know that you can do this, that you are strong enough to go through whatever journey you might have to take.  And when there are days that you feel too shattered to continue, know that there’s an entire community of us out here – waiting to pick you back up.  


Infertility · Trying to Conceive · TTC

The Consult

A month ago, my sister-in-law (an unexplained infertility survivor) passed on these words of advice: “OBGYNs are there to listen to you, fertility specialists are there to get you pregnant.”  She unintentionally filled me with fear – am I wasting my time with this appointment?  If I saw an RE would they tell me they can’t believe I’ve waited so long and I can start treatments immediately?  Do I want to start treatments?  It doesn’t help that every time I call my gyno’s office they volley me between the receptionist and nurse, asking me to again explain exactly what I’m wanting done, so that they can in turn explain why that won’t be happening.

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 11.28.25 AM

As I mentioned in my last post, I was scheduled for a little conversation with my doctor to discuss next steps (even though we all know the next step is supposed to be the HSG).  Per my usual routine, I called the doctor’s office three times in the same day  – trying to play with dates and times to get me in there earlier this cycle.  I figured if I could get the consult over with early on, that she would happily schedule my HSG for this same month and we could all move on with our lives.  I wanted, no NEEDED, that HSG this month!  After “can you please get me in sooner” call #3, the receptionist told me, “The date you have is the earliest time we can get you in for your kind of appointment.”  My kind of appointment?  What is THAT supposed to mean?!  I imagined my appointment booked as “Impatient TTConceiver Gone Mad” at 9AM.  Fine.  Two can play that game.  I came loaded with questions – prepared to blow her out of the water with the evidence of my struggle, all the things I’ve tried, and end with my closing argument that I must, I must, be scheduled for an HSG (oil-based, preferably – I hear that’s the type that can help you conceive shortly after).  We’re playing by MY rules now.


It was like going into an interview – dressed to impress (does this sweater say “I deserve to have a baby?”) and armed with a resume of everything I’ve tried this past year (“yes you read that correctly – I mastered my shoulder stand in Month 5”).  I even made sure to do my nails – as if she was going to say, “No betch with chipped polish is gonna get an HSG in my office!” – I’m fairly certain that’s exactly how she speaks outside of work.  The worst part was feeling like I was owed this procedure, but knowing she had all the power.  Nothing makes you feel quite as impatient as someone completely disregarding your timeline.

When I first walked into the office, I could feel everything.  The ultrasound room pulsed behind the door like it had its own heartbeat.  I’ve been there since the ectopic (love me some blood work), but this felt different.  Failure whispered around me.  I wanted my next official appointment with my doctor to be because I was pregnant, not because I hadn’t had any success.  I wondered about the women who were providing urine samples, or meeting with my doctor in her official office – were they getting confirmations on pregnancies while I was prepared to get down on my knees to beg for a dye injection?

The nurse who brought me back completely underplayed my ectopic experience by starting with, “How are you doing?  I know you had a kind of rough appointment the last time you were here.”  Rough?  Let’s try worst-day-of-my-life appointment.  I had to keep myself from looking at her incredulously when she confirmed, twice, that we were actively trying.  Trying to conceive has become such a part of my life that I’m surprised people can’t smell it on me.  Pheromones of desperation creeping from my head.  She kindly noted that we wouldn’t be able to do the HSG today (does my chart say “this woman will try anything – be as straightforward with her as possible, immediately?”) if my doctor does approve my request, and left me seated on the paperlined table.

I immediately went back to memorizing the notes I had made in my phone, like I was preparing for the biggest test of my life.  My doctor was running thirty minutes late (which I can no longer complain about as I took her away from appointments during my ectopic diagnosis) and the room was uncomfortably hot.  I was on edge – thinking she’d come in to see sweat running down my face as I stuttered about ‘years’ and ‘tests’ and ‘please’, forgetting all my key points and “must mentions!” on my list.  I have never left a doctor’s office with answers – heck, I can’t even leave them with prescriptions now that everyone knows I’m trying to conceive.  This was do-or-die; she was either going to immediately say, “Of course you can get the HSG, I promised you could!” or come up with some ridiculous reason for why I couldn’t get one – like I have sensitive tubes from the methotrexate and if they push dye through them they might disintegrate.  She could’ve offered me anything and I would’ve been happy with it – a step!  Progress!  

Doctor Kate (might as well give her a name) then descended straight from the heavens, down into the room I was waiting in.  Okay, maybe she knocked and shook my hand when she came through the door, but it sure felt like she was an angel when she gave me this gift: “Some doctors might say that you got pregnant with the ectopic and they’ll reset the twelve month clock, but if you started trying in February and you’ve been consistently trying for twelve months (she didn’t even mention the three months that the methotrexate made me wait!) then we should move onto next steps, because you want a baby.”  My heart exploded.  I couldn’t believe it – she was on my side!  


I had prepared for battle, but not for a win – I was speechless.  She went on to describe what exactly those next steps are, which don’t include an HSG yet (heart deflates – I wanted that oil based sauce up the cooch!), but instead there’s an ultrasound (hello, my old friend) with saline that will show what my tubes and uterine lining look like (OPEN!  THICK!  Please please please!)   Apparently, one problem on my end could be if my right tube was all scarred up from Little Sac.  It seems a bit ironic to me that you’re better off with a totally blocked (or removed) tube than a slightly damaged one – am I supposed to ask them to seal off righty if the path is lined with shards of my ectopic memory?  I sheepishly asked if fertility was higher after this procedure (a sonohysterogram, add it to my TTC dictionary), as I had read that it was for the HSG, and she said Y.E.S.  Lady, I can’t handle all these lovely words at once!  

She kept dousing me with information after that: but wait, THERE’S MORE!  She went into a discussion where she attempted to dumb down clomid and IUIs for me and I wanted to say, “Yeah, I’ve heard of these things, I’ve been trying for a year – remember?”  But I couldn’t get the words out because she was telling me I could do this next month.  This could be my real life in a matter of weeks – I could join the realm of drugs and trigger shots and sperm injections.  I’m trying to not get ahead of myself – IUIs are generally not very successful, buuut neither am I, so maybe it’ll be just what the doctor (literally) ordered.

She gave me a list to outline what my next cycle could look like if we went the sono and IUI route and I shuddered in pleasure.  A list!  A timeline!  A PLAN!  Her final parting words, “Call us on the very first day of your cycle to get started, and obviously if you’re pregnant this month then all of this will be moot.” – Aaaadorable.  I grinned sarcastically, “I’ll call you.”  

Now I’m torn on this decision.  Do we go all in next month?  Or should I take it one procedure at a time?  If the tubal flushing could make me (potentially) more fertile, shouldn’t I start with that?  But then you play the what-ifs: what if my right side is too scarred to transport a healthy embryo?  Then maybe they wouldn’t let us do IUI in April, which would push our first attempt back to May.  Should I take everything I can get?  If I end up going through IUI anyway, isn’t it worth it to do everything in one go?  I’m slowing starting to put my walls of pessimism back up as I’m debating my options – caution whirring in my head.  Why are they already throwing IUI at me as an option?  Is it that unsuccessful that they don’t even care when you start?


I can hear my sadistic genie hissing in my ear: be careful what you wish for.

Infertility · Trying to Conceive · TTC


We’ve successfully not gotten pregnant for a year (how’s THAT for positivity?!)…and there’s nothing I can do about it.  It’s a strange sensation to hit the year mark and be left saying, “Sooooo – let’s just keep doing this!”  

Definition Of Insanity Quote Definition Of Insanity Ben Franklin

To kick start us taking this trying to conceive journey full circle, I received one negative pregnancy test, followed by one HSG rejection call.  My HSG!  The one thing that I was looking forward to at the year mark (looking forward to an HSG?  What is this life?)  I was told that I could schedule a “consult” to discuss the procedure (which was already previously discussed) and that we had a date scheduled for Valentine’s Day.  One year, and I’ve booked a conversation.

Every woman who struggles to conceive has their 12th month marked on her mental calendar, an end goal that no one wants to reach.  One year should hold the start of answers – the beginning of a new process, new frustrations (clomid makes me dry! The IUI didn’t take! Turns out his count is zero…), but I haven’t gained anything with this time.  Instead of a baby, I’ve spent the past year becoming fluent in TTC acronyms and memorizing conceiving stats, even occasionally beefing up my vocabulary with a new potential diagnosis.  There’s a world of facts and terms that I wouldn’t even be aware of if this wasn’t my story; I crave to be anything other than a walking TTC encyclopedia – wrapped up in a soft cloud of ignorance.  I’ve had to explain chemical pregnancies, HSGs, and how OPKs work through gritted teeth, my undesired education in (in)fertility expertise.  One of my first-trier friends didn’t even know what the two week wait is.  The bane of my existence, the monthly sanity-sucking Dementor that has plagued me for an entire year, and she hadn’t even heard of it.  

I pour fear down the throats of my childless friends with the tales of my experience: what if that happens to me?  And dole out small doses of affirmations to those with babies; as they go home to wrestle toddlers to bed and awake to screaming newborns they think: at least that isn’t happening to me.  Because, whether my baby-blessed friends want to admit it or not, I make them appreciate what they have by sniveling over what I lack.  I’m the car accident you drive by that fills you with sympathetic relief.  My husband is incredible (an extreme understatement) – I have him, but then you pair that with the knowledge that he’d be the most amazing dad, and suddenly the World’s Best Husband isn’t enough.  Our relationship has adjusted to make room for conversations on ovulation dates and spotting – it’s been brought to a level that I never wished to reach.  This must be how oversharing starts in marriages.  Are we only a few years shy of throwing open the bathroom door and crying out, “Honey, come look at this!” – and it’s not a pregnancy test?  We’ve become the couple who can’t stop talking about their kids – and we don’t even have them yet.  

Yet.  This is the word that I try to imprint in my mind as I attempt to kill the vision of my last negative test with moscato.  The endless hope that these last twelve months – the counting, the waiting, the heartache – haven’t all been for nothing.


Each month feels longer than the last, but still I’m left with a shock of cold water – a year passed in a blink.  It’s only when I think about how according to Plan Me I should’ve had a complete pregnancy by now – baby and all, that I realize how long a year really is.  I’ve watched countless announcements bloom into births, only children promoted to big siblings – all while I’m playing a mental game of frogger, trying to duck and dodge my way out of prying questions.  The desire to open up about my struggle becomes stronger every day, word vomit burning it’s way up my throat.  “We’ve been trying for a year and all I got was this ectopic!” – not the best souvenir.  I’ve moved on from planning baby announcements to planning infertility announcements.  What will I say?  When will I say it?  What happens when I rip off the bandaid, only to reveal a gaping, oozing wound beneath?  

There’s still a little voice begging me to try to do this on our own.  Once you enter the world of fertility treatments, that’s it.  You’re never going au naturale again.  At the same time, I feel cheated, wronged by this process that promised if I saw a second February, I’d be welcomed into a fertility clinic with open arms.  “Twelve months, you made it!  Can we interest you in some blood work?”  My body’s version of the statue of liberty – give me your tests, your needles, your ultrasounds!  Give me a piece of hope.

Constant disappointment is my normal – negative tests are becoming commonplace.  The calendar is resetting in my mind.  One year down.  Round Two: Begin.

Book Review · Trying to Conceive · TTC

The Impatient Woman’s Guide To Getting Pregnant (A Review)

My first trying to conceive self-help book! – which is not what I exclaimed when this was first delivered.  This book sat in my shopping cart for a few months, then curled up in my nightstand for several more months.  It never felt like the right moment to start reading.  My how-to-finally-maybe-hopefully-get-pregnant book was delivered smack dab in the middle of my ectopic healing – not exactly the time that you want to read about how you too can get pregnant in as little as three months!  I decided to give TIWGTGP (not a real acronym used, but I have no desire to type that out – I’m practicing my impatience) a chance when I was near another breaking point, which just happened to be this month.  I’m struggling with my almost one year blues, and I’m not emotionally ready for more negatives coming my way.  So I creaked open my first ever used book, was assaulted by the overwhelming scent of incense (can’t blame a girl for trying to relax while reading a book about conceiving), and gave it a go.

The Good:

  • The author, Dr. Jean M. Twenge (or, just Jean?  I feel like we’re on a first name basis now that I know the length of her luteal phase) got me hooked on this book pretty quickly because she is a PLANNER – she spoke my language!  I drooled as she used her first chapter (and later, the appendix) to list what you should be doing each month to prepare to conceive.  I’m already in too deep so I can’t take part in the ritualistic burning of birth control (not a real recommendation), but five pages in and she still had me making a note to buy 1,000 mg of fish oil (of which I’ve forgotten what it’s even supposed to help with…anxiety? Future baby health? The magic juice that will finally get me pregnant?!)  This book felt like I had written it – that is, if I was wittier and had a PhD.  She took all my feelings and put them into words, leaving me with a mental orgasm of YES, YES, YES as she described the fear and anxiety – and absolute lack of control – that creates our inner TTC monsters.
  • Jeanie (my new BFF) changed my life with this next section.  Please prepare yourself to hear the best news in trying to conceive history: stress and anxiety do not cause infertility!!!  So that’s it – I’m never reading anything else that says otherwise and I want to tattoo this on my arm to reference for the remaining months of trying.  No one’s saying that stress is good for you – so don’t start tossing up a confetti of Xanax and Prozac to celebrate your anxiety, but it shouldn’t be pinned as the reason why you can’t conceive.  This was music to my uterus, because for months I have been considering going back on my anxiety medication until we have a successful pregnancy.  There are still some hard days that I know could be avoided if I was still being medicated (I’d give almost anything to get my social skills back), but this news gave me the confidence that I can avoid jumping on the pill train, only to be dragged right off of it if I do become pregnant.  One thing to make note of is that something that could cause infertility is depression, so if you find yourself sinking a little too far into the darkness, it’s best to seek help from either your therapist or doctor (for more than one reason).
  • Another belated Christmas gift from this book: Jean mentions that “trying too hard” can lead to more pregnancies than “just relaxing”!  She banished the obnoxious “just stop trying” advice and pointed out that if you’re not timing everything correctly, you may end up not pregnant because of that, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I’VE WORRIED ABOUT WHEN I’VE CONSIDERED NOT TRYING.  I am not about to go into the TWW blind – it’s that kind of laid back mentality that’ll really drive you nuts.  Similar to He’s Just Not That Into You – getting pregnant when you stop trying is the exception.  Getting pregnant when you’re practicing cycle awareness and timing everything correctly is the rule (generally speaking).  
  • An additional tidbit that I found helpful was that she recommends transferring your thoughts from “I will never have a baby” to “I am doing everything I can to try to get pregnant” and even avoiding “I know I will have a baby” – which I thought would’ve been the suggested technique.  Manifesting your destiny and all that crap.  Essentially, I need to ditch my TSwift mindset of we are never-ever-ever going to conceive (doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it anyway) and accept that there’s only so much I can do to make this happen (cause relinquishing control is a total strongpoint of mine…)
  • Speaking of your mindset, I learned that I’m ruminating – which is a fun new word to describe my compulsion.  Ruminating generally means repeatedly thinking about something, but in this case it implies that you’re freakishly obsessed with thinking about getting pregnant (I had literally just mentioned this being my new OCD).  This is, unfortunately, a no-no (AND can to lead to depression which can lead to infertility), so I’m working on directing my thoughts elsewhere through meditation (VERY new to this…) and by reading books that encourage me to think about what I’m not supposed to be thinking about.  Wait a second…
  • More new words (and a new favorite!): defensive pessimism.  I am a ruminating, defensively pessimistic woman!  I flagged this section of the book to read out loud to my husband, gloating that I’ve been doing life right all along! and how a DOCTOR recommended that a smidge of pessimism is good for the soul (for example: if you tell yourself it’s unlikely you’ll get pregnant and you do – you’re pleasantly surprised, but if you don’t – it’s what you expected).  This filled me with the weirdest sense of joy.  What I had always assumed was a defense mechanism against life (why get my hopes up just to be let down?)  was actually being praised as the proper way to think!  Am I a psychologist now?  Have I missed my calling?  “Hello patient – you should just expect the worse and you’re either awesome because you’re right, or thrilled because you were wrong!”  Nailed it.
  • My last interesting take away from The Book of Jean is that she actually recommends seeking help for infertility after six months, which is a nice idea if most women didn’t have to depend on insurance requirements or referrals.  This does make me feel even more motivated to get a HSG next month though – because why should I go through one more painful cycle on my right side?  When it comes to the twelve month rule, I simply can’t stand that the entire medical field gives TTC just one huge shrug and says, “Meh, it takes time.”  But WHY?!  You can’t expect me to accept that all the first-triers or even first-three-month-triers are merely lucky (more on that later…)  I think the most difficult thing with getting help too soon (and she touches on this as well) – would be never knowing if you could’ve conceived naturally on your own.  Fertility testing early can’t hurt, but actually going through with IUI or IVF before you might need it just means more stress, more money, and no guarantee.  

The Bad:

  • She’s a temper and I am not: end of story.  Not really, but it made me wish I could temp to confirm ovulation and check for continuously elevated levels post ovulation.  Are most women tempers and I’m the only one left dependent on smiley faces and playing a game of guess-who with my ovulation date?  She also focused more on the fertility monitor (which is a cool $120, says the woman who wants a $220 ovulation watch) which made me wonder if the ClearBlue digital ovulation sticks weren’t “in” when she wrote her book.  Regardless, I was both surprised and terrified to read that many women already ovulate once they receive the peak status on their fertility monitor.  I have so many questions about how that could be possible.  Jean, girl, are you telling me I can’t even trust my OPKs now??
  • Maybe I only feel this way because I was so not interested in this topic – but there was too much focus on ways to influence gender (as in: there should be none).  I suppose I already know what gender my children are going to be, so it doesn’t quite apply to me, but it seemed like it was a lengthy chapter (and she continues it in the appendix!) that could be summed up with: no one’s really sure how you can choose to have a boy or a girl naturally.  This, plus the section on when you should conceive (ie: if you have allergies, plan your pregnancy around your allergy season – like LOL okay Jean I’ll just magically get pregnant now to avoid that), left me chuckling over how women could be so picky at a time like this.  I’m at the point where I’ll take any baby, any time (okay, that didn’t come out the way I wanted it to…)
  • Then came the entire chapter that made me cringe as Jean tried to beat into my brain how okay it is to have a baby in your late thirties or early forties.  Yes, it IS okay, but that is the farthest thing from my plan, and stop making it sound so luxurious!  She throws out comments about how it’s “easier” to get pregnant when you’re younger which made me wonder if I’ve been right all along about being an eighty year old trapped in an almost-thirty year old’s body.  (Maybe if I keep saying I’m almost thirty, it won’t sting as much when it actually happens – in a short year and a half!)  Realistically, I should be pleased that age doesn’t seem to matter all that much (does anyone else hear that clock ticking?), but it made me feel like I don’t belong in any of these sections.  Young + Struggling to Conceive + Healthy = ?
  • A little bit of huh? on my end: the guide recommends getting a sperm analysis before you even start trying.  I’m a strong advocate for investigating your fertility earlier than the year mark, but this seems a bit extreme.  I suppose I did purchase a book about impatient women, so I presume they can’t even waste the potential first few months before knowing if there’s an issue or not.  I think that’s an easy way to up the anxiety straight away – but again: impatience is a virtue in this novella.  (And you’re allowed to be anxious anyway!)  

The Ugly:

  • At one point, Jean crudely notes that she “…would have been certifiably insane after six months (of trying).”  Whoa Jean – harsh.  Maybe she doesn’t get me after all.  This isn’t to say that her feelings aren’t justified – I’ve had my fair share of months (this one included) where I state that I can’t do this anymore, but you put your big girl panties on and you keep trucking because you have to.  Still – her words opened a wound that’s never really healed.  Maybe I am too far gone for the TTC self-help book after all.
  • A frequently used term, or enough that I paused to complain about it, was “lucky cycle”.  I’ve always thought everyone who gets pregnant right away is lucky but are you kidding me?  We’re seriously going to chalk this all up to luck and say that everyone I know won the conceiving lottery, while we’re left vigorously scratching off our baby tickets?  (If those exist, I would like all of them please!)  That left me feeling like this book might as well have been called How To Maybe Get Pregnant But Who Are We Kidding This Is All Just The Luck Of The Draw Anyway.  Ugh.
  • “Are you a woman trying to conceive?  Well be prepared to tackle this all on your own!” – that’s the impression I was left with any time men were brought up.  Agreed, women bear the majority of the TTC brunt, and men are generally more laid back when it comes to just about everything (each month I ask my husband if we can try to knock him up instead since he’s so much more relaxed), but that doesn’t mean they’re not involved.  I can’t imagine the pressure of taking this all on yourself – especially if you progress into the later months.  There’s even a quote where a woman says, “Don’t expect your husband to ‘get it’ or support you – he probably won’t.”  Yikes.  Sure – they don’t have to experience the misery of symptom spotting or testing or feeling broken, but that’s not a free pass on supporting their partner.
  • The last little jab I experienced was when I cruised on to the appendix and on the first page saw a note that if a woman under 35 tracks her cycle and has sex at the right time, that the chance she’ll get pregnant is 65% – uh, what?!  How did I miss that little fact in all my reading?  And again – WHAT?!  This news should make me happy.  I can rattle off all my cycle stats like it’s my phone number, but that means I’ve dropped even further into the low ranks of women trying to conceive.  What am I missing here?

In the end, TIWGTGP left me with quivering ovaries and that bitter taste was back in my mouth.  The simple fact is: this wasn’t written for me.  The writing was casual and informative (and she’s a fan of the parenthesis-talk too!), but I had looked over one crucial key point: it’s for women who haven’t even started trying, or who are still in the very beginning.  It’s a fun read if you’re in the throes of a two week wait and want to kill time (and yes – even calm yourself down a little, because she does have some tips for that), but if you’ve been at it for as long as I have, it won’t offer you much else.  I read it at the beginning of my cycle and walked away with a slightly increased vocabulary, and two containers of fish oil pills (which I later realized were already included in the DHA in my current prenatal vitamin).  If you’re new – this is cute and probably worth the read.  If you’re not – maybe pass on it, or you could still try it out as there might be something that you discover between the covers that I missed, which might change your entire experience.  My major take away: nope, nothing’s wrong, and yet I still can’t figure this out.  Frustration overload.  

Maybe I should start drafting my TTC book: It’ll Happen Or It Won’t – literally no one knows the truth about conceiving.

Trying to Conceive · TTC

New Year, Same Me

New Year’s Resolutions are reserved for those who, unlike myself, prefer to better themselves only once a year.  My method of betterment occurs around when I’m next going to be seen in a bikini, or when I realize I went up a size in pants – again.  I prefer to dive into cleanses biannually, only to claw my way out a week later, sputtering about how fad diets are more unhealthy than carbs.  Bettering yourself doesn’t always have to do with discovering the new, thinner you but…doesn’t it?  I’m too old and set in my ways to pretend I’m going to attempt to “not overthink that awkward conversation I had five years ago” or “learn to sleep without taking a pill”.  And I’m not even going to bother lying to myself by saying I’ll stop obsessing over trying to get pregnant.  Constant pregnancy thoughts are my new OCD.

I tried to bargain my way into this New Year.  “Okay…I’ll let it be 2018, but only if you let this be The Year of Pregnancy!  But not a year long pregnancy, that’s not a thing.  Also, pregnancy for me please, not just The Year of Pregnancy…Announcements By Other People – that’s mean.  Thanks!”  While slurring over champagne and vodka waters, I quizzed my husband over how this just had to be the year now, right?  And that he had to promise to impregnate me this time, as if last year was a practice round.  This is my consolation prize for 2018.  All roads lead to the same end goal, whether it’s natural or through IVF, there should be a pregnancy this year (can we all knock on wood for me please?!).  February feels like it’s breathing down my neck – reminding me that my one year is around the corner.  It was the same reason why I wanted to dig my heels into 2017 and refuse to enter the one year (but not really anymore) mark.  Though it’s not necessarily considered a year of trying, that’ll be May now (HOORAY!), it’s still imprinted on my mind as one year since birth control went out the window and I was consumed by knowledge of cycles and sperm lifespan.  I didn’t think ‘easy’ was going to be for us, but I had hoped that ‘year’ wasn’t going to make its way into my vocabulary either.  

Since I have been on this ride longer that I would’ve liked, I have started laying out some new 2018 TTC guidelines such as:

  • You can only look at your tracking app to enter the day you get a positive OPK and the day your next cycle starts
  • Symptom spotting isn’t allowed, but you can enter any out of the ordinary symptoms so that you can learn that ‘being really hungry one morning’ does not mean pregnancy
  • Only one pregnancy test can be used per cycle.  Choose your date wisely.

2018 is already draped with pre-planned fertility appointments as well:

  • HSG in February (my doctor said I could flush out my tubes if I didn’t conceive after three months of trying post ectopic, plus – my right side does hurt every other month, so I’d like that to stop)
  • Check out the men in March (this isn’t all about me after all!)
  • Initial infertility consultation in April (cause why should I wait?!)
  • Demand IUI in May (I don’t hear a ton of IUI success stories, but it’s a step that insurance companies or fertility centers might make you take, and it did actually work for my sister-in-law on her second round, so sign me up!)
  • Cry in June, July, August, September, October, November, December if I’m not pregnant (or, if I am: hormones.)

Impatience isn’t what I’m going for – I crave order in my life, and since there’s so little I can control during this process, I have to make the most of what I do have power over.  Otherwise, I’m basically sticking with what hasn’t been working so far.  Optimism!  


Suffice it to say: 2017 didn’t go according to my plan, including the deranged genie who thought that an ectopic pregnancy counted as my wish to be pregnant during Month 6.  Every step I’ve taken post-college went against “The Plan”.  Besides marrying my highschool sweetheart, everything else has been off.  Younger me had a plan: to be married by 25 and, preferably, on 5/10/15 (because the number lover in me squealed with delight at the multiples of five).  Baby by 28 (which, mathematically speaking, is no longer possible – even if I got pregnant right this second).  House in the suburbs.  SAHM (stay at home mom) status.  The Plan is slowly crumbling at my feet.

Twenty eight years old and I’m stuck in a basic nine to five office job, living in an overly priced box of an apartment in the city, and babyless so close to my 30s.  Here’s the thing though: May 10th, 2015 was a horribly cold, rainy day.  Our actual wedding day (the following May) was outside in the Midwest and it was BEAUTIFUL  (a combination of words that you don’t often hear).  Life didn’t give me the wedding date (or even year) that I wanted, but in exchange gave me an incredibly gorgeous day that I’ll cherish forever.  Maybe that should be enough encouragement for me to stop volleying between “this could be our month!” and then “why would it be any different?” each day.  That would be resolving to change my mindset though, and I mentioned above: too old. too set in ways.

Not to mention that just as I was deciding to accept the path that has been chosen for me, a resolution came to me, unbidden and unwanted, in the form of a text.


A (younger) friend who told me back in June, the same month she got married, that she was going to start trying in February.  A punch in the gut even back then, knowing that she could end up being more successful around my year mark.  She doesn’t know that her suggestion came off as insensitive and cruel – that her words curled off my phone screen and constricted themselves around my heart.  This is my resolution, but I’m not ready to hand her an invitation to my pity party.  I can’t imagine being so nonchalant about trying to conceive that you don’t fear sharing your plans with everyone – to be excited and expectant when it comes to the next step in your life.  My mind has already conjured up images of tears welling in my eyes as she beams, exclaiming that she’s pregnant, while I’m knee deep in phase three of my 2018 plan.  A resolution easily made and achieved.  How can I resolve to change something when I don’t even know how to fix it?  

2018.  Either going to be my year or just a year.

Progesterone · TTC


What do we want?!  High enough progesterone levels to sustain a pregnancy!

When do we want it?!  Around seven days post ovulation!

I’ve officially become a fertility-based hypochondriac – which is different from my regular hypochondriacisms because in regular life I’m certain there actually IS something wrong with me and doctors just can’t figure it out, whereas in TTC life I’m just making up problems and doctors are confirming I’m perfectly fine (unexplained infertility, anyone?).  As a former math teacher, I’m fond of problems that have a straight solution.  Not getting pregnant?  Maybe that slight pain you feel is endometriosis!  Struggling to conceive?  Could be that twelve day luteal phase!  Ectopic pregnancy?  Bet that was caused by low progesterone levels!

Odds are that if you “have something” – you’d figure it out by now.  Of course there are the random few posts where women will say “I was having regular cycles, positive OPKs, and found out a year later that I was never ovulating!” and those are the stories we latch onto.  We dig our nails into them and make them our own because having something you can fix is better than just. not. working.  

So where did I come up with my newest theory?  As if I need a reason!  But this time I did have more to go off of than just blind fear.  I had at home progesterone tests!  You may have only heard about LH and hCG, but there’s also PdG (progesterone) that can affect your chances of getting pregnant (because why should it be just a couple of hormones?!).  Progesterone is important because it helps to thicken the uterine lining for implantation and so your levels will be highest post ovulation.  If you have low levels of progesterone you may have irregular cycles, experience early miscarriages, or (like me) find out that it’s an ectopic pregnancy (since my levels were at 1 when I was “seven weeks” along).  Progesterone levels should be highest between 6-9 days after ovulation.  If you’ve been in the game for a while, you may have heard about the 21 day progesterone test, but that may not be accurate for all women.  21 days is based on a “normal” 28 day cycle with ovulation occurring on cycle day 14 (14+7=21, wala!) – so for women with longer cycles, or who ovulate later, you may miss your progesterone surge if you get your blood work done too early.  

I wasn’t getting blood work though.  Why go to a doctor’s office when you can just test it yourself at home?!  Considering you can’t find the progesterone tests absolutely everywhere like you can pregnancy and LH strips, I figured they may not be totally reliable, but since I owned them I decided they were telling me the truth and that my progesterone levels were: low low low low low.  They came with my easy@home 3-in-1 pack and instructed that, like a pregnancy test, you should use them after your longest sleep, but completely unlike pregnancy tests – you don’t want to see two lines.  The first time I used these tests were during my ectopic pregnancy and they helped convince me that I never ovulated that cycle because there was a second line seven days after my positive OPK.  I used the strips again a month or so post the ectopic to see if I was back to ovulating, but there it was again: the second line.  In November I used these for days 5-8 past ovulation to see if there was any difference and…the second line kept showing up.


So, not fully ovulating?  I’m constantly annoyed with the 12-month rule and refuse to wait while I get negative after negative only to be told later that I haven’t been ovulating and that I just wasted an entire year.  I wasn’t sure about how it works with requesting blood work for yourself though.  Don’t you need a doctor to agree that yes, that’s something you need?  I tried it out anyway and was volleyed between the receptionist and nurse while I explained yes, I get positives on LH tests, but I have what I assume are unreliable progesterone test strips and they’re always negative.  They seemed confused, which goes to show that these progesterone strips are definitely not well-known, and I had to play the ectopic card, “I think that I may have low progesterone levels and that could have caused my ectopic pregnancy back in September, so I just want to check to make sure I don’t need to be put on supplements.”  And I was in!  I was surprised when the nurse I spoke to asked the date of my last period and then counted to say the day I was calling was cycle day 21 and I could come in.  Um, no thank you, I just ovulated 3 days ago so I’d like to try to be slightly more accurate with this.  I broke it down for her and scheduled an appointment for about 8/9 days past ovulation (never 100% sure since you know I can’t handle temping!)

I was unnecessarily excited about scheduling blood work – I was getting ANSWERS!  Nothing can be more thrilling than adding another piece to the puzzle of trying to conceive!  Low progesterone levels would’ve been fine with me, because that meant I was going to be put on supplements to help us conceive, and then this whole thing would become a walk in the park!  I began to imagine that the doctor would call and say “we also threw in an hCG test since we usually do these together and, well, you’re pregnant!” and then we’d both jump up and  down on the other end of the phone and scream about how exciting this was and how I never had anything to worry about after all!  There was a shift in that mindset once I made it to my appointment though.

One of the nurses eagerly came over to me and began asking if I’ve been experiencing any spotting or cramping because “there’s always that increased risk of the ectopic”.  Which I know, but I was suddenly confused – what did that have to do with my progesterone levels?

“No, well…yes, my right side is cramping, but it’s been more vocal ever since the ectopic.”  She seemed pleased by my answer and suddenly it dawned on me…did she…did she think I was pregnant?

Automatically I changed my mind and I no longer wanted them to “accidentally” check my hCG levels.  I wasn’t ready to hear that this was another lost month – I was supposed to find that out myself on New Year’s Day!  How could they not understand what they were testing me for?  This was very clearly an appointment to confirm ovulation, not pregnancy.  

I woke up to a voicemail the next day.

“Looks like you did ovulate, your progesterone is 10.31,”…and then without missing a beat, “The pregnancy test did come back negative, it does look like you did ovulate, but will probably be getting your period in another week or so.  If you have not gotten your period in another week or so, we ask that you do take ANOTHER pregnancy test, but it does look like you ovulated just unfortunately not pregnant at this time.  But if you have NOT gotten your period in another week or so, please retake a home pregnancy test.”

Alright.  First of all.  What is this pregnancy test that you keep referring to?!  I’m confused about what she’s confused about.  Was I not clear about why I was getting this blood work?  Second of all.  How dare they test for something that I didn’t request!  That would only be okay if I actually WAS pregnant!  Now she just ruined something that I was supposed to figure out all on my own in a week!  And did she really expect I’d just accept that?  NO.  Of course I had to take to Google and see if some women have gotten 0 on their beta test around 8/9 days past ovulation and still ended up being pregnant.  She knows I’m not pregnant, I know I’m not pregnant, and yet…could I be pregnant?  No, no…probably no.  The whole reason I was going to wait to test this month is so that I could avoid crying into my glass of champagne on New Years Eve for entering another year pregnantless.  Well…cheers to an empty uterus now!  I was doing so well with this TWW too!  Keeping myself busy, not counting days, calming myself down and repeating “good uterus vibes” whenever I got anxious…even sitting there with a polite smile on my face while my troop of aunts and cousins swapped birth stories at Christmas.  A right of passage that I haven’t experienced.  What about that string on my bathroom floor that was curled at the top and looked just like a sperm!?  Are you telling me that meant NOTHING?!  

Moral of the story is: progesterone wasn’t the culprit and I’m keeping up my not-pregnant streak for the remainder of 2017.  Here’s to hoping 2018 holds either all the BFPs, or all the answers.

OPKs · Ovulation Predictor Kits · Pineapple Core · Trying to Conceive · TTC

My TTC Arsenal: I’M BACK!

Oh.My.GOODNESS!  I had no intention of going almost an entire month without posting, but my anxiety has manifested itself into a tension headache that has lasted for nearly four weeks now.  Before you think I’m ignoring something serious again – I’ve been to the doctor, TWICE!  Once, I was given a large dose of Ibuprofen to “kill” the headache, which only felt like it was killing my stomach (I still believe it left me with a lovely little ulcer), and the second time I was told to get my eyes checked and to “avoid looking at screens”.  So…no texting, no e-reader, no Teen Mom, no blogging!  (Because we’re just going to ignore the mac daddy of all screen time: WORK!)  I wasn’t given a doctor’s note stating that I needed three weeks of PTO due to my headaches and reduced screen time, so I continued on with texting and reading on my Kindle and finishing the newest season of Teen Mom 2, and I cut out the extra stare-at-your-screen work of writing.  I did get my eyes checked and they claim I need a pair of low prescription glasses (I am quite skeptical about how they figured that out just by asking me if 1 or 2 was better for thirty minutes.  Just because one is slightly sharper than the other shouldn’t necessarily mean I need glasses, where’s the control group of my own (old?) 20/20 in this?!), but I won’t see my glasses until sometime in December, and I’m not totally sure slightly poor vision would cause my temples to burn for weeks on end.  Husband thinks the headaches are caused by black mold in our apartment, I think it’s just anxiety (and Dr. Google told me that there’s an antidepressant out there that can get rid of chronic tension headaches – why I have not been given this yet?!), but knowing our luck – we’ll both be wrong and it’ll be bot flies.  Lord help me if it’s BOT FLIES!  

Anyway, I’m trying my hardest to pretend that I’m making up the restless legs, shortness of breath, and dizziness that I’ve noticed sporadically throughout the month, and focus on more important matters: TWELVE WEEKS!  Phew, that wasn’t so bad!  


With lefty being on deck this month (or maybe not, I don’t really know if that’s how this is working, please don’t punish my ignorance with another ectopic!) I wanted to pull out all of the tricks.  Not trying to put all my eggs in one basket (literally…), and I’m sure righty deserves a chance to redeem itself, but just saying that I wouldn’t be upset if we turned into first-triers this time around (knock on wood, salt over shoulder, other things that cause jinxing to not occur).  I decided to risk it and use the same itinerary as I had the month we conceived, regardless of that outcome.  So, either I could’ve figured out what works for us, or I could be in possession of the recipe for ectopics.  Guess we’ll find out, eh?!  Below is my trusty-but-terrifying (and very TMI) combo:

  • SMEP: If you enjoy timing everything out to a T then the SMEP is for you!  It stands for: Sperm Meets Egg Plan and is supposed to be a “proven technique” for ensuring that…well, the S has all the possible opportunities to meet with the E.  Hence the name.  A fairly simple process, you BD (baby dance) or DTD (do the deed) or BMS (basic married sex) every other day starting on CD 8, and then once you get a positive OPK, you up it to three days in a row, take a day off (THANK GOD), and then have super planned baby dancing one more day until you can go back to your normal lives.  I’ve read lots of great reviews on successful pregnancies using this method, but obviously we never really know what works when we finally get a BFP.
  • Pre-Seed: I’ve heard mixed reviews on the sperm-friendly lube (bleh), but it “helped” us that dreaded month so it’s back on the table!  If you’ve been in the TTC world long enough, you’ve probably heard about the miracle that is Pre-Seed.  If you’re new – it’s supposed to mimic your own fluids and assist the little guys in their journey upwards.  Less is more when it comes to how much to use – most women use under the recommended dosage, so follow instructions at your own risk (unless you’re really, really into water parks)!  They don’t provide you with nearly enough of the applicators and you’ll probably find yourself with half a tube left, which you can use for external use going forward if you don’t want to feel wasteful.  (Some women even “sterilize” the applicators in boiling water so that they can reuse them but I just….I just can’t bring myself to take things quite that far.)


  • Pineapple Core: Truthfully?  I wondered if this is what caused my whole debacle to begin with, but considering there are lots of women that try this and don’t end up with an ectopic pregnancy, and after being told by my sister that my whole situation was “just one of the mysteries of life, and not caused by a pineapple” I had to wipe that from my mind.  I already did a whole thing about pineapple core in this post, so check it out if you haven’t already, and get implanting!  (Note: this round, I did learn that using a bread knife makes it a lot easier to cut through the skin of the pineapple!  My husband’s idea, of course.)


  • FertilAid – This is a touchy subject for me, only because I feel like I’m calling out my husband, but I’m not!  This became a part of our TTC regime once Month 3 was unsuccessful (let that sink in for a second – MONTH. THREE.)  We didn’t do any sort of testing to make us decide to introduce FertilAid into our lives, just figured “the more the merrier!” and brought the pills on board.  The bottles (should) do exactly what they say – increase count and motility.  I’ve read stories where men used this after poor analysis results, and after a few months their numbers vastly improved, so that was reason enough for me.  Why wait twelve months to find out that all you needed was a couple of pills a day?  I’ve had my husband go through the ingredients numerous times to make sure there wasn’t anything funky in there, so we’re both comfortable with our decision.  I just can’t quite fully endorse this only because I don’t know what his levels were to begin with.


  • Ovulation Predictor Kits – I wasn’t going to mention this one because I felt like it was too obvious, but just in case you wondered: YES, I’m still using these!  Especially because I lost my mind the past few months since I didn’t know exactly what was going on (but, do I ever???).  Knowing when your surge is (and estimated ovulation – unless you’re temping, then you’re lucky enough to have CONFIRMED ovulation!) matters for several of these items: SMEP, Pineapple Core, best days to utilize Pre-Seed, and for your basic sanity of seeing a positive somewhere!  A friend of mine keeps insisting that my OPKS are causing me unnecessary stress, and I’ll agree that almost every month there’s a moment when I think a positive isn’t going to happen and I enter panic mode, but getting that confirmation calms me and helps me to better understand each cycle.  

Where do we find all these goodies?  Amazon.  Or, Walgreens if I’m feeling particularly panicked about low levels of anything.  All of these items are pretty pricey (at least, according to my standards), but I can’t bring myself to remove any of them from our monthly routine just yet.  I should mention that raspberry tea has been sitting in my pantry for months now, but I honestly can’t figure out how/when exactly I’m supposed to use that.  Most of my searches result in pregnant women asking if it’ll jump start labor, while I’m over here like, “MUST BE NICE!”.  So, maybe that’ll make it’s way into my kit soon.  What’s a must-have in your TTC routine?!

Ectopic Pregnancy · OPKs · Trying to Conceive · TTC · Two Week Wait · TWW

Feeding the Monster

Stomach aches.  Ovary pings.  An extra day of spotting.  These are a few of my biggest fears (bonus points if you sung that to the tune of ‘my favorite things’ in your head).  Ovaries are supposed to take turns each month on who releases the egg, and according to the cramping and pressure on my right side, it must be righty’s time to shine.  And it doesn’t feel great.  There is no manual on What To Expect When You’re No Longer Expecting: A Guide to Surviving Ectopic Pregnancies, so I was blindsided when it felt like something was actually shifting.  Ovulation, yeah?  I figured I was being thrown a bone – now I get an extra sign that I’m actually working!  Except when I took an ovulation test (expecting to see a shining positive and smile in triumph that I’m beating the system) it was negative.  I crinkled my forehead as I stared at the strip daring to tell me that I was not currently fertile.  Do I ovulate earlier because of the ectopic now?  Later?  NOT AT ALL?!  I’m back to my anovulatory cycle theory, completely disregarding the stress and anxiety and total wrongness this caused me in August.  So much for succumbing to the process.  I tried to pull the same stunt last month – had all these symptoms that I thought meant I was ovulating like crazy and then…negative.  Took an at-home progesterone test in an attempt to put my mind at ease – negative.  Pregnancy test (I knooow….) – negative.  Can’t catch a break with the BFNs.

Why couldn’t I just let it be?  


I will admit, I felt more (dare I say) calm during my days when I was completely free of the TTC mindset.  There was a tickle of pleasure when I first realized I had no idea what cycle day I was on, but that realization lit a fire inside me and drove me to start counting dates and making notes of my symptoms.  It’s like my anxiety synced up with my Two Week Wait and symptom spotting is inevitable.  After I caved and tested, I looked up progression lines and tried to determine if it’s possible I just ovulated, which caused the negative tests, or maybe it was going to be positive soon?  (The additional super negative test the next day said that was not the case.)  This is a prime example of why you start testing a few days before expected ovulation.  Or, why if you’re supposed to not get pregnant for twelve weeks, that you don’t test at all.  I couldn’t outsmart the toxic combination of curiosity and fear – the movement in my right side (and, I’ll be honest, an evening before when we were a little “forgetful”), left me unable to ride out the rest of these weeks in peace.  A day later my left ovary decided to speak up – a small lightning bolt of fury at what I can only assume is directed at picking up righty’s slack.  I started imagining an assembly line of eggs struggling to push through a web of scar tissue on my right side, and instead being shot over like a pinball to my left in an attempt to keep up with the timeline.

When is a pinch in my ovaries, or a simple stomach ache, going to go back to being just an annoyance rather than a paralyzing fear that an egg is trying to burst through my tube?  How do I train myself to avoid that gut-punch thought of: Am I ectopicing again?!   There are moments where I have a sharp pain and turn to my husband, wide-eyed, demanding that he remind me I would have known by now if I was bleeding internally.  On a bad day, my thoughts get reduced to two simple words: why me?  And then the parrot-like reminder chimes in, “Could be worse! Could be worse!”  Am I supposed to be glad that this is all that happened to me?  The best of the worse case scenario, yes, but grateful I am not.  It’s like a scab I keep picking.  One blip in all these months and I’m left walking through an exhibit of this moment forever.  

Ectopic Tour Guide: On your left, you can see the spot where she told her husband this could be an ectopic pregnancy, and can you believe it – they laughed.  Ah, straight ahead is the hallway where she continuously called her doctor’s office in a panic.  And if you squeeze in here, you can be in the actual stall where she confirmed both that she was pregnant, and that there was something seriously wrong happening.

Can’t I go back to being just plain ol’ bitter, instead of ectopic-bitter?

This is my fear talking.  Cycle #2 is fast approaching and through my weekly, “Happy (insert number here) weeks!” greeting to my husband, there’s a hint of dread.  Because if we aren’t successful next month, I no longer have my crutch of an excuse that we weren’t allowed to be trying.  Not to mention that if anything seems off, I’ll have the dreaded E-word looming over me, threatening to make it’s 15% chance of appearing again.  Doesn’t seem fair considering I only have a 20% chance of becoming “regular” pregnant, but I’ll let that one go for now.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready to jump back into TTC, I just don’t know if I’m ready for the familiar stench of disappointment that has latched onto it.  You never do know though, maybe – just maybe, I have two pink lines in my future.  Optimism, where are you?