The dread of this wait

My wife wants me to stop worrying and stop being pessimistic about conceiving, but for some reason it is a lot easier for her than me. It is 5dpo and I am filled with dread about getting my period on Christmas Eve or Christmas. I initially thought it would be cool to have a Christmas test date, because we would either have a very happy Christmas surprise, or I would be able to enjoy the libations to the full extent. Now, I’m just worried. Will this ruin Christmas for me? Can I buck up and not let it ruin Christmas for me, or will the emotions and disappointment be too much to control on this family and child centric holiday?

We are spending Christmas Eve with my sister-in-law who is 6 months pregnant. And here is where I admit that my green-eyed-monster has come out of the depths of my subconscious at only cycle 3 of trying… Pitiful! My sister-in-law tried for almost 2 years to conceive, and required 2 IUIs. This pregnancy did not come easy for her. And yet, I am finding it hard to revel in the excitement of her pregnancy. She asked if I wanted to come over the day before Christmas Eve and have a sleepover. I am ashamed of this, but I don’t want to be reminded of the fact that the first grand-baby will be born into the family in 3 months, and we may still be TTC in 3 months.

Why does TTC do this to us? Why does it strip us of joy and excitement? Even when we get pregnant we are often too afraid of miscarriage to let ourselves get excited. Why does it make us pessimistic and obsessive? There is a reassuring statistic that when intercourse/insemination is well timed with ovulation, the chance of getting pregnant in 3 cycles is as high as 68%! But all I can think about is the 15-20% chance of it working each new time we try. Like my stats prof used to say, dice have no memory. My ovaries have no memory. Statistically, there is no magical cumulative effect that adds 15-20% to your chances each month.

Ugh, I have to get out of this funk. I feel like I have no right to be so pessimistic and jealous because we have been trying for such a short amount of time. I think that the difference between my wife and I when it comes to our patience level is that I have been pushing and planning for this since last Christmas. I wanted to start trying then, whereas my wife has only recently gotten into the whole idea. I’ve only had to deal with the disappointment of failed cycles twice, but I have been riding the emotional rollercoaster for a lot longer. Anyway, I shouldn’t be trying so hard to make excuses for myself. Time to cheer the fuck up.

I want to end this with a hopeful statement, that maybe this will be our month and we will have a very merry Christmas. But I am too afraid.

TTC Cycle 3: The Two Week Wait Commences

We did our first insemination on Thursday at 6pm, and I thought it would be good to use a SoftCup so I could get up and be productive for the rest of the evening. I tried putting it in after we had done the deed, and I think most of the goods ended up getting pushed underneath the SoftCup… when I got up, let’s just say it didn’t do its job holding anything in…

Second insem was Friday night, and third was this morning. Still no temp spike, but I had 2 days of positive OPKs Thursday and Friday, so I am sure ovulation is happening right now, like clockwork, CD19. After confirming an annovulatory cycle in September, though, I am always a little nervous that I won’t consistently ovulate every cycle.

Today we are going to a vintage and makers market to look for some Christmas gifts from local artists, and then we are going to Costco to look for some Christmas presents from a big box store. Good balance. We are also going out of town tonight to a stay at a friend’s house, so I will be packing my thermometer and hoping for a temp spike tomorrow morning.

Gingerbread Houses with our Donor Family

We are getting closer to our third try. I got a high fertility reading on my ClearBlue Advanced ovulation monitor this morning, but my intuition says that ovulation won’t happen until the weekend.

I am a lot less worked up over things this month. I’m not concerned about getting enough water, I’m still indulging in alcohol and sugary deliciousness instead of trying to make my body into some temple of fertile purity…I’m just living my life, with fingers crossed behind my back.

We had our donor and his family over for dinner on Sunday and we all made gingerbread houses. Here’s a picture of my first and only gingerbread-making experience prior to this weekend, at about age 3:

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And here are the houses my wife and I made as adults. We have lost all of the imagination and creativity of childhood, and strived for the most realistic looking houses we could make with the meagre building tools we had at our disposal. I also got very competitive, but luckily it is common practice to let the [actual] child in the room win, so it took some of my competitive edge off.

I am now on my Christmas break, officially. Still answering lots of student emails, a pile of marking is on its way, and I have 3 manuscripts to finish over the break. Not as much of a break as I had hoped, but it will sure feel nice to get some things on the back burner dealt with.

Next update will be about inseminations, round 3!

TTC Cycle 3 updates

Today is cycle day… whatever, I don’t even know. This is the boring part of TTC. While you have your period there is nothing to pay attention to, no tests to take, and no obsessing. I usually have almost 3 weeks before ovulation, so there are a good 2 weeks every cycle where there is nothing for me to do. I have another week to go still before I crack out the OPKs and start analyzing my cervical fluid… Fun times ahead.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that we are using a known donor, and that our donor and his wife are very good friends of ours. You may also recall that they have a child. Their family dynamic is part of why we trust them so much in this process. We know that because our donor already has a child of his own, he knows what he is getting into in terms of emotions that come with seeing your genes in a new person. He is familiar with the emotions, and he is confident that it won’t be a problem having no parental connection to a child that results from his donations. We don’t have to fear any nasty “that’s my child!” surprises when he meets our child for the first time. We also feel comfortable knowing that they are good people, they are raising a kind, intelligent, and healthy child, and that they just want us to have the same happiness that they have.

But there are some aspects of having a good-friend, known donor that complicate things. We received a school picture of their child, and we put it on our fridge. I walked passed it for a few days not thinking anything of it, and then it dawned on me – that child in the picture on our fridge is the genetic half-sibling of our future child. It wasn’t necessarily a bad feeling that washed over me, just a confused, cautious, “is this weird?” feeling. The fact of the matter is, anyone who was conceived through donor sperm has a good chance of having half-siblings out there. The difference is, they probably won’t be playing with each other.

The other confused, cautious, “is this weird?” feeling that washed over me came when our donor’s wife informed me that they will also be trying for another baby soon. On the one hand, it would be so incredibly awesome to have a friend going through pregnancy and infant-raising at the same time as us. We could go on stroller walks together, and do babysitting swaps. On the other hand, what if we end up competing for her husband’s sperm? This is such a weird concept that I can’t even type it without swallowing hard. But in the end, I suppose as long as we aren’t ovulating at the same time, it probably won’t affect us. We probably won’t even know when they have started trying until they make a pregnancy announcement. If she gets pregnant before me though, I will go through some serious self-blame.

I’d like to wrap up this post about all the weirdness by saying that I am still over the moon happy that we have them as our donor. We are so lucky that they live 15 minutes away, that she drops the sperm off at our door on insemination nights so that we can get in the mood, and that we trust them so completely. All the potential weirdness aside, I wouldn’t trade them for any other donor arrangement.

The Emotional Rollercoaster of the Two Week Wait

Here is the rollercoaster my imagination went on over this two week wait.

1 & 2 DPO: “This cycle is going to work.” Inseminations were perfectly timed, we tried new techniques, and ovulation was not late for the first time in several cycles.

3 & 4 DPO: “This cycle is not going to work.” I reminded myself that the odds of getting pregnant do not increase with each try, and that they are still as low as ever.

5 DPO: “I might be having symptoms!” I started having hot flashes, and chocked it up to progesterone that was surging due to pregnancy.

6 DPO: “I’m crazy. Nothing is implanting.” I couldn’t even imagine any symptoms.

7, 8 & 9 DPO: “Those are implantation cramps! It’s happening!” balanced with “I’m just looking for something to call a symptom. It’s all in my imagination.”    Off and on for 3 days I felt dull cramping like mild PMS and some pinching in my lower abdomen.

10 DPO: “I’m not pregnant. I feel nothing.”

11 DPO am: “The cramping I felt was implantation. Need to take a pregnancy test.” I was sure the test would be positive, and thought I was going to spend my Sunday excitedly planning for a baby. Took a pregnancy test, it was negative.
11DPO pm: “Definitely not pregnant. The early pregnancy test doesn’t lie.” I even partook in a beer tasting flight and ate raw tuna tacos.

12 DPO: “Definitely not pregnant… if I were pregnant, yesterday’s test would have shown it.” But my mind still wandered when I had more hot flashes, and when I was bloated in the afternoon. “…but maybe…” And I googled how many days past ovulation people’s BFNs changed to BFPs.

13 DPO: “Where’s AF? Is she late? Am I actually pregnant?” AF is NOT officially late. I usually get spotting on 13DPO followed by full fledged period over night.

*UPDATE: AF arrived. Looks like we are on to TTC Cycle 3. 

 

First pregnancy test ever

It is 11DPO today. I had pretty persistent cramping on 8 and 9 DPO, which I thought could be implantation cramping. That cramping shattered my pessimism. I convinced my wife to let us take a test. It was terrible…. we both felt like we were going to throw up. And it was more terrible when it was a stark negative.

I know that 11DPO is early and that I should wait until I get my period to lose all hope. But I am still bummed out. Now that I have tried both testing and waiting for AF, I conclude that testing is worse. At least with waiting for AF I get a couple more days of fantasizing that I might be pregnant.

We are going to a crafts market today and we had a beautiful snowfall last night, so I will still try to enjoy the day walking around in a winter wonderland with hot chocolate.

TTC cycle 2 – 7DPO

It is a big month for many of the bloggers and vloggers I follow! Some BFPs and some new babies (holy crap how cute is #babyrosa). It’s not a statistically sound theory, but I feel like my own chances are lower when there seems to be a high number of others getting pregnant and having babies. Like the quota has been met for this month. I am highly, highly pessimistic this time around. Not jealous, not jaded (how could I be after just 1 month), just pessimistic. I am also an all-or-nothing kind of a person, so I reason that it would either have worked on the first try, or it will work after 6 months or more. The cycles in between 1 and 5 are probably going to feel like just something we have to do to get to that 6 month mark, which is the point at which our fertility doctor will have us reassess our strategy. Absurd theory, I know. But it is how my mind works.

My wife also convinced me to put the thermometer away for the rest of the cycle. She made the right call… last cycle I obsessed over every little dip in temperature. I have been doing a lot less obsessing so far this try. At this moment she doesn’t want us to test early, but I am still working on convincing her to let us test on CD11, 2 days before my period is due. I want CD11 because it is a Sunday, so I won’t have to go to school after testing. I just want to see what it is like to test so I will know which let-down method I prefer for future cycles – testing or getting my period.

Congrats to the new pregnancies! You really had it coming after a long time of trying, and I am really excited to follow along on your journeys.