Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Clomid challenge test and family balancing

After meeting with my RE earlier this month he recommended I do a clomid challenge test to asses my ovarian reserve.  He actually wanted me to do one last time, but I flatly refused because I hate being on clomid so much.  This time however I felt I ought to do it since I'm 36 and it has been 2 years since I've done any testing.
Last week though I began to get alarmed because my period still hadn't arrived and we were going to go camping for the Memorial Day weekend.  I wasn't sure how much flexibility there would be in which day the blood work could be done and also if I could have it drawn at a clinic in Seattle, since we'd be camping up near Bremerton.  After a call my RE's office I learned that I also needed an ultrasound for the clomid challenge test and that had to happen before CD3.  They might have allowed a blood draw at another clinic, but not an ultrasound.  They could have both done as early as CD1 though. So I was screwed if my period didn't show up that night or early Friday morning.  Miraculously, it did arrive later that evening and they were able to squeeze me in before we left town.  My Little Helper was at preschool, but I had to bring Baby Boy with me since it was such late notice. (My clinic doesn't have a no children allowed policy.) I set up the room with toys to keep him busy, but in the end when the staff entered the room I ended up picking him up and holding him on my chest/abdomen during the ultrasound.  My RE was already out of the office for the holiday weekend so they took this opportunity to have an intern perform my ultrasound with another RE supervising.  She was so slow and I was so uncomfortable from her pressing the wand into me and trying to take the measurements AND having a toddler squirm around on top of me.  It will be really awesome if future ultrasounds happen to coincide with days he's scheduled to be in childcare!
Before I left I asked about mid cycle monitoring (they weren't planning on doing it since I didn't want an IUI) and asked if I could add a trigger shot this month since I had success on my follistim cycle when I used a trigger.  The other RE said that would be a fine idea and I left with an appointment, but no prescription for ovidrel.
They called me with the blood work results as I was packing. My FSH was 5.49 and my Estradiol (E2) was 64.  Both within the normal range.  Hopefully the CD10 blood work will also yield normal numbers.
I was so exhausted from camping after we returned home yesterday that I didn't fill the clomid prescription until this morning.  I've spent the better part of today re-researching family balancing options.  It started with me looking back to find out what my clomid dose was the last time I took it.  I'm on 100mg for the clomid challenge test. I never wrote down the prior doses so I had to call my old OB's office to request it.
That lead to me calling up the Tacoma area clinic I was told does sperm spinning, researching the different spinning methods online, like Ericsson and Percoll, then a check with Microsort again.  I had tried a couple times last year, but the first time I was told their clinical trial was closed, they did not have one projected for the future, and they wouldn't take my info to contact me when one opened up again.  The next time I checked in they had just closed a trial, frustrating to say the least!!!
This time I ended up on the Microsort international page and sent a request for information and began envisioning a mini trip to Mexico with Mr. W, sort of a premature Babymoon if you will.
Then on a whim I decided to call the LA based clinic again to see if they had open enrollment coming up soon.  I was shocked when I received a call back so quickly and they were willing to set up a skype appointment for us and send us a new patient package!  Honestly, this is exactly what I want to do and I thought this ship had sailed for me!  They have to best success rate, in the 90% for those trying for a daughter, vs in the 60% with other methods.  And I can do it without involving embryos.  I will have to do an IUI, which isn't approved by the church, but at this point I'm willing to do the 'wrong' thing if it means I can get the family I want.
I know there is a saying, "Let go and let God." but I'm just not strong enough for that.  I feel like I've put up with enough through my IF journey that I should at least use my IF to my advantage to get the sex I want this last time.
Mr. W and I had a real heart to heart conversation after our consultation with the RE about the what-ifs of having a 3rd son.  If we are lucky enough to have a third pregnancy that goes to term, that is the end for Mr. W.  He is no longer open to adoption and would not be open to further treatment or adoption to add a girl for a fourth child.  So this is really, truly my last shot. I told him that  I can't imagine my life without a daughter and am scared about how I would handle the disappointment. He asked me how I have handled other disappointments in my life.  My initial reaction was "Not well." But when I reflected upon it more I realized that I haven't really had that many disappointments in my life.  I have been in control of everything else: where I go to school, studying abroad, getting a job within my field, eventually meeting and marrying the perfect person for me, living in Portland,eventually being able to have children, even getting my dream house,everything I have every really wanted I have gotten.  The one thing out of my control was losing my father to cancer right before My Little Helper was born.  And if the fact that I'm still not over that and still struggling with the reality of that is any indication to how I'd react to never having a daughter, then we're in big trouble.
So, today I am over the moon happy that I could get accepted as a new patient and am eagerly looking forward to me skype consultation.  I'll continue on with the clomid challenge test, but won't add a trigger shot and will probably skip doing timed intercourse this cycle.  I'd rather save my pennies and my luck for next cycle!

Friday, May 11, 2012

RE consultation to try for baby #3

Last week we met with the RE to discuss our plan to ttc#3. 
Our doctor had reviewed our file and said that we could have had triplets because in addition to the 18.5 and 18 mm follicles I had when I triggered, I also had a 14 and he counts everything over 12.  He however was on vacation when I triggered and another RE there was monitoring/advising me.  No one mentioned that to us last time!  Now Mr. W is totally freaked out about doing Follistim again. I'm so frustrated that this has come up as an issue completely after the fact because it kind of changes everything about how we proceed.
The RE said that the lowest dose now for Follistim is 50iu (I was on 75 iu the first time and stimmed for about 8 days) so if we wanted to do Follistim again we could try that. He also suggested I could try Letrozole. That would certainly be a lot less expensive, but I have two concerns:
1) I HATED clomid.  I was like a crazy, evil person on it and I worry that I could have a similar reaction on letrozole (I had no side effects from follistim.) 
2) I worry that I'm working backwards here going from injectible to oral meds. I had 3 unsuccessful clomid rounds ttc#1 and 4 unsuccessful ttc#2.  I'm 36 so I'm not getting any more fertile, and I wasn't very fertile to start with! I feel like I have less time to mess around with options that could work and would rather stick what I know worked in the past.
Since it has been 2 yrs since I was trying to conceive, he wants me to do a clomid challenge test which I'm less than thrilled about, but figure I should probably do it.  It would be good to verify that in two years I haven't ventured into severe ovarian reserve territory thus making the expense of follistim a waste of money.
The other controversial thing we talked about was Family Balancing.  Do we want a daughter? Yes.  We were hoping to see about doing the sperm spinning for sex selection.  The RE however doesn't do it and doesn't have any faith in it.  He said we could do IVF for family balancing, but I feel like that is a really dumb idea when we are at the end of our family building journey.  I don't want extra embryos left over and frankly am not comfortable with the moral responsibility of dealing with embryos anyway.  Having a daughter is very important to me, but I don't think it is that important.  Plus I don't think we could afford IVF anyway.  I won't lie though, the thought of never having a daughter is depressing to me; I just can't imagine my life without one.
I realize that I seem to be contradicting myself.  I'm willing to 'play God' to increase my chances of getting the sex I want, but not willing to 'play God' to create embryos that I will likely not use.  I realize it is an incredibly fine line, but I'm trying to stick to allowable fertility treatments for Catholics.  I feel like any pursuit of treatment puts me on a slippery slope.  One thing I have learned from my infertility journey is that I need to refrain from saying, "I would never do that!" because frankly, I have no idea how desperate I may be and how much I may be willing to bend my rules.
So, if I can't do sperm spinning for sex selection I don't want to do an IUI and would rather stick with follistim, trigger, TI.
I think Mr. W is leaning towards trying the letrozole because the RE freaked him out.   He really only wants one more, not 2.  He is ambivalent about IUI because he is not Catholic and doesn't have all my hang ups. 
So I'm overwhelmed now and don't feel confident about how I want to proceed. Infertility is so confusing!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What a difference a year makes!

A year ago today I posted about viewing two old houses in Mt. Tabor the Mr. W and I were interested in potentially purchasing.  And today I am typing about it from one of them!  I can't believe how blessed we are to have been able to fulfill this dream!  It certainly wasn't an easy process, but I think it will be totally worth it in the end.
Were are all freezing inside right now.  The unseasonably hot weather we had on Moving Day has been replaced with more expected cloudy, raininess.  Mr. W thought the blower was out, but when I had an old HVAC associate out to repair it he informed we that the blower was functioning well for a house of this size, but rather the burner was kaput. Actually the blower switch was in an inconspicuous place and the old blower switch was still labeled as such so it wasn't surprising that Mr. W thought it was the blower that wasn't working.  Rebuilding the burner would take longer than the time slot he was allotted so he rescheduled to come back on Friday, which isn't until tomorrow!  So cold!  We also had an estimator out from the same company to provide us with pricing to convert to natural gas.  Everyone is impressed with the current furnace, and not necessarily in a good way, because it is the original coal burning furnace which was at some point converted to burn oil.  It is enormous!   We are hoping to be able to afford it next spring so we need to repair this furnace enough to make it through one more winter.  Apparently it is so old it is indestructible, it just isn't as efficient as it could be, and we'd rather not be using fossil fuels.
We asked him to provide an estimate to include the following:
  • Convert the furnace to natural gas
  • Convert the water heater to natural gas
  • Add a gas insert to the fireplace
  • Run a gas line to the stove 
  • Run a gas line to the dryer
  • Run a gas line to a future barbeque grill
The cost will likely be astronomical, which is why we need to wait until next year so we can save up.  We were told that the gas company doesn't charge to hook up to natural gas if you buy a new furnace and water heater. 
The cold has motivated me to get in contact with the insulating estimator I had out during the inspection process.  Once we discovered the seller and their agent went AWOL and we'd have to rescind our initial offer I became very discouraged.  I completely dropped the ball with the estimator since I wasn't sure we'd ever even get the house.  But now that we're moved in I've contacted him again to proceed with the estimate.
Our plan there is to add paper backed, batt insulation to the roof cavity of the attic.  When we discovered the house was balloon framed, I thought we could blow in insulation into the wall cavities too.  Upon further reflection, and consultations we realize that we'll still be left with cold spots where the insulation can't spread like under windows as well as any spots where there might be cross member blocking.  However, we figure some is better than none.  And in the future we can drill from the exterior to have insulation blown into those areas under windows, etc. where we no the insulation won't reach. I'd want to do this exterior drilling prior to a new exterior paint job.
While I was discussing the insulation conditions with a piano expert she recommended we contact Energy Trust.  I'm not sure if Mr. W would be interested in that, but it might be a good idea just to see what they say.  My understanding is that they also can provide you with tax credits based upon the work you do, so it seems like it could be advantageous.  We shall see.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One week in

I can hardly believe we have been here a week already! Yesterday was one of my days of 5 hrs child free so I used that time to hit up Target, Home Goods, and IKEA to get more storage infrastructure and fill in a few more must have items, like a mirror for the boys bathroom. On the whole I feel like we have so much stuff that we are filling out this much bigger house just fine. That is until it comes to the bathroom situation. We've gone from a house with 2 bathrooms to one with 5 toilets; that's a lot more tp holders and waste baskets than I had covered. Even the master bathroom needs double the stuff since it is set up with a separate water closet/vanity for each of us.
Over the weekend I replaced some of the yellow curtains with some Shabby Chic ones I already owned. These 84" curtains just cover the window itself, but since it is a bathroom I'm not concerned abut having the fabric reach the floor or, God forbid, puddle in here. I'm tempted to want to paint in here too. Maybe a nice water green color pulled from the stained glass window over the tub. I'm not sure I love the pair of white ones in my half of the bathroom now (you may remember them as a fix for the windows in our office); they block out a lot of the light, but I need them closed completely for privacy considering the toilet is right next to the window stool. In the future when we have money again I'll revisit a cafe type curtain.
Over the weekend I had Mr. W bring the tall, white, bathroom cabinet upstairs to the powder bathroom. I didn't think it would fit during our initial moved and had the movers place it in the scary downstairs bathroom. However it turns out there was enough wall space for the cabinet in here, even between the oddly uneven, multiple towel rings. Why exactly would one need a separate towel ring next to the toilet? There is no bidet feature so I am unclear as to why another towel would be necessary. And why at different heights? Maybe if they were on each side of the pedestal sink, but they aren't so I'm perplexed. I'm still using the green towels we had in the main floor bathroom at the Laburnum Bungalow; they aren't exactly the right shade of green for this wallpaper, but close enough for now. I'm pretty sure I hate the bamboo towels in here so those may get put away for now, or moved down to the basement bathroom for now. I also need to get a tissue paper cover for in here.
This rose wall paper was actually one of the few that I didn't hate when we first saw the house. It's not something I would pick, but it isn't offensive or over the top. And it occurred to me this week it is a nice nod to Portland the City of Roses so I think I could add some of my Portland memorabilia in here. Somewhere in a box is an old postcard I framed that would be perfect opposite the toilet. I still need to hang a mirror in here, Mr. W has an older gold framed one that would work well considering the existing brassy accessory hardware, but it fell apart during the move and I've yet to find screws to fix it.
Another thing I've yet to find in the move is the 3M hooks so I can hang some of our framed posters, prints, and photos. Yes, there is picture rail in this house and I know where all the picture rail hooks are, but with the new ceilings being 10' high rather than 8' all the picture cord will be too short and I can't afford to buy new picture cord right now. I'm eager to find those adhesive hooks so I can cover up some of the offending wallpapers.