Let’s Try This Again

I had my follow-up ultrasound today and … zero. My ovaries are basically on pause and the Clomid didn’t work for me (shocker). I was nervous but went in expecting the worst and landed somewhere in the middle.  

The good news is I don’t have to wait until next cycle. I went for labs today after my appointment and got the call this evening that I’m good to start a round of 5 mg Femara/Letrozole tomorrow.  

I go back next Thursday, and I’ll have another ultrasound to see if the Letrozole helped me recruit an egg. Depending on how it worked, we’ve discussed doing injectables to grow those follicles! Eek!

At least they told me that they have “emergency stock” they can give me if it comes to that. A vial of 300 units is about $300 so the freebie would be great. Really, I’m not surprised it’s come to this point.  I’m just annoyed with my body, but hoping that the Letrozole helps. If not, we’re looking at injectable-only cycles…but we are just taking it one step at a time and hoping there won’t be a next time. 🙂

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Threes

They say things happen in threes: deaths, births, etc.

  1. Last week, a friend told me her first grandbaby is on the way.
  2. Another friend put up a pregnancy announcement on Facebook last night.
  3. TO BE DETERMINED

Could I be #3? Now, that would just be awesome.

Doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning to see if these stubborn ovaries of mine have decided to cooperate this month. Wish me luck!

 

Beware of Singulair

Recently, things weren’t going so well in the Jones household. We’ve kept quiet about a lot of the struggles we’ve been having, trying to resolve them on our own without involving or talking about it with others. My wife has been increasingly unhappy, and its safe to say it probably started heading downhill once she was pregnant and after she had Jaxson, and we chalked it up to hormones and all the fun that goes with having a brand-new baby plus working a full-time job while staying home with said baby. But its been two-plus years, and its only gotten worse.

We’ve sat down time and time again, and we’ve discussed issues we’re having. I usually have the same two issues with her: try not to speak to me in a harsh tone of voice and don’t hint at things you want me to do, just ask me. She’s also brought up issues she’s had with me regarding making it in to work frequently enough to have a decent paycheck (fair enough – she says she feels as if she’s supporting all of us because she’s the only one with steady income), communicating more about our finances (again, a fair concern – I tend to keep quiet until its a mountain vs. a mole hill), and helping out around the house and with Jaxson more (also a fair concern – seeing as when I do get home from work, it’s my turn so I can give her a break).

I have been trying so hard to do right by her, working on the things she’s brought up and yet, consistently no matter what I do, it was never good enough. She’s been mean to me at times. She’s said hurtful things that I know she can’t possibly mean. She’s spiraled into an anxiety-ridden mess of tension, stress, and depression. She’s quit sleeping, due to insomnia and/or nightmares. Nothing is ever good enough or to her standard. She has freak-outs about situations at work caused by stupid people that seemed unwarranted (I mean, I get it, I get pissed at dumb people at work too, but not irrationally angry.) She kept telling me she wanted to be excited about making baby #2, but she just couldn’t get happy. I’ve been trying so hard and feeling so alone, thinking I was going to lose the woman I fell in love with all those years ago because I couldn’t do anything right. We’ve both been left feeling alone, frustrated, annoyed, angered, and sad, wondering just what happened to us and feeling less than optimistic that this too shall pass. In particular, the last five months have been hell. We’ve been fighting non-stop and she’s quit doing many of her usual activities, and has gotten to the point she doesn’t even want to leave the house. She hasn’t slept in nearly a month. Her anxiety’s been out of control. She’s always had issues with anxiety, but never to the extreme that she’s been showing lately.

I went to bed before her the other night, not an unusual occurrence due to her insomnia. Not 30 minutes later, she came running into the room and woke me. “Oh my God, Baby!” she yelled, “I have to tell you this!” And she told me of how a friend of ours posted a Facebook status about her daughter’s escalating mental and behavioral issues (anxiety, anger, etc.) after starting to take the “new” (generic) Singulair again for her asthma. “This could be it,” my wife cried, “this could be what’s been making me so miserable!”

As it turns out, J has asthma, and has for many years. She’s been on Singulair for about 10-15 years, and since 2012, she’s only taken the generic version of this medication (montelukast sodium). We just filled her medication for 90 days in December 2014 and she remarked how the shape of the pill had changed from before. Since then, her moods and demeanor have gotten progressively worse and our home life has followed suit. We thought maybe she needed to go to a therapist or be on some sort of medication for anxiety and/or depression. We had never thought it could be due to the Singulair since she’d been on it so long. We didn’t realize it at the time, but thanks to that Facebook post, we started looking back and we can pretty much pinpoint the start of her problems at the original switch to the generic in 2012 and then the switch to a different pill shape (manufacturer difference?) in 2014.

So many other people commented on our friend’s post, saying they’d noticed the same issues in themselves or their children, and a quick search online found hundreds of others who have had these issues themselves and in their children. We are both so thankful that our friend posted when she did. If she hadn’t, there’s no telling how much longer we would have been suffering through these trials with no clue what was happening. If J had gone to therapy sooner, they could have just put her on more medication that she may not even need.

After reading our friend’s post, she hasn’t taken another Singulair. It’s only been two days and she has already noticed a huge improvement. She actually slept last night, for the first time in close to a month! Her mood has already improved and at our anniversary dinner last night, she told me how she was so sad that we’d been going through all of this because of a stupid medication. She didn’t want to actually be going crazy, and didn’t want me to wake up one day wondering who I’d married. I am so relieved that stopping it has already helped her feel better and more like her old normal self again. We’re optimistic that quitting the Singulair will solve a lot, if not all, of the problems she’s been facing lately.

I just wanted to share our story in hopes of helping someone else or their child that may not be aware of just what Singulair/montelukast sodium is capable of. Not everyone will have these side effects, and it just so happens that J is very sensitive to side effects. It slowly turned my wife into someone I barely recognized anymore, and I just keep thanking God that our friend posted when she did, before anything worse happened.

Please spread the word!

De-Mystifying this Unicorn Couple

The “Unicorn Couple”: That couple that has it all together and has their happy ending. Nothing gets them down, nothing can tear them apart, their love is boundless and has no end. They shower each other with love and affection at all times, under all circumstances. They never fight, they never fail, they never have hard times or struggles.

I don’t know who they are, but we get mistaken for this couple time and time again. Comments on Facebook say we’re an inspiration. Friends ask how we can still be this in love after “all these years” (its been 7). Still others want to know how they can end up just like us one day. People think that we are this perfect example to look up to, a Unicorn Couple. Really we don’t have it all together either. We may not air our frustrations on Facebook or at family gatherings, but that doesn’t mean that we get it right all the time.

When J and I met, neither of us knew what we were getting into. We worked at the same place (and she worked with my mom in a different department than me) and had seen each other from afar. I was not out yet, she had pictures of Kelly Clarkson all over her desk. I had just turned 21, she was 28. We had mutual friends, but our circles never really intertwined. The first time we hung out together was New Years’ 2008, which was the start of our story. Like all new love, sparks flew, passions were high, and we couldn’t stay away from each other. We fell prey to U-Hauling and moved in together within 6 months of officially becoming a couple. By the time we’d been dating a year, we both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but same-sex marriage wasn’t an option in most of the country yet. We planned to elope to Canada to get married, but then we both got laid off and had no money to make that dream a reality.

We’d been together three years when we decided that we would start trying to have a baby, resolving that we’d get married someday. The original plan was that I would be the only one carrying, but J decided she wanted to experience it after all and so she went first since she was older. We tried for about a year before finally moving over to the RE’s office. In April 2012, we were finally able to afford to get married, as we had to fly out of state, pay fees to have the paperwork filed by proxy, etc. We were married in Washington, D.C. on April 27, 2012 in a private ceremony, just the two of us and our officiant. It was not ideal, nor what we’d always dreamed of our wedding being (we wanted the pretty white dresses and the huge reception with our families and friends celebrating with us), but the important thing was that we were legally married and the ceremony we did get to have was beautiful. J got pregnant with Jaxson the following month, and we always say that God was waiting for us to get the order right (love, marriage, baby carriage).

People tell you, and you never really listen, but marriage is tough. Despite being together for four years before tying the knot, things still changed after we became Mrs. and Mrs., especially with having Jaxson right away afterwards. Three years later, I can say we’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve struggled and prospered, and we’ve had times of unhappiness and times filled with absolute joy. We’ve had a baby and bought a house and a new car, and we’ve also gone for weeks without having sex. We deal with my chronic illness which has left my paycheck close to $0 sometimes from missing work, but we’ve also been able to afford to go on family trips. We’ve fought, we’ve cried, we’ve yelled, we’ve slammed doors, but the one thing we’ve never done is stop loving each other.

I can honestly say that I love J with everything I am, under all circumstances. I was raised not to casually date, but to instead date with purpose. When she and I started dating, I could see a future with her. I could see us happily married, with children and the white picket fence in front of our house. She was just trying to have a good time with the cute girl in the next department, but she knew that there was something special about me from the beginning, too. She never thought she’d get married or have kids, but she couldn’t stay away from me, despite trying to talk herself out of pursuing me. Sometimes we have moments when we don’t like each other very much, but we have never ever said or felt that we didn’t love the other.

The other night we were talking about how people ask us: How do we do it? What’s our secret? How do we keep the love alive? The “You’re an inspiration”, “you’re a Unicorn Couple”. Surprise! The love is not the hard part. It’s everything else that life throws at you to test that love, and show how committed you are to your spouse and to solving those problems together. We’ve watched couples young and old around us fall apart. They split up or get divorced, going their separate ways seemingly without a second thought. Sometimes its over irreparably damaging things like cheating or abuse. Other times its over something like one person wanting kids, the other not, which comes as a surprise after the rings are exchanged.

When we got married, we both went into it saying that divorce was not an option. Not “not an option” in that we couldn’t get divorced, but we promised each other that we would literally do every single thing possible to ensure that divorce was not the final answer to any of the inevitable problems we would someday face. We’re not stupid, we’re not naive. We both agreed that we’d always talk about our issues and try to figure them out together. Partners. That’s what we wanted our marriage to be, a partnership, and for that to be true we have to be on the same page.

In our years together before getting married, we talked about everything: having children, where we’d live, what we wanted to do with our lives, where we saw ourselves in 5, 15, 30, 50 years. We knew what we were getting into, we truly knew the person we were marrying, and we talked about the hard subjects ahead of time so we were sure we were on the same page. We got married because we loved each other, yes, but we got married because we knew 100% that the other person was the person that we wanted to build a life with. We started laying the foundation for our life together from day 1 of our relationship, not day 1 of our marriage. There are no unpleasant surprises in our relationship, no “you couldn’t have mentioned that 7 years ago?!” arguments. We do argue and we do fight, but it’s never about something that can’t be fixed with a little work. Like making sure I communicate more often with her about our finances. Or her being mindful of her tone of voice when she’s offering suggestions. Or me making sure the dishes from the dishwasher are clean before putting them away. Or her expressing her feelings better instead of hinting things at me.

Our Facebooks are filled with tons of pictures of Jaxson, of our life, of us. We are still smiling, still enjoying each others’ company, still loving each other. We always say we would have found each other eventually, despite the varying paths our lives could have/should have taken; we truly believe we were meant to be together. I still look at her today and get flutters in my stomach and think to myself just how lucky I am to have found her.

So, what’s the secret? How do we love each other so much after all these years? How can you, too, experience one-of-a-kind Unicorn Love? All that I know is that I love J with all of my heart, and I fight for her and our relationship every single day. Not a day goes by that I take her for granted and I’m thankful every day for the love she’s given me and the life we’ve built together. When we wrote our wedding vows, we wrote words we could live by, and we work every day to keep those vows:

Today I love you completely, as I did yesterday and as I will tomorrow. I will be there for you when you need me most and I will share in your dreams, delight in your joys, and console you in your sorrows. As we travel life’s journey together, I will always try to be understanding and forgiving and sensitive to your needs and feelings. I will be your comfort and support through hardships, and celebrate with you in life’s successes. You are my life; you are my dreams; you are my joy; you are my love; you are my everything. You are my forever.

Loving J is easy. She is my soul-mate and my best friend, the one person I know I’ll always have by my side, forever and ever. She is beautiful and smart and funny and driven. She is the constant in the chaos of life, my life-raft in stormy seas. I trust her implicitly and value her immeasurably. And I know that whatever life throws at us, we can overcome it together.

So when people call us a Unicorn Couple, maybe that’s what makes us so inspiring: We’re just two normal girls 100% committed to each other, and to building a marriage, a life, and a family that can weather any storm. We may not have it all, but we definitely have the love.

Today is our third wedding anniversary. It’s felt like a lifetime already, but I know we are just beginning and there is so much more in store for us. This past year in particular has been really rough on us: We’ve struggled with poor self-esteem and feeling unattractive to each other (and all the issues that go along with that), health issues, balancing work and Jaxson and finding enough time for ourselves at the end of the day, dealing with the struggle of trying to get pregnant (and paying for it), and of course stressing about money (or lack thereof) for all of the crazy expenses that come with owning a house and pets. It’s been a hard year, for sure, but I’m looking forward to next year being much, much better.

Happy Anniversary, my love! Here’s to many more magical years together; I can’t wait to see what comes next, and I’m glad I’ll be seeing it with you. ❤

Our Wedding Day

Four Years Later

Three Years Later

Not Yet

It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and I’ve never been more aware of my infertility than today. I was hoping so much that I’d have a good happy update today, and my hopes were crushed. I’m sitting at my desk right now, leaking tears and hoping no one around me notices and asks what’s wrong. I went for my follicle check this morning. I felt confident and calm going in to the appointment, but was a sobbing mess in the car on the way out. I have close to zero activity on the both ovaries, definitely nothing on the left but maybe two follicles coming up on the right, but nothing substantial yet. Since I’m a known slow-grower, they are having me come back in next Thursday 4/30 to check again and see if anything’s happened. That will put me at CD 15 and since I normally ovulate CD 16-19, I’m hoping that appointment will show some good progress.

My eyes started filling with tears when he told me the findings of the ultrasound. I thought for sure with all the discomfort I’d been having this past week that I’d have something to show for it all today. Both he and the nurse assured me that they will do everything they can to get me to ovulate and not to worry, that it’s okay to be a slow-grower, and that they have an arsenal of tools they can use if need be. So I go back next week to see if anything’s happening, and if not…then I’m sure injectables are the next step to try to salvage the cycle.

I’m not scared of the needles, not scared of doing my own injections – I’m scared of the cost. I’m scared of the unknown future, the future I feel keeps slipping through my fingers with every bum ultrasound. I just want to be a mom again and carry a baby in my womb. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, and I’m angry that this has to be so hard. I’m terrified that it’ll never happen. I’m overwhelmed by all the doctor appointments and cost. I’m sad that I am not pregnant yet and I feel like I’m letting my wife, my son, everyone down. I just wanted to have a good response this time and be ready to go early. I wanted to be able to do the IUI close to our 3rd wedding anniversary on Monday. I wanted all sorts of things for this cycle, because it’d just be so wonderful for the timing to line up just right, but I’m roadblocked yet again by two words…NOT YET. Just goes to show the let-down is much harder when you get your hopes up too high.

The rational side of me says: I know it’s still early in this cycle, and I know it will happen at the right time, I know this cycle could still happen and next week’s ultrasound could be great. But right now, in this moment, my heart is broken. I’m grieving what so many women take for granted: normal bodies that know how to reproduce. So many people would say, well you’re lucky – you already have a child. But that doesn’t lessen the sting of the fact that I have yet to carry a child inside of me. It’s such a deep ache, born of years of dreaming about it, waiting for it. And I’m so impatient. I’m ready NOW.

But the universe is saying no, NOT YET. So I’m going to choose to believe in the YET that’s coming, instead of the now that truly sucks. This too shall pass, there are good things still to come. Just please God, let next week’s appointment bring some good news with it.

Appointment TOMORROW

I’ve been waiting all week for Friday morning. And not just because it’s Friday, but because I have my follow-up ultrasound to see how I took to the Clomid this cycle. I’ve been having pretty steady ovary cramps/aches/discomfort on the right and left sides since beginning the pills, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign that some follicles (please more than one!) are growing and we’ll see some good progress at the ultrasound tomorrow.

I’m a ball of nerves, excited ones and scared ones, but I’m trying to put the nerves aside and choose to hold on to hope and positivity and believe that tomorrow will bring good news (and we won’t need to do injectables!). Please, body, don’t fail me now!

IUI Cycle 3 Begins

I had my cycle day 3 appointment this morning. Everything looks good for this cycle. We talked for a while about my options for this cycle and our plan. 

He asked if we checked my progesterone last cycle (nope) and said he’d check it again this cycle. I was feeling conflicted about asking about this since my number was good the first cycle, and thinking I might just be a hypochondriac, but he brought it up and validated my concern. I’m glad they’re covering all the bases this time, and hopefully progesterone is not a problem, or easily corrected if it is. 

He’s putting me back on Clomid at the 150 mg/day. I told him I was worried about my past responses, and he said that I got a follicle, so it means I responded, I just didn’t overrespond. For having 30-35 day cycles, ovulating day 16 or later is normal. He did say if I was having a slow response he’d like to do booster shots of FSH to accelerate the follicle growth (yikes cause I know how much injectables cost!)

I asked about switching to letrozole instead since I was worried about the injectables. He said he would recommend trying it if there’s a next time because if we try it this time and I don’t respond to it at all then, I would need to go to an injectable protocol from here on out. 

He did also say it was up to me ultimately and that we could do letrozole this time if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to take the risk of having to jump straight to injectables because of a lack of response on a new medication, so one last round of Clomid it is. Now if I could just respond to it perfectly (and quickly) then that would be awesome. 🙂 I’m nervous but cautiously excited. Hoping and praying I respond well and won’t need the injectables! But if I do need them, we’ll figure out how to pay for it – we always do. 🙂

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