Monday, June 27, 2011


So as part of our "taking control of the TTC process" Nik and I have been reading up, both in books and online. We want to figure out the various ways we could naturally up our chances, see what options we have, etc.

So I found something kinda interesting last night...

See, the fertility specialist we spoke to, and the doctors that Nik has talked to already, have really made a big deal out of Nik's poor semen analysis. IVF is the only option, perhaps we could get by with IUI's but really, IVF with ICSI is pretty much it. I mean, so few sperm! So little motility! And what horrific morphology!

Yeah, we're talking like 20million sperm, 40% motile, with only 2% of proper morphology. Really, really bad. They want us to have at least 80 million sperm, like 75% motile, and at least 50% of proper morphology before there's any chance of conception. The specialist we saw even mentioned that Nik's low morphology was due to DNA issues and how messed up they were, how they couldn't make normal babies.

And then, once I got past all this same stuff over and over again on the internet, I found something interesting....

The WHO (World Health Organization) standards.

Normal for them?
At least 15 million sperm (oh, wow, we have that!)
At least 40% motile (yeesh, right on the dot there...)
And normal morphology? Can "get up to" a whopping FIFTEEN percent, but really anything over 3% is normal. And some clinics say 2-6% morphology is totally the norm.


His semen analysis isn't actually that far off from a regular fertile man?
Could my husband be, dare I say it, actually fertile?
Are we not fighting some great uphill battle against numbers but instead actually well within the realm of possibility?
Are fertility clinics just trying to make money by telling mostly-fertile or sub-fertile men that they're infertile to the point of sterility and that they NEED IVF with ICSI (as expensive as it gets pretty much), knowing full well that couples will pay it and that the relatively normal sperm should work just fine and up their numbers?

The more I'm reading on this (now that I know what to look for) the more I'm baffled. I mean, part of me is going "then why hasn't it worked for us yet?" and the other part is still like "wait, he's pretty much normal? Just at the low end where his little spermies could use some improvement, but not nearly as bad as we were told?"

I'm... elated! And excited!

And even though it hasn't worked for us yet....

Okay, we've been together over 9 years, 4 on birth control then like 12-18 months off, then all birth control (hormonal or natural) up until now. So like 13-19 cycles in total, last month I had only a week long luteal phase, and the first time I was coming off birth control AND very overweight (like 80 lbs heavier or so, and I'm still overweight so I don't even want to think about what that was doing to my body!). So, yeah, it was a possibility but how likely was it anyway?

Is it possible then that now that I'm healthier and he's healthier, if he's normal and I'm charting and we're willing to do a few extra things (like fertility blend and acupuncture), is it possible this could work? Without all the aggressive treatments?

Honestly, I'm kinda psyched :) I know it's still all a game of luck and we're definitely on the low end of normal when it comes to fertility, but we're not far off, and certainly our chances aren't as bleak as we were told.

On that note, it's raining!!!!!!!!!!!!

We've had weeks and weeks of "it should rain today!" with nary a cloud in the sky. I was just teaching P about droughts today as we took a walk down by the neighborhood stream and he noticed that the water was almost non-existent in some places.

I know this rain hardly makes a dent in Raleigh's ever present drought, but every drop counts right? And the plants certainly don't mind :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And so it, really, begins

So I ovulated last week. Which was awesome, really awesome! And of course we then get the test results saying that Nik is still very much infertile (not sterile mind you, but the numbers are very much not in our favor!). And then confirmation that he does, indeed, have a varicocele. And then on Monday I got my period. For the first time in 2.5 years.

Oh, and I'm going to my first infertility support group meeting tomorrow. It's through the local mom's group I've been a part of for a few years now and only a couple people are going, but I'm still excited about it.

But at the same time...

This is real, right?

I mean, really, really real.

We're officially infertile and we're also officially no longer sterile (essentially what I was for the past 2.5 years). So we're now in those murky waters of "could conceive but not likely."

So this is really starting, isn't it? This trip through infertility madness. Charting and temping and looking for signs, acupuncture and herbs and consults, hoping and worrying and little jabs to the gut each month when it doesn't work....

Why are we doing this again?

Oh. Yeah. Baby.

Now that it's really real again, with test results in hand and yucky bathroom breaks, it's starting to hit me.

We're actually doing this. Actually going for it.

And suddenly I'm not so excited.

Oh, I'm excited about the possible end result, the happy new little person.

But all the waiting and stressing and worrying over every twinge and blowing money and time on things that likely won't work, at least not yet....

I don't know, I guess the big thing is that I'm worried about the emotional affect infertility will have on us.

Which is silly, right? I mean, we couldn't even ask to start out in a better place here!

We're young, we're not sterile, we're generally healthy, we have insurance and money in the bank, we have supportive family, we have several clinics and doctors and support groups in our area, we have a strong relationship, and to top it off we already have two perfect little boys who truly do light up our lives.

How many people taking on infertility could wish to be in our position? I mean, seriously, do we even have a right to complain?

But complain I shall. Because really? Infertility sucks.

Mind you, I am glad for it in a sense. I mean, had we been able to conceive easily we would not have our sons, and they are truly worth all of the heartache.

Even so, it's not exactly a fun ailment.

It takes away your choices, you control, over your own life. Want another kid? Well, it might take you 6 years and all your life savings. Want a large family? You'll be lucky if you have one, let alone two or three. Want to be all natural and leave everything up to fate? Well, you're screwed if you want kids then!

And then there's living with infertility. The awkwardness of other moms going into their birth stories of complaining about pregnancy symptoms, the heart ache of seeing big bellies every where, that yearning to be able to go into a maternity store or take a prenatal yoga class. Yeah, I know, it can suck the other way around. People get pregnant all the time without planning for it and struggle to support their child, and I'm sure that's frustrating and heartbreaking in it's own right. And I can't even imagine going through that only to lose a child to adoption.

Even so, this is the heartache I know, the one so many know, and it's hard because it is somewhat shoved in your face every day, especially once you already have kids. Pregnant bellies on the playground, questions about having another one, teensy new babies with siblings close in age. *Siiiiigh* don't even get me started on those dreamy new little babies....

Anyway, to summarize: We're doing this. The TTC while infertile thing. And it sucks, because we'd rather just do the regular old TTC while fertile thing. But at least we aren't coming from a bad place, at least we already have kids and from the start we know that failure is an option we can live with and success is probably likely given our resources. Even so, it sucks to be infertile and yeah, we'd so rather just be able to do it all the natural way.

Oh, and I'm so not joking about going overseas for fertility treatments. I mean, seriously, $15K for and IVF around here? When I could spend half that and treat the family to a month in Barbados or Thailand or India? I mean, even if you fail you still got the vacation of a lifetime! And I'm a bit too "outside the box" to just submit to a local doc saying "yes, you need IVF stat! Give us all your money and change your life to fit our program!" Um, no, not for me. We've lost enough control over our family building already, thank you very much, and we'd at least like the chance to reclaim it. On that note, I think I'll start shopping around for the perfect acupuncturist...

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Got test results on Nik back yesterday and, somewhat unexpectedly, they're actually worse than his first semenalysis years ago, the one that "defined" us as infertile. THOUGH, they're better than the three other tests we've had between then and now. Since his diet and exercise regimen has changed significantly from then, it's pretty obvious that this isn't something to be solved that way.

And today it was confirmed that he does indeed have a "small" varicocele, though the doctor doesn't think that repairing it will do any good at all. I may push for a second (third?) opinion on that matter because, really, what can it hurt to do the outpatient procedure to fix it?

On another note, I've been spending too much money lately. Since pretty much giving up on adoption #3, we were left staring at a hefty "adoption fund" that we decided we ought to go and use instead of hoarding. And so right now there are two very nice men finishing up our new back walkway, and tomorrow they'll continue working on our new deck. Maybe by the end of next week all the work will be completed and we'll have new doors, fixed gutters, a power washed house, new light fixtures in the kitchen and foyer, and power running outside. Everything that's being replaced was run down, broken, or even outright dilapidated. I mean, seriously, we've been using a stick to "lock" our back sliding doors for over a year now because the doors are so old that we can't even find a replacement lock for the one that brook, and the scratched up front door has no seal (lets in a lot of light around the edges, upwards of half an inch in some places. With no storm door. Yay bugs! Yay wasting power!

Anywho, aside from the home improvement, there's been Nik's BDay, where he bought "an art," then Father's Day, then our once monthly night date, then in a couple weeks my birthday, and yeah, money is going out. And I'm totally getting into this whole "spend more on food for better health" thing and I so feel better! But seeing my weekly grocery bill reach, then expand upon, the triple digits makes me cringe. What can I say, I'm a saver and a planner, not really a spender, and I always feel so guilty when I run my card! I mean, yeesh, I spent a whole $8 on snacks and drinks earlier today for me and the boys and I felt guilty for that! And we were hot and hungry too! I'm a nut sometimes :-P

Alright, this is a jumbled post. Sorry. Just trying to distract from that dang 2WW thingie that I guess we're getting back into. It's not really so exciting now, having the results in. We were totally expecting things to look much better! Ugh. But I guess there is still a possibility....

And I guess we can try naturally for awhile, and just see if it works. Go to a chiropractor and acupuncturist, take royal jelly and lots of zinc, maybe even go in for another consult at a different clinic. And if all else fails... well, I hear the "fertility tours" in India aren't all that expensive, and I have always wanted to visit :)

Monday, June 13, 2011


We're *still* waiting for test results from the fertility clinic regarding Nik. So far we've heard nothing, there's nothing on our patient sites, nada, zilch. So we still have no clue regarding what we're dealing with on his side and thus no idea where to start. We do know that what was wrong could have corrected itself over the past several years, given that his diet and exercise regimen has drastically changed for the better. But we still don't know. Which is annoying.

And as for my side....

So I have several things to tackle, right?

But the big goal is: Begin ovulating again!!!!

And so I've cut out or cut down on the big 3 that could be causing annovulation:
Melatonin- Totally out now
Coffee- Maybe one cup a week now
Domperidone- down to 20mg/day from 120mg/day (enough to keep my toddler nursing a few times a day)

On top of lowering or ousting those, I've also added:
-Red Raspberry Leaf (both tea and pill, take one if I don't have time for the other)
-Woman's Moon Tea (soooo yummy!)
-Lot's of Yoga and stretching of the hip/midsection area

I've started to prepare for this, remembering to take and chart my (erratic) temp just about every morning and taking extra folic acid.

So anyway, this last week I had a rather pleasant and totally TMI surprise: CM. Anyone who's done the TTC and/or infertility shtick knows what that is :) I haven't seen it in yeeeeears! And it was the good stuff too! Nik and I were both astounded.

But my ovulation tests kept coming up negative and my basal temp chart was all over the place. I was getting aches, much stronger than twinges, and it felt like my cycle was starting for a few days. But nothing.

Today, I finally broke down and tested.

Yeah, that kind of test.

And the result?

No, there's no need to squint. Believe me, I did enough of that. It's a straight up negative, which is both sad and yet a relief at the same time. I mean, hey, I can stop worrying that I *might be* for awhile, right? And actually it is pretty nice not to have that thought dangling at the back of your head.

After checking this in the window (better light) and snapping a quick photo, I returned to the bathroom to clean up.

And pick up that danged ovulation test that I'd also stuck in the pee cup, because why not?

I almost didn't check it, just tossed it like all the others.


Holy crap! It's actually positive! I mean, really, honest to God, "lines are the same shade just about" kind of positive.

I have NEVER had an OPK this dark! Not even years ago when we were TTC, before the adoption journey and all that. I'm a faint, barely there line kind of girl. And these same tests have been giving me nothing at all, just the control line and a total blank for the test slot.

So, um... wow. Goal reached then? I'm actually ovulating? I'm actually flipping fertile??? Wow....



So, uh, I guess this marks the start of our TTC journey :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

On a completely different note...

Yesterday as I drove home from the gym, I hit some traffic. Not a complete standstill, but a thick, slow moving section. It was rush hour on a four lane semi-highway leaving the city, and though I'd never experienced this particular traffic before, it certainly made sense.

I just kind of grumbled and kept on. Then I turned a corner and saw police lights.

Great, I thought, another fender bender on the highway.

And right after an on ramp no less.

I kept on going at a snails pace until I was finally squeezing my little Camry past the police cars. I was groaning about how they were taking up two lanes when I couldn't even see a car in front of them.

And then I glanced over, just as we passed them.

One motorcycle down. In a huge puddle of blood.

I almost crashed my car.

I pass accidents, typically fender benders, just about every day in this city, sometimes several times a day depending on the weather, and I always feel bad for the people. The potential injuries, the expense, the time lost, having everyone stop to watch you, etc.

But this really, really struck me.

All I could think is "here I am, sitting in my car listening to a song I like, glancing back at my two happy kids who are talking to each other, and my biggest worry is whether or not I'll get home in time to start dinner when I want to. And somewhere, probably at a local hospital, the owner of this motorcycle is having the worst day of his life. Maybe even the last day of his life...."

I can't find anything on the local news about it, but I'm really hoping that this person survived and is okay.

It's amazing, isn't it? How quickly it can all happen. One wrong turn, one person texting while changing lanes, one slip up, one accident... and it can literally just all end for you or someone you love.

I kept the kids up a little later last night, playing on our bed, hiding under covers, playing peekaboo and wrestling. All four of us, laughing and loving together.

And even in the wonder of that moment I couldn't help but think... "please, please, don't let this end... don't let this be the last time.... If not forever, then at least another day."

Gotta savor it. Every second of it. Always.

Mom Blogs

Okay. So I'm a mom. And this is a blog. And I do write almost entirely about being a mom. So I guess this is a mom blog.

But you know what? Mom blogs get to me. They annoy me. Sure, they give me an "in" into someone's life and I do find that interesting, and sure sometimes I really do get swept up in their writing.

But more often than not it just ends up being all about cattiness and boasting and digging for compliments and calling out "trolls" who happen to answer your own question in a way you don't like.

Sometimes, honestly, I do have aspirations of making a big blog. You know, one that's read by tons of people, wins awards, shows up on lists. One that might lead to writing articles for actual publications. One that would lead to popularity and notoriety.

And yet....

I read the popular mom blogs, and so many of these woman can be so mean.

They'll make fun of people in different situations, act as if their choice is the only real choice, and, knowingly or not, belittle others. And they probably don't even mean to or notice it.

I guess the big problem here is that the big mommy bloggers, like every other person on this earth, are only human. They have preferences, likes and dislikes, personal experiences, etc. Their own life journeys dictate their take on the world.

And why are they so popular? I mean, let's face it, most of the popular ones are very mainstream.

In general you're talking: 30's, caucasian, 1-3 biological children, heterosexual and married, middle class. You're talking often about natural conception and the ability to actually choose your childbirth and choose if you breast feed and choose how your raise your baby. You're often talking about fertile people, too, whose biggest worries are if/when they should have another child.

And who is missing from this scenario?

Those who can't produce a child at will. Those who have no choice in their child's care in utero. Those who may not even attend the birth, let alone have a choice in when and how it's done. Those who may not be able to breast feed, or have to work their butts off non stop for even a drop. Those who need to practice attachment parenting, who need to cradle insubordinate five year olds, give 7 year olds bottles, push 6 year olds in strollers or in Ergos. Those who don't have a significant other. Those where their significant other is the same sex as them. Anyone not white. Anyone working class. Young moms. People living with real troubles, like poverty or terminal illness. And the list goes on.

I know there are millions of mom blogs out there now. I know you can find several mom blogs for all scenarios. But just check out Babble or Salon and it can seriously blow me away with how much we don't fit the norm.

And, honestly, given the opinions of many of the people I read, I'm really glad not to fit in with them.

And again, it's not that I dislike the actual mom bloggers. They're just normal people, like you or I, and they just happen to be so popular because they are so middle-ground, so.... "the norm." They talk about things the "average" mom would talk about, like early pregnancy symptoms and pottytraining.

Reading these blogs, and seeing their loyal (and often brown nosed) following, always reminds me that we stand outside the norm.

My kids don't look like me, we're younger than most of these mom bloggers, we can't choose if/when to have another child easily as it's a ton of work on our part, I worked my butt off to nurse and am proud that I'm still at it at 20 months, I don't give a flying rats patootie about any Real Housewifes show, I have no idea how to make a bottle with anything other than breast milk, and I've never had disposable diapers on my weekly grocery budget.

I don't think we're missing out on anything, really. And all I could be jealous of would be the easy conceptions/pregnancies/births, but even then I wouldn't trade my two little boys for a million biological children. Oh, and their cameras. Wow, I want their cameras. But really, I LIKE my life outside the norm. I just kind of wish there wasn't this constant "normal propaganda" this whole "this is the norm, these are the normal problems, this is how you should be thinking and acting" that I keep seeing. I think in some way it's so easy to be sucked into the lives of other people, especially very open and accessible people, that when they have an opinion that's different from your own you can be persuaded to agree with them. I have to remind myself sometimes not to be offended by their views or silly remarks because A) they likely don't mean to offend anyone and B) again, just human, just talking, just a regular Joe who speaks their mind.

Perhaps I should work to make a real mom blog. Build it big and build it loud. But, well, I'm kind of worried I'd get a fat head you know? Even so, it would be nice to offer an alternative sort of lifestyle to the traditional mom blogs. There are enough people out there living "outside the norm" that it'd be nice to have our own icon too :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Waiting for an Answer

Right now I am following the journey of several families, including people I know in real life and blogs I read.

Some are in the adoption process. A couple are fostering and praying that they'll be able to keep the children in their home. Others are on waitlists. Still others are waiting for children overseas. And one is matched and just hoping that everything goes as planned.

In the fertility realm there are people who have just had embryos transferred and are praying for a sticky. There are people who are currently pregnant after infertility and hoping for everything to do smoothly. There are families just starting their journey toward #2. And there are people who conceived naturally and either just gave birth or are due this year.

I care about these families and hope that they all have success. I know that they are all on the journey that they, as individuals, are meant to be on, but even so I hope that it's fruitful from here on out.

And then there's me and my weird in-between-ness and the indecision over what to do.

See, some part of me IS tempted by Nik's "let's just stop now" thoughts.

And I get it. I mean, our kids are little, especially Ambrose, and not only are they a lot of work, they're also a lot of fun. We're just enjoying them so much, loving them so much, and doing so much with them. Sometimes I honestly wonder how we'd fit another one in!

So yeah, there are definitely moments where I just watch the two of them together and I calculate all the pros to just stopping now. I think of how we'll be done with diapers in a year or two, how we could take the baby gate down, how we could travel more, how we can buy them more, maybe even send them to a ritzy Waldorf school or something. I think about how lucky we are, with two big, strong, able bodied young boys who are highly social, verbal and intelligent. Straight teeth! Sharp eyes! An obsession with books!

And on top of that, they absolutely love each other and compliment each other so well. They play together and laugh together and look at books and toys together and run around the yard together and eat together and sing with each other in the back seat of the car.

Seriously, could we ask for anything more?

But then there are times.... I'll be holding Ambrose so tightly as he falls limp against my chest, before I transfer him to his crib. I just rock him and rock him and listen to his breath and watch his sleeping face and then I flash back to him when he was a tiny little baby... and I remember the feel of a tiny body against my chest, held tight by a wrap.... and I thing of all the firsts, and all the potential that another one could bring.

And then I think, if it's so great with two, how incredible would it be with three?

Three voices singing in the backseat... a more complicated family dynamic... making A a big brother.... another little baby....

And then when you add in the possibility of getting to experience a pregnancy maybe, wow, blows me away!

I don't know. Some days I lean one direction, some days the other.

And honestly? I only really spend maybe 5% of my day thinking about it right now. Little hints here and there of "this could be all we get and I'm so, so fine with that" or "oh God I want to feel a child moving within me."

Of course, the "obvious" answer to all of this is to wait and see... I mean, I'm what, 29 next month? I have another decade to attempt a birth or another adoption, and if it didn't work out I'd still have my boys.

Even so, I'm not really the wait and see type! I want a plan, dern it! Or maybe just a sign, that our lives should go one way or the other. I guess only time will tell... as annoying as that is :-P