When Life Gives You Lemons

Trying to make the most out of infertility, and life in general. This is my journey to conceive, after a miscarriage and D&C that left me with Asherman's Syndrome.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The symbolic 18th cycle begins

This week I officially begin a new cycle of TTC. This will be my first cycle of injecitbles + IUI. I was thinking today that this officially marks our 18th month of TTC. Granted, for many of these months I was unable to TTC – either I was already pregnant, or I wasn’t getting a period post D&C, or the timing was just off. But nonetheless, I realize my journey to start a family began 18 months ago. I noticed that this is symbolic for many reasons. In Judaism, the number 18 is significant of “life”. Many people give money in mulitiples of $18 as presents to someone celebrating a birth, a bar or bat mitzvah or a wedding. So the number 18 is tied to happy occasions all relating to lifecycle events and observances. I’ve always been fascinated by numbers (former Mathlete – go ahead, laugh behind my back). While I’m not religious at all, I think of myself as a spiritual person and I like to explore the mysticism and hidden meaning behind things. For me, the number 18 is therefore a significant number.

18 months is the equivalent of 2 pregnancies. It makes me think back to the time when B and I first decided we were ready to start trying, and how nervous I was about actually being pregnant. I was more than nervous, I was downright petrified. I didn’t know if I could handle it. My biggest fear was that I'd be nauseated in an inconvenient location, like on the bus ride to work. I wouldn’t even let myself think about labor and delivery. I dreaded the whole thing. What I didn’t think about was the potential joy a pregnancy could bring. I knew I wanted a family, and we were ready, and all I could see was the end result – the actual baby. I didn’t want to go though the process it would take to get there. But then I did get pregnant and I was elated. I looked forward to how my body was going to change, how I was going to sustain life, and I wanted to wear my pregnancy proudly. I still thought 9 months was a long time and I didn’t know how I’d get through the passage of time. But I promised myself I would take it day by day, week by week and somehow the 9 months would’ve been here in no time at all. And now that 18 months have passed, I am left wondering how it could’ve gone so slowly and so quickly at the same time. I can’t believe it was only 18 months ago that we started this journey. I feel like we’ve been riding this out for much longer. And I can’t believe in 18 months I’ve learned more about my body that in all of my biology, health and science classes put together. What IF has given me is a med school worthy education on reproduction and my own strength. And I’m amazed it only took 18 months to acquire this crash course knowledge. In 18 months, I could’ve been pregnant twice over.

Yet here I am in the early stages of yet another cycle and I find myself completely baffled. I went to the RE yesterday, and as it’s a group practice, my RE (RE1 or Dr. S as I call him) was unavailable. I saw RE2 and according to my ultrasound, he said I was definitely on day 3 or possibly even day 4 of my cycle. I would not have known this since I didn't bleed at all on what would have been day 1. Last night I started the Follistim injections, as part of a cycle of IUI with injectibles. The injectibles were not as bad as I thought. I’m a wimp, a big wimp, so I couldn’t stick it to myself. B had to do it for me, and as much as I think he doesn’t enjoy the thought of hurting me, he is much better at this stuff than I am. It wasn’t too bad though. The needle really is quite thin and it was over before I even knew it was in me. I guess having some extra meat on my bones, especially around the belly area, comes in handy. Now if I only I could put my good ‘ole birthing hips (thanks for the genetics, Mom) to good use…

The thing is, aside from some very light brown spotting Friday and Saturday, I have not had a drop of blood. I asked RE2 and he said it's probably b/c my lining is not to the minimum 7mm that he would like to see. I had an HSG last cycle in which the dye was able to get in and show a clear cavity, with some scarring in the lower uterine segment but definitely enough room for blood to flow out an sperm to flow in. I reminded RE2 that last cycle my lining got up to 8mm and he basically said that he then had no answers for me. He said if this cycle of injectibles/IUI doesn't work he might want to take another look via hysteroscopy. I'm so confused. I don't understand how I can have a mostly clear HSG - which showed a band of scarring along the lower segment of the uterus but a clear cavity that my RE was thrilled with, and an 8mm lining -and yet I don't have a period at all? I sometimes feel like these RE's are just clearly wasting my time. My periods have gotten lighter and lighter, yet my lining has been ok and my HSG results have improved. What gives? If I have to go through 2 rounds of injectibles/IUI and nothing happens I’m going to be so pissed off.
It's so frustrating that B and I get only so far and we keep getting road blocked. Life can't be this unfair - we are due our successes and happiness too, aren't we? I just have to believe that when my next pregnancy happens, and I have to believe it WILL happen, we are going to love that baby and appreciate that baby more than anyone else. I will relish every poopie diaper and cherish every screaming sleepless night. And when my kid is a teenager and hates me, I'll still adore him/her more than anything on earth.

But I digress. Back to this cycle and the injectibles. I'm so freaked out about the possibility of overstimualting my ovaries with the Follistim and of having twisted ovaries and all the other side effects they warned me about in injectibles class. I know they have to tell you these are consequences that happen to maybe 5% of the population. But all of these “oh it’ll never happen to you” things seem to always happen to me. Stay positive Ella, stay positive! Hope for the best. That’s what I keep trying to tell myself subconsciously.

But back to symbolism. Next month is also the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, which is the start of the Jewish new year. Again, I'm not terribly religious, but this holiday is one I always enjoyed. It’s a happy holiday and we don’t have many of those It’s a holiday about new beginnings and I like new beginnings. And I hope that this new year brings me a new beginning. Maybe this, the 18th cycle, will be the lucky one.


  • At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ella, May this new year be the best of your life. Here's to lucky number 18.


  • At 10:19 AM, Blogger soralis said…

    Good luck... I hope 18 is your lucky cycle!

    Take care

  • At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When you believe that something will happen, it only makes it that much more attainable. I hope that 18 is your lucky cycle.

  • At 2:18 AM, Blogger Thalia said…

    What a thoughtful post, Ella, thank you. I'm sort of looking forward to Rosh Hoshanah, too, only the thought of what I was thinking sitting there last year, and the year before, puts me off...

    Hoping that indeed, this is the lucky cycle for you.

  • At 4:53 AM, Blogger twirl said…

    Glad you got that first shot down (ok, I know I'm late and you've probably done more, but still...) It gets much easier. Good luck!

  • At 9:50 AM, Blogger Hope548 said…

    Ella, I feel you. I was actually going to post tomorrow that we started ttc 4 years ago. I'm not trying to upstage you, but it's on my mind because we started trying in Sept 2002.

    I have been through two FSH+IUI cycles and responded well to low doses of medication. I believe I ovulated 3 or 4 the first time and 2 or 3 the second time. Unfortunately no luck, but I didn't have any problems with overstimulation. They keep you on low doses unless you're not responding, then they slowly up them.

    On a natural cycle, I surprisingly ended up with an ectopic pregnancy. Luckily I didn't even know I was pregnant until three days before I had the surgery to remove it and my left tube. It was a small confirmation that we could actually conceive, but heart-breaking too.

    I also have extremely light periods now. I have had light periods pretty much ever since I got off the pill. It is so frustrating as I feel that no embryo could possibly implant if I have that thin of a lining. The stims will take care of your lining though, so you shouldn't have to worry about that this cycle.

    So good luck with this new cycle. I hope this will be lucky number 18!

  • At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Jennie said…

    I know how you feel that the Dr. tells you that all your tests look good but you're still not getting the answers or getting pregnant. So frustrating!!!

    It makes you wonder what they are going to find out about infertility in 30 years that would have solved our problems, or that would help us, but for now, we don't have the answers.

    And I can relate to the % thing. I don't believe in statistics anymore as when ever they say "oh, it's a small percentage, you don't have to worry" I manage to be one in the small percentage.

    Here's to optimism and wishing you luck in this next cycle!!

  • At 1:45 PM, Blogger KLH said…

    I hope this cycle works for you.

  • At 5:54 PM, Blogger VanillaDreams said…


    I hope indeed that 18 will bring you much luck and good fortune. You deserve it!!

    It was very interesting to read the symbolism about 18, I did not know that.

    For me, 11 has always been a signficant number. Not "lucky" per se, just imporant.

    Wishing you the best,

  • At 10:31 PM, Blogger Zee said…

    I didn't know about the symbolism of 18. That's really interesting --and I hope cycle #18 turns out to be a fruitful one for you!

  • At 8:58 AM, Anonymous flygirl said…

    I'd never heard that about the number 18. I hope that it prooves to be fortuitous for you. In spite of all your frustrations you seem to be handling things pretty well.

    I'll be rooting for you.

  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger Kris said…

    No laughing from me. I'm a math geek too. I've always liked the number 9 and all of it's multiples. Good luck to you.

  • At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ella, I have a couple of pumpkin soup recipes, if you are interested in them, email me through my blogger profile and I will send them along to you. I looked for an email in your profile, but couldn't find one.


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