Friday, October 26, 2012

Psychics, Preachers, Preggos and Cakeballs

This week has been a doozy. I've been fighting like hell to keep my head above water amidst a flash flood of "whoas me" and "it's not fair." Every cycle when Aunt Flo arrives, I make it a point to do something nice for myself or ourselves in an effort to lessen the blow. One time on CD1, I actually jumped out of an airplane over the island of Kauai, because it was something I knew I couldn't do if I was pregnant. Plus, I just wanted to be as close to God as possible, so he could see my BIG FAT middle finger! Ok not really, but that is how I truly felt that day. Of course I felt much better after I had the amazing experience of skydiving over Kauai.

This new cycle started off no differently. I was actually pretty proud of myself at how well I was handling our failed IUI immediately following the news. Maybe it's because we went out to eat at a favorite restaurant, drank 3 bottles of Moet with friends afterwards, and had full body massages pre-scheduled for the following day. By the way, I highly recommend scheduling this routine strategically, in that order, on any given pregnancy test date...just in case it's negative and you need a good escape. WARNING: When the numbing from the champagne wears off and the lady with the accent and magic hands is no longer at your beckon call 48 hours later, reality actually hits and you are forced to deal with the fact that you'll be back in the dr.'s office in another 24 hrs.

My husband also relayed some exciting news from some friends who are expecting. Now, I know most people reading this blog (not all, but most) are those who are actively TTC, and many of whom are having a fair amount of difficulty doing so. I know you don't require an explanation on how it feels to hear pregnancy announcements from every last friend and family member you have, one after the next, after the next. I don't have to tell you how it feels to log into facebook and see an endless stream of congratulations, pregnancy ultrasounds, updates of babies kicking, and to bite your tongue as people actually complain about their oh-so horribly draining children. Let me need a glass of wine to deal with the mean lady in the car line at your kid's school again. What's new? We get it!

Now let me be crystal clear... The friends I am talking about in this particular case are very VERY dear to us, and by no means do I compare them with some acquaintance from HS I haven't seen in more than a decade. These are people we genuinely love and respect and want to have in our lives forever if we can help it. AND they actually had the courtesy and forethought to call my husband first before they send out their public announcement, because they know what we've been through. I can't tell you how much that is appreciated by couples struggling to conceive. It still hurts to hear, but we really do appreciate that kind of extra effort. We are beyond excited for them, because they deserve to be happy and to have a family. We definitely don't expect everyone else in the world to put their plans on hold and tiptoe around our own baby making plans, in order to make sure it doesn't hurt our feelings. It's just that every time we get the news, it stings a little more each time, at least for me it does. It's gotten to the point now, where it's becoming really hard to recover from pregnancy announcements. This time around, my tears spanned two days. Even a public airport and flight out of town couldn't stop them from spurting forth. People in public must think I am bat shit crazy or am flying to a funeral. I should really try to get us a bereavement discount next time!

What an f'ing mess I am. My husband takes it much better than me, but I'm's just really really hard to hear this type of news right now. It's even harder to come to terms with when you want so desperately to call the happy couple up and start discussing all the cute nursery possibilities, but just can't bring yourself to have that conversation, because you know how bad it hurts your own heart and that you'll end up crying. However, even if I can't bring myself to do that just yet, they are so amazingly special to us I had to do something. I gave myself no other choice than to put on my big girl panties, buy them the best congratulations card I could find in Target and send it off Priority Mail. I absolutely HATE feeling like there is so much turmoil in my heart pulling my emotions in intensely different directions. I AM a good person. I want to celebrate in other people's happiness genuinely and fully. I feel guilty for worrying so much about my own situation, when I should be busy celebrating everyone else's success. It's just really fucking hard sometimes!

The first month we started actively TTC and it didn't work, the pregnancy announcements felt like a mosquito bite...annoying and bothersome, but the pain went away pretty quickly. After my miscarriage, those same bites felt like they came from something bigger, like a wasp. As the year mark passed, and still no sign of a baby, the hurt I felt each time I heard the "good news" from someone else, started feeling like someone had punched me in the face and left me with a broken nose. Now that we're entering 17 months, it's just compounding even more. The milestones around the corner are not ones I want to year since miscarrying, another Christmas with possibly no baby in sight, turning 35 this coming year and having risks of advanced maternal age with pregnancy, etc.  I don't pretend to understand what it must feel like for someone TTC 5 years or who's undergone multiple miscarriages. I also don't pretend to know what it feels like to go through chemotherapy or radiation. Because even though I know many people who have dealt with these things, and I have watched them do it first hand, it's just different when it's actually YOU going through it. So, please don't judge me for being honest about my feelings. My feelings are the product of many months of thinking, praying, wondering, researching, analyzing, sacrificing, and dealing with some stupid people to boot.

Just to give you an idea of the types of things that start to bug someone TTC'ing such as myself on a daily basis, and how it can compound over time, I'll give you a small yet ridiculous example: 

This past year, I had to endure probably the most annoying pregnant facebook poster of the century, and it about killed me. I was lucky enough to have an acquaintance become pregnant on the exact same day as I did in October 2011. Ha! Shortly after I announced that I was pregnant and later announced that I miscarried, she then announced her pregnancy on facebook, and had the exact same due date I was supposed to have: 7/7/12. Fantastic, this should be a blast to hear about the next 7 months! It would not have been so bad, except that this girl posted EVERY freaking hiccup and hemorrhoid imaginable. When it got to the end and she was complaining about being overdue, I finally could not take it anymore and figured out how to block seeing her posts. Barely a day went by, and I get a private message from her all of a sudden. Really?? Apparently, she had taken an interest in the fact I had posted something about using acupuncture, and felt because I had mentioned it on facebook, that I was now some world renowned expert on the subject of ALL things fertility and acupuncture related. She then proceeds to ask me if she should use acupuncture to help induce labor, because she "just can't take this anymore." Keep in mind, that this girl knew exactly how far along I was when she congratulated me to begin with and at minimum had to know we were VERY close with our expected due dates, but that I had miscarried. Reading her email felt like someone was pouring salt into an already painful wound. I was extremely offended at her lack of sensitivity to anyone other than herself. I cried my eyes out and replied with what I'd describe as a logical and honest response to such an assinine question in light of what I considered to be obvious circumstances. This was my response...

"Yes, both acupuncture and acupressure can be used to induce labor, although I can't comment much on that aspect seeing as how I've obviously never used it for that. I'm sure if you do a google search for an acupuncturist in your area, you'd find many who can answer your shortage of them in CA.

P.S. I know you don't mean any harm, and I hope I don't sound too harsh, but a question on how to induce labor for your unborn baby is probably not the very best thing to ask someone who became pregnant the same time as you, but who will unfortunately not be delivering a healthy happy baby in the coming days. I am truly happy for you, and I wish you nothing but the best. That one just stung a little. Ouch."

This is only 1 out of probably 50 instances of idiocracy I've endured in the past year and a half, but I'm sure you can understand how little stuff like this compounds over time and leaves a woman who is struggling with infertility feeling a little defeated. I don't think it's too much to ask for a teensy bit more sensitivity from people when it comes to this stuff. The aforementioned couple got it right...this girl clearly did not.

It's not that we're not happy for everyone else. Having a baby is an absolute miracle, and I understand that more now than ever. It's just that some of us go to bed every night, praying to God, wondering when or IF it will ever be our turn? I'm really working on letting go of the control regarding this baby making stuff, and to stop worrying about other people and know that it will happen for us, but it's one of the hardest lessons I have ever struggled with.

One of the best things I can do is to stay positive and do things that make me happy, so that's what I've been doing. We finished our morning daily devotionals from Joel Osteen this week. Hubby and I have been listening to his "I Declare" series each morning on the way home from the gym together. I can't hear Joel Osteen and not feel obligated to smile, because I know he is as he's preaching.  His messages remind me to put God in control, which is good, because I forget pretty much every single day.

Joel Osteen's "I Declare" 31 Daily Devotionals. I love Joel!

Hubby also surprised me a while ago with VIP tickets to go to a group reading with Theresa Caputo a.k.a. the Long Island Medium. If you aren't a believer in psychic mediums or understand what it's all about, I'm not about to explain it all here. You can watch her show on TLC every Sunday night yourself. I also don't have any interest in defending that fact that I'm a Christian, but also believe there are ways to communicate with spirits of people that have passed on. That's just what I believe, so take it or leave it. The group reading was absolutely amazing, and I am SO glad we went. It was a really good reminder to me of how precious life is. I was hoping that my parents would come through with a message for me, but even though they didn't, I felt happier just wearing my mom's jewelry to the event, which I never do for fear I will lose it! The reading actually prompted me to rekindle a relationship with my sister the next day. We hadn't spoken in 6 weeks, but it seemed like 6 years. Life is too short to be mad at your loved ones, and I was reminded of that in a big way at this event.

Theresa Caputo, Hubby and Me

When we got back, I immediately got to baking. I love baking and then giving it all away to other people. I was dying to try my hand at cake balls for Halloween. I'd never made them before, and it was pretty daunting at first. I almost gave up, but kept at it, and they came out pretty well once I got the hang of them. 

Red Velvet Eyeballs
Dark Chocolate Sprinkle Cakeballs

This morning, I hit the gym and just took it all out on the weights while blasting some new Nelly Furtado. I am under orders not to exercise too intensely, so nothing even close to my old workouts, but it just felt good to throw some 45 lb. plates on the end of a squat bar and drop it like it's hot. I've always said my attitude is directly tied to my booty...both of which needed some lifting. I then dropped some baked goods off at hubby's office and brought another huge batch to LIVESTRONG HQ, where I have volunteered every week for the last three years. Helping people affected by cancer always makes me feel better! Mission accomplished, for today at least. Now it's your turn. Press play and turn it up!!!


This is totally going to be my theme song this month. I will be the first to admit, this has been a rough week, and I know there are more rough days ahead.  It may not be pretty at times. I may do things I never thought I would and break down in ways that are embarrassing. I WILL try my best to keep the poor reactions to a minimum and keep pressing forward. I am going to handle what lies ahead with the most dignity and grace I can possibly muster.  I know that having each other and being healthy is a HUGE blessing in and of itself. There are many harder mountains to climb out there; This is just our thing we've been given to deal with. We still have a lot to be thankful for, and I haven't forgotten that.  I know in my heart that this journey will take a turn in the right direction soon and land us on the road to happily ever after.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Eggs are Playing Hard To Get

Some things never change, according to my dear hubby. When we first met, let's just say I wasn't the best at returning phone calls. I'm told that he almost gave up several times, but that I would somehow manage to make contact at the very moment he was about to throw in the towel. Well, I must have delivered enough 3 point shots in just the nick of time, because 10 years later we are still together and love each other more than ever. However, now it seems my eggs are playing hard to get! At least this is what my husband claims.

Out of 92,000,000 sperm from the recent IUI, not to mention millions more from babydancing, none seem to have reached their destination. If the valiant little swimmers did make it there, they were simply turned away by my stubborn and oh-so-picky eggs. I can see it now....This handsome buff little sperm has worked his tail off to get to my egg's doorstep just in time, flowers in hand and wiping the sweat from his brow. However, my prissy little egg is not to be bothered; She opens the door but just says politely, "Oh, sorry I already have plans. Maybe next time?" Yep, that's pretty much how it must be going down.

I already knew I wasn't pregnant before I even went in for the blood test Friday. I had tested at home that morning, but doing the blood test is a formality required by the RE's office. They need to know for sure, because the last thing you'd want it to take fertility meds while already pregnant. That can cause serious issues. It just stinks getting poked when you know what the result already is. Do I really need one more piece of evidence to show me I failed yet again?

The sperm analysis doesn't lie, so it's just really frustrating to know that this IUI didn't work. All the conditions seemed perfect. If I can't get pregnant with a mature follie, a great sperm count, a nice thick lining, an earlier ovulation on CD16, and a doctor injecting the sperm right where they are supposed to go, I'm not sure what it will take to make it happen.  I think it's time I had a serious sit down talk with these eggs!  This playing hard to get routine is getting old! I could have gotten really upset at another failed cycle, but honestly, the statement from hubby about my eggs playing hard to get made me laugh so hard, it immediately turned my mood around. God, I love that man! I really could not live without him by my side.

So, here we are again. Back to square one. Aunt Flo arrived today, and we will most likely go in for a CD3 baseline ultrasound on Tuesday.  I feel like my body did respond well to the Femara, but I have heard from many women who produced up to three mature follicles on a higher dose of Femara, so I plan to ask Dr. Vaughn about increasing my dosage. Now that we know I respond to it at 5 mg, perhaps 7.5 mg would give me more follicles (and thus more chances at conception)?  More follicles also relates to a better progesterone response during the luteal phase, and that is always welcome. We'll see what he says.

Over the past 16 months, I've now done 2 rounds of Clomid, 3 rounds of Femara, but only 1 round of the Femara was with IUI.  Typically RE's use the "3 strikes and you're out" method. So they would try using pills like Femara or Clomid at least 3 times before moving onto injectables, but they also use that rule regarding IUI's, and I have only had one of those with the Femara. I have a feeling Dr. Vaughn may want to move on to injectables w/IUI now, but we would really like to give a higher dosage of Femara w/IUI a try first. For one, we are not ready to fork over $3000+ for an injectables w/IUI cycle. We spent much less, $1200 on a Femara IUI cycle. This doesn't include other daily supplements we're both taking, but here is our breakdown...

Femara Rx-   $10
Clearblue Easy Digital OPK's- $35
Ultrasounds- $570 (3 @ $190)
Sperm Washing- $195
IUI- $190
Acupuncture- $195 (3 @ $65)
Infectious Disease Screening- $10

**Insurance DID end up covering IDS amazingly enough! Coding the order for "venereal disease" seemed to work!! This would have been $300 paid through the RE directly at their rates, or $700 if paid out of pocket without a reduced rate through the RE.

Total= $1200

Hubby has also been working for months with his HR department to try to have a fertility coverage "add-on" available through his work, since they only offer one PPO plan with zero fertility coverage. We pay everything out of pocket, except for the random time here and there we can sneak something through insurance successfully. We don't know the details yet, but it looks like his employer may actually offer some sort of coverage in the new year! We don't want to jump into paying $3000-$3500 a month for treatment with injectables yet, if we may have some coverage soon in 2013.

Each injectables w/IUI cycle would give us about an 18% chance of conceiving and each Femara w/IUI cycle gives us about an 8% chance each cycle. Yep, we get to pay thousands of dollars to have the same chances of conceiving that normal couples have on their own for free. Now if you didn't know much about fertility treatments before, you might start to understand why so many people choose to do IVF these days. We've been given about a 45% chance of conceiving each cycle with IVF, just to put that into perspective. Some couples have exhausted all other options and have tried everything else first before moving onto IVF, but other choose to skip doing injectables w/IUI and go straight to IVF, because the probability of a pregnancy is higher and the chance of multiples is actually lower. However, doing IVF with no fertility coverage is NOT an option for us right now. It can end up costing $20,000 by the time its said and done. Besides, I still feel in my heart that we can conceive without IVF....I want to know for certain that we've tried EVERYTHING we could before we are ever faced with a decision about IVF. I really hope and pray God will bless us, and that WON'T be a path we need to travel.

We had such good conditions on Femara last cycle, that we really feel it's worth another shot before even moving on to injectables. We all know how much I hate needles, and the thought of injecting myself still scares the crap out of both of us. I will do it for a baby, but I'd rather not until I know the Femara w/IUI is not going to work. Oh, and remember, that was also before we realized that it's just my eggs playing hard to get. So, all I need to do is have a talk with them and threaten them with permanent restriction if they don't cooperate NOW!!

Next month it will be one year since my miscarriage, and I'd really love more than anything to be pregnant through the holidays. Onwards and upwards to a new cycle.

Monday, October 15, 2012

White Chicken Chili w/ Froyo weekend & Austin Birth Awards

I have been such a perfect angel for most of this cycle, no alcohol being had and eating lots of warming foods.  It was a rainy weekend, so we kicked it off with a big pot of homemade white chicken chili. I loooove this recipe...

Organic Ingredients:
-2 (15 oz.) cans cannelini beans

-2 boneless chicken breasts
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 can diced tomatoes
-1 cup frozen sweet corn
-4 oz. can chopped green chilies
-1 tsp. chipotle chili pepper
-1 tsp. ground cumin
-¼ tsp. garlic powder
-¼ tsp. salt
-sour cream for garnish
-chopped green onions for garnish
**Use Eden's Organic canned products. They're BPA free!

Step 1: Grill 2 large chicken breasts. I recommend sprinkling them with some chipotle chili pepper, sea salt, and black pepper. Cut into bite size cubes.

Step 2: Pour both cans of beans into a colander in the sink, rinse well with water, and allow to drain.

Step 3: In a large pot, add rinsed and drained beans, chicken, diced tomatoes, frozen corn, green chilies, chipotle chili pepper, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and broth.

Step 4: Heat on high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. Makes 6 servings.

Top each bowl off with green onions for a nice crunch. I highly recommend also including the sour cream garnish. It balances the spicy smoky flavors of this chili perfectly!

Such a healthy and yummy dinner. However, sometimes no matter how good my eating intentions are, I just have to live a little before I lose my mind. I have never been shy about my one weakness when it comes to healthy eating, and that is ICE CREAM! Nothing, and I mean nothing, tastes better after a spicy bowl of chili than something cold and sweet. Conveniently, they just built a Froyo across the street from us too. It is quite literally going to erase any waistline I have remaining.

Dulce de Leche frozen yogurt w/ peanut butter cups, heath bar, mini choc chips and caramel syrup. BAD girl!

In my defense, I only ate half on Saturday. Sunday entailed a repeat of the chili/Froyo routine. I'm hoping the hot bowl of chili cancelled out the coldness of the ice cream, so that my uterus stayed nice and warm despite the free for all in my belly.  I am under orders from my acupuncturist to keep things all warm and cozy inside, especially during the 2WW. Speaking of acupuncturists, I thought I'd share some good news about mine.

Every year here in Austin, they have something called the Austin Birth Awards. It's like the "People's Choice Awards for Pregnancy." They recognize Austin area birth professionals that are going out of their way to provide quality care for the women of Austin.  Basically, professionals are nominated by patients and then a poll is taken to award the best professionals in many different categories; doula, midwife, ob/gyn, etc. A result of the yearly poll is a list of the best referrals for pregnancy care in Austin, selected and voted on by real people to determine the best and brightest mother-friendly birth professionals the city has to offer. Over 5,000 people voted this year, and it just so happens that my acupuncturist won Best Acupuncturist! Check her out...


Low and behold, my new Reproductive Endocrinologist won as well. Yay! Here is the man with the plan...

Now you can all put a name with the face that is all up in my lady parts all the time. lol  Really though, there are a lot of practitioners here in Austin, and I think awards like this, chosen by the people, can speak volumes to the satisfaction of other clients out there.  Infertility is never a fun journey, but I feel confident that I'm working with the best people I possibly can, and that alone is such a blessing! No, it's not like they won the Nobel Peace Prize, but it's just nice to see my own feelings confirmed via thousands of other people's opinions as well. It's also nice to live in a community that places so much attention on women's healthcare, and values holistic approaches in addition to Westernized treatment. 

As for this cycle, I'm 10 dpo today and the 2 Week Wait is dragging on a bit for me. I'm trying not to analyze every little symptom as usual, and that includes my Boob-O-Meter. As much as I've become tuned into my body, it's almost a curse sometimes. It's easy to start analyzing and self doubting if I see symptoms or lack thereof. Despite the fact that my boobs have gone down in size and soreness since 8 dpo, I'm remaining hopeful. There is no telling what's going on in there. God is in control, and I have A LOT to be thankful for. I'm really trying to focus on the possibilities instead of the what-if's.

As cliche as it may sound, I'm too blessed to be stressed! Well, at least until Friday, the big testing day. At that point, I may be taking another trip to Froyo to drown out my sorrows. Please keep us in your prayers. The last thing we need is another failed cycle, or another trip to Froyo!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Progesterone Weepies Strike Again

Call it a case of the progesterone weepies. I normally look forward to the dentist, but that was NOT the case yesterday.  I had an appointment to have an old silver filling removed and replaced with a resin filling. Yes, I am one of probably ten people left on earth that still has silver fillings in my mouth. My dentist is just as hell bent on replacing them as I am on prolonging the process of removing them.  Unfortunately at this point, they are all starting to crack so I don't have much of a leg to stand on.

Right when I walked through the door, I was greeted with "Hi Emily. I have something here to talk to you about" from the receptionist. "Great," I thought with a sinking feeling of getting sent to the principle's office. She proceeds to print out an estimate of all the other work I need done outside of the current visit, which includes two crowns.  If you've ever had a crown, you know it's a royal pain and it is not cheap either!

BCBS can seriously kiss my ass at this point.  Believe me, I'm thankful for any insurance at all, but there is serious room for improvement with them. They are supposed to cover 50% of major dental work, yet on this $2700 worth of crown procedures they are only going to cover $1100. Why? Because they set "customary charges" for all procedures and my dentist happens to charge more than what they consider "customary."  Not to mention, we have a $1500/year limit, so I will get to go through the pain twice to even get coverage for both procedures. Even though the two teeth are directly next to each other, I'll have to do one crown this year and one next year.  Oh well, better than the 0% coverage I have for fertility treatments I guess. I schedule the first crown for November and sit back in the waiting room. Grrrr 

Needless to say, this greeting did not put me in a good mood, especially since I was trying to stay calm. I was about to have a giant needle jabbed into my gums and then have a dentist drilling old metal out of my mouth. I sat back in the waiting room and could feel my anxiety mounting. I was NOT happy with the fact that this lady got me all stressed out before an already stressful procedure.  So much for the soft music on the ride there!

I'm called back and sit in the chair sporting a major pout, which is not how I normally act in there. My dentist knows me as a very positive person and immediately asks "What's wrong?" I can barely even open my mouth before tears just start pouring from my eyes. I proceeded to offer a "friendly suggestion" that the lady at the front might want to wait on handing patients estimates for $2700 of dental work right before they are sent back for another already stressful $500 procedure. I told her it wasn't just about the money, but that the dentist can be stressful enough when you are having major work done and a little more Zen from the office staff would be appreciated.  I could barely get the words out, because I was trying to hold back tears.

I couldn't figure out why I was reacting so strongly to something I could have easily just brushed off. Maybe I'm just fed up with medical professionals poking and prodding at me. I hate needles, and if it's not one in my arm, it's one in my mouth. Just make it stop already! I am even more tired of my crappy insurance company. I layed there feeling sorry for myself for a good couple of minutes and just cried. I just could not control my emotions or make it stop! "Grow the fuck up!" I told myself. What is wrong with me for God's sakes?

Then, I had an Aha! moment. I suddenly realized that I had been taking Prometrium for the past few days following ovulation. I am really starting to see a trend here. Last cycle, I also had a mini meltdown at 5 days past ovulation, and here I was again at 5 dpo having yet another ridiculous meltdown.  It has got to be all the extra progesterone in my body. I always wondered why pregnant women get so weepy all the time. I understood it was "hormones" but didn't really get why crying happened uncontrollably like that. Well, now I do. The Prometrium I'm taking is bolstering my progesterone, the same hormone that surges with pregnancy.  Until someone can pinpoint another reason I'd keep losing my mind at the drop of a dime during the 2WW, I'm going to hereby chalk it up to progesterone. Mystery solved.

I made it out of the dentist alive and continued pouting the whole drive home. My husband is away traveling on business, and for once I was thankful for that, so he didn't have to witness another crazy mood swing from me and I didn't have to explain why I was so down. I just wanted night time to come so I could fall asleep. I was tempted to stop off for a pint of Ben & Jerry's, but instead I made myself some comfort food.  I've been eating lentils like crazy this week...

Broiled salmon atop lentil goulash (lentils, brown rice, carrots, onion, tomatoes, garlic) with sauteed green beans

This awesome meal got me feeling a little better, and I felt a good sappy movie would get me the rest of the way back to normal. I rented People Like Us with Elizabeth Banks. Wow, this movie turned out to be much better than I thought it would be. The ending was sooooo good! Made me cry my eyes out at the end, but in a good happy ending way. Here is the trailer...

Went to bed famished and woke up today wondering what the heck happened to me emotionally yesterday. Hopefully the progesterone weepies will stay at bay for the next week leading up to testing. Please someone tell me I'm not the only one this happens to! No wonder men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Geesh!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

22 mm follie + 9 mm lining + 92,000,000 sperm = IUI complete!

This week set a record for having my hoohah violated I must say. CD12 ultrasound on Monday which revealed two follicles we thought would be good contenders for this cycle. I tested all week with OPK's but still no + by Thursday, so we went in for another ultrasound on CD15.  This was by far the best ultrasound I've ever had, and for one endometrial lining was 9 mm!!! RE's want to see it at least 7 or 8 mm for increase chances for successful pregnancy. Mine has never measured more than 6.8 mm on it's own (last cycle) so I was thrilled with the new progress. Outside of that, I also had a very mature follicle on my left ovary @ 22 mm and another almost mature on my right @ 15 mm. It was clear from the ultrasound that I was about to ovulate from my left ovary at minimum in the next day or so. The one on the right ovary isn't technically considered mature because it was under 18 mm, but there have been people who get pregnant with 14 and 15 mm follies, so you never know. This is the earliest I have ovulated in the past 15 months, which is what we've been going for all along! I feel like I responded pretty well to the Femara.

Although I hadn't gotten a +OPK yet, I knew it was coming soon. Dr. Vaughn told me to keep testing, because if I got a +, it meant we could schedule our IUI for the next day. Now that we have moved onto IUI, it's become even more important to detect the LH surge as soon as possible when it happens, because that is what they rely on to schedule the procedure if you aren't using a trigger shot. 

If I didn't get the smiley face by Thursday night, it meant I would have had to give myself an hCG shot (Ovidrel) and prolong the IUI until Saturday...Hubby and I weren't excited about A) Giving me a shot or B) Having to do pay extra to do the IUI on Saturday. Lucky for us, I finally got my smiley at 8 pm and so it was on for Friday!

Yesterday, we went in for our first and hopefully only IUI. Prior to going, I went to acupuncture to have a special "follie blasting" session, or at least that's what we jokingly called it. The goal was to blast the egg out of it's follicle as close to the time of IUI as possible. I could feel my left ovary twinging shortly after needles were inserted into those points, and that is a good sign! The IUI itself was a completely painless procedure, but just involved getting violated yet again by my 60 year old doctor for the third time in 5 days. lol  They basically just take the sperm sample, which has been "washed" to separate the healthiest forward moving sperm, and insert the swimmers directly into the cervix via a tiny little catheter. The word catheter scares the crap out of me, but turns out I had nothing to worry about, because I didn't feel a thing. I laid there for 10 minutes post IUI until the timer went off and we went on our merry way. 

According to the sperm analysis done, the sample contained 92,000,000 moving sperm. In case you didn't know, that is a lot of swimmers! Pregnancy rates are decreased when the sperm count falls below 10,000,0000 so at least we don't have anything to worry about with hubby, which we already knew. Still it's just nice to get good news every once in a while. Hubby definitely deserves bragging rights on that one!

Between my picture perfect 9mm lining, the 22mm super follie, and my gold medal sperm donor of a husband, I think we have a good shot this cycle.  Plus, we babydanced 2 days prior to the IUI and also afterwards, so our bases are definitely covered in that department.  There have got to be like a quarter billion sperm vying for their chance at this egg by now!  Even though we technically only have about an 8% chance of conceiving through IUI, even with all the right conditions, it's better than the 1% chance we had on our own without IUI or the Femara. We just need one little guy to put on his best Michael Phelps game face and make it happen! Two weeks from now we'll know if it worked!