Picking out a donor, forging ahead, and…running?

We’ve made a decision!  We haven’t officially purchased the sperm yet, but we’ve picked our first choice. With a few possible back-ups, just in case.

We had a few choices regarding sperm banks. We could either go with a larger one that’s further away and would have to ship the sperm to us or a smaller local sperm bank practically down the road from us, making for an easy pick-up. A few pros and cons:

Larger sperm bank:

  • Pros: larger pool of donors, more diverse range of donors
  • Cons: more expensive sperm, plus having it shipped in a tank would add another couple hundred bucks to each cycle (our fertility clinic doesn’t store sperm, so we just have to bring it with us for each insemination)

Smaller sperm bank:

  • Pros: so close to us so it’d be easy to pick it up, less expensive yet has the same number of guaranteed sperm per vial as the larger bank
  • Cons: smaller pool of donors, not very diverse, a lot of young college students it seems

We decided to go with the local guys! With the variation in my cycles, the thought of trying to time a shipment of sperm was stressing me out already. While my luteal phase is pretty consistently about 14 days, the follicular phase varies every month, from 11 days to 18 days. Trying to guess when I’ll ovulate, placing the shipping order, and then hoping I ovulate before the tank runs out sounds really exhausting. This way, we only have to give them a day’s notice and then we’ll pick it up in a tank, which will last about 6 days. I can usually see the OPK line darken a day or two before I surge, so this sounds totally doable. Plus, the lower cost doesn’t hurt.

I thought picking a donor would be something we’d agonize over and spend days just pouring over profiles. Surprisingly, it took all of 5 minutes! Granted, this sperm bank has a smaller pool. Plus, I’m CMV negative, so picking a CMV negative donor narrowed it down even more. We ended up with 5 possibilities. We read through each free profile and chose one pretty quickly. We’re not even going to pay for a longer profile or for his baby photo. We don’t really care. He has S’s coloring, he’s tall, he seems very intelligent, his family medical history seems fine, he’s creative and musical (nice bonus!) and he’s a part of the Identity Release Program. We’re totally fine with our kid(s) wanting to look up their donor when they’re 18. I would if I were conceived by a sperm donor.

We’ve decided to call him “Mr. Buddha”. He mentions the values of Buddhism in his profile, so this seems fitting. We’re emailing our registration forms to the sperm bank tomorrow morning and I’m calling to ask how many pregnancies his sperm has brought about, as his profile says he’s had a least one (at least we know his swimmers work!). I just want to make sure he’s not close to his limit. Once the registration is confirmed, we’ll order a few vials to have on stand-by. So exciting!! Shit’s getting real.

After talking with my sister today, I found out she had fibroids during the pregnancies of both of her kids and everything was totally fine. I’m still a little over 2 weeks away from my next appointment with Dr. H, but I’m tempted to ask her if we can just go ahead and start trying in June. The polyps (or fibroids) seem to be at the very top of my uterus and not blocking either tube – according to the HSG, the bottom 2/3 of my uterus is totally normal and fine. Is this naive of me? Am I just being impatient?

Also, my work colleagues are all signing up for a team triathlon in August. I’m thinking about signing up for the running portion – a 5K – but I’m not sure. While I’m a fit person – I take weekly dancing classes and yoga – I’m not a runner. i got on a treadmill today at the gym and lasted all of 5 minutes. I like the idea of working toward this goal of running a 5K, but since we seem to be on the cusp of TTC, is it smart to start a new workout routine right now? On one hand, I don’t want to stop living while we TTC, but I also don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize our tries. I have to let the guys at work know in the next week or so if I’m going to sign up so they can start putting teams together. Hell, I might be optimistic in saying that we’ll be trying by August. Who knows what will happen between now and then!

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Gotta balance it out

I’m a pretty well rounded person. Logical yet optimistic. Grounded, yet hopeful. So it only makes sense for me to balance out all the medical intervention going on downstairs with something a bit more holistic. Today I had my first acupuncture session ever. And I loved it!

The practitioner is really great. We did the intake session and I learned I’m physically “sensitive”.  Not quite sure what that means, but she said she would use her thinnest needles on me because otherwise she might move my chi too much and that would make me extremely exhausted afterwards.

She felt around on my abdomen and under my ribcage and muttered, “I knew you would pulse there. You’re very easy to diagnose.” Again – not quite sure what that means or what diagnosis she was referring to. But she placed some needles in me – not nearly as many as I expected – and then I just relaxed for 40 minutes. It was great! I felt little electric zings coming from the needles and asked if that was normal. She said it’s a good sign.

My seemingly random symptoms and tendencies fit a specific pattern – I’m thin, I sweat easily, I have heart palpitations or sensations and abdominal palpation, I’m sensitive to stimuli – so my herb mixture includes cinnamon (gu zhi). So fascinating. She knows our TTC timeline and about the polyps, so she’s working on building my blood up and increasing the circulation to my uterus. I’m taking the herb mixture twice a day for the next 10 days until I go back. I’ve been warned that my next period will probably be really heavy and full of clots, but that its a good thing. It’s means the herbs are cleaning everything out and I can start with a clean slate, so to speak.

Today I also heard back from Dr. H. She told me to call her office on the first day of my next cycle, she’d take another look at my uterus and we’d figure out the next step. Bummed I have to wait another few weeks, but I’m going to push for her to take more action next cycle. I’m ready to get this damn ball rolling already. There must be a procedure where she can take a looksie up in there AND cut the polyps out – although technically we have to yet to confirm that they’re polyps and not fibroids.

So here we are. Taking full advantage of both medical technology and old eastern wisdom. With both of these in our arsenal, we’re bound to be successful, right? …right?

That wasn’t so bad

HSG is done! Thank you to everyone that posted advice. I meant to respond to each one, but I got swept up in my fundraiser planning and then proceeded to sleep the entire weekend away. Except for Sunday. We had S’s family over for her birthday and hosted a pizza-making party. We covered the dining table in bowls of pizza toppings and everyone got to make their own pizza and drink lots of mimosas. Her family includes 3 girls under the age of 5 (so many females in that family) so by the end of the day we had sparkly stickers, markers, coloring books and little plastic bracelets everywhere. And cheese! We gave the 16 month old a little bowl of shredded cheese and she proceeded to walk around the apartment and leave us little cheese surprises 😉 Once everyone left, we took a 2 hour nap, woke up to eat a little something for dinner, and then went right back to sleep. I love weekends like that.

So the HSG. I took your advice and told my director I had a medical appointment and wouldn’t be able to make the committee meeting. She was totally fine with that and suggested I skip the board meeting too (it’s being held about an hour’s drive from our office – super inconvenient). I jumped at that chance, so now I’m in my PJs cuddling with my cat and not sitting in a large conference room with 80 other people. yay! I handed my report to my director this morning so she can present it. I have some great colleagues.

Everyone at the medical office was so incredibly nice. I struck up a conversation with the receptionist (I wanted to make sure it was ok that I didn’t submit a pregnancy test before the x-ray) and I found out her wife was 30 weeks pregnant! She even recommended a sperm bank for us. And get this, her wife got pregnant on the first try. I was like, “Shut. Up. Ok, now you’re just showing off.” Wouldn’t that be amazing?! The first try!

The technician took me back and it was two lovely ladies who did the procedure. They were so sweet and walked me through everything. And when one inserted the catheter, the other technician rubbed my arm, as if to comfort me(!). I didn’t take the Valium, just ibuprofen, and I’m now glad for that. I honestly didn’t even feel the catheter –  I guess that means my cervix is nice and straight? I had some mild cramping when the dye was put in but I’ve had worse menstrual cramps. I didn’t get to watch the dye being inserted, the monitor was turned away from me, but they showed me afterwards and explained it all. Tubes are open! They’re longer than I expected, but the technician said every woman is different and mine are totally normal. That elusive right ovary that hid from the ultrasound was hanging out on top of my uterus. It almost looked like someone sleeping with their arm raised over their head.

The confusing part was when I mentioned the polyps and the technician said this wasn’t a good test for looking at polyps. They don’t fill the uterus completely – just enough for it to spill into the fallopian tubes – so we only saw the bottom half, which was normal looking. I specifically remember Dr. H saying she wanted me to have this test so she could see the polyps better. I’m about to email her and ask “What now?” At least we know they’re not blocking my tubes?

I can’t really complain. The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes and cost me a $5 copay. Hopefully, we’re now one step closer to this uterus being open for business!

HSG advice y’all

So AF finally showed her face yesterday morning. After a 39 day cycle, yikes. I actually called out, “Yesssss, I finally started!” while in the bathroom. Which just made S laugh.

I called my radiology dept, as instructed, to schedule my HSG. They only do these x-rays on certain days and they had ONE open spot for next week! The nurse asked me if that time worked and said if not, I’d have to wait until next month. Um, hell no. I am not waiting another month. So I said yes, I’ll take it. I’m booked for next Wed. at 2pm.

Here’s the issue. My appt is right before 2 important meetings. I meet with our fund development committee, which is comprised of board members and staff. Directly after that is our board meeting. Normally, I wouldn’t care about missing them. However, these meetings follow our 2nd biggest fundraiser of the year (which I manage and which is tomorrow!) so I’m expected to give a report on the event metrics and revenue, both to the committe and the board.

Dr. H prescribed valium for this x-ray and if I take it, I’m not going to these meetings, obviously. What should I do? Just say fuck it, take the valium and take the rest of the day off? Or just take some ibuprofen, hope it’s not too painful, and then hurry back to work? I’m not so great at this work/life balance thing. No one at work knows we’re starting this process and I’d like to keep it that way.
Any wise words from ladies that have had this procedure? Did you feel ok afterwards? What did you take beforehand?

All work and no play makes for a tired lady

No rest for the weary these days. I’m in the middle of my busy season at work, juggling multiple events and just trying to keep my head above water. We had a big event last week, another fundraiser next Friday, and the final big one of the season in June. Not to mention a few small ones scattered in there. I’m daydreaming about this summer and the great plans we’re making.

For Memorial Weekend, I’m taking a quick break from work and we’re heading up to Mendocino. There’s a tiny little cabin there we like to rent that’s tucked away in the middle of the redwoods. 4 days of reading, napping, hiking, and cooking. It can’t come soon enough.

In July, my best friend is getting married on Cape Cod. They’re renting a house on the beach and having a few people spend the week there, with a very low key ceremony taking place at some point. Can’t wait to celebrate with them.

And then at the end of July, my sister and her family are visiting for 2 weeks. Already planning lots of fun San Francisco things to do with them!

When things get hectic, I just keep my eye on the prize and remember all the awesome things coming up. Not that work isn’t awesome. I love what I do. I just find that if I’m working long hours and starting to feel exhausted, making fun plans helps keep me motivated.

On the TTC front, I think I may have finally ovulated? My temp has been high the last 9 days – hovering around 98. Problem is, I stopped peeing on sticks on CD18 and my temp spiked on CD22 (I’m now on CD31). My body seems to have just been sluggish this month. I blame it on all the travel in March. I’m not going in for another progesterone test though. I’m just gonna see how it plays out in May. Once AF shows up, I have to call the radiology department to schedule my HSG. They’ve already called me twice to remind me of this! I’m like, “Dude, back off!  I’ll call you. You don’t have to call me.” The last thing I need right now is pressure to start a new cycle. Geez. So until then, I’m just going to concentrate on my work, make my summer plans, and try to carve out some time for relaxing in the middle of all this.