TTC Update

Okay, so I guess it’s pretty obvious by now, but I am a terrible blogger. It’s weird because I want to blog and share and write and be creative and have this place that I make my own, but I just never post. Hopefully I will get my lazy butt in gear and you will see a lot more regular posting from me!

Anyways, I wanted to give you all–like the three of you who visit– an update about how trying to conceive is going. First, here is a little background on how we got to where we are:

Jr. Stac and I decided to go off birth control in May and not not try to get pregnant. I realized in September that my cycles were a little off, but I didn’t really worry too much about it since I was on birth control for so long. But my curiosity got the best of me and not not trying just wasn’t cutting it. I wanted to know more about my cycles and I hated constantly thinking ‘what if I am pregnant?’ when we would have sex near when I assumed I was probably ovulating. So I started charting, and right away I knew something was “off.” I guess you could say it was instinctual because it really had nothing to do with my temps; I honestly didn’t really understand much about charting.

In late 2010 I had a 45 day long cycle and I had no idea when I ovulated. So I scheduled an appointment with my OB/GYN. She sucks, by the way. I got a “don’t worry about it, lots of people have irregular cycles, here are prenatal vitamins, have lots of sex.” If you know me IRL you know that did NOT fly well. This is my life! I want to know WHY they are irregular and what that means. At this point I was determined to get pregnant.

That pretty much brings us to this month. On CD 77 (!) Jr. Stac and I saw a Reproductive Endocrinologist or “fertility doctor” who I will call Dr. Perfect. I call her that because omg she is perfect. Like, she is MADE to be an RE. She let us talk and explain our concerns, then politely explained things to us–not in a way that made us feel dumb, but in a respectful, kind manner. She is also perfectly cute. She had on riding boots, hair slicked back, designer glasses. There were fresh flowers in the office. I just REALLY liked her and just the whole experience. Besides her, there’s a receptionist and nurse. The three of them run everything so I will always know the people who call and greet me. I like that.

We went through all of our medical history and answered a lot of questions. Even though I have irregular cycles, Dr. Perfect didn’t think I had obvious signs of heightened testosterone so she wasn’t comfortable diagnosing me with Polycycstic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) yet. She explained that it’s a clinical diagnoses and you need to meet 2 of 3 conditions: 1) irregular cycles 2) outward signs of increased levels of testosterone like excess facial hair or male pattern baldness 3) a “string of pearls” around your ovaries. She suggested an ultrasound to check out my ovaries.

Two days after my appointment, I FINALLY got a visit from Aunt Flow. I called Dr. Perfect right away and she brought me in on CD2 for bloodwork and an ultrasound. Jr. Stac met me there to “produce a sperm sample.” It took my adorable husband about 30 seconds to “produce” and I thought that was just the funniest thing. When he came out of the room our eyes met and we both giggled; it really lightened the mood.

As soon as the ultrasound started, it was SO CLEAR I had the string of pearls on my left ovary. The right one wasn’t as obvious, but, nonetheless, that combined with my irregular cycles led Dr. Perfect to diagnose me with PCOS. I had 17 and 21 follicles, 5mm lining, and a “perfect” uterus.

Later that day, we heard that my blood work and Jr. Stac’s sperm analysis came back normal. Dr. Perfect started me on the fertility drug Clomid to help me ovulate.

Yesterday, I had to go into the hospital for the last of my diagnostic work up, a hysterosalpingogram or HSG. They insert iodine in your uterus, then take an X-ray to see if there are “spills” meaning that the ink can easily get through your fallopian tubes. The HSG went well. I didn’t cramp much and I had two “good spills” meaning my tubes are clear. Woooo!

This morning I went in for more blood work and another ultrasound (yes, the copays will start to add up.) Dr. Perfect wanted to see if the Clomid was working and indeed it was! She found two mature follicles on my right ovary! They were adorable :) Now we just need to have sex and hope for the best.

We are leaving for Mexico on Sunday for a week, so we will be doing the baby dance with maracas! :) Hasta luego, mis amigas!

Becoming an Abortion Handholder While TTC

On Sunday, I was trained as a handholder at Planned Parenthood–and it was intense. Reproductive justice and women’s health are issues I deeply care about (as you can imagine, I have been pulling my hair out over the House de-fucking-funding Title X, omg…). I proudly agree with PP’s mantra that every child should be a wanted child, so when my local PP decided to start a handholding program, I immediately volunteered.

1/3 of American women will have an abortion before they turn 45 and 60% of them are already mothers. People like to categorize women into “those who have abortions” and “those who don’t,” but the truth is women who choose to terminate pregnancies do so for many many different reasons and come from all walks of life–from the 13-year old who thought pulling out was an okay method of birth control, to the 35-year old high powered lawyer whose career is her top priority, to the 24-year old who knows she can’t provide for a third child–each deserves the right and access to a safe and affordable abortion.

Thankfully, despite how it may often seem, it’s LEGAL to have an abortion in the U.S.! Sorry, like it or not, it’s true. Planned Parenthood, as the largest provider of this service, is helping women all over the country take a hold of their own lives and make the decisions that are best for them and their families. Now, at least in Philadelphia, they are giving their patients even more than that–they are giving them me, to be there holding their hands, passing no judgment, and being in-the-moment, wholly present for them. I am honored to have such a role.

While crazylady Michelle Bachmann might believe women grab some Starbucks, drop off their dry cleaning, and then pop in for a quick convenient abortion, I know that the great majority struggle with and agonize over the decision to continue their pregnancies or not. I trust us, women, to make the best choices we can. Should that choice be to have an abortion, I am proud that I now have the skills to help at least a few in my community to not feel alone during the procedure.

I am still processing a lot of what I learned in training. I know my pro-choice stance is unwavering. But, before I can decide to support women during what very well may be a defining and emotional time, I want to be sure I can be 100% there for them. It’s similar to being a birth doula, where you should have no agenda and always support mamas regardless of the decisions they make. To console someone through a termination, you can’t be be questioning their motives or choices. In imagining myself as a handholder, I can’t help but wonder if me and Jr. Stac trying to conceive will adversely affect my ability to provide support. I am only human, after all. Somewhere in the back of my head, will I ever think, ‘Every child should be a wanted child, but I WANT THIS CHILD‘?

I hope not. And, in all honesty, I don’t think I will ever be thinking that, and I am pretty sure I will make an awesomely kick-ass handholder; it just needs a little more reflection. I will keep you posted.

TTC Update: As far as TTC is going, there is no news. Still stuck in the same million-day cycle, but thanks to Provera the end *should be* near. We have our first appointment with a specialist next Monday. I am a bit worried we haven’t been trying long enough to see her, but at the same time if you don’t ovulate, you don’t ovulate, right? So how are we even supposed to be trying?

Disclaimer: I know this is a heated topic and hope I can talk about it here in a passionate while respectful way. If you disagree with me about this (or anything I write here for that matter), that’s okay! I welcome dissent. :)