Friday, November 6, 2015

Avoiding the (Subfertile) Sequel

Yiiiiiiiiiikes.  Last post September 13??  I've missed you, bloggy!!  I have to make a more concerted effort.  And, I shall.

Anywho.  Let's talk sequels.

As in, TCIE, The Sequel.  Because, the cycles?  They've done returned.  6 months postpartum.  Not shabby for a PCOS gal with hormones that were once up the wazoo to the point of no egg-laying except with crazy amounts of meds.  Now?  My ovaries are like, ovulation, schmovulation, bring it.  Thanks, ovarian wedge resection, and thanks real food.

But the return of cycles means the return of (in)(sub)fertility.  And, I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I must admit, it was kinda nice not having a period, not having a monthly reminder that I'm NOT pregnant, anymore, and not being confronted with the reality and the choice that now awaits me...

To chart, or not to chart.  That is the question.

I got by pretty darn well as a bad FertilityCare Practitioner who didn't chart her own cycles for the past 3-4 years (I don't even remember when I stopped, and I'm too lazy to go back in my own archives.  Precious little time, people.  Precious little.  There are wine bottles that need my attention up in here.)  But all the same, I got by just dandy, with my clockwork (thank you, Jesus) and predictable cycles during those years.  But now?  Breastfeeding throws a loop into the scenario.  Breastfeeding can cause shorter than normal luteal phases, lower than normal progesterone, and anovulation.  The last one isn't too disconcerting, except that, well, yeah, of COURSE we want more (and more and more and more and, just, give me all the babies, ok? thanks) babies, but really it's the other two issues that most concern me.  Suboptimal progesterone/luteal phase length.  And, the ever-alluring "What IF??"

What IF.  "IF" - the beloved (I jest, no one loves that shit) acronym on the interwebs for INFERTILITY.  Funny how this what IF is a big IF, as in, WHAT IF I'm no longer subfertile and hence what IF I conceive again, and WHAT IF when I conceive, my levels are crappy because I'm still breastfeeding, and what IF... I have a miscarriage that could have been prevented?? 

Too many IFs in that sentence.  And too many years of IF for me to want to make too much of the many IFs..

I'm not interested in coming back to this blog in any capacity as the woman that once ran it.  I'm not that woman, of the "original" This Cross I Embrace, anymore.  I have been transformed.  I've been morphed into a totally different, nay, the EXACT OPPOSITE of that woman.  From childless to full of child.  And I will never (as my last post says) be the same. 

And so, it's with a light heart, and an inquisitive mind, not with an anxious heart and crazy mind that I come to this familiar, and yet totally new question.

And, it's not just to chart or not to chart, but to supplement (with progesterone) or not to supplement.

It would be easy enough for me to keep track of my cycles, take my "what if" progesterone from P+3 through P+12 every cycle, and still not get anxious the way I was when we were actively trying to conceive.  Easy, she says.  Yeah.  Seems like it would be.  But, again, I haven't charted in 3-4 years.  I haven't taken A med on ANY day in roughly the same amount of time except during birth (give me all the epidurals, says the homebirth plan at hour 50).  So, in reality, I'm just - not - sure how this will look in practice.  Can I avoid the This Cross I Embrace: The Sequel?  The crazed, hopeful, depressed, peaceful, joyful, suffering, ambivalence that once oozed out of every single post on this blog and every single thought and action in my life?  Can it truly be avoided if I am once again timing a medication to take "just in case" something happens that took EIGHT YEARS to happen absolutely and unbelievably MIRACULOUSLY the first time??  Can it???

Yes.  I'm going to say it.  I'm going to live it.  I'm going to REPEAT it:  IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

Sure, I may have moments when I get disappointed if my period is late and then shows up.  I may get impatient as time passes.  I may even find myself praying again to add to my family (oh, let's be real, that prayer has been fairly regular since Robbie was born, along with my daily prayers for the still-childless couples).  But, things will be different.  First of all, there is an end in sight to both breastfeeding, and the progesterone supplementation.  I won't need the support for a long time.  That's huge.  It was always the "HOW MUCH LONGER?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!" that drove me the most nuts during infertility.  Second... I have Robbie.  The charting, the supplements, the timing of it all - it will be quite literally the last thing on my mind after nursing, cooking meals, cleaning, laundry, stuffing diapers, vacuuming, grocery shopping, Skyping with clients, drinking wine, and not reading books I'm supposed to be reading to write reviews on this blog (bad, bad Catholic blogger - PB&G, I'm on it, I promise, it'll be soon!!)  The point being, when I was childless, THE CHART and all the timing of everything that went along with it became MY LIFE, and now?  I have a feeling I'll lose the darn puke-stained thing at the liquor grocery store.  (Really, I'm not an alcoholic.  I'm just funny.  That's my moral inventory.)  I don't think it will become much more than a piece of paper to help me remember when to start taking my compounded vaginal progesterone (prometrium, you evil stuff, you, don't think I forgot how much I loathe you, you will never see another orifice of mine in my lifetime).  In fact, I resolve to not let the chart become more than that.

I will be avoiding the sequel, over here at TCIE.  I will.

But, my story is still not completely told.  And so, as we move forward, we'll simply need to wait to see what exactly happens next.  I'd love for you all to join me for the ride.  As always... stay tuned. 


Katie said...

We are in the same stage too... (My doctor just called in my prescription actually) I wish I could be as relaxed about it as you are! It's hard to ignore it when i have to think about it every dang time I sit in the toilet. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts- and maybe I need to resolve not to let it be more than a piece of paper, too.

Amanda said...

I totally agree with you that IF will never be the same post being blessed with a child...but I do find myself getting anxious again about TTC and I wish I didn't. Maybe it's because I've never actually been pregnant, so that place in my heart is still really afraid and wants to avoid TTC again since it's never seen a positive outcome. Part of my just wants to avoid TTC altogether and just adopt all the babies since it's the route I connect becoming a mother with. I have WAY less anxiety about adopting again, just that pesky TTC and all it's medical treatments. I am so glad you are not struggling like you used to with IF and I get that it won't be like it once was. Thanks for sharing.

alison said...

repeat it and repeat it often. the best way to not have the sequel is to, well, get pregnant. there's dealing with secondary and there's...breastfeeding. so, enjoy this time. it is truly a gift to have a child!
i think the real treatment question you should have is, is he on testosterone again?

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

That is a good question, Alison. Actually, he was only on the hCG at the time we conceived last year. And his levels had gone from 58 to only 117 right before (literally a day before) we conceived, on hCG alone. Aside from that, it takes the sperm 3-6 months to generate and mature, so the testosterone levels that were TRULY responsible for making the sperm that made Robbie were somewhere between 96 and 58 (when they were still on their way DOWN!), when the Dr re-ran the levels between March and May to ensure the 96 wasn't a major lab error!! (It wasn't!) So, in essence, while the hCG/testosterone therapy did finally help him to feel a WHOLE lot better and increase his levels, I was already into the 2nd Trimester by the time it did so.
He has discontinued both in the past several months as they are pretty expensive, and he seems to be feeling ok, but we are due to check the levels again just to be sure - it was pure hell when they were that low, so we never want him to feel like that, again!

Sarah said...

I am with you on this. I started supplementing as soon as I started cycling (but I also have chronic low progesterone and might always need the supplements). I just couldn't stand the idea of conceiving only to regret not taking it! I have the additional issue of not being able to cycle AT ALL unless I wean. So it's this terrible debate of breastfeeding OR cycling. (No PCOS here, either. Just insane prolactin, I guess).

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to comment to say thank you for writing and making this blog public. I found TCIE about a year ago, and I read many of your older posts on accepting infertility. I had not been able to find any example of someone who suffered from long term primary infertility and found some measure of peace in that situation. So you were an inspiration, and a sign of hope for me. Thank you.