Officially Out For Cycle #2; Onto Cycle #3

My period came exactly on time, on Monday, right along with the new Moon.  It was hard at first, but I felt better later on.  This is something that just may take a while.  I keep reminding myself that it’s normal for a heterosexual couple to take a year of trying to become pregnant.

Our donor couple is all ready for cycle #3.  In fact, they were inquiring with me about the timing of it before my period showed up and we were officially out.

I talked with my wife, and her and I are in agreement; we’d like to try one more round with our primary donor couple, and if cycle #3 is unsuccessful, we may switch to our secondary donor couple for a few rounds/cycles.

There’s a chance that my eggs and our secondary donor’s sperm could be more compatible.  I figure it’s a shot in the dark, but many women in our TTC groups have had success after switching donors.

Many women in our groups also didn’t have success until a year, or even two, of trying.

I just keep reminding myself that we have to keep at it.  It seems daunting, to track ovulation and to get together with either donor couple, month, after month, after month.

Especially with how overwhelmed I’ve been with my career and clients lately.  Business is blossoming and blooming, and it’s amazing, but it’s also a lot to juggle along with TTCing.

Right now my wife and I are only looking at houses that our relator send us. via email, but in a few months we’ll actually need to start looking in person, and start preparing to make offers.

Thinking of juggling my expanding business, starting our first home-buying process, and still trying to conceive month to month has my head spinning.  I ended up having to take a mental health day for myself yesterday because of how burned out and busy I feel.

We may need to take a month off here or there from TTCing.  We’ll see what happens.  This has already been the craziest journey I’ve ever taken, and we are only two months into attempts.

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I’m Pretty Sure We’re Out For Cycle #2

I say “pretty sure” because my period hasn’t started yet.  But as of this morning, I can feel it coming.

I took a pregnancy test both yesterday morning and today.  It’s still a bit early, as my period isn’t due until the next few days, but both tests were negative.

I posted in one of our TTC groups and several women commented saying “It’s still early, you’re not out until AF (Aunt Flow/menstrual cycle) shows up!”

And while it’s definitely early to give credit to negative pregnancy tests, I can definitely feel my period coming on.

This is surprisingly easier than being out our first cycle; I thought it would get harder and harder with each month that didn’t take.

I’m telling myself that each month that we try we increase our chances of conceiving.  There’s only a 20% chance each month of actually conceiving via artificial insemination at home.

There’s another woman from our TTC group who resides in the same state as we do, and I found out that her and her partner used a midwife to perform an at home IUI.  I reached out to her, and she very happily gave me the information for this Midwife group and encouraged me to reach out.

I told my wife that if we don’t seem to have any luck with artificial insemination at home by the end of the year that perhaps we can try this.  They only charge $300 per attempt.  This is affordable to us, and it has given me some hope.

The only thing I worry about with each failed cycle is if at home artificial insemination will work for us; it doesn’t for all couples.  My wife keeps insisting “this is only two failed cycles, we should definitely keep trying.”

I’m also wondering how likely it is that our OBGYN will prescribe me fertility meds if our third cycle fails next month.

A part of me worries that she’ll tell me that three failed cycles is perfectly normal, and that she’ll want us to make more attempts before prescribing me fertility meds.  But, I suppose it can’t hurt to ask.  I’m thinking of sending her an email once my period starts.

Onto cycle #3 next month, I suppose! It really is much easier this time around.  Hopefully the third time will be the charm.

This Two Week Wait & TTC Process Is Killing Me

The day after I wrote my last blog entry I woke up feeling really down, dark, and mildly depressed.  I physically felt completely normal, and that upset and frustrated me because I was certain it meant this round of inseminations didn’t take. This thought process was completely absurd because it was way too early for symptoms.

And I knew that.  But I still felt really down and dark, thinking that this cycle wouldn’t take.  And worrying about how many months and cycles we would have to try before the possibility of actually achieving a pregnancy.

I felt a bit better the following day, but I was still having a hard time.  I only felt minimally better when I started to feel a little off and perhaps started to have a symptom, but I still felt really cynical.

I’m still feeling rather cynical and down today.  I felt better yesterday, but I’ve lost that optimism.

I do have one symptom that’s progressing with each passing day, but after having so many symptoms last cycle, and that cycle ending in a BFN, I’m too afraid to become hopeful.

What’s worse is I’m hardcore judging myself for feeling so down because we’ve only had one failed cycle.  There are women who have been trying to become pregnant for years without success.  We are still so early in our journey, and yet I feel like I can hardly handle where we are now, yet alone carry on.

The two week wait last cycle was so much easier to get through than this one.  Time is passing so slowly.  I feel so pessimistic.  I feel like I might need to take a break from trying if this month also ends in a BFN, and I feel so ridiculous thinking that I’ll need a break only after two months of attempts.

Tomorrow starts week #2 of this wait, so we are nearly halfway through.  I don’t think this week will be any easier than last week; in fact, I think it’ll probably be harder.

I wish I had the strength and courage that I see so many other women have who are also going through this process.

Round #2 of Artificial Inseminations Are Now Complete

As of today my wonderful wife and I have completed round #2 of artificial inseminations.  This round was pretty wild and crazy because my surge and ovulation occurred 3-4 days later than my previous two cycles.

My first positive OPK (ovulation prediction kit) for the last two months occurred four days after I had finished my period.  On this, our second cycle, the first positive OPK happened a smooth seven days after I had finished my last period.

I experienced what so many women in my TTC Facebook groups have experienced; my period and cycle completely reset after the initial introduction of sperm inside my body.

What made this cycle of pregnancy attempts so wild and crazy is that my wife and I decided to start our attempts one day earlier than our previous cycle…and this happened before we realized my surge and ovulation were happening later this month!

The result of this was that we accidentally started the inseminations a bit early, ahead of my surge…which means that by the time the surge and ovulation actually happened we did a total of seven artificial inseminations.

…..SEVEN!!  I mean, what the even hell!?

The amazing thing about all of this is that our donor was completely understanding about all of it.  I was honest with him about my surge and cycle being different this month, and before I could even ask if there were any way he could give us even more inseminations after the initial three, he beat me to it by saying “No problem, we’ll just continue with the inseminations until you surge.”

…I’ll truly never understand how we got so lucky with a donor.

The area we live in was predicted to be hit with a pretty large snowstorm this week, and so to be able to continue inseminations my wife and I purposely got snowed in with our donor and his girlfriend last night.

It was fun, relaxing, and everyone had a great time.  For all of the new followers on this blog, I’ll quickly explain that our donor and his girlfriend are two of our closest friends. We’ve known them for years and years.

This round of inseminations has gone completely differently from the first.  And I don’t even mean because we used softcups to inseminate instead of syringes with preseed.  My body feels fine, it feels mostly normal in fact.  Last cycle, during our first attempt, my body felt crazy, off, and completely foreign to me.

I suppose after getting three doses of sperm in our first attempt last month my body is more use to sperm, and is no longer being shocked by something it doesn’t recognize.

We are officially in our second two week wait!! I am feeling much more relaxed, normal, and way less crazed than after our first attempt last month.

The only thing I’ve noticed physically, which started last night, is that I have a “warm, fuzzy feeling” all throughout my ovaries and pelvic area.  I’m not sure what this is from, but it feels nice and comforting, and isn’t painful, strange, or harmful feeling, so I’m not worried.

I’ll try to update more during this two week wait than I did last cycle.  I’m happy to be feeling much more like myself this time around.

Soft Cups Vs. Diva Cups for Artificial Insemination

Since my last entry I’ve practiced with two of the Instead brand soft cups for the past two days.  My immediate results are that these are ten hundred times easier than the Diva cups/menstrual cups!

I first started to try using the Diva Cup last year in the place of tampons for my menstrual cycle.  This was way before I knew my wife and I would even seriously entertain the idea of trying for a pregnancy via artificial insemination at home.

I….didn’t have much luck with them.  I tried to use them for several different periods, before giving up in a heap of frustration and going back to the tampon life.

Upon joining TTC groups on FB last year I discovered that many women try to use menstrual or soft cups after artificial inseminations to help hold the sperm inside their bodies-I thought this was brilliant!

So last cycle my wife and I ordered and bought me fresh diva cups to try and help hold the sperm inside my body after inseminations.

It…did not work out so well.  There was lots of diva cup drama our very first insemination that led to a lot of pain and uncomfortableness the next day.  We also had some cup drama after the third insemination, and both instances stressed me out.

I’ve recently noticed that a lot of the women in our TTC groups have said that they had no luck with the Diva or menstrual Cups, but that they love the Instead brand soft cups for inseminations because they hold the sperm must closer to the cervix.

Upon further investigation, the internet confirmed for me that the soft cups are very different from the Diva Cups.

They are inserted into your body in a very different way…a much easier way.  They also sit differently inside your body, and sure enough, they sit right underneath the cervix.

I definitely had a bias against trying them because of my bad luck with the Diva Cup.  Even knowing that they are inserted differently, and sit inside the body differently, I was still cynical abut getting the hang of them.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I’m able to insert the soft cup right into my body.  Flawlessly.  Comfortably.  It feels comfortable once it’s inside my body, unlike the Diva cup.

For this cycle we are going to skip the syringe all together, and just have our donor donate directly into the soft cup. I will then just plop the soft cup with the sperm inside of it right into my body.  This pleases me greatly because more women in our TTC groups have been able to conceive at home doing this method, as oppose to using a syringe.

We are also going to have me eat pineapple core for a few days after I ovulate, because bromelain is said to help with implantation.  Many women in our TTC groups have done this, and many have had success.  Though of course none can say whether eating pineapple actually helped.

The whole pineapple thing seems very unlikely to me that it could make a difference in implantation.  I kind of feel like either you are going to get pregnant, or you aren’t.  But at the same time what can it hurt?! So alas, we will try it.

We will begin our inseminations for this cycle tonight!  Based on the OPKs, I am predicted to start surging tomorrow, so ovulation can happen anywhere between tomorrow and Saturday.  Our amazing and helpful donor has agreed to four inseminations this cycle.  Tonight, tomorrow night, Friday night, and sometime on Saturday.

Here we goooo!. Cycle #2.  Perhaps soft cups and pineapple will be the answer.  Only time will tell!

Gearing Up For Cycle #2 Amongst Being Too Busy

The last week has flown by incredibly fast.  I am already finished my normal seven day period, and pregnancy attempt #2 will begin later this week!

However, this won’t be a normal month of inseminations.  One of my closest friends will be coming into town to stay with us for three nights and four days.  She’ll be in town from NYC.  I shall pick her up from the bus stop Thursday night.

You may be wondering why I’ve scheduled a friend to visit us while we will need to be doing a cycle of inseminations.  The answer to this is simple: when I scheduled this visit months ago, it was originally during a time where I would be on the end of my period, thus not quite yet time to start a cycle of inseminations.

My period came five days early this month, therefore throwing off my normal period schedule, and probably my ovulation schedule as well.

The moment this period started early I reached out to my friend and warned her that her visit with us this time may be a little unusual.  Right away she told me to stop apologizing and assured me that she doesn’t mind at all.  She understands that are pregnancy attempts are time sensitive.

Thank gawd this friend is close enough to me that she already knew about all of this beforehand.  She already knew we had started our TTC journey, and that we were using a known donor.  She knew a lot about how we were conducting these artificial inseminations at home. She even knew that we try to do three inseminations per cycle.

Even with her assurance that she doesn’t mind, it’s still a crazy time to do round #2 of inseminations.  On top of that I have a very busy week of self-employment this week. I have four clients, one of them twice this week, and a long chair gig tomorrow.  My wife and I need to completely clean the house in preparation for our guest.  We have to host said guest and keep her occupied and happy, while also meeting with our donor couple to do inseminations.  I have to start tracking my ovulation today.  I also need to figure out how to use menstrual soft cups…

We bought these yesterday.  The women in our FB TTC groups say that these cups will hold the sperm closer to the cervix than an actual menstrual cup.  The difference between these soft cups and normal menstrual cups are that these cups are disposable; menstrual cups you wash and re-use for up to a year.

The only problem is that I haven’t even started to practice using these! I’m going to start after I finish this post.  Before I start getting ready to head to my first client of the week….

We were busy this entire weekend with friends and family.  We’ve been busy for the last five weekends or so.  We’ve been incredibly busy this year.

I need find some downtime after this week and weekend.  With all this craziness going on I’m already kind of expecting this cycle not to take…

EDIT:   I just flawlessly inserted the soft cup into my body and successfully took it out twice.  It is much, much, much easier than a menstrual cup.

We are going to have our donor donate directly into the soft cup, and I will just insert the soft cup with sperm inside of it into my body.  We will be skipping the syringe all together.

I feel a lot better, and more confident about this cycle now! =)

CD3 of C#2; Ready to Try Again Next Week

Since so many of you were leaving encouraging and kind comments on my last post (thank you!) I thought it would be best to give an update for Cycle #1.

A few hours after I posted my last entry I started to bleed quite a bit more.  I am definitely on my period now.  The result of our first cycle trying is a BFN.

And while I always told myself that a pregnancy definitely wouldn’t take our first cycle trying, I still somehow got my hopes up.  It was still disappointing to start bleeding.

I was surprisingly not feeling too down and defeated yesterday, but the despair set in late last night.  My wife and I have also been emailing and talking with a lender over the last week, and a few stressful situations came up yesterday.  Along with the BFN and my period starting, I started to feel really down and defeated last night.

I cried for a bit last night after we went to bed.  My wife held me and whispered reassuring words.  I woke up this morning also feeling pretty down, sad, and defeated.

However, this afternoon changed my pep and step quite a bit; we received amazing news from our lender this afternoon!!!

I went from feeling sad and down this morning to feeling blissfully surprised, happy, and pretty over the moon.  I spent some time thanking the universe for some good news after the devastating news of a failed first cycle.

My wife and I needed this; we both definitely feel more positive for cycle #2.

My wife has been saying “March is our month.  Perhaps March will be a month full of yes’s, since February was a month full of no’s.”

Last month we also received news that our landlady will not allow us to rescue a puppy.  Which just, of course, gave us an even bigger incentive to buy a home of our own.

We are going to be doing two things differently this second cycle.  For one, I want to nix the use of pre-seed.  I know many two women couples who had success using pre-seed at home, but I recently found a thread in one of our TTC groups where women reported having success when they stopped using pre-seed!

This kind of makes sense to my brain.  Women who conceive naturally don’t use pre-seed to help guide the sperm to the fallopian tubes.  One woman in one of the groups said she read that pre-seed could actually get in the way of the sperm.  So, we are going to try this cycle without it.

Another change we’d like to make is to start our inseminations this month a day early.  We are hoping to do our first insemination the day before my first positive ovulation test.  This way we can be assured that some sperm will be waiting for the egg.

I feel a little more hopeful this month, especially after receiving fantastic news this afternoon.  Maybe my wife is right.  Maybe March will be the month of “yes!” for us.

Here’s to hoping.  Congrats to all of you who received your BFPs this month! And to everyone who also received a BFN with us, may we all continue on with strength and courage for our next cycle.

Fertility Stones and Yoga Classes to Help Prepare My Body

As a massage therapist, a certified yoga instructor, and a certified Reiki Master, crystals and gemstones are my jam.  I have a beautiful collection that I keep on my dresser, sometimes use, hold, and constantly google to learn more information on.

I’ve known for a good few weeks that I have at least seven fertility stones, with two of them being repeats.  What I discovered this morning, to my huge surprise, is that I have a total of ten fertility stones! My Mom is going to buy me more tomorrow at a shop near her work. No crystal shops are anywhere close to my own home.

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The fertility stones that I have are two rose quartz, two tigers eyes, two moonstones, unakite, carnelian, adventurine, and a Shiva Lingam stone.

I slept with one of the rose quartz under my pillow last night, my hand wrapped around it for most of the night.  I think I’ll sleep with a different fertility stone under my pillow tonight.  Under the full moon this coming Friday I plan on making five jars of fertility Reiki water, with different fertility stones in each one.

I’d also like to start carrying some of them in my pockets throughout the day, which is a popular way to use gemstones; just one that I’ve never tried before.

This afternoon I took a Bikram yoga class with our primary donor couple.  They invited me to this class last week.

I originally thought I was taking this Bikram yoga class to do something with our donors the week before we start inseminations.  We will be seeing them three nights next week for three inseminations, and seeing them this week for a physical activity just sounded like a good idea in my book.

About ten or fifteen minutes into the yoga class I realized I was there for myself.

I was there to bend, to breathe, and to let go of worry and doubts as my wife and I truly begin actually trying for a pregnancy next week.

I took a yoga class last week as well, and I took several classes in January.  I’m hoping I may be able to fit in a second class later this week, before we start our inseminations about a week from now.

Will yoga help? Will crystals and gemstones help? Will fertility water help increase my chances of being fertile at all?

I’ll never know.  But I do know this: These things help me feel better, more relaxed, and more confident, and so in my book they help.

Here’s to hoping we may conceive a baby next week, even though this is only our first month trying.

It’s here; CD1 of Our First Month of Insems

It’s begun; I got my period today.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited to get my period before.

It’s such a strange feeling, because while I was happy to get it I also know that this will be the last month that I’ll be happy to see my period!

In a few weeks my wife and I will start our very first round of inseminations! After this period ends, I will began tracking of my ovulation once again, and then we will meet with our primary donor couple three different days, to do three artificial inseminations.

Since my last post, all the materials that I ordered have arrived right to our doorstep.  This includes the medical cups (for our donor to donate in), the menstrual cups (I’ll insert these to help hold the sperm inside my body) as well as the pre-seed, which is sperm friendly lubricant. (Most lubricants are harmful to sperm!)

As for the syringes we went in person to a CVS pharmacy.  I went up to the counter, and, trying not to seem too awkward, asked for 5 cc baby syringes.

The pharmacist asked me what I needed the syringes for….and I was completely honest.  I told her we needed them to perform artificial insemination at home to try to conceive a baby.

She asked what size we would need, and both my wife and I told her we weren’t sure.  So she handed me a bag with six syringes inside of it, two each of three different sizes-free of charge!!

ALL TTC supplies

This is what all the supplies looks like that we will be using for the artificial inseminations.  Donation cups, syringes, menstrual cups, pre-seed, and ovulation prediction kits.

We’ve got all our materials, and our primary donor couple are ready to go later this month.  We went out with them Saturday night to celebrate our donor’s birthday, and it was a blast and a half.

This past Sunday we sat down with our secondary donor couple to have “the talk” about all the fine details.  As with our primary donor couple the talk went well, and all four of us are also on the same page.

Our secondary donor even asked about future kids/pregnancies, and if we would need a donor in the future! He blew my mind away when he asked this question.

For now we are only focusing on this pregnancy, and this first kid, but the knowledge that we may have a donor for a second pregnancy two, three, or even five years from now fills me with so much optimism and security.

My wife and I are so excited!! I have a feeling this period is going to last forever.  And then of course, after this first round of inseminations we’ll be in our very first two week wait…which I’m sure will last forever and a half.

Cheers to February, our first month trying to conceive; it’s likely that Valentine’s Day will be one of our insemination nights!

We Officially Begin Our Pregnancy Attempts NEXT MONTH!

This morning my wife and I had our initial appointment with my new OBGYN.  Very early into the appointment I disclosed the real reason we’d schedule the pap smear. (Sure, I was due for one, but we wanted to discuss family planning and let my new doctor know that I’d be trying at home for a pregnancy.)

The appointment went very well.  The doctor was friendly, optimistic, and helpful, and invited me to ask her any and all  questions I had about fertility, and the process of artificial insemination at home.

She asked where we were getting the sperm from, and I told her we had found a known donor.
She asked how regular my periods were, and I answered her. (29-31 days, always)
She asked me how I was tracking my ovulation. I told her via fertility apps and OPKs.

And then I asked her advice on the timing of inseminations after my positive OPKs each month. I asked her about the possibility of using two different donors for the same period cycle.  I asked her any thing I could think of, and she didn’t begin the pap smear or examination until I couldn’t think of anything else to ask her.

I disclosed to her that I was worried that I had fibroids. I asked her if she’d me able to feel fibroids if I have them, and she thought very seriously for a moment before answering me with “most likely.”

She then checked and prodded me, and took her time doing so.  I really appreciated that she seemed to do “extra prodding and feeling”, given the journey my wife and I are about to embark on.

She said “you have no fibroids, and I also feel no masses or lumps. I’d like for you to try for six months at home, and then if none of those attempts take, come back and see me for a referral.”

We are hoping like hell that one of our first six attempts is successful.  Her referral would be to the #1 fertility clinic in the entire country, which you would think would excite us, but it doesn’t because, they are incredibly expensive.

We are excited as hell to start next month.  I texted our primary donor couple as we walked out of the building.  They confirmed that they are ready to start next month, and to proceed with donations every month from February until July.

I feel very relieved at hearing the news that I don’t have any suspected fibroids, cysts, or polyps standing in the way of a sperm meeting my egg.

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When we got home, I ordered all of the materials needed for our at home inseminations, except the syringe.  We decided to purchase the syringe in a store, so we can be certain of the tip, and the size of the syringe.

I bought:

  • 100 donation cups (for our donor to donate into) for less than $4
  • Two reusable menstrual cups (to help hold the sperm in place after inseminations) for $4
  • A bottle of pre seed, which is lubricant that isn’t harmful to sperm (most are!) for $10

The most beautiful thing about these purchases is that I had an Amex gift card that more than covered them.

I’m ecstatic.  I’m nervous. I’m amazed and dazed.  I’m living in small cloud of surrealism.

I can’t believe that we are going to finally start trying next month! Here’s to hoping the best for the next six months. I know they’re going to be a wild roller coaster ride that I will never forget.