Ah, Clomid, I’ve heard a lot about you

I visited my gynaecologist today. I should really have scheduled to see him last month, but in my mind I was going to be able to call him and tell him that I was pregnant and that I didn’t need to see him after all. Well, that didn’t happen.

Ten minutes before I was due to drive to the clinic I was with a friend. It had taken her a couple of years to get pregnant and she’d had to have surgery due to some severe endometriosis. We had common ground in our struggle to conceive. We see each other at least once a week, have a coffee and let our kids run amok together in the playground.

As we were leaving she told me – she was 14 weeks pregnant. Fourteen! I saw her every week, often twice a week. She had known for such a long time and hadn’t said anything. Presumably because it was just too awkward. It made me feel really let down. And shit. And upset. Was it really so hard to tell me?

I was happy that she had become pregnant so easily. And I tried not to let it bother me that she hadn’t told me sooner. But I cried all the way home to our place before getting in the car and driving to the gynaecologist. I wish she’d told me sooner. Before today.

My gynaecologist asked about how everything had been since my surgery in November to correct the Asherman’s. I said it all seemed OK, perhaps my cycles were a bit shorter than usual, but that was about it. He said I should start on Clomid. Ah, Clomid, I was wondering when that might pop into conversation. It seemed that every infertility thread I read mentions Clomid.

Alright, well what do we need to do? He explained I need to take the drug on certain days of my cycle, have a scan on day 10, and then they advise you when to try and conceive. The last step in normalcy of our already regimented sex life was about to be removed.

He advised me that it could increase the likelihood of twins, as though that was a bad thing. I understand that there are greater risks in pregnancy with twins but TWINS! I would be so extraordinarily happy if we had twins.

And he wanted my husband to have a sperm count test. I had to have a giggle at the thought – my husband was having a laugh with a friend a few weeks ago about being asked to perform into a plastic container, presumably giving him some grief about it. How awkward.

The realisation hit me: more tests, more drugs, more appointments, more tests, more drugs, more appointments. I was like a long-term medical experiment. My son wasn’t going to get a sibling until he was at least four. I would have been absolutely crushed had I known that at the time he was born. Now I am just numb with disappointment and a weak positivity that one day things will happen for us.

I took the fertility booklet, the scripts, the blood test forms, and cried. My son asked me what was wrong and gave me a pen and paper and said if I drew with him I would be happy again. What a cute guy. No wonder I want another one so badly.

 

A new journey: peeing on a stick

I didn’t think when I started writing this blog that I would be writing about peeing on a stick. I also didn’t think I’d have another two losses after our first miscarriage (well, three if you count the fact we were having twins on one of those occasions). But here I am.

Peeing on a stick. Not terribly graceful. Not something you’d discuss over the water cooler at work. Initially, peeing on a stick for me meant using a pregnancy test. It’s ludicrous what I put myself through. I get myself a FRER (or First Response Early Result) test, so that I can test at the earliest possible time. Never mind the fact that when I have had a positive result (so, five times before) I’ve never got a positive test before my period is due. I tell my illogical and somewhat deranged self, “maybe you could get an early result! Why would you want to wait if you could find out early!” And so it goes on.

The worst part though is waiting for a non-existent positive result. I sit there in the bathroom. I squint. I move the test into the light. I tilt it.  I throw it in the bin. I get it out again. I repeat the charade for what feels like a squillion times until I have given myself a headache from focussing so hard and trying to make something exist that doesn’t: that elusive second line. Sigh. Not this month.

Last month we tried an ovulation predictor kit for the first time. I didn’t even know what OPK meant on my Fertility Friend app until last month. I’m not sure why, but I decided to go top shelf. We got a Clearblue digital test. It promised to give us our four most fertile days for optimal “love making”. My poor husband. “Love making” at the moment is more like a scheduled requirement than a recreational activity.

My period came and went. So I opened the Clearblue test. Yikes, it looked complicated. The instructions suggested I should have started testing the day before. Not a great start. I told myself I would start the next day. And then I turned to my old favourite Google and asked some questions: when to test, how long do you need to hold on before testing, morning, afternoon or evening… so many questions! I decided that I would aim to be consistent at least and test in the middle of the day, after holding on for a couple of hours each time.

First day of the OPK… nothing. Second day flashing smiley! I looked at the instructions and it meant… high fertility! It was early in the piece, only day 11. I was pretty sure I usually ovulated after day 14 so didn’t pay too much attention. The next day another flashing smiley. We were at a music festival all day and all night long. Maybe I’d done the test wrong I thought. It did say to use first morning urine and I’d ignored that.  In any case, we were absolutely exhausted, I hoped that we would have more opportunities.

On day 14 I was at work. I wondered how many other women have to attempt to smuggle an ovulation test into the cubicle at work. It wasn’t exactly discreet, I had to shove the test up my jacket sleeve and then walk to the bathroom. I hoped my boss didn’t call me into his office. My arm was abnormally rigid.  I took the test. The results take a good five minutes to show, so I decided I would go back to my desk and then surreptitiously look at the test in my desk drawer.

Thankfully no-one cottoned on to my bizarre behaviour. The elusive solid smiley appeared! According to Clearblue that meant ovulation was imminent. It was like receiving the call to arms. Turns out that two years of trying for your second child can make you pretty determined to conceive.

The next two weeks were spent wondering if I’d stuffed up the test. I don’t think I did, my period arrived exactly two weeks after the test claimed I ovulated. Sigh. Back to peeing on a stick again.