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Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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Condundrum

**This post may be TMI (especially if you know me IRL), so, you’ve been warned**

Facts: I’m 48.  I’m perimenopausal.  I’m hypothyroid.  I’m on ADs.  I’m infertile.  I have an active sex life now, although inconsistently so (this alone is a HUGE improvement over the drought I was in, so, YAY).  I.am.not.on.birth.control.

That last pesky fact had eluded me, until yesterday when I had copious amounts of EWCM and my next thought was, ‘oh, shit’.  Now, I’m not an alarmist and I am not going to report in this post that I am pregnant, but it has occurred to me, that even with the above list, there is the infinitesimal chance that because of that last fact, I could, in fact, become pregnant.

It might seem laughable to some that this actually just dawned on me.  You see, when you are not having sex and you are all of those other things, it isn’t even in your consciousness, so much so, that once you return to an active sex life, it takes something like EWCM to jar your consciousness enough to remember that sperm lives up to 5 days in a welcoming environment and, well, missy, you better figure something out.

I sold my fertility monitor a long time ago and, while I do track my cycles in an app, it’s only so that I know when to expect my next period (because they were so horrendous, I needed fair warning, although that has improved).  Even though I spent most of my marriage having sex to procreate and was very aware of my ‘peak’ fertile days and my BBT and my CM, since having Baby G and being in a long term sexual drought, once we finally returned to having sex, it NEVER crossed my mind that we may want to, you know, take precautions.  It is as if all those years of planning and tracking and monitoring and knowing when/not to have sex optimally to conceive flew right out of my mind in the intervening months since G was born.

In fact, even as recently as three months ago I was coaching a friend, who got married and just turned 40, as to how to increase her odds of getting pregnant and, wouldn’t you know, she did conceive her first month trying (she, unfortunately miscarried after seeing the heart beat which has been very hard on her, but, she will be ready to try again next month).  So, it’s not like its not on my mind at all.  Yet, I just forgot that the rules apply to me, too.

So, I’m ignoring the post ovulation uterine cramping I’m feeling by writing here, but it isn’t lost on me that, yes, I could get pregnant and since that is not in our family plan, I need to take some judicious steps toward preventing that as ludicrous as that seems to me.  I have been around long enough to see this scenario played out in the lives of fertile and infertile friends alike, who had completed their families, and, well, oops, found themselves pregnant with #3 or #4 (or, in one case, #5) at 43, 45, 47.  So, while it is not likely to happen, it could, and I am all about managing risk.

I actually am not sure what to do.  I did not tolerate any of the BCPs I tried post partum or even the ones I tried to regulate my horrendous periods when they returned.  And, once we were relatively sure I was in perimenopause and given that I wasn’t yet having sex, it just didn’t occur to me that it was something that needed to be revisited.  I cannot be the only one.  Am I?

What was recommended was to get an IUD and I have some friends who have, but, seriously, me?  Now?  That just seems, well, overkill and laughable.  I mean, really.  My inclination, now that I have snapped out of it, is to just avoid having intercourse during any fertile period of my monthly cycle.  But, my last period was 5 days early, so that is not reliable.  My husband works where condoms of every sort (and, yes, I mean every) are offered in bowls throughout the office), but, really, condoms?  Ick.

Now I am really pissed that the tubal ligation I consented to having during my c-section couldn’t be performed because my OB couldn’t discern fallopian tube from ligament and that alone has probably put my odds for natural, spontaneous conception at zero.  But, there is that pesky word, probably.

So, it’s a conundrum that I hadn’t considered and I don’t like my choices (but do like having sex).  So, there.

9 comments to Condundrum

  • M

    Condoms are a lot better than they used to be, IMHO. They’re not “the same” but I don’t notice the sensation loss that I did 5+ years ago. And IUDs have mixed results for people with horrendous periods – it seems to be equally split between solving the problem entirely with Mirena, hating Mirena desperately, loving Paraguard’s copper, and being more period miserable with copper.

    And I’m with you on finding this ridiculous and liking sex – there should be a middle ground here. Thank you for bringing this up – it almost feels taboo to be preventing after all we as a community go through to conceive and stay pregnant but this is the other side of the journey.

  • I feel like the IUD is so easy. I had it put in (Paragard) and then I don’t think about it. It does make my periods heavier, which is an inconvenience but nowhere near a deal breaker. I had one for about 2.5 years in between my two kids, and over time my periods seemed to go back toward normal. M is right, though, that people seem to have widely varying responses to it.

    Secretly, I want to know what it’s like to get pregnant accidentally. Partly because I feel like it’d be the ultimate fertility “achievement” and partly because I want another child but can’t justify it financially or logistically. But another child would really not be a good idea, and I’m not *that* infertile (I had C after 9 months of unprotected sex, no medical intervention). So i really do need birth control.

  • Sarah B

    Is a vasectomy off the table?

    I’m on the birth control pill and I love it. It smooths out my hormones and tempers what I suspect is some mild, undiagnosed endo. My own personal irony in this infertility community is that while I probably COULD get pregnant, we have such high odds of creating a baby with serious (I mean life threatening) genetic diseases that we’ll only try to get pregnant via ART to avoid that. As I get ever closer to 40, though, I have started wondering whether the heightened precaution is still necessary. But my husband and I are unwilling to risk it, and I’ll be on birth control until I have a very long talk with my doctor about when we’re safe to stop.

    And YAY on the renewed sex life! In some ways, this is a good challenge to have, right?

  • You go girl, with your sex-having self! But yeah, this is a tough situation — and I have not come up with a plan myself. My OB was really pushing for an IUD, and reminding me of my miscarriage history and how a random unplanned pregnancy (without early med support, etc) would probably not be good for me anyway, YET I cannot let go of this romantic fantasy of something happening and delighting us all with its miraculousness…. sigh.

    So good for you that you are at least released from that BS. Would a vasectomy be an option? Easy for me to say as a lady, but my impression is that it’s a pretty simple procedure — especially compared to the insane things you have been through with your body in the name of reproduction.

    Good luck with this! Will be curious to hear what you decide on. I feel like logically the IUD sounds good, but I still feel so protective of my uterus and scared to mess around in there with a foreign object. And my periods do not need help being worse :)

  • First, I’m glad to hear that you’re having sex!

    Second, if you don’t want the commitment of an IUD, have you thought about the Nuva.Ring? It’s easy to “wear” but easy to stop too. I think it’s a lower dose of hormones than the pill. I like it.

  • Jen

    You.are.having.sex. Glad one of us is!

  • Have you discussed your husband taking care of it on his end? I just ask because it sounds like you’ve been considering only your options. I’m in the same’ish boat. It seems weird to be thinking about a natural surprise pregnancy after 40 when infertile. But, yeah, it could happen I guess! Good luck figuring it out.

  • DH had a vasectomy. I wanted to stop taking hormonal supplements and the procedure is common, easy, low risk, and low on the invasive scale.

  • Sarah

    Love my mirena, no periods. I’m on it because my meds are tetrogenic, so a miracle oops would be a bad thing. And I say no to avoiding sex during fertile periods–droughts need rain! Let it rain!

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