Saturday, March 16, 2013

CD 1: Procedures and Policies

This is the last time I will announce CD 1.

Why? This is an infertility blog. The odds that I am not pregnant on any given month are far higher than the odds of a pregnancy. In my continuing quest to manage expectations, I'm going to expect my period fourteen days after ovulation.

To help me cope with CD 1, each month, I am going to do one small adoption-related task. This is jumping the gun a little bit. We want to see whether I'm still really infertile post-surgery, plus DH needs a job before we can actually apply to an agency. But adoption-related tasks and decisions will help me feel less desperate when my period arrives again. So for those of you playing along at home: until June, adoption-related updates will signify that another cycle has come and gone.

DH was turned down for a job last week, which was a bitter disappointment, right when my PMS was at its worst. But I started feeling better on Monday, when my period started in full force. Tuesday, I called Adoption Agency #1 with a list of prepared questions, mostly cribbed from Stirrup Queens. Actually, before I called, I had a full-on panic attack. I was convinced that the Agency would be quick to tell me that there was no way in hell any birthmother would choose us to be parents. I expected a long list of questions about our ages (too old, especially DH), our home (rented apartment), finances (lots of medical debt) and mental health (touch and go, most days).

But instead, there was lots of good news. Agency #1 adopts mostly Latino and African-American infants. They place about 25 children a year and have 15-20 families on the waiting list at any given time. The average wait is 6-12 months for 95% of their couples. The five percent of couples who wait longer usually have strict criteria for the birthmothers and potential children. (The agency led me to believe that these are the couples who only want white children who've been protected from any potential harmful substance their entire stay in utero. That's definitely not us.) So....6-12 month wait! That's crazy fast.

The money aspect looks like it will work out for us as well. For our recent wedding, we put the word out that we are saving money to grow our family through adoption and our friends and family were most generous. Plus, I get a generous adoption benefit through work. And the Adoption Tax Credit means that as long as we have the money saved up in advance, we probably will not bankrupt ourselves adopting.

[I would like to take a moment now to reflect on the fact that my (former) RE said that it was a "shame" that I wasn't willing to try IVF because my chances of success were a good 20% per cycle. At a cost of $11-15K per cycle. In what society is it reasonable to pay more than $30K for a chance to parent your genetic offspring?]

So for now, I'm not focused on CD 1, but the fact one day in the not-too-distant-future, DH and I will be parents.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Alternative Therapies: Restoring Fertility Yoga DVD

I ordered these DVDs in May of last year, and I have been using them most days (I took a break for my surgery and recovery). Each workout is 35-40 minutes long and coordinated with your cycle. There are four phases: Menstrual, follicular (end of menstruation to day 10), ovulation (days 10-14) and luteal. They claim to treat a variety of conditions that cause infertility: endometriosis, PCOS, irregular ovulation, etc. The creators of the DVD are practitioners of Chinese medicine, which views infertility as the result of imbalance in the body. The goal is to balance the various energies in the body, after which fertility should result.

Each workout is short. Even on days when I'm exhausted and busy, I can usually squeeze in Fertility Yoga. Before my surgery, the workouts seemed to be alleviating my cramps a tiny bit. (It would be unfair to expect 30 minutes of yoga a day to dissolve a 10-cm adenomyoma.) I love all the twisting and hip-stretches in the menstrual and follicular phases.

The authors are very on top of their Amazon reviews, and respond to the questions and comments therein. This is how I know that these DVDs have the potential to help women with DOR, but it takes as long as 13 months for new follicles to emerge.

This is where my issues come in. These workouts are very mild, probably because according to Chinese medicine, exercising to the point of depletion is a bad idea when trying to conceive. All well and good, but the exercises were so mild that after a few months, I had lost a lot of muscle. (I am a thin person who must really work at muscle building. I've never had nor desired a rock-hard, muscular body, but I don't want to be skin and bones, either.) While you can do other kinds of yoga, between the end of menstruation and ovulation, for me that's only one week, not nearly enough to prevent loss of muscle. The luteal phase yoga, on the other hand, offers no challenges for stretching or resistance for two weeks of every cycle. Doing this for a couple of months would have been fine, but for more than a year? It didn't seem like a good idea to scale back my exercise so much for so long.

Now that I'm not letting infertility steal my soul anymore, I still use these DVDs on days when I have no other workout planned--about 3-4 days a week. I go to my Vinyasa class, even after ovulation (though only once or twice a week). I go swimming because nothing, NOTHING soothes my anxiety like swimming.

The authors are very insistent that menstruation is a vulnerable time when women are pre-disposed to overextending themselves. I take their advice and just do the DVD menstrual phase workout and no other, which provides a nice rest during my period.

****This post is a reflection of my own experience and does not constitute any medical advice to anyone.****