Monday, December 14, 2009

(Bad) Blogger of the Year Award

It's about that time of year, when the cable channels are filled with programs counting down the Best Dressed Celebrities of 2009, the Worst Feuds, and the Top News Stories. In the same vein, I've decided to award myself the Bad Blogger of the Year Award. It has been almost a month since my last post...and the tragedy is, I don't even have a good excuse.

I've been exhausted (combination of lingering OHSS and pregnancy symptoms), and with loads of psychotic drama at work, I've started working from home. So, between naps and bouts of nausea, I've been sitting on the couch hammering away on my laptop. Blogger is but a click away, yet I haven't clicked. I haven't typed. I haven't uploaded ultrasound pictures.

It occurred to me today, that it's because I am afraid. I'm scared that if we make too big of a deal about this pregnancy, something bad will happen and it will all fade away. I guess you could say that God and I are dealing with lots of trust issues. Infertility is a painful road, and it has both shaken and strengthened my faith. But He is good, and He is reminding me of that daily. Here's His reminder for today: ultrasound pictures of our twins...twins who are growing right on schedule and whose hearts are beating strong!

Baby ABaby B

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meet Mary

I think I've mentioned before that I have a younger sister. (I can't really call her my "little" sister, because she has always been taller than I am.) Anyway, Mary is seriously the coolest person I know. She has the best sense of humor, and is my favorite person to just hang out with. Sadly, we've lived pretty far apart for the last few years, so I don't get to see her as often as I'd like.

PumpkinMary has been so supportive of me throughout this infertility journey. When she found out she was pregnant, she sent me the sweetest email, so I wouldn't feel pressured to have to respond in the moment on a phone call. She made it clear that I could be as involved or uninvolved as I needed to be, which was amazing. She was able to be understanding of me, because she had walked a similar path herself. I don't know how much of her story she wants published on the blogosphere, so I will just say that I consider my niece to be a perfect little miracle. :)

Soon, I will be getting two more nieces! Mary and her husband have known for some time that they want to adopt, and God recently laid it on their hearts to adopt two precious little girls with Down Syndrome. The girls live in Eastern Europe, and it will be a few months before they can come home. Mary started a blog called Threefold Blessings to chronicle their journey through the international adoption process. Since she's new to blogging, I thought I would ask all my bloggy friends to stop by and leave her a comment or two. ('Cause I'm an obnoxious big sister, and I do stuff like that.) Here are my beautiful new nieces:

AngelSweetie

Monday, November 16, 2009

Silliness

I just had a stern conversation with one of the cats. She's been running around all afternoon, refusing to settle down. Several times in a row - she waited until I was comfortable on the couch, and then she dashed across the table, knocking everything off it in the process. So I told her that she was being silly and needed to settle down. I don't know what should be more concerning - that I talk to my animals, or that I believe that for the most part they get the gist of what I'm saying. (Are those men in white coats at my door again?) Anyway, the whole incident made me wonder if God ever looks at me and thinks, "What a silly cat!" (Or, "girl" in my case.) I'm quite sure that He does, because I know my behavior and thoughts often border on the absurd.

For instance, we got our second beta results back earlier in the week (384, praise the Lord!). Ever since the first beta came back, I have had this overwhelming urge to pee on a stick. I have wasted so much money on hpt's over the years that I didn't want to spend money on one more - especially since I already knew what the result would be. But, oh, I wanted to pee on a stick and get two lines for once!! So I was ecstatic when C asked if I would take one, just for kicks and giggles. Apparently great minds think alike!

I could not wait to target that stick...until it came in the house. Then, I was struck with an overwhelming fear. What if it was negative? What if the lab made a mistake with our bloodwork? What if something was starting to go wrong? I almost couldn't do it...but I did, and of course, it was positive. Pure silliness.

There is nothing I can do at this point to control the outcome of this pregnancy, other than to continue to follow directions, take my medications, and bare a cheek nightly for the oh-so-romantic PIO shots. And pray, pray, pray. Yet every little thing has me worrying - is something going wrong? Did I do something to hurt my little embie(s)? The truth is sobering - I have no control. But I act like I do, and that's pretty silly.

It's interesting, too, how many of my perceptions of God fall into the realm of silliness. I wasn't going to post about this, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and in case you haven't figured this out yet - blogging is my way of avoiding a super huge therapy bill. The day we got our beta results back was difficult. I prayed and cried and begged God for a positive, all the while convinced in my heart that He would say no yet again. Finally - a short while before we got the results - I had one of those epiphany-type conversations with God. It was one of those moments where what you know to be true in your head finally bridges the gap to your heart, and you get a glimpse of God's face.

I grew up in an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive situation. I was taught at an early age that good things (or sometimes just the absence of bad things) are born of good behavior, and I began to see the world as a giant merry-go-round of cause and effect. If you asked me, I could define grace and mercy, and list out well-rounded arguments for how salvation is a gift flowing from God's grace, and we can never do anything to earn it. But yet, I was startled to realize that I had put God into a one-size-fits-all, black-and-white, tiny box: somehow I thought I did not deserve a baby (because spiritually I'd become so disillusioned and distant from God), and therefore He would not allow me to get pregnant.

It wasn't a conscious thought; it was a perfidious shadow underlying my thinking and slipping between my heart and God's. But once I saw it for what it was, I put it all out on the table and brought it into the light. I told God that sometimes it doesn't feel like He is good, and that sometimes I have trouble believing that He really does have a plan for me. I told Him that I knew I'd been disobedient and had run the other way when I'd needed Him most. And then I asked Him, in His mercy and love, to grant what I didn't deserve.

And He did. I don't know why. But I am learning that He is good, even when His version of "good" doesn't line up with the vision I have. I am so very near-sighted, and all I can see is today. Truthfully I probably spend more time looking backward than forward, and that too is silliness. But I am so grateful that I serve a God who overlooks my silliness, and loves me despite it.

Over the Top

I've been tagged with the Over the Top Award!! Many thanks to Serendipity over at Exploring Chaos for thinking of me (along with a very sincere apology for not getting this posted sooner).

Here are the rules:
USE ONLY ONE WORD! It’s not as easy as you might think. Copy and change the answers to suit yourself and pass it on. It’s really hard to use only one-word answers so try your best.

Once you’re done tag 6 other bloggers and let them know that you think they are ‘Over the Top’!

» Where is your cell phone? Table
» Your hair? Messy
» Your mother? Loving
» Your father? Insane
» Your favourite food? Chocolate
» Your dream last night? Vivid
» Your favourite drink? Kombucha
» Your dream/goal? Baby :)
» What room are you in? Dining
» Your hobby? Reading
» Your fear? Miscarriage
» Where do you want to be in 6 years? SAHM (does an acronym count as one word?)
» Where were you last night? Couch
» Something that you aren’t? Spontaneous
» Muffins? Blueberry
» Wish list item? House
» Where did you grow up? Globally
» Last thing you did? Eat
» What are you wearing? Sweats
» Your TV? Eyesore
» Your pets? Cuddly
» Friends? Amazing
» Your life? Good
» Your mood? Sleepy
» Missing someone? Yes
» Vehicle? Accord
» Something you’re not wearing? Bra :)
» Your favourite store? Bookstore
» Your favourite colour? Green
» When was the last time you laughed? Today
» Last time you cried? Yesterday
» Your best friend? C!!!
» One place that you go to over and over? Library
» One person who emails you regularly? Aunt
» Favourite place to eat? Kobe

I tag:

Mary at Threefold Blessings
Amber at The Pattersons
Tammy at Tammy's Journey
Hillary at Making Me Mom
Peaches at Diary of a Stork Stalker
Kim at Thoughts by Kim

Monday, November 9, 2009

Verdict

*sneaks furtively over to table and steals laptop*

Hello blog-world!! I have been laying low lately (literally), due in part to a resurgence of OHSS symptoms as well as a plot on the part of my husband to keep me from obsessively checking with Dr. Google about every little possible pregnancy sign. I think the last straw for him was when I could see my stomach rippling in sync with my heartbeat and started googling that. (Little did he know how much I was using my phone on the sly to perfect my google-fu. Ha!)

I made it in to work for a little bit today, and it felt good to be up and around. Of course, the picture-perfect autumn day helped. "Unseasonably warm" has to be one of my favorite phrases! But the rest of the day will have to be enjoyed through the window, because I have retreated back to the couch. There is now a Jennifer-sized divet permanently etched into the cushions, I fear.

For such a beautiful day, it started off a little sketchy - I woke up around 3 AM with stabbing pains in my stomach and shortness of breath. And when I went in for my lab work (dehydrated due to the aforementioned stomach ickiness), it took two people to finally tap a vein. Those little buggers must know when the needles are coming for them, because they ALWAYS roll. Evasive manuevers, I guess.

I tried to have a "normal" day, and not to stare at the clock too much while waiting for my beta results. (Yeah, right...) I read, I cried, I prayed (who am I kidding, it was straight-out begging), and when the phone finally rang, I could barely answer it. The nurse on the other end (the one who hadn't been able to get the vein this morning) asked me how I was, in the sort of soft, sympathetic voice that you don't really want to hear. I told her that I was doing my best impression of a calm, non-neurotic person, but that I was failing miserably at it. She laughed and said that I had every reason to be excited if I wanted to, because my beta was 172!!!!!! So apparently, the OHSS symptoms that have returned with a vengeance are a good sign. My next beta is Wednesday morning, and if the number has increased appropriately, we will schedule our first ultra-sound for about two weeks out. (For those of you who know me in real life or on Facebook, we aren't telling a lot of people yet - at least until after the next beta, and maybe longer. I've learned from too many others that a nice beta number does not always equal a full-term pregnancy, and I don't want to learn the art of untelling.)

I am in shock. Part of me feels like this is a dream, and I'm going to wake up at any time and it will all be over. I realize as I type this that I had stopped believing that this day would come. Part of me is so, so blissfully happy - for C especially. He is excited beyond words. But another part of me feels so...unworthy. I have so many sweet, lovely friends who really deserve this, and who have been through so much heartache. It is so unfair.

Hannah prayed:
My heart rejoices in the LORD;
my horn is lifted up by the LORD.

~ I Samuel 2:1a

There is no one holy like the LORD.
There is no one besides You!
And there is no rock like our God.

~ I Samuel 2:2

He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the garbage pile.
He seats them with noblemen
and gives them a throne of honor.
For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's;
He has set the world on them.

~ I Samuel 2:8

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Transfer Update & Vindication

Here they are!! My precious little miracles. The transfer yesterday went amazingly well!! Dr. No-Bull was out of town, so the doctor on call did our procedure. Seriously, this guy had the gentlest, most compassionate bedside manner of any doctor I've ever met. I barely felt anything (with my ovaries still being larger than grapefruits, I figure he gets a gold star for that). The two-hour car ride up and back was another matter - turns out that part of our problem with the PIO shots is that the nurse only drew one circle, which was too small and too low. So instead of giving the shots in my hip, we've been giving them directly in my butt muscles. No wonder I haven't been able to move much! The IVF coordinator drew new circles (one for each side this time), and last night's shot went so much better. I've also been icing prior to the shot, and having C massage it afterward, which helps. (Of course, using a base that I'm not allergic to also has a nice effect!)

In addition to the two hatching blasts we transferred yesterday, we had five more blasts to freeze. All in all we only lost three. The embryologist seemed really excited about our embryo quality; I can't remember the chances for twins but we have a 50% chance for a singleton pregnancy.

I had this vision in my head of what my bed rest would be: me and my mom hanging out on the couch, snacking and watching funny videos. It has not been like that at all. (**Warning: TMI ahead.**) On Friday, I told the IVF coordinator that I had started having to strain to go to the bathroom. She told me to take Peri-Colace, which I did. It didn't do anything, so I took more on Saturday (transfer day). Last night, I had the worst intestinal cramping; it was horrible. Then, on top of everything else, my stomach started feeling hard and I was having trouble breathing deeply. This has been happening a lot in the evening. Suffice to say it was a looooong night. I was convinced that I had hurt my precious little embryos, until C finally called the IVF coordinator this afternoon. She said it was good that everything happened the way it did: the embryos haven't started to implant yet, so I didn't hurt them, and it's better that I was able to clear my bowels than having to strain during implantation.

She also said something that made me feel a lot better, in an emotional sense: she said that they have been very surprised that I have done as well as I have, and that they were expecting my OHSS to be more severe. She also explained that I will feel worse in the evening, which is when the nausea and breathing issues have been most difficult. So, in a sick and backwards way, I feel vindicated. I've been trying not to whine, but I really do not feel well at all, and it's kind of nice to know that I'm not just being a baby.

BUT SPEAKING OF BABIES!! There are two precious little embryos inside me RIGHT NOW! And I am amazed. Please, Father, protect them and keep them safe and growing and allow them to burrow in deep!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Itchy

I cannot thank you enough for your support and encouragement!! Your comments really lifted my spirits yesterday. I obsessed over the arnica issue until I was convinced I had done something to hurt our embies' chances, and that I would be an unfit mother. Got to love those hormones...I am not thinking clearly these days. Extra special thanks to the Mad Hatter for the great arnica link!! I felt much better after I read it.

The verdict on the arnica gel is that it probably didn't hurt anything, but I was told not to use it again. I am relieved, yet also disappointed, because that was the first time I've been able to straighten up and walk without pain all week. On the bright side, my mom started using it on her neck and has had amazing results. So at least it isn't going to waste! (Did I mention that my mom is here? I'm so glad, because she has been helping me make sure I stay hydrated and get enough protein. I'm certain that I would have had severe OHSS if she hadn't been here.)

We've also discovered that the extreme cramping and soreness in my rear are likely caused by an allergy to the sesame oil base in the PIO shot. I've broken out in hives several times now, each outbreak worse than the last. Last night even the injection site itself turned into a gigantic hive. We are switching to progesterone in an ethyl oleate base, which (hopefully) will arrive today. In the meantime, I am supposed to be taking Benadryl to keep from clawing my skin off. Add in the pain meds, and I am more than a little loopy this morning!

The clinic should be calling sometime this morning with our transfer time. Tomorrow is the day! I am so excited, nervous and scared, all at the same time. Please stick, little embies...

Midnight Snack

CelerityDisclaimer: The author of this blog has just taken Vicodin and Benadryl, after a long sleepless night interrupted by the shenanigans of a very angry cat. The opinions contained within (along with grammar and typos) may be completely nonsensical. (Although - I guess that's not much different from normal, is it??)

Seriously, I just tried to log in to Facebook with the username google. And I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't let me in. *sigh* Anyway, I should have known better about the cat. I have two Sphynxes (furless cats); they are very sweet-tempered and social animals, nothing like the Sphynx Rachel bought on that one episode of Friends. Mine have both stayed close to my side this week, especially since I've been sleeping on "their" couch.

Serenity, the mother of my other cat, has truly lived up to her name. She seems to sense when I am in pain, and she gently nudges me or licks my face like she's trying to comfort me. Celerity (pictured above), even though she is Serenity's offspring, has a completely different disposition. She is a firecracker! C has affectionately named her "Bad A$$ Kitty," a moniker which fits her well. Despite her antics, though, she brings much joy to our lives.

Food is Celerity's favorite obsession. She once stalked and stole a whole spear of asparagus off my dinner plate, but that's another story. (She's also incredibly fond of steak. It's very odd.) Celerity has feline asthma and is on a small steroid dosage; this only adds to her food fetish. If she can see the bottom of her food bowl (even if it's only because she's pushed all the food aside), she freaks out.

So, all night long, Celerity "attacked" the furniture in the living room: she scratched at the couch; she pounced on the table and pushed things off it. Then she ran around my head for a few minutes before starting the cycle again. The problem? She got up for a midnight snack and decided her food bowl was low. We're not talking empty, or even close to empty - just low. I didn't realize her problem until nearly 6 AM. Having lived with her for the past nine years, I should have understood immediately - but I didn't.

I just filled her bowl to the brim and she's curled up in a ball, purring contentedly. So, now I am not only overly emotional, in the throes of an enormous allergic reaction (more on that later), and in pain, but sleep-deprived as well. If this IVF cycle is a success, I guess I will be well prepared for those long sleepless nights ahead!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Amazed (and Scared)

We were tentatively scheduled for transfer yesterday, but the embryologist called us in the morning and said that he wants to do a blastocyst transfer on Saturday instead. ALL 10 EMBRYOS ARE STILL GROWING!! He likes seven of them really, really, really well, and the other three he likes too, but slightly less well. He thinks that we will have some good blasts to choose from on Saturday.

Part of me is impatient and wants to get this show on the road. On the other hand - I am slightly relieved, because honestly I feel like crap, and I'd like a few days to get myself together before it's time. I have worked so hard to avoid gluten and sugar for so long, and in the interests of staving off OHSS have been drinking Gatorade by the gallon this week. I've been forcing down some protein, too, but the nausea has been clamoring for some foods that are normally off-limits (french fries, cup o'noodles - yummy!!). So combined with the PIO shot side effects, let's just say I'm not on my normal "schedule" (if you catch my drift). I'd like to fix that before we throw the embies in the mix. Oh, and I'd like to be able to walk from one room to another without bending over from the agony. I look like Quasimodo these days. (Thankfully, though, the Gatorade is doing the trick - only mild OHSS symptoms and no daily weight gain. Praise the Lord for that!!)

I have really been having a difficult time with the PIO shots, hence the Quasimodo-ness. Not the injections themselves so much as the aftermath - I have started sleeping on the couch because it hurts too bad to get out of bed in the middle of the night to make my fifteen trips to the bathroom. My abdomen is still really sore, and my rear is so cramped and stiff that there is just no way to move without crying out and waking C (who really needs to get some sleep).

So - in an extremely exhausted and hormonally-driven emotional breakdown yesterday - I did something really stupid. I had seen Arnica Gel recommended on several message boards for PIO shot side effects, and I guess I thought it was something like aloe. I didn't really think of it as something that is absorbed into the skin and potentially could enter my system. I asked C to pick some up at our health food store and I rubbed it in liberally to the affected areas (which would be my entire rear-end). Immediate relief, it was so wonderful. Kind of a warm tingly sensation, followed by the realization that I had just put something on my skin that I know very little about, and that could potentially have any number of harmful effects on this process. I can't believe I did that, and I am just sick about it. I did scrub it off about ten minutes after I applied it, but I think it had already been absorbed. So, I am anxiously waiting for the IVF coordinator to return my phone call and tell me what an idiot I am. Hopefully I have not done anything too damaging...this is just proof that these hormones are really affecting me, I guess. (Does anyone know anything about Arnica Gel? Did I do a really bad thing??)

In the good news department, C bought a new laptop to replace the computer that died yet again. We decided this time not to resurrect, but to replace. It is *so* much nicer to blog from a real keyboard again, instead of my phone!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fertilization Report

I am in shock. This finally feels real.

Twenty-one eggs fertilized!!! Eleven were frozen and ten were left out to develop. We are tentatively scheduled for transfer Wednesday afternoon. However, if the enough of the embryos are doing well Wednesday morning, we will wait until Friday or Saturday and transfer one or two blastocysts.

I am amazed.

Sick

I threw up through my nose tonight. Extremely disgusting. When I promised the IVF coordinator that I would drink so much fluid that OHSS wouldn't be possible, she said she was worried that I would have problems with nausea and would dehydrate that way. This is the third night in a row that I've felt horribly sick to my stomach between 7 and 9 PM. It's like clockwork - does anyone know what could be causing this? Tonight's the first night I've actually thrown up, but I'm not convinced that it's related to the ER.

Even with the maximum dose of pain meds on board, I am not feeling so great. And I am not a fan of this side of 4 AM. But I really can't complain - I have a friend who has done ER twice without anesthesia. I think she's the strongest person I know.

So, I didn't think they had really given me my PIO shot today, but I'm feeling it now. If anyone has any advice for those suckers, I'm all ears!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Retrieved and Relieved!

I'm a little loopy thanks to the pain meds, but I wanted to post a quick update. The retrieval went really well!! We had a grand total of 30 eggs. A few of them were immature, but at least 20 of them looked good. We're on OHSS watch, and I'm forcing fluids to the point that I could float away. But overall I'm feeling ok tonight. We're tentatively planning transfer for Wednesday.

I have to say, I've really been struck by God's faithfulness today. I could feel His presence today, in a way that I haven't for a while.

So, next step...waiting for the fertilization results. We should hear around noon tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm bugging C about getting the computer fixed. I want to curl up with a cup of tea and get caught up on my reading. Commenting is a challenge using the phone!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Retrieval on Sunday

Have you ever felt like your life was so ridiculous, that you could have a prime-time sitcom based solely on your misadventures? I have, especially lately. My life has turned into a comedy of errors. I'd love to tell you about them, but my hard drive fried. Yes, again. So I am blogging from my phone, which was very cool for the first few words. Now I am missing my "real" keyboard...so please forgive any typos.

I was really overwhelmed by all your comments and support. "Thank you" seems too shallow a phrase to convey how grateful I am to all of you. I can't imagine walking this road by myself. I hope you will forgive my slowness in getting over to all of your blogs. I have not been feeling great and I am still learning how to use this phone. But hopefully I can get caught up on my reading soon...I am very anxious to see what everyone has been up to!

As far as our IVF cycle goes, C will be giving me my hcg shot at 12:30 tonight. I am more nervous than he is, I think. We are scheduled for retrieval on Sunday morning. I have 23 follies, and at least 20 of them are over 18mm (most are over 20mm). So we've gone from planning transfer on Wednesday (assuming we have something to transfer) to a play-it-by-ear approach. Apparently my estrogen level is pretty high and I look like a prime candidate for OHSS. Yay.

Well, that is way more than I thought I could hammer out on this little keyboard tonight. I'm off to read some blogs, and then I have an appointment with THE needle. *shudder*

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back in the Saddle

It's been a long, long time since I've posted anything. I don't really have a good excuse; sometimes blogging is a way for me to sort through my feelings, and much has been going on lately that I haven't wanted to deal with or even think about. So, I'm chalking my absence up to avoidance, pure and simple.

Here's a brief run-down of everything that's happened since I've updated last: we had a marvelous time in Hilton Head, work has been rather busy and overly stressful, and C bought me an iPhone for my birthday. My sister and her husband have decided to start the process of adopting a baby with special needs, and two people at work have had "surprise" baby news. (This has been especially hard, since neither of them are really pleased about it.) Oh, and we started IVF.

It's seemed almost anti-climactic. After all, it's been almost a year and a half since we had our initial IVF consultation. I am amazed at how, after all that time, the pieces fell into place so quickly. As far as the mechanics of the process go - we did a long Lupron protocol, and received the go-ahead to begin stimming Tuesday night. We got off to a rough start with the shots, but lately C has been wonderful in administering them. We've learned that I have an irrational fear of needles, and knowing that I don't have to give them to myself has helped reduce my anxiety. I did give myself a few of the first Lupron shots; C had to go out of town for a wiffleball tournament and wanted to make sure I could handle it by myself. I got through it, but I am thankful there are no more sports tournaments any time soon!!

My next monitoring appointment is Monday morning. The earliest we can expect retrieval is a week from Saturday. We will have to travel about two hours to have the retrieval and transfer done, since our clinic's local lab won't be up and running for a few months. To avoid any timing issues, they are booking a hotel room for us, for the night before the retrieval. It's nice that they are making all the arrangements for us, and picking up the tab, too! This clinic has far exceeded my expectations; they are so wonderful! The IVF coordinator even gave us her cell phone number, in case we ran into any problems outside of business hours. (We've only needed to bother her once, when we opened up our second package of syringes to find that they were the wrong gradation.)

If anyone is still popping over this way, I really, really covet your prayers. Before beginning this cycle, I was struggling with a lot of anger issues. I was afraid that if I turned to God and poured my heart out to Him, that He would turn this into a spiritual object lesson. I'm so afraid to ask Him for a baby anymore, because so often the answer has not been what I so desperately wanted. I've been trying to make it through all on my own, but as we've gotten into IVF I've started realizing my emotional and spiritual limitations. Now that I have been pushed beyond my illusion of control, I am beginning to press into God again. I have made this process so much harder on myself by running away from Him, and that is my own fault. So - for any sisters in Christ who may still be reading - please, please pray 1) that C and I will rely fully on God through this process, and 2) that I will have fewer needle-related issues. We had a truly awful blood-draw this week (worst of my life, and I've had some bad ones), and anytime I even see a needle anymore I get weak and dizzy. The shots have been going better since C took over, but I have to be careful to avert my eyes. And of course - most importantly - please pray that God will finally bring us our precious little miracle baby!

I am off to get caught up on my blog reading - it will take me a while I am sure! But in the meantime, please know that I am continuing to pray for all my bloggy friends and I am so grateful for you all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ummm...okay?

***TMI Warning***

Dr. No-Bull did my sonohysterogram and trial transfer on Monday morning. I had some slight cramping during and afterward, but it wasn't anything earth-shattering. Certainly it was nothing like what I experienced after the hsg. No spotting, very light cramping. Yesterday I felt like it never even happened.

Today, though, I started spotting heavily. It's cd14. I'm usually not one for mid-cycle spotting; the two times I've had it before were of the blink-and-it's-over variety. Not this time...I would almost think a new cycle was starting. No cramps, just heavy spotting. Does anyone know if this is normal to experience 48 hours after these procedures, or should I put a call in to Dr. No-Bull?

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you so much to Kelli at Life, Love, and TTC Mysteries, Courtney at The Yerkes Life, the Mad Hatter at Late for a Very Important Pregnancy, and Clare at The Pitter-Patter, who are all so sweet and thoughtful to share this award with me! It has truly made my day brighter. If you haven't read their blogs before, go stop by and say hi!

The rules of the "One Lovely Blog Award" are: accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Because I am so late it posting this, I think all the blogs I've discovered recently have already been tagged. (I am always late to the party!!) So, I'm going to give this award to a blogger I found a while ago, but who has been a real source of encouragement to me. If you haven't met Kim over at Thoughts by Kim, then please allow me to introduce you! She is an absolute sweetheart and I am so thankful for her friendship.

It never ceases to amaze me how many wonderful people I've met through the online ALI community. I wish I could give every single one of you a big hug and thank you in person for all your encouragement. I could not walk this road without you, and I am so glad I don't have to go through this alone.

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet...

It's a bird...no, a plane...no, it's (GASP OF HORROR) an insane infertile on the loose! I do feel more than a little bit crazy at the moment. So much has been happening so quickly! The needle on my speedometer has passed the 200 mark and I'm redlining. I've barely been able to process it all, let alone write about it.

The common denominator in all of our busy-ness lately has been money. As in, we've been spending a lot of it. To start with, we finally settled on a car (a 2006 Honda Accord EXL). We were strongly considering an SUV, because "what if" the IVF works and "what if" we need more space for strollers and car seats and other baby paraphernalia. I remembered reading another blogger's (I am so sorry, I can't remember who) thoughts on decision-making in light of infertility. Do you go with the "what if's" and constantly live in a place of maybe? Or do you enjoy each moment for what it is, and make decisions based on how things are right now while leaving the door open for change? We chose to do the latter. Right now - I like the Accord better. I'm more comfortable driving it, and the trunk space and backseat will be adequate if the IVF succeeds. So, we bought the Accord. (And I look darn good driving it, if I do say so myself.)

Where IVF is concerned, I have that feeling you get at the beginning of a rollercoaster, where you're thrown back against the seat, the car is gaining speed, and you're wondering what you're in for. So far this cycle, I've had my day 3 bloodwork done, and this morning I had my sonohysterogram (where they check the uterus for fibroids, polyps or anything else that may cause a problem) and trial transfer (where they "map" the uterus so there are no surprises on the day of transfer - such as huge ovaries preventing a good ultrasound picture). The next step will be to start birth control pills when a new cycle starts. Which should, lucky me, be right around the end of our vacation.

Ironically, I think vacation is stressing me out more than anything else. There is so much planning to do before we can leave! Not to mention, I am suffocating at work. I need to get my inbox back to a manageable level before we go; I'm already putting in an extra 10-20 hours a week. (Hence the sparse blogging.) If I can just survive the next two weeks, I'm going to plop my rear down in the sand and do absolutely nothing but watch the waves. Ahhhhhhh, beach. I cannot wait!!

(photo credit rmattoso, stock.xchng)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Update

First of all, thank you so much for your encouragement. I love my bloggy friends!!! I didn't go to the support group meeting, which I think was a wise decision. Work has been really busy lately (I haven't even had time to blog!), and I've been feeling a little drained. In addition to the IVF stuff, we've also been car shopping and planning our vacation. Lots of decisions and busy-ness! (Apparently we're into spending money at the moment...our checkbook is taking a pretty big hit!)

Now for the drive-by update: C and I went to a mandatory IVF meeting at our RE clinic last night. It was amazing; such a contrast to our experience at the other RE practice! Everyone at the meeting was so friendly. The lab director gave a presentation on everything from how they ensure that the right embryos are given back to the right person to the biology of the process itself. He was very clear about the downsides of IVF; they want to make sure we know exactly what we're signing up for. He also showed video of the ICSI and assisted hatching procedures - I was truly speechless. God has created us in such a wonderful way!

I finally got my progesterone results back, too. My level was 2.4 on day 22; my RE considers 3.0 to be ovulatory. I was disappointed, but it just makes me more eager to get started with IVF. I did start a new cycle last night, and I have a call in to the IVF coordinator to get my bloodwork scheduled. My next acupuncture appointment is on Thursday. I'm hoping to get an idea of the protocol the acupuncturist uses for IVF cycles. With all the spending we've been doing, we want to make sure our budget is clearly nailed down.

So, progress. It's good.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PMS Symptoms...Here We Go Again!

I think the crazy pregnancy-mimicking PMS symptoms are starting again. I'm prepared this time, so no BWE (blogging while emotional) - I promise! (Well, no more than usual...) My acupuncturist was really excited about everything that happened last month; she said that it shows my body is responding to the treatment. I haven't gotten my progesterone number back yet, but I am hoping that it supports her opinion.

I'm debating whether I should go to my infertility support group tomorrow night. I didn't go last month, and I don't know that I have the emotional energy to go this time around. It's the sort of meeting where you drag yourself in the door, and it's really painful while you're there, but it's also really good. The prayer time especially is incredible. Selfishly, there is part of me that doesn't want to grow too close to these ladies, because I don't want to be a permanent fixture in this group. I want to "graduate", as they put it. And now.

Maybe I will make it "a game-time decision", as C often says, and decide tomorrow on the fly. For now though...I am still at work and should probably not be blogging. My work day was supposed to end three hours ago! (It's just so nice and quiet here...)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back in the Game!

I stopped by the lab this morning for my day 21 progesterone draw. It's been quite a while since I've been poked and prodded with "real" needles (the acupuncture needles are too small to count), and while I am not a fan of lab procedures, it felt good to be back in the game. To be monitoring hormone levels, gathering data, and moving forward in a quantitative way...it makes me happy! The acupuncture has helped me so much, but sometimes I need the tangible reassurance that western medicine gives. I am excited to have found a practice that sees value in both.

************************************

C and I went for a long drive the other night, and he surprised me. Out of the blue, he commented that he is really tired of going through all this and he's just ready for this season of our lives to be over. He is usually so stoic and silent when it comes to our infertility. Apparently, though, he's been running some numbers and thinking a lot about IVF. It was strangely nice to have a glimpse into his feelings on the subject - I certainly don't want him to hurt, but seeing his pain helps me understand that I'm not in this alone.

The end result of our conversation is that we will probably do IVF sooner rather than later. I am much more comfortable with the new clinic, and financially we can swing it. If my progesterone level suggests ovulation, we may do one more cycle with acupuncture only. Timeline-wise, that would take us up to our vacation. (BEACH! Sorry - I digress.) C is off the following week too (lucky duck!), and that would be a good time to schedule our IVF consent appointment. It's all coming together...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

IVF Price Tag

The financial coordinator at the new RE clinic called today to discuss our insurance coverage. They move quickly! I am so impressed with their customer service philosophy. We have a clear picture now of what we will need to pay and when, if we choose to do IVF. She went over everything, including items that may not be necessary. She suggested that we plan for the worst case scenario, and save up enough to cover everything that could possibly be needed. Sage advice!

In discussing the actual numbers with C, I understand better that this is not something we will be doing next month. I got a little carried away in my mind, and pictured signing up NOW. But C reminded me - let's hold the course and see what effect the acupuncture is having first. Sunday is cycle day 21, so I will probably have my progesterone level checked on Monday. If I've ovulated, we could be looking at a whole different ball game (with a much smaller price tag).

Why do I feel even more restless now...I am impatient today!

Restless

I am restless today. It's hard to concentrate, and the paperwork that has already engulfed my desk looks like it wants to swallow me too. I've hit a wall; all I want to do is take a nap.

The weather isn't helping. We've gone from yesterday's bright, summery skies to an overcast ceiling that threatens to collapse in a heap of rain at any moment. And maybe I am a little bit depressed - yet another friend had a baby last week.

Infertility is isolating. I miss my "old" life. I miss going to C's softball games. I miss hanging out with our friends. I miss our old church, where we knew lots of people and had a history. I miss being happy.

Then I remember the last time I went to a softball game, when I hid in the car and cried because I was the only married woman in the stands without a baby, and because people asked hurtful questions. I remember sitting in our living room while our "friends" gushed for hours about the news of their pregnancy. I remember sharing the news of our diagnosis with our home group, and no one knowing how to act around us anymore. I remember the couple in our home group who told everyone they were pregnant except us. I remember the pastor who led the home group wanting us to leave because we made everyone uncomfortable. (He didn't say it in those words, but that was the bottom line.) I remember dreading church on Sunday, because I didn't want to see him. I remember putting our wedding pictures away, because I felt so betrayed. (He was the pastor who married us.)

And as I remember the pain of all these things, I know that happiness is a long way off. Someone in my infertility support group once told me that she "didn't feel well" for years. That resonates with me today. I don't feel well. Physically, emotionally, spiritually: I just don't feel well. And while I know that joy exists independent of circumstance - that joy and sorrow can occupy the same space without displacing each other - I miss being happy. I miss feeling good.

Monday, July 13, 2009

One Foot in Front of the Other

**I need to process through my second-opinion appointment with the new RE, and I'm going to do that by writing about it. So, consider this fair warning that the length of this post may soon rival Vanity Fair. If you don't want to read the whole thing, but are curious to know what our next steps will be, feel free to skip to the pink part at the bottom.**

Summer seems to be flying by, and I'm missing it! Life has been so busy lately; I feel like I'm holding my breath because there isn't even time to breathe. One of the things that seemed to sneak up on me overnight was my second-opinion IVF consult, which was this morning. It started off well. I appreciated the tone in the office: from the office staff to the nurse to the decor, there was just an overwhelming feeling of friendliness and comfort.

We waited in that friendliness and comfort to see the doctor...and then we waited...and we waited. Forty minutes after our scheduled appointment, the woman who checked us in told us that they had a new doctor in the office, and that the doctor we were going to see (let's call him Dr. No-Bull) was taking some time to go over my records with her in detail. Twenty minutes later (an hour after our scheduled appointment, if you're keeping track - I certainly was), we were led into a conference room with very comfy chairs. C almost fell asleep in his comfy chair, while we waited yet another twenty minutes. We agreed that we were willing to overlook the delay because we liked the overall feel of the practice so far. I will, though, admit to having doubts about whether they were really taking that long to look over my records!

By this time, I had exhausted all my nervous energy (and in hindsight, I do wonder if that wasn't part of the point). When Dr. No-Bull and his young protégé finally made their appearance, I was calm, composed, and completely capable of rational thought. (Feel free to laugh here, but usually I turn into a blubbering idiot when doctors are in the room. They scare me, and I have a tough time communicating coherently.) But then, Dr. No-Bull launched into a speech that stopped me cold in my tracks.

With his eyes focused solely on the paper in front of him, rarely looking up at me or C, he began to address the questions and expectations I had listed on the intake form. My first impression of him was arrogance, and the long wait suddenly seemed much more of a thorny imposition. He pegged me as a control freak (and said so, using that exact terminology), and lectured me on the dangers of applying internet research to my situation without the proper knowledge and training needed to interpret it. (I noticed that C was watching me with great interest at this point - he later commented that he thought I was going to "turn" on Dr. No-Bull. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I don't think it would have been good!)

I realized the issue when Dr. No-Bull said that even though his undergraduate studies concentrated on biology, he would never assume that he knows more about my field than I do. I calmly replied, "Of course; this is why we're here. You're highly specialized in this field, with much more training than the ob/gyn we've seen thus far." I was rewarded with slightly longer eye contact, and it seemed to me that the tone of the meeting changed after that. In Dr. No-Bull's defense, I probably gave them the most comprehensive intake paperwork that they've ever seen. I'm sure I had "problem patient" stamped all over each one of my extensive notes. With my background in biology, he may have expected me to challenge his experience, knowledge and opinions. (I'm sure he sees more than his fair share of patients who read it on the internet and believe it's the gospel truth. While I believe the internet can be a source of great research, reading a few articles does not make me an M.D.)

I scored again when we discussed the lab tests I wanted to have done. I had listed on my paperwork that I want my progesterone checked, meaning that I want to have a day-21 blood draw to see if I'm ovulating on my own. There wasn't a lot of space to write, so I didn't specify exactly what I was after. Dr. No-Bull said that he didn't think having my progesterone tested "in the way [I] want" would be of value to us, and looked pleasantly surprised when I replied, "Really? I'm curious to know if I'm ovulating, and would be interested in checking my levels on day 21. Because if I'm not ovulating, then we're just wasting our time, and we should move on."

That seemed to seal the deal, and from that point on Dr. No-Bull relaxed visibly. Not that he didn't still tease me about being a control freak (at one point he told C he was trying to decide which of them has it worse; apparently Dr. No-Bull's wife and I have some things in common) - but we began to see his sense of humor, and we relaxed as well. At the very end, he said that he hoped we weren't offended by his matter-of-fact approach; I feel like I should be offended but strangely I'm not. It was a getting-to-know-you sort of session, and he gave us some really great information.

Overall, we decided that we are going to update my lab work in general and check my thyroid function (more to rule it out than anything else). Dr. No-Bull also wrote a standing order for day-21 progesterone tests, so we can monitor my ovulation or lack thereof over the next few cycles. He gave us general information about laparoscopy and IVF, and their financial coordinator is going to check with our insurance and give us the bottom line numbers. Other things I really liked:

  • They didn't kick me out when I mentioned acupuncture. In fact, the woman at the front desk wrote down my acupuncturist's name, so they can let her know about their new facilities.


  • I really think they spent the whole time we were waiting (or at least a good portion of it) looking over my records. They knew my medical history better than I do.


  • Dr. No-Bull isn't going to put up with any bull from me, but he's not going to give me any either. He was honest with his opinions (even if they were a bit brutal at times), yet he also took the time to explain each of them. I like information, and he seems to understand that.


  • This may put me back on the IVF roller coaster once and for all...THEY DO EGG RETRIEVAL PROCEDURES UNDER ANESTHESIA. The other clinic does not; need I say more?


  • C and I have some decisions to make. We are going to take some time to make them, but overall I have a good feeling. God is leading us down a path, and while we may not know yet where it leads, we are putting one foot in front of the other and walking it out. I am confident that He is in control and that He is still God, and (most importantly) that He is still - and always has been - good. But that, my friends, is a subject for another overly-long post!

    Sunday, July 5, 2009

    Braggin' On My Man

    Flowers
    C did a really sweet thing on Friday. Since it was such a difficult week, he brought me flowers. And then he took me out to dinner. We don't eat at restaurants very often, mostly because we have such strict dietary habits - but also because this whole infertility thing is expensive. It was a lovely date night, and a very special treat indeed!

    Flowers up close

    Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    The Blues & A Decision in the Making

    Music can be healing. Sometimes just the right song can express what's in my heart better than any words I could ever string together on my own. However, I have to admit that I found it ironic this morning when I realized I was literally singing "The Blues" (a la Switchfoot, that is). You can find the lyrics here if you're interested.



    C and I have been discussing the merits of jumping back on the IVF roller coaster. We still want to continue with TCM, but the question is whether to do it as a stand-alone treatment, or in conjunction with western medicine. Most of the success stories my TCM practitioner has told me about were in conjunction with other treatments. And while I do not relish the thought of putting more drugs into my system, I also don't know how much more of this I can take. The scientist in me is screaming for more data. I don't understand what happened last cycle, and I don't think I can go through that again without an adequate explanation (i.e., exactly which hormone was out of whack and by how much).

    One of the reasons I hesitated to proceed with IVF before was that I was uncomfortable with the RE I was referred to. We just didn't click. Now, all of a sudden, I find that a fertility clinic two hours away has opened an office five minutes down the road. From their website, it appears that they put great emphasis on patient care and education.

    I called to schedule an appointment, and already I'm impressed. The person who answered the phone was very warm and sweet (unlike the automaton who mans the phones at the other clinic). They have a new patient coordinator, who will be calling me back to explain how their clinic works, go over insurance basics and schedule an appointment. Information up front? Now there's a novel idea.

    I'm not sure how this will play out. We are still praying it through, and waiting for God to speak. But it is nice to have options again! And after the heartbreak of the past few days, it would be really nice to have a reason to stop singing the blues.

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    The Bitter Truth

    I guess it was AF after all. I don't know what I did to make her so angry, but she is ticked about something. I stayed home from work today, because I couldn't even get out of bed.

    Emotionally and spiritually, I just feel drained. I have no explanation for the strange symptoms, and I am confused. Not only has infertility robbed us of the joy of trying to conceive, but now - if we ever do get pregnant - we're going to be so afraid to believe that it's true. We won't get to enjoy the moment.

    Life isn't fair. I know that. But I feel like somewhere along the line, something is supposed to go "right" for us. I thought this was finally it. And then, it wasn't.

    ETA: Thanks for all the supportive comments over the past few days. I really appreciate them. My bloggy friends are wonderful!!

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Warning...TMI Ahead!

    If you're still reading, consider yourself duly warned.

    Shortly after I wrote my last post, I went to the bathroom and noticed some spotting. Spotting as in a very light pinkish mark on the toilet paper...lighter than any spotting I've had before. Ten minutes later, it was reddish-brown and while there was more of it, I'd still only call it spotting. However, it was enough for me to freak out and leave work a little early.

    When I got home, I was still spotting, and feeling crampy enough that I fell completely apart. I decided to use a tampon, since it seemed like the spotting was developing into a light flow. C was off today, and he was so sweet - he held me for three hours while I sobbed. I took a nap, and when I woke up, the cramps had changed. They're back to the strange sensation I described eariler - more of a soreness than the muscle contractions I usually experience. The tampon indicated something between spotting and light flow.

    And here's the kicker - it's almost seven hours since I started spotting, and IT HAS COMPLETELY STOPPED. This has never happened before at the beginning of my period. I don't know if this even is a period. My overloaded brain is screaming "implantation bleeding!!" but my beleagured heart is so afraid to hope.

    I am not one to read into symptoms. I have experienced things in the last week that I have never experienced before, in twenty-one years of menstrual cycles. I am so confused.

    Sometime later I will write about the spiritual journey I've been on lately. But for now, I need to put this in writing:

    Father, I recognize that You are sovereign, even over this situation. Whether or not we are pregnant, You are good and You are working out Your perfect plan in our lives. I will praise You through this, whether it be with tears of joy or tears of sorrow.

    Soliciting Opinions

    It was a long weekend, and not of the sort that involves a day off and a trip to the beach. Yesterday especially was a tough day at our house, because a certain impatient person peed on a stick before she should have. (Go figure.)

    For the first time in our years of trying to conceive, I was absolutely certain that it would be positive. C was absolutely certain that it would be positive. And then it wasn't. We had a long discussion beforehand about how we shouldn't be testing until Wednesday, and agreed that a negative hpt wouldn't necessarily mean that we aren't pregnant. It might just mean that we tested too early (especially since we aren't 100% sure when I ovulated).

    I understood that a negative was a real possibility and was convinced it wouldn't bother me...until only one line showed up on the test. Then I spiraled out of control like a kite in a windstorm. It was very, very bad.

    So, for the sake of my sanity, I'm going to write out a timeline from around when I ovulated until now, and the changes C and I have both noticed. As embarrassing as it is, I'm going to list out every little thing (including things I normally wouldn't make mention of!). Please, be honest and tell me what you think. Have I become that frustrated IF-er who goes off the deep end and imagines that she's pregnant when she's not? Or did I really just test too early?

  • cd16-17: watery cm, became the best ewcm I've ever had

  • cd18-19: cramping (unfortunately I didn't keep the greatest track of when it stopped)

  • cd20: acupuncture

  • cd21-22: geographic tongue resurfaced (this usually happens after ovulation in my ovulatory cycles)

  • cd28: intermittent, unusual cramping (lower in my abdomen and centered); bouts of nausea that went away when I ate; sore/distended breasts (also noticed by C)

  • cd30: very tired; had a complete meltdown over dropping a piece of shell in the bowl while cracking eggs (this freaked C out a little; I was in tears over it); cramping only when pressure is applied to abdomen (i.e., dog in lap); overwhelmed by garlic smell in cupboard (but when I opened it later, I couldn't smell it at all); started having gas/burping (not normal for me!)
  • cd31: starting to get very congested; felt burning sensation in stomach throughout the day; constipated; veins are super-prominent all of a sudden (C noticed them too, especially on my abdomen and thighs); areolas don't look darker but the skin around them does

  • cd32: congested; very dizzy/lightheaded after eating (I didn't eat until I got to work); still have intermittent cramping; very tired


  • A lot of these things are continuous, so I just noted them on the first day I remember experiencing them. Also, I have woken up every day since cd28 at 5 or 6 AM to make a bathroom run. This is sooo unusual for me!

    So, what do you think? Did I test too early? Should I still be holding on to hope? Because, I have to tell you - I'm convinced that I'm pregnant. And if I'm not pregnant, then I think the only other option is that I'm insane.

    Friday, June 26, 2009

    Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

    Will you think it's strange if I tell you that last night, I spent a very long time staring at my breasts in the mirror? Come on now - be honest. It's a really odd thing to do, isn't it?

    Yesterday I wrote that I just feel "different" - I wish I could find the right words to describe it. I can think of only two possibilities: either I am indeed pregnant (please! please! please!), or the acupuncture has caused some change in my cycle that I've never experienced before. (Normality, maybe?) Whatever the case, I've decided it's a good thing. One would definitely be preferable to the other, but both are good.

    Returning to the mirror: one of the ways I feel "different" is that I'm not experiencing my usual don't-even-look-at-my-chest-it-hurts-so-bad variety of PMS breast tenderness. They're sore, but only when I move. Mostly, they just feel swollen and kind of heavy. (Rather strange for these less-than-A cups.)

    Last night - during my marathon mirror session - I decided they look swollen too. I needed a second opinion, so I recruited C to the cause. (It was quite the sacrifice for him, as I'm sure you can imagine.) After much more examination than I think was really necessary, C declared that my breasts look bigger.

    This is huge (please pardon the pun), because C's usual response to any question regarding physical change is, "I don't know. I can't tell a difference. I'm not good at this stuff. Hey, is SportsCenter on?" Seriously! Once I had a huge swollen gland; it felt like a large pebble was lodged in my neck. He felt around it for a few minutes and then declared that he couldn't tell anything was different. But last night, he said he was sure my chest looked bigger.

    Combined with the strange bout of nausea yesterday morning, and the odd indigestion I had after breakfast today (I am not one to experience tummy troubles unless food poisoning or a Clomid migraine is involved), and the unusual not-quite-cramps cramps...yes, Fox Mulder, I WANT TO BELIEVE! (Ok, so I am a geeky sci-fi fan. No shocker there.)

    The simplest, easiest course of action would be to POAS. But, I won't. Strike that...I can't. For the first time in my life, I have a good reason to take aim at that stick, and I am running at top speed in the other direction. If I am misreading all these things - if this is normal PMS and I've just never experienced it before - if this is the closest I am ever going to get to knowing the excitement of being pregnant - then I want to ride just a little bit longer.

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Sick? Or...Something Else?

    I think I'm going to throw up. And as backwards as it seems, I am soooo excited about that. I kind of hope that I do. Strike that, I DESPERATELY hope that I do. (Not only am I feeling sick today, but also twisted, apparently.)

    I am sitting at my desk this morning - blasting RED since there is no one else here (it just isn't music that can be played at a low volume) - and spinning through this merry-go-round in my head:

  • I think I'm going to throw up.

  • I really hate throwing up. I would rather do another hsg.

  • But if I get sick, it probably means that I'm pregnant.

  • Oh, I really want to throw up! Please, please, please!

  • No - wait - I don't feel sick anymore.

  • Hey, I think I'm going to throw up.


  • I actually ran to the bathroom a few minutes ago. When I got there, I felt fine. Now, back to queasy. I don't know quite what to make of this.

    Going through our insane-nine-cycles-of-Clomid phase, I noticed that the side effects got worse and worse each month. I had really horrible migraines right around 11-12dpo, with awful nausea. Once, I even threw up all over the couch without warning. We were so sure then that I had to be pregnant...after all, I can count on one hand the number of times I've thrown up in my life...but it turned out not to be the case.

    But this month, there's no Clomid to blame. And there is no denying that I feel different. It could be that the acupuncture caused me to ovulate "normally" and having never experienced "normal" PMS, I'm misreading every little thing. Incidentally, that particular list includes a super-sore, swollen chest; a conspicuous absence of the cystic acne that usually heralds AF's arrival; an emotional rollercoaster moving at speeds that rival light; and strange cramps that are not quite "right" - not consistent, not overly strong and not in the right place. The cramps are lower than usual, and more in the center of my abdomen than to one side or another. Oh, and of course...nausea.

    At this point, I'm incapable of coherent prayer anymore. All God is hearing from my heart today is "please, please, please, please, please, please, please!"

    I think I need someone to tell me to calm down and stop planning the nursery in my head!! (Like I haven't already got that one figured out after three years, right?) I'm too afraid to POAS - I'd rather have AF deliver the bad news, I guess. Today is cd28, and (worst case scenario) only 11dpo. It's a little early to be feeling any symptoms other than PMS. Which makes me think I'm blowing this all out of proportion...this is easier to believe now that the nausea is gone again. Five minutes from now may be a different story...

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Jon & Kate: Outside Looking In

    I'm sure the net-world is swarming with the buzz of "Jon and Kate will separate" this morning, and while part of me hates to jump into the Gosselin-gate saga, the whole situation bothers me too much for me to keep my mouth shut. When we first saw the Gosselin family on tv, C and I couldn't get enough. They seemed just like us: Kate has PCOS; Kate hates germs and loves control (in a funny way, initially); Jon is laid-back and finds the humor in Kate's craziness. Of course parts of the show were obviously orchestrated in advance, but the family at the center of it all seemed so real. We turned to each other and said, "Look, honey, it's a Christian infertile couple just like us - and they survived!"

    We thought Jon and Kate were a success story, in so many ways. They dealt with the heartbreak of infertility, not to mention the frightening realities of a high-order multiple pregnancy. Yet they seemed to come through everything with their love for each other and their faith in God intact. Watching their lives unfold on tv, I felt hope for our own situation. Infertility is a subject rarely broached on prime-time tv - much less in a positive and realistic way - and I was excited to see proof that there is life after PCOS.

    Then, I went into my "black hole" phase, and chose to distance myself from anything involving kids for a while. We stopped watching Jon and Kate, and were truly shocked when their tabloid nightmare unfolded recently. I've tuned in for a few minutes here and there this season, and the changes in each of them are truly unsettling.

    It's so easy to judge other people's lives. From the outside looking in, everything looks so simple, so cut and dried. And while it's wrong for me to judge them, I can't seem to avoid it. Part of me staunchly believes that when the Gosselins opened their home to the TLC cameras, they invited the American public into every part of their lives, private or not. They aren't actors in a summer blockbuster, they are a family at the crux of a reality tv show. This is what they signed up for: to broadcast the ins and outs of their daily lives to millions of viewers. And while a small part of me does cry out for grace for them, my heart truly breaks for their children.

    I so badly wanted Jon and Kate to announce that they would be cancelling their tv show, and taking some time away from their public lives to focus on rebuilding their marriage and their family. Or, at the very least, announce that they would be cancelling their tv show in order to allow the kids time to grieve and adjust to the changes in their family structure privately. Instead, I feel like they are exploiting their children's pain all for the sake of money.

    I can appreciate that the expenses involved in caring for a family of eight children must be overwhelming (not to mention, planning for their future). But at this point, it doesn't seem like Jon and Kate have financial "needs" - they are certainly not experiencing the current economic crisis in the same way most families are. Worst case scenario, they could probably reduce their standard of living and still more than manage to make ends meet.

    So I'm left this morning scratching my head...Jon and Kate said numerous times last night that they're doing this for their children. They want "peace" for their children. My question is, what kind of peace is brought by watching your parents divorce on a national stage?

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    June ICLW

    Welcome ICLW-ers! I am shocked that it's June already. This year is flying by much too fast...

    If this is your first visit to my little corner of the blog world, welcome! (Okay, so really it's much less than a corner; more like the tiny gap between the two pieces of baseboard that meet in the corner.) Here's the cliff notes version of my life: C and I have been married for four years. We've been trying to get pregnant for roughly the last three, but my ovaries have been less than cooperative. I've been "officially" diagnosed with PCOS; however, my physician thinks I may have endometriosis too. Lately she's also been tossing around words like "unexplained infertility." Ugh.

    In our quest to get knocked up, we've done nine clomid cycles and three IUI's. We were supposed to start IVF over a year ago, but I got cold feet. Currently, we are pursuing treatment with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. C would like to move forward with IVF, and I think eventually we will - barring one of my ovaries becoming The Little Ovary That Could in the meantime. The acupuncture seems to be regulating my cycles, and I am cautiously optimistic that IVF won't be necessary. (Some days, I am even all-out optimistic. It's dangerous ground for me!)

    I'm glad you stopped by...I'm looking forward to getting to know you!

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    The Dreaded 2WW

    I had three acupuncture appointments this cycle (cd7, cd15, and cd20). Dr. M took a different approach this time around, and has been very pleased with my progress. In fact, we're pretty sure I ovulated! I had strong cramping on cd17-cd18, and a plethora of other fertility signs that I usually don't experience. (I'll spare you the gory details.) In terms of egg quality, late ovulation isn't such a great thing as I understand it (nor is cramping), but I was excited to see evidence that the acupuncture is working. Ovulation at all is a miracle, from these ovaries! So I am officially considering myself back in the game...and back in the dreaded 2ww.

    It's been quite a while since I've experienced a full-fledged 2ww. Our last IUI was over a year ago, and while we have continued to try since then, it's been...different from before. It's difficult to put into words exactly, but somehow the hope and expectation that usually comes with the 2ww has been lacking. Maybe it's because we weren't pursuing any medical intervention; in some way, though, over the past year I haven't been able to "feel" that pregnancy could be a reality for me.

    This cycle feels more like the medicated cycles we've done, in that the expectation of pregnancy has resurfaced. And I find myself daydreaming about things I thought I'd left far behind me...nursery set-ups, baby names, and car seats. Dr. M asked me during our last visit if I had the conviction that I would someday be a mother. I didn't quite know what to say. I used to feel that way, but over the last year I've layered so many walls around those feelings to protect myself. Now, I'm peeling back those layers and finding that my conviction is indeed still intact.

    Previous experience tells me that it's scary to give these feelings free reign...it only invites disappointment. But hope springs anew and I am back on the roller coaster. Welcome back to the dreaded 2ww!

    (Anybody got a stick? Apparently my POAS addiction is making a reappearance as well!)

    Friday, June 19, 2009

    Happiness = Blog Reading

    Ahhhhhhh...I've missed this. Sitting in front of the computer with my tea and my blogroll; it feels more like curling up at a coffeehouse and catching up with good friends! I have quite a bit of reading to do, and I am looking forward to it. Bring on the blogs!

    The Verdict Is In...

    And I survived the in-laws! It was actually an "okay" visit. I can't quite bring myself to say it was great, but it wasn't truly horrible either. Here are the highlights:

    C left work early last Friday so he could be home when they arrived; I had an acupuncture appointment scheduled. As luck would have it, they chose not to come on the weekend for which we originally invited them. Instead they picked the least convenient weekend, in terms of my biological clock. (Yes - believe it or not, I do actually have a biological clock. It may not keep perfect time, but it ticks every now and then. And it was supposed to tick last weekend, if you catch my drift!)

    The atmosphere was a little awkward when I first got home. Everyone was standing in the kitchen, and it just seemed...odd. I found out later that they hadn't stopped for lunch, which explained the vulture-like behavior. It certainly didn't help that my appointment ran very late, and the dinner I planned would take an hour in the oven. C's dad was a little critical of what I chose to serve, even though I had asked about their diet several times in advance. (We eat whole foods, grains, etc. C's dad is diabetic and was concerned about having a blood sugar low because he didn't get enough empty carbs. Hello! This is why I asked about their diet! And do you think maybe he should have eaten lunch??)

    They were also critical of how we've set the guest room up; I guess they didn't like where the bed was placed in relation to the air conditioning vent. Maybe, if they came to visit more than just once every three years, I would care...

    C's parents seemed more relaxed the next day. We drove them around the city, and did a few tourist-y things that C's mother was excited about. For dinner, we took them to a really nice Japanese steakhouse. They were impressed and had a great time. I had a great time, too, until they whipped out their floss harps after dinner and began picking their teeth. At the table.

    My head was pounding by the end of dinner; I am a human barometer, and a storm system was rolling in. For once I didn't mind the migraine, because it exempted me from an evening of Nascar. My headache was even worse the next morning, but I managed to join everyone for breakfast (we ate out). The real shocker came as they were leaving...the dreaded infertility conversation.

    I have to admit, I was surprised. There were no comments about what we should do, what path we should take, etc. Mostly, they were curious about the acupuncture, especially since it's something they've looked into for their own ailments. I was pretty up-front about our situation in general, and how my emotions and responses can change from day to day. One day it may be fine to talk about the babies in the family, but it might hurt too much the next. (Does anyone else find this is true, and it's hard to explain to people?)

    I had only one bite-my-tongue moment in the whole conversation, when C's mom asked me how long we would continue to try. That question hurts, because I what I hear is judgement on how long we've traveled this road already. As in, "you've put this family through enough, and now it's time to move on." And while I wouldn't be surprised if they do think that from time to time, I choose to believe that she meant well in asking it. So I answered very diplomatically, and said that the answer to that question can change from day to day, too. Inside, though, I was screaming...until MENOPAUSE, so there!

    C's mom surprised me yet again - she teared up as they were leaving, and thanked me for talking to her about our infertility. It helped me to see that she really does love us; she just doesn't know how to navigate this road.

    All in all, maybe their visit was more than just okay.

    Friday, June 12, 2009

    The In-Laws Are Coming

    Usually, when I'm silent on the blog front, it's because I've eaten myself into a dark depression and am hiding in bed. Or, it's because I'm working out some things on my own and I'm not quite ready to write about them yet. When the words finally start to flow, I end up writing posts as long as War and Peace (and probably just as boring, too). My recent absence has been of the latter type. But now that I'm ready to pour out all the thoughts inside of me (and really, I need to!), there is only one thought I can express...

    The in-laws are coming. In just a few hours...the in-laws are coming.

    The screaming noise that you hear is me, looking at the mess I need to clean up before they get here.

    And the most fun part? I'm trying desperately not to think about all the excellent infertility-related issues that surface when we spend time with them. Look for long posts next week...I'm going to need to vent.

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    More Stormy Skies

    I love a good storm. When we lived on Florida's Gulf coast, watching the summer storms roll in was one of my favorite ways to pass the time. I now find myself landlocked in the Midwest yet again, and while nothing compares to a good Florida sky in turmoil, I'm surprised that I can find beauty in the swirling gray Ohio ceiling I once despised.

    Today the sky looks like it's been frosted with marshmallow fluff. The clouds have depth, though, and I get the feeling that if I could peel them back, I'd find another layer of darker, more sinister clouds lurking behind. It seems to be a good metaphor for my life of late - an exterior shell of shapeless gray, hiding tumultuous tiers of anger and pain underneath.

    And oh! am I angry. I have hit a breaking point of sorts. I am so tired of pouring my heart out to God, and waiting for Him to say something ... anything ... ANYthing. But He seems to be as silent as the clouds above, and every bit as far from my reach. WHY doesn't He answer me? WHY doesn't He allow us to have a baby? WHY does He touch the lives of my friends with such wonderful blessings, and yet forget about me?

    I'm wrestling with the ageless question: "Is God good?" I know the party line. I can even quote it back to you, complete with Scripture references and pithy little sayings.

    Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He calms me...momentary, light affliction...God is more concerned with my holiness than my happiness...He keeps His promises: I will never leave you nor forsake you...I know the plans I have for you...plans for a hope and a future...

    Hope? The only thing I know about hope at the moment is that it's a big precursor for a letdown. It's the part of the roller coaster where you've just gone over the top of the first hill, and everything is in slow motion. For just a nanosecond, you hang suspended in mid-air, defiant against gravity's greedy grasp. And then, you fall. And fall. And fall. All the while picking up speed, until you think you're going to go careening off the track in a spectacular crash. Once you've resigned yourself to the inevitable, the car takes a sharp turn and gives you whiplash. Shell-shocked, you start to climb the second hill, and do it all over again. That's hope.

    I get the feeling that the storms in today's weather forecast are nothing in comparison to the storms raging in my heart...

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    The Return of Super-Whine

    What's that high-pitched, grating noise? Is it a bird? A plane? No...look, it's Super-Whine!

    Sorry, folks, but this isn't your average superhero-on-a-mission. (Not unless it's a mission to see how many people I can tweak off before 9 AM, that is.) No, this something else entirely...like a super-sized rant:

    I am soooo sick of everyone I know getting pregnant except me. It was easier to accept when it was the round of "first" babies, but the second and third pregnancies are killing me. It drives home the point that my friends are mommies and I am not. Still. I am beginning to question whether I ever will be.

    I started a new cycle last week, and ohhhhh. It was bad. I spent three days in bed, in excruciating pain. Since then, the pressure sensation in my lower left abdomen has returned with a vengeance (plus about fifty other hormonally-related symptoms that are driving me nuts...anyone notice my mood issues?). I was really hopeful that the acupuncture would have helped, and now I am disappointed yet again. Hope is a mean tease, you know?

    I have another appointment on Thursday, and I promised C that I would reserve judgement for now. Which is really hard for me...after all this time, I don't know how much patience I have left. The well is running dry...

    Monday, May 25, 2009

    Drama

    I've been trying to come up with a brilliant Show & Tell post, but to tell the truth - I've got nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. So, instead I'm going to give in to a small Facebook rant that's been building in my head for the last week.

    First, though, I have to explain the back story. Everyone in C's family lives within a short drive of each other, except for us. We live five hours away. C's sister (let's call her A) was never been particularly close to C or to their parents, until she had a baby a year and a half ago. Now C's parents watch the baby a lot, and they have grown very close to A. (Which is to be expected, and a great thing in my opinion. C's parents were always heartbroken that A had chosen to distance herself from the family.) A and C's parents are aware of our situation, but they don't really try to understand what we're going through. C's family is very stoic; their behavior remains steady and unchanged, regardless of the circumstances that surround them. Reactionary emotions are strictly taboo. (They love me, can you imagine?)

    C called A around Christmas, and she never returned the call. This is par for the course, in their relationship. Had she made the effort, though, I'm sure they would have discussed that the baby's first birthday was coming up, and that since we were going through a rough patch in our own quest to have a baby, we would not be doing anything special. (After all, a one-year-old isn't going to remember who did and did not send her a card...) But, A never called back.

    Two months later, we received a box from C's mom. Neither of us noticed that the box was addressed to him alone. (In the past, she has addressed everything to both of us.) Inside, we found a framed picture of the baby and a note. Basically C's mom wrote that we need to make more of an effort to keep up with the baby's milestones and growth.

    I was really angry - and to my surprise, so was C. His family doesn't keep up with the milestones in our IF journey, or our lives in general. And A can't even be bothered to return a phone call. If A wanted us to have a picture of the baby and sent it herself, fine. But there was something rather twisted about C's mom doing it (not to mention the note). C discussed it with her, and I sent her a (nice) email explaining how I felt about it. My email went unanswered. C eventually asked his mom whether she had received it; she said she understood where I was coming from and "we're all family; we have to stick together." (I still have no clue what that was supposed to mean.)

    So now the point of this whole post...when I joined Facebook, I remembered that C's mom had mentioned several times that she and A both had profiles, and that she wished we would join. I sent them each a friend request, more to keep the peace than anything else. I thought they would be offended if I didn't. C's mom accepted immediately, and it's been a good thing in our relationship. A just accepted last week, a full three months after I sent it. She has a new job, and I wanted to write a "congrats" note on her wall...when I clicked over, though, I saw that she's accepted other friend requests in the last three months, just not mine.

    I've gone from thinking that A is just a sporadic communicator (like my own sister - she doesn't call or write for months, but then we pick up right where we left off) to wondering whether we've offended her in some way. I guess I look at relationships as two-way streets. We've made efforts to reach out to A, but she never reaches back. What more are we supposed to do???

    Thursday, May 21, 2009

    May IComLeavWe

    Say What?Good morning, race fans! Today at the post in the fifteenth position we have Hope Endures, a filly who is past her prime. At nine million to one, she's a long-shot to even place in the Fertility Stakes. Oh, er, um - make that even finish. She seems to be sitting in the stall now; her jockey has jumped off. What a shame! C is one of the top jockeys around, and with his boyish charm and great genes was expected to do well here at the Stakes. Oh, dear...if you look closely you can see C is prodding his horse with the whip, and...did she just spit on him? Yes, folks, Hope Endures has just spit on her jockey. Maybe this little filly is part camel? (Photo Credit: taken by Zoran and downloaded from stock.xchng.)

    I've been watching some horse-racing, can you tell? Well, to be more precise, I watched two races (the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness), and a few episodes of Jockeys on Animal Planet. It seemed an acceptable compromise to the never-ending stream of basketball, NASCAR, and golf that has infiltrated the living room lately.

    Anyway...if you've just landed here from ICLW, welcome! Here are a few random facts about me:

  • My husband C and I just celebrated our fourth anniversary. We've been trying to conceive for three of those four years, with no luck - I am still woefully un-knocked-up.

  • Officially I've been diagnosed with PCOS, but my doctor thinks I may also have endometriosis.

  • C would like to proceed with IVF now. He's been great about not pressuring me lately, but I can tell that he struggles to understand my hesitation. We're currently pursuing alternative therapy via acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). My thoughts about IVF change so frequently, they give me whiplash.

  • We have two Sphynx (furless) cats, and a Scottish terrier. The cats beat up on the dog a lot; C thinks this is funny.

  • I'm a biologist by education, and work in an ecologically-related field. I'm not so outdoorsy, though (unless the ocean is involved), so I choose to confine myself to the office.

  • I love science fiction shows and movies, especially tv shows that are going to be cancelled long before their time. I'm drawn to them like a tribble to quadrotriticale; apparently I enjoy disappointment. (Firefly, Invasion, Farscape, anyone? I guess I can't really be bitter about Stargate SG-1's cancellation, but I do reserve the right to resent the end of Atlantis.)


  • So that's a little bit about me. If you're still reading and I haven't scared you off (yet), I'm looking forward to getting to know you a little better, too! So if you leave a comment but don't have a Blogger account, please leave your blog's URL - I'd love to return the visit!

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    The Acupuncture Experience

    I've been feeling rather flat lately, as if I'm a one-dimensional shape trying to expand to fit a three-dimensional frame. It reminds me of Bilbo Baggins' description of himself in LOTR, where he comments that he feels like butter scraped over too much bread. The things I want desperately to do - blog, write, read - are mostly swallowed up by the busy necessities of life and work. There's not enough butter left over for the more enjoyable things. And that makes me sad. But in the thirty seconds I have at the moment, I am going to pound on the keyboard like there's no tomorrow. Here goes:

    I had my first actual acupuncture treatment on Monday. I was terrified, although logically I knew there was nothing to fear. Dr. M did a great job of explaining everything to me before she did it. I felt the first few needles as they went in, and I had a little trouble with one spot on the side of my hand, but I wouldn't call it painful. Certainly not in light of, say, an HSG or IUI.

    Some of the needles were connected to a machine that generated gentle electric pulses. This was a very odd sensation, but again, not painful. Once everything was set - she put needles in my back, hands and feet - Dr. M placed a heat lamp over my back and left me to relax. Oddly enough, it was relaxing; I almost fell asleep! Afterward, I was really emotional. I'd heard this could happen, but it was still strange to experience firsthand.

    My next appointment is in two weeks; I should start a new cycle in the meantime. I am anxious to see how long the current cycle runs, and whether my cramps continue to ease. Dr. M was quite optimistic about how well I've been responding to the lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, etc.). I'm optimistic, too, but cautiously so. I feel like the proof is in the pudding (or in the lines on a small white stick, if you catch my drift).

    Saturday, May 9, 2009

    TICK!!!

    I hate bugs. I mean, I really HATE bugs. I know they're so much smaller than I am, and they aren't really going to hurt me (most of them, anyway) - but they still creep me out. (A friend of mine once shot a spider in his basement. I think he had the right idea. Raid isn't as deadly at a distance.)

    So what sparked this random post on bugs? UGH! I just found a tick on Riddick. It was so big, I didn't realize what it was at first. I thought it might be a growth of some sort, or a bit of chewing gum stuck in his fur. No...it was a TICK.

    I am so glad C was here. He took care of it, while I hid in the back room. *shudder* Starting tomorrow, Riddick is getting a daily dose of garlic. (It's not going to help his horrid dog-breath any, but I don't think it can make it any worse, either!) There had better NOT be any more ticks in my house.

    Hopefully our afternoon plans will keep me distracted from the memory of the tick. We are heading out to see the new Star Trek movie! I am a sci-fi geek at heart, and am very excited. (I probably shouldn't mention this in public, but I went to a Star Trek convention once...and I liked it.)

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    M Minus Two Days

    Today marks M minus two days. Mother's Day usually bothers me quite a bit. This year, I am being proactive and have come up with a plan. It's quite simple really:

  • I am not leaving the house.

  • I am not turning on the tv.

  • I am not turning on the radio.

  • I am going to sit on my balcony and read. If it rains sideways and the balcony gets wet (which is a distinct possibility, the way the weather has been lately), I am going to sit on the couch and read.


  • Brilliant, isn't it? Avoidance in it's simplest and purest form. But this year, it's avoidance sans the guilt trip. I always feel like a bad person for skipping church on those "big" family holidays, but not this year. I'm letting myself off the hook.

    I'm actually looking forward to Sunday quite a bit. It's been busy lately (as you may have noticed from my lack of blogging), and a day of rest will be refreshing. Plus, I'm hoping to have all the laundry finished by then. C has developed a severe rash all over his body, and I'm re-washing everything in special detergent in case that's the culprit. (Yes, I do mean everything...anyone want to come help fold? Good times.)