Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Um, uh, hm

A cold, a cough, congestion, Chinese food and crappy TV. Happy New Year!

New Year's resolutions? I'm not gonna be fooled by that crap again. No resolutions; I give them too much power.

My three wishes for 2009 (because good things come in threes too)

1. Health (mental and physical)
2. House within 15 minutes of company ready (see FlyLady)
3. Happiness (2008 was a 6.5; I'd like to make 2009 at least a 7).

Much love and good wishes to all who are following my journey. I thank G-D for all of you each day. Happy New Year!!

Patient Zero

Not that all colds start with me, just that I got the cold first in my house. John Dear swears that he has illness too, but he may just trying to be a part of my world.

Stayed home from work today. JD is taking care of me, making endless cups of tea, dealing with my whining and now making me chicken noodle soup. He's also watching four million episodes of Jon & Kate + 8. Voluntarily. He rocks right now.

It snowed for literally 1 minute this morning, though the sun was shining and the skies were blue. I took some pictures, but don't think they came out. It was weird.

I hope to post new year's wishes (not resolutions) today, but first, I must drink my tea and eat my soup.

May we all have a happy and healthy (soon, please) new year in 2009!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back Home

John Dear and I are back home from our Caribbean cruise vacation with my parents and my sister. A lovely time -- only 24 hours of really bad sea-sickness and 1 major panic attack (induced from very rough seas and me not taking my meds - will I ever learn?). I had a massage and also had my first acupuncture treatment! Fabulous and will definitely do it again.

JD was off his meds all week, at the instruction of his doctor, so that they could determine a new baseline for him. Except for one instance of miscommunication, when he blew up, but quickly calmed down, he was wonderful. More like himself than I've ever seen him. I always suspected that he was wrongly medicated and I'm pretty sure this week proved it.

Am now catching up on everyone's news - over 600 posts for me on Google Reader. Yikes! Hoping that everyone out there continues to have happy holidays and a very happy new year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not Sure

SIL sent me a long email last night and I'm not really sure where she's going with it. Maybe vacation brain came to me too early. Wanna take a crack at explaining? I'm interested to hear your comments.

Backstory: SIL is all about homebirth, breastfeeding et al. She had an easy time of conception, pregnancy and midwife-assisted births (one at a birth home, one a homebirth) of both her children. Over Thanksgiving, SIL confessed her worries to me that ART = bad things. Later, I sent her a link to Mrs. Spock's post about the Great Birth Debate because I thought SIL would find it interesting.

Now, SIL has sent me the following email, and I just don't get it. Do you?





From: SIL
To: Jendeis
RE: The Great Birth Debate

Okay,
I put the last two paragraphs up front so I can try to explain my rant. Its
probably going to make you cry. I do it because I can’t think of any other way to emphasize that woman put herself where she ended up. Its a nasty
self-fulfilling circular event and I don’t know how to pull people out of it by being nice.
---
I’m not being nice. I’m sorry. I know this is so hard for you guys. I just can’t begin to explain how much of the labor is mental. And it is a real issue. You can think/worry you’re baby to death. **Name Removed** did. She wished and wished for a miscarriage and it didn’t happen. Instead she got a full term baby with a heart defect who died shortly after birth. It stank for her, knowing she’d killed her baby. Just like women can wish themselves into an induction/section.

I’m not saying I think you can wish yourself pregnant. That is a whole different issue. I’m just saying that when you hang out with the infertile/preemie/overdue/section/formula crowd you set yourself up for issues. It stinks that you have to work harder to have a baby and then even harder to keep it out of the miasma of substandard care that is the American standard. I do know of one very good birth therapist? I guess you’d call her. Someone who can help you unearth and work through your birth issues. We all have them. I think everyone should have the chance to work with someone who can help them – it would be better prenatal care than anything you’ll find in an MDs office.
---
So lets recap
[Mrs. Spock's post]. Infertile = failure. Baby won’t position = failure. Finds an excuse that baby is in dire trouble (kick counts) = failure to get to term. Induction = failed. C/s and fails to breast feed. Great she followed down the path and now thinks if she has another kid she wants another section. Why even bother, right.

She’s an ICU nurse. She dwelled on all that could go wrong. She found reasons she needed to work with and OB and be delivered in a hospital. Doesn’t say what type of birth/delivery her doula had. Thrush sucks, yeah. But 3 weeks doesn’t strike me as all that committed. Did she say, try pumping and bottle feeding breast milk – see if that helped her nipples? Did she, change her diet and give up all white flour and sugar – yeah its hard but what’s it worth to double your baby’s chance of surviving their first year?

She bought a ticket on the failure/hospital/OB train and rode it all the way.

I’m not on board with this give women choices. Let them decide where they feel safer. That is a load of crap in my opinion. Women don’t feel safer in a hospital. Women choose hospital care because its cheap and easy and lets them be one of the crowd. If we made homebirth free and hospitals $10,000 to walk in the door suddenly people would feel safer at home. If we lived somewhere most women had homebirths it’d be the hospital birthers that would stick out.

Same with the bottle. Oh, “I went to a LLL meeting. Oh I tried. It just didn’t work.”

Maybe she’s the Mom who came to one meeting with her kid at 2 weeks on
a pacifier, who had just been with the LC the day before who told her Throw out every pacifier in the house.” And we told her constant contact, skin to skin and nursing as often as you can will increase your milk supply. So she kept her infant, awake strapped in the car seat for 2 hours with a pacifier in its mouth and never touched it – just put the pacifier back in. Or the other one who came in same issue but concerned about latch. She nodded and repeated, “Hold them, constant contact as she sat on the floor feeding a bottle. Told the leaders, “Oh that would be great for you to check her latch while she’s nursing.” Unbuckled her kid – burped her and strapped her back in. Then when the baby was hungry 30 minutes later she mixed up a fresh batch of formula and fed that without touching her kid. So they can say LLL failed them but they tried. I’m see too many selfish lazy b_____ that claim it for me not to suspect that’s the majority. (I count my own mother among those to selfish to do the right thing.)

Its like someone who does crappy work and misses their deadlines saying
don’t fire me I come in on time and leave on time. Yeah, you’re in the office
but if you’re staring into space and not working it doesn’t count.

There is an enormous mental component. And it terrifies me what I see
thrown at most women. It comes from all directions, everyone has horror stories. Everyone asks, “How are you doing?” Come on! What’s the implication? Do you ask healthy women that or cancer victims?

I’m not saying infertility doesn’t suck. I’m saying that its puts you
even further back on the path to believing in yourself. It sets you up to trust the medical community and to believe that you need their care. Maybe some infertility cases do. But if the pregnancy is healthy why should a fertility treatment pregnancy be different from a non-fertility treatment pregnancy?

And I think kick counts are bogus crap. I know plenty of women who had
a busy day forgot to do their counts, got nervous and realized the baby wasn’t moving which freaked them out more (of course the baby stops moving when you’re freaking out!!!). When you have a midwife you ignore it, pray and eventually its fine. When you have an OB you have an induction and formula feed and thank G-d you were in the right place for them to save your baby.

You think I’m jaded and disgusted with what I see the fertility treatment pregnancies go through? You should see what the poor SOBs that are
having affairs or feel guilty about their previous abortions put themselves
through. Best way I know to have a seriously painful labor with a 3-4th degree tear and end up on anti-depression meds.

I’m not being nice. I’m sorry. I know this is so hard for you guys. I just can’t begin to explain how much of the labor is mental. And it is a real
issue. You can think/worry you’re baby to death. **Name Removed** did. She wished and wished for a miscarriage and it didn’t happen. Instead she got a full term baby with a heart defect who died shortly after birth. It stank for her, knowing she’d killed her baby. Just like women can wish themselves into an induction/section.

I’m not saying I think you can wish yourself pregnant. That is a whole
different issue. I’m just saying that when you hang out with the
infertile/preemie/overdue/section/formula crowd you set yourself up for issues. It stinks that you have to work harder to have a baby and then even harder to keep it out of the miasma of substandard care that is the American standard. I do know of one very good birth therapist? I guess you’d call her. Someone who can help you unearth and work through your birth issues. We all have them. I think everyone should have the chance to work with someone who can help them – it would be better prenatal care than anything you’ll find in an MDs office.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dream Interpretation

I had a dream last night that a co-worker of mine had 10 kids, lived in one of my company's properties in Indiana and I had to drive them all around in an old brown station wagon (you know, the one with wood panelling) to meet a school bus.

What was going on in my brain last night?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Had to Share


Click to read the whole thing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This Little Light 'o Mine

...thinks you might be a little full of sh*t.

But let me explain. With encouraging noises from friends and my nutritionist, I signed up for a Yoga for Fertility class. I attended the first class last night. I had never taken a yoga class before, so I was excited to go. I also thought that since the class was dealing with a bunch of sensitive infertiles that the guru? leader? yogi? instructor would be a little more forgiving with someone who has absolutely no idea what they are doing.

Overall, I had a really good experience. The class was small - only 7 people + the teacher. We took off our shoes before we were allowed to enter the dim, candle-lit room. Our teacher had already set out mats and blankets and yoga blocks (foam blocks the size of a Kleenex box, used to help maintain poses) for us.

First, the teacher talked in general about the class and then told us her fertility journey. She discussed the different levels of the body/mind/soul that we would try to reach and that inside, was our own bliss, our inner light.

We each then talked about where we were in our own journeys and why we were in the class. Lots of sympathy and nodding and a few tears from each of us. All of the students are women and I'm the only one who is dealing with male-factor. I expected to be the only one who was not currently in treatments or in between treatments and I was correct in that.

Then, our teacher had us line up on one side of the room, close our eyes and think about a positive moment in our lives. After a few seconds, she had us open our eyes, cross over to the other side of the room and think about a negative moment in our lives. We did this about three or four times.

After that fourth time, I'm thinking, "Come on already!" Now, the happy moment was tinged by the sad moment I had just been feeling, and (typical of me), there was no happy moment affecting any of the sad. Finally, she stopped us and explained that life is like that walk we just did. There are good sides and bad sides and in between is yoga, allowing all feelings and centering yourself. Mental exhale of frustration from me. Fine; but that was a long way to go for a small payoff.

Our teacher then lights a sage branch and explains that, one at a time, we should walk over to our area of the negative wall and wave the branch around, because the smoke is supposed to be cleansing and will remove the negativity in the area. You can also wave it around any part of you that feels the need to be cleansed.

Took a long time to do this, and I feel like everyone is trying to take this seriously, but not really believing any of it. I did like smelling the sage everywhere in the room. It kind of forced you to breathe deeply, and that seemed like a good effect.

Finally, our teacher led us through some basic poses and the salutations that we would be doing. She took care to make sure that I was positioning myself correctly (I was the only one who had no previous yoga experience), but she didn't make a big deal of singling me out, which I liked.

At the end, she instructed us to keep finding that light inside of ourselves over the course of the next week and had us say "namaste" (meaning: I honor the divine light in me and I honor the divine light in you) to each other.

I really liked it, but the teacher often let herself run away with the ethereal, spiritual stuff. I'm not sure if I'm just the biggest cynic in the room or that we were all so desperate to find some peace in this journey that we were willing to do anything it took. I certainly feel that way sometimes.

I don't know if yoga will be the way that I connect with my inner light, but I can see that it could become a useful tool for me. So, to all of you, namaste.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jumpstart Eating Plan

As I posted previously, I've been meeting with a nutritionist connected with my fertility clinic in order to lose weight quickly but healthfully.

I've been successful using her methods, but we're trying to jumpstart my weight loss and get ahead of impending holiday parties and a cruise vacation at the end of the month. (In case you have not been on a cruise, cruises are just one gigantic, 24 hour-a-day operating buffet).

So, I was concerned about maintaining my weight loss, let alone continuing it throughout the month of December. Here's what the nutritionist has me on now.


NO WHEAT
NO DAIRY
NO SUGAR*

I thought I'd die, but it's actually been a lot easier than I thought it would be. My typical day is:

Breakfast
--Smoothie made with whey protein powder, rice milk, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of other fruit, some ice cubes

Snack (optional)
--Apple w/ handful of no-salt added whole almonds

Lunch
--Same as Breakfast

Snack (optional, but this is where I invariably need snack)
--Luna bar

Dinner
--Protein + veggies

The second smoothie can be had for dinner and regular food for lunch, but I usually wind up having regular food for dinner.

Drinks on the plan = water or herbal tea. This killed me, because I am a cup o' joe a day girl. Plus milk and sugar. The first day, I didn't even realized why I had the migraine and nausea from hell. So, I've been drinking 1 cup of black coffee (yuck) every day since then.

I've been doing the plan for a week now. Hopefully, I can keep it up until we go on the cruise. We slept through Weight Watchers on Sunday, so I have not been able to weigh myself. Yet my clothes are looking and feeling huge on me, so I'm positive that I'm making progress. Yay!

*Except fruit

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sign of the Times

For the past few weeks, Fairy Godmother (my therapist, for any new readers) has been tracking my depression on a number of different variables. I thought I'd share these to give an example of a psychoanalytic method as well as to memorialize it for myself.

First, Fairy Godmother had me take one of those standardized depression tests. This was a lengthier version of the ones you find online or in a depression medication advertisement.

We then picked out the subjects where I scored the highest (read: "You're Depressed, M---er F*&^er!") and are using those, along with ones that shape my particular situation to a log that we track each week at our sessions.



Depression Tracker 5000
(not available in stores)


Over the past week, you have been feeling ___ on a 1 - 10 scale. Here, 1 = not at all/very little and 10 = all the time/bring in the straitjacket.


General Depression
1. Downhearted and blue
2. Crying jags or needing to cry
3. Unending hopelessness

Focus/Disassociation
4. Feeling spacey
5. Unable to focus
6. Losing time

Inner Turmoil
7. Useless and not needed
8. I am BAD (broken/rotten/innately bad)
9. Others (and I) would be better off if I were dead
10. Suicidal ideation [comprises desires to kill myself, thinking about methods, and "storyboarding" (basically seeing/daydreaming about taking all the steps to complete a suicide)]

Marriage
11. Feeling negatively about my marriage
12. Questioning whether I made the right choice to marry John Dear
13. Resenting John Dear for not being a true partner due to physical/emotional/mental disabilities


Logging these feelings each week has been helpful for Fairy Godmother and also for myself. It's very easy to only look at how I'm feeling on a particular day or in one particular episode, so the trackers force ask me to view all episodes in the context of an entire week.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Virtual Shower for Antigone


Welcome to another site of the virtual shower for Antigone Lost.

Let's shower her with good wishes and gifts for Perseus' impending arrival. I hope that all of our wishes and prayers in the universe help Antigone to healthily finish her pregnancy and have a safe and happy labor and birth.
Remember also to send out good vibes to Antigone as she takes the LSAT tomorrow! I know she will do fabulous - cause she has sure rocked all of her practice exams!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December Scattergories

Not just the situation in my brain, but a game hosted by Calliope:

SCATTERGORIES - it’s harder than it looks! Play here or let Callie know if you play on your blog. (note to those new to the game: these don’t have to be actual truths. If it helps- replace the word “you” in the questions & substitute it with “someone”.) Play on & use your imagination! Use the first letter of the answer to the first question to come up with answers for the rest.

1 )What is the name of your favorite Holiday themed song? O Holy Night

2) Something on your wish list. Oil or Candle-burning Menorah

3) Something you plan on baking. Old-Time Cookie Bars

4) Something you plan on giving. One major ass-whupping to SIL for her IF insensitivity

5) Something you plan on avoiding eating. Onions, Bloomin', that is

6) Something you plan on adding to the chorus of ‘12 Days of Christmas’. One Hundred Mothers-in-law nagging

7) Something you plan on returning/ re-gifting. Open-toed shoes (don't fit)

8 ) Something you wish was stuffed into your stocking (heh). Oprah's favorite things

9) Some place you wish you could travel to this month. Oslo

10) Something you will decorate with. One menorah

Friday, November 28, 2008

Complete the Equation

Could someone explain the following to me, because I can't wrap my head around this:

ART = multiple births + gestational diabetes + medicated labor + c-section + no breastfeeding + 2 full-time nannies + mother never holds her children + other events in the Parade of Horribles

This was the equation that SIL was trying to tell me last night. That this is what she is worried about for John Dear and me using fertility treatments to get pregnant. I'm pretty sure my brain exploded in confusion.

I was able to calmly but assertively tell her that just because we can't get pregnant on our own does not mean that all our previously-held, quasi-crunchy beliefs go out the window. I'm not angry at her, just sad and disappointed.

I was also able to explain to her that "just adopting" isn't all that easy, and that the method that John Dear and I use to build our family was our own business. I told SIL that our chances of getting pregnant naturally were at 1-2% EVER, and that it wasn't a question of just trying for six months (which is all it took for SIL to get pregnant with each of her kids).

I'm hoping that SIL will now understand a little bit better just how much John Dear and I want to build our family and that however we go about doing it is the way that it is going to happen. I was able to stay calm in person, but this was the soundtrack in my head: "eff you, eff you, eff you, eff you, and EFF YOU!" As the wise t-shirt says, "Lucky me. Infertility and your stupid comments."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Everything is Everything - The 48 Hour Post

Another post of bullets brought to you by the makers of Too Much Work, coming to an office near me.

-Been doing the back & forth "Am I Pregnant?" disco re-mix for the last week. The answer is complicated by the fact that my cycle since time began was 35 days, but had been 28 days for the last 4 months. A test on Saturday (3 days late on 28 day cycle) and one last night (5 days late on 28 day cycle) say NO. A 35-day cycle means today's the day. Yet, no sign of the Aunt, and lots of possible symptoms. I think that my body is just effing with me at this point.

-Last Wednesday, John Dear and I drove down to Johns Hopkins to meet with their male infertility specialist. Very nice and funny guy, he will henceforth be known as Dr. WAKS (as in Doctor Who Actually Knows Something). Ooh, that's funny in several ways! (Will explain upon request).

Dr. WAKS nixed JD's suggestion of electro-ejaculation for several reasons. One, it does not guarantee an ejaculation (though if there is one, you will be able to collect enough for IVF). Two, it requires general anesthesia and is not at all a sexual release b/c they are effing electrocuting you! (Thank you, Dr. WAKS for attempting to explain this to JD who still doesn't get this). Three, Dr. WAKS, male infertility specialist at a major research institution, hasn't done the procedure since about 1987. Four, Dr. WAKS doesn't even know if Hopkins still has the equipment to do the procedure.

Dr. WAKS also recommended against the traditional testicular biopsy, which in JD's case (YMMV), would require an epidural and a pretty lengthy recovery time. While a biopsy would allow a larger collection of sperm, inseminations after the first round would require the use of frozen, not fresh, sperm.

Instead, the good doctor recommends the much-easier percutaneous aspiration. This is one needle going in, taking out some sperm and we're done. The procedure only requires local anesthetic and the pain and recovery, we're told, are the equivalent of a blood draw. The procedure can be done at the doctor's office, and can be timed so that there's a fresh sample for any cycle.

-AF came late last night, CD 35. Pretty much expected it, so no real emotional issues going on. We'll be focusing on my losing the rest of the weight needed to get to BMI 40. Check out my tickers at the bottom! Almost halfway there!

-Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everybody!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan

Now that John Dear has started work again, I've taken on the task of grocery shopping once more. I'm going to try incorporating the Crock Pot more, so that neither one of us has to start dinner from scratch after a long day of work.

Here's the plan:

Monday - Store-bought rotisserie chicken and veggies
Tuesday - Weight Watchers Slow Cooker Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms
Wednesday - BBQ chicken and veggies
Thursday - Soup & Salad
Friday - Crock Pot Roast Chicken and veggies
Saturday - Brunch: Apricot Kugel; Dinner: Out with in-laws (provided they are free)
Sunday - Chinese takeout

I'm also going to try and get back on the exercise bandwagon. JD and I worked out twice last week, so I'm hoping for at least 3 times this week.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vent

The following is just me venting and doing a brain dump, so please take it with a grain of salt.
______________________________

BAD THINGS
I hate everyone and everything. Eff all y'all, you g-dd-mn shiny, happy people.

I'm cold, my feet are freezing. I feel like I'm taking the Bar again. It was so cold in that arena, you could see your breath. In July, people!!!

I'm supposed to take this new pill in the morning and in the afternoon, and I'm just not managing it. I'm a total f-ck up. Plus, I'm getting better without it (HA), so I'd like to stop it.

My back hurts, my shoulders hurt, my neck hurts. Depression hurts, I'm not on Cymbalta, so it ain't helping me.

My nails are short and I can't find the time to polish them.

I came up with a great idea for homemade holiday gifts and it's not as easy as I wanted it to be and I think it's going to take a lot longer than I thought to do them all and I'm worried about it. But if it works it will be awesome and it's a good gift and even though I'm spending money to make it, it's still a LOT less than I previously spent and the savings will go to the Debt Snowball. (Not that we're in a bunch of debt, just that I'm going to add it to the next car payment).

I need to take a shower desperately. My hair hurts and itches because it's dirty. I am disgusting.

John Dear returned my audiobook to the library because it was 3 days late and earning fines. I wasn't able to renew it because someone had the book on hold. Except I was on disc 32 of 36 discs. I don't know when I'll be able to get the book back and I was loving it. Darn it.

JD started work yesterday (yay!) and I'm concerned that there will be a reversion back to me doing everything. I expressed that concern yesterday and he said that he will do his best to continue the partnership we've had going the last couple of months. I'm waiting. I'm not even guardedly or cautiously optimistic -- I'm just waiting.

I don't know why bad things happen to good people, why the caged bird sings or why birds suddenly appear every time you are near.

GOOD THINGS
I am now addicted (again) to Jon and Kate + 8. I love the current commercial that TLC is running with the Jon and Kate smiling at each other in the field. I am a tremendous dork.

Top Chef has started again. Yay! I will be watching the premiere tonight over TiVo.

JD and I exercised last night for 40 minutes. We rocked it hard-core.

I had a three-bean salad with couscous (on the nutritionist's plan) for lunch yesterday and it was legen - wait for it - dary!!! I must figure out how to duplicate this salad (from Jason's Deli). I know that it has: kidney beans, edamame, garbanzo beans, minced red onion, diced red and yellow bell pepper and cilantro. Don't know what the dressing is. If you know, please tell me! I could eat this every day.

We're having a surprise birthday party for my dad (he's turning 65) and making a video documentary about him and he has no idea!! I'm so excited!

BOTH GOOD AND BAD
I've got the Sanford & Son theme song in my head and can't get it out. It's catchy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Cross Pollination Post

I cross-posted with Sam yesterday; just wanted to put what I wrote here so I have it on my post list.
________________

“Hi, I’m on Drugs.” Not generally the statement that we use about ourselves, but in the IF community, we’re used to it. Pictures of packages, syringes, and sharps containers abound. Concerns about PIO injections and the extent of bruising thereof.

Well, we’re not there yet. We can’t begin to cross that magical bridge until I reach the proper BMI. You see, though we are only facing male-factor infertility, my fertility clinic won’t do any procedures on women they judge are too fat. We’re in a holding pattern.

So, I’m on drugs. Don’t get me wrong, my use of drugs is not solely hanging on infertility, oh no. Drugs have been present in my life since I was 15. Two suicide attempts and numerous scares and an inability of your neurons to stop gobbling up all the serotonin in your system wins you a probable lifetime on drugs.

Currently, I am clawing my way out of a severe depressive episode. Yes, with the help of drugs. Not that I wasn’t taking the drugs during this whole thing, just that they weren’t getting the job done. So now, I’ve added another one into the cocktail. This one is supposed to help me focus and stop the obsessing about food, about death, about the organization of my house, about my marriage, about children, about the unfolded laundry, about the fact that we MUST get a china cabinet, about the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, about my husband’s mental state, about my own mental state, about everything. Um, can you tell obsessing is a bit of an issue for me?

Though we’ve been together for 5 years, this is the first time that my husband, John Dear, is seeing me in one of my “bad times.” I’m not trying to keep the knowledge from him, just these big ones don’t come around very often. Sure, there’ll be little blips here and there. A day or two of overwhelming sadness or fatigue. I’ll start crying at a Kodak commercial or start raging against a button that won’t do up right. But it fades. I come out of it and get back to life.

What’s going on now isn’t so easy. There was the usual slide into the black — infinite sadness and fatigue, listening to my depression music that makes me feel more depressed. This time, however, I kept spiraling down, faster and faster. Monday morning found me in a parking lot hating myself, hysterically sobbing and screaming and shaking, terrified that I would drive off the bridge between work and my house. Oblivion seemed welcome, because it would be the only thing that would stop these feelings.

John Dear was unprepared for this onslaught. Sure, he’s had his own battles against what Churchill called, “the black dog,” but nothing to this extent. He started to panic. Suddenly, everything in our lives was a potential danger. Our beautiful apartment on the 8th floor with stunning views was now a death trap, providing two balconies from which I could fling myself. The piles of pills that we both take were available for me to use in an overdose. My car could be driven off a bridge or rammed into a telephone pole. The kitchen knives, the nearby highway, the scissors I used to cut wrapping paper the other day.

His response was understandable, though not altogether too helpful. After fretting about all the methods I could use to kill myself, JD sought to find the perfect remedy, something that would make me snap out of it. Tea, warm blanket, clean kitchen, cooked dinner, JD even yielded control of the remote. But I was still barely responsive.

So, JD now tries bossy and demanding, maybe hoping that anger will force me out of melancholy (or maybe, as I sometimes uncharitably think, because he’s a giant douche). Course, then he feels guilty for being mean to me, like he’s kicking a dog while he’s down, and he starts being super accommodating again. The problem is, major depressions don’t respond to these methods. There really is no quick fix.

A psychiatrist once told me that quick bursts of action from depressives are a danger sign. Depressives who suddenly gain energy often use it to complete a suicide attempt. I tell my mother not to worry that I will attempt this time; I’m too unmotivated, I’m a procrastinator even at ending my life.

Some gentle prodding from my mother gets me to call my psychiatrist, who is alarmed enough that I warrant an early appointment the next morning. With firm instructions that I am not to do anything to myself and if I want to, I should tell JD who can bring me to the emergency room, we channel surf until I fall into an exhausted sleep.

My psychiatrist adds to my cocktail, hoping that this new temporary mix, (perhaps it’s the Holiday REmix? Now with pumpkin!) will get me back onto a level playing field enough that I can go off of it in six weeks. “Hi, I’m on Drugs.”

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cross Pollination

Due to technical difficulties, my honored guest author was not able to send me her post until now, so without further ado...

A Guest Entry Brought to You by the Great Blog Cross-Pollination!!

I was not always a slob. That happened quite by accident. Completely unintentional. In fact I used to be quite the Nike advert. When I was younger A few years ago I used get up before sparrows fart, fumble in the dark to get dressed in my running togs and I used to set out before the sun smiled for the day. I used to meet up with other crazy assed like minded people and we used to stretch and get ready for our morning run. We would set off like a gaggle of geese all talking and loosening up our muscles while finding our rythym.

Then the stronger runners would pull ahead of me and I would find myself lagging behind with the not so strong runners. I would hang out at the back of the pack with the old guys and the newbie runners. Cos that is where I was comfortable.

Then I got ITB (itibial band syndrome) for the first time. I was told to rest it for five months then get back to running. I rested it for five months and went back to the group I used to run with. Now instead of being able to hang with the old guys and newbies I found myself being left in the dust of even my back of the pack mates. I was completely not fit enoguht to run with this group anymore. I got completely left behind cos while I was resting my ITB getting better, my back of the pack mates were getting fitter and running harder and realising their dreams of becoming one of the super strong.

I was gutted and too embarrassed to go back – I stopped running. In many ways I feel like my infertility is similar to my running history.

When I first started trying to have a baby with my husband, we were the first couple of our group to tred on this ground. I started temping and peeing on OPK’s to track ovulation *laugh ass off here – right ovulation in the worst PCOS case I’ve ever heard of* and we had sex. Lots of it. We were really good at it. We enjoyed it. We did not conceive. Then came lots of tests for both of us. Clomid. Gonal F. IUI’s both failed and cancelled. Very little sex . Herbal remedies. Acupuncture. Reflexology. Reiki. IVF. Very little sex.

I feel like our infertility is a lot like my ITB. While we’ve been “off tending to our injury” every single one of our friends who were around at the start of our trying to have a baby journey has achieved the holy grail of parenthood. Some of them twice over. They’ve got stronger and have become one of the elite.

And we’re still at the back of the group – eating their dust.

While I’m in no way prepared to give up trying to have a family like I gave up running, I do find myself considering it at times when I feel glum. Why not just give this up? Find something else to do with my life? Focus on oversea’s holidays and get a nice hobby. Spend money on something other than ART…

Then I look into the distance and I see the group and the fun they’re having. The joy and the rush they get out of running the race. And I know. I know that my race is no where near over.

I will cross that finish line. I will find a way to become one of the elite.

______________________________
Know who my guest poster is or care to take a guess? Let me know in the comments.
You'll find my post here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Dead Yet

This day, this past week, has been a tough one. Thank you so much for all your support and concern and love. It just means so much to me.

Just in case I start to scare you with what I'm going to write, I'll put the ending first. I'm alive, I'm not hurt, I have an appointment with Dr. Chai in the morning to discuss increased meds vs. different meds and her overall plan for me right now.

I tried to go to my mikvah appointment today, but just couldn't get there. I talked to John Dear, but wasn't really able to resolve anything. I told him that I was going to cancel the mikvah appointment and that I would call Dr. Chai (my psychiatrist for those just tuning in). I wound up stopping in a parking lot, hysterically sobbing and tried to call her. I listened to her voice mail, but just couldn't leave a message. So, I tried my mother and my brother, but was not able to reach them. I couldn't face talking to my father. I know that he would be there for me, but I was just too overwhelmed at the time.

I couldn't see going home (too afraid of running off the road (I drive over a big bridge in between work and home) or rear ending somebody), and I just couldn't be around JD at the time, so I drove myself back to work. A shaky drive, wondering exactly how I was going to get through this day, my life, would going to an ER or a psychiatric ward help, and worrying that my mental issues would stand in the way of anyone letting me have children; anyways, I made it back to work in one piece.

At work, I was able to speak with both my brother and my mentor. John Dear checked in with me periodically. I spoke to my mother at about 4:30 PM. She was finally able to get me to call Dr. Chai and leave a message.

Dr. Chai called me back very quickly and, after ascertaining that though I was having thoughts of death, I was not making plans or taking action to kill myself, scheduled me for an appointment early tomorrow morning.

I have not spoken to Fairy Godmother (my therapist) yet, but imagine that I'll talk to her tomorrow as well.


The Realization
In talking with my brother, I had an AHA moment. In the past, I always used food as my drug of choice. I was so sad and in so much pain, I just felt too much. I wanted to feel nothing, so I used food to numb myself.

Well, I've stopped doing that, so I really have lost a major coping mechanism. Now that the world is too much with me again, I've been having a much harder time of dealing. This is something I'll be speaking with Dr. Chai and Fairy Godmother about tomorrow.

Duh

Based upon your responses to this depression quiz, you appear to be suffering from a severe depression. People who have answered similarly to you typically qualify for a diagnosis of major depression and have sought professional treatment for this disorder.


If you scored...You may have...
54 & upSevere depression
36 - 53Moderate/severe depression
22 - 35Mild to moderate depression
18 - 21Borderline depression
10 - 17Possible mild depression
0 - 9No depression likely

I'm at 70. I think that means I win.

Another Reason to Vote

If you weren't going to vote before, here's a good reason. Vote tomorrow and receive a free coffee at Starbuck's. Yeah, you got that right.



I don't care who you vote for (though I hope you vote for my guy), as long as you exercise this precious gift.

Standing Strong

Thanks to all who commented on my last post about abstaining from Halloween candy. I was down .8 lbs at Weight Watchers this week and I attribute it all to following a NO CANDY policy.

I do agree with some of you that abstaining can often be a part of the problem. When something is forbidden, you do seem to want it more. I, however, cannot do that with Halloween candy. I think of it much like an alcoholic would. Why would you stop at 1 or 2 pieces? How can you stop at 1 or 2 pieces? If I started, I don't think I'd be able to stop (and we can go on past history for this as well).

I think that it's become easier now because I can say to myself, "Self - you've gotten through the hard days and you didn't eat any of the candy, you don't want to start now." So, abstaining from the Halloween candy this year is what is working for me.

Next year, when I'm down to where I need to be to have ART and (crossing my fingers) am actually pregnant and (total crossing of fingers) not dealing with gestational diabetes, I will choose to experience the awesomeness of eighty twenty one of each of the following miniature candies:

1. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
2. Hershey's Miniatures (all varieties)
3. Nestle Crunch
4. Snickers
5. Milky Way

I will not have any of the following:

1. Candy Corn (yuck!)
2. Three Musketeer's
3. Orange Peanut-shaped Doorstops
4. Anything Peep-related

What are your favorite candies? What are the ones that you absolutely cannot stand?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pain

Depression, sadness, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. The pain that I am experiencing now is due to Halloween. Specifically, Halloween candy.

I did not have any candy yesterday (our building did the trick-or-treat thing last night) and have not had any so far today. Can I tell you that I am in physical pain from not eating the candy right in front of my face?!

I've been eyeing the candy and know that I would not be able to stop at 1, or 10. Maybe if I made myself sick. Nah, I'd probably eat more after I threw up.

Kay, so I haven't eaten any candy and it's killing me! Aaaaahhh!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

1995

Aside from reminding myself just how old I feel, 1995 is the year that I graduated from high school. Found this meme over at Jill's and just had to do it.

The Rules:
A.) Go to Music Outfitters.
B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year.
C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you REALLY hate.

1. Gangsta's Paradise, Coolio
2. Waterfalls, TLC
3. Creep, TLC
4. Kiss From A Rose, Seal
5. On Bended Knee, Boyz II Men
6. Another Night, Real McCoy

7. Fantasy, Mariah Carey
8. Take A Bow, Madonna
9. Don't Take It Personal (Just One Of Dem Days), Monica
10. This Is How We Do It, Montell Jordan
11. I Know, Dionne Farris
12. Water Runs Dry, Boyz II Men
13. Freak Like Me, Adina Howard
14. Run-Around, Blues Traveler
15. I Can Love You Like That, All-4-One
16. Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?, Bryan Adams
17. Always, Bon Jovi
18. Boombastic/In The Summertime, Shaggy
19. Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Nicki French
20. You Gotta Be, Des'ree
21. You Are Not Alone, Michael Jackson
22. Hold My Hand, Hootie and The Blowfish
23. One More Chance-Stay With Me, Notorious B.I.G.
24. Here Comes The Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze
25. Candy Rain, Soul For Real
26. Let Her, w Hootie and The Blowfish
27. I Believe, Blessid Union Of Souls
28. Red Light Special, TLC
29. Runaway, Janet Jackson
30. Strong Enough, Sheryl Crow
31. Colors Of The Wind, Vanessa Williams
32. Someone To Love, Jon B.
33. Only Wanna Be With You, Hootie and The Blowfish
34. If You Love Me, Brownstone
35. In The House Of Stone And Light, Martin Page
36. I Got 5 On It, Luniz
37. Baby, Brandy
38. Run Away, Real McCoy
39. As I Lay Me Down, Sophie B. Hawkins
40. He's Mine, Mokenstef
41. December, Collective Soul
42. I'll Be There For You-You're All I Need To Get By, Method Man-Mary J. Blige
43. Shy Guy, Diana King
44. I'm The Only One, Melissa Etheridge
45. Every Little Thing I Do, Soul For Real
46. Before I Let You Go, BLACKstreet
47. Big Poppa/Warning, Notorious B.I.G.
48. Sukiyaki, 4 P.M.
49. I Wanna Be Down, Brandy
50. I'll Make Love To You, Boyz II Men
51. Dear Mama/Old School, 2Pac
52. Hold On, Jamie Walters
53. Keep Their Heads Ringin', Dr. Dre
54. The Rhythm Of The Night, Corona
55. Roll To Me, Del Amitri
56. Scream/Childhood, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson
57. Freek'n You, Jodeci
58. I Wish, Skee-lo
59. Believe, Elton John
60. Carnival, Natalie Merchant
61. You Don't Know How It Feels, Tom Petty
62. Back For Good, Take That
63. Tootsee Roll, 69 Boyz
64. You Want This-70's Love Groove, Janet Jackson
65. Tell Me, Groove Theory
66. Can't You See, Total
67. All I Wanna Do, Sheryl Crow
68. This Lil' Game We Play, Subway
69. Come And Get Your Love, Real McCoy
70. This Ain't A Love Song, Bon Jovi
71. Secret, Madonna
72. Player's Anthem, Junior M.A.F.I.A.
73. Feel Me Flow, Naughty By Nature
74. Every Day Of The Week, Jade
75. The Sweetest Days, Vanessa Williams
76. Short Dick Man, 20 Fingers Featuring Gillette
77. Brokenhearted, Brandy
78. No More "I Love You's", Annie Lennox
79. You Used To Love Me, Faith Evans
80. Constantly, Immature
81. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, U2
82. 100% Pure Love, Crystal Waters
83. Ask Of You, Raphael Saadiq
84. Sugar Hill, Az
85. Good, Better Than Ezra
86. Brown Sugar, D'angelo
87. Turn The Beat Around, Gloria Estefan
88. 'Til You Do Me Right, After 7
89. 1st Of Tha Month, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
90. Like The Way I Do If I Wanted To, Melissa Etheridge
91. I Live My Life For You, Firehouse
92. Dream About You-Funky Melody, Stevie B
93. Cotton Eye Joe, Rednex
94. Thank You, Boyz II Men
95. I'll Stand By You, Pretenders
96. I Miss You, N II U
97. Give It 2 You, Da Brat
98. Best Friend, Brandy
99. Misery, Soul Asylum
100. Can't Stop Lovin' You, Van Halen

Guess I'm just neutral on most of the songs from my graduation year. I just remember listening to a lot of The Beatles back then.

Cut the Cheese

As I wrote previously, I just started seeing a nutritionist connected with my fertility clinic. I'm hoping that her advice will help me lose weight a little bit faster and more effectively when done in conjunction with the Weight Watchers program I'm currently following.

I met with the nutritionist for about 2 hours and she talked to me about my goals, issues, what I was eating and what I thought I could change.

She helped me to lay out several basics:

  1. Dairy: reduce the amount I'm eating, eliminate cheese, switch from skim to whole milk.
  2. Starches: only whole grain varieties (basically did this already), eat at breakfast or lunch, no starch at dinner.
  3. Timing: eat every four hours, make sure that you are actually hungry when you do eat. NO eating after 8 PM.
  4. Protein: make sure to have protein with every meal and every snack.
  5. Natural Foods: closer to nature is best, so no more artificial sweetener, go back to sugar; choose organic whenever possible.
She told me that I really needed to increase the variety of the foods that I was eating, and that I should only repeat a menu item once every four days. We also worked to come up with several ideas for each meal:

Breakfast
-2 scrambled eggs on whole wheat toast (my usual breakfast, but without the cheese)
-Oatmeal with fruit and whole milk
-Cereal and flax seeds with fruit and whole milk
-Smoothie of fruit, whey protein powder and whole milk

Lunch
-Tuna on whole wheat with veggies (a variation on my usual lunch, a tuna melt)
-Salad with grilled chicken and balsamic vinaigrette
-Salad and soup
-Fage (Greek yogurt) with fruit and nuts

Dinner
-Protein + Veggies

Snack
-Fage with fruit
-Luna Bar
-Apple with nut butter (almond or cashew is preferable to PB)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today's Hits for the Depressed and Downtrodden

I want to change the world; instead, I sleep.
--Ingrid Michaelson, "Keep Breathing"

What I'm Listening To Now:
"Who Knew?" - Pink
"Hero" - Nickelback
"Song Beneath the Song" - Maria Taylor
"Where Does the Good Go?" - Tegan and Sara
"Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps" - Doris Day
"Fools In Love" - Inara George
"Daughter" - Loudon Wainwright III
"Grey in L.A." - Loudon Wainwright III
"I Let Myself Fall" - Rosie Thomas
"Sunday" - Sia
"You Wouldn't Like Me" - Tegan and Sara
"Edge of the Ocean" - Ivy
"Bound by Love" - Gran Bel Fisher
"Keep Breathing" - Ingrid Michaelson

I Done Been Tagged

The lovely Jill has tagged me, so I'll do this meme while you're waiting for the info on my nutritionist's teachings.

1.Do you have the same friends since childhood? Nope, BFF is from college and most of my current friends are from law school or fellow stirrup queens.

2. What do you value most about your friends? Their ability to calm me down from my craziness and to make me laugh.

3. Are your friends sounding boards? Definitely.

4. What is your favorite activity to share with friends? Talking, eating, laughing.

I tag anyone who wants to do this meme.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bulleted

--Just feeling meh. Who knows why.

--The Saturday before last, John Dear, BFF, my mom and I went out raspberry picking and got pumpkins too! We met up with my sister, her friend, and her friend's parents at Chicken Out. A lot of fun, but JD was not well-behaved most of the trip. Lots of whining and a tantrum near the end. Not fun.

--Wanted to freeze the raspberries so we could use them over the winter, but I didn't get to them and JD didn't do anything with them but leave them on the counter. He went to move them this past Thursday and they had melted and spilled all over the counter and floor. He did not clean this up.

--Our jack o'lanterns looked great, but I wasn't able to get a pic of them before they rotted. Oh well. Mine said, "Go Caps".

--Am learning how to knit. Doing pretty good now that I'm working with a beginner's yarn as opposed to the fancy threaded yarn I was trying to start with. Have learned the knit stitch, and will soon move on to start purling.

--My fertility clinic opened up an integrative medicine center. They have acupuncture, yoga, massage and a nutritionist. I went to see the nutritionist last week. It went really well and I promise a post on the specifics this week.

--After a session with his therapist, JD said that he needed visual cues to tell him what to do, i.e., a chore chart. This coincided with my expressing my feelings that I don't give a good G-D D-N that he can't* fold or put things away, if he's home all day, he's responsible for all laundry tasks when he does laundry.

--I made charts and diagrams over the last two days detailing my plan to conquer Europe where Jimmy Hoffa is buried where I put away different kinds of clothes and assigning different chores to JD and myself.

--JD saw his orthopedic surgeon on Friday. The doc doesn't know why JD would be in so much pain and has now prescribed a narcotic to be used every other day to try and break the pain cycle. My diagnosis: JD is in pain because he hasn't exercised in 2 months and all of the good he did this summer is gone. His knees and back hurt because he walks crookedly to accommodate his hurting ankles. Didn't even go to medical school - I'm awesome.

--On Saturday, JD and I attended a RESOLVE panel discussion on Donor Issues. I really wish that the person hosting the event had specified that ONLY egg donation would be covered, as we could have skipped the whole thing. When we saw the sign in back of the panelists read, "Egg Donation, Questions & Answers," JD went to talk to the host soon after we had sat down to make sure that she asked the panelists questions on sperm donation. So, she did, but they clearly weren't familiar with the intricacies of sperm donation and weren't prepared to answer any questions about it. I was a little annoyed. Did learn some good stuff though, I'll share when I fish my notes out of my car.

--JD and I talked more extensively about sperm donation and finding out if that is the right path.

--On Sunday, we went to JD's nephew's 6th birthday party. It was at a mini-golf course. I beat the pants off JD!!!! I won! I won! I won! Two holes-in-one, baby!! My cheer involved the following quote from Friends, "I win! You lose! Holland loves Chandler! Good night!" I'm a tad competitive. (hee).

--After the party, we went back to SIL's house, where MIL was going through some old family photos of JD as a little kid. It was amazing to me how much his nephews look like him as a kid. It made me sad to think that I've sort of been pushing sperm donation and the fact that if we go that route, our children won't have that link. Sure, we'll look for a donor who looks like JD, but we probably won't be able to say, "Oh look, Baby has Nephew 1's face."

If you got this far, CONGRATULATIONS!! You win a gold star!!

*Yeah, he actually thinks that he can't fold or put away clothes. Like he's genetically impaired. I think it's just that his mother is a perfectionist. Also, he's lazy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

S.3142 and H.R. 5979 Stillbirth Awarenesss and Research Act

Today marks Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. At 7 PM (your time), please light a candle in memory of those lost and in honor of those remembering. We'll light up the world.

There are no words that I can say that would be more graceful and eloquent than those written by Antigone.

With the presidential election and financial crisis eclipsing all else this fall, the Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act will likely go unaddressed for another year.

Another Year. For another year, thousands of parents will leave the hospital with a list of funeral homes, no living child to cradle, and an unanswered question. Why?

The why will continue to go unanswered and potential treatments left undiscovered for another year. They will go unanswered and undiscovered because current research and funding are insufficient. Until S.3142 and H.R. 5979, the congressional bills for The Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act are passed, the problem will remain unsolved.

My son's name was Henry. His heart stopped beating on January 17th, 2008. On October 15th, and every day of the year, I remember him and thousands of others.

Please write or email your members of Congress and ask them to pass S.3142 and H.R.5979, The Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act now.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Guest Post from John Dear

(Interpreted from utter incoherence and typed by Jendeis)

Hi, this is John Dear, Jendeis' husband. I have a question for those of you dealing with male-factor infertility.

As you know, I have ejaculatory inhibition which makes it very difficult to get samples for an SA. When I can get a sample, the sample size is too small for the lab to say that the test results are a representative sample of my sperm count, motility, etc. (Though, if the results were representative, they show good count and morphology, but poor motility, enough to push us into IVF/ICSI territory).

Jendeis and I are thinking that we'll have to move forward to another step, something more technical, like electro-ejaculation. Of course, our fertility clinic does not offer that procedure. We'd have to go to Johns Hopkins or another university-type clinic for that.

Has anyone out there dealt with this issue or with Johns Hopkins in particular? Any advice or resources that we should be looking into?

Thanks for your help!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Am a TV Show

So, to my total and utter discredit, I watch Grey's Anatomy. Didn't even start watching till Season 3. Yes, I am a teenager.

On orders of my Fairy Godmother, I'm not allowed to watch the show by myself. Someone has to watch it with me because I tend to break down emotionally while watching. Usually, John Dear just sits next to me and plays on the laptop while I watch.

Here's where I have completely become a TV show. If you are not a loser like me and missed last night's episode, there was a patient who had experienced chronic headaches for years and years. His pain level was always at an 8 out of 10. He mentioned to one of the doctors that in the middle of all this pain he was feeling, his wife died. She had stood by him, took care of him, carted him to doctors and hospitals and then just died. He couldn't even feel the pain of his wife dying because he was in so much pain already.

I worry that this will happen to me and John Dear. That he will never stop being in pain. That I'll spend my whole life as a caregiver rather than a partner and die, before my time, worn out from a spouse who cannot/will not pull his own weight or any weight at all.

I'm not really sure what to do with that feeling. I wonder if we could get him on disability or something. He's not working, the job prospects don't look great. I mean at least if he did a majority of the housework instead of playing video games 90% of the day, I'd feel better. I've been trying to encourage him to maybe go back to school. At least he'd be doing something.

It's like living alone, only worse. If I was alone, when I left a room clean, I'd come back to it clean. Now, it doesn't matter, there's always a worse mess. I have to deal with all his crap too.

I'm sorry for this mopiness. I'm just too depressed to comment or post regularly. I am reading everyone's blogs though, so know that I am there.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nothing to See Here

I haven't been posting because there's nothing really new going on. Everything's just blah.

Tonight marks the beginning of Yom Kippur (y-oh-mm keyPUR), the Jewish day of atonement. It is one of the holiest days of the Jewish year. On Yom Kippur, Jews traditionally fast and pray to atone for the sins of the past year and recommit to the new year.

The service tonight is called Kol Nidre (cole ny-DRAY) after the first prayer in the service. I've always loved to hear Kol Nidre because it is such a beautiful and plaintive melody. The prayer is repeated three times and the cantor (essentially, the prayer leader) sings it softly the first time and gets louder each time he chants the prayer. The room is so quiet, I always feel like this prayer is the closest we get to speaking with G-D.

When we greet each other, we say "g'mar chatimah tovah," may you be sealed for a good year in the Book of Life. We also wish each other an easy fast.

So, may you have an easy fast and g'mar chatimah tovah to you all.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act

See those new shiny buttons on the right? They were designed by AK_Sapphire in honor of National Infertility Week (October 19th-25th) and Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (October 15th). You can get the codes for both buttons on her blog, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Pregnancy.

You can help to raise awareness of these issues by reading and following some or all of the following, a gracious plea by Antigone.

October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. More than 25,000 children are stillborn in the United States every year leaving mothers, entire families and communities devastated. Estimates of the rate of occurrence of stillbirth make it at least as common as autism.

Stillbirth is not an intractable problem. Greater research would likely significantly reduce its incidence, but good research requires good data. H.R. 5979: Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act is under consideration by Congress. This proposed bill would standardize stillbirth investigation and diagnosis, thus providing more data for the needed research. Better research means fewer children born still.

History and facts about H.R. 5979.
5/6/2008--Introduced.
Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act of 2008 - Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) more states should enact legislation that allows the issuance of a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth; and (2) the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) should increase the allocation of funds and other resources for stillbirth research.

Amends the Public Health Service Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to establish and maintain a scientific registry of stillbirths in the United States, which shall include for each stillbirth information on the stillborn fetus and the mother's health and pregnancy as collected and submitted by states on the U.S. Standard Report of Fetal Death.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) provide for the development of a standard definition of stillbirth and a standard protocol for stillbirth data collection and surveillance; and (2) carry out a national campaign to increase public and state awareness of such definition and protocol and public awareness and knowledge of stillbirths.
Information cited from GovTrack.us H.R. 5979--110th Congress (2008): Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act of 2008, GovTracks.us (database of federal legislation). Accessed October 2, 2008

On October 15th, remember the thousands of unfinished children lost and the families who remain to grieve them. Honor them by taking action. Let's help pass H.R. 5979.

Action Steps:

Step 1. Use Your Blog to Enlist Others
-Copy the contents of this entire post and publish it on your blog immediately.

GOAL: Enlist 10 of your readers to spread the word

Step 2. Use Your E-mail to Enlist Others
-E-mail 5 bloggers and ask them (nicely and in an unspammy way) to publish these action steps on their blog. Consider contacting celebrity bloggers, political bloggers, medical bloggers, or bloggers who are not part of your reading community.

GOAL: Enlist 3 bloggers outside of your normal blog sphere to spread the word in other online communities.

Step 3. Help Pass the Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act
-By October 15th, publish a post on your blog supporting H.R. 5979 Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act. For maximum impact, title your post: "Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act."

GOAL: 1,000,000 Google results on October 15th when that term is searched for. Currently, Google only returns 20,400 pages - most of which have nothing to do with the bill.

Friday, October 3, 2008

New Year's Wishes

My rabbi included the following poem in his Shabbat message this week. I liked it so much, I wanted to share it with all of you. My inclusions are in brackets.

In the new year which now begins, these are my wishes for you:

May you experience no earthquakes, no hurricanes, no floods, and no dinnertime phone solicitations.
And if they come, may you have a flashlight, a radio, a cell phone, water, food, and a siddur [prayer book] ready, just in case.

May you see a good play, hear a great opera, and see no flashing police lights behind you.

May strangers greet you with smiles, and little children with sticky kisses.

May you have enough wealth to be able to give to tzedakah [charity], and enough left over to provide you with necessities:

May you have bread to eat and cake as well,

May you have a roof over your head and clothing to wear,
And may you help provide them for the hungry, the homeless and the ragged.

May your stocks come back,
And may your bank stay open,
And may your interest rate fall,
And may the IRS leave you a full 30% of what you earn to call your own.

May you banish all thoughts and conversations about the coming elections
For these next ten days,
So that you avoid fights with members of your family and your friends,
And may you remember that, no matter who is elected,
According to Hebrew National,
They all have to answer to a Higher Authority.

May you forgive the candidates for what they say about each other,
And may you remember that no one is as perfect as he claims to be,
And no one is as terrible as his opponent claims he is,
And forget the promises that they all make---because they will, as soon as they are elected.

May you be able to decipher your electric bill, your telephone bill, your credit card bill, and your income tax forms,
And the tiny, tiny print at the bottom of all these documents,
Which says in essence that they don't mean what is written above in big print.

May you live long enough to be able to drive automobiles which do not run on fossil fuels
And may this happen before you become an old fossil yourself.
May those of us who drive SUVs be blessed with enough wealth
To be able to fill them with gasoline enough,
To get to the corner store and back,
And may we not have to choose between having enough money with which to buy gas with which to get to the grocery store,
And having enough money with which to buy groceries when we get there.
And may our children, for the sake of whom we bought these vehicles in the first place
Never yell or fight but sit quietly buckled up, with their hands folded,
And never once ask us: Are we there yet?

May you learn how to control your television set,
And may you learn to cope with all the new buttons on the controls,
And may there be something worth watching when you finally figure out how to start your TV.

May neither you, nor your computer, ever be infected by a virus.

May peace reign over Israel,
And may its children not have to sleep in bomb shelters any longer,
And may all of its leaders, like Natan Sharansky, be people who have gone to prison BEFORE they ascended to high office, and not afterwards.

May the world become safe to live in for all of G-D's children,
And may some parents learn that it is not necessary to strap explosives onto the bodies of their children in order to attain paradise,
But that instead paradise can be found here on earth, if people will only learn to live together in peace.

May you stop rushing long enough to realize
How blessed we are
To be able to enjoy this amazing planet on which we live,
And may we try hard not to spoil it.

And whether you pray in the words of the machzor [a Hebrew prayer book],
Or in your own words,
May you feel the presence of G-D around you,

And may you love your G-D, with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your might,
And may you know that G-D loves you too,
And may G-D give you a shana tova u'metukah,
A good and a sweet new year.

Amen.

Written by Rabbi Jacob Pressman

Because We All Can

Fell asleep 6 minutes before the debate. Here's my atonement. Pass it on.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rosh Hashanah


Just wanted to take a moment for all who read, comment, lurk, or pass through to thank you for your kind words, friendship and warmth. May we all enjoy a sweet new year! Shana Tova Umetukah!


Photo from Cooking Jewish; my challah, though I think it looks great, doesn't look that good.

Challah Back Girl

Yesterday, I made a challah (Jewish traditional egg bread). Me, the girl who misread a recipe for scrambled eggs and accidentally added 2 Tablespoons of black pepper in the mix. OK, I did that when I was 8, but still. The challah looks and smells like bread. I braided it and rolled it into a circle. (It's tradition to have round challahs for Rosh Hashanah, because it symbolizes the year, the life cycle, etc.) Hopefully, my honey-vanilla challah will taste as good as it smells. I hope to take a picture of the challah tonight and post it after the holiday.

I got the recipe from Ariella of Baking and Books; go check it out, her blog is filled with awesomeness.

The challah, and the Martha Stewart honey-walnut cookies, were made last night (both with whole-wheat flour because I had run out of white flour). Yesterday afternoon, my mother taught me how to make her fantastic matzah ball soup. I can't wait to eat it tonight.

Yesterday morning, I made a carrot-zucchini kugel (kugel is usually translated as pudding; it's sort of like a casserole). I also made a vegetable kugel with spinach, carrots, celery, mushroom and onions. The last thing of the morning was making two potato kugels.

I didn't want to make the whole day about cooking. I would have preferred to spread the cooking out over a couple of days, but I did get everything done, so I am proud of myself. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Good and the Not-so-Good

"We got good news and bad news. What do ya want first?"
"The bad news!"
"The only thing we got to eat is sh*t."
"What's the good news?"
"There's plenty of it."
--from a movie I can't remember, but I think is a Western with Kiefer Sutherland

Things That Are Not-so-Good
1. My meds stopped working and I'm in the middle of a depression, my anxiety level has skyrocketed and I feel like I'm about to blow apart into a million pieces.
2. The financial markets stopped working and the economy is in the middle of a depression, everyone's anxiety level has skyrocketed and we feel like the whole world is about to blow apart into a million pieces.
3. John Dear is not feeling well. Still. Now running for 2 years straight.
4. More people on my blogroll do have kids or pregnancy than do not and I feel left out.

Things That Are Good
1. I did not have a bagel on Friday. I am going to rock that weight loss and we will be able to do IVF and have a baby.
2. I'm spending time with BFF today.
3. I'm cooking for Rosh Hashanah all this weekend and I'm grateful to have this time to cook for my family and spend time with them and with G-D.
4. JD and I are going to a drive-in movie tonight!
5. My friends and family make me feel loved, wanted and needed.
6. The Boy is the best boy ever. Trust me, he is.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What I Want Most: a Library

I was born with a reading list I will never finish.
-- Maud Casey

This link takes you to my current "to read" list. It is long, it is involved, it may be a tad unrealistic. The original is organized and sorted in an Excel spreadsheet.

Have any recommendations for other books or comments on ones that I've listed? Please leave a comment here for us all to share.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Emergency Kits

So, I took advantage of waking up in the early dawn hours on Sunday to sketch out what I thought should go into the emergency kits I plan on making (see my 101/1001 list to the left). Yes, this may be crazy and paranoid and rank me somewhere near Ted Kaczynski in your mind, but I've seen one too many disaster stories and the September 11th anniversary got me all riled up.

Tell me what you think and if I should add anything else.

Emergency Car Kit
Scenario: All hell breaks loose and we're not at home

Jumper cablesRoad triangle or FlaresFlashlight
Road atlas + important addresses and phone numbersBlanketWater
Food in cans or packetsDog food (dry)First Aid kit + Tums, Pepto, A&D, meds we're on, Sunscreen
Cell phone chargerSwiss Army knife with can openerMatches
Duct tapeAnti-bacterial wipes or lotionSpare set of clothes, including hat and gloves


Emergency House Kit
Scenario: All hell breaks loose; we're at home, we have to stay there

Crank-operated radioFlashlightBlanketWaterFood in cans or packetsDog food (dry)
First Aid kit + Tums, Pepto, A&D, SunscreenCell phone chargerMatches & lighterDuct tapeAnti-bacterial wipes or lotion


Jump Kit/Go Bag
Scenario: all hell breaks loose; we're at home and have to leave NOW

PassportsMarriage LicenseWedding album
Photo albumsInfo on bank accountsAddress book
MoneyChange of clothes, including hat and glovesMeds we're on

Monday, September 22, 2008

Recipe Link

For those interested in the Southern Slow-Cooker Chicken and Grits from Weight Watchers, here is the link to my modified version.

This time, I'm going to steam some chopped broccoli and mix that in to the finished recipe just to get some more greens going.

Menu Plan Monday

I'm getting back on track with the menu planning (or at least the posting about it). Decided to hop back on the wagon because Rosh Hashanah is next week and I'm going to be doing a lot of cooking this week to prepare. The dinners need to be quick to prepare and even quicker to clean up.

These are the dinners planned for this week:

Monday - Chicken with brown rice and vegetable
Tuesday - Steak with baked potato and salad
Wednesday - Weight Watchers' Southern CrockPot Chicken and Grits and vegetable
Thursday - Tofu and Vegetable Stirfry and brown rice
Friday - Breakfast for dinner (eggs, turkey sausage, toast)

I'll post more about my holiday preparations later in the week.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Humor - One of His Good Points

Setting: A freezing cold hotel room, 6:11 AM

Jendeis: I have heartburn and nausea.

John Dear: The heartburn is from lust. The nausea is because it's for me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tagged

Can't think of anything substantial to write, so I was glad when Manda at I Think I Hear Your Mother Calling tagged me with the following meme.

The Rules
1. Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, positively or negatively.
2. Link back to the person who tagged you.
3. Tag a few friends or none at all.
4. Post the rules and follow them or break them at your leisure.

FIVE WAYS BLOGGING HAS AFFECTED ME

1. For me, blogging allays some of my feelings of loneliness. I need never feel alone because of all you out there to hold me up.

2. The experience of blogging and reading other blogs makes me want to encourage others, to reassure them that they are not alone.

3. I'm much more aware now of all the things that can and do go wrong on the path to building a family. I'm a lot more nervous about pregnancy and ART than I was before I started reading blogs. I guess I thought that the main issue would be getting me pregnant and then, once I was, there would be no issues. I know really know that the worry continues forever.

4. Hand in hand with #3, blogging and the community of bloggers has given me a good resource for learning about infertility, treatments, adoption and even about how to raise a family. Now, when I visit my RE, I'm an "informed consumer" and can make educated choices about how we pursue treatments.

5. Finally, while I've always been pretty outspoken in my beliefs, I don't think I ever confronted strangers about their misconceptions prior to my start in blogging. Now I feel free to set them straight and if they've got a problem, tant pis for them.

I don't tag anybody, but if you do choose to do this meme, please let me know so that I can read your answers. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Generics

So, I've been on a combination of Zol.oft and Well.butrin for a couple of months now. Things were going really well up until 3 months ago, when everything started going to the scheisshaus in a big way. Faster and deeper mood swings, increased depression, very much increased anxiety.

This is not fun.

I did, however, figure out why this is happening. It's because the pharmacy gave me the generic for Zol.oft and not the brand name. See, to get the brand name, your doctor has to specifically note that only the brand will do. Otherwise, you get the insurance company's first pick, the much cheaper (for them) generic (I'm paying the same co-pay no matter which they give me).

Generics are supposed to be the exact same as the brand with the same active ingredients and everything. But the generic form of Zol.oft appears to affect (or not affect, as the case may be) many people in ways different from how they respond to the name brand.

Why? Who knows? I suspect that this is the Splenda effect (a doctrine invented by yours truly). John Dear, who knows just enough about certain things to be dangerous, explained to me that in order to make sucralose (aka Splenda), the chemists just manufactured a mirror image of a real sugar molecule. So, it's basically sugar, only your body doesn't recognize it as such.

I think that the generic Zol.oft works in me the same way. It's backwards, so my brain doesn't recognize that it should effing stop absorbing the serotonin and pass it on to the next neuron. You hear that, Brain!! I'm on to you!

I made an appointment to see Dr. Chai and hopefully can convince her to get me back on the real stuff. Unfortunately, I'll have to deal with an all-intensive in-laws weekend sans good drugs. John Dear and I will be staying at a nearby hotel, so I'm hoping that I can at least minimize some of the graduate level crazy that goes on with those people.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Follow-Up

Thank you for your many thoughtful responses to Circular Logic, my post regarding the struggle between those dealing with primary infertility and those pregnant or parenting after IF.

I don't think I articulated all of my points well, so I'd like to follow up.

I don't think that anyone pregnant or parenting after IF should have to bury that experience inside them or never be allowed to talk about it simply because they are no longer dealing with primary infertility. Quite the opposite.

My point was that, as Mel says, "once an infertile, always an infertile." I don't feel that there is any need (from my point of view as a primary infertile) for someone pregnant or parenting after IF to repeatedly and self-consciously explain how grateful they are or somehow have to justify themselves over and over again.

Of course, you are grateful for your child. Of course, you will never forget the pain of going through BFN after BFN and missed placements and lost treatments and the rest. Couldn't we just take that as a given?

Now, when I am in a place where I can't read about kids or pregnancy, I don't read posts about those things. Instead, I save them for later for when I'm in a better place. I don't expect you to never write about your pregnancy or your children because I haven't reached that point in my IF journey; I just want you to understand, and I'm sure that you do, that, sometimes, I'm not always able to read your posts right at the time that they go up on your blog.

Not really sure how to end this post, so I'll just end it as I ended every rough draft of my master's thesis: "In conclusion, I conclude."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Circular Logic

This post has been rattling around in my head for a couple of months and I can't seem to shake it. It's not polished and certainly, not finished, but DD's post on parenting after infertility and Mel's mention of it in the Friday Roundup jump-started me and I just had to get it down.
___________________________________
It seems like every few days or weeks, there comes another slew of posts from people now parenting after IF who plead that they still are dealing with IF, will do so forever and no one should think that they take anything for granted.

OK. Fine. I get what you are saying.

My bottom line: Though you may deal with infertility your whole life, you still have a kid. Right now, I've got zippy.

Yes, infertility is not like skin color. It's hidden and when you see a woman with a couple kids or very pregnant, you don't know if getting them was easy or hard what they had to endure to get to where they are today. But, I do know that you've gone beyond where I am now. I've not been pregnant, not gotten to call a child my own.

Parenting after IF doesn't mean that you forget the situation that you were in, when you were in my shoes. It just means that you are not in my shoes now. I'm allowed to have that. You are allowed to have that.

If I'm not in a space where I can read the lives of people who are parenting after IF or who are pregnant after IF, I don't read. And if I don't read, it doesn't mean that I think you're a turncoat, or that you don't know how it feels, or that I'm judging you. I just can't read your blog at this moment in time.

Can't we just have a blanket statement that no one who parents after IF or who is pregnant after IF is ungrateful or doesn't get it? Why do we need to keep repeating ourselves over and over? Why do we feel the need to constantly justify ourselves and reassure ourselves of the goodness of our actions?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Can we remember?

A marking point. A defining line. A place where you can distinguish between the two halves of your life. Before and After. BCE and AD. For my grandparents, that date is December 7, 1941, the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked. For my parents, it is November 22, 1963, the day that President Kennedy was assassinated.

I always wondered what my date would be. What day would stand out where I could clearly point to it and say, here, here is where my life was changed? As I grew older, I thought, maybe my generation won't have such a day. Could we be that lucky? (Of course, this is a very American-centric view of the world, there are dozens of dates to pull that are significant to peoples around the world.)

Well, we have a day, a defining line, a moment in time that is ours. September 11, 2001 is that day. The day that the world changed. How trite that sounds, but how true. I don't think I ever understood before that day how my grandparents or parents felt on their days. You can sympathize, but you don't really understand, can't empathize. I guess it's one of those things where you really do have to be there.

Time marches on. Time doesn't heal all wounds, but time blurs memories, makes them hazy, and you start seeing that day through a mist. Our children's generation will not know how our country came together on September 12th. They will know the stories, but not feel it in their hearts. Our grandchildren will learn about it in school, and just file that date away in preparation for a history exam.

We say that we should never forget, but how can we ever remember?




Today, in order to commemorate September 11th, Bridges is running their first 100 Words Project. Please stop by to read others' memories of our generation's defining moment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You Can Stop Hiding

I've calmed down now. Please read Lindsay's and Leah's comments on that last post, cause they just rock.

Vented about this to my mentor earlier today, who pointed out that the person was probably just trying to be helpful and I was adding in a lot of emotional baggage of which the person was unaware.

All I See is Red

Rage. Maybe I'm not responding correctly to the email I just received. Some backstory: per MIL's urgings, I contacted a few local fertility clinics to double-check if they too had BMI limits in order to perform IVF/ICSI procedures.
Here's what I wrote:

I live in XXXXXX and have been going to another fertility clinic.
My husband and I have been diagnosed with male-factor due to ejaculatory inhibition and poor motility. Our RE told us our only chance was IVF/ICSI, but that my weight was over what they allowed for IVFs. I am currently XXX lbs (44 BMI). Do you have a weight/BMI limit?

Here's what I received from one of them:

Dear Jendeis, Thank you for contacting XXXXXX, all reputable RE's will refuse to give fertility medications needed for IVF to someone who is overweight due to the multiple health risks, including an unhealthy pregnancy with increased blood pressure and gestational diabetes. However, you did not mention whether you have been evaluated and/or treated for polycystic ovarian syndrome or a thyroid problem which could be contributing to the weight problem. We have many patients with weight problems due to hormone imbalances that also cause infertility, with treatment and lifestyle cahanges [sic] they can be successful.


The more I read this, the more enraged I get. I'm trying to write a response, but I and it gets too angry and I can feel the veins in my neck pulsing. I clearly wrote that our issue is male-factor IF; not PCOS or thyroid problems. Also, our RE told us that the weight limit was for the anaesthesia issues, not the fertility meds. Really there is nothing keeping us from conceiving except for John Dear's slow sperm. I'm shaking I'm so angry. Am I interpreting this incorrectly? Am I totally out-of-whack?

I just want an answer to my question. What should I write? YOU be the author.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Coming Off

10 lbs baby!!! I finally hit the 10 lb loss mark at today's Weight Watchers meeting. If only I can keep duplicating that result, we'll be at this baby stuff in no time. Yay!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Jon Stewart - AWESOMENESS


I am so in love with Jon Stewart and The Daily Show's ability to skewer all politicians who are being hypocritical. This clip, which ran on Wednesday, is fantastic.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Name Game

Too tired to write about anything serious. Work stinks (you might have heard that the real estate industry is experiencing a small blip just now? Ha), well, it doesn't stink, it's just uber-frustrating. I'm just exhausted.

But not too exhausted to share a meme with you!

The Name Game
1.Your rock star name (first pet, current car): Pache Escape

2.Your gangsta name (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe): Mint Chocolate Chip Ballet Flats

3.Your Native American name (favorite color, favorite animal): Green Dog

4.Your soap opera name (middle name, city where you were born): Ellen Edison (sounds like Nancy Drew, not a soap opera)

5.Your Star Wars name (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of your first name): Casje

6.Superhero name (2nd favorite color, favorite drink): Blue (Dr.) Pepper

7.NASCAR name (the first names of your grandfathers): Ralph Irving

8.Dancer name (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy): Romance M&M's

9.TV weather anchor name (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Ragan Richmond

10.Spy name (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Autumn Gladiola

11.Cartoon name:(favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now): Strawberry Skirt

12.Hippie name (what you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree): Whole Wheat Weeping Willow

13.Movie star name (first pet, first street where you lived): Pache Sunflower

Your turn!