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.
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“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.

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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?