Finding My Grace Friday

20 Jul

Today I am blogging from the waiting room of the RE’s office. I am surrounded by other women with the same goals and hopes. I can’t help but hope they get what they are searching for.

Without further ado.

1. What is something small that you take for granted each day? Pedicures. My back was hurting so badly yesterday from the heaviness of having multiple large follicles sitting on my ovaries. An hour in the pedicure chair with my friend by my side was an amazing break.

2. What is something you know you are so lucky to have that others don’t? I have an excellent partner in Randall. The last two months have been hard on me physically. Having him pick up the slack in cleaning, cooking, etc so I can lay on the couch and rest has been amazing.

3. What is something you know you need to be more grateful for and need to work on? See below.

4. How did you do on being more grateful for your #3 item from last week? I really made an effort this week to be thankful for the ability to do infertility treatment. When the stims made my back hurt so badly, I remembered that I was lucky to have responded so well to the medicine at all. When I was so busy at work and had to make time for appointments, I was thankful to have a job that allowed me to leave without issue. There are still issues for me to work on though, so I am carrying this one over to next week as my #3 answer.

As for an update, we’re doing IUI#2 today. I have three follicles and feel really positive about it. In two weeks, I may feel ridiculous having done so but I am going to believe in this one. Here’s hoping that I’m right for us and my fellow waiting room companions.

Advertisements

I Got 99 Problems But The Stims Ain’t One

17 Jul

This morning was my first monitoring appointment of this IUI cycle. My medicine protocol was tweaked this time and I am taking almost double the dose of stimulating medication (stims in the IF lingo) than I was last time. At first I was kind of freaked out by this as the initial idea of putting a super-potent hormone into my body gave me pause, so putting double the amount in was a little scary. Fortunately, those fears were quelled this morning as I got the news that things are progressing nicely and that I will only have to take the stims for one more night meaning I will take nearly the same amount of medication as last time, just much more efficiently.

An random aside for my Googling IF Peeps: I am on 125iu of Follistim and will have stimmed for 5-6 days. My main side effects are fatigue, lower back pain, acne like a teenager and a big dose of the rage-ahol. I kind of want to cut bitches every once in awhile…mainly over dumb stuff like taking too long in the Starbucks drive-thru or taking the parking garage elevator from floor 3 to 4, you know…normal IF med induced cut-a-bitch stuff. ūüôā

A random aside for my non-IF Peeps about the stim meds: some of them are made from the urine of post-menopausal nuns. No joke. It kind of makes you say hmmm when you think about the religious debate about IVF. Just some food for thought.

Back to this morning though. As you may or may not know I am a big believer in what I refer to as the “Woo Woo Floaty”…think of the feeling a psychic invokes in her patrons when she hits on something important…that is the “Woo Woo Floaty.” I quite like the idea of karma and truly believe that the Universe not only listens to things you put into it, it also gives you answers or signs when you look for them, this morning was no exception. The lot/road next to my doctor’s office is being worked on. It has been torn up since we started the first IUI cycle, with men and large machines working every time we have an appointment. Driving in this AM, I realized that some progress had been made and noticed that the street sign had been put up. The name of the street is “Leslie.” I got the WWF feeling then. I then pulled into the parking lot about 25 minutes early for my appointment, so I decided to wait for Randall to arrive for a bit before going in. I turned off my car and heard music. I though the workers had a radio on but then realized one of the construction workers was signing a Spanish song in one of the clearest, most beautiful voices I have ever heard. For some reason this sealed the deal for me…I have hope. I am letting it soar and letting the Universe know I am ready. I want to be a parent and I turn over all of my faith that this is will be the treatment cycle that makes it happen.

Finding My Grace Friday

13 Jul

As you probably saw in the last post, there are some pretty negative things in my life right now. Being a Negative Nancy is not at all who I am or how I want to be perceived/live my life. I feel like the blog will receive an unfair share of negativity just do the journalistic nature of my writing, so I wanted to start something to counter that.

I feel like it’s important to find things that¬†make you realize how great you really have it. In my case, 90% of my life is absolutely amazing, there is just this little 10% that doesn’t work out. Whenever I visit my Maw-Maw, we say “Grace” before every meal. Without fail this moment of thanksgiving for something as simple as homemade biscuits and hand-fried chicken always strikes me as something much more profound. I often find myself wondering what other simple things I am taking for granted by not saying “Grace” for them. Thus, “Finding My Grace Friday” is born.

Here’s how it will go: Same questions every week, short answers, some follow up from the previous week. Feel free to participate if you want, either in the comments or in your own blog. If not, that’s cool too…just take a moment to think about your grace.

1. What is something small that you take for granted each day? I have a car I absolutely adore. We purchased it new and some of the “perks” of it were a frivolous buy. Every morning I get into my car and just take for granted that it runs so well and that it has so many creature comforts.

2. What is something you know you¬†are so lucky to have that others don’t? I am so lucky to have a job I love and to work with people I love even more. It is such a blessing to come to work each day and leave in a better mood than when you arrived.

3. What is something you know you need to be more grateful for and need to work on? We are extremely lucky that we even have the oppotunity to pursue infertility treatment. I know that there are so many couples who reach this point and stop, solely due to finances. We have been able to do this without touching our savings or cutting back on our lifestyle. This is such a blessing and I get so bogged down in the negatives of the process that this is something I just take for granted and give little thought to.

Next Friday there will be a fourth question, 4. How did you do on being more grateful for your #3 item from last week?

Heading into the weekend – we are attending the wedding of our next door neighbors. Low-key weddings can be fun, so I am looking forward to that. We have nothing else planned which is also something to look forward to. Enjoy your weekend!

603 Words

12 Jul

You know how sometimes when things get crazy or uncomfortable it is easier to run from then than deal with them head on? Blogging became one of those things for me. A lot has happened and changed since I blogged way back in April. When I started this blog I thought I would write about three main things, school, weight loss and infertility. It’s only fitting to address the changes in that order I suppose.

1. School – In late May I made a huge change to my “life plan.” If you remember I won an award back in March for a History paper I had written. This turned out to be a blessing in more ways than I expected. Since the award made me “known” around the History department at school, I got a more insider look into what being a professor or grad student was really like. Unfortunately, I didn’t like what I saw and it made me panic about my future. For the first time I really started to doubt that I wanted to teach at all. The first time I verbalized this to anyone was on a Monday evening. I told Randall I was having doubts and I wasn’t sure what to do. I told him I needed to put it out into the Universe and let the Universe guide me. So I did. On Wednesday of that week I was contacted by a friend I had worked with before and offered an amazing opportunity to get back into my old industry. Knowing the offer meant putting my all into making it a career, I knew accepting it meant I would likely never teach. It was a huge decision to make but I decided to take the opportunity. Since it would be ridiculous to stop now, I am still finishing my undergrad degree and if I ever decide that I should have been a teacher, there are paths to get me there. I have been at my new job since early-June and I now know it was the right decision.

2. Weight loss – I have gained 15 pounds since I stopped blogging. It’s not something I love or am proud of but it has happened. I gained 12 of those pounds over a two week period. Since I wasn’t eating 3000 calories a day, I think there is probably another culprit…

3. Infertility – I did a treatment cycle in June. I am going to be honest…I would not wish this on my worst enemy. It was very expensive, the daily shots were intense, I felt like I was not myself. I had little control over my emotions and no control over my hormones/body. I responded beautifully¬†to the medication, Randall had perfect numbers, our RE called the cycle¬†“textbook.” We waited two weeks for¬†the blood test to find out¬†if we were finally pregnant with¬†anxious hope. We allowed ourselves to talk about our child, to dip our toes into¬†our hopeful future, to fully embrace the idea that this could be it, we could be parents.¬†On July 9th we¬†were told the cycle had¬†failed.¬†More than anything I am frustrated and angry that even after 17 failed cycles and now one failed treatment cycle the answer still remains “we just don’t know” when we question why this is not working for us.

This is where we are today, waiting to see if we will cycle again. I am thinking about making a return to blogging and felt like getting this big comeback post out of the way might make that easier for me. So there it is 77 days of my life in 603 words.

Misconception: Infertility Awareness and the Myth of Multiples

26 Apr

We are inundated with awareness. Pink Kitchenaid mixers, races of all sorts, yellow bracelets. It’s great to see something¬†that affects so many people get so much awareness and the attention is deserved but sadly there are a great number of disorders and diseases¬†for which awareness is lacking.¬†

Are you aware that infertility has an awareness week? It’s this week – ¬†April 22nd-29th. Have you seen anything on Facebook about it or been asked to post your toenail polish color in a way to get people talking? Probably not. Sadly due to the nature of infertility most people are either ashamed to talk about it or reticent to share their journey for fear of judgement from others. Since infertility deals with sex and reproduction, both considered “inappropriate” topics for conversation in our culture, many who are infertile find it hard to open up to others about their issues. In order to spread some awareness in my own way this week I wanted to blog about an issue that has been weighing on me lately.

When it comes to infertility, especially when dealing with infertility treatment, there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings. One of the biggest misconceptions is that undergoing infertility treatment will always end up with the birth of multiples. While it can not be denied that the use of ovulation stimulating drugs does increase the chance of multiples for many couples, according to studies done by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine approximately 30% of pregnancies resulting from the use of reproductive medicines are multiples. This number includes all multiple pregnancies from twins higher. Spontaneous multiples (those without the use of fertility medications) occur in 1.11% of pregnancies.

Society loves to sensationalize the birth of high order multiples. In North America, this curiosity predates the use or even invention of infertility treatment, so it is nothing new. In 1934, the birth of the Canadian Dionne quintuplets (the spontaneous occurance of five identical embryos) was so shocking the quints were taken from their parents by the government of Ontario and put on display for the public to see. They were visited by approximately 6000 people per day until 1943 when their parents won custody back.  

Fastforward to the 21st century and we are surrounded by¬†stories of women having six¬†babies, eight babies, etc. While¬†much of the¬†rise in¬†the number of high order multiples born can be attributed to the¬†use of fertility¬†medications; it’s important to recoginize that many of these cases are due to¬†mismanagement of care, something that seems to be left out of the stories. Two¬†cases that are great examples of this have recently been¬†on my radar. The first is the extremely well known “Octomom” Nadya Suleman¬†and the second is a woman in Houston who recently gave birth to sextuplets.¬†Both women were profiled by the media simply for giving birth to a large number of children at once…but how did they get to that point?

In the case of the Suleman, an extreme mismanagement of care by her doctor. Since the birth of her octuplets, it has been discovered by the¬†California medical board that Suleman’s doctor transferred tweleve embyos into her uterus¬†during her IVF procedure. The standard protocal for a woman of Suleman’s age is two. The CA medical board revoked her doctor’s medical license but this information was not deemed nearly as sensational or newsworthy; a¬†Google search for the phrase “Suleman Octuplets” garners 1,010,000 results. A search¬†for the name of her¬†doctor nets 139,000 results and the first¬†hit is a link to his still active website, promoting free consultations for IVF. ¬†

In the case of the woman from Houston, it’s the same story just on a much less famous plane. Sextuplets are obviously old news. The woman underwent inter-uterine insemination with six follicles,¬†four more than allowed by most doctors and was seeing a standard OB who¬†had no special training in infertility¬†instead of a specialist. She ended up with six children because all six of the egg follicles she had fertilized. This, like the IVF involving twelve embryos should not¬†have been and under good medical supervision IS not allowed.

Okay, okay so I’ve lectured you on why this stuff happens and why I feel like the view that infertility treatment = instant multiples isn’t a sound theory…but is this still really an issue? Why do we need awareness? The reason I brought up the woman in Houston is two-fold, I wanted to point out why her situation is not a standard infertility protocol but I also wanted to share some of the comments on the article, the thing that really drove me to write this blog in the first place.

“Too many babies at one time. It is time to put these fertility doctors outta business.”

“I’m so disgusted with all these multiple births being glamourized. there is nothing “miraculous” about it. A miracle would be if it NATURALLY happened. I cannot believe a “doctor” would allow 6 eggs while doing an IUI. Can’t wait for their website to turn into a donations site to help support this litter of kids.”

“Fucking fertility drugs should be banned. Too many fucking humans already. Stupid story.”

“Plenty of babies that need adopting.”

These are just a few examples of the comments on the story but it brings home the point that there is still a need for awareness of how infertility treatment works, a need for increased understanding. If you take nothing else away from this, just take a second to pause and think about what you are about to say the next time you hear of someone undergoing infertility treatment or having trouble conceiving. Think about if what you are about to say might be a misconception, think about how much you really know about the issue. The infertility community at large will really appreciate it.

Having Fun Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card!

23 Apr

It’s the end of the semester at school (three weeks and counting!) so my time is divided lately between American Indians, the Civil War, Ireland and various and sundry other sometimes tiring topics. Sadly, this leaves little free time for blogging. I just finished writing a paper and thought since I was already in writing-mode I would pop over to WordPress for a bit.

This weekend was a blast. My mom got married. I have a ton of pictures and fully intend to blog about it later this week once I get them downloaded from my camera.But for now an aside…

Last week a good friend of mine (shout out!) was telling me about her adventures using the library. Because I can be a damn snob I have always been kind of weird about using a library. Of course I have frequently used the university library because please, like I am going to shell out $145 for a copy of The Life and Times of George Washington: Why, No My Teeth Are Not Actually Wooden to cite it twice in a paper; but for every day pleasure reading the library was a no-go. Since I have recently become cheap (see also coupons, use of) and because my friend kept extolling the greatness of this literary resource funded by my tax dollars, I decided to give it go…

…and boy am I glad I did. The Fort Worth Public Library has come a LONG way. Gone are the days of card catalogs and being shushed by a grumpy librarian. Randall, like myself, was a little leery of the library. He is a proud devotee of the Half Price Books clearance section, so I don’t know why as the only real difference here is that he can get books that aren’t a billion years old or super-terrible. Anyway, I digress…We hit up the local branch this evening after work and it was awesome. The building was well designed and clean, the staff was super-friendly, the books I wanted were either on the shelf waiting for me or a few clicks away in my online account and they had, as Randall called it in completely awe, “the 007 technology.” We walked up to the self checkout (see – FW library is where it is at) and scanned my card, were prompted to place our books on the sensor pad and it automatically populated what books we had in seconds, no scanning required. I have to admit, it was pretty much a mind blown moment for us both as 30 minutes prior we were still kind of in the library = sketch camp.

Since the library also has ebooks for my ereader and I like to give my husband crap, I am dubbing this the Summer in Which I Read a Metric Ton of Books While Randall Reads Like Seven, Three of Which Will Probably Be About Dogs. Also, please note that as I am a blogger on the up and up, this review was not paid for by the library, mainly because a) I pay them every month on my taxes and b) I am like the only person on Earth who was unaware of the coolness of the library.

PS: The title of this blog is totally from a late 90’s episode of the PBS show Arthur and I don’t even care how uncool that is.

BFN to BBQ

11 Apr

It’s been 2.5 weeks since I last blogged. I would love to say I had some sort of important thing keeping me from logging into WordPress, but the truth is I was just not feeling the blog vibe. I would apologize, but hey, it’s my blog and I think a 2.5 week break is fine. ūüôā

I got a negative pregnancy test this morning. I felt a little off and had some pretty persistent “symptoms” that I couldn’t find record of in the last thirteen months of charting, so I let my hopes raise a little and peed on a stick. Surprisingly the negative took no wind from my sails. I felt good about the day and moved on post-pee cup like it was no big thing. This is major progress for me and illustrates both the purpose and effectiveness of taking a “break” before treatment. Score one for being too lazy to take my temperature every day!

The overall goal of taking a break from the hardcore rigorous form of trying to conceive was to get my mindset into a positive place before undergoing infertility treatment. I can honestly say that I am there. Randall and I have been working hard to save money for treatment and I am happy to say we have enough saved now to do one to two cycles of IUI with injectable medication without taking anything from our savings/e-fund money. The plan is to do treatment cycle one in June, likely beginning mid-month.We initially planned for a May cycle start date, but as I have heard/read online that injectable fertility medications make women into Hulk Smash! emotional bitches, I decided tackling both my raging hormones and my spring semester final exams just didn’t seem like the best plan. So, June it is.

This is an exciting and scary moment for us…we are standing at the crossroads of possible parenthood and our first potential big league TTC failure. My aunt and cousin (among way too many other family members) visited over Easter weekend and I explained the entire feeling of our infertility journey this way: I was once in CVS buying a pregnancy test, a bottle of wine and tampons. The cashier gave me the side eye and I told her that “I was just preparing for all possible outcomes.” This is my exact feeling about treatment at this point. It will work and we will have a child or it won’t and we will pick ourselves up and make a plan for the future.

Speaking of the future, Randall and I discussed the “what if” aspect while at dinner during date night tonight. Making a plan for this is #5 on the Ten Before Treatment and we have decided if this doesn’t work out for us we will be taking a BBQ road trip across Texas; this is a fitting plan as we had just finished growing food babies at Hard Eight BBQ. We share a mutual love for smoky, sweet sauces served with meat smoked to perfection (sounds a little dirty, eh?) and feel like this trip would be both kind to our post-treatment expenditures budget and a tasty good time. I have more than a few BBQ Meccas I have been dying to visit (Franklin, Snow’s, Luling City Market, Southside Market, Kruez Market) and Randall has some special stops he would like to add in (Shiner Brewery mostly…which side note – did you know you can only tour during the week?), I also wouldn’t mind making another attempt at seeing the Marfa Lights and would love to re-visit and camp a night at Big Bend.

Beer and brisket aside, the heart of the matter is that even though this is still a plan in its beginning stages it lets me know that no matter what comes our way this summer we will make it and be stronger for it.