I'm feeling better, psychologically speaking. Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and support. I'm going to have a bad day now and then, so thanks for reminding me that God is good and that I should have hope. Today was much better and I also firmly believe it has something to do with hormones (I'm not saying my feelings are completely due to hormones, but I think hormones determine when I feel the heartache more deeply).
I'm not sure what cycle day it is off the top of my head (and I'm too lazy to walk into the other room to check), but I'm guessing it's like day eleven or twelve. Late tonight I started having abdominal pain. My entire abdominal region was rock hard and bloated, with pain mainly on the left side. It's not from food because I haven't eaten much today and haven't had anything out of the ordinary. I'm hoping this is just my ovaries getting ready to ovulate. I can't imagine I'm ovulating now, though, because my temp is still low and today was only my first day of mucus.
I haven't traditionally experienced a "feeling" of ovulation, like some women report, but the past couple cycles I have had some mid-cycle pain (further proving my point that this ovulation thing is fairly new for me). And speaking of ovulation, we are determined to use the right days this cycle. It seems like every time I look back on my chart we never used every opportunity. There's always a gap or I thought we'd have more time only to find out it was my last day of mucus. Or - and this happens almost like clockwork each month - we have a fight on what would have been our best day. What's with that? I'm sure it wouldn't have mattered, but it just makes you wonder!
And one more update - the met is still going well. I experience a very slight upset feeling in my stomach a couple times each day but I definitely wouldn't go so far as to call it nausea. And I don't know if it's a coincidence, but I'm not as hungry as often (which is fine by me!).
Alright, I'm off to bed.
Monday, June 30, 2008
I'm feeling better, psychologically speaking. Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and support. I'm going to have a bad day now and then, so thanks for reminding me that God is good and that I should have hope. Today was much better and I also firmly believe it has something to do with hormones (I'm not saying my feelings are completely due to hormones, but I think hormones determine when I feel the heartache more deeply).
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Today I feel like the weight of this is too much. The prospect of living the rest of my life in a world full of fertile people, kids, commercials with babies, pregnant stomachs, abortion.. it's just incomprehensible. Can't we all live together on an island somewhere, and take trips back to the "mainland" when we're having a good week?
I'm trying to convince myself that these feelings will pass. There will come a time when I can handle the heartache better. It just seems impossible when you're in the middle of it.
I'm angry with God. I'm angry that he made me to want to grow up to be a mother. How can a loving God not take pity on me and at least design me to not be the girl who always talked about having kids? I know he could do that if he wanted to. And here's a question for ya: I know people say that suffering comes from Satan, but if so, then why wouldn't God want to eliminate what Satan caused? If people say that God allows our suffering because it is "part of his plan for us" then does that mean he's working with Satan? Surely they aren't in cahoots. It just isn't making sense to me right now.
I just feel like I've heard of very few people who have been trying nearly four years who actually end up pregnant, especially who are over 30. I hate even typing that because it sounds like a bad statistic.
Sorry, I just needed to vent.
Friday, June 27, 2008
So yesterday I realized that my medication that lowers my prolactin is about to run out. I need it refilled, but since I have unofficially switched from working with PPVI to my local doctor, I didn't want to call PPVI for the prescription. It immediately occured to me that it would be a perfect
excuse opportunity to call my doctor and ask about my metformin dose!
So this is how the call went yesterday:
Me (after first asking my "cover" question): While I've got you on the phone, I mean, this isn't a big deal or anything, but I was just wondering about my metformin dosage. I'm on the lowest dose and my next appointment isn't for four months, so does the doctor plan on having me raise it at some point? I mean, it's not a big deal if he doesn't. I'm fine on the low dose. I was just curious.
As if the nurse was writing all that down. This was probably the message:
Patient wants to know if she should increase her metformin dose at some point.
It's just that I'm very afraid of sounding pushy. I never want the doctor to think that I think I know more than him, so I was very hesitant to even ask. But... the nurse called back this morning and said I am supposed to raise my dose to 1000 mg (500 mg 2x a day) in three weeks. So now I'm glad I called! He definitely didn't tell me that at my appointment, and perhaps didn't consider it until he got my message. He almost didn't even put me on the medication, since he thinks I might be able to correct it with diet alone.
I am still reacting just fine to the met, and I hope the increased dose doesn't affect me negatively either. I know that some people are fine on 500 mg and then have side-effects when the dose increases, but I am going to assume I'll be okay.
In the meantime, I've decided I really need to start praying more. I always say that, but nothing really ever changes. I've considered a nightly Rosary, novenas, a daily Divine Mercy Chaplet. I also know that saying formal prayers isn't the only way to go, so I'm also trying to find a way to encorporate some silent prayer time into my day. Going to adoration is a good way to do that and my church has it once a week, which I currently don't attend (yes, believe it or not I am ashamed to admit I don't go weekly. The girl doing a documentary on adoration hasn't gone in quite some time). Right now all I am doing is talking to God a few times a day and I know that isn't enough. I'm leaning towards a nightly Rosary with my husband and adoration once a week, with the occasional novena thrown in. Anyone have any advice for what to pray or what's worked for them?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
So metformin is working its wonders on me and being kind so far. Thank you, God. I do realize that I am on a very low dose. Very low. I take one 500 mg pill once a day. I'm not sure why I'm on such a low dose and, of course, I didn't ask. Add that to the list of questions that didn't occur to me until I left my doctor's office.
Now that a few days have passed and I've had sufficient time to ponder the incredible amount of information that was thrown my way at my doctor's appointment, I've realized something important - I ovulated in May. Somehow I managed to overlook that until now. It's weird how that happens. Almost seconds after my doctor announced it, I brushed it off like it was old news. "Ya, I'm an ovulator. Big deal." Seriously. I entered the club of ovulating women like I had always been a member. Not until tonight did it hit me - it is a HUGE deal. In the days leading up to my appointment I remember telling my husband, "wouldn't it be amazing if the saliva test shows I ovulated?" which I always followed up with, "but that would be too good to be true. It will never happen." But it did! And I barely noticed!
I have a new theory. My new theory is that I wasn't ovulating before May. I personally believe that I ovulated in May because it was the same month as the start of my diet. I began my diet on cycle day four. There is some proof to back up this theory: Last July, my ultrasound series clearly showed my follicle did not rupture. I grew to a size that a follicle should be at when it ruptures, but then it stopped growing and just stayed there, unruptured. We don't know what happened each cycle between July and May, but I doubt I was ovulating. My charts looked just as screwy as ever... until May.
It might not have been my diet alone. I started taking bromocriptine for my high prolactin in March and I've read it takes two months to work. My April 28th blood work shows my prolactin was normal, as was my testosterone (how did that go down, by the way?), so a lot was beginning to work in my favor.
I should have asked my doctor if he thought I've been ovulating all along. Actually, I think I did ask him, but what I should have done was remind him about my ultrasound series last summer. And, at the time that I asked him about ovulating, I hadn't yet told him I started the diet. Ugh! Doctor's appointments go so fast!
The good thing about not ovulating until May is that it means I haven't had a real shot at conceiving until now. It means something is moving in the right direction, rather than just being screwed up all along. It means things are improving. I think I will go with that, rather than thinking I've always ovulated. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Well I took my first dose of metformin this morning. Nothing to really report yet, except in just the last half hour or so I've felt like my stomach is a little off and my head hurts a bit. But that might just be me looking for it. Just in case, though, I'm going to lay down for a while and take it easy. I think my dose is pretty low, though, so I have a feeling I'll be okay.
In the good news department, we have found the perfect place for our movie premiere. It's at a really classy art museum in the city we used to live in (and the city that the movie is set in). They have a theater that seats the perfect number - not too big and not too small - and it is (surprisingly) affordable. So we're excited!
In other good news, I am all set to go to a water park in about a week and a half. Did I mention we're going to a water park? It's something I haven't done since I was a kid (mainly because we didn't live in a part of the country where they existed), but it's always been something I've absolutely loved. So as I've been trying to find fun things to do to get my mind off of infertility, this came up. I haven't wanted to do it in years mainly due to not wanting to wear a bathing suit. Well, I still don't want to wear a bathing suit, but since I feel so much better about myself I have at least found a solution. This might sound weird, but I found men's swim trunks at J Cr.ew that, when worn in a smaller size, don't appear to be men's swim trunks (hopefully), and I'm going to wear them with a tankini on top. I figured that even if I was skinny, I wouldn't want to parade around in bathing suit bottoms anyway! I'll have to post a picture of myself in my "bathing suit" at some point!
Right now I'm watching my hubby on t.v. He isn't normally on at this hour, but he's filling in for someone. He's wearing a new suit that he bought on Monday, which looks really good! I'm so proud of him for dropping so much weight, too. It has made it SO much easier that he is dieting right along with me.
Sorry for the boring post, but I figured after a couple heavy ones, I needed to lighten up!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
So it's been more than 24 hours since getting my long-awaited diagnosis. I'm doing pretty well, considering, but I have been feeling a little sorry for myself at times. My thoughts have ranged from, 'why me?' to 'why can't it just be endometriosis?' to 'why did God make me want children if I can't have them?' I've been doing a whole lot of comparing myself to others, which is always good, and my pregnant-woman and mother-with-kid-in-stroller radar has been extra sensitive and seeing them has been extra painful.
Hopefully this will all subside. Hopefully, through prayer, I will find peace with this. There's a lot wrong with me and I might never get pregnant. That's the reality. Part of me wants to stop hoping and move on. But, for some weird reason, I don't feel like moving forward with adoption yet (which leads me to another question: 'if adoption is the only way we'll be parents, then why won't God place it on my heart?' It would be so much easier if woke up tomorrow knowing I should adopt).
So now I am left, once again, mourning this. In the last nearly four years I've experienced the death of the dream of being a young mother, the death of the dream of getting pregnant easily, the death of the dream of being pregnant in my twenties, the death of the dream of having my infertility fixed easily.. fixed by my first surgery.. fixed by my second surgery.. fixed by my prolactin medication. Each time I mourn. Each time I try to see value in such a sad situation, and look toward the future.
This is the least amount of hope I've ever had. It's interesting though, because it's like my mind won't let me think about it. I'm not thinking in grand terms. I'm not thinking about living my life childless, or what I'll miss out on. I am, by the grace of God, living in the moment and just thinking about picking up my medication in the morning. That's all I can do if I want to maintain my sanity.
I'm also focusing on finding joy. My husband has been great. He's made a concerted effort to make sure we've had fun the past two days. We went to lunch yesterday and went shopping. We don't have a lot of money, but he let me buy some new clothes yesterday (I have officially dropped two pants sizes!). I need to focus on my weight loss, and use it as a way to get my mind off of other things.
I have also drowned my sorrows in low-G.I., low-fat, and low-calorie brownies. They are truly amazing. I've had about three today, which is my version of going absolutely crazy. I've been like, 'I just don't care! Bring on another healthy brownie!'
I also received some help from a post on another blog. Bobbi from Revolution of Love actually came across my blog, and posted today on her own about her struggle with infertility. I think the post is incredibly insightful and what she said really struck me. I love tangible advice on how to make the suffering easier. Here's an excerpt:
When I suffered through this pain, I just tried to take all my tears and offer them to Our Lady. I told her I couldn’t make sense of any of it but please take it all as my prayer to God. Learning to embrace this suffering is like spiritual childbirth. The pain comes in incredible waves that at once seem to overwhelm you. You just have to go with it and focus on Christ and know that the pain has a purpose and will eventually end. Like childbirth, there are times when the suffering subsides and you feel better. Then here comes another spiritual contraction and you are engulfed by the suffering all over again. Just breathe. Focus on Christ. Cry out if need be, but remember that it will be over soon. You just need to hang in there and keep at it. Let Our Lady be your midwife. She’ll comfort you and support you because she knows acutely the pain of spiritual anguish. She will help you through.
I'm going to really try to remember this. I'll offer my tears to Our Lady. I'll focus on Christ. This also made me realize that I don't need to make sense of it. I think I use up a lot of energy trying to make sense of it all, and if I let myself off the hook with that, well, that kind of feels like a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders.
I know this post probably sounds pretty defeatist. While I am struggling with just how much hope I should continue to have, it isn't all bad. I shouldn't give the impression that there's no chance I'll get pregnant. I know this medication could work. The diet could work even faster. God could work a miracle. Technically, it wouldn't even qualify as a miracle, which is a good way to look at it! Women in my situation get pregnant. I may not, but I also may.
Okay, my post tomorrow will be more positive. I promise!
Monday, June 23, 2008
Where to begin? I've decided that tonight I'm going to just post all the information I learned today at my appointment and not comment too much on it (or at least that's my plan). I just want to put it all out there and begin to process it. I will say, though, that I'm not sure how I feel about it right now. I go back and forth from being upset to being slightly hopeful. My husband, on the other hand, thinks everything we learned is great news, but I don't necessarily trust him. It's his job to say that. It's also kind of odd to finally, after all these years, know what is standing between me and having babies. Anyways, here goes...
I learned that from the blood taken at my last appointment on April 28, all my chemistry is good. I'm not anemic, my organs are good, and everything is normal. Also normal is my thyroid, my prolactin and my testosterone (my testosterone being normal was a big surprise because I thought that was high due to PCOS, which hadn't been treated at all when the blood was taken). It also showed that my LH and FSH ratio is still 2:1. That is bad and is a sign of PCOS.
We learned a lot from my saliva test (which was taken two cycles ago in May, and shows my hormones throughout the entire cycle). This is where it gets tricky, and this is where we learned what is truly the cause of my infertility. First off, I am ovulating (yes, I was shocked). At the beginning of the cycle, my estrogen starts good and my progesterone is low like it should be. Then all goes awry. You know how estrogen (or is it estradiol? whatever) goes down at the very same time that progesterone rises? I remember my Creighton teacher teaching me that and commenting on how amazing it is that God designed it so perfectly. Well, mine doesn't do that. My estradiol did whatever it's supposed to do to show that I'm ovulating, but then my progesterone didn't rise until about three days later. Three days! I think it's supposed to happen instantaneously. Then the progesterone got really high, like it's supposed to, but then it dropped off a few days before it should.
The doctor described my ovaries like this:
"You know how on Dancing With the Stars there's the really awesome couple who is smooth and in step and looks great? And then there's the goofy couple who is never quite in sync? Your ovaries are the goofy couple." He also used a golf analogy for my husband's benefit. Something about my ovaries not being like Tiger Wood's swing.
He said my ovaries are dysfunctional. I probably release an egg every month but instead of being this nice, smooth, precise process, it's slow and clunky and pretty messed up. So my ovaries are losers. They're ugly and dorky and probably get picked on by all my other organs.
He thinks the LH/FSH problem is causing it, and the whole ovarian dysfunction probably even caused my endometriosis.
It was at this point that he told me no one knows why this happens or how to treat it. He then said "this is when people do IVF" (he, of course, is against it, but just meant that this is when others would typically consider it their only option). So that was when I zoned out. I didn't hear much of anything else he said for a few minutes. I concentrated on holding back tears and I think I nodded my head a lot, probably inappropriately.
Somehow I came back around and picked back up when he was describing PCOS and insulin resistance. So I told him about my diet and weight loss (Oh my goodness! I didn't even tell you about my big weigh in! I did it! I met my goal, surpassed it even, and was down 16 pounds on his scale! Woo hoo!). His immediate response was "Praise the Lord!" He thought this was GREAT news and he thinks it is likely helping me already. He toyed with just treating me with diet and exercise. He had written out a prescription for metformin, and told me not to fill it right away. Then he changed his mind and said to fill it. He also doesn't think the drug will affect me negatively. He takes it himself and said it makes him feel whole again and will likely do the same for me. He also said that even if getting pregnant wasn't an issue for me, I need to treat this as a medical issue. It could lead to diabetes, heart disease or a heart attack at a younger than normal age.
On a sidenote, he said that metformin will likely make me lose even more weight, and faster. Looking forward to that! (And, hopefully, it won't be because I'm too nauseous to keep anything down! Please, Lord!)
So my doctor didn't come right out and say what my chances are of getting pregnant. He also didn't say it won't work. He basically just said that this happens to work for a lot of patients. He said it could take six to nine months to work, so we have a long wait ahead. He doesn't think surgery is in my future because apparently the wedge resection surgery is done to help lower the testosterone and, in turn, help the PCOS. Since my testosterone is already back to normal, that isn't my problem.
My next appointment is in four months. It's so far away that they're not even scheduling that far in advance, so I have to call in August. He also said that if by my next appointment it appears that the metformin is helping, he'll put me on either Clomid or Letrozole to help the ovulation. I'm hoping that combination will be what eventually leads to a pregnancy.
So that's it. I probably left some stuff out. For a recap: I am ovulating.. but my ovaries are bad.. my estrogen and progesterone don't switch off at the same time.. this somehow causes my egg to not do the right thing after leaving my ovary.. this is caused by my LH and FSH ratio being off.. this is all caused by insulin resistance (I didn't ask how).. and this is all part of PCOS.. my diet and exercise is likely helping to treat it already.. I'm going to start metformin tomorrow to help it as well.. but it will likely take at least six months before we even know if it's helping.. and if it is, he'll put me on clomid or something like it to help ovulation. I think that's it, but I have a feeling I'll remember something else in a little while and have to update this.
I would appreciate hearing what you think. Is this not that big of a deal? Have you ever heard of it (the estradiol/progesterone problem)? Is the situation more dire than I yet realize? Anyone know anyone who has fixed this problem and gotten pregnant?
I'm going to post tomorrow on how I feel about this. I will make a final observation, though. I left the appointment sure of one thing: If I do become pregnant, it will be through prayer. I feel now that nearly everything has been stripped away and I am left to lean on the Lord. I know I still have medication to try and my diet may help as well, but ultimately, whether any of that helps to correct my hormones is up to God. I know that it is always up to God, but for some reason I am now more accutely aware of this than ever before.
It's been an emotional weekend. There have been a couple of mini-breakdowns. Which is why I haven't posted.. I figured they'd be angry, bitter posts and I'd regret them.
I'm exaggerating. It wasn't really that bad.
So tomorrow's the big day (technically it's already tomorrow). My doctor's appointment is at 11:30 a.m. I know this might shock you but I'm nervous about my weigh-in. Remind me next time to not set stupid goals for myself that I might not reach no matter how hard I tried (negative much?). It's just that I'm fragile these days, so not reaching it could be bad.
In other news, I've been cheating on this blog. I am now the proud owner of three blogs - this one, a private weight loss blog I'm doing with my sister, and a blog for my documentary. It's too much! And to keep them all separate (and this one secret), they're all on different accounts. I already inevitably commented on this blog with my other blog's username. I'm bound to do it again, so bear with me.
Hopefully I'll have good news to post tomorrow (today)!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Yesterday was officially day one of this cycle. I guess the silver lining in all of this is that I'm not bloated yet, and actually weighed a pound less this morning. Yay!
The only thing I'm concerned about is that I had a dull ache on my left side (presumably my ovary) yesterday and today it has become more painful. That also happens to be the side on which I had mid-cycle pain a couple weeks ago as well. Could it be a cyst? Could it mean the follicle didn't release and now it's just getting larger? I hope not, but it's probably a real possibility. I do have poly cystic ovaries, after all.
I'm doing fine, though. I have my doctor's appointment to look forward to (did I mention I have a doctor's appointment on Monday? No?). And we're working today on finding a venue for the screening of my documentary in August. Hopefully we'll find out it won't be too expensive. Other than not feeling that great, I'm mentally okay. I might go buy myself something in the next few days (well, actually it will be on my wonderful mother. I mentioned I hadn't bought myself any new clothes since losing weight and she insisted I go and do just that). And I'm taking it easy today. By the way, thanks for all your kind words. I'm really not sure what I would do without you guys (actually, I do. I use to get a lot more upset over these things).
By the way, do any of you want to enter into a pregnancy pact with me?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I'm 99% sure today will wind up being cycle day one. I'm experiencing pretty heavy spotting at this point. So much for my high temp this morning (is that even normal? I thought your temp is supposed to drop).
I guess it was pretty silly to get my hopes up for a longer-than-normal luteal phase. I should have known better. Things I hope for don't actually happen. And I should have just gone with the flow and not looked ahead and gotten all excited about something that hadn't happened yet. But then I think, it's not like I was hoping I'd be pregnant. Oh, no! All I wanted was 13 days. Is that too much to ask? I guess it is.*
Today my husband commented that in a few days it will be a year since he interviewed for the job he now has. The year has gone by fast and so much has changed for us, but it made me think about the me from one year ago. If I knew then that a whole year later I'd still be childless, I would have broken down. I would have sobbed in disbelief (just like I'd do right now if I was to somehow find out I'd still be childless a year from today). I had so much hope a year ago. I was about to have a surgery and that was going to fix everything. Sure, I might need a couple of months to heal, but I'd be pregnant by Christmas. And if I wasn't, well, I wouldn't have even wanted to consider that because that would mean something was really wrong. Little did I know that I'd have two surgeries, be diagnosed with two additional problems, and still not ovulate even once.
So now I'm left wondering, where will I be in a year from now? Like every year since 2004, I hope June of 2009 will find me pregnant or the mother of a newborn. But what if I'm not? What will that mean for my infertility? Will that be the end of the road? I know it's a waste of time to even worry about this and it's no wonder God keeps it all a mystery. I'm just starting to wonder if this is ever going to end well.
* I'm sorry if this sounds negative. I'm really okay, and I'll try to reflect on the end of this cycle and post something much more positive later. I'm just having a difficult time lately with how to have hope in the face of seemingly-constant disappointment. I know there's a way to make sense of it all, I'm just being stubborn at the moment.
If I do say so myself, I made DELICIOUS brownies tonight. The ingredients included white wheat flour, splenda, light butter and omega-3 eggs, but trust me, they were good. Or maybe I'm just so sugar deprived that anything tastes good to me right now. No, I'm pretty sure they were really good. If anyone is interested, you can email me for that and many other low g.i. recipes (my email is on the "about me" page). I typed them all up for a friend, so they're all ready to be emailed.
Since I'm posting tonight, there's still no news with this cycle. Nothing. I guess that's good! The longer this luteal phase goes, the better, I suppose.
Update - So this morning my temp is still up - 98.3. If I don't start a new cycle today, then that means my luteal phase is at 13 days. That is very exciting for me because I've only gone as long as 13 days one other time since I began charting (and it was only my third cycle of charting, so I probably charted it wrong anyways).
The other thing I realized last night while pouring over my charts is that this month and last month are the only cycles in which I only had one obvious peak day (for all you Creighton charters, my cycles were always filled with several "P's" written on white baby stickers). All my past cycles I would peak, have a few dry days, then more mucus, peak again, more dry days, followed by more mucus and yet another, final, peak day. It was as if my ovaries were trying to get themselves going and never quite could. Anways, my past two cycles looked normal - seven or eight days of mucus ending with a peak-type mucus day, followed by several dry days, then my period. I only wrote a "P" once! That's huge for me! AND.. it just so happens that I started my diet at the beginning of those two cycles. Coincidence? I hope not! Even if I'm not yet ovulating, at least my body is moving in the right direction.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Here they are: It's cycle day 29, I am 12 days post peak, I've had two days of very light brown spotting, my temp is still up (98.4 this morning), no bloating yet, no other pms symptoms to speak of, and bbs are a little sore still but they never outright hurt this cycle.
Here's my bbt chart. I took out one temp a few days ago because I had gotten up really early that day (that's okay, right? I'm new to this temp thing). I also woke up real early on day 27, so that could explain that little dip too.
Does anyone know if this chart looks good, bad or indifferent? As far as I know it at least means I won't be starting a new cycle today, right? I usually get my period after waking up with a low temp. I'm also wondering how my increased dose of T3 might be affecting my waking temp. I mean, the purpose of the medication is to raise your body temperature, and my dose increased on cd 23. I don't know, I'm pretty sure when I get my period my temp will drop like normal no matter what dose of T3 I'm on.
I think this is all working towards the inevitable - that I will be bloated when I weigh in at my doctor's appointment on Monday. Sorry, I obsess.
Speaking of my doctor's appointment, I want to start making a list of questions I need to ask him, so I figured I might as well do it here. So here's what I've got so far:
1. Will I have to go on Metformin for my PCOS? Can I take any precautions to prevent nausea?
2. Is there any way diet alone can help PCOS? (I don't want to waste any time, though, so an aggressive approach is fine by me)
3. Will you be testing to see what my insulin-resistance looks like after almost two months on the diet?
4. So far I've been following the G.I. diet. Do I need to tweak that at all to specifically help PCOS?
5. What will we be doing to get me ovulating? Any chance I did this month based on my chart?
6. Can you tell anything from my temps?
7. Can I please, pretty please, go off of the T3? (If, though, it is helping my infertility in any way, I'll stay on it)
8. Will I need surgery for my PCOS? Will I need another surgery for endometriosis?
That's what I have come up with so far, but I know I'm forgetting a lot. I'll have to update this list as I remember. Anything else you think I should ask?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The website for my documentary is up and running. Here's the link. It's kind of basic because I did it myself and had to work around dumb things like the inability to change the text of hyperlinks (solution: put them on a dark-colored box). You'll see. It will get the job done, though. I just hope I did the keywords and meta tags and all that right, or else no one will find it. Just putting it in God's hands at this point!
In other news, I think a new cycle is starting today or tomorrow because I've had some spotting. The great news, though, is that my doctor's appointment is now less than a week away! I can't wait. I just feel like I get closer to a pregnancy with every doctor's appointment I go to. And this one should be especially revealing because I will get the results of my month-long saliva test. So hopefully I'll have lots to share next Monday!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Well we had a very successful infertility support group meeting today. It's just so nice to be able to talk about this infertility crap with others, isn't it? I mean, I wish it was something we never needed to talk about because we were all having babies, but since this is my life for the time being, I enjoy talking about it.
I feel like I spent the whole day talking about infertility, now that I think about it. I spent tonight discussing it with two other women. I was just telling my husband that I think I currently know more people in our new city with infertility than without. Isn't that weird? We were wondering whether there are just a ton of people dealing with this or if we just keep meeting the ones who are. I think it's a little of both.
One of the women tonight also has PCOS and is having a rough time with Metformin. She is nauseous a lot, but did say it tends to happen after she eats something she's not supposed to, like carbs or sugar. Has anyone out there had any experience with this drug? Good or bad? I'm probably going to have to go on it in a couple weeks and I know this might shock you, but I HATE being nauseous. I know, I'm weird.
So for a cycle update - I am on cycle day 24, I have had dry days since my peak day seven days ago, and my temps started to go down yesterday. While it was at 98.6 just two days ago, yesterday it dropped to 98.3 and today it was at 98.0 (and I'm not trying to make excuses here, but I may have had a fever on the high temp days). I also started having a pretty sore chest yesterday and it continued today (on that subject - I'm confused..is that a good sign or a bad one? I feel like I've seen bloggers refer to both). Right now my main concern is starting my new cycle in time for my bloating to be gone by my next doctor's appointment. The scale awaits me and I need all the help I can get.
Update - This morning (Sunday) my temp was back up to 98.4. Again, not making excuses, but I did wake up earlier than normal yesterday when I took the low temp. (And, as a side note, I am not trying to prove that I am pregnant here, just that my body is acting more normally).
Friday, June 13, 2008
First of all, I forgot to point out that tomorrow is our next infertility support group meeting. If you are anywhere near the Richmond, VA area, consider joining us! It's at St. Benedict's Catholic Church, 300 North Sheppard St., Richmond, at 9 a.m.
Secondly, I was going to tell you all that my new website was up and running today, but I've decided it needs a little more work before I "go public". Actually, a lot more work. Anyone familiar with iWeb? It's like a super-easy website design program, but it's still not easy enough for me.
Lastly, I am very sad to hear about the passing of Tim Russert. Since my husband and I are/were both journalists, we've always liked him, especially my husband. Just a week and a half ago, my husband had the opportunity to interview him (which happened only after talking another reporter into letting him do the interview which she was originally scheduled for). He was so excited. They had a few things in common - both from Buffalo, both huge Bills fans, both t.v. news anchors and both political junkies. Russert probably had my husband's dream job - a political journalist. Actually, my husband warned me that he might not come home from the interview because if Russert asked him to work for him at the NBC Washington Bureau, he was just going to follow him back!
Here they are together on May 31:
He was also a devout Catholic, apparently attended Mass several times a week, and was at the Vatican with his family just days before he died.
May he rest in peace.
This morning while flipping through the t.v. channels I came across the 700 Club. I don't know that I've ever watched an entire episode of this, but I've kept it on for a few minutes at least. This time there was a story about a woman very ill with and possibly dying from a bile duct problem who was lying on her couch, watching the 700 Club, when Gordon Robertson began to pray for a woman with a bile duct problem. It was as if he was praying just for her and it turned out, so they believe, he was. He told the woman to go and get tested again because God had healed her, and, sure enough, this woman went and got tested and had no bile duct problem, no tumors, no mass on her lung. Everything that had been killing her was gone. Even her doctor credited the Lord with working a miracle.
I believe in miracles. It's the next part that troubled me a bit.
So they cut to the live audience and began praying for healing miracles. Robertson turned to six individuals, who I believe were all pastors, who were live via satellite. They each, in turn, listed off dire-sounding situations of people in need of healing and they were very specific. God is unkinking a bowel of a woman with diverticulitis. A man who woke this morning with sinus problems is being healed. Patsy has some doubt as she watches this program but God is calling her to a more personal relationship with him. They even went to audience members to hear what they saw, and we can't leave out the scrolling text on the bottom of the screen from viewers at home, listing off various healings of strangers God told them about.
I have to admit, I placed my hand on my "affected area" when Robertson told me to and anxiously awaited to hear "a woman dealing with infertility, a problem with her ovaries, God is touching you right now and healing you. Go take a pregnancy test right now because you are, in fact, pregnant."
Let me say that I am not making fun of these people. I, too, am a Christian and I wholeheartedly believe in God's healing power. He can perform miracles and does each day. And while the segment did have an eery psychic quality about it, that's not even what I was compelled to post about. No, it's the question of who God chooses to heal that struck me. I kind of got the feeling from the show that if you pray hard enough, believe hard enough, and concentrate hard enough, God will physically heal you. To me, that means if you don't receive a physical healing it must be because you aren't praying hard enough, believing hard enough or concentrating hard enough. That would mean I am doing something wrong.
Is the lack of healing a punishment? If I believe a healing is a gift, a grace, a blessing, then isn't the absence of a healing evidence that God chose not to bless me? Is he purposely not giving me a gift (I kind of picture a big party in which God is slowly and dramatically handing out gifts, only he comes to me and none are left)? And is it because I am doing something wrong?
The answer to those questions, of course, is no. The lack of a healing is not punishment and does not mean he is holding back a gift from me. And I don't believe my lack of a pregnancy has anything to do with past transgressions or current deficiencies in my faith. But why?
We know that God is love and God loves us. He's not up there pointing to those he wants to heal, holding it over us, laughing from above at his manipulation (that actually conjures up images of Satan, doesn't it?). God does allow healing for some, but I don't believe it's because of anything we have done (keeping with the "gift" and "party" theme, I actually like to picture a birthday party for someone other than myself. The fact that they get presents doesn't mean no one loves me. It's just not my birthday). None of us are really worthy of his miracles.
I always go back to my belief that our lives are planned perfectly - that I may view my nearly four year wait for a child as a horrible affliction sent from the devil, while God views it as simply part of my path. This wait could just be part of his plan for me because my baby isn't supposed to be born until I'm 32, or until we live in a certain state, or until my husband takes a certain job he's meant to take. It could be part of a grand design so that I meet certain people I may otherwise not meet, so that I help someone else dealing with infertility I otherwise would not be in a position to help, or so that we can adopt, something that, let's be honest, we probably would never do if I was able to pop out a ton or biological kids. Or how about the fact that I may not have drawn closer to him if not for this struggle? Or, to look at it another way, it may not even be his intention that I suffer at all. It's possible that it is my actually my choice to suffer, brought about by my ego, impatience, pride, jealousy, all those bad things that are not of God. Aren't those all the reasons we suffer in the first place? If it wasn't for my earthly desires and humaness, I'm not sure I would be mourning the lack of biological children at all.
I don't mean to take away from your suffering. It is real and painful and good can come from it. But if we begin to view our suffering differently, it might get easier to bear. (I should also point out that am not considering other types of suffering as I ponder this. I am just taking into account my own experience with suffering through infertilty).
While I know God works wonders and is rightly praised for that, I worry how an emphasis placed on healings will affect those who will never get their miracle. I think this leads back to a question of when it is appropriate to praise God. As a Christian community, we really only praise him for the positive - healings, pregnancies, health, new jobs. But aren't we supposed to praise him in bad times to? When we fail to do this we discredit those who God hasn't chosen to heal (I know you're all familiar with the Casting Crown's song, Praise You in This Storm, but I wanted to link to the lyrics again because they are just so poignant).
It may go against everything we are conditioned to believe as humans, but I think the lack of a healing is a gift from God. He loves us and we need to trust him that this is the best possible thing for us right now. That being said, I also haven't counted out a healing for myself as well, but only he knows if and when that will happen. But if, while in prayer, you happen to see a very specific image of a brown-haired woman, who looks a lot like my picture, with ovary problems and PCOS getting a healing from God, please let me know.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I'm procrastinating. I'm supposed to be working on my new website, but instead I am about to post all the minute details of my current cycle for you. I know... just what you've been waiting for.
Below is my basal body temperature chart to date. According to my chart, my peak-day was on day 17. As a side-note, because I sometimes have excess mucus, my Creighton instructor sometimes will have me identify my peak day as the last day that I see the most clear peak-type mucus (I don't chart it any differently.. day 17 would still be charted as peak.. but I just keep it in mind). That day was day 15. Anways, click on my chart to make it larger.
Now that my prolactin is normal, my diet is hopefully helping my PCOS and my endometriosis is gone, I hope that I may one day ovulate. Unfortunately, I didn't chart my bbt in past months, so I have nothing to compare the chart above to. As I know all too well from positive OPKs, it can appear that you are ovulating even when you are not. If I had been charting throughout the last year and my temps had been all over the place, then this chart would be more encouraging.
So today is cycle day 22. I had seven days of peak-type mucus followed by four dry days. That's definitely more "normal" than what I've experienced in the past and normal is good! The only thing abnormal about this cycle so far is that I had nine days of red stickers, the first two and last two of which were brown spotting. Plus all that pain mid-cycle.
Today I started my new, higher dose of T3. I'm now up to 22.5 which is the highest they'll have you go. Let me just say that I CANNOT WAIT to stop this medication. Just a few short months ago I wasn't on any medication and couldn't wait be on something, anything. I swore I wouldn't complain about it. Well, I've tried to be good about it, but this T3 just completely interferes with my life. I can't eat for six hours a day. I take my temperature four times a day, my pulse three times a day. I have to take my folder that holds my thermometer and temperature chart with me everywhere. It never leaves my side. Not to mention my husband hates that I have to take it. Ever since my new doctor said he thinks I'm part of the study simply because they need people (he doesn't think it's hurting me and may in fact help me, but he doesn't think I'm really a candidate), my husband has been against it. He hates that it rules my life and that we have to pay $40 a month for the drugs. Oh and there's the fact that none of my "symptoms" have changes whatsoever. I don't feel any differently since starting it. I really hope that my new doctor takes me off of it at my appointment in two weeks.
Well I'm now off to work. Feel free to let me know if you think I might have ovulated according to my bbt chart (or if you think I didn't. I can take it). By the way, my friends' baby was born last night and they are picking him up tomorrow! Thank you for your prayers thus far and if you get a chance, please pray for the birthmother.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
It was a long trip that included two overnight drives, one sick dog, a wedding, a sore throat, seven stops, 24 hours in the car and a lot of quick visits. It was fun and tiring and although I wish we had had more time, I'm glad to be back home and sleeping in our own bed. The wedding was great and my videography was a success (well, I haven't watched it yet, but I didn't miss any important moments so it can't be that bad). Here are a couple pics from the wedding:
That's my sister-in-law's baby. Isn't he cute?
So for a cycle update... I don't have my chart in front of me right now (and I'm too lazy to go and get it), but I'm pretty sure I had an "ovulatory event" the day before we left, which I think was day 15 (I think I'm on day 22 today). My temperature spiked around that same time. It went down a couple days later (although I woke up really early that day) but went back up the next day and stayed there. Today it went up an additional 3-tenths of a degree, but that is probably because I slept in real late. So nothing is too out of the ordinary this cycle except that while I was gone I had a lot of abdominal pain. I'm assuming it's related to PCOS.
As for my diet, on our scale I'm down to (or up to) fifteen pounds. While I was at my parents I weighed myself on a big scale, like the one in a doctor's office, and with my clothes on I had lost 13 pounds (that is, as compared to the scale at my last doctor's appointment). So it's safe to say I'm somewhere between 13 and 15 pounds. It wasn't too tough to eat good on the road because there were meat and vegetables choices at both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding, and we brought a big box of our oats to have for breakfast each day. And since my mom and sister had kind of started the diet, it was easy to eat healthy at their house. We slacked off on walking though, so we do need to get back in that routine. The best part was that everyone who saw me thought I looked a lot thinner, so that was nice to hear. Although last night on the way home I really could have gone for a big fast food burger. But I didn't.
So the other highlight of the trip was showing the documentary to one of the families prominently featured in it. They loved and since the parents are both PhD's and are probably the most intelligent people we know, it was really neat to listen to them talk about it on an intellectual after we watched it. We also gave a copy to the woman in charge of the adoration chapel, who is also featured in the movie, and she called after she watched it to say she loved it too! So now we are working on securing a venue for a screening and getting the website up and running.
So that's the update. As for my mental condition, I really felt good the whole trip. I'm just focusing on my next doctor's appointment that is now less than two weeks away. I've got to have small goals!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
The other great part about heading up to New York this weekend is that because my husband's normal days off are Monday and Tuesday, we'll get to see my parents for a couple days as well. That also means that we'll drive through the city we just moved from and we're going to stop in to show the documentary to some of the people who are in it. I'm really excited for that! I can't wait to see what they think.
Speaking of the movie, my friend (who, by the way, is also the one who is adopting) is giving a copy of it this week to (follow me here) the parents of a child in her class who has a relative who works at EWTN. I can't believe she even has that connection, and is nice enough to give them a copy. I'm not sure if anything will come of it, but at least it's a connection. I still plan on sending it to EWTN the traditional way, and I'm not counting out finding another connection as well (something that the Lord has already set in motion, actually).
We probably won't have internet access until Sunday night, so I don't know what I'll do without my blog! I'm sure I'll make it. In the meantime, I'm praying for all of you!
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
- I am bloated. Not only did I begin to notice it last night, but this morning I had gained one pound. That might not sound like a big deal, but since starting my diet I know exactly how much I weigh from day to day and there's no reason that I should have gone up a pound. And don't some people experience bloating around ovulation? Not being an ovulator, I'm not sure but I think I read that somewhere.
- I have some pain on my left side. I've always heard people talk about having back pain around ovulation but I never experienced it myself until yesterday and today. It is strictly on my left side, and I also have some pain on the left front as well. I know this could still happen even if I don't release a follicle, but some months I don't feel a thing so I'll take this as a good sign that something is happening.
- I've had four days of peak-type mucus. Now, this isn't unusual for me. I always have good mucus, and I know better than anyone that mucus doesn't mean that I'm ovulating. But for normal people it is a sign of ovulation so I'm glad it's there.
- My bbt seems to be doing some of the right things. For the first week of my cycle it was pretty steady at 97.9. Then it dropped to 97.0 three days ago, which coincided with my second day of peak-type mucus. It stayed at 97.0 until this morning when it rose to 97.7. I'm not sure that's a good sign, though, because if that was the big spike it probably should have gone up more. I don't know. Hopefully it will go up more tomorrow.
With me, it's just so hard because my body begins the process of ovulating each month, but the ovary just can't get that follicle out (which is why I can have positive OPK's yet not ovulate). I actually read today that if you don't ovulate, you don't actually get a real period, and if you do get something that resembles one that it is just mimicking it. Isn't that weird? It kind of scares me to think that I don't even get a real period. That kind of makes me think my body is more screwed up than I previously thought. But I'm not going to worry about that.
So we will see. I'm just really hoping that between my diet and my supposedly normal prolactin, that a follicle might just squeeze itself out this month. Maybe I need to try some visualization techniques. Just kidding, I'll stick to good old prayer. Speaking of which, if you wouldn't mind, could you maybe say a quick prayer that my follicle finds its way out this month and doesn't shrivel up and die?
By the way, speaking of prayer, I have some great news!! Our friends who met with a birthmother the other day were chosen! Yay! I can't believe it. Well, I can, but I can't believe how quickly you can go from the world of infertility into the world of motherhood. This friend is also dealing with infertility, and in her case she has known about it since she was a teenager. She is a real committed Catholic, so IVF was not an option for her (although it is often the only hope for people in her situation, so it's even more amazing she has resisted it). It's such a huge blessing! And they are going to be wonderful parents. This little baby hit the family lottery! It also made me think today how adoption isn't the consolation prize I once thought it was. Sure, there might be some things I'll never experience if I can't get pregnant, like getting that positive pregnancy test, the experience of carrying a child in my womb, or giving birth. But adoption has its own joys that are unique to it, like getting the call from your agency telling you you've been chosen, the excitement of knowing you're world is going to change in a matter of weeks or even days, and the thrill of stocking an entire nursery in a few shopping sprees. Those are things that couples who never adopt will never know. I told my friend the other day before her meeting with the birthmother that I just knew if she got this baby that I would probably send my application papers in right away. I think I just need a first-hand experience with adoption in order to warm up to the idea. Well, anyways, thank you SO MUCH for your prayers!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Never mind the taxes I pay, the property I own or the fact that I've already voted. I am now a Virginian. And as the DMV worker told me today, I'll really enjoy my first winter next year (if he only knew). It's kind of exciting because it's the first out-of-state license I've ever had (and by 'out-of-state' I guess I'm speaking from the perspective of still considering myself a New Yorker). And no, they didn't forget to put my name and address on it, I just photoshopped out all identifying information so you can't steal my identity (just kidding).
The other good news today is that I've lost 13 pounds! Today marks five weeks since starting the diet and so it was also my weekly weigh-in. While I had hoped to be up to 15, I know I can't be greedy. I've gone down a size and I am comfortably fitting in clothes I haven't worn in over three years. Good thing I held on to them! My husband, who is on the diet with me, has also lost 13 pounds. I can't believe it's been five whole weeks! As I told my sister the other day (who, incidentally, started the diet yesterday), if I knew it would be this easy, I would have started it ages ago!
Well, my exhaustion continues, despite my diet and despite taking T3 now for a month. Moving at all has been difficult the last few days. What is that about? Could it be related to PCOS? Whatever it is, it's getting worse. I also had more brown mucus today (a question for all you Creighton people - if I have brown mucus and clear mucus in the same day, both lubricative and an inch or more, how do I chart it? Does one override the other?). I need to start a list of questions to ask my doctor. Speaking of my doctor, only twenty more days to go until my next appointment. I can't wait!
Monday, June 2, 2008
I'm also on my second day of brown mucus (I tried to think of another way to say "brown mucus" in case people happen upon this blog for reasons unrelated to infertility [something that is likely to happen based on identifying things I've posted lately], because what is normal to us is kinda tmi for others.. but I drew a blank). It's the third day in a row I've seen it. So, of course, I googled it (and at first it appeared to have something to do with smoking, a habit of which I don't partake, but that turned out to be mucus from the wrong orifice, thankfully) and learned from some very prestigious internet doctors that it's nothing to worry about. In fact, the internet says it could be due to a ruptured follicle (I've never seen brown mucus before and I've never ovulated.. if I use a whacked-out rational I could come to the conclusion that maybe this means I am ovulating this month). Most likely, though, it's just old blood that my body is expelling. I've read on other blogs that some people are prescribed antibiotics for this, so that could be in my future.
Today also brought with it some weird thoughts creeping into my head, telling me people with my type of infertility (several issues, never once achieved pregnancy) don't ever end up pregnant. It was like some mean person was whispering it in my ear (seriously, I'm not crazy). Anyway, these thoughts persisted and I kept coming up with very scientific "proof" to back it up. Usually blogs I read from pregnant infertiles have had past miscarriages. Usually they got pregnant a month after their surgery. Usually they used fertility procedures that are not an option for me. And that leaves absolutely nobody in the history of the world who has gotten pregnant in a situation like mine (I told you this was a very scientific process). I don't mean to be negative, and overall I'm really not in that type of state lately, but the temptation to wallow in barren saddness is always there. I am doing a pretty good job of fighting it, though, if I do say so myself. So feel free to share some success stories with me (despite evidence to the contrary, I do know they exist, and that even includes some of my very own favorite bloggers).
Sunday, June 1, 2008
So I had a crazy day. Right after my husband left to play in a softball game this morning, I noticed a bee coming from the fireplace. Okay, no big deal. It headed to the window so I removed the screen and let it out. Then I noticed another one, and another. So I went over to the fireplace and there it was - a collective buzzing of many, many bees, growing louder by the second. Immediately one image came to mind - hundreds, if not thousands of bees, completely covering my body. You know what I'm talking about. I was suddenly in a race against the clock. I quickly got some big garbage bags and tried to tape them over the fireplace opening, which wasn't really working because all I had was scotch tape. So as I'm fumbling around, the buzzing is growing louder and louder. It was like a horror movie! Eventually, I gave up and quickly put our cats in our bedroom (and even put towels underneath the door.. I pictured an enormous swarm of bees, okay?) and grabbed Sophie, my purse, and got the heck out of there. The only problem was my husband wasn't answering his phone and I had no idea where he was playing softball (you didn't expect me to take care of a problem having to do with bugs on my own, did you?). After a few calls, I got directions to his game and once there, I started screaming his name as he was taking the field. He probably thought someone died. As he came over to me I was crying and babbling something about bees. So we head back home and I'm thinking I'm going to have to find a hotel room for the rest of the day because, let's be honest, I wasn't going in that house. Well, long story short (I know, it's too late), he sprayed something to kill all the bees (dozens.. or, to be honest, maybe a dozen.. had gotten into the house) and we taped up the fireplace with good tape so it is now secure. No bee bomb, no hotel stay, crisis avoided. We'll probably have to call a bee exterminator in the morning. Here's hoping they're reasonably priced.
In other news, yesterday was cycle day 11 and I still saw some spotting, yet also with mucus. I've never had that happen before, especially this late. I've read about the various causes/treatments for spotting on other blogs, but I've never talked about this with my doctor (which is not surprising since I've only had one appointment with him). Add that to the list for my next appointment!