Sunday, February 28, 2010

Don't be afraid to speak up

A while ago, my new hairdresser asked me what I wanted done to my hair.  I said something along the lines of, "whatever you feel like."  She replied, not missing a beat, "why are you telling me to do what I want?  You have to live with it, not me!"  Now mind you, at that point I had had the same hairdresser for my entire life (22 years), so I was used to walking in and telling him to do the same ole thing every time.  I was scared going to a new lady (because we had moved to Colorado), but it was a necessity.  And it shocked me!  So I learned when I went to see her to take a picture of what I was going for and have a clear idea of what I wanted.  Can you bet that that moved to other areas of my life?

It happens a lot.  Now depending on the situation, sometimes I bite my tongue, and sometimes I don't.  It depends on the attitude of the person I am dealing with and what respect.  I was a waitress all through college, so I know about telling people something is wrong with their food and the scary things a pissed off server can do!  But I think it is a necessity, and it needs to be done tactfully.  After all, I am paying for that service, that meal, that product, that care.

For instance, you may have read about the lady who couldn't draw a heart on my big toe at the nail salon.  I posted about the fact that not only would she refuse to admit that what she had done was awful and continued, but that I finally had to speak up.  Well, I love that nail salon, so I went back on Saturday.  And what do you know, I had the same lady!  I cringed at the beginning, but tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. And this time, her pedicure was divine...I requested a design on the toe (that is included with the price) and it was hearts!! ;)  Then, we went to do the manicure and she was mostly perfect.  Mostly.  But the huge thing that was different this time was she asked if everything was okay!  And when I pointed something out, she fixed it without an eye roll, or a sigh.  And when I left, she gave me a beautiful smile and patted my knee, and told me she would see me next time.  I felt a little picky, pointing out little things to her that needed to be fixed.  But I will look at these every day and I am intense about my nails!  And it felt like she had learned from our past experience and knew that I was watching her every move!  Good for her, good for me.

So I have discussed my thoughts on how important giving criticism is, but I want to mention one other dire thing that has been brought to my attention greatly in the past couple weeks, not because of my lack of, but someone else's.  I try to be very careful about what comes out of my mouth and not hurt anyone's feelings while getting my point across.  Therefore, giving criticism with tact is muy importante.  It is very important to phrase your instruction to give your opinion and the solution, but without bearing down on the person's heart roughly.  Being open to constructive criticism is also very important.  I am not perfect, very far from it.  But I hope that when someone gives me a little advice, in a classy manor, I listen and hopefully adapt to what they are asking of me.  If someone is mean to me while giving me that advice, I can guarantee you, I don't hear their words, only their voice - and it bugs the hell out of me.  When they are patient and helpful, I hear the direction.  Being courteous and caring, goes so much further than being demanding and condescending.  Now, I can't say this was a new thing I learned, but my recent situation reminded me that everyone (old and young) needs a reminder once in a while.  Tact goes far...don't forget to have it!

A friend put a wonderful quote on Facebook the other day and I stole it (thanks again Morgan!) and it bears repeating here. 

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness... or...skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” - Charles R. Swindoll

Now, how does this all relate to our infertility situation?

At this point, asking the doctor for clarification is very important when I don't understand...even if it is two or three times.  Even if it means asking, researching, and then asking again.  I will say this about Dr. H's office...he has never appeared rushed with me.  He, and his staff, have always taken time with me so I understand the answer to my question, be it about medication, procedure, payment, process, whatever! This process is not easy and if you understand it completely the first time, you are miles ahead of me and should write a book!  Remember, the doctor may not always know best and s/he may have missed something. I often ask my doc if we need to be re-tested, despite that it is expensive, to see if things have changed.  I read blogs and books and watch anything I can on TV about infertility and take notes to ask my doc.  I have a notebook with questions, and when I ask them, I write the answers down, so they are all in the same place and I can refer back to them.  This process costs a lot of money and it is my body and my future.  I can't let anyone tell me how to handle the situation, that is all on my shoulders.  We are the ones paying for it and it is my body, and hopefully our future child.  I won't let someone else make the decisions for me, because I am the one dealing with the outcome, not Dr. H for the most part.

There is another doctor in Tucson that is an RE and we have friends who had luck with him, so every-so-often J asks me if we should switch.  I respond that I trust Dr. H and our friends didn't like that other doc, even though he got the job done.  But she is different than many aspects.  So I can't guarantee that if we went there, we would have their results.  I also know that the other doc is far less helpful and does rush (from what my friend and my OB tell me) and this situation is already stressful enough, I don't need that added with a doc who won't take time with me and answer my questions. So I am choosing to believe we have the best doctor for us and our situation.

It also really doesn't hurt that Dr. H was voted one of the Best Doctors in America 2009-2010 9see pictures below) by a jury of his peers and featured in Tucson Lifestyle magazine.  Plus, I always get the impression that he knows us (or has at the very least looked at our chart the moment before walking into our room, and the post-it on the door with my name on it - smart office!) and he has our best interest at heart. He is always calm with me, when I am not, and patient.  And positive that we will get this done.  Plus, he is open to other options...he has steered me towards acupuncture, meditation and healthy eating first, instead of drugs.  Don't get me wrong, (and if you have been reading this blog for very long you know this), I have had more than my fair share of drugs and I am sure there are more in our future, but he doesn't throw them at you to start.  It also makes me feel better that his wife is an OB and while I LOVE my OB, I am kind of wondering if when we get pregnant, we switch to her because she knows the situation...but then again, my OB suggested Dr. H and knows our situation as well.  We'll cross that bridge when we get there...I'm not crazy about my OB's nurse.  (If you click on the image, it will get bigger and you can actually read it.)

WOW, this blog got really long and went places I didn't think it would.  Sorry if I got too long winded for you or rambled a bit.  Lots on my mind these days.

2 small points and then I'll quit...

1. I recently added my blog to my Facebook page.  This is a huge step for me.  I'm out of the infertility closet, so to speak.  I did it this afternoon, and I have already had a friend from long ago post that she read and is praying for us.  If that is all that this does for me, get more people to pray for us, then that works for me.  But I hope it also brings to light what mothers who had it easy take for granted...being able to conceive, somewhat seemlessly.  And that this issue is out there and needs to be addressed by so many people...the government, health care, etc.  No, I don't expect my blog to do all that! ;)

2. Last week I posted that I wanted the Canadian Women's Figure Skater to win something after her awesome performance and losing her mother suddenly all in her week at the Olympics, and I am proud to report she took home the Bronze.  And yesterday, at the Champions Performance, she did a wonderful skate for her Mom.  She deserved to win and I had tears in my eyes when she finished.

I am so very lucky to still have my Mom with me and have a wonderful relationship with her.  My heart goes out to all those who don't.  I'm happy to share my Mom...she always says she chose to have one daughter and I chose to enlarge the family by "adding mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers," and I have some close friends that do call her Mom too.  But there is nothing like one's own mother, they can never be replaced.  I hope someday, I get to experience what she has when she raised me...and continues to raise me.

Alright, I'm done.  Thanks for reading Bleaders and be back soon!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Infertility is cancer of the soul, part deux

I have this problem...well, infertility, but that is now what I am talking about.  Before I get to the post, I want to tell you about my other problem.  I always think of better things to say and write after the fact.  For instance, when a lady that I knew asked me if why I "still wasn't pregnant?" all I could think to respond with was, "we figured we would be horrible parents, so we quit trying,."  When I told another friend that story, she said I should have said,"why are you still fat?" as my response.  Yes it was mean, but so is asking someone who has been trying to get pregnant for a year why she isn't on the day AF showed up! 

So, of course today I had an epiphany about something that should have been in my blog from last night.  Course, it helped that my Mom said something to me that sparked the thought...where was she yesterday night when I was writing?!  (probably, home in her bed!)  Anyway, my Mom said to me, "when I came off birth control 30 years ago, we got pregnant right away and I didn't think anything of it.  I never expected you to have problems and you didn't either."  It was...just like an epiphany, a surprise.  I'm so glad she reads my blog because lots of this stuff I couldn't have a conscious discussion about without tears...but here I am able to talk without sobbing most days! 

So in light of my post last night, here were where my thoughts led me today.  When I was a little girl and I had baby dolls and pretended to be a Mommy (yes, probably at 6), I just expected I would be a real Mommy someday.  It was what was done.  You grew up, went to college, found a guy, got married and had babies (in that order - according to my mother!).  That was what you did.  It was my destiny.  And the minute you went off birth control, you were aware that you could be pregnant at any freaking moment.  Even friends ON birth control got pregnant!  The problems we are facing now weren't even half a thought, hell, I didn't know there were people who had these issues.  But you totally expect that you will be a mother someday and it will be easier to get pregnant than it was to not get pregnant (or at least I did).  So when someone tells you or it becomes alarmingly aware that this process isn't as easy as I had dreamed it would be all those years, it eats at you.  What did I do to make my body not like me this much?  Or did I offend God?  Was it my un-healthy eating habits as a kid or in college?  All the alcohol in college?  I can't change then it just eats at you.  it eats at your very being, when you want to be a Mom as much as I do and always have.  Again, kind of like cancer.

I had a friend tell me tonight after reading last night's post that it made her sad and she just wished she could fix it with a wave of her magic wand.  But in that statement, I realized that this process has given me some tougher skin.  As sad as it sounds, I don't even think I cried when we found out the 3rd IUI hadn't worked.  (Don't get me wrong, for the first one, I screamed my head off all day long and cried my eyes out!  I think J even had some tears that he kept from me for that one.)  But by the third, we almost expected it not to work.  (That is a whole different struggle, thinking it will work when it hasn't in the past.  I've even think at times that I wouldn't know what a positive pregnancy test would look like if it showed up!) 

And when I made that comment to my friend (my very long time friend!), she said,"how could you get through this if you didn't have a thicker skin?! It's not that you don't have emotion, I just think you are evolving in how you are dealing with everything that is going on."  I replied that this process is probably similar to having a child.  If you went in to labor and out popped a toddler, parents might go insane because they haven't had the progression to that stage of life.  And in the same respect, if someone had told me when we went off birth control that this would be the hand we were dealt, it's possible we would have thrown up our hands then and said, "well never mind then."  Now, my dear friend at that point said, "you aren't one to give up," which is something I think of myself and is nice to hear from the other people who love you. 

As our conversation continued, I said, "by keeping going with this situation, it makes you realize how much you do want it and that body not working right, makes me want to work harder to get it done.  It also makes me feel that I can't give up, even though the road ahead looks much scarier than the mountain we have already climbed behind us."  I asked my friend if I could post our conversation and she said that was fine, especially because she has wanted to help but can't (obviously) in this situation.  I know so many people feel helpless in, our parents, our friends, etc.  I would bet even my doctor feels helpless at some points because he knows what to throw at us, but when that doesn't work, then what?!  And he can see the hurt and hear the panic in my voice.  At that point, I reminded my dear friend, that just knowing our friends care and keep us in their prayers, goes so much further than anything anyone could do for me in this situation. And she assured me she does, a lot!  (Unless of course there is someone out there who wants to donate about $10k to us for IVF - I won't turn you down!!!! ;) ) So, both of us ended up in tears.  Because even though there isn't much she can do for me, I know she is there for me and that's all I can ask of friends at this point.  Someone to listen when I want to talk, and to hug when I can't speak any more due to the tears.

And on that note folks, I'm off to finish watching the beautiful Olympic ladies figure skaters.  My heart truly goes out to the Canadian skater who lost her Mom a couple days ago unexpectedly and skated off the ice after her short program in tears because she laid it all out there for her Mom, and it rocked!  I know she isn't from the US, but I want her to win something!!!  Later my lovely Bleaders, talk soon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Infertility is like cancer of the soul

Disclaimer: I do not know about Cancer first hand...only from dear friends who have dealt with it (and in that, destroyed it).  All I know is how it eats at your body.  Any views reflected in this post are based on my perceptions of Cancer and not necessarily real fact.  If I am wrong about specifics of Cancer, I am sorry.

It occurred to me the other day how I think of my body now in relation to infertility.  I've had bouts where I feel I have failed as a woman and in that, my body has failed me.  It made me wonder how someone who has had a disease, be it cancer or something else, feels towards their body with the disease.  Having never had something as tolling as cancer, I am at a loss.  So I can only speak from my experience, but I know that I feel differently about my body now.   I feel like it isn't listening to my heart and doesn't like me very much because of the paces I am putting it through.  I feel like I can't control what is happening - and I know this to be true.  I feel like my body has failed me.  There is no bug crawling through my veins creating this issue...merely my body not working right.  So it is hard to blame any "thing" because that thing is my body.

I know that cancer eats away at your healthy cells and takes the good out of your system.  Therefore, I had the thought that infertility is the cancer of my soul.  The stress and issues associated with infertility that I have been going through eat away at my well-being and sanity.  The infertility eats away at the fun in my life...the fun of BD with my husband....the fun of just living and not worrying that what I drink or eat or do will make this process harder....the balance in my bank account.

However, I will say that infertility has opened doors in the communication between J and me.  We had good communication before, but now we can talk about intricate things and not get as heated or upset.  We can have discussions and look out for each other...having someone to go through this process with is crucial.  We watched Guiliana and Bill again the other night on E.  They will be having their first IUI in the next episode and have started doing injections on the show...which I think is our next step.  We were both able to watch the show and discuss what was going on on it and that we had been there and knew a little bit about what they were feeling.  That is one thing that infertility has brought me.

I finally broke down and bought the Circle and Bloom program.  I haven't started it yet as I think the best time to listen to it is when I am driving to or from work, and I didn't go today due to my migraine.  But I am excited to have some relaxation help on this path.

I also had my 2nd month of no spotting before AF (yay!!).  That is a big deal to me.  I am hopeful that this continues and maybe we are now on the upswing. 

I will not allow my infertility to be the cancer of my soul.  No way, no how.  We will get through this.  We will conquer, with God leading the way.  But it will take work.  Sorry if this blog wasn't as flowy as my others, my thoughts are all over the place right now.  Thanks for listening Bleaders!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

So we begin...yet again...30 months in.

AF came 2/16/10.  uterus and mother nature aren't talking and or agreeing on how to act.  It was a disappointing day, but there were no tears as we have been doing this for a while now and sad to say, I am used to it.

Now let's talk about 30.  30 years old and 30 months.  Both hard to believe.  I don't mind the 30 year old thing...or at least I didn't, until I just read that with infertility "30 is the new 35!"  and what that means is that I have even less of a chance of getting pregnant than I did when I was in my 20s.  Here's the Article that lead me to that conclusion.  Essentially it says by age 30, 95% of women have 88% of their eggs are gone.  Wow, what a great thing to read on a Sunday afternoon.  But there isn't anything I can do about it...just try harder.

I also read something else interesting the other day.  I had done a search about tampons and infertility (because of another thing I read - the internet can be a dangerous thing), and came upon a conversation online between a doc and patients asking various questions about infertility.  One of the doc's responses about a question about unexplained infertility (yes, this is our issue) was "IVF works best with unexplained infertility."  I'm not quite sure how to interpret that.  But for whatever reason it opened my mind up more to IVF.  I know it is huge undertaking and don't think that we're signed up for next week or even next month, but maybe it is a little closer on the schedule now.

I am also reading a great book called The Infertility Survival Handbook and while I thought I would be over a lot of it because we've been doing this for so long, it is really interesting.  The author has been through it all...IUI, IVF, adoption (successful and not) and things I didn't even know existed.  Her name is Elizabeth Swire-Falker.  I haven't finished it yet...I've gotten caught up in the Winter Olympics, so my evening reading time has disappeared into Olympic-watching-heaven.  But even if you have been doing this for a while now, I recommend reading the book.  She is highly direct and open, and it is welcome to not be danced around.

Alright, time to prep for another crazy week.  Later my lovely Bleaders!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Could we live without a child?

We DVR'd Guiliana and Bill last night like we always do and watched it tonight.  It is becoming the show that both of us like and watch together, because it discusses what we are going least to some extent. So tonight's (or rather last night's) episode was an hour long (usually 30 mins) and about 2 things...again, their fertility struggles and their trip with friends to (where else?!) Tucson, AZ (Miraval) for what they call the "Rancic Challenge" which is about 4 events of sports and skill between 4 couples.  So that was all nice and good to watch, but they all got a little too competitive at the end and J and I both ended up defending Guiliana and Bill and their skill, against the rest of the crowd.  Then, in between, there were different discussions between the two, trips to the fertility doc and even a session with a therapist to discuss the fertility issues and how parenthood would change their lives.  One question the therapist asked that just made me break out in tears was, "could you survive if you were childless?".  I mean I was close to balling and that was the only reason why. 

I don't think I could.  I think I would go through any means possible to have a child be it IVF, adoption, surrogacy, whatever.  If someone told me I could get a kid by cutting off my left pinky toe or my right arm, or my right pinky toe, right arm and right leg and it was 100% fool proof, I would probably have a really hard time not attempting it.  I know we will go through stages and they all depend on our money situation.  But I will figure out a way for us to be blessed with a child, and provide a wonderful life for that child.  I don't know how quite yet, but I will.

I think J and I would survive together without a child...hell, that is probably the only way we would survive that battle.  But me alone, I don't think I could.  I want a child so desperately, that I will do anything in my power to make it happen. 

I'm eager for the next episode because it looks like they begin true fertility treatments (daily injections, and IUI) and that is our next step.  So since we aren't ready to go back to the doc yet, I am excited to see what they experience.  And even ask Dr. H if I need a colonic...I know that sounds scary, but it helped Guiliana's issue, so what is to say it couldn't help mine.  One more thing to add to the list.

Again, a stressful day on the work front and it turns out will mess up my entire week.  Oh well, gotta do what we gotta do to survive these challenges.  The wine helped tonight though - both glasses...and the ice cream - hey, Dr. H said ice cream was good for me right now!

To bed , I said.  Night Bleaders!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A dream is a wish your heart makes

Hi Bleaders...sorry it's been so long.  Last week was stressful and chaotic for many reasons non-infertility related, but that surely didn't make it any easier.  So blogging was not at the top of my list...keeping my sanity was.

First off, Happy Valentine's Day!  We had a wonderful day together, which hasn't been happening lately with all the events in our lives.  So it was nice to just spend the day together.  We went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, which if you live in T-town is kind of a big deal.  They have lots of rocks and gems from around the world (including the crown that Napoleon gave to his 2nd wife (Empress Marie Louise) with something like 700 carats of diamonds (that's 950 diamonds) and 79 emeralds than that, which at some point were replaced with Persian turquoise cabochon (I had to look it up).)  We saw so many sparkly things today, my eyes were going insane!!

My Valentine's present was bought there and it is lovely, and no it wasn't the above piece, where would I wear such a thing?  Then we went to lunch afterwards at Mexican restaurant near there where we don't go very often, the food is good, but the service not-so-much.  Anyway, nice day all around.

Secondly, before I head to bed, have to recount the dream I had last night.  We were in Dr.H's office and he was showing us this piece of paper that was supposed to reveal if we were pregnant or not.  It was a little odd because it wasn't printed on there at first, but literally "appeared" in front of our eyes.  And I remember all three of us (Dr. H, J, and me) staring hard at one particular portion of the paper to see what it would say.  It popped up with a * and a P, and Dr. H exclaimed, "You're pregnant!"  And I didn't believe him and I kept looking from his face to the paper to his face to the paper to his face to the paper to his face to the paper, again and again.  And I woke up and had to think about it for more than a few moments as to determine if it was real or a dream.  The only way I was brought back to reality was to remember that we haven't met with Dr. H in a while and therefore haven't paid him for a while.  I didn't pay him in the dream, so therefore it wasn't real.

So a dream is a wish your heart makes is from Disney's Cinderella and I have always loved that Snow White.  Now I know it hasn't been a secret as to what my heart wants, but maybe my heart knows something that the rest of us don't.  Guess we'll find out Thursday.  Cross those hearts folks! 

Happy V-Day and Happy Birthday Arizona!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fertile Myrtles just don't understand!!!

First, let's discuss the title since I debated about it for a long time.  I wanted to be funny and have it say, "Parents just don't understand!" from the Will Smith song that I loved as a teenager, but that didn't really work because some parents do understand as they have been there.  I finally settled on the above, and I think it suits what I intend for this post to be.

I know I have some "Fertile Myrtles" who read my blog and this isn't saying anything bad about you, but just like someone who has never had cancer, you can in no way understand exactly what we are going through when we can't conceive - yet.  (Let's visit that saying while we're at it..."I understand what you are going through."  I used to say that a lot and think it helped, but it really doesn't, unless you have been there - literally.  I have many friends who have gone through tragedies in their lives and me telling them "I understand what you are going through," when I haven't had those things happen just doesn't cut it.  I don't know what it is like to lose a parent, or watch a parent suffer with cancer, or go through bankruptcy, or the variety of other things my lovely friends have had to deal with.  So now I just say, "I'm here if you want to talk about what you are going through, or just need a hug."  And I feel better and I hope they do too.)  Okay, to continue...

Lately, I have a lot more Infertile Bleaders - which I love.  Not that I love that other people are dealing with what I am, but that I know I am not the only one and I can connect with people who might raise there fist in the air and say, "I feel ya sista" when they read my blog, and mean it.  So I know I am preaching to the choir here.

I know a while ago I did a blog about what to say and what not to say, and I don't intend for this one to go there as it was just covered.  My intention is for all my Bleaders to understand where I am coming from when you tell me that "you got pregnant the first month without even trying" and "I just need to relax."  How does it feel when a loved one, friend, co-worker, or complete stranger in that case, to tells you that it was easy for them to conceive, so it should be for you too?

I tend to apologize a lot when this subject comes up and I can go off on so many tangents.  If you try to give me advice on the wrong day, watch out.  I can get excited and my mouth can run away without my brain attached, and I consider myself a nice person, so after getting excited (maybe even yelling) I will most likely apologize.  Unless I don't care for you, then don't count on the apology. 

How can I even begin to tell you what it is like to want something so badly and then have not one, not two, but 75% of your friend/family/co-worker/stranger population tell you that it is "easy"?  How about some examples?
 - Would you walk up to a smoker and tell them it is easy to quit?  No. 
 - Would you tell someone with asthma that all they have to do is take a deep breath and they'll be fine?  No.
 - Would you tell someone who failed a huge test that you passed easily that they weren't thinking right? No.  (well, you might - but it would be insensitive.)
 - Would you tell someone with a mountain of debt just to save money? No.
 - Would you tell someone who has Cancer, that they should try Chemo?  No. 
So why when someone hears that you can't conceive do people try to tell you how to fix it?  Because it isn't topical.  People don't know what to say to that statement and they naturally want to help and fix, not realizing that their fixing isn't really fixing. 

There are no reality shows about it - there should be!  There are few walks/runs to support infertility studies - and they aren't publicized well.  There is ONE magazine dedicated to infertility.  ONE.  There is a ton of research and books and websites and blogs that discuss infertility.  Most people don't know a lot about infertility unless someone they love is affected.  It just isn't something you discuss.  It's kind of a secret. 

I guess when I think of infertility sometimes, I feel like I am the one failing.  I tell close friends and family, but I refrain from casual conversation about it - because it never stays casual.  In fact, when someone asks, "when are you gonna have kids?" I usually say, "we're working on it," and change the subject.  I won't post my blog on facebook as of yet.  It just has a yucky feeling to it.  I guess I don't mind writing about it when the blog isn't connected to me very much, but publicizing our failure to the masses, just doesn't sound like a whole lotta fun.

When someone gets Cancer, it isn't anyone's fault.  They don't look at your spouse and say, "well, you drank too much beer, so that is why your wife has Cancer."  Because we don't really know what causes cancer, except that certain people....many otherwise healthy people get it.  When you are infertile, it's your fault.  Maybe it isn't technically, but it sure feels like it.  Especially when the doc says, "he has low motility" or "her fallopian tubes are blocked."  Now it isn't something that you did to create this intentionally...but it is your body saying, "nope, sorry...not gonna happen" and in our case, they don't know why we can't get pregnant.  When the doc says, "here are the things to eat and drink and do to get pregnant," I feel like all this time I have been doing something wrong and causing this to my body.  I even read the other day that tampons can cause infertility because of some chemical in the cotton.  If that is the case, I am screwed.  I haven't used a pad since I was 13!!!  These are decisions I made, and I have no way to reconcile them.

Yes, deep down I know that our fertility problems are not my fault or J's fault.  But when someone you love (friend/family) come up to you and tell you to stand on your head after sex like it is the best idea and "why didn't you come up with this?" it makes us feel about three inches tall.  It's not like we didn't attend sex-ed as a kid too and see how babies are made.  Like we haven't been BDing like crazy people, whether we felt like it or not because it is day 10-16.  Like we haven't been spending every waking minute when we aren't working to build our savings account to pay for doctors online researching what other crazy things we could do.  Like we don't stick ourselves 3 times a day, with drugs that make us crazy, and hope that the doc is on time when it is time for our IUI.  Like we don't have all kinds of gadgets you haven't even heard of clogging up our precious closet space.  Like we aren't in debt because we so badly want those little eyes to look up at us one day and say, "Mommy!"  Like we have been living in a hole and don't know how to get pregnant, like this person telling us to "get drunk and have lots of sex." Trust me, we probably know way more about getting pregnant than you do.  That fact doesn't help us.

Our bodies aren't listening to our brain.  My eyes tear up at the very thought of getting to say "I'm pregnant" to my husband, my parents, his parents, my grandparents, my friends.  I want this so badly that I have a list of fun ways to finally tell people, whenever we get there.  We aren't taking this whole infertility thing lying down - well maybe...but that is how you deal with this (smirk). 

Sorry if this comes off as a rant (see, there I go apologizing again), but I wrote down the title last night in the midst of my sleep instead of getting up at 11 pm to write it.  So it probably ended up differently that I wanted it to last night.  But I think my point stands.  Fertile Myrtles just don't understand, and we love them for trying.  But we love them even more when they just ask how we are doing and listen, giving no advice.

So as a Fertile Myrtle...please don't tell us you understand what we are dealing with.  Because you don't.  Again, don't suggest "getting drunk," "starting the adoption process," or "drinking pineapple juice on day 14 of your cycle."  We've heard the stories from 75% of our world, and they are old news.  Just say, "I'm here if you want to talk about what you are going through, or just need a hug."  And then give us that good I'm-here-for-you-whether-you-like-it-or-not hug.  That is much better.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who knew there was such a thing as fertility gadgetry?, including Circle+Bloom

First off, let it be noted that I officially have 20 followers that I can see, 3 that follow via email and I wish I knew how many that just read and observe (I know they are out there because every so often they surprise me with something I have only said on my blog)!  On Sunday, I think I had 13!  I have to owe a little bit of my notoriety to Busted Kate because she not only posted my picture (which I then reposted), but a link to my blog and a little about me not from my perspective!!  Thanks love!

So this post is about many of the fertility gadgets on the market today - or rather in my closet!  But let's start at the beginning. 

When I first skipped AF back in July 2007 (yes, it was that long ago) and we decided to go off BC for good, I got very excited.  I have always known I wanted to be a mother (there's a blog coming about why), but now the time was finally upon us.  And in my silliness I thought since we now wanted to be pregnant, we would BE pregnant immediately.  Flash forward 2.5 years and what a moronic thought that turned out to be.  Anyway, I went a bit crazy at  I had pregnancy books coming in for weeks...and they have collected dust ever since.  I refused to read portions until we were there.  So I have read probably the first chapter or two of each, i.e. "how to tell if you are pregnant" and "how to get pregnant." 

Then it was determined we needed to see when I ovulated.  So I took my BBT (Basal Body Temperature) every morning, despite my bladder's screams! (See, you have to take your BBT before you get up in the morning and do anything because at that point it is at it's lowest, but I always have to pee immediately when I wake up, so this was somewhat torturous laying in bed with the thermometer in my mouth for 3 minutes after opening my eyes).  When it starts to go up exceedingly (in my case around 98.2 - yes that is below what you are supposed to be, but this has always been the case in my life), then you have ovulated.  There are even websites dedicated to helping you find out when you ovulate (  So first we started with BBT, then I was doing BBT and ovulation tests and they never seemed to match!  Talk about frustrating.  So in that frustration, I went back to Amazon and wrote in "fertility" and you will never guess what I found.  Book after book after book about the subject.  Obviously, we aren't the first with this issue.  So again, our doorstep was flooded with Amazon packages, and most of those books have been read through, re-read and even read to my hubby. 

By this time, I was due at my OB/GYN for my annual visit and check-up.  Now she was aware when we began trying in July, so the following April (2008) was when I saw her.  She immediately prescribed Clomid and told me to come back in a month or so for a check-up.  After 1 month of no baby, she told me to go get blood work done and J to go get SA.  So I went and they took enough blood to create that child in a test tube...I even asked if that was the plan!  I swear, they took half of it!  J went in, made a deposit and left.  No needles...lucky man!  Tests all came back perfect.  So the Clomid continued for 5 more months, and the hot flashes/irritability/headaches/fatigue along with it. 

When it was determined that the Clomid wasn't doing it, it was time for the big guns.  Dr. H.  We had originally planned to see him in October 2008, but everything in the world went a little wacky and where money had been less tight, it got exceedingly more tight due to the economy and possible lay offs and less work, you get the idea.  I had already scheduled my HSG (a test where they put dye in your uterus and watch it on the screen to make sure your fallopian tubes are open and aligned right, etc, all while putting you on very nice drugs to make you sleepy and hurt less), so we did that.  Then determined since everything was okay there and the holidays were coming and money was still tight, we would hold off until March 2009.  Finally, March rolled around and things had settled a bit and still no baby so we decided it was time.  Went to see Dr. H, test results in hand, and had our first consult.  First, he put me on Progesterone because of the spotting before AF and gave us some dietary things to change (less beer for J, whole milk for me, etc.) and told me to drop 10 lbs and both of us to stay out of the hot tub.  Thus began my visits to WW and my loss of 12 lbs!  Oh, now here comes May again and my visit to my OB/GYN who recommended Dr. H.  Obviously, still no luck with us, but I am somewhat lighter.  She says we are doing all we can and keep on it with Dr. H. 

I had heard about this thing called a Fertility Watch and how it helped all these people get this point detecting ovulation was still hard to do.  Dr. H had told us to BD from day 8-16, just in case, figuring I OV'd around day 14...but with no test to back it up, only a year and a half worth of BBT reports.  So I found someone selling a Fertility Watch on Ebay for cheap with the sensors too (Retail was about $200 with 3 sensors, and you need a new sensor every month), so Ebay was maybe $125.  Worth it to me.  Got the watch and had some issues with it.  First, it hurt to wear because it had to be flat against your wrist so the sensor could read.  You wear it all night long as that is when the chemistry changes in your system and tells the watch when you ovulate.  First month, a few hiccups, but it worked.  And guess what it told us...BD days 8-16!  Oh, was I mad!  So tried another month...well, then the sensor issues began.  One night it would read, the next it wouldn't.  And if the dang thing didn't read for 3 nights in a row, it gave up so there went that cycle.  I was on a first-name basis with the Customer Service department lady who, God-love-her never gave up and kept sending me free sensors.  Anyway, after month #2 going up in flames and month #3 as well. I gave up, realizing that it had told me the same thing as Dr. H without having to wake up with a watch imprint every morning.  So the Fertility Watch got shelved as well. 

I had also started Acupuncture at some point in all of this and that continued to be a bi-weekly thing.  I believe it helped and was enjoyable.  Just not very cheap.

Then, we began our IUI cycles (3 of them - August, September, and October 2009).  So that meant Femara (10 of the most expensive pills ever, that replaced the Clomid, and lucky for me didn't give me side effects), getting to know the Ultrasound machine far too well (and not even going out for drinks beforehand!), Trigger Shots at 11 pm 2 nights before the big day, and J making a deposit in a cup before we raced to the doc's for Dr. H to put the boys in the right place and then wait.  At this point, we knew I was ovulating and almost exactly how many eggs were about to be released and WHEN!  What do you think that day was?  Day 14, Day 14, Day 14.  Every single month we did IUI, we went to see Dr. H on Day 14.  Whether it was a Saturday, a Sunday, or a Wednesday! The first round, I blogged all about it and when that didn't work, we decided not to tell anyone that didn't have to know - aka my boss, who is also my Mom, had to know because lots of times I was late coming into work, but that was almost it.  I hinted to friends that we were trying it again, but wouldn't specify dates or times.  It just felt like we were jinxing ourselves.  Three negative pregnancy tests later, J and I both threw our hands up in the air and said, "I give up!" 

So all processes stopped.  No more Dr. H, no more acupuncture, no more Progesterone, no more Femara, no more BBT, no more OV tests, no more not drinking, no more not hot tubbing!  We went a little haywire.  And I turned 30 - with a wonderful party and lots of friends and family.  Probably the first time I had really relaxed in a year!  Christmas shopping began and my parents asked me what I wanted and I told them about Circle+Bloom. Circle+Bloom is a meditative series on mp3 that follows your cycle.  You begin listening on Day 1 and as far as I can tell, it tells you what is going on with your body right now and de-stresses you.  It's not particularly cheap either (are we sensing a trend?!), but it is less that Acu and Dr. H.  Well, I didn't end up getting it (but was happy with the other things!) but it has remained on my radar.  It came up again dear friend Busted Kate was lucky enough to get to test it out and is now giving a series away on her blog.  I've entered in many ways (and this adds 3 more entries!), but it also provoked some more research into it.  So I cruised around their website for a bit last night and found out some interesting things:
1. The Hypothalamus, which is a walnut-sized organ in the middle of the brain, regulates BOTH stress and fertility.  (So I knew stress affected fertility, but now it makes a little more sense why.)
2.  Ovulation can occur anywhere from Day 8 to Day 22.
3.  Clomid, works on your hypothalamus to have it produce GNRH and spurs the pituitary gland into action to send the hormones to the ovaries (LH and FSH) in increasing amounts until ovulation.  The ovaries receive the hormones and send back estrogen.  And this continues...back and forth.
4.  After ovulation, the corpus luteum (where the egg was released) sends progesterone (or I take a pill 2x a day from day 15-day 29) to the uterus to have it build up tissue to nourish the fertilized egg.5. It takes between 6-8 days for the fertilized egg to make its way to the uterus where it will burrow into the walls of the uterus and begin to grow.
6.  When a woman reaches puberty, she will have between 300,000 to 500,000 eggs in her ovaries.  (I wonder where I am now!)
7. Hormones are the play makers, and they dictate when and what goes on in your reproductive cycle.

So I really hope I win the Circle+Bloom, because not only will it save me some coin...but it may save my sanity!  Click here to read Kate's post.  And if you really love me, you could even follow her blog and leave a comment for me since I will be maxed out!  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!

To wrap up our little fertility gadget discussion...there are two that I haven't yet purchased and probably never will now that I know about the time I ovulate.  There is the Ovacue Fertility Monitor.  Bascially, you put this thing on your tongue and it tests the electrolytes on your tongue to tell you when you are ovulating.  It is beyond expensive and not to our needs anymore.

There is also the Ovulation Microscope in which, you take a sample of your saliva every morning and analyze it yourself to determine if you are ovulating by "looking at the patterns formed from the crystallized salts, a woman can determine how close she is to ovulating.  As ovulation approaches the crystals will begin to form a pattern that looks much like a fern.  If you see a fern-like pattern in the microscope, it means you are ovulating."  This is far too technical for me!  So I didn't buy that one either. 

(I got these notes from, if you are interested in more detail about the last 2).

Well that just about wraps up our infertility story and all the gadgets clogging up my closet.  Hopefully, you will pop over to Busted Kate's blog and vote for me to win the Circle+Bloom.  Or send me a few bucks to build up our savings account to afford it!  ;)  Thanks much if you choose to do either!

Next step is IUI with Femara with Trigger Shot and with other shots during the course of the month.  Doesn't that sound romantic?!  Now you know why we are waiting until we are again ready.

Peace out Bleaders!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Girly day - Part 2

So to reiterate, my Saturday was 99.9% great.  There was just moment that my stress level raised and my hackles were up.  Let me explain....

Kate and I went to get our mani/pedis at my regular place.  They do a really good job for a reasonable cost and it is usually easy to slip in.  Toes done, we wander to the tables for nails.  Kate happened to be having her acrylics filled by the owner so she was chatting with him about her regular place and price, etc.  He mentions that designs on the toe are included with all pedicures.  She got excited and I had forgotten that was the case.  So after nails are done, we waddle back to the chairs to have our toes a little earlier than Kate as I don't have acrylics so my nails don't take as long.  The lady who had been taking great care of me this whole time, asked what I wanted.  I have a beautiful, glittery pink on my nails, so I asked for hearts in honor of Valentine's day.  She politely tells me in broken English that she doesn't know how to do hearts.  I politely reply that that is really what I want so could someone else do it?  She says again, "no heart" and I persist - in my mind all the while thinking, "I paid for this and this is what I want."  I ask if the owner or someone else can do it then again.  She walks over to the owner and has a discussion in a language that isn't English (but I couldn't tell you exactly what it was) and it kind of sounds like he gives her some guidance and tells her to "buck up and figure it out." 

So she returns to me and begins to draw a heart on my right big toe.  First, she makes a heart-ish design with dots.  I held my tongue and figured it could get better.  She gets out the other brush and begins to play connect-the-dots.  At this point, my fingers are digging into my tongue.  I kid you not, it looked like Pac-man was eating my toe!  Yet, she continues to decorate this awful looking heart-thing.  She puts a flower near it and then grabs the glitter polish, at that point I had to stop the insanity!  I mean, I am the one that is going to look at this awful creation for the next month!  So as politely as I can muster, I say, "please stop.  I'm sorry, but that doesn't look like a heart.  Can you please paint over it and maybe get someone else to do it?"  I must have said I was sorry 8 times, (and I should have whipped out my phone and taken a picture so I could post it!) but it was truly awful!  At this point, another much younger woman, comes over and asks if she wants me to do it like her client's toes that look great?  I exclaimed  "please!"  So she fixes it and it looks great! 

What is the reason for this tale you ask?  It is okay to say you are wrong and need help!  But this lady just kept on drawing, as if it looked lovely and I don't know that a heart doesn't look like Pac-man devouring my toe!  She could have easily drawn it and then asked her boss to come over or simply painted over it and asked one of the other girls to do it.  But no, she persisted and had I not said anything she would have done the right toe as well and I would have walked out pissed as all get out. 

I think people are afraid to tell someone that they messed up and that is what is really messed up.  I can recall a ton of instances that I specifically remember because someone passed the buck or argued with me over their correctness, when all I wanted was to have the issue resolved.  I remember a lesson I learned when I worked in the restaurant industry as a server (mostly at Outback Steakhouse in college).  They always told us that if the customer is the LEAST bit upset, to involve a manager and they would fix the situation, because an upset guest will tell everyone they know how they got screwed.  And a happy customer will go home happy, but come back.  Obviously, this is the truth because of the story I just relayed to you (as I have to another 5 people already!).

I have had many bosses since the beginning of my working life and the ones I respect most (to this day) are the ones that don't scream and shout when something goes wrong and the ones who can admit they made a mistake.  For instance, at my first job in media, I remember one of the higher up ladies blaming something on her assistant when I knew for a fact she had made the mistake.  My thoughts of her went down the toilet right then and there.  There is nothing wrong with telling someone you made a mistake people...especially if you give them a good solution to the problem.  It means are human!  Imagine that!  Everybody makes mistakes.  It's how you handle them, that shows your true character.

Here's another story that I will probably remember until I die!  J had to go to a specialist for for an issue he was having with his ears.  At some point, they prescribed him allergy meds and called those into the pharmacy.  We got a call a couple days later from a pharmacy that is about 20 minutes out of our way and at a store we NEVER shop at.  I called to see what was going on and they told me the doc's name and prescription.  So called the doc's office and relayed what I had been told.  Now instead of the nurse simply saying, "ok, where was it supposed to be called in to?" and "I'll get right on it."  She argued with me for 15 minutes, I kid you not!  She told me, "well, that's what he wrote," to which I replied, "I was sitting next to him giving him the information, we don't have that information because we never go to that store and it is 20 minutes out of our way, so no, that isn't the answer."  But she tried to tell me that 6 times.  Then, it was the doctor's fault.  And on and on and on.  Finally, after 13 minutes of this, I just said, "lady, I really don't care whose fault it is, I just want it fixed and had you just said I am sorry 15 minutes ago, we would be done already."  Even with that statement, she got huffy with me.  Come on!  Just solve the issue, I don't care who made the mistake!  It was a misunderstanding, now let's get past it.  Oh yeah, this happened over a year ago and I still remember like it was yesterday.  Why?  Because it was such a drama.  Again, had she just apologized and solved it, it wouldn't even be vaguely remembered.  But now every time we go see that doc, that is what I will think about! 

Let me tell you, I deal with clients every day of all kinds.  I have never felt such gratitude as when we call a client and let them know we made a mistake, but we found it before they did and have a plan to fix it if it isn't fixed already.  They are so happy and gracious that we could tell them we messed up and it's fixed.  Now, don't get me wrong, I hate making those calls and they don't happen all that often, but when they do, it is usually not a big deal.  They like to know we are looking out for their best interest and that we are human!  I know "I'm sorry" can be the hardest words to say sometime, but trust me folks, it is worth it 100%!  I give a ton more respect to someone who can say, "oops!  I messed up, but here is how I intend to fix it," and then they do just that. 

So, one of my first lessons to my yet un-conceived child will be, it is okay to be wrong.  But you need to fess up and fix it!  Please, go forth and don't be afraid to be wrong once in a long as you admit it and learn from it and fix it!  And with that, I'm going to bed!